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 In 2023, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) encountered its most challenging year in a decade, marked by a staggering number of humanitarian emergencies. According to their "Emergency Preparedness and Response in 2023" report, the UNHCR issued 43 emergency declarations and mobilized support across 29 countries, a testament to the escalating global crises. This response entailed the dispatch of 7.4 million relief items from its seven global stockpiles, valued at $53.5 million, to aid up to 16.7 million people worldwide.

Dominique Hyde, UNHCR Director of External Relations, highlighted the growing complexity and scale of these crises. From conflicts, human rights violations, natural disasters, to extreme weather events, the emergencies have not only unfolded at an alarming rate but have also worsened existing situations. This surge has led to unprecedented levels of displacement, with millions requiring urgent humanitarian assistance and protection. The human cost of these emergencies, as Hyde notes, is immeasurable, underscoring the urgent need for collective action and solidarity.

Throughout the year, UNHCR's response efforts were diverse and widespread. The organization provided aid to millions affected by earthquakes in Syria, Türkiye, and Afghanistan; conflicts in Sudan, flare-ups in Karabakh and Somalia; a deteriorating crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; unprecedented refugee and migrant movements in Latin America and the Caribbean; and severe floods in Libya and the Horn of Africa. Each of these emergencies presented unique challenges, stretching the UNHCR's resources and capabilities to their limits.

The report also casts a concerning outlook for the future. With the upward trajectory of emergencies set to continue into 2024, and the number of forcibly displaced individuals expected to rise to 130 million by year-end, the call for global solidarity and support resonates more strongly than ever. The UNHCR's experience in 2023 is not just a record of past challenges but a clarion call for enhanced international cooperation and commitment to support those who are most vulnerable.

In 2023, the UNHCR faced an unprecedented scale of humanitarian crises, responding to multiple emergencies across the globe. This included aiding millions affected by earthquakes in Syria, Türkiye, and Afghanistan; new conflicts in Sudan; flare-ups in Karabakh and Somalia; a deteriorating crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; increased refugee and migrant movements in Latin America and the Caribbean; and floods in Libya and the Horn of Africa. The UNHCR issued a record 43 emergency declarations in 29 countries and deployed 339 emergency staff. Despite raising over $5 billion, including $4.6 billion specifically for emergencies and protracted crises, a funding shortfall of $400 million by year-end significantly impacted the delivery of aid to a record number of 114 million forcibly displaced people worldwide.

In response to these challenges, the UNHCR proactively enhanced its emergency preparedness. This involved conducting risk assessments and monitoring global developments, particularly in 28 countries identified as high-risk for emergencies. The agency doubled its emergency training events, trained 393 emergency experts, and centrally procured $302 million worth of goods and services. These efforts enabled the rapid shipment of emergency supplies to assist up to 16.7 million people. The support from public and private donors was crucial in enabling the UNHCR to provide timely, life-saving assistance and protection services in 10 new and deteriorating emergencies. Looking ahead to 2024, with the number of forcibly displaced individuals expected to rise to 130 million, the UNHCR underscores the continued and increasing need for global solidarity and support.

 

HT

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