Humanitarian needs at "all-time high"

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Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O'Brien addresses the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Humanitarian Affairs Segment in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Humanitarian needs are at an all-time high, the top United Nations relief official said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a meeting in Geneva to tackle humanitarian issues, Stephen O'Brien warned that there are not sufficient funds to meet the needs of nearly 80 million people.

He pointed out that only 26 per cent of the US418.8 billion required for humanitarian work has been received.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The UN estimates that more than 110 million people around the world depend on humanitarian organisations for life-saving assistance and protection.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O'Brien, said each statistic represents a personal tragedy for someone.

He stressed that in Syria, 12.2 million people need humanitarian assistance.

In South Sudan, he said 4.6 million people face severe food insecurity.

In Ukraine, 1.3 million have been forced to flee violence.

During his recent visit to Iraq, Mr. O'Brien explained that he met families with what he called the "most heart-breaking stories of fear, flight, loss and grief".

He warned that growing needs far outpace the resource available to meet them.

The average duration of a humanitarian appeal is reportedly now more than seven years.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 58″

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