World Disasters Report provides humanitarian sector snapshot

In the recently released World Disasters Report 2018, the International Federation of the Red Cross says the humanitarian sector needs more than funding to address gaps.

Millions of people across the globe are not receiving the humanitarian assistance they desperately need, despite various commitments from government and aid organisations to ensure the world’s vulnerable people are not left behind.

This is the core finding of the World Disasters Report 2018 released by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in October, providing a snapshot of the global humanitarian sector and identifying existing gaps in disaster assistance through consultation with local volunteers and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world.

The report attributes these gaps to more than just a lack of funding, with the IFRC stating that even if all projects were fully funded, many people would still be overlooked due to the process and decision making of governments, donors and humanitarian organisations.

An estimated 134 million people will require humanitarian assistance worldwide in 2018, according to figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Global Humanitarian Overview. Over the previous decade, the report estimates two billion people were affected by natural hazards, 95 per cent of which were weather-related.

Some of Australia’s closest neighbours are the most likely victims of disasters. As the world’s most densely populated region, Asia is impacted by disasters at a significantly higher rate than other locations. Between 2008-2017, almost 80 per cent of all people affected by disasters were located in Asia.

Disasters are also most likely to occur in the Asia region, where 41 per cent of all the world’s disasters struck during the same time period. Comparatively, Australia’s region of Oceania experienced the lowest global rate of disaster.

Over the last 10 years, 3,751 natural hazards have been recorded worldwide. Though fewer in number, earthquakes remained the largest killer. The most common natural hazard is flooding at 40.5 per cent, followed by storms at 26.7 per cent. Where data is available, the report estimates the global cost of damages from disasters in 141 countries at US$1,658 billion over the last decade, with 76.2 per cent of costs due to weather-related hazards. 

IFRC recommends governments, donors and humanitarian organisations allocate funds specifically for under-supported and hard-to-reach groups, invest in and develop local disaster response capabilities, adopt a community-centred approach to programming, improve the use of data and technology and take up a shared responsibility for community resilience.