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UN asks nations to contribute $35B to humanitarian work

UN asks nations to contribute $35B to humanitarian work
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The United Nations on Tuesday made an appeal asking for $35 billion to support humanitarian work impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Forbes reports that the U.N.’s emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock said a record 235 million people will be in need of humanitarian aid in 2021, an almost 40 percent jump from last year.

According to Lowcock, this jump is “almost entirely from COVID-19” and how it has made preexisting crises such as displacement, climate change and famine even worse.

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The U.N. is asking member nations to dedicate a portion of their own domestic COVID-19 relief funds to assist those in poorer countries.

In its Global Humanitarian Overview for 2021, the U.N. said it would use the funds to assist 160 million people across 56 countries. According to its estimates, Syria would require the most funding, at an estimated $5.8 billion.

“COVID-19 has accelerated poverty and unemployment. Food prices have increased by nearly 100 percent in some countries over the last year,” the U.N. wrote in its appeal. “Many host-community members, including female-headed households, work in the informal sector and are often missed by national safety nets. “

According to Lowcock, the remaining people not reached by the U.N. would helped by other agencies such as the Red Cross. Even if the financial support comes through, Lowcock said it would be a “significant achievement” if no major famines occurred in 2021.

"The year 2020 has shown that the forward march of human progress is not an unstoppable force that can be taken for granted," wrote Lowcock in a foreword to the Global Humanitarian Overview. "In the space of a few months, decades of development have been knocked off course by a virus. Getting things back on track is not impossible. But it is not inevitable either. It will take conscious action and collective effort. It will need everyone to put their shoulder to the wheel and push hard in the same direction."