The United Nations announced on Monday that it requires $46.4 billion next year to provide life-saving assistance to approximately 180 million people globally facing desperate circumstances.

The UN highlighted a bleak humanitarian outlook for 2024, citing conflicts, climate emergencies, and collapsing economies wreaking havoc on the most vulnerable.

While the Gaza Strip conflict draws global attention, the UN emphasized other hotspots in the wider Middle East, namely, Sudan, and Afghanistan, necessitating major international aid operations.

Despite a decrease in donations, the 2024 appeal was scaled back from 2023, which faced one of the worst funding shortfalls.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths stated that the necessary support from the international community is not keeping pace with needs, underscoring the role of humanitarians in saving lives and addressing various crises.

The appeal covers aid for 72 countries, with the largest single-country appeals for Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Yemen.

Griffiths acknowledged the challenge of raising the “massive” appeal of $46.4 billion, particularly with donor countries facing cost-of-living crises. He emphasized that without adequate funding, life-saving assistance cannot be provided, putting people’s lives at risk.

The UN aims to reach 180.5 million of the 300 million people in need globally next year, recognizing the contributions of NGOs, aid agencies, front-line countries, and communities in providing initial assistance.

Griffiths also highlighted the increasing impact of climate change on humanitarian work, emphasizing the need for better utilization of climate data to focus aid resources, given the competition with conflict as a driver of need, particularly affecting displaced children.

Miroslava Salazar, with AFP