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120 million people need humanitarian aid, says ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross says 40 per cent of its $1.6bn humanitarian field operation budget is spent in Africa yearly.

The National President of ICRC, Mr. Peter Maurer, made the disclosure at a news conference on Sunday in Lagos.

He said that Middle East and Africa constitute the main focus of the society, with Nigeria having the largest amount from its African operations.

He said, “This year alone, we assisted almost 900,000 people with food rations and 300,000 patients received care in clinics that we support across Adamawa and Borno states in the North East, Middle Belt and Niger Delta states.”

He said that globally, it was estimated that more than 1.5 billion people live in an environment of continuous fragility, violence and conflict, with 120 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

He said, “This leads to skyrocketing costs; the cumulative international humanitarian response has surpassed 15 billion dollars annually.

“Besides, the cost of global conflict is estimated at around 10 to 15 trillion dollars per year or 10 per cent of the world’s GDP.”

He urged humanitarian societies to increase assistance and raise more funds through innovative partnerships and products to assist fragile environments.

He said, “In line with this development, the ICRC’s budget has grown by roughly 50 per cent over the past five years.

“We need states and the private sector to engage more forcefully to support efforts of humanitarian and development agencies in particular frontline deliverers — we need modern philanthropy.

“Humanitarian aid was once conceived as emergency operations in short-term crises but that is no longer the case.”

Maurer said that humanitarian needs in some countries were too big for a single entity, government, company or humanitarian organisation.

He said that partnerships in the area of skills, investments, experience and knowledge were assets that were required to strengthen humanitarian operations globally.

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