The UN appealed for record funds for aid next year, as the Ukraine war and other conflicts, climate emergencies and the still-simmering pandemic push more people into crisis, and some towards famine.
The United Nations' annual Global Humanitarian Overview estimated that 339 million people worldwide will need some form of emergency assistance next year – a staggering 65 million more people than the estimate a year ago.
"It's a phenomenal number and it's a depressing number," UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva, adding that it meant "next year is going to be the biggest humanitarian programme" the world has ever seen.
If all the people in need of emergency assistance were in one country, it would be the third-largest nation in the world, after China and India, he said.
And the new estimate means that one in 23 people will need help in 2023, compared to one in 95 back in 2015.
As the extreme events seen in 2022 spill into 2023, Griffiths described the humanitarian needs as "shockingly high".
"Lethal droughts and floods are wreaking havoc in communities from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa," he said, also pointing to the war in Ukraine, which "has turned a part of Europe into a battlefield".
The annual appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations said that providing aid to the 230 million most vulnerable people across 68 countries would require a record US$51.5 billion.
That was up from the US$41 billion requested for 2022, although the sum has been revised up to around US$50 billion during the year – with less than half of that sought-for amount funded.
"For people on the brink, this appeal is a lifeline," Griffiths said.
The report presented a depressing picture of soaring needs brought on by a range of conflicts, worsening instability and a deepening climate crisis.
"There is no doubt that 2023 is going to perpetuate these on-steroids trends," Griffiths warned. (AFP)