Foreign Aid to ParaguayWith a national poverty rate of about 24% in 2018, according to World Bank data, increasing foreign aid to Paraguay is vital. Paraguay, a landlocked nation home to 7.13 million people in the heart of South America, has made significant strides to combat poverty, but not without help. Foreign aid is a staple in the country’s infrastructure development, humanitarian assistance and social welfare programs, all of which help to reduce poverty in Paraguay.

7 Facts About Foreign Aid to Paraguay

  1. Based on a poverty line of less than US$5.5 (2011 PPP) per day, foreign aid contributions helped Paraguay’s poverty rate fall to 15.8% in 2019, “less than half of what it was in 2003.” For instance, between 2003 and 2019, Paraguay received at least $13 million each year in U.S. foreign assistance, contributing to many projects designed to improve life for impoverished Paraguayans. One such project is the Paraguay Productivo, which targeted rural poverty by connecting smallholder farmers with “sustainable business opportunities” between 2009 and 2012. With projects like these, foreign aid to Paraguay contributed to a sharp decrease in poverty, improving the quality of life for millions of Paraguayans.
  2. Paraguay received more than $304 million for official development assistance (ODA) in 2020. This large sum of money contributes to hundreds of projects, including those for encouraging democracy, developing infrastructure and eradicating poverty. Projects like the Democracy and Governance Project (U.S.), Paraguay Productivo (U.S.) and the Project for Strengthening Primary Health Care System (Japan) contribute to economic growth and political stability, providing better resources and improving life for impoverished Paraguayans.
  3. The largest single donor to Paraguay is Japan, contributing more than $54 million in 2019 and 2020. The next highest donors of foreign aid to Paraguay are the European Union ($40.07 million), South Korea ($39.84 million), the Inter-American Development Bank ($38.36 million), the Green Climate Fund ($28.07 million), France ($22.44 million) and the United States ($21.52 million). Japan’s priorities in Paraguay are reducing disparities and promoting sustainable economic development, providing a framework for its aid. For instance, Japan’s Agricultural Sector Strengthening Project delivered resources to farmers, increasing their productivity and mitigating rural poverty.
  4. The sector receiving the most ODA is economic infrastructure and services, receiving 34% of foreign aid to Paraguay from 2019 to 2020. The next highest receiving sectors are social infrastructure and services (33%), health and population (17%) and education (5%). Paraguay Okakuaa, a U.S. project lasting from November 2015 to September 2021, developed economic infrastructure to prevent the exploitation of impoverished children, including the development of an electronic case management system to assist the government in executing labor laws.
  5. USAID, the U.S. agency orchestrating the country’s international development plans, leads several noteworthy projects that contribute to the fight against poverty, both directly and indirectly. The Democracy and Governance Project focuses on stemming corruption in the country, with an allotment of almost $4 million in 2018. The Higher Education Partnership received $3 million in 2019 to “strengthen the capacity of local higher education institutions (universities and training centers) to address gaps in the area of rule of law,” the USAID EducationLinks website says. USAID donated $4.9 million for COVID-19 assistance in 2022, bolstering the nation’s response to the pandemic.
  6. Some projects have a narrower focus on improving the well-being of Paraguayans, from improving health care to advancing access to food and water. For example, Japan and the Inter-American Development Bank loaned up to 9.13 million yen for water and sanitation improvements in Ciudad del Este, advancing water and sewage services in Paraguay’s “second largest metropolitan area.” Projects like this one focusing on water quality ensure the health, safety and security of the Paraguayans with the fewest resources.
  7. Foreign assistance does not always come from government sources, as many non-governmental organizations step up to combat poverty. Habitat for Humanity, for instance, served almost 3,500 Paraguayans in 2021 through “new constructions,” home repairs and “incremental building.” This organization contributes to improved living conditions, aiding vulnerable Paraguayans by building durable homes.

Eradicating global poverty is a group effort. As it stands, 8.6% of the world lives in extreme poverty and foreign aid works as a critical tool in the fight to end poverty. Through global action, poverty in Paraguay can diminish.

– Michael Cardamone
Photo: Flickr

Aid to MozambiqueOn July 20, 2022, the U.S. pledged to provide $116 million of aid to Mozambique for the 800,000 refugees currently displaced. This amount of money is part of the United States’ plan to send $2 billion to the Horn of Africa because of its humanitarian crises. Along with the U.S., other partners of USAID have also pledged to deliver resources to Mozambique.

