The UN’s global humanitarian appeal for 2016 was its largest ever annual appeal for humanitarian funding. Halfway through the year, only around 25 % of the funding sought has been provided. At the international level, Norway has strongly advocated an increase in humanitarian aid, and last year was the fourth largest donor to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

Some 130 million people worldwide are now in need of humanitarian assistance and protection due to conflicts and disasters. This is the highest number since the Second World War. According to the UN, over the past 20 years, 3 952 aid workers have been killed, injured or kidnapped while carrying out their work to help people in need.

One of the world’s most serious humanitarian crises is currently unfolding in South Sudan. The conflict in the country has caused enormous suffering. 2.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes, tens of thousands in the past few weeks alone. 4.8 million people are in urgent need of food aid. Sexual violence, abuse and other violations of human rights are widespread.

‘It is a cause of great concern that only 40 % of the funding sought by the UN in its humanitarian appeal for South Sudan has been forthcoming. The fact that aid organisations are being denied humanitarian access in many places is also worrying. We are increasing our humanitarian assistance to South Sudan for 2016 by a further NOK 40 million,’ Mr Bende said.

This will bring Norway’s total humanitarian assistance to South Sudan in 2016 to NOK 190 million.

Yemen is another humanitarian crisis that is receiving little international attention, despite the fact that over 80 % of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN has warned that Yemen is on the verge of a famine that could affect over 14 million people. The civil war has recently flared up again, following the breakdown of the peace negotiations. Both schools and hospitals have been the target of attacks.

‘The fact that civilians and civilian facilities such as hospitals and schools have come under attack during the hostilities is completely unacceptable. The Government will increase its humanitarian assistance to Yemen by providing an additional NOK 20 million to help the population, which is in dire need of assistance,’ said Mr Brende.

The humanitarian funding provided by Norway to South Sudan and Yemen will be channelled through the UN, the Red Cross and a number of NGOs.