There are more people fleeing their homes than ever before. Around the world, more than 90 million people have been forced to flee because of violence, conflict or persecution. And the Covid-19 pandemic has affected these vulnerable people more than most.
Since the Covid-19 alarm went off in the spring of 2020, our colleagues have worked hard to provide assistance to displaced people while also preventing the spread of infection. In 2021, we assisted a total of 9.8 million people.
NRC is grateful that the support we receive from private and institutional donors enables us to increase our efforts as the need increases. However, the needs are far greater than the resources currently available for humanitarian work.
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Top three countries
Last year, NRC worked in 35 of the world’s most conflict-stricken countries, spread across four continents. These are the three countries where we assisted the largest number of people in 2021:
PALESTINE: 1,007,924 people assisted
A protracted protection crisis continues in Palestine, directly linked to the occupation. Political agreement between Palestinian factions in West Bank and Gaza, and the threat of annexation of parts of the West Bank, continued to be a concern in 2021, in violation of international law. This impacts the humanitarian situation for Palestinians, as well as their basic human rights.
The siege in Gaza continues to be a form of collective punishment, and Palestinians living in Gaza have limited access to electricity, drinking water and healthcare.
In 2021, NRC supported more than 980,000 Palestinians with clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene conditions. This is crucial to preventing the spread of diseases, including Covid-19. We helped more than 2,200 people to obtain a temporary or permanent home, gave legal assistance and advice to more than 9,000 people, and provided education support to more than 88,300 children and youth. Many displaced people received several types of assistance.
YEMEN: 993,494 people assisted
The UN has called Yemen “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”. The country has been devastated by seven years of war, and the situation has been further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 23 million people in Yemen need humanitarian aid. Over 12 million of these are estimated to be in acute need, and more than half of these are children. These people are facing crisis and are struggling to obtain the basics they need to survive. Food insecurity and malnutrition are the most urgent issues.
In 2021, we supported more than 257,000 people in Yemen with clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene conditions. Almost 600,000 received food assistance from us, or help to earn their own income, while more than 73,000 got help with obtaining a temporary or permanent home. We gave legal assistance and advice to more than 116,000 people, and educational support to almost 55,000 children and youth. Many displaced people received several types of assistance, and more than 25,000 lived in NRC-run displacement camps.
AFGHANISTAN: 840,129 people assisted
Forty years of war and recurrent natural disasters, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and an economic and financial crisis prompted by the Taliban’s rapid rise to power have devastated the Afghan people. While active fighting has dramatically reduced in recent months, civilian casualties and violence in 2021 were at record levels.
Nearly 700,000 Afghans were newly displaced across the country in 2021, adding to the more than 3.5 million people already displaced. Poverty could reach near universal levels in 2022 as millions of Afghans have lost their livelihoods, taking on debt just to pay the rapidly rising costs for food and essential items, healthcare, education, and safe shelter.
We provided clean water and better sanitation for more than 190,000 people in Afghanistan in 2021. Nearly 2,000 received food aid or help to support themselves, while more than 150,000 got help to obtain a temporary or permanent home. We gave information and free legal aid to more than 337,000 people, and educational support to more than 56,000 children and youth. Many displaced people received several types of assistance, and more than 239,000 lived in NRC-run displacement camps.