Recent Conflicts in Mozambique

Since 2017, the terrorist group al-Shabaab has been destroying Mozambique’s northern province, Cabo Delgado. Cabo Delgado contains much of Mozambique’s rich natural gas supply, which is vital to its economy. Al-Shabaab has committed several violent acts toward the people who live there such as destroying schools and hospitals, kidnapping children and killing numerous people. In March 2022, 88,000 people fled the town of Palma because of a terrorist attack. This destruction has threatened the continuation of many gas fields in the province.

Along with the terrorism, cyclone Gombe wreaked havoc on the country in March 2022. This was only one of three natural disasters that struck Mozambique during its cyclonic season. The hurricane affected approximately 736,015 people or 148,253 families and displaced around 23,000 people. Additionally, Gombe destroyed an estimated 91,000 hectares (approximately 225,000 acres) of crops.

In total, because of these issues, more than 800,000 people have experienced displacement. Mozambique has not been able to recover from the damage of these two problems it has faced, especially with the current Russia-Ukraine war and the food insecurity it has caused.

Relief to Mozambique

The United States has a history of giving foreign aid to African countries. In 2019, the U.S. donated an estimated total of $7.1 billion to sub-Saharan Africa. This aid went towards addressing health and humanitarian issues. The U.S. is also Mozambique’s biggest donor as it provides more than $560 million annually.

Currently, in Africa, there are 27.1 million refugees and 53 million internally displaced people, and 800,000 of them are located in Mozambique.

In addition to the $592 million already pledged to countries in the Horn of Africa, the U.S. has committed $116 million in aid to Mozambique. This funding is part of Biden’s plan to provide a total of $2 billion to African nations and those affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war. Feed the Future, an organization that President Obama established, has labeled Mozambique as one of the eight countries the organization will target to increase its support and stop its humanitarian issues. Other partners of USAID have also pledged to send other resources to help with the food, water, sanitary, hygienic and agricultural needs.

Aid to Improve Mozambique’s Infrastructure

In addition to the $116 million aid package to Mozambique, the U.S. plans to invest $10 million to help address the country’s infrastructure and development needs. Some of this money will go toward helping smallholder farmers develop sustainable farming practices while also allowing them to access a wide variety of crops to grow.

The U.S. is hard at work ensuring that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine affected receive assistance. Its donation of $116 million to aid Mozambique is just a portion of its end goal of donating $2 billion to countries affected by this war. Millions across these countries will receive aid and relief, helping alleviate some of the damage that the Russian-Ukrainian war caused. Mozambique specifically will greatly benefit from this money, and the 800,000 displaced persons will receive resources to help their situation.

 Janae O’Connell
Photo: Wikimedia

It is no secret that the issues associated with global poverty were only made worse during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Factors such as the cost of living, food security, healthcare and education are all points of concern for many nations with a struggling poor population. Luckily, there are many organizations working to address these issues. The Zakat Foundation has recently begun working with the United Nations to address worldwide hunger and global poverty.

The Zakat Foundation

The National Zakat Foundation Worldwide is an Islamic charity organization that is dedicated to helping the world’s poor. Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam which dictates that all Muslims should be kept financially viable, and one way to ensure this is for all Muslims to donate 2.5% of their earnings to charity organizations that aid the poor. The NZF Worldwide is the perfect channeling organization for all of this funding. It is estimated that the total amount of Zakat donations reach $300 billion to nearly $1 trillion dollars annually. The NZF Worldwide wants to use this incredible amount of money to help eradicate poverty.

Success so Far

The National Zakat Foundation currently has five member countries, Austria, Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland and the UK, which all provide a pathway for Muslims to send their Zakat donations to help eradicate global hunger and poverty. Through the Zakat Foundation, the member countries have raised more than $30 million since 2016 that has been used to provide aid for people living in poverty in other countries.

The UN and NZF Worldwide

The United Nations Development Programme announced in early August 2022 that it will once again be working with the National Zakat Foundation to use Zakat donation funding to help achieve the sustainable development goals for the world’s poorest countries. The first major project of this partnership is the goal of achieving the eradication of hunger and poverty in Somalia. The NZF with the help of the U.N. will work with local government officials, Islamic officials and the Central Bank of Somalia to help direct the Zakat funds in a productive manner that helps alleviate food insecurity and improve quality of life conditions for people living in poverty in Somalia.

