World Humanitarian Day: Tackling invisible disasters
Today is World Humanitarian Day, aimed at recognising the work humanitarian professionals do to help those in the most difficult situations around the world. Not all of these crises make the news, and for those that don’t attract the public’s attention, finding the funding needed to help those in most need is essential.
From a catastrophic oil spill in Colombia to a cholera outbreak in Kenya, there are dozens of emergencies around the world that never make the headlines here in the UK. However, just because they are not in the news does not mean help is not getting to the families affected.
Humanitarian work continues 24/7 at Plan International UK. We have aid workers across the world helping thousands of people living through some of the most difficult situations.
But it doesn’t come for free – we are dependent on donations to help fund the response. Many of this comes from philanthropic individuals and trusts who donate on a needs basis.
Only this week Plan International UK has received a total of £60,000 worth of funding from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (JOAC) to help people caught up in the floods in Myanmar and the droughts in El Salvador. JOAC is just one of the funders that Plan works with on some of the more ‘invisible’ emergencies.
In the ten years since Plan International UK and JOAC began working together, funds they have donated have helped more than a million people across the world, including in Cambodia, Sudan and Niger among many others.
Trusts and Foundations, and partners like JOAC, have played a key role in funding some of Plan’s emergency responses. In the past 12 months, The Isle of Man International Development Committee has funded responses to crises in Pakistan, Sudan, Cameroon and Mozambique, and one long-standing trust supporter has contributed towards our work in Niger, supporting Nigerian refugees.
“We have a fantastic team of humanitarians working at Plan both here and across the world. But we rely on the support of organisations like JOAC and others to fund us to do our important humanitarian work,” says Ann Foley, Head of the Disaster Risk Management Unit at Plan International UK.
“We are very lucky to have some excellent donors who are extremely generous in giving to these lesser known emergencies, helping people living through the most difficult of circumstances."
“The generosity of all of our philanthropic donors really does save lives,” she says.
That is not to say that emergencies that dominate the headlines are not deserving of interest, but by also ensuring funding for other disasters, the plight of those affected in places where media interest is not so intense don’t go ignored.
More than 120,000 people have been displaced in Myanmar by flooding and landslides after cyclone Komen brought heavy rains and strong winds to most of the country. Many are without access to essential items, clean water and sanitation.
JOAC’s funding will help 18,000 people, including 12,000 children, with support including providing basic non-food items, hygiene kits and access to clean water.
On the other side of the world, El Salvador is experiencing its worst drought in more than 30 years, with 80 per cent of farmers losing some or all of their harvests. Nearly a fifth of families have had to sell their land, animals or tools. With JOAC’s help, Plan International will reach 27,000 people through water, sanitation and hygiene work.
JOAC says it allocates a proportion of its budget to disaster and emergency relief in order to meet ever-increasing demands arising from both natural disasters and human conflict in order to alleviate human suffering.
That is what Plan International UK’s humanitarian work is all about – and all of our donors help us to achieve that goal.
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