The war in Ukraine increases hunger and malnutrition in other parts of the world. Finland allocates EUR 26.1 million to domestic and international organisations for their humanitarian response in countries such as Somalia, Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the majority of the world’s wheat, barley and food oil came from the two countries. The shortage of grains and rising prices caused by the war are particularly painful for developing countries whose food security depends on imports of these foods. For example, Somalia imports 90 per cent of its grain and half of it comes from Ukraine. The situation is aggravated by a long-lasting drought, which is why the country is on the brink of famine.
“Somalia is facing the most serious situation in forty years: half of its population need humanitarian assistance. Finland’s support is used to distribute meals and cash assistance to those most in need and food supplements to children and mothers, for example,” says Lauratuulia Lehtinen, Director of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
In addition to Somalia, humanitarian assistance is needed in many other countries, whose protracted crises and conflicts do not hit the headlines. Following the funding decisions that have now been made, Finnish civil society organisations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) together with their local partners will provide humanitarian assistance to the following 11 countries and regions: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Moldova, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sahel, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Of the total sum of EUR 26.1 million, the majority is channelled to Syria.
The situation in crisis areas is hampered by the fact that the lack of grain affects the work of organisations and agencies. For example, until now, the WFP has procured grain for food assistance in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen from Ukraine. Half of the organisation’s grain purchases for emergency relief has come from Ukraine and Russia. The increase in prices will also raise the costs of humanitarian assistance. Thus, fewer people can be helped through the same amount of money.
Finland’s (most recent) funding decisions complement the humanitarian funding it already granted earlier in the year. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland has granted a total of EUR 8.2 million in humanitarian funding to international humanitarian organisations operating in Ukraine. Additionally, EUR 3 million has been granted to help people in Afghanistan. In January, Finland granted a total of EUR 27.5 million in core funding to UN agencies and the ICRC which allows them to provide assistance to those most in need and to plan their activities flexibly.
In accordance with Finland’s humanitarian policy, funding can be granted to UN agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and seven Finnish organisations that meet the requirements for humanitarian partners set by the EU.