GENEVA - The United Nations is allocating $150 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund to support seriously underfunded humanitarian operations in 13 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.
Topping the list of underfunded crises are Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan. These countries will receive between $20- and $25 million each to help them implement life-saving humanitarian operations.
International support for Syria has all but dissipated after more than a decade of conflict. Some 13 million refugees and internally displaced Syrians are living in a state of destitution, with little recourse to basic relief.
The DRC is one of the longest and most complex humanitarian crises. Millions of people are suffering from conflict, displacement, epidemics, and acute hunger.
The United Nations warns the humanitarian crisis in Sudan is deepening, as political instability grows and the country contends with flooding, rising food prices and disease outbreaks.
Jens Laerke, the spokesman for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says the distribution of funds made by Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths is the largest ever. He says it beats last year's $135 million by $15 million.
"This announcement of funding will help the prioritization of life-saving projects to respond to for example food security, nutrition, health, and protection needs. More detailed strategies are expected from these countries later this month," he said.
Other recipient countries include Myanmar, where the U.N. is providing aid to some three million people suffering from conflict, COVID-19, and a failing economy. U.N. aid also will go to Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger, three countries in Africa's central Sahel that are struggling with mass displacement because of armed attacks.
Laerke says these countries as well as six others in dire straits in Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, including Haiti and Honduras, will receive between $5- and $12 million each from the U.N. fund to help them tackle their emergency needs.
"These allocations happen twice a year to countries selected because of their low level of funding, severity of humanitarian needs, and vulnerability,' he said. 'These countries have just entered a new cycle of humanitarian fundraising and program implementation on the back of underfunded appeals from last year, all below 50 percent covered at year's end."
Humanitarian needs are growing across the world. The United Nations says it expects at least 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2022 and it will require $41 billion to assist the most vulnerable.
Afghanistan is the world's largest humanitarian appeal. The U.N. recently launched a record $4.5 billion appeal to assist 22 million Afghans, more than half the country's population.