Humanitarian assistance up in 2013, but still fell short: report

2013 was marked by numerous humanitarian crises—Syria, Typhoon Haiyan, South Sudan. So how did the international community respond?

The 2014 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report, released last week, shows that humanitarian aid rose to a record US$22 billion in 2013, with government donors accounting for three quarters of this, some US$16.4 billion (a rise of 24% from 2012). Private sources provided an estimated US$5.6 billion – a 35% increase from 2012.

This was an improvement after numbers fell in 2012. But it wasn’t enough. More than a third of the estimated humanitarian need for 2013 was unmet.

The report singles Australia out as the donor whose contribution decreased the most last year, dropping by US$98 million. Australia still made it into the top 20 government donors of humanitarian assistance, in 14th place, dropping from 10th place in 2012. On generosity of humanitarian assistance as percentage of GNI, Australia ranked equal 18th with the UAE. It was slightly more generous per capita, ranked 15th.

Syria was the top recipient of humanitarian funds last year, receiving US $1.5 billion, followed by South Sudan. But among the ‘most forgotten’ humanitarian crises of the last year, some were closer to home, such as the Kachin and Rakhine state conflicts in Myanmar and the subsequent refugee movement into Thailand, and the influx of Bhutanese refugees into Nepal.


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Ashlee Betteridge

Ashlee Betteridge is the Manager at the Development Policy Centre. She was previously a Research Officer at the centre from 2013-2017. A former journalist, she holds a Master of Public Policy (Development Policy) from ANU and has development experience in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

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