Other NZF Programs

The National Zakat Foundation has had some recent success in the summer of 2022 before this partnership with the U.N. was announced. In the closing weeks of July, the NZF was able to provide the state of Osun in Nigeria with much needed power equipment that improved the quality of life in every sector, from nutrition to education. With the help of Zakat donations made by the member countries, the NZF was able to provide the state of Osun with cash grants, fridges, sewing machines, laptops, printers and more. Small items similar to those listed can have a profound impact on the lives of those who receive them, such as fridges keeping food from spoiling and laptops aiding educational growth.

The Future of Zakat

Despite the looming effects of an increased cost of living for those living in poverty, it appears that good news in the form of charitable religious donations may be what is keeping those people from continued suffering. The partnership with the United Nations and the already proven success are just a few reasons why the outlook for the world’s poor is bright, thanks to hard working organizations like the National Zakat Foundation.

Declan Harkness
Photo: Flickr

Economic Development Aid to TurkeyThe relationship between the United States and Turkey began in 1831 when the country was still the Ottoman Empire. Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and one can best describe the U.S.-Turkey relationship as diplomatic. While the United States only had $220 million in obligations to the Western Asian country in 2020, more economic development aid to Turkey could help alleviate poverty and an ongoing economic crisis.

Poverty in Turkey

In 2019, the World Bank reported that 0.4% of Turkish citizens lived in poverty. In a country of 84 million people, that equates to 336,000 impoverished people.

One of the most significant factors contributing to poverty in Turkey is the lack of education. In 2019, only 66% of the population 25 and older had finished lower secondary education. Low education attainment gives rise to unemployment. In 2021, unemployment in Turkey stood at 13.4%. While the COVID-19 pandemic does stand as a contributing factor to the unemployment rate, the unemployment rate increased only about 3% since 2018.

With the unemployment rate also comes low wages, which factors into poverty. In 2018, the average wage stood at about 4,000 Turkish lira (about $220). But, the cost of living in Turkey jumped nearly 70% in April 2022, according to the BBC. To try and counteract that, the Turkish government has raised the minimum wage to 5,500 lira a month, but citizens say rent alone equates to “3,000-4,000 Turkish liras.”

Foreign Aid to Turkey

The majority of foreign aid to Turkey from the United States comes from the U.S. Department of State, largely going toward humanitarian aid. The Department of Defense gave Turkey $28.43 million in 2020 for “conflict, peace and security” programs. However, Turkey only received about $2.8 million through the Trade and Development Agency for economic development.

Trade and the Economic Crisis

Money for economic development from the Trade and Development Agency involves creating economic opportunities by exporting goods from the United States for development projects. This is beneficial to the United States as the money is invested in the Turkish economy through products produced domestically. In turn, that investment is returned through the continued trade partnership of U.S. goods.

The trade relationship between the United States and Turkey has increased significantly since 2009. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, from 2009 to 2019, U.S. exports to Turkey increased by about 41% to $10 billion.

Despite a GDP increase of 0.9% in 2019, Turkey is facing an economic spiral. The value of its currency, the Turkish lira, has endured instability since 2018. Outstanding circumstances like the pandemic and economic sanctions have created a perfect storm of financial woes for the country, along with rampant inflation.

In November 2021, the value of the lira dropped sharply by 30%, triggering another wave of panic in the country. In 2022, the war between Russia and Ukraine exacerbated these financial circumstances, with Turkey seeing inflation rise more than 70% this year.

The United States can help alleviate poverty and the ongoing economic crisis via increased foreign aid to Turkey, especially through economic development. Expanding programs through the Trade and Development Agency would be one instrumental way to facilitate change in Turkey. Additionally, increasing economic development aid to Turkey could greatly aid the stability of the country until the lira crisis resolves.

– Emma Rushworth
Photo: WikiCommons

United States Foreign AidMany positive outcomes occur when international aid strengthens. Throughout history, there have been substantial global benefits when the U.S. focused on international support. In the past and present, U.S. foreign aid has brought positive effects.

The Marshall Plan

In 1948, western Europe sought postwar aid for rebuilding their nations. The U.S. issued the Marshall Plan, created by U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall. The plan provided $13.3 billion in foreign aid over four years. With this aid, western Europe began successfully rebuilding itself.

