The world is facing the largest food crisis in modern history and famine is looming, while human rights – especially women’s rights – are under attack and tensions are high in places where injustice is rife, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said in remarks to the Riyadh Humanitarian Forum in Saudi Arabia, delivered on behalf of the Secretary-General.Furthermore, the war in Ukraine is entering its second year, and two weeks have passed since the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
Needs are mounting
“More than 350 million people around the world currently need humanitarian assistance,” he said. “We need almost billion to meet the basic needs of the worst affected among them, but experience shows that we can expect to raise barely half of that amount.” “We also need to address climate change head on, because every flood, heat wave, drought or super storm leaves a humanitarian crisis in its wake.” Over the weekend, Secretary-General António Guterres announced an unprecedented 0 million allocation from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
Surge in diplomacy
Mr. Griffiths said the money will enable early action, but he called for donors to scale up their support. “By working together, with the political will that is your currency to expend, we can stop conflicts, address the climate emergency, fight famines, and be ready for the next emergencies that inevitably lurk around the corner.” “Humanitarian action cannot stand alone. We need all hands on deck,” he said.
Millions going hungry
While these “megacrises” mount, resources are not keeping up, he added. Today, humanitarians need more resources to save lives, said Mr. Griffiths, sharing some of the “heartbreaking statistics.”
‘All hands on deck’
“To end the wars and conflicts we know and to stop new ones breaking out, we urgently need a surge in diplomatic efforts,” he said. Mr. Griffiths underscored the role humanitarians have in responding to crises, stating that their mandate and mantra is “we don’t give up”. However, he called for practical and tangible help in discharging this mandate. These numbers continue to rise due to three main reasons: protracted conflict, the climate emergency, and an economic collapse fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Globally, more than 222 million people do not know when they will eat another meal, and 45 million people, mainly women and children, are already on the brink of starvation.