|+ 2019 will have its share of humanitarian crises
No surprises - a 2018 report from UNOCHA found that "conflict remains the main driver of humanitarian needs."
Nearly 132 Million People Will Need Aid, U.N. Says in 2019 Appeal. That means 1 in 70 people on earth will be in need of assistance.
Pressure is mounting on Saudi Arabia to hold true to the ceasefire negotiated at the end of 2018 in Yemen. It was intended to ensure humanitarian access to Hudaydah, which is the conduit for 70 percent of aid to Yemen.
But what would Yemen post-war look like?
"An end to the Saudi intervention is long overdue—but even if it occurs, don’t expect Yemen’s nightmare to draw to a close. For a change in Saudi policy to have the most impact, it must be coupled with a broader pullout of foreign powers and a ceasefire among Yemen’s many warring factions," writes Daniel L. Byman of the Brookings Institute.
Alex de Waal from the UK Guardian calls for Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman to be prosecuted for his actions in Yemen.
And how will the unexpected announcement of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria and drawdown from Afghanistan affect humanitarian and development efforts there?
"Islamic State fighters in Syria still number in the thousands, though their unit integrity has been vastly diminished by coalition firepower and by the Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground, writes John R. Allen of the Brookings Institute.
America's withdraws from Syria increases Russia's influence in the region, but there are no signs that Russia will encourage Syrian leader Bashar al Assad to re-build the country or help Syrian refugees return home.
"In a war that has killed some 500,000 people and displaced about 13m, Mr Assad seemed on the brink of defeat in 2015. But through brutal tactics—and with the help of Russia in the air, and Iran and Shia militias on the ground—he has regained most of his country’s heartland. He seems determined to keep fighting until he has recovered all his territory," writes the Economist.
"The immediate losers are Syria’s Kurds, whose dream of creating an autonomous region in Syria looks imperilled."
Infectious diseases are likely to be a growing cause of conflict too.
NPR predicts there may even be a pandemic in 2019.
"We're seeing a global increase in the spread of infectious diseases," says Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who leads the Outbreak Observatory, a group that collects information about outbreaks. And she doesn't expect a change in that pattern.
Increased migration will contribute to the risk of outbreaks.
Watch the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, writes Devex.
But the good news is that we're better at responding to infectious diseases and pandemics in 2019.
Some predict that 2019 could see fewer food crises which is good news.
Although its the dry season, Esther Ngumbi, a researcher at the University of Illinois and an Aspen Institute New Voices food security fellow, is hopeful that the impact of the dry season will not be as dramatic. 'Countries are doing a better job equipping their farmers with water storage systems and encouraging them to plant drought-resistant crops like millet and sorghum, both highly nutritional grains, and cowpeas (aka black-eyed peas), whose seeds are high in protein.'
Politics will continue to contribute to humanitarian needs in 2019.
As Venezuela continues to spiral tragically downward into a full-blown humanitarian crisis for example, what’s the endgame for the country, its people, and its neighbours? Meanwhile human rights campaigners are targeted in the country.
And Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, worries that there will be "an increase in denial for people seeking asylum in high-income countries." As it becomes harder to refugees to find safety in rich countries, the burden will continue to fall on counters like Lebanon, Jordan and others.