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UN: Humanitarian Aid Needs Up in 2016, Funding Down

More than 130 million people needed humanitarian aid assistance in 2016 (up from 125 million in 2015), according to the 2017 edition of the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “World Humanitarian Data and Trends” annual report.

Conflicts and natural disasters were the key drivers of this increase.

“Thirty-eight extremely violent political conflicts were ongoing in 2016, marking a decrease of five compared with 2015,” the report said. “The number of refugees and people forcibly displaced by violence or conflict increased by 0.3 million to reach an unprecedented 65.6 million people globally.”

Of this 65.6 million, 40.3 million were internally displaced persons (IDPs), 22.5 million were refugees and 2.8 million asylum-seekers.

Conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria resulted in the highest number of refugees and accounted for 49 percent all refugees.

“The number of political conflicts has increased since 2006,” OCHA noted. “As of 2016, 402 conflicts were ongoing, compared to 278 in 2006.”

While 2016 saw 37 fewer natural disasters (324), those that did occur impacted 204 million people (up from 103 million in 2015) and caused $147 billion in damage (up from $90 billion).

As need increased, international humanitarian funding decreased to $27.2 billion (down from $28 billion in 2015).

By comparison, donations through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) declined to $18.8 billion (down from $19.2 billion) and non-DAC donations dropped to $1.5 billion (a $1.1 billion decrease).

Only private donations saw an increase in 2016, rising to $6.9 billion (from $6.2 billion in 2015).

The full report is available here.