In 2021, 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This means 1 in 33 people worldwide needs help — a significant increase from the 1 in 45 people a year ago, which was already the highest figure in decades. The UN and partner organizations aim to assist 160 million people most in need across 56 countries, which will require $35 billion.
In 2020, COVID-19 altered the landscape of humanitarian response. There were large increases in the number of people in need. Humanitarian programming is now adjusting to treat the humanitarian impacts of the pandemic in a more coordinated way, as its health and nonhealth effects merge with the impacts of other shocks and stresses. For 2021, the COVID-19 analyses and responses have been integrated into ‘regular’ Humanitarian Needs Overviews and Humanitarian Response Plans, as part of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle 2021, as well as into the inter-agency regional response plans (RRPs).
In Syria, the unprecedented economic downturn has resulted in loss of livelihoods, currency depreciation and price increases. Challenges with already weak basic services have been exacerbated by COVID-19, driving an increase in extreme poverty and food insecurity and a widespread inability to meet basic needs. In 2021 an additional 1.9 million people will need humanitarian assistance.
After almost six years of protracted conflict and economic blockades in Yemen, families’ capacity to cope continues to be eroded. Half the population is in acute need. More people are at risk of falling into this category, as coping strategies are exhausted. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, increasing numbers of people are suffering from acute food insecurity (IPC phases 3 and 4). The economic situation is deteriorating, food prices are rising, and the population has been affected by flooding and localized conflict.
In Afghanistan an additional 4.5 million people are in need due to escalating poverty, rising food insecurity, political instability and widespread conflict. In Ethiopia, the impact of the desert locust infestation and the pandemic have resulted in a further 2.1 million people needing humanitarian assistance.
In Burkina Faso, deteriorating food security, due to natural disasters and a grave protection crisis, grounded in conflict and insecurity, coupled with the impacts of COVID-19 on the socioeconomic situation, have increased the needs from $424.4 million to $607.4 million. The number of people in need increased from 2.9 million to 3.5 million due to worsening conflict and insecurity in affected areas. As partners have scaled up operational capacity, the number of people targeted has risen from 2.1 million to 2.9 million.
Zimbabwe’s requirements decreased by 37 per cent due to humanitarian organizations engaging with partners to prioritize and target the most acute life-saving and life-sustaining needs in 2021. Haiti’s requirements have decreased by 50 per cent due to changes in response and humanitarian activities, focusing on specific vulnerable groups and geographical priorities. In Mozambique, requirements increased from $35.5 million to $254 million due to the inclusion of additional provinces to the localized Cabo Delgado plan. In Libya, the increased price of staple food, COVID-19 impacts and the oil blockade resulted in a 30 per cent increase in the number of people in need.
Of the 34 inter-agency coordinated appeals, 11 have requirements exceeding $1 billion. These 11 plans account for $25 billion of the total $35 billion requirements.