Just 0.2% of humanitarian aid money targets older people, HelpAge study finds

09/11/2010

There is a significant gap in the amount of funding allocated to older people in humanitarian emergencies, a study by HelpAge International has found.

Only five out of 1,912 projects (0.2%) during 12 major emergencies in the last three years, included activities targeted for older people and were funded.

A Bangladeshi man outside his ruined home Older people are one of the most vulnerable groups during humanitarian emergencies. Photo: John Cobb/HelpAge International

The report, A Study of Humanitarian Financing for Older People, examined flash appeals and the UN Consolidated Appeals Process (UNCAP) for 12 major emergencies since 2007.

In five of the crises studied (Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Honduras and Occupied Palestinian Territories), not one project in any sector explicitly referred to or provided targeted assistance to older people.

'Needs of ALL vulnerable groups must be met'

According to HelpAge's Head of Emergencies Frances Stevenson, "the fundamental principle of impartiality - that humanitarian assistance is provided according to need - requires the humanitarian response to address the needs of all vulnerable groups in an affected population.

"Levels of assistance provided to older people should be commensurate with their need. The evidence from UN appeals shows this is not happening - the needs of older people have not received the attention they should in any of the major emergencies we studied".

'International community must take action'

HelpAge's Humanitarian Policy Adviser, Jo Wells, added: "Our study proves there is a significant disparity between the needs of older people as a vulnerable group and the humanitarian assistance funded to meet that need.

"We are strongly recommending that the international humanitarian community takes immediate action to address this disparity.

"It needs to design and implement emergency responses that are appropriate to ALL sections of the population. It needs to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, can access relief and recovery assistance."

Download A Study of Humanitarian Financing For Older People

'Listen to us and respect us'

HelpAge International's team in Pakistan interviewed older people affected by this year's floods about how their needs were not considered by the aid effort.

Interviewees reported difficulty in reaching distributions and when they did, being shoved out of the way by younger people.

Hear what they had to say:

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