The conflict has distracted the West from other humanitarian disasters, officials say
The UN is struggling to tackle global humanitarian crises due to a record funding deficit, while many major powers are prioritizing the Ukraine conflict, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The international organization receives the bulk of its funding from several major donors, including the US, EU, Japan, and Canada. While they may allow the UN to use the money as it sees fit, they also have the right to earmark contributions for specific programs.
According to the report, there has been no severe funding shortfall for Ukraine, while other countries have not received much-needed aid.
Although wealthy countries have increased their contributions to the UN, the amounts remain inadequate as the demand for humanitarian assistance has swelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and drought, the outlet says.
“This is the biggest funding gap we’ve ever seen, mostly because the number of vulnerable people who need support is increasing fast,” Martin Griffiths, chief of the UN’s humanitarian and emergency relief office, said. He added that this year, the UN and private groups need $48.7 billion to help more than 200 million people, but they have managed to accumulate less than one-third of the necessary sum.
In 2022, the UN humanitarian office asked for more than $6 billion to help Ukrainians, and the request was almost fully met. At the same time, much smaller appeals were less than 20% funded – for Haiti, El Salvador, Burundi, and Myanmar. Although the situation with aid for the humanitarian crises in Syria, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia is not as dire, these countries still do not receive as much attention as Ukraine.
According to former UN official Eugene Chen, the world was hit by “a perfect storm” that includes various factors, while the usual crises have been exacerbated by challenges such as Covid-19.
According to Griffiths, the UN has tapped into its Emergency Response Fund, but it is not enough to meet all the needs. With this in mind, he asked the donor states to start helping people from other countries the way they help Ukrainians.
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