Millions of people living in crisis may not be receiving the humanitarian assistance they desperately need, a new report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned.
The 2018 World Disasters Report says that the fact that millions of people are being left out cannot simply be attributed to a lack of funding for humanitarian action.
Elhadj As Sy, IFRC Secretary General, said:
“This report makes for sobering reading for everyone involved in humanitarian assistance. Even if all humanitarian appeals were fully funded, it is likely that many millions of people would still be left behind. This report should shake the entire international humanitarian sector into actively seeking out those left desperate and hidden in the shadows.”
The 2018 World Disasters Report highlights five ways that the international humanitarian system misses people in need. Poor information about who is most in need and limited understanding about how best to help them means that programmes are not always targeting the right people in the right way. Inadequate access to people who need support, and a lack of flexibility in expanding humanitarian assistance to people outside the traditional areas of conflict, disaster, displacement or disease often compound the problems. And inadequate funding is often forcing agencies to make very difficult choices.
The report provides a series of recommendations for donors, affected governments and aid groups to bridge these gaps in services. Recommendations include the need for better data on those most in need of humanitarian assistance and, critically, a call to governments and agencies to prioritize and incentivize support for people hardest to reach.
The report also makes a strong call for a major shift in how humanitarian resources are allocated, so that more money and more trust is put in the hands of local and national humanitarian organizations.
“If the vulnerable and under-supported groups discussed in the report are to be identified, reached, understood and supported, the international humanitarian sector must invest in local and national actors”, said Mr Sy.
“These groups, including National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, are uniquely placed to help overcome the chronic issues outlined in our report. They are already present in crisis settings. They speak local languages, understand local customs, and are often best placed to find and support the most isolated and vulnerable people in a manner that is fast, culturally appropriate and, we believe, cost effective.
“They are our best hope for ensuring that those most in need of help are no longer left behind.”
Despite many international commitments to support local and national actors, progress has been slow. Only 2.9 per cent (US $603 million) of international humanitarian assistance was provided directly to local and national responders in 2017.
Read the report
The report identifies five mistakes that can lead to international humanitarian actors inadvertently leaving people behind. It also includes clear and compelling recommendations to overcome these structural problems.