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With Need at Record Levels, Humanitarians Face Funding Gap and Worsening Global Context

ATLANTA, GA., AUGUST 18, 2023—In advance of World Humanitarian Day (WHD) this coming Saturday, CARE celebrates humanitarians around the world and recognizes the immense challenges they face, including a growing funding gap, safety risks, and the politicization of aid.

“Our CARE colleagues are on the frontlines of increasingly frequent and difficult emergencies exacerbated by converging factors like conflict, climate change, and the lasting effects of COVID. They are delivering lifesaving assistance to a record number of people facing dire uncertainty in their lives,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE USA President and CEO.

According to the UN’s World Humanitarian Overview, an estimated 363 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance (through the end of July 2023), an increase of 37 million since the end of 2022. And while the need has reached record levels, the gap between financial requirements and resources committed stands at its highest level ever: $41.4 billion (through the end of July 2023).

“The global community must fulfill our commitments to address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable, including women and girls, and put people ahead of politics,” said Nunn, about a severe lack of funding for humanitarian response plans and a dangerous politicization of aid that has blocked the delivery of desperately needed food and supplies.

Nunn also spoke of the need for NGOs to develop more agility to keep up with the pace of global change. She highlighted the importance of localization work that puts more agency and decision making in the hands of local partners and community members: “This is so important in our ability to stay nimble as an organization and as a broader system able to deliver meaningful change.”

This challenging operating environment also poses dangerous risks for humanitarians. Since the beginning of 2023, 62 aid workers have been killed in violent attacks, a 40% increase from the same period in 2022. Beyond conflict, humanitarians were also lost in natural disasters, including two CARE staff from Türkiye and northwest Syria, who passed away last February during the devastating earthquakes in the region.

“We honor their legacy and take inspiration from their dedication and courage; the deaths of aid workers break our hearts, but it can never break our humanitarian spirit,” said Deepmala Mahla, CARE USA’s Vice President of Humanitarian Affairs. “Armed actors must respect international humanitarian law. Humanitarian workers and civilians can never be a target. There is only one purpose of why a humanitarian is on the ground, and this is to save lives, and saving lives should not cost lives,” she added.

August 19 was originally designated WHD by the United Nations General Assembly in commemoration of the 22 aid workers who lost their lives in a bomb attack in Baghdad in 2003. Every year, WHD is a moment, according to the UN, to advocate for the “survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers.” The theme of this year’s WHD is #NoMatterWhat: “a collective show of unwavering commitment to deliver for the communities we serve, no matter who, no matter where.”

About CARE

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls. Equipped with the proper resources, women and girls have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. This year, CARE and partners worked in 111 countries implementing 1,600 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects and initiatives that reached 174,000,000 people.

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For more information please contact:

Anisa Husain  CARE Press Officer