UNITED NATIONS - UN humanitarian bodies and partners on Monday launched a humanitarian appeal for 16.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to help some 57.5 million of the most vulnerable people in the world.

“The number of people affected by conflicts and natural disasters around the world has reached record levels,” Valerie Amos, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told a press conference in Geneva.

She added that a year ago, UN agencies and partners asked for 12.9 billion dollars to assist 52 million people who were considered to be the most vulnerable and most in need of protection.

“Over the course of this year, the number of people affected by conflicts and disasters has risen sharply. At the end of November, we estimated there were 102 million people around the world who were need of assistance,” she said.

According to her, Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and the Central African Republic will remain the top priorities for humanitarian actors next year, these four crises alone accounted for over 70 percent of funding requirements in 2015.

The other major crises covered by the appeal are Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, the Palestinians, Somalia, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen.

“At the end of last year, for the first time since the Second World War, we have more than 50 million people displaced by conflicts in the world,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told the press conference.

“Humanitarian needs in the world are growing exponentially,” he said, “obviously, the funds available respond to them are not growing at the same path.”

In February next year, the strategic response plans covering requirements in West Africa’s Sahel region and Djibouti will be launched, which will increase the number of people to be reached and the financial requirements for 2015.