Dec, 29, 2016 – More than 47 million people are in need of humanitarian aid in the Middle East at the close of 2016, equivalent to three quarters of the UK population, Oxfam said today.

The figures drawn from Iraq, Syria and Yemen as well as Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan show the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

A further 15 million are in need in Niger, Nigeria and South Sudan.

Richard Corbett, Oxfam Humanitarian Lead said: “A number of ongoing emergencies have all come to a head in the final months of 2016 with the defeat of opposition-held areas in Syria’s second city Aleppo, the fight for control of Mosul in Iraq and the increasing risk of catastrophic hunger in Yemen. The conflicts at the roots of all these emergencies are years old but have reached new depths of suffering in recent weeks.

“People caught up in these crises are not only fleeing death and destruction but have to cope with freezing temperatures as winter sets in across the Middle East. Humanitarian agencies like Oxfam are trying to keep hope alive.”

Protracted conflicts elsewhere mean millions more are in need, including more than six million people in South Sudan, seven million in Nigeria and almost two million people in Niger.

In Yemen more than 14 million people do not have enough food to eat with almost half a million children under five suffering from acute malnutrition. In Syria more than 14 million people don’t have access to safe drinking water and toilets. In Iraq 10 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.

Oxfam is a member of the Disaster Emergencies Committee which has raised £13 million in a recent appeal for aid for Yemen. Across the Middle East, Nigeria, Niger and South Sudan Oxfam provides water, sanitation, food and cash transfers to help people in need.

Corbett said: “As a new year dawns, we can only hope that the underlying political causes of these many crises are resolved. And while we work towards that goal, we will do all we can to keep people alive, get them back on their feet and help them prepare for a better future.”

Oxfam is also working elsewhere in the world to meet emergency need, including Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi.

In addition to the DEC appeal for Yemen, Oxfam is also running appeals for Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and West Africa. To make a donation visit


Total number of people in need of humanitarian aid in the Middle East: 47.1 million
Number of people needing humanitarian aid in:
Iraq: 10 million
Syria: 13.5 million
Yemen: 18.8 million
Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey (Syrian refugees): 4.8 million

Number of people needing humanitarian aid in:
Niger: 1.9 million
Nigeria: 7 million
South Sudan: 6.1 million

Figures sourced from UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)