Major surge in humanitarian crises so far this year

From Syria to Iraq and natural disasters to a deadly virus, 2014 has already been marked by a major surge in humanitarian crises — and there are still four months to go.

A UN report released last week says this year has seen a large increase in the number of people needing aid, up to 102 million from 81 million in December 2013.

“2014 has seen a major surge in humanitarian crises around the world,” said the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, adding that aid agencies need an estimated $17.3 billion US to cover the world’s needs, up from $12.9 billion in 2013.

Among the ongoing problems affecting people around the world:

  • The Syrian conflict.
  • Typhoon Haiyan, which hit last November but is still affecting people in the Philippines.
  • ISIS extremism in Iraq.
  • Violence in the Central African Republic.
  • An outbreak of the Ebola virus.
  • Longstanding violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur and South Sudan.

“We’re having a particularly, it seems, difficult period of time right now,” Rachel Logel Carmichael, a team leader in World Vision’s humanitarian and emergency affairs branch, said in an interview with CBC News.

Fen Hampson, director of the global security and politics program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, says natural disasters like hurricanes or typhoons are typically one-off events that are damaging, but prolonged conflicts have more lasting effects on people.

The greatest humanitarian crisis of the last century, Hampson said, was due to the First and Second World Wars, “where you had very large-scale civilian casualties going into the tens of millions, and obviously displaced populations as well.”

[CBC]

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