U.N. Asks for Record $22 Billion to Aid World’s Needy

[World News ★★★]


(P1) The United Nations, or U.N., is asking for $22.2 billion dollars to provide life-saving help for nearly 93 million people worldwide.

(P2) The U.N. made the request on Monday to international donors. The request says the donations would go to helping the most vulnerable people in 33 countries.

(P3) U.N. officials say the world is facing its biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. They say more than 128 million people are in need of urgent support. The people are said to be victims of conflict, displacement, and natural disasters. Of this number, U.N. officials are requesting money to help the individuals most severely in need of life-saving assistance.

(P4) Stephen O’Brien is the U.N.’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. He says the donations will make a big difference in the lives of tens of millions of people. O’Brien said the money will be used for life-saving food assistance to people close to starvation in areas including the Lake Chad Basin and South Sudan. The donations will also help people in other countries. “It will provide protection for the most vulnerable people in Syria, in Iraq, and in Yemen. And, it will enable children, education for children whose schooling is disrupted by El Niño among many other responses.”

(P5) The crisis in Syria is the United Nations’ biggest humanitarian concern. The U.N. plans to help nearly 13 million Syrians who are displaced within the country or living as refugees in neighboring countries.

(P6) O’Brien says humanitarian assistance is only a temporary solution. He told VOA that a political solution is the only thing that will end the suffering in Syria. He noted that the Syrian conflict is more than five years old. “Humanitarians can do no more than fill the gaps of people who either need food or shelter or medicines or treatments or evacuation or who need access to water and sanitation and hygiene and other non-food items in order to simply to survive.”

(P7) In addition to Syria, U.N. officials said that Yemen, South Sudan, and Nigeria are among the countries with the greatest humanitarian needs. They have had large displacements of people inside and outside their borders.

(P8) The United Nations noted that about 1.2 million people have fled South Sudan, making this the biggest refugee movement in Africa. Eighty percent of those who fled are women and children.

WORDS: 383

SOURCE: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/un-makes-record-request-for-93-million-people-in-need-of-urgent-support/3624024.html

VOCABULARY: vulnerable, displacement, starvation, El Niño, evacuation, sanitation, hygiene


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think big international companies like Apple, Samsung, Exxon Mobil, and Aramco should donate money to help these people?
  3. Would you volunteer to go to some of these poor countries to help? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think the governments of these people should do more to help? Why or why not?


  1. How many individuals throughout the world need assistance because their lives are in danger?
  2. The number of people that require urgent support is higher than the people needing life-saving assistance. (T or F)
  3. What is Stephen O’Brian’s title?
  4. According to O’Brian what will end the painful situation in Syria?
  5. What percent of the people who left South Sudan are not women and children?


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • international donors (P2)
  • is facing (P3)
  • political solution (P6)
  • inside and outside their borders (P7)

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Image source: AP https://gdb.voanews.com/B8C9C17B-A08C-4F9D-9A13-CB55B413B4CF_cx0_cy3_cw0_w1080_h608.jpg

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