The demand for emergency aid in the world is growing rapidly, but raising funds to meet this need, on the other hand, is lagging behind. According to the researchers, this greater need also relates to the fact that protracted conflicts and climate change are increasingly mutually reinforcing, often with harmful consequences for local populations.
“I don’t remember in my 40 years working on relief efforts when the world was mired in problems and there was an urgent need to take action to solve them,” sighed Martin Griffiths, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the UN emergency response. Agency. Last Friday, the annual World Humanitarian Aid Day.
The United Nations’ joint relief agencies estimate they will need about $48 billion this year to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 300 million people around the world. However, after more than seven months, international donors, particularly Western countries, have not raised even a third of the funds needed.
In June, the United Nations World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that 750,000 people in “hunger hotspots” such as Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan were at risk of starvation. Then countries such as Congo, Haiti, Myanmar, the Sahel region and Syria were not taken into account.
Victims of the latest crisis, the war in Ukraine, receive a relatively large amount of aid. However, there is little left for other crisis areas, because balanced aid budgets are barely growing. In addition, partly because of the war in Ukraine, food prices have risen sharply, which means that more can be done with the available funds compared to last year.
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Due to lack of money, some facilities are already experiencing difficulties. New York times Reports indicate that as a result, secondary education for girls in South Sudan will be canceled next fall, as will the provision of clean water to Syrian refugee camps in Iraq.
Experts point out that crises in the world often last longer and longer. Development Initiatives, a think tank in Bristol, UK, calculated in a recent report led by Angus Urquhart that there are now 36 countries devastated by such protracted crises. Almost three quarters of the needy people in the world live in such countries.
It is also becoming increasingly clear that these conflicts are not the only problems for those countries. The problems are often exacerbated by the relatively high vulnerability of these countries to climate change and associated disasters, such as prolonged droughts that lead to crop failures or floods.
In addition, many countries are still struggling with the fallout from the Covid pandemic, which often puts aid at a lower level. This applies to countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and South Sudan.
“High intensity conflicts create operational risks for development projects aimed at reducing climate vulnerability,” the researchers noted. As a result, the local population, insofar as it has not fled, remains more dependent on humanitarian aid from abroad.
“In a country like Afghanistan, but also Ethiopia and Somalia, people are less able to respond to a period of severe drought or a natural disaster like an earthquake, especially if they have been displaced multiple times,” said Fran Girling of Development. Initiatives of one of the authors of the report via video link.
According to Girling, donors should also take into account the fact that most of these crises tend to last longer. These are crises that last five consecutive years or more.
Girls: “It is better not just to put plaster on, but to save money for 24 months or more so that relief workers can better plan programs. Then the results will be better.”
As a successful example, she cited a program supported by the British and Swedish governments to provide small amounts of cash for food in Somalia. However, many donors prefer not to stick to this long. It is also questionable to what extent Western countries’ budgets will survive a possible recession.
It is better not only to stick a bandage, but a better plan to help
Fran Gerling development initiatives
The need for assistance is by no means limited to Africa. In Asia, too, a clear deterioration in conditions has been observed in recent years. Not only is the number of people suffering from food shortages increasing in Afghanistan, but Sri Lanka, which not so long ago was considered a middle-income country, is in dire need.
The same goes for the Philippines, which has seen a sharp drop in remittances from guest workers from the Middle East due to the pandemic. In total, according to the United Nations, there were 425 million Asians who could no longer feed themselves properly.