Responding to today’s announcement from the UK Government’s on aid spending, which saw the budget for ‘humanitarian preparedness and response’ cut by hundreds of millions of pounds (£906m, compared to £1.27b for humanitarian assistance in 2020 and £1.54b in 2019), Vickie Hawkins, Executive Director of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) UK said:
“These cuts to life-saving support will have a catastrophic impact on the health of people around the world.
MSF does not take UK Government funding, but we do see how great the needs are through our work on the ground in countries afflicted by conflict, natural disasters and disease outbreaks.
In South Sudan, for example, access to healthcare is seriously limited, and according to the UN, over eight million people will require humanitarian assistance this year. Prior to this Government’s cuts in overseas aid, the UK was the second largest donor to the humanitarian response in South Sudan. It shouldn’t be difficult for ministers to understand that cutting life-saving support will almost certainly result in increased mortality and morbidity across the country. Lives will be lost due to a sudden lack of funding - the UK are abandoning an already very vulnerable population.
In Yemen, we already know that the UK has slashed its aid contribution by more than half. This is a country where many of the health facilities are not functional and those that remain are understaffed, with a lack of supplies. Yemen has a very limited capacity to deal with the constant health emergencies it faces and the major gaps in healthcare provision. As the country suffers another wave of Covid infections there is already not enough international support.
Cuts to UK funding are only going to further exacerbate these already very serious problems."