The 15 main humanitarian crises that will mark 2020


One in 45 people will need humanitarian assistance in 2020, according to UN forecasts, which figure at 168 million total worldwide, a new record. In order to serve the most vulnerable among them –109 million – the United Nations and humanitarian organizations have requested almost $ 29 billion for this year.

“The situation will continue to deteriorate unless climate change and the causes at the root of the conflicts are better addressed,” said UN Head of Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, when submitting the request for funds, warning that The forecasts are that by 2022 there will be 200 million in need of assistance in the world.

The 15 main humanitarian crises that will mark 2020
The 15 main humanitarian crises that will mark 2020

Next, we review, in alphabetical order, the 15 humanitarian crises to which attention should be paid:

– Afghanistan

The year starts in what is currently the deadliest conflict in the world with expectations of a possible peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, which could pave the way for peace negotiations themselves between the insurgent group and the Afghan government.

As peace efforts progress, the year 2019 ended with 426,000 additional displaced persons in the country, where the Islamic State is also active. By 2020, the UN figures at 9.4 million people who will need humanitarian aid and protection, compared to 6.3 million in 2019 and 3.3 in 2018, so it has asked for 733 million dollars with which it expects attend 7.1 million.


– Cameroon.

The double humanitarian crisis faced in the country could be exacerbated this year, as parliamentary elections are planned next February, which could generate new instability. Cameroon is the scene of attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram in the Far North, while in the two regions of Anglophone majority they are the scene of a conflict that faces separatist groups with the security forces since 2017.

In total, the UN figures 4.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid in 2020. In the Far North, there are more than 271,000 displaced, while in the two Anglophone regions in the west, violence has caused more than 700,000 displaced The country also welcomes refugees from both Nigeria and the Central African Republic. To serve them, 317 million dollars have been requested.


– Ethiopia.

Political reforms and peace with neighboring Eritrea after the coming to power of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have not been accompanied by greater stability in the second most populous country in Africa. As in 2018, tension and inter-ethnic clashes have persisted in the country and there is a fear that, in the face of the general elections scheduled for May, the situation may get complicated and degenerate into violence.

Some 8 million people will need assistance in 2020, including 3.7 million who face food insecurity in a country where lack of rainfall aggravates the situation. In the country there are about 1.6 million displaced, 500,000 of them due to drought, while almost two million people face a serious lack of food. In total, the UN is requesting 973 million dollars for this year.


– Haiti

The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere has experienced in the last year a worsening of the political and economic crisis that has been dragging, which has provoked anti-government protests. In total, an estimated 4.6 million Haitians will need humanitarian assistance in 2020, almost 40 percent of the population.

The food situation is particularly concerned, with the 3.7 million people who have problems to guarantee their livelihood, which represents a considerable increase with respect to the 2.6 million at the end of 2018. The UN has requested 252.5 million of dollars with which he hopes to assist 2.1 million people.


– Lake Chad.

The actions of Boko Haram and its spin-off, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), have intensified in recent months, aggravating a humanitarian crisis affecting the four coastal countries of Lake Chad – Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria -, although the most affected area is northeastern Nigeria, where the insurgency began.

In total, some 17 million people in the four countries are affected by the conflict, including almost 10 million who need humanitarian assistance. Some 2.6 million people have been forced to leave their homes, some of whom have sought refuge in other countries. In addition, there are 3 million people in food insecurity and 400,000 children at risk of acute malnutrition, leaving them one step away from death.


– Central African Republic (RCA).

The signing of a peace agreement between the Central African Government and the main armed groups in February 2019 significantly reduced violence in the country, although there have been recurrent outbreaks of clashes at different points. The situation could worsen this year, as presidential elections are planned in December.

Thus, there are 2.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance . In the country there are also almost 700,000 internally displaced persons, while nearly 600,000 Central Africans have taken refuge in other countries in the region. In addition, more than a third of the population has serious problems to guarantee their diet, including 375,000 people who need urgent help. RCA is also one of the most dangerous countries for humanitarian workers. By 2020 almost 390 million dollars have been requested.


– Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The country is facing a crisis of crisis since the persistent violence by armed groups in the east adds a serious outbreak of Ebola – the second largest in history worldwide – which remains unremitted in the same area and what is its worst measles epidemic. Add to this the prevailing poverty and the lack of services and infrastructure. DRC also hosts more than 500,000 refugees.

As a result, in the DRC there are 15.9 million people who require assistance, 17 percent of the population. In addition, there are more than 5 million internally displaced persons – the highest figure in Africa – almost one million of whom had to leave their homes in the last year. On the other hand, almost 20 percent of the population has serious problems guaranteeing their next meal. By 2020, more than 1.8 billion dollars have been requested.


– Rohingya crisis.

More than 800,000 Rohingyas, most of whom fled from repression in the state of Rajine, in Burma, in 2017, live as refugees in the 34 camps created in the Cox's Bazar region in Bangladesh. The lack of political solutions to their situation, according to the UN, does not predict the immediate return of Rohingya refugees, who are not recognized as citizens in Burma and are denied access to basic services such as education or health.

Its arrival has doubled the population of the areas of Bangladesh that have received them, hence by 2020 the UN has requested 871 million dollars with which it hopes to be able to assist 1.3 million people, including refugees and host communities. The important humanitarian response has so far prevented major outbreaks of epidemics but NGOs fear that if the crisis stagnates, less funds will arrive and the situation will get worse. They have also been warning of the impact that the situation has on their mental health .


