The coronavirus pandemic is a wake-up call to invest in resilience.

Global humanitarian needs are soaring. During 2020, the United Nations estimates that a record 168 million people in 53 countries will require emergency support in the form of food, shelter, healthcare, protection or education.

That’s equivalent to one person in every 45 on the planet.

Continuing conflict in Syria and Yemen, flooding, drought and hunger in Somalia and South Sudan, economic crises in Venezuela and Sudan, as well as escalating instability in the Sahel region are just some of the factors driving internal and cross-border displacement.

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The UN has put the cost of meeting humanitarian needs during 2020 at $29bn – but it warns disease outbreaks, debt crises and economic shocks mean the caseload will grow bigger.

The coronavirus pandemic is just one such emergency that threatens to take poorer countries beyond breaking point.

With aid and action, stricken countries can seed reforms, build resilience and deal decisively with crises. Without it, they face a growing risk of disaster – the ripples of which will be felt globally through migration, health and economic crises for decades to come. — PA