Health needs from humanitarian emergencies at record high

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In some parts of Yemen, the conflict has crippled the health system, making the delivery of services and supplies extremely challenging. Photo: WHO Yemen

The health needs resulting from humanitarian emergencies around the world have never been greater.

That's the stark warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, outlining its Humanitarian Response Plans for 2016.

WHO said in Geneva that together with its partners, US$2.2 billion was needed to provide "life-saving services" to 79 million people.

Matthew Wells has more.

More than 30 countries are facing protracted emergencies this year, according to WHO.

The organization said that the figures represented an "all time high" in terms of the risks to health, and it was operating often in extremely "insecure and extremely difficult" circumstances, in countries like Syria, Yemen, and the Central African Republic.

Outbreaks of disease, such as Ebola, continued to be a priority, together with urgent health services such as supplying medicines and vaccines.

At a press conference on Tuesday, WHO appealed for US$480 million in extra funding to cope with the sheer scale of demand.

Here's Rick Brennan, Director of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response for WHO.

"The needs have absolutely escalated, the funding requirements for that have absolutely escalated, but the increase in funding available from donors has not kept pace with that increasing need. And we are seeing a fall-off in the proportion of our funding requirements being met as a result."

In Syria alone, WHO and partners need funds to provide for 11.5 million people, together with another 5 million Syrians who have fled to neighbouring countries due to the conflict, which is now in its sixth year.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’07″

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