Press Release 17/2017
25 January 2017
Following a decision by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen, Finland granted an additional EUR 14 million for humanitarian crisis areas across the world in late December 2016. Emergency relief will be directed at the southern African region that suffers from El Niño-induced drought, Yemen, South Sudan, Kenya, Chad, Iraq, Northern Nigeria, and Afghanistan’s refugee situation. This aid will be channelled through the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Minister Mykkänen has expressed his worries about current developments:
“I regret that the humanitarian situation in the world did not take a turn for the better in 2016. We remained powerless in face of the devastating civil war in Syria and the tragedy of Aleppo, prime examples of today’s prolonged man-made humanitarian crises. At the same time, I feel proud because Finland is among the countries that support humanitarian assistance even in the hardest circumstances. In 2016, we were also actively involved in the efforts to develop humanitarian aid by striving, for example, to improve the conditions for the disabled and enhance the private sector’s role.”
With this funding decision, Finland’s humanitarian aid totalled EUR 92 million in 2016. As for last year’s individual humanitarian crises, the largest amount of aid, a total of EUR 15 million, was allocated to Syria and its neighbouring areas. Finland’s humanitarian aid to Yemen rose to EUR 4.5 million, while Syria was granted a total of EUR 7.4 million. Over 80 per cent of Yemenites are in need of humanitarian aid, and their total needs will reach EUR 1.9 billion in 2017.
In Iraq, the annual humanitarian needs have increased to over EUR 1 billion due to such developments as the military action in connection with the recapture of Mosul. An estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million civilians will need shelter and emergency relief following this operation. In 2016, Finland’s humanitarian aid for Iraq reached a total of EUR 5.3 million.
The food security situation in southern Africa has deteriorated significantly as a result of severe drought caused by the El Niño weather event with ensuing yield losses. The number of people without food security in this area is 41.4 million, and 23 million of them will need emergency relief. In 2016 Finnish aid for the southern African region amounted to EUR 4.5 million.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains very challenging. It was estimated that over one million Afghan refugees were on the move internally and across borders on their way back to Afghanistan in late 2016. Such a high level of mobility, combined with winter conditions, gives rise to a serious humanitarian crisis due to the extremely poor absorption capacity of local communities and the inadequate resources of aid organisations for addressing the situation. In 2016, Finland granted EUR 4 million to alleviate the refugee situation in Afghanistan.
Kenya is the second most important host country for refugees in Africa, providing refuge to over 600,000 people. The majority of them originate from Somalia, and their voluntary return to their home country is supported by the UNHCR. New refugees keep fleeing to Kenya from South Sudan. Finland has granted EUR 1.5 million to help Kenya cope with its current situation.
As for West Africa, the Sahel region faces a difficult situation: security problems, lack of food security, population growth and climate change have increased the need for humanitarian aid. At the same time, assistance operations suffer from a serious shortage of funding in this forgotten crisis. Due to the region’s demographic structure, children form a significant part of those in need. In late 2016, Finland granted aid to Chad and North-Eastern Nigeria through UNHCR and Unicef.
Inquiries: Claus Jerker Lindroos, Director, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, tel. +358 295 351 234.
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