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Press Releases, 12/17/2014

Finland grants 13.5 million euros in December for humanitarian assistance to long-lasting and underfunded crises

Press Release 284/2014
17 December 2014

By decision of Development Minister Sirpa Paatero on 17 December, in the last distribution of funds for humanitarian assistance, Finland has granted 13.5 million euros to long-lasting and underfunded crises. The support is awarded to Finn Church Aid and UN organizations. The decision brings Finland’s humanitarian assistance this year to 105.7 million euros. This is a record-high amount for Finland, which indicates the extent of the world’s crises.

Most of the support is channelled through the World Food Programme WFP and the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The largest share of the support, a total of 6.8 million euros, is focused on long-lasting crises in Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, as well as in Cameroon, which is responding to the assistance needs of people who have fled from the Central African Republic and Nigeria. Finland also increases its assistance to WFP and Finn Church Aid, for efforts against Ebola, by 1.2 million euros.

Finland gives 3 million euros of additional funding to the UN refugee agency UNHCR for the crisis in Syria. This increases the humanitarian assistance given for the crisis in Syria this year to a total of 14.15 million euros. The funding is directed to Turkey, which has received 1.6 million refugees from Syria during the civil war, which is already in its fourth year.

One million euros is granted to the UN refugee agency UNHCR for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA, the country has more than 2 million internally displaced persons who are difficult to reach and who especially need shelter as winter approaches.

“This year, the need for humanitarian assistance has been unprecedentedly great. More people than ever have had to flee because of conflicts and violence, forced to leave their homes and livelihood and to rely on external assistance to survive. Finland has responded to the humanitarian needs of these people by increasing its humanitarian assistance,” Development Minister Paatero states.

The international community has not been able to respond to the growing needs for humanitarian assistance. Last year Finland granted a total of 96.3 million euros in humanitarian assistance. This year, the largest target of humanitarian assistance has been the Syrian crisis, with a share of 14.15 million euros. The next greatest amounts of support have been channelled to the crises in South Sudan (8.8 million euros), Somalia (8.2 million euros) and the Central African Republic (7.75 million euros). The support is paid from the appropriations for humanitarian assistance included in Finland’s development cooperation.

The United Nations released a joint appeal to respond to humanitarian needs on 8 December. The UN estimates that next year, a total of 13.2 billion euros in assistance will be needed, for use in helping 57.5 million people in the greatest need, among others in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, and Syria. Funding for humanitarian assistance this year has remained at 7.5 billion euros, or only half of the need for assistance, which has risen significantly this year.

Additional information: Juha Peltonen, Press Attaché to the Minister, mobile tel. +358 50 554 6426, and Anna Gebremedhin, Director of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Humanitarian Assistance Policy, mobile tel. +358 40 583 0149

Summary of the assistance granted in the distribution of funds:

Finn Church Aid/Ebola/Liberia                       200,000 euros
WFP Ebola                                                      1,000,000 euros
WFP Sudan                                                     2,800,000 euros
WFP Somalia                                                  2,000,000 euros
WFP Yemen                                                    1,000,000 euros
UNHCR Syrian crisis/Turkey                        3,000,000 euros
UNHCR Iraq                                                    1,000,000 euros
UNHCR Cameroon                                        1,500,000 euros
UNICEF Somalia                                            1,000,000 euros

Total                                                                13,500,000 euros

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Updated 12/17/2014

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