Nearly 70 million people and counting across the world have been driven out of their homes due to conflicts. And despite this rising number, foreign aid, which is crucial to tackling such humanitarian crises, is falling — and experts are concerned.
“The current lack of funding is alarming," said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), a leading aid agency.
“Despite increasing needs, substantially less money is available for humanitarian assistance compared to the same period last year,” she said. “We are deeply concerned for those people already feeling the hard consequences of cuts."
Halfway through the year, humanitarian organizations around the world have only received 27% of required funding to provide relief to people affected by global issues worldwide, according to the NRC.
So far this year, donor countries have contributed approximately $7 billion in aid, according to the UN’s financial tracking service; however, this is about $2billion less than the amount of funding received over the same period in 2018.
The countries worst affected by the decreased funding are included the least developed countries in the African continent, where natural disasters have become more frequent, and the number of people displaced by climate change and extreme weather events has climbed as a result.
The crisis in Cameroon — where a conflict between armed groups and security forces has left 1.3 million in need of aid — is one of the most critically under-funded, with less than 20% of the demand covered this year, the NRC said.
“Today many people hit by conflict, drought and starvation do not receive any assistance at all,” said Egeland.
International aid has suffered majorly due to the decline in funding from the US, following the current administration’s roll back on foreign aid, as well as reluctance to maintain or increase funding from other major donor countries, including the UK.
According to the OECD’s figures, overseas development assistance to the least developed countries fell by 3% from 2017. Overall aid to African countries fell by 4%, and international humanitarian aid fell by 8%.
“Mothers are skipping meals to provide their malnourished children with whatever little food is available. Lack of proper latrines leads to the spread of water-borne diseases like cholera. And treatable illnesses are claiming lives due to the lack of medical support," Egeland highlighted.
"All of this is fully preventable if there was political will.”