As we enter 2014, an unprecedented number of people are beginning the New Year either internally displaced or as refugees, the United Nations humanitarian chief warned during a press conference in New York, urging sustained support for millions who have been driven from their homes by violence and bloodshed or uprooted by devastating natural disasters.
“2013 was a real test of the global humanitarian system, and there is no indication that 2014 will be any different,” according to UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, briefing reporters in New York on the past year, which was marked by the international community’s massive efforts to ease suffering in war-torn Syria and typhoon-hit Philippines, and the year ahead, which has opened amid sectarian fighting in both Central African Republic and South Sudan.
“It is clear that the United Nations and its partners will be needed more than ever,” she said, noting that just a little more than two weeks ago, the Organization had launched its largest ever funding appeal – nearly $13 billion – to reach millions of people with life-saving aid in 2014, with half of that sought for those affected by the deepening crisis in Syria.
Tragically, since then, inter-communal fighting has shattered the world’s youngest nation – South Sudan – and bloody violence has spread throughout the Central African Republic, where a worrying crisis has been unfolding against a backdrop of abject poverty and a collapsing State. The world’s collective response capacity and resources are being stretched to the limit,” she said, stressing that more funds will be needed to address emerging needs.
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