Our FAQs are developed from questions submitted to our Helpdesk that we consider to be particularly useful to others. These will be assessed and updated on a continuous basis. If you have any queries that are not answered below, please contact us via the details on the Helpdesk page.

Humanitarian data

How much international humanitarian assistance has there been in recent years?

International humanitarian assistance increased in 2015 for the third consecutive year, reaching a record high of US$28.0 billion. In 2013 and 2014, international humanitarian assistance was US$20.8 billion and US$25.1 billion respectively. Although it accounted for just 4.8% of all international flows to the recipients of the most humanitarian assistance in 2014, it remains a vital resource for many people affected by crisis and/or natural disasters.

Who are the largest donors of international humanitarian assistance?

In 2015, the United States (US$6.4 billion) was the largest international humanitarian donor – please see the GHA Report 2016 for data on the top 20 international humanitarian donors over the past decade (page 46).

Who are the largest recipients of international humanitarian assistance?

In 2014, Syria has received more humanitarian assistance than any other country – US$2.0 billion in 2014. The second largest recipient of international humanitarian assistance is South Sudan (US$1.5 billion) followed by Iraq and Palestine which each received US$1.2 billion in 2014. Please see the GHA Report 2016 for data on the top 20 international humanitarian recipients over the past decade (page 54).

How many people are affected by humanitarian crises?

While it is impossible to know exactly how many people are directly or indirectly affected by crises, a number of sources give some measure of who was affected and where. These include: UN-coordinated appeals, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). According to CRED data, approximately 89.4 million people were affected by natural hazards in 2015 and over 65 million forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution in 2015 (UNHCR). Globally, there were 40.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 24.5 million refugees in 2015 (UNHCR). For more information, please see chapter one of the GHA Report 2016 (pages 11-17).

What are pooled funds and how much humanitarian assistance is channelled through them?

Humanitarian pooled funds aim to facilitate coordinated funding that is responsive to changing crises and specific contexts. There are three main types: the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs) and Emergency Response Funds (ERFs). There are moves to combine the latter two into single Country Based Pooled funds in some contexts. Over US$1.3 billion was given to these three kinds of pooled funds combined in 2015 – please see the GHA Report 2016 for more information (page 69).

How much international humanitarian assistance is channelled through NGOs?

NGOs received the second (UN agencies remaining the main channel) largest amount and proportion of direct international humanitarian assistance in 2014: a total of US$8.0 billion, up 7% from the US$7.4 billion they received the year before. Private donors showed a strong preference for channelling their money via NGOs – giving 86% of their funding this way in 2014 (US$4.7 billion). Please see the GHA Report 2016 for more information (pages 66-67).


Where do you get your data on humanitarian financing from?

The majority of the data we use is from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) tables and UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS). Our data on private funding comes from our unique private funding dataset collected from NGOs, key multilateral agencies engaged in humanitarian response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). For more information on our data sources, please go to the ‘Data’ section of our website.

How do you calculate international humanitarian assistance?

We produce a figure on international humanitarian assistance every year in our GHA report. This comprises:

    • The international humanitarian assistance of governments – both members of the OECD DAC and governments outside of this group – and the European Union
    • International humanitarian assistance from the private sector (individuals, trusts and foundations, private companies and corporations).

Further information on our international humanitarian assistance calculation can be found on the ‘Data’ section of our website.

Why is your data on humanitarian assistance from OECD DAC donor governments different from the data published by the OECD?

The ‘bilateral’ humanitarian assistance reported in the OECD DAC tables only indicates the earmarked humanitarian assistance of OECD DAC governments – it does not capture the totality of DAC donor expenditure on activities that could be described as ‘humanitarian’ because it does not include DAC donors’ core unearmarked multilateral ODA contributions to multilateral agencies with a humanitarian mandate. We include these multilateral imputations in our international humanitarian assistance calculation, along with any Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) contributions by DAC governments not reported as bilateral humanitarian assistance to the OECD DAC. We also include OECD DAC donors’ humanitarian contributions made through the European Union.


What is GHA?

GHA is run by Development Initiatives (DI) – an independent organisation committed to ending poverty by 2030. We aim to bring clarity to the complicated area of financing in response to humanitarian crises. For more information, please see our ‘About GHA’ page on our website.

How do I reference GHA reports and data?

Our data and analysis is intended for wide use and we encourage others to reference and reproduce our work. When referencing our work, please use the following format: Development Initiatives, Global Humanitarian Assistance, (year of publication), [Report name].

How do I access the data from your reports and country profiles?

We provide links to download our data (in Excel and CSV or OpenDocument formats) when publishing our reports, crisis briefing papers and blogs, which you can find on the relevant page. Country profiles data can be accessed directly from Google docs. On the country profile select ‘download data’ on the top of the page – this will take you directly to Google docs. To download data from Google docs press ‘file’ and then ‘download as’ before selecting your preferred option.

Do you provide funding for humanitarian and development projects?

We do not offer funding, sponsorship or grants. Due to the large volume of enquires received we are unable to respond to such requests.

Do you offer any internship opportunities?

We advertise employment and internship opportunities on the Development Initiatives website. Please check the website for the latest opportunities.

What if I still can’t find an answer to my query?

We operate a free, friendly helpdesk that provides support in understanding and using the data – please email your query to gha@devinit.org.

How do I receive updates from GHA?
You can sign up to the Development Initiatives newsletter here.