Highest number of humanitarian emergencies in 2023: UN

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The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it responded to a sharply rising number of new or deepening humanitarian crises in 2023, issuing 43 emergency declarations to scale up support in 29 countries, the highest number in the last 10 years. According to “The Emergency Preparedness and Response in 2023” released by the UNHCR, the organisation dispatched 7.4 million relief items to serve up to 16.7 million people around the world in the year, reports Xinhua news agency.

From its seven global stockpiles, UNHCR delivered emergency supplies worth $53.5 million, the report said. “Over the past year, we have seen a staggering increase in emergencies, with new crises unfolding and unresolved ones deteriorating, pushing the boundaries of our capacity to respond,” said Dominique Hyde, UNHCR Director of External Relations.

“Whether sparked by conflict, human rights violations, natural disasters or extreme weather events, these emergencies have resulted in a surge of displacement, leaving countless individuals and families in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” she added.

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The crises UNHCR responded to in 2023 included earthquakes in Syria, Turkey and Afghanistan; a new conflict in Sudan and flare-ups of old conflicts in Karabakh and Somalia; a deteriorating crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, unprecedented mixed movements of refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean, and floods in Libya and the Horn of Africa.

It said that with the upward trajectory of emergencies in 2023 poised to persist in 2024 and the number of forcibly displaced people expected to rise to 130 million by the end of 2024, the need for solidarity and support for people forced to flee has never been as important as it is today.