The ICRC lacks donations for humanitarian aid
As international attention focuses on the war in Ukraine, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns it could miss up to a quarter of its budget in 2023 and may have to resolve to cuts in certain operations, a first in 160 years.
This is what its general manager Robert Mardini told Swiss media on Tuesday March 7. Without sufficient donations, there could be a shortfall of 500 to 700 million Swiss francs (a comparable sum in euros) from the ICRC’s budget of 2.79 billion planned for this year, Mr. Mardini explained to the daily Le Temps. “If this is confirmed, we will no longer have the means to help the populations in the places most difficult to access, where our presence is the most important”, he underlined.
Of the 10 most important operations of the organization, which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year, only Ukraine has positive funding prospects. All other operations (Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria) are underfunded, explains the humanitarian manager. A phenomenon that is not specific to the ICRC but is also observed by the UN agencies involved in humanitarian action.
“There are obviously fewer donations for humanitarian aid in general. This trend is now accentuated with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine”, he explained to public radio RTS, adding that “the communities affected by these crises find themselves forgotten by the international community which is not not meeting the challenges”.
In addition to Ukraine, which monopolizes significant funds from major donor countries, other factors explain the lack of funds: a certain fatigue with the conflicts that have lasted for years as illustrated by a recent appeal for funds for Yemen which has collected, for the time being, barely more than a quarter of what is estimated to be necessary. Galloping inflation also makes interventions much more expensive.
“The next few months will be decisive. We will have to, if the donors are not there, revise our ambitions downwards, ”warns Mr. Mardini again.