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UN’s OCHA: 2014 global crises likely to tax humanitarian system

On Thursday during a press conference in New York City Valerie Amos, the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reviewed the list of continuing humanitarian crises in 2014 stating that like last year, 2014 will be “a real test of the global humanitarian system.”

UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos speaks at the World Economic Forum earlier in 2013.
World Economic Forum (Flickr: Press Conference: Valerie Amos) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

According to UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Amos, there are over a dozen areas across the world which will require significant humanitarian aid in throughout the year due to war, famine, and natural disasters. These countries and regions include Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali, Myanmar, the Philippines, Somalia, the Sahel region of Africa, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria as well as countries around that war-torn nation which are dealing with a staggering influx of refugees.

According to Amos, three of the regions mentioned are Level 3 emergencies, the highest level: Syria, the Central African Republic and the Philippines. However, she also mentioned that the crisis in South Sudan has increased since the previous mid-December assessment.

“2013 was a real test of the global humanitarian system. There is no indication that this year will be any different,” Amos stated. Continuing, she said, “It is clear that the United Nations and our partners are needed more than ever. The extent and complexity of the emergencies I have mentioned will continue to pose significant challenges for the humanitarian response system.”

The OHCA has determined that $12.9 billion will be needed in 2014 to provide humanitarian relief to 52 million people in need in the regions mentioned in the press conference.

“Millions of people have begun this year internally displaced or as refugees - dependent on humanitarian organizations for a place to sleep, food to eat and for basic healthcare,” Amos noted.

She concluded the press conference, stating, “We will need to work even harder to bridge the different parts of the United Nations system – the political, development, peacekeeping and humanitarian – in a way which delivers strategic and sustained support to many of our Member States and to people in those countries."

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