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UN launches largest-ever humanitarian appeal at USD22.2-B in 2017

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 6 (PNA/Xinhua) -- The world is facing a humanitarian crisis that will require a record USD22.2 billion in funding for 2017 to support nearly 93 million of the most vulnerable and marginalized people, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here Monday.

"In order to deliver urgent relief, protection and support to nearly 93 million of the most vulnerable and marginalized people in 2017, we launched earlier today an appeal for USD22.2 billion in funding -- the highest consolidated humanitarian appeal ever launched," Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here, quoting the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which launched a relief aid appeal on Monday.

The UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Stephen O'Brien, said that the scale of humanitarian crises today is greater than at any time since the United Nations was founded in 1945.

"At the start of 2017, the plans presented collectively to the international donor community today will support vital humanitarian operations in 33 countries, including conflicts in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria," Dujarric said.

Eighty percent of the needs stem from man-made conflicts, many of which are not protracted and push up demand for relief every year, the spokesman said. "At the same time, the impact of El Nino-triggered droughts, floods and extreme weather is pushing vulnerable communities to the brink of survival."

So far in 2016, international donors have generously provided 11.4 billion U.S. dollars to the current global appeal which, over the year, has risen from 20.1 billion dollars to 22.1 billion dollars. However, this represents only 52 percent of the requirements, and humanitarian organizations approach the end of this year with a funding gap of a record 10.7 billion dollars, the largest gap ever.

"Not in living memory have so many people needed our support and solidarity to survive and live in safety and dignity," O'Brien, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator, said when he was launching the humanitarian appeal in Geneva.

"Funding in support of the plans will translate into life-saving food assistance to people on the brink of starvation in the Lake Chad Basin and South Sudan; it will provide protection for the most vulnerable people in Syria, Iraq and Yemen," O'Brien said.

"The lives of millions of women, girls, boys and men are in our hands," the UN relief chief said. "By responding generously and delivering fully on this appeal we will prove to them that we will not let them down."

The humanitarian appeal 2017 is based on Humanitarian Response Plans in Afghanistan, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. Other appeals cover Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal.

Burundi, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria are crises that affect entire regions and their neighbouring countries are included in regional response plans, bringing the number of countries included to 33. (PNA/Xinhua)

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