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Disaster Relief

Top 10 Biggest Recipients of Humanitarian Relief in the Last Decade

By Vanessa Thevathasan

  •  October 29, 2015
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In the last decade there have been ten crises that have attracted the most significant amount of humanitarian aid in this period.  The latest statistics were revealed by the UN OCHA’S Financial Tracking Service and OECD DAC data and indicate the total humanitarian assistance provided to these countries.

Sudan

Total aid provided to Sudan was the most out of all ten countries. At the peak of the civil war, between 2005-2010, war and famine gripped the nation. Sudan received more than $11.3 billion in humanitarian aid.

In 1983, the south, led by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its armed wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), rose in rebellion when the Sudanese government cancelled the autonomy arrangements. At least 1.5 million people are thought to have lost their lives and more than four million were displaced in the ensuing 22 years of guerrilla warfare. Large numbers of South Sudanese fled the fighting, either to the north or to neighbouring countries, where many remain.

The conflict finally ended with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, under which the south was granted regional autonomy along with guaranteed representation in a national power-sharing government. The agreement also provided for a referendum in the south on independence in 2011, in which 99% of southern Sudanese voted to split from Sudan.

Syria

Syria's conflict has killed 220,000 people since it began in March 2011. Another 4 million people have fled Syria, while an estimated 7.6 million are internally displaced. Up until present day, $9.1 billion has been provided, but excludes financial assistance to the subsequent refugee crisis.

Afghanistan

Landlocked and mountainous, Afghanistan has suffered from such chronic instability and conflict during its modern history that its economy and infrastructure are in ruins, and many of its people are refugees.

In the last ten years, Afghanistan has suffered through conflict, widespread insecurity and natural disasters.  Development has struggled to take off as the country still battles with pockets of insurgency, lack of finances and resources.  This meant that $5.5 billion has been injected into Afghanistan to protect and secure the survival and needs of populations affected by multiple crises.

Indian Ocean Tsunami

A magnitude 9.15 quake off the coast of Indonesia's Aceh province triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed around 226,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and nine other countries. These countries have received $5.3 billion in aid since this catastrophic and widespread devastation in 2004.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Humanitarian aid to Congo between 2004-2015 amounted to $3.7 billion. The Congo civil war has lasted for over two decades and has no signs of abating. Fighting in the region has killed millions and spread disease and hunger. Humanitarian aid has struggled reach vulnerable groups and displacement continues. 

In 2010, the IMF and World Bank approved debt relief for the Republic of Congo of $1.9 billion, reducing its debt burden by 34 per cent in an effort to free up resources to support growth and social policies.

Chad

Chad has received more than $2.8 billion in aid. Hunger, civil war, and fallout from the Darfur crisis in neighbouring Sudan have ravaged Chad, one of the world's poorest countries. Chad is still a hotbed of insecurity and with such harsh semi-desert conditions, water and food insecurity has left vulnerable communities fighting disease and malnutrition.

Since late 2013 Chad has played host to tens of thousands of refugees who have fled the fighting in the neighbouring Central African Republic, and in 2015 the country pledged military support to Cameroon in repelling the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency. Boko Haram responded by attacking the Chadian shore of Lake Chad, raising fears that the insurgency might spread east.

Haiti

Haiti’s earthquake in 2010 was the worst natural disaster event in the country. The magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the island nation killing more than 220,000 people. Haiti received $1.8 billion in aid. Questions over aid transparency and corruption have circled debates about how effective this aid has been in Haiti’s recovery and where this aid has been invested.

Pakistan

On August 15, 2010, Pakistan witnessed its worst floods in the country's recorded history. The disaster left more than 2,000 people dead and affected 18 million, more than a tenth of the population.  Pakistan received $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid.

West Africa

In Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea the Ebola crisis has gripped the national health systems. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, rapidly becoming the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976. It has killed 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In just over a year, $1.6 billion in aid has been delivered to these countries. This number may exclude bilateral aid delivered to each crisis-hit country.

South Sudan

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa's longest-running civil war. Soon after South Sudan plunged into civil war in December 2013. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 2.2 million have fled their homes. In the short history of this new nation-state, South Sudan now has one of the worst rates of maternal and child mortality in the world and women and children displaced from the conflict suffer acute malnutrition. Since the unrest, South Sudan has received $1.5 billion in aid.

The new nation stands to benefit from inheriting the bulk of Sudan's oil wealth, but continuing disputes with Khartoum, rivalries within the governing party, and a lack of economic development cloud its immediate future.

The future outlook on aid:  Humanitarian needs will no doubt increase following the upsurge of violence and natural disasters in the years ahead. The need and urgency for humanitarian aid will be reflected in a future where pockets of the world continue to suffer through war, emergencies, displacement, and destruction and disruption of basic but life-saving services.

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