The Coordinator of UN Humanitarian Operations, Stephen O’Brien on Thursday warned that nine million displaced persons are at risk of starvation and disease if funds are not raised to meet their needs.
“When we look across the whole of the Lake Chad basin. On the cusp between west and central Africa, we can see converging crises. I call it a confluence of all these crisis causing humanitarian needs coming together. We have environmental degradation, poverty, underdevelopment, population growth, violent extremism. This desertification is against population growth where the resources to support life get scarcer and scarcer,” O’Brien said ahead of the the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit taking place in Istanbul, Turkey on May 23 and 24.
While the event is not a fund-raising conference, investing in humanity is one of the five core responsibilities that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged in his report for the World Humanitarian Summit.
O’Brien said the needs of the displaced must be met through goods and services. These are expected to cost the humanitarian community an additional $15 to $20 billion annually.
He said the commitments are to strengthen the humanitarian system so that preparedness and resilience are taken more seriously, with local response at the heart of the efforts being the focus of next week’s World Humanitarian Summit.
“Whenever there is suffering and humanitarian needs in a crisis, all of us want to be there even faster than we ever can be because we’re all driven by this wish to help people in need,” Mr. O’Brien said, but cautioned that “practical, secured, safe passage and unimpeded access” is challenging during protracted crises, particularly of ongoing conflict.
AFP/ Press Agencies