Afghan citizens rest in a camp after returning from Pakistan at the Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, November 14, 2023. Abdul Khaliq Sediqi/International Rescue Committee (IRC)/Handout via REUTERS/FILE PHOTO

MEXICO CITY – Climate change, worsening armed conflicts, rising debt and reduced international support will accelerate humanitarian crises around the world in 2024, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a report released on Thursday -fair.

In its 2024 Emergency Watch List, the New York-based IRC named 20 nations, mainly in Africa, that are most at risk of a worsening humanitarian situation in the coming year.

The report comes after the number of people in need of humanitarian aid this year rose to 300 million, while the number of people forced to flee their homes rose to 110 million.

“These are the worst of times,” IRC chief David Miliband said in a statement, calling for greater emphasis on climate adaptation, women’s empowerment, “people-first” banking, support for displaced people and in actions to contain impunity.

Sudan topped the IRC's emergency watch list, followed by the occupied Palestinian territories and South Sudan.

Below them are nine sub-Saharan nations; Myanmar and Afghanistan in Asia; Syria, Lebanon and Yemen in the Middle East; the Ukraine of Europe; Ecuador of South America and Haiti in the Caribbean.

These 20 territories represent about 10% of the world's population, but 86% of global humanitarian needs, 70% of displaced people and a growing percentage of those facing extreme poverty and climate risks, the IRC said.

Sudan, which was not included last year, topped the list as large-scale urban warfare receives “minimal international attention”, it said, while the Palestinian territory of Gaza enters 2024 as the deadliest place for civilians in Worldwide.

While some African countries are achieving rapid improvements in living standards, conflicts, coups d'état and poverty are rising at “alarming rates”, the IRC said, as the El Nino climate phenomenon threatens extreme weather.

Ecuador – home to many Venezuelan refugees – joined the list for the first time, as the rise in violent crime, which the state largely attributes to drug trafficking, worsens the economic impacts of the pandemic and climate risks, he added.

Meanwhile, in Haiti, the IRC noted that nearly half the population was in need of humanitarian assistance and said it was “unlikely” that potential UN efforts to help police combat powerful armed gangs would significantly improve conditions next year.

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