Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) is an emergency presidential draw-down account that provides an important safety valve during emergencies, allowing the U.S. to meet rapidly occurring and unforeseen humanitarian needs.
What does it buy?
ERMA investments provide life-sustaining assistance to refugees, including food, shelter, health care, and education.
Why is it important?
Conflict or persecution forcibly displaces nearly one person every three seconds (as both internally displaced persons and refugees), amounting to 79.5 million people worldwide.
U.S. funding helps meet the basic human needs of displaced people, supports permanent solutions to their displacement, and assists the countries hosting them. The United States helps to relieve pressures that destabilize regions and threaten global stability and security.
Recent years have seen unanticipated needs arise in countries such as Bangladesh, Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria. These countries are often ill-equipped to handle massive in-flows of people. Therefore, the United States and other global partners bolster political and humanitarian responses.
Conflict or persecution forcibly displaces nearly one personevery three seconds.
Why should Americans care?
Global displacement is at its highest level since the aftermath of World War II. This has resulted in significant human suffering, potential “lost generations” as millions of children miss out on education opportunities, and undue pressure on countries—many of which are low-income themselves—on hosting large numbers of refugees.
U.S. support helps relieve pressures faced by host communities and governments, further destabilizing regions and leading to further humanitarian needs.
Border closures and travel restrictions have put an increased burden on displaced people fleeing conflict and disasters, forcing many to continue enduring the struggles they attempt to escape.
COVID-19 inhibits critical aid from being delivered to vulnerable groups, threatening the sustainability of current programs.
In addition to the risk of infection, secondary effects caused by COVID-19—including economic aftershocks—pose a significant threat to refugees and displaced peoples.
What more could be done?
Additional investments could allow the U.S. to better respond to the unprecedented scope of the global refugee crisis.
Increasing ERMA’s statutory cap could allow the U.S. greater flexibility to send resources to emerging, sudden onset, or deepening humanitarian crises, which helps to relieve pressure on protracted crisis response globally.
Funding levels may not accurately reflect those in the appropriations bills and/or reports due to rounding.