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GENEVA: June 21, 2017. The United Nations says it needs US$23.5 billion in 2017 to provide humanitarian assistance to a record 141 million people in 37 countries. With half the year gone, it has received US$6.2 billion.

According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), new disasters and deteriorating protracted emergencies are driving up the numbers - whether it is violence in the DRC, drought in Kenya, cyclones in Madagascar and Mozambique, or flooding in Peru.

OCHA said this is in addition to 20 million people who face famine across northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Zinjibar capital of Abyan YemenSo far this year the U.N. and its logistics partners have provided food to 5.8 million people in Yemen (right), over three million in South Sudan, 2.7 million in Somalia, 2.3 million in Nigeria and 2.2 million people in Syria.

"With generous donor support, humanitarian partners have swiftly scaled up to deliver record levels of life-saving assistance in challenging and often dangerous environments. Donors have invested in these efforts but we are in a race against time," commented Stephen O'Brien, U.N. under secretary general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief coordinator.

A key element in the U.N. effort is the Logistics Cluster - a community of partners that includes Maersk, Agility, UPS and DP World - to coordinate Information management in support of humanitarian emergency response worldwide.

Last year it supported 454 organizations, including national and international NGOs, U.N. agencies, foundations, civil society organizations and government agencies, to deliver 87,239 tonnes of aid and distribute 1.3 million liters of fuel.

According to Logistics Cluster global coordinator Stephen Cahill: "In 2016 we operated in thirteen emergency-stricken countries with 87 million people affected. Without the strength of our partnerships and the collective advantage of our shared skills and common services, we would have not been able to achieve [such] results."

By the end of March this year, the Cluster had provided support for 270 organizations and operations in the Central African Republic, the DRC, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Haiti, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, and distributed just under 21,000 tonnes of aid on behalf of 170 organizations.

"We now need donors to set the bar higher and increase their support," O'Brien added.

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