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Lethal Combination of Climate, Conflict and Covid sees humanitarian needs rise by 17% in 2022

A young Afghan woman looks over her shoulder. Most of her face is covered by a green and red floral headscarf.



As we move into 2022 Afghanistan becomes the world’s largest ever humanitarian appeal, requiring a staggering US$4.47 billion for humanitarian aid, closely followed by protracted crises in Syria and Yemen. 

Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday 2nd December 2021 – According to the new UN OCHA Global Humanitarian Overview 2022 sees a 17% increase in global humanitarian needs from 2021, with 274 million people in need of life-saving aid around the world and US$41 billion needed to provide this aid. In just 4 years financial requirements and the number of people in need have doubled, while 45 million people are on the brink of famine.  

Afghanistan is now the largest-ever humanitarian appeal at $4.47 billion, followed by Syria at $4.2 billion and Yemen at $3.85 billion. Women and girls, in particular, suffer disproportionately, as pre-existing gender inequalities and protection risks for them are heightened during a humanitarian crisis. 

Victor Moses, CARE Afghanistan Country Director: 

“The latest Global Humanitarian Overview paints a bleak picture for the Afghan people, who are already facing one of the world’s most complex humanitarian crises. Afghanistan requires USD$4.47 billion, the largest humanitarian appeal ever, to reach the 24 million people in need of lifesaving assistance, that’s a 30% increase on the number of people in need last year. A dangerous combination of the worst drought in 27 years, displacement, insecurity, rising food prices and a stalling economy have led to a devastating food crisis. On top of that, the impending winter will make an already dire situation almost unbearable for many, especially the millions of displaced people without adequate shelter. The heartbreaking reality is that countless lives will be lost to hunger and freezing temperatures unless urgently needed humanitarian assistance reaches the most vulnerable soon. CARE is particularly concerned about the impact of the crisis on women and girls. We need funding now to avert a complete catastrophe.” 

Aaron Brent, CARE Yemen Country Director: 

“Being caught between a protracted conflict and seasonal flooding has become a recipe for disaster for millions of Yemenis. Nearly 21 million Yemenis are still in need of humanitarian aid and a staggering US $3.85 billion just to be able to survive and avert famine. The country is simply too fragile to withstand climate change elements such as flooding alongside conflict and COVID-19. Year after year roads, homes and infrastructure are being washed away within minutes, cutting off women from access to lifesaving healthcare, disrupting farming for families and therefore access to much needed food and jobs. Climate change is real in Yemen and addressing and mitigating the hazards with longer-term support and interventions is vital – truly a matter of life and death.” 

Jolien Veldwijk, CARE Syria Country Director: 

“Syrians are facing unprecedented threats to their lives, posed by new crises that have come on top of existing crises, which have escalated needs and vulnerabilities. After a decade of conflict and the severe economic collapse it precipitated, COVID-19 has compounded the situation in a country already suffering. More recently, the water and food crises have intensified in Syria. Climate change has caused rising temperatures and record low levels of rainfall, leading rivers to dry up. Syria is facing its worst drought in 70 years. Syrian women are facing their biggest challenges in securing food and water for their families. While funding has been cut drastically in the past year, especially for the Northeast of Syria, there is a need to adequately finance the drought and wider humanitarian response in Syria for as long as it is needed.” 

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead, Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International: 

“The climate crisis is a humanitarian crisis. Every fraction of a degree matters to those on the frontlines of the climate emergency. With every fraction of a degree, it becomes harder for vulnerable communities to escape the cycle of poverty and inequality created by climate change. World leaders talk about taking climate action in 20- or 30-years’ time, but that means nothing to people suffering climate impacts now. It is not just an abstract concept to be talked about at high-level meetings, it’s life or death for women, men, girls and boys in countries like Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. Marginalized and poor communities must have financial support in order to cope with the escalating humanitarian crisis and loss and damage caused by climate change. Governments need to scale up gender responsive public climate financing and risk financing; particularly adaptation finance.” 

Delphine Pinault, CARE International, Humanitarian Policy Advocacy Coordinator & UN Representative: 

“The 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview shows a worsening humanitarian context as we face an unprecedented combination of stressors. Now, more than ever, the global community needs to come together to support its most vulnerable and at risk. We urge humanitarian actors and donors to respond to the GHO’s call to centre Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls in our response efforts in 2022. As we recommit to not leaving anyone behind, let us also recommit as individual agencies and leaders to do all we can to support women and girls’ full, direct and meaningful participation in humanitarian preparedness and response efforts. While women and girls are disproportionately affected by crisis and climate change, they also lead prevention, preparedness and recovery efforts. Yet, their organizations remain chronically underfunded. Let’s make 2022 the year to be remembered for scaling up our funding and support to women’s organizations.” 

For More Information:
Rachel Kent
Senior Press Officer


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