A groundbreaking study discovered that after accounting for all income, charity, and non-cash welfare benefits like subsidized housing and Food Stamps, the most deficient 20% of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries. This includes the majority of countries in the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including its European members. In other words, if the U.S. “poor” were a nation, it would be one of the world’s most prosperous.
Forbes reported that the bottom 10% in the US have better lives than the top 10% in Russia, Portugal, and Mexico.
These statistics are not intended to discount the needs in America but rather to highlight the heartbreakingly urgent needs of our brethren and sistren around the globe. Consider the top three humanitarian crises in 2021.
Due to a prolonged civil war, Yemen has produced 3.65 million internally displaced people since 2015. Over 24 million Yemenis (80% of the population) need humanitarian assistance, making it already the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
Efforts to resolve the conflict have yet to translate into reductions in humanitarian need, which will require massive improvements to the economy and infrastructure, along with political reform. If the conflict continues into 2022, the U.N. projects 500,000 deaths, most due to indirect impacts of conflict like the degradation of health infrastructure.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The 2017-20 Ebola outbreak in the DRC was the second-largest in history and just one of the many aspects of the country’s current state of humanitarian affairs. A polio outbreak that began in 2018 is now an even more significant threat, as is the ongoing Horn of Africa locust invasion, regional drought, and devastating floods. 19.6 million Congolese require humanitarian assistance, nearly a 60% increase in need compared to the previous year’s report.
Continued armed conflict, political instability, and the spread of Ebola could trigger a significant deterioration in the crisis in 2021. Should the disease spread to an active conflict zone or a considerable city, the humanitarian crisis will be even more severe.
More than half of Syria’s population has been displaced by conflict since 2011; the war has created 5.7 million refugees. Eleven million Syrians (65% of the population) require humanitarian assistance.
The situation in Syria remains volatile, especially in the Northwest and Northeast regions. There remains a risk of significant escalation and subsequent displacement in 2021. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have long defined the crisis. Syria will continue to face massive immediate and long-term humanitarian needs even if conflict deescalates.
As COVID-19 ebbs in the United States, let us turn our attention, action, and resources back to the rest of the world. Concern Worldwide US Inc. is an outstanding organization (with a 92.61 out of 100 ratings on Charity Navigator) to donate time and resources.