– Sahel.

The situation in the center of this vast region that crosses Africa has deteriorated exponentially in the last year. Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger have seen attacks by Islamist groups – mainly the subsidiaries of Al Qaeda and Islamic State – multiply in recent months – and with it an intensification of clashes between communities, with farmers and pastors such as protagonists According to the UN, in 2019 there have been more than 4,000 deaths , five times more than in 2016.

In Burkina Faso, almost a third of the population – 5.2 million – have been affected and the number of internally displaced persons has increased by more than five in the last year, to around 500,000. In total, according to the UN, some 2.2 million Burkinans will require assistance this year.


In the case of Mali, a country in which jihadist groups began their activities, violence has continued to move from the north to the center of the country, charging around 900 civilians killed. The number of displaced people has quadrupled in the last year, up to about 200,000, while food security has also worsened. In total, 3.6 million people are expected to need assistance.

Finally, in Niger, the situation has deteriorated in the last year in the regions of Tahoua and Tillaberi, bordering with the other two countries, which has caused some 80,000 displaced. In total, there are 1.9 million people in need of help in the country, which includes those affected by this crisis and that of Lake Chad, among other circumstances.

– Syria

Some 11 million people need assistance in Syria , a country that is already facing its ninth year of conflict, which has also left more than 6.1 million internally displaced. About one million of the latter live in camps. The UN and NGOs are especially concerned about the current offensive in Idlib , in the northwest of the country.

In the northwest, where a government offensive is underway to recover the last rebel stronghold, it is estimated that there are about 2.7 million people who depend on aid to survive. To meet these needs, the UN has requested $ 3.3 billion.

On the other hand, the conflict in Syria has caused what is today the biggest refugee crisis in the world, with 5.6 million Syrians outside the country. To meet their needs in the countries that host them – mainly Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt – 5.2 billion have been requested.


– Somalia.

The humanitarian needs in the country, where the violence of the terrorist group Al Shabaab does not give truce and has also been added with specific actions Islamic State, have been aggravated by drought and floods in the last year. Somalia faces 2020 with 5 million people in need of help.

In the country it is estimated that there are about 2.6 million internally displaced persons, who have mostly settled around cities and live in camps in difficult conditions. Some 6.3 million people face food insecurity, while one million children suffer from acute malnutrition. To meet these needs, just over $ 1 billion has been requested by 2020.


– South Sudan.

The country begins the year with hopeful prospects following the peace agreement signed in September 2018 between the Salva Kiir Government and the main rebel groups, with former Vice President Riek Machar leading the way. Both have pledged to launch the planned unity government in February.

Although the violence has subsided considerably, humanitarian needs remain enormous and recent serious floods have further complicated the situation. In total, 7.5 million people need help, almost 4 million South Sudanese have left their homes and some even the country, and 7 million face food insecurity. The UN has requested more than 1.5 billion dollars by 2020, with which it expects to serve 5.6 million people, almost half of the population.

In addition, South Sudan is expected to remain the largest refugee crisis on the continent, with more than 2.2 million planned for this 2020. To help them and host countries, another $ 1.3 billion has been requested. .


– Ukraine.

The only armed conflict on European soil remains open almost six years later, although in recent months there seems to have been a certain thaw between Kiev and Moscow, which supports the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, after the arrival of Volodimir Zelenski for president.

Some 3.4 million people need assistance as a result of the conflict in the Donbas region, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,300 civilians. In addition, there are about 350,000 internally displaced persons in areas under government control. According to the UN , although there is a possibility of an improvement in the situation, the population will still need support to recover. Therefore, he has requested 157.8 million dollars.


– Venezuela.

To the political crisis that the country has been going through for years has been an economic one that has triggered a great exodus of Venezuelans from the nation with the largest oil reserves in the world. According to the latest UN estimates, there are about 4.5 million Venezuelan refugees, mainly in the countries of the region with Colombia at the helm, but it is expected that by the end of 2020, if the internal situation does not change, the figure will reach The 6 million.

Within Venezuela, some 7 million people need assistance and more than 21 percent – some 6.8 million – are undernourished, a figure four times higher than in 2014. By 2020, 750 million dollars have been requested. , a figure that supposes a considerable increase with respect to the almost 223 million dollars of 2019. For the UN, the main concern is the lack of funds , since the last year only received 34 percent of what was requested.


– Yemen.

Yemen's remains the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Nearly 80 percent of the population, about 24 million people, needs humanitarian assistance and protection and about 4 million people have been displaced, including 375,000 in the last year.

The conflict that broke out in 2015 between the Yemeni government, supported by a coalition leading Saudi Arabia, and the Huthis, backed by Iran, has left some 250,000 dead, of which 100,000 have been the result of fighting and 130,000 by hunger and diseases, according to the UN. The continuation of hostilities and restrictions imposed by the parties have left some 5.1 million people unable to receive help.

Two thirds of the population – more than 20 million people – go hungry and 11.6 percent of Yemenis are malnourished. In the case of children, 1.6 percent of them have severe acute malnutrition, leaving them one step away from death. Against this background, the UN has requested 3.2 billion dollars by 2020.


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