- Associated Press - Friday, December 1, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United Nations has launched a record appeal for $22.5 billion to help some 136 million people across the world in need of humanitarian aid as a result of conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics and displacement.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock says the number of needy is about 5 percent higher than the projection at this time last year - and the 2018 appeal is up from the $22.2 billion appeal for 2017.

He told the launch of the appeal in Geneva on Friday that the big drivers of need remain conflict and violence.

Lowcock said the largest crisis in the world at the moment is in conflict-wracked Yemen where 20 million of the country’s 25 million people need humanitarian aid and 7-8 million are on the brink of famine.

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