U.N. Predicts 274M People Will Need Humanitarian Aid in 2022, Appeals for $41B From Donors

The United Nations needed $41 billion from donors for their projects in 2022 as they predict some 274 million people will require some sort of humanitarian aid next year, the Associated Press reported.

The head of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Martin Griffiths, said he doesn't expect to reach the goal of raising $41 billion needed from donors to give an estimated 183 million people who need the humanitarian aid the most next year.

OCHA officials said they predict there will be a 17 percent increase in 2022 for people who will require immediate aid assistance, according to their annual overview of future needs.

Griffiths said they were only able to reach about 70 percent of the people they wanted to help this year.

The U.N. said they expect the humanitarian aid will be needed in multiple countries that struggle with the impacts of issues from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

"The climate crisis is hitting the world's most vulnerable people first and worst. Protracted conflicts grind on, and instability has worsened in several parts of the world, notably Ethiopia, Myanmar and Afghanistan," said Griffiths.

With the pandemic ongoing, Griffiths said they were able to vaccinate millions of people in Myanmar but that "The pandemic is not over, and poor countries are deprived of vaccines."

For more reporting from the Associated Press see below.

Directorate of Disaster Office, Afghanistan
The United Nations is predicting that 274 million people will require emergency humanitarian aid next year in countries including Afghanistan and Ethiopia. Above, a family prepares tea outside the Directorate of Disaster office where they are camped in Herat, Afghanistan, on November 29, 2021. Petros Giannakouris, File/AP Photo

The appeal pulls together needs from an array of U.N. agencies and their partners and is likely to fall short of its ambitions. This year, donors provided over $17 billion for projects in last year's Global Humanitarian Overview from OCHA, but funding has been less than half of the U.N. request for 2021.

The overview lays out country-specific plans for 30 countries, half of them in Africa, and most of the rest in the Middle East or Latin America.

Griffiths cited estimates by the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization that 45 million people are at risk of famine, in dozens of countries.

"Humanitarian aid matters," said Griffiths. "We were able to stop famine affecting half a million people in southern Sudan...we delivered health care to 10 million people in Yemen."

OCHA says more than 24 million people require life-saving assistance in Afghanistan, driven by conflict, political turmoil, the coronavirus, economic shocks and the worst drought in more than a generation.

"We never left Afghanistan. And we are there now with a projected program for 2022, three times the size of the program for 2021—because of the various needs and circumstances that you know so well," he said.

That appeared to be an allusion to the ouster of the internationally-backed Afghan government by Taliban fighters in August, and a surge of humanitarian needs in the country—including the fight against famine and hunger—since then.

Griffiths said the situation in Ethiopia, where the government has been battling fighters from the Tigray region, is the "most worrying" in terms of "urgent, immediate need" and said he was "very worried" about a possible siege by fighters on the capital, Addis Ababa.

"The capacity to respond to an imploded Ethiopia is almost impossible to imagine," he said.

"I think Ethiopia is the most concerning," Griffiths said, adding: "It's a terrible thing to have to choose between, you know, places of such great need" in the world.

Villagers, Donkey, Ethopia
The U.N. doesn't believe it'll meet its goal of raising $41 billion to help the record number of people who may require humanitarian aid in 2022. Above, villagers carry their belongings on donkeys in the rain near the village of Chenna Teklehaymanot in northern Ethiopia on September 9, 2021. File/AP Photo