Finland will provide 3 million euros through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR to help Afghan refugees.
"On the World Humanitarian Day celebrated today, the crises in Afghanistan and Haiti remind us of the global humanitarian distress," the Foreign Ministry says in a press release.
The humanitarian aid budget of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for this year is 87 million euros. 3 million of this has already been granted to help the Afghan people.
In Afghanistan the need for humanitarian assistance was great already before the most recent stage of the conflict. The UN has estimated that, while in the spring about a third of the country’s population needed humanitarian assistance, now about a half of the population is in need of help. The countries neighbouring Afghanistan to which people are fleeing are also under pressure.
“Based on estimates by the UN, the numbers of Afghan people who have left their homes are growing. People are fleeing both within Afghanistan and to the neighbouring countries. For example, the number of refugees coming to Iran per day is now about 5,000, which is as much as three times what it was before. It is important that Finland will also bear its responsibility for helping them,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.
Doubling the Finnish refugee quota
Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo announced Thursday that she will propose increasing Finland's quota of refugees to 2,000 in government budget negotiations.
The quota system was created to distribute the burden of hosting the thousands of people who seek protection each year among the different states of the EU. At present, Finland's refugee quota is 1,050.
Minister Ohisalo made her proposal to double Finland's quota during an interview on Finnish public television (Yle).
The need for humanitarian assistance around the world is greater than ever before. Globally, as many as 240 million people in 56 countries are in need of urgent assistance. The main causes for this are prolonged conflicts, natural disasters and extreme weather events that have been aggravated by climate change.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also increased the need for assistance. The UN’s global appeal for humanitarian assistance for this year totals about 30 billion euros.
Most serious crises
At the moment the most serious humanitarian crises are ongoing in Syria, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The conflict in Syria has continued for more than 10 years and it has driven over 13 million people away from their homes, 6.6 million of them as refugees to other countries.
The conflict and drought in Yemen have caused a serious food crisis where about 20 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
“The humanitarian distress will be further aggravated by climate change. Afghanistan is one of the countries that are the most susceptible to climate change. Haiti had not recovered from the previous crisis when this new one hit. Assistance measures have been further complicated by the heavy storm and floods,” the Minister says.