31 Dec 2018 London - The UK is stepping up preparations for global humanitarian crises in 2019 and harnessing the power of satellite and supercomputer technology to better predict where disasters will strike. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the UK will take early action to prepare for crises where possible in 2019, not just dealing with the aftermath of dire humanitarian incidents.
The need for humanitarian aid will remain especially high in 2019, driven by conflict in countries like Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Food insecurity will also be a top concern and priority for the humanitarian community, including in Afghanistan, which this year experienced severe drought.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt stated: "One in every 70 people worldwide is caught up in a humanitarian crisis, and throughout 2018 UK aid has been at the heart of providing life-saving assistance to those in need: from supporting efforts to prevent and curb Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo to tackling the risk of catastrophic famine in Yemen."
"With 132 million people - almost double the population of the UK - expected to need emergency aid next year, we must act even quicker and smarter to better prepare for humanitarian crises before disaster strikes. Acting early not only helps the UK and developing countries to save money, but also saves more lives. UK aid is leading the way in being better prepared, making use of science, research and innovation to shape a global humanitarian system fit for 2019."
UK aid is harnessing technology, such as space satellites and supercomputers, to help improve warning systems to better predict the impact of global humanitarian crises, including:
The Department for International Development (DFID) announced on 31 December 2018 that it will provide GBP 1 million to the World Health Organisation this year to help enhance its Early Warning Alert and Response System (EWARS) to prevent the spread of life-threatening infectious diseases such as diphtheria and measles, as well as diarrheal illnesses, among the 800,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Ms Mordaunt's comments on humanitarian aid in 2019 follow a GBP 34 million uplift in UK aid support to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which supports the UN to respond rapidly to crises across the world. The UK is one of CERFs leading supporters, and in 2018 is its largest donor.
Throughout 2018, this fund provided time-critical life-saving assistance to millions of people in 45 countries, including Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and Nigeria.
UK aid provided life-saving assistance, including food, water, medical care and shelter to millions of people desperately in need in 2018.
In 2018, UK aid responded to crises across the globe including: