27 December 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the “biggest international challenge” since the Second World War, according to the United Nations and has been the focus of the work of the UN’s humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, throughout 2020.

Families flee violence in Idlib, Syria. (file), by UNOCHA

From Syria to Haiti, Vanuatu to Yemen and Lebanon to Niger, OCHA has continued to reach the world’s most vulnerable and poorest with humanitarian aid, which can make the difference between life and death for millions of people.

Some $17 billion dollars have been spent in 2020 and it’s estimated that $35 billion more will be needed in 2021 in more than 50 countries, where the continued impact of COVID-19 is driving more people into emergency situations.

Read more here about how OCHA has helped to coordinate the international response to global humanitarian crises in 2020. 

And see more photos from their photographers in the field.


♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Uganda: UN food assistance programme hit as COVID-19 dries up funding

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) will have to further reduce food rations and cash assistance for more than 1.2 million refugees in Uganda due to a funding shortfall, the agency has said, calling for urgent resources to sustain aid efforts. 

Mozambique: 250,000 displaced children facing deadly disease threat 

A lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services have put approximately 250,000 children, displaced by escalating crises in a northern province of Mozambique, at risk from deadly diseases, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned.