Red Cross warns of deepening humanitarian needs in conflict zones

The civilian suffering caused by various conflicts across the world combined with a worsening climate emergency and rising food and energy prices will make 2023 a year of vast humanitarian need, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned.

In some regions in Somalia, ICRC teams have seen a more than 170 per cent rise in the number of malnourished children admitted for treatment versus 2021, while hospitals supported by the Red Cross have recorded a 30 per cent increase in mass casualty events, reports Xinhua news agency.

In a statement, the Committee said that communities in the Sahel are caught between advancing deserts, erratic weather and violence, and millions of people have been forced from their homes by violence in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is worsening too. In the ICRC-supported hospitals across the country, child malnutrition cases are already 90 per cent higher in 2022 compared to all of 2021, rising from 33,000 cases to over 63,000 so far this year.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is also likely to worsen in 2023 in the absence of a de-escalation of the conflict, lack of economic improvements and amplified impact of the climate crises, the ICRC said.

It added that 70 per cent of the population there are now depending on some form of humanitarian assistance.

In Syria, more than 11 years of conflict have seriously damaged the water network, reducing supply by between 30 per cent and 40 per cent.

In Haiti, over three million people are facing exacerbated humanitarian needs from protracted armed violence, civil unrest and the resurgence of cholera cases.

“There are more than 100 armed conflicts in the world today,” ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric said.

“The global community must ensure that no conflict is left behind, or we risk many crises fading into obscurity at great cost to human life.”

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