UN: Some $20 billion is needed to provide refugees worldwide with food and housing

The number of displaced people has now reached 60 million worldwide

The world's humanitarian organizations now need some $20 billion to provide at least minimal assistance to people hurt by emergency situations, refugees and forced migrants, Marcel Vaessen, the head of the United Nations Regional Office for the Caucasus and Central Asia, said at a meeting of the heads of the educational establishments of the rescue services of the CSTO countries held in Moscow on Oct. 29.

According to Vaessen, the number of displaced people has now reached 60 million worldwide and the total number of people hurt by wars and natural calamities reached 100 million.

Vaessen said some $3 billion was needed to cover the most acute humanitarian needs in 2004. The figure has increased by 430 percent since then, nearing $20 billion, and the figure continues increasing, he said.

The UN official said he is talking about the most vital needs such as the need for food, healthcare and temporary housing, so that people can live at least in tents instead of under an open sky.

According to Vaessen, people are doing the lion's share of what needs to be done to save lives. He said that some 60 percent of the $20 billion needed is now covered by donations made by countries that are members of the UN and private donations. For this reason, sometimes a decision needs to be made on who should get priority in the distribution of assistance.

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