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Humanitarian key facts

Oxfam supported cash-for-asset recovery project to clear fallen coconut trees in Surok, Eastern Samar province (2014). Caroline Gluck/Oxfam

Today, more than 135 million people need humanitarian aid, more than the populations of the UK and France combined. But 30 million of them are not even targeted for assistance as wars cause most humanitarian crises, and warring parties prevent their victims from reaching aid.

Oxfam supports nearly 1 in 10 of the men, women and children in humanitarian crises. In 2015-16, we gave 13.7 million people humanitarian aid - among the 22.2 million direct beneficiaries of Oxfam's development and humanitarian programmes, 55% of them women and girls, altogether.

Updated August 2018

Hunger and War in a Harsh Environment

Millions of people cannot reach humanitarian aid, because they are trapped in conflict, or deliberately prevented from getting the food and other vital goods that they need.

IDPs collecting water from the water distributions point at the camp (Credit: Moayed Al.Shaibani/Oxfam)

Atrocities against Women and Civilians

Moria refugee camp, Lesbos, Greece (Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam)

Refugees and Displaced People

Developing countries, not Europe, hosted 85% of the world's refugees at the end of 2017.

Disasters and climate

  • In 2017, a UN-backed study warned that 14 million people each year are likely to be displaced by disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and tropical cyclones.
  • In 2016, over 377 million people were already estimated to be affected by disasters associated with natural hazards.
  • In the decade up to 2014, 87% of disasters were climate-related - though 70% of the 700,000 disaster deaths in that period were caused by earthquakes.
  • In 2015, 55% of those killed by the earthquake and aftershocks in Nepal were women and girls, and women accounted for 61% of deaths from Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, and 70-80% in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. But in 2017 the UN still reported that only 27% of 146 countries reviewed had a significant commitment to a gender perspective in their work to reduce the risk of disasters.
  • Relatively little aid is spent to reduce the risks for those likely to be affected by disasters, or to help them to be more resilient. But the potential impact of such aid is enormous. In 2015, the UN estimated that a global investment of $6 billion a year could save $360 billion in less damage and fewer economic losses over 15 years.
Passing stones from a collapsed school in Timbu, Nepal (Credit: Rakesh Tuladhar/Oxfam)

Missing money, Unequal aid

Many vital UN humanitarian appeals in 2017 received less than half of the funding required