1% of humanitarian aid goes to people with disabilities and older people
A study published today by two NGOs, HelpAge International and Handicap International, reveals a major gap between the needs of older people and/or people with disabilities and the level of humanitarian aid provided to meet these needs. Only 1% of international humanitarian aid is specifically allocated to these groups, despite the fact that they are often severely affected by crises and disasters.
During crises, NGOs should place a particular emphasis on the most vulnerable sections of the population because they find it extremely difficult to access humanitarian aid.
The report underlines how “each year, humanitarian crises affect some 350 million people, of whom many are older people and people with disabilities who have specific needs arising from their age or disability. During crises, NGOs should place a particular emphasis on the most vulnerable sections of the population because they find it extremely difficult to access humanitarian aid,” explains Jean-Pierre Delomier, Director of Handicap International’s Emergency Response Division. “This is what we are trying to do for these people, who are often excluded from relief efforts, by covering both their basic and specific needs.” Despite the realities on the ground, very little international aid is specifically targeted at these sections of the population.
“This study has highlighted an acute problem in the international humanitarian aid system,” explains Frances Stevenson, Head of Emergencies at HelpAge International. “This system fails to systematically supply aid to the most vulnerable sections of the population. Older people and people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable during crises and disasters. They have specific needs. However, time and again, these needs are not assessed, analysed or integrated in practical ways into emergency responses”.
11% of the global population is aged 60 and over. Last June, the WHO published a report that estimated the number of people with disabilities worldwide at 15% . Despite representing a significant proportion of the world population, very little humanitarian aid is specifically allocated to these groups. An analysis of 6,003 projects launched by the United Nations between 2010 and 2011, within the framework of fourteen Consolidated Appeals (CAP)  and four Flash Appeals  indicates that:
- only 61 funded projects (1% of all projects) target older people or people with disabilities;
- in 20 countries, no projects, in any activity sector, are targeted at older people;
- the funding of projects targeted at people with disabilities fell between 2010 and 2011 (from 0.7% to 0.43% of all funding).
During humanitarian crises, older people and people with disabilities are faced with particular challenges related to their mobility, access to certain services (including health care), and problems finding a source of income. If practical measures are not taken, the needs of these particularly vulnerable groups will continue to be ignored. It is therefore essential that humanitarian aid agencies ensure that the evaluation and analysis of needs on the ground take into account all potentially vulnerable groups. It is also essential that their responses take into consideration these needs by providing targeted and appropriate assistance wherever necessary.
 Among these groups, the WHO estimated that 110 to 190 million people face major difficulties in their daily lives.
 Consolidated Appeals are appeals for humanitarian aid coordinated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, part of the United Nations Secretariat, in response to chronic disasters.
 Flash Appeals are appeals for humanitarian aid in response to sudden crises.
Download the report
A study of humanitarian financing for older people and people with disabilities, 2010–2011
Notes for journalists
The authors of this report are available for interview by telephone.
Tel: 44 (0)870 774 3737 | Mobile: 44 (0)7525 101 026
Navdha Malhotra, HelpAge International
Tel: +44 (0) 207 148 4412 | Mob: +44(0) 7564 010 804
About the organisations
Handicap International is an independent international aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Working alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable groups, we takes action and raise awareness in order to meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions, and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. Handicap International is a co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its role in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. www.handicap-international.org
HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives.