Humanitarian aid hits record $27.3 bln, but Middle East donors cut contributions

from Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 20 Jun 2017 View Original

by Emma Batha

Total assistance rose for a fourth consecutive year, but the pace of growth slowed - one factor behind the slowdown may have been the lack of sudden large-scale disasters

LONDON, June 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - International humanitarian aid hit a record $27.3 billion last year, but several leading donors in the Middle East slashed their contributions, data published on Wednesday showed.

Although total assistance rose for a fourth consecutive year, the pace of growth slowed, independent UK-based research organisation Development Initiatives said.

One factor behind the slowdown may have been the lack of any sudden large scale disaster such as the 2015 Nepal earthquake or 2014 West African Ebola epidemic.

Here are some facts from the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2017:

  • The 2016 total comprises $20.3 billion in contributions from governments and EU institutions and $6.9 billion from private donations.

  • Five government donors - United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Japan - contributed almost two-thirds of all government donations.

  • Combined contributions from European donors rose by 25 percent, but those from donors in the Middle East fell by 24 percent.

  • Kuwait's contributions were down 50 percent, Qatar's 57 percent and Saudi Arabia's 26 percent.

  • Germany more than doubled its aid. Belgium's contributions were up 58 percent, Denmark 51 percent and France 41 percent.

-The United States was the biggest government donor, spending $6.31 billion.

  • More than 164 million people needed international humanitarian assistance during 2016 - over a quarter living in just three countries: Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

  • Humanitarian assistance was concentrated on a few large crises with Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and Ethiopia receiving more than half of all 2016 funding.

  • U.N.-coordinated appeals - which aim to raise funds from across the donor community to address humanitarian crises - requested $20.5 billion. Funding to these appeals reached $12.4 billion, leaving a 40 percent shortfall

  • There was a massive gap between the best and worst funded appeals. An appeal for Burundi was 99 percent funded while an appeal to tackle food insecurity in Gambia reached just 4 percent. Funding from private donors increased by an estimated 6 percent in 2016, following a 26 percent rise the previous year.

Source: Global Humanitarian Assistance Report by Development Initiatives

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit to see more stories.)