‘Human Suffering Has Reached Staggering Levels’

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Human Suffering Has Reached Staggering Levels

ROME, May 17 2016 (IPS) –
“Human suffering from the impacts of armed conflicts and disasters has reached staggering levels.”

With these one dozen or few words, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, briefly but sharply portrayed the current humanitarian drama, explaining why the UN has decided to hold the first ever World Humanitarian Summit on May 23-24 this year in Istanbul, Turkey. ‘Human Suffering Has Reached Staggering Levels’ | Inter Press Service

Stephen O’Brien during a visit to Yemen, Faj Attan neighbourhood of Sana'a. Credit: OCHA /Philippe Kropf

Stephen O’Brien during a visit to Yemen, Faj Attan neighbourhood of Sana’a. Credit: OCHA /Philippe Kropf

Secretary General Ban documented his statement with specific figures: nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have been forced from their homes due to conflict and violence.
As if this was not enough, the UN chief talked about another man-made tragedy: “The human and economic cost of disasters caused by natural hazards is also escalating. In the last two decades, 218 million people each year were affected by disasters; at an annual cost to the global economy that now exceeds 300 billion dollars.”
Based on these and other facts, experts and UN high officials labelled the on-going, growing human drama, as the “worst humanitarian crisis since World War II”.
How to face this unprecedented human and humanitarian challenge will be the task of around 6,000 delegates expected to attend this World Humanitarian Summit.
Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affair. Credit: UN Multimedia IPS asks the Tanzania-born, British politician and diplomat Stephen O’Brien, who since March this year is the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA), taking over from Valerie Amos, also British.
“Every humanitarian crisis is inherently unique and context-specific,” O’Brien responded to IPS in an interview. “However, taken together, there are 125 million people in need of aid in the world today as a result of conflicts and natural disasters and over 60 million people have been forcibly displaced. These are the highest numbers we have on record since WWII.”….

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On May 18, 2016
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