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Over 200m people needed international emergency aid last year, according to estimates from the latest Global Humanitarian Assistance Report compiled by Development Initiatives, an advocacy and research group. Some striking trends emerged from the $27.3bn in funding provided by donors, much of it directly or indirectly to support health.
One is that the largest single funder is Turkey. That partly reflects the heavy burden of the conflict in neighbouring Syria, which generated 14 per cent of all support needs and accounted for 7.4m displaced people last year. Turkey and Greece are also among the top 10 recipients of assistance, reflecting the migration crisis across the Mediterranean.
Most donors are still acting autonomously: pooled funding only accounted for $1.3bn of the total, suggesting the scope for far greater co-ordination between different agencies.
Another trend is the growth in “cash transfers” — paying money to recipients directly rather than via intermediary organisations. Direct support was up by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2016, but still remained less than $3bn of the total. Trusting individuals to know best what they need and how to secure it offers much more potential in the future.
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