The numbers were bleak. Nearly 66 million people were on the move, fleeing conflict and disaster. But we persevered.
In 2016, displacement figures topped the charts yet again. As the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) scaled up, our 2016 annual report details, we supported more than six million people throughout the year – improving 2015 achievements by nearly 27 per cent.
A balancing act
As conflicts across several countries persisted and worsened, as in Syria, new emergencies arose in places like Afghanistan, Burundi, Iraq and Yemen. In South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, major security constraints hindered our ability to reach affected families. The drought in the Horn of Africa created devastating ripple effects, and will most likely continue to do so. Closing borders, meanwhile, particularly affected people entering Europe.
With stark competition among crises for attention and funding, we strove to balance our efforts between well-covered emergencies and neglected displacement crises. A symmetrical balance was more pressing than ever before, as shortages and distress deepened globally.
Reaching the isolated
Humanitarian agencies often struggle to reach people in volatile, remote places. In 2016, we focused on improving our ability to stay and deliver in these situations.
We established new emergency programmes as crises unfolded, like in Tanzania, and sent surge capacity to existing country operations. We worked on procedures that will help us negotiate access into hard-to-reach areas.
We also forged better relationships with local partners. In Syria and in Iraq especially, this allowed us to reach people we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to assist.
Our innovation work also helped us reach more. Technologies and cash, for instance, helped us reach our goals. In 2016, we developed a niche expertise in delivering cash assistance in high-risk areas – a quick and efficient way to reach people and allow them to obtain the materials they need.
The Annual Report 2016 breaks down NRC’s global achievements for the year, presenting an overview of our programme and thematic activities. The report also gives snapshots from the field, highlighting specific country achievements.