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Outlook for 2023: 339 million people need humanitarian assistance

UNHCR stock in Romania

The United Nations published its Global Humanitarian Overview 2023, © Welthungerhilfe

01.12.2022 - Article

The United Nations published its Global Humanitarian Overview 2023 today: one in 23 people on this Earth needs help in order to survive.

Conflicts, the climate crisis and Covid are leading to growing hardship

Today the United Nations is presenting its Humanitarian Response Plans for 2023. They provide an overview of the humanitarian situation in the world. The United Nations estimates that 339 million people worldwide are in need of humanitarian assistance. Only a year ago, it was 274 million people. Conflicts, the climate crisis and Covid are leading to growing hardship

farmers in South Sudan
The effects of the climate crisis are also increasing hardship around the world© Welthungerhilfe

In particular Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is responsible for the sharp rise in hardship this year. Not only people in Ukraine directly affected by the attack are suffering. Global price increases and food shortages are also potentially life-threatening for people who live thousands of kilometres away from the war.

The effects of the climate crisis are also increasing hardship around the world: in Pakistan, for example, floods have left a third of the country under water. The consequences of the dramatic floods are still far from remedied. The Horn of Africa is experiencing its fifth consecutive summer of drought with disastrous consequences for people, animals and vegetation.

The effects of the pandemic are also still very apparent: they have been triggering global price increases on the food and energy markets for almost three years now.

3.2 billion euro for humanitarian assistance 

During the last few years, Germany has increased its humanitarian commitment considerably. In 2022, the Federal Foreign Office has made available 3.2 billion euro for humanitarian assistance. This has enabled our partners to alleviate the most acute hardship of many people. Humanitarian assistance means, for example:  

  • warm blankets and emergency care for people in Ukraine via the UNHCR
  • tarpaulins, tents and food packages for the families hit by the floods in Pakistan
  • grain supplies for those affected by drought and hunger in the Horn of Africa

Particularly given the growing hardship around the world, the German Government is keen to continue Germany’s strong humanitarian engagement. Germany is the world’s second-largest humanitarian donor and remains a reliable partner for the planet’s most vulnerable people. However, it is also clear that one country alone cannot meet the global need for humanitarian assistance. That is why we are encouraging more countries to become humanitarian donors. At the same time, we are calling for the assistance to be used more efficiently. When assistance is planned and implemented efficiently and as anticipatory as possible, more people can be helped with the same amount of money. We are working on this with our international partners in the Grand Bargain. One way forward is to expand the share of flexible funding pledges. The Federal Foreign Office is also working to provide more anticipatory humanitarian assistance. This assistance is supplied before a disaster is expected to happen. For, just as in other spheres, prevention is more effective and less expensive than cure in humanitarian assistance. In 2023, the Federal Foreign Office will make available five percent of its funds for anticipatory humanitarian assistance.

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