Compared to a decade ago, there are more humanitarian crises, impacting the lives of more people, across the globe. Compounded by unprecedented levels of global food insecurity, needs are rapidly outpacing resources — putting millions of lives at risk.
Now, the devastating war in Ukraine has displaced more than 10 million people — one fourth of the country's population — in less than a month. This urgent crisis has only added to the list of millions in humanitarian need around the world, demonstrating that there are no limits to the potential for human suffering unless we rise to meet this moment with global solidarity, resources, and diplomacy.
Tell U.S. Congress today to stand up for people caught in crisis worldwide, including in Ukraine, and ensure the U.S. is a leader in humanitarian response.
Today, one percent of the population is forcibly displaced worldwide, food insecurity is at unprecedented levels, and 291 million people are in need of assistance and protection- a significant increase from last year which was already the highest figure in decades. Yet global foreign assistance is not keeping pace with the need. Last year, the international community provided just half of the funding needed to respond to humanitarian crises which forced humanitarian actors to cut food rations and reduce health services. This year, the United Nations estimates that $43 billion will be required to respond to the assessed needs in 69 countries affected by crisis. The proliferation of crisis in contexts like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and now Ukraine demonstrates the urgency of sustainable resources that can keep pace with need.
This is why I am joining CARE Action advocates in calling on you to help save lives and reduce the suffering of the most vulnerable. You can help ensure the U.S. continues to provide robust and needs-based humanitarian assistance that addresses growing global food insecurity, works to achieve political solutions to crises, promotes durable solutions to displacement, and supports communities to recover and rebuild their lives.
Compared to a decade ago, there are more crises, impacting the lives of more people, and the average crisis now lasts more than nine years. In addition to disasters, climate change, famine, epidemics, and man-made causes, conflict is the main driver of humanitarian need and each year more people are forced to flee their homes in search of safety. The United Nations estimates that more than 84 million people are displaced and this was before 10 million people were displaced by the Ukraine crisis alone. They require significant support to achieve a lasting solution to their displacement — including either safe and voluntary return, integration in host communities, or resettlement — and recover and rebuild their lives in peace and dignity.
Global hunger is also rising and food insecurity is at unprecedented levels. In March, the World Food Program warned that 44 million people in 38 countries were just one step away from a declaration of famine in 2022. In this dire context, the staggering ripple effects of the Ukraine crisis risks accelerating this terrifying global food crisis as Russia and Ukraine account for nearly 12% of the calories traded in the world and are among the top five global exporters of cereals. Political conflicts are continuing to devastate civilians. More than 90 percent of deaths from explosive weapons in populated areas were civilians. Violations of humanitarian law, including the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure continues with impunity, threatening the lives of innocent people and compromising humanitarian response. Without significant diplomatic efforts to achieve political and peaceful resolutions to conflict and hold warring parties accountable for protecting civilians, humanitarian need will continue to grow, and vulnerable people will continue to suffer.
Conflicts and disasters also exacerbate gender inequalities and uniquely impact women and girls. For example, adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 percent more likely to be out of school, and 70 percent of women in humanitarian settings are more likely to experience gender-based violence (GBV). CARE's experience responding on the frontlines of crises and in countries of refuge have revealed both the disproportionate impact and unique role women can play in responding to humanitarian crises if provided with the right support.
Despite improvements in humanitarian response and increasing global humanitarian assistance, resources are not keeping pace with the growing needs. In 2021, only 50 percent of the required humanitarian resources were provided by the international community. Without more resources, the ability to respond adequately to growing global needs will be hamstrung — meaning the most vulnerable communities will continue to bear the brunt of funding gaps. Congress can ensure that our foreign assistance budget is fit for this purpose and keeps pace with growing humanitarian needs.
U.S. leadership to provide robust, principled humanitarian response is critical for fostering a culture of global responsibility sharing and ensuring humanitarian actors can reach those in need safely and effectively.
Thank you for your leadership at this critical time.