Due to this aid, the countries of western Europe are now some of the U.S.’ strongest allies and trading partners. These partners include but are not limited to France, England and Germany. By helping countries in need and investing money into international aid, these countries invest back in the U.S. This has positively impacted the U.S. economy and its global reputation. Those countries now see the U.S. as an ally, not an isolationist state.

The Green Revolution

The U.S. helped to reduce food insecurity and poverty globally by championing the Green Revolution, a 1940s revolution of agricultural techniques started by Norman Borlaug in Mexico. Due to the successes in Mexico’s agricultural sector, countries worldwide began using these Green Revolution techniques in the next two decades. Initially, Borlaug developed resilient and high-yielding varieties of wheat to increase agricultural yields. Later, Borlaug developed high-yielding varieties of rice.

To expand Green Revolution techniques to the rest of the world, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and other government agencies decided to fund further research. In 1963, through this financial support, Mexico established a research center called The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.

Nations across the globe reaped the benefits of Borlaug’s and the research institution’s efforts. The U.S. Agency for International Development stood as a driving force in expanding the Green Revolution globally, “producing history’s most dramatic increase in food production through the development of high-yielding cereal varieties.” USAID was key in launching the Green Revolution, a term former USAID Administrator William Gaud coined in 1968.

During the middle of the 1960s, Asia noted high rates of famine and malnutrition, especially in countries like India. Higher yielding wheat and rice varieties led to poverty reduction and economic growth. In Asia, real per capita incomes increased by nearly 50% between 1970 and 1995, and poverty reduced from “nearly three out of every five Asians in 1975 to less than one in three by 1995.” In India, the rural poverty rate was as much as 65% before the mid-1960s, but by 1993, it had reduced to about 33%.

Possibilities for the Future of Ukraine

The U.S. can invest more in international aid and foreign affairs. Although the U.S. is the world’s wealthiest country, foreign aid was less than 1% of its budget in 2019. Ukraine and other countries impacted by the Russia-Ukraine war received a $40 billion aid package from the U.S. in May 2022. Yet, the U.S. allocated nearly half for military aid and just $16 billion for humanitarian and government assistance.

Looking to the Past

Past and present examples show the positive effects of U.S. foreign aid. The Marshall Plan shows how the U.S. gained long-term allies, and the Green Revolution highlights how U.S. foreign aid decreased world poverty. The Russia-Ukraine war is a current conflict in which the U.S. can allocate more foreign aid with the assurance of past proven success.

– Thomas Bogucki
Photo: Pexels

Humanitarian aid to SomaliaThe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on July 24, 2022, that the U.S. would provide $476 million in humanitarian aid to Somalia after an unprecedented drought drastically increased the risk of famine. More than 7 million people could face famine due to this drought. Hence, amid this looming famine, this aid seeks to provide “urgent food supplies” and offer necessary nutrition support to children facing acute malnourishment.

The Current State of Somalia

Somalia is currently in a state of climate emergency after experiencing “a fourth failed rainy season,” which plunged the nation into drought. This has caused conditions of mass famine, disease and displacement. After a recent trip to Somalia, Jan Egeland, Norwegian Refugee Council’s secretary general, describes the situation on the ground. Farmers had “lost all their livestock and crops,” children face severe malnourishment and parents beg for food and water to meet their daily needs.

Drought is not a new phenomenon in Somalia and has detrimentally impacted the social and economic stability of the country in the past decade. Since the beginning of 2021, the drought has forcefully displaced more than 800,000 people. With the most recent drought fostering a significant hunger crisis, the number of people experiencing crisis levels of hunger could increase “from less than five million to more than seven million in the coming months.” While drought in Somalia primarily fuels mass displacement and famine, it also generates “violent conflicts over water and grazing land, rising costs of basic goods and the destruction of crops and livestock herds.”

The intertwining of factors affecting food security in Somalia evidently worsens the situation. These factors include the COVID-19 pandemic, locust plagues and “continued recovery from previous droughts.” The Russian war in Ukraine also contributes to the state of food insecurity in Somalia as roughly “90% of Somalia’s wheat imports came from Russia and Ukraine.” The invasion has led to the blockage of grain supplies and a surge in food prices.

