Finland increases humanitarian assistance as the coronavirus pandemic escalates

Finland increases humanitarian assistance as the coronavirus pandemic escalates

Finland provides humanitarian assistance to help organisations in the field to respond to changing and abrupt needs more efficiently. Preventing the spread of coronavirus requires support and timely action also in refugee camps and crisis areas.

The coronavirus pandemic has increased the need for humanitarian assistance in all parts of the world. Due to the pandemic, crisis areas have difficulties in ensuring the availability of foods and medicines, access to education and working conditions. The UN estimates that approximately 168 million people in the world will need emergency relief this year.

“The coronavirus crisis shows how dependent the countries of the world are on each other; we won’t be able to solve this crisis without international cooperation. A good level of preparedness and prompt action will reduce the damage caused by coronavirus, and these measures will be needed also in areas where the circumstances are already difficult because of conflicts, poverty or natural disasters,” Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari emphasises.    

By the beginning of April, EUR 72.5 million had been granted in humanitarian assistance. Finland participates in the combat of the coronavirus pandemic, for example by supporting the activities of the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in East Africa and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Lebanon. Approximately half of the package consists of core funding to the central UN agencies and IFRC. The purpose of core funding is to help assistance organisations to provide rapid and effective response when encountered by changing situations and new crises.  Funding has also been granted to seven projects carried out by Finnish organisations.

In terms of countries and regions, Finland’s humanitarian assistance focuses on Africa and the Middle East, the allocations being EUR 19.4 million and EUR 14.4 million respectively. In addition, Finland supports Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Ukraine. Of individual crises, the most support, EUR 11 million, is allocated to the Syria crisis.

Finland belongs to the states that consistently support humanitarian action in different parts of the world. Humanitarian assistance saves lives, creates stability and supports return to normal conditions. Last year, more than 61 million people received humanitarian assistance. By way of example, UNHCR, which Finland supports, provided shelter units to 3.4 million refugees and the World Food Programme (WFP) distributed foods to 13.4 million people in Syria and Yemen. During the past year, the position of persons with disabilities has also been promoted through Finnish humanitarian assistance.    

The rest of the funds for humanitarian assistance in 2020 will be allocated later this year.

Inquiries: Claus Lindroos, Director, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 132 1416.

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format [email protected]