The United States is the single largest humanitarian donor in the world. Most of this funding is programmed through USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and the DoS’ Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). It is targeted to provide lifesaving interventions for people impacted by natural disasters and displaced or otherwise affected by human-made crises. While most humanitarian funding comes from governmental donors like the U.S., humanitarian action is guided by a principled approach—neutrality, independence, and impartiality—to ensure humanitarian actors are neither perceived nor treated like a party to the conflict which ensures the best quality of safe access to affected populations and geographies.
In 2022, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance increased significantly as COVID-19 impacts increased needs around the world. An estimated 339 million people were assessed to be in need, 33 million more than in 2021. These humanitarian needs are due to a combination of direct and indirect factors. Climate change and natural disasters, economic downturns, conflicts and disrespect for international law, and other protracted, human-made crises have multiplied, requiring multifaceted humanitarian responses in every region of the world. Restrictions on aid delivery, including bureaucratic and administrative impediments, multilateral and domestic counterterrorism measures, sanctions, and related financial access impediments such as bank de-risking, have added extra layers of complexity to respond to the dire and increasing needs. These factors have fundamentally contributed to shrinking humanitarian space and overall civic space worldwide.
A June 2022 report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found the level of aid needed to manage the world’s humanitarian crises is a record $46.3 billion.
In F.Y. 2021, USAID responded to humanitarian crises in 84 countries, providing more than $8 billion in humanitarian assistance through implementing partners. BHA’s largest country responses are Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and Sudan.
The top neglected humanitarian crises in 2021 are Zambia, Malawi, Central African Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, Burundi, Niger, Zimbabwe, and Honduras.
InterAction’s humanitarian crisis response working groups provide member NGOs with a forum to coordinate efforts on behalf of vulnerable populations by closely engaging with humanitarian actors on the ground, United Nations (U.N.) agencies, USG agencies, and Congress on foreign policy and humanitarian action. Here is a list of InterAction’s active humanitarian crisis response working groups: