Latest Stories

UN: Crises outstrip donor funding

UNITED NATIONS—Crises driven by drought, floods and conflicts are escalating and there isn’t enough money to help the more than 50 million struggling people from Syria to Africa’s parched Sahel region, the director of UN humanitarian operations said.

The result is more suffering and deaths for thousands of needy people, John Ging said.

“The needs are outstripping the means,” Ging, operations director for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a year-end interview. “There’s a global financial crisis and this is just an equation that doesn’t work. We have to find solutions.”

Ging said donors are constrained by economic hardship as a result of the recent financial meltdown, while the demand for humanitarian help keeps growing.

The UN has launched its biggest-ever humanitarian appeal — for $8.5 billion to help 51 million people in 16 countries in 2013. This year’s appeal, for $7.7 billion, was only 60 percent funded.

In addition, the United Nations launched a separate appeal this month for $1.5 billion to help 4 million Syrians inside the country who require urgent assistance, and more than 500,000 Syrian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.

The United Nations announced Friday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will chair a pledging conference in Kuwait City on Jan. 30 to fund the Syrian appeal. The UN chief urged donor countries to do more to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and “address the funding gap,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Ging singled out the “increasingly catastrophic” situation in Syria, where the estimate of those needing humanitarian assistance has jumped dramatically from 2.5 million two months ago to over 4 million today — and will almost certainly rise as fighting intensifies.

He said local humanitarian staff are working in dangerous conditions and reaching more than 500,000 people inside Syria — but “it’s not adequate.”

“It’s not meeting the needs that have been identified, and there’s just a relentless decline in the humanitarian situation,” Ging said in an interview late last week. “And what’s most depressing is that there’s no prospect on the horizon of a solution. Everything points to the fact that it will continue to get worse … which means more killed, injured and driven into humanitarian suffering.”

Over 2 million people are displaced inside Syria but Ging said their ability to cope has “really collapsed.” And the UN refugee agency has warned that the number of Syrian refugees could double to 1.1 million by June 2013.

The humanitarian situation elsewhere in the world is also getting worse.

The $8.5 billion appeal includes what Ging calls “mega-crises” where huge resources are needed:

  • $1.3 billion for 3.8 million people in Somalia including nearly 250,000 malnourished children

  • $1.15 billion for South Sudan and $983 million for Sudan where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by fighting

  • $893 million for Congo where fighting continues to wrack the east

  • $477 million for those caught in the long-running war in Afghanistan

  • $370 million for Mali and $180 million for Mauritania in the Sahel region of West Africa hit by drought and conflict.

Ging said the big increase this year was across the Sahel where more than 18 million people don’t have enough to eat, including 1.2 million children who are acutely or severely malnourished, and where over 500,000 under the age of five have died.

The two big “drivers” that are making the global humanitarian situation worse are climate change, which has led to drought across Africa and flooding elsewhere, most recently in the Philippines, and conflicts that go on year after year, he said.

“Humanitarian assistance is not a solution,” Ging said. “Humanitarian assistance is a contribution to help people survive as they hopefully rebuild their lives.”

Unfortunately, prolonged conflicts leave people dependent on aid for many years, and that is happening more often. He cited Congo, where in Minova in eastern Kivu he met families who had been displaced seven times in the last few years.

To try to address the growing humanitarian crises, Ging said there is a major effort to build “resilience” so communities can withstand the shocks from the effects of climate change.

One of the positive developments this year has been a coordinated effort by all donors in the Sahel to deal with constant drought and make better use of scarce resources including improvements in harvesting water, selecting seeds, animal husbandry and irrigation, he said.

Another was promoting development and preventing famine in Somalia this year, he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Africa , crisis , funds , Syria , UN , United Nations , War

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • 2 contractors fined P25,000 for delays in Edsa rehab
  • Luisita beneficiaries take over renters
  • 5 years of hard work pay off for top UP grad
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • 10 essential summer skin savers
  • Here’s your visual guide to all things cool, hot in summer fashion
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace