LONDON: Saudi Arabia trebled its global humanitarian aid input to $755 billion, placing it among the top 10 providers, a list traditionally dominated by Western nations, new figures showed on Thursday. The total aid figure hit a record $24.5 billion in 2014 boosted by a nearly $1 billion extra from Gulf countries but the 20 percent increase in funds failed to meet growing needs in conflict and disaster-hit areas.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait more than doubled their combined contribution to United Nations appeals in 2014, raising $1.6 billion, according to Development Initiatives, a specialist independent think tank.
As well as government aid the funding includes donations from the European Union and private donors seeking to address the needs of a rising number of people, including those displaced by crises in the Middle East and Africa. Despite the additional funds, Development Initiatives said agencies struggled to cope with larger numbers displaced from war zones such as Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
Sophia Swithern, head of the Global Humanitarian Assistance program at Development Initiatives, said about two thirds of global humanitarian aid continued to go to long term recipients such as Somalia and Pakistan.