The US Response

To respond to this critical situation, the U.S. announced that it would provide $476 million worth of humanitarian aid to Somalia. Taking this most recent humanitarian funding into consideration, this would mean that the U.S. has provided close to $707 million in humanitarian assistance for people in Somalia in 2022 alone. This recent humanitarian aid sum is expected to allow USAID to accomplish several objectives to help millions across Somalia. These include providing:

  • Emergency food and nutrition aid. Cash-based transfers will allow Somalis to buy essential food from local markets to reignite the economy while addressing hunger. In areas without local markets, USAID will provide vulnerable families with sorghum, vegetable oil and yellow split peas. To address malnutrition among children, USAID will implement “community-level screening” to quickly identify severe acute malnutrition cases. USAID will then supply specialized nutritional supplements to these children.
  • Emergency health care services along with clean and safe drinking water sources. Part of this response includes supplying “latrines and handwashing stations, rehabilitated water and sanitation systems and hygiene kits.” In addition, mobile health teams will provide health services to isolated people in rural areas, among other efforts.
  • Support and protection services in response to gender-based violence. With women and children being disproportionately vulnerable to gender-based violence, USAID will provide comprehensive aid, including psychosocial support, medical resources and health care services.

The Implications

While financial aid is extremely helpful in dealing with the impact of drought, there remain significant funding shortfalls. As opposed to the $1.3 billion donated by international donors in 2017, so far, in 2022, the figure only stands at $500 million. USAID has expressed a pressing need for more international donors to help address the impacts of several climate-related catastrophes and food insecurity in Somalia.

The U.S. provision of $476 million in humanitarian aid to Somalia gives the country’s citizens hope for a better tomorrow. It remains critical for Somalia’s global partners to contribute to the widespread efforts to alleviate the impacts of the looming famine fueled by the recent drought.

– Claudia Efemini
Photo: Flickr

USG Funding for EthiopiaDespite Ethiopia’s fast-growing economy, it is one of the most impoverished nations in Africa. However, the United States Government (USG) is making a significant effort to combat poverty in Ethiopia. On April 26, 2022, the U.S. announced that it would provide about $43.7 million in order for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support along with health, nutrition and food aid to Ethiopians suffering from drought. Overall, USG funding for Ethiopia will help the nation make headway with poverty reduction.


According to USAID, drought, flooding, food insecurity, vector-borne disease and minimal access to health services are just a few of the acute shocks that Ethiopian populations routinely suffer. These issues are worsened by continued large-scale violence, conflict and displacement, leading to a complicated emergency humanitarian situation.

On top of these challenges, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have not only brought about health impacts for countries but also economic repercussions. The World Bank predicted that Ethiopia’s poverty rate would stand at 27% by 2019. Like many other countries, Ethiopia suffered economically after the pandemic as its gross domestic product growth shrank from 6.1% in 2020 to 5.6% in 2021. Real wages for Ethiopians in Addis Ababa alone declined by 14% for high skilled workers at the onset of the pandemic.

How Will it Help?

According to the World Bank, Ethiopia is the “second most populated country in Africa” as of 2020. With this comes the increasing problem of water shortages. Besides water shortages, there is a lack of access to clean and safe water, which can lead to water-borne diseases, such as cholera, as individuals resort to consuming water from unsafe and potentially contaminated sources.

In fact, according to an article by Lifewater, “7.5[%]of the global water crisis is in Ethiopia alone” as of 2019. According to USAID, by April 2022, 8 million people in the southern parts of Ethiopia faced the impacts of drought conditions as a result of a third continuous “poor rainy season” in the latter part of 2021, which sparked severe water shortages and increased demand for emergency food aid.

WASH support aims to combat this by supplying safe water and preventing disease outbreaks. Food insecurity is also an issue in Ethiopia. According to the World Food Programme, despite Ethiopia’s progression, there are 20.4 million people who are still in need of food aid. The U.S. will ensure more people in Ethiopia have access to food by “providing assistance to drought-affected populations.”


Ethiopia continues to show effort in slowing down poverty. In fact, according to the World Bank, the government created a 10-year plan based on the 2019 Home-Grown Economic Reform Agenda for Ethiopia. With the intention of moving to a “private-sector-driven economy” and fostering “competition in key growth-enabling sectors” while promoting efficiency and a proper “business climate,” the plan will run for approximately 10 years from 2020/21 to 2029/30.

Ethiopia’s five-year growth and transformation plans aim to achieve “middle-income status” for the nation by 2025 by “sustaining high growth and speeding up structural transformation.” In the meanwhile, the USG funding for Ethiopia is actively lessening the burden on those who suffer from poverty in Ethiopia.

