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By NBF News
Listen to article The UN and aid groups on Friday appealed for 8.5 billion dollars to help countries affected by conflict or natural catastrophes, over the next year.

Most of the countries with the biggest needs and the largest increases in aid requirements are in Africa, according to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Hundreds of thousands will require emergency aid in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the rebel group M23 has displaced masses of people in the east.

The appeal jumped 73 per cent to 370 million dollars for Mali, where Islamist militants have joined Tuareg separatists and seized large parts of the North.

OCHA said Yemen was also in need of significantly more aid than last year, as 400,000 people have been displaced by the political unrest and millions lack clean water or food.

Somalia was listed as the country with the biggest needs, even though the food situation has improved.

The sum grew to 1.33 billion dollars this year because aid groups want to build up services and infrastructure so that people are better prepared to deal with droughts in the future. (dpa/NAN)