Already before the coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to drag millions of people into poverty and starvation, there were almost 170 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the world, but the ravages of Covid-19, which strikes so much to rich and poor countries, they could overshadow them.
These are the ten humanitarian crises that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) does not want to be forgotten:
CONTINUING CRISIS IN AFGHANISTAN
The number of people in need of help and protection has gone from 6.3 million in 2019 to 9.4 million this year due to the persistence of the conflict. Since 2012, some 4 million Afghans have been displaced, and acute malnutrition levels – which put children one step closer to death – are above the emergency threshold in 25 of the provinces.
Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous countries for humanitarian workers, with 41 dead, 65 wounded and 75 kidnapped in 2019. Humanitarian organizations have requested $ 733 million this year to serve 7 million people, but for now only received 5 percent.
MALNUTRITION AND HUNGER IN HAITI
Before the pandemic in the country, there were 4.6 million people – more than 40 percent of the population – in need of urgent help. The political and economic crisis that the country is going through in the last year has reduced access to food for the poorest households, while the prevailing insecurity has prevented many NGOs from offering essential services and assistance.
Currently, 4.6 million Haitians are facing food insecurity, up from 2.6 a year ago, while 1.2 million of them are in an emergency situation. In addition, 2.1 percent of children are severely malnourished, and the crisis has weakened already-battered health and education systems.
PLAGUE OF LOBSTERS IN EASTERN AFRICA
The locust infestation that arrived in the Greater Horn of Africa a few months ago has not disappeared and new swarms are forming in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia just as harvest time approaches. In affected countries, which also include Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan, there are more than 25 million people who are seriously food insecure.
To curb the spread, governments with FAO support are carrying out aerial and ground spraying, but the impact of the coronavirus is already affecting the response, with problems of personnel displacement and possible delays in the supply of pesticides.
INSECURITY AND FOOD CRISIS IN THE CENTRAL SAHEL
The insecurity that Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger have been registering in recent years has left thousands dead and more than a million displaced. This region was previously especially vulnerable with high rates of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition.
The $ 1.1 billion request for funds to cover humanitarian needs in the region has only been financed by 10% and it is feared that the coronavirus may now cause a new catastrophe, given that these countries have systems of health among the most fragile in the world.
CONFLICT AND DISPLACEMENT IN THE LAKE CHAD BASIN
The conflict that triggered a decade ago in northeast Nigeria and then spread to the rest of the countries bathed by Lake Chad – Cameroon, Chad and Niger – the terrorist group Boko Haram –and then also its split, Islamic State in Africa Occidental (ISWA) – not only has it not remitted but in recent months it has worsened.
More than 4 million people are food insecure in the region and 400,000 children are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition. In total, there are more than 17 million people affected by violence and 10.7 million in need of humanitarian assistance.
THE ROHINGYA CRISIS IN BANGLADESH AND BURMA
More than 855,000 Rohingya refugees – including some 745,000 who fled repression in Burma in 2018 – live in crowded camps in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh, where the Government and NGOs are struggling to provide essential services and that the monsoon will arrive in the coming weeks. The call for funds for this year is only covered by 13%.
Across the border in Burma, the situation for Rohingya communities is equally worrying. Some 130,000 have been confined in camps for almost eight years, and those living outside them are vulnerable and face the risk of increasing violence.
TEN YEARS OF CONFLICT IN SYRIA
More than 11 million people need humanitarian assistance and another 5.6 million have sought refuge outside the country. The upsurge of violence and