– Frema Mensah
Photo: Flickr

Indigenous communities in Canada

The Canadian Constitution recognizes three Indigenous communities — First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. Here are five of the many Indigenous-led organizations in Canada, collectively working to create success and prosperity for Indigenous communities.

5 Canadian Organizations for Indigenous Prosperity

  1. First Nations Information Governance CentreThe First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) is working to achieve data sovereignty. With support from regional partners and a special mandate from the Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs in Assembly (Resolution #48, December 2009), the FNIGC collects and uses data to “build culturally relevant portraits of the lives of First Nations people and the communities they live in.” Their motto, “our data, our stories, our future” reflects their vision of Indigenous stories being told by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people.
  2. IndspireIndspire is using the gift of learning to help provide academic success and long-term prosperity with support through financial aid, scholarships/bursaries, awards, mentoring and physical resources.
  3. Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada – Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada (AFOA) is creating a community of Indigenous professionals by supporting successful self-determination through “improving the management skills of those responsible for the stewardship of Indigenous resources.” This includes aid in management, finance and governance.
  4. Reconciliation CanadaReconciliation Canada facilitates the engagement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with meaningful conversations on reconciliation and the lived experiences of Indigenous people. They aim to inspire positive change and understanding. At present, the programs and initiatives offered by the charity are Reconciliation in Action: A National Engagement Strategy, Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops, interactive community outreach activities and Reconciliation Canada.
  5. First Nations Child and Family Caring SocietyThe Caring Society supports First Nations children, youth and families. The organization has been able to provide 250,000 services and products to Indigenous children by putting Indigenous children and families first.

These five organizations are just some of many who are working to support success and prosperity for Indigenous communities in Canada. Their work helps blaze a path for a brighter future for Indigenous people and the country alike.

– Jasmeen Bassi
Photo: Flickr

,humanitarian crisesOur world today consists of 195 countries. The sheer volume of people on this planet and the scale of the problems they face can be overwhelming, especially when thinking of humanitarian aid. For this reason, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) began making a yearly emergency watchlist in 2019, highlighting which countries are facing humanitarian crises and require significant urgent aid.

The International Rescue Committee

The IRC has been around since the early 1900s and works globally to improve the lives of those impacted by global health issues, conflict, and natural disasters. They focus on empowering individuals to take back control of their lives. In their U.S. offices, the IRC provides aid to displaced individuals seeking asylum in the U.S.

Generating the List

The IRC analyzes a variety of factors to decide a nation’s human risk, natural risk, vulnerability, and ability to cope during a crisis. These factors are then used to decide which countries are most in danger of humanitarian crises and require the most aid.

10 Countries Facing Humanitarian Crises in 2020

  1. Yemen: Roughly 80% of Yemenis need humanitarian assistance this year, including more than 12 million children. Yemen has been in a civil war for 5 years that has destroyed infrastructure, sanitation systems, medical centers, food distribution capabilities, and has killed roughly 250,000 citizens. Global organizations such as UNICEF agree that the crisis in Yemen is the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
  2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): More than 15.9 million people in the DRC need humanitarian assistance this year. The Eastern DRC has been plagued with conflict and instability for nearly 30 years. This persistent instability has made it difficult for the country to develop infrastructure and food security. The current humanitarian risks in the DRC revolve around food security, Ebola, and Measles. To date, more than 2,000 people have died from Ebola in the DRC, making this the second-largest outbreak in the world.
  3. Syria: 11 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance this year. Since conflict broke out in 2011, more than half of the Syrian population has been displaced. Civilians have been caught in the crossfire of the war between President Assad and opposition groups. These years of conflict have caused extreme damage to Syrian infrastructure, including medical and educational resources.
  4. Nigeria: Close to 8 million Nigerians in the conflict-ridden states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe currently need humanitarian assistance, especially regarding sexual violence. Since 2009, roughly 13,000 civilians have died, and thousands of women and children have been assaulted. This year, 826 allegations of sexual abuse were presented in a report to the UN, but many believe that the number of cases is much higher. The northeast of Nigeria is seeing large levels of food insecurity, displacement, violence, and an outbreak of cholera.
  5. Venezuela: 7 million Venezuelans need humanitarian assistance this year. Due to political conflict, Venezuela is facing an economic crisis that has left 94% of households in poverty. Severe inflation has made the cost of basic goods so high that most Venezuelans cannot afford them. Because of this, an estimated 5,000 Venezuelans flee the country every day.
  6. Afghanistan: More than 9.4 million Afghans need humanitarian assistance this year. Since the 2001 NATO invasion that ousted the Taliban, Afghanistan has been experiencing political instability and conflict. The Taliban now controls more of the country than ever before, and after a failed peace deal in 2019, the country faces another contested election. An additional side effect of the conflict in Afghanistan has been a surge in mental illness. Although Afghanistan does not provide mental health reports, the World Health Administration estimates that more than a million Afghans suffer from depression and more than 1.2 million suffer from anxiety.
  7. South Sudan: More than 7.5 million people in South Sudan need humanitarian assistance this year. Since the civil conflict began in 2013, nearly 400,000 people have died, and millions have been displaced. South Sudan is also facing a massive food insecurity crisis that has been exacerbated by the conflict.
  8. Burkina Faso: In Burkina Faso, roughly 2.2 million people need humanitarian assistance, but the situation is drastically worsening. Armed groups are carrying out attacks throughout the nation. This caused the displacement of more than 500,000 people by the end of 2019. According to the UN 2019 report, the number of internally displaced people (IDFs) increased by 712% from January to December.
  9. Somalia: Roughly 5.2 million Somalis are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Since the fall of President Muhammed Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has been facing persistent instability and conflict. This conflict has led more than 740,000 people to flee the country. In addition, Somalia is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters due to its underdevelopment.
  10. Central African Republic (CAR): More than 2.6 million Central Africans need humanitarian assistance this year. In 2013, an armed alliance called the Seleka overran the capital of the CAR. Political instability has been rampant ever since. More than a quarter of all Central Africans were displaced, causing food insecurity and underdevelopment.

