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2023: the year of humanitarian challenges

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The multidimensional effects of the war in Ukraine have made 2023 an exceptionally difficult year for people affected by humanitarian crises around the world. According to UN estimates, 339 million people will need humanitarian aid1. The number of refugees and internally displaced people has increased to 103 million, and 60 million children are at risk of extreme malnutrition.

On February 24, 2022, the world changed forever. The Russian attack on Ukraine forced 140,000,000 Ukrainians to leave their homes. Thousands of civilians have died as a result of the hostilities, and regular attacks on critical infrastructure have limited access to basic life resources: heat, electricity and running water. Every fourth inhabitant of the country reports problems with access to medicines and medical care, which is a consequence of i.a. over 700 attacks on medical facilities. In the former “granary of Europe”, people need food aid and GDP has shrunk by 30% in less than a year.

This is an aid marathon. We have to accept that Ukraine will need our help for years to come. Since the beginning of the war, we have been providing aid to Ukrainian hospitals and we see that the scale of needs will not decrease in the near future, and the negative impact of the war will also extend beyond Ukraine – comments Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart from the Polish Medical Mission

The war in Ukraine also indirectly affects the situation in other regions of the world. The economic crisis caused by it and the disruption of supply chains have a significant impact on the fact that the number of people in need of humanitarian aid has increased to 339 million people this year (20% more than estimated by the UN for 2022). People in need of assistance in Africa and the Middle East are particularly affected. The World Food Program says the cost of food aid has increased by up to 44% as a result of the crisis.

We must not forget the regions where crises have been going on for many years. The largest number of refugees in the world still come from Syria and Venezuela, and the places where the problem of malnutrition and hunger is the most acute are the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, adds the representative of the Polish Medical Mission. The organization runs aid programs all over the world, apart from Ukraine and Poland, providing medical care to those in need in the Middle East, Africa and South America.

In deepening crises, as always, people who are extremely vulnerable will suffer the most: children, women, people with disabilities. For humanitarian organizations, 2023 will be a time full of challenges, often with human lives at stake.

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