A mother cradles her child suffering from severe malnutrition in the ICU of Bay Regional Hospital in Baidoa, Somalia on Nov 9, 2022. (PHOTO / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday announced the largest allocation ever of $250 million from the United Nations global emergency fund to help the most vulnerable people in some of the most forgotten crises and to stave off famine.

"So often, longstanding development issues can combine with climate chaos, economic shocks and violent conflicts, spinning into a whirlwind of humanitarian disaster," said the top UN official. "Around the world today, 339 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, an increase of more than 25 percent since last year."

The newly announced record $250 million allocation from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will help people in 19 countries, including Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, which are home to more than 20 million people just one step away from famine, according to a UN press release.

In addition, the funds will bolster the humanitarian response in underfunded crises in Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Pakistan and Sudan to combat food insecurity and address the impacts of climate change, it added.

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"This money will enable early action, getting ahead of crises in the making, including famines," said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths. "I thank all donors who have contributed to CERF. You have made this massive allocation possible."