Although the countries on this watchlist represent 6% of the world’s population, they comprise 55% of those identified to be in need by the 2020 Global Humanitarian Overview. The IRC’s watchlist is an extremely helpful resource that should be utilized for the assessment of which countries are facing humanitarian crises and require foreign aid.

Danielle Forrey
Photo: Pixabay

Flooding in AfghanistanAfter suffering through an extreme drought for months, Afghanistan now faces a new crisis: severe flash floods. As many as 112,000 people have been affected by the flooding in Afghanistan and entire homes or villages have been swept away. In light of both droughts and conflict, the U.N. has estimated that 6.3 million people will need humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan in 2019. The country has faced extreme adversity and is in desperate need of crucial and life-saving aid.

Drought and Flooding

The extreme drought the country has been facing has made it more difficult for the soil to absorb water, which makes flooding more likely. The El Niño weather phenomenon is also largely responsible for the extreme amounts of rainfall experienced by Afghanistan. Some forecasters have predicted that due to this chaotic weather pattern, rainfall could increase by 40 to 50 percent through May. These chaotic changes in weather have had disastrous effects on Afghanistan and its neighbors. Although the rain has stopped, many in Afghanistan fear that even worse flooding is yet to come. The region is often hit by flash floods due to its rocky terrain, but many claim this is the worst flooding the country has seen in years.

Humanitarian Aid

The International Federation of the Red Cross requested an emergency appeal of 7 million Swiss francs, which they mean to use to support up to 650,000 people affected by the flooding in Afghanistan who need immediate relief. The IFRC wants to use this money to support the Afghan Red Crescent Society, in providing shelter, health care, water and sanitation to those affected by both extreme drought and flooding. Recently, USAID with support of the Department of Defense airlifted over 200 metric tons of relief items regions in Afghanistan. The U.S. also announced that they would be providing an additional $61 million in aid relief funds to provide food assistance, hygiene and safe water.

World Disaster Report

Every year the IFRC conducts a World Disaster Report in order to provide more insight into the causes and effects of disaster situations. The IFRC, in partnership with ARC, launched a campaign last year to research natural disasters in Afghanistan. The report’s findings found that not enough money was being invested in risk prevention and a majority of financial aid was being spent after disasters rather than before. It concluded that building resilience and preparedness within communities before disaster strikes is one of the most important factors in reducing the effects of natural disasters.

Extreme drought and severe flooding in Afghanistan have left its people in a state of emergency. The flooding has also begun to hit Afghanistan’s neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, and is causing the same kind of destruction and displacement. Thousands have been displaced and even more are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Both U.N. organizations and IFRC are providing crucial aid to combat the aftermath of the flooding in Afghanistan.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Flickr