Belgian humanitarian aid focused on helping in the refugees’ own region

In 2018, Belgium earmarked 170 million euros for humanitarian aid. This amount went mainly to helping refugees and people in need in their own region. The most important contribution went to the humanitarian catastrophe in and around Syria. An increasing share is going to humanitarian innovation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation made this announcement on the occasion of International Human Solidarity Day.

Alexander De Croo: “As in previous years, the Belgian budget for humanitarian aid reached an all-time high in 2018. This money goes to hosting of refugees in their own region. To manage everything properly, we work together with international organizations such as the International Red Cross or the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. They know the field, can make faster decisions and assist people best.


Alexander De Croo


With more than 25 million euros, the conflict in Syria remained the largest recipient of Belgian humanitarian aid. An amount of 23 million euros was allocated to the humanitarian crisis in the DRC. Humanitarian assistance in the Sahel region, with countries such as Niger, Chad, Nigeria, was allocated 13.5 million euros. Approximately 9 million euros went to the much plagued Yemen. Finally, in Libya, where migrants risk falling into the hands of smugglers and slave traders, 3.2 million euros were provided for humanitarian assistance.

Organizations which operate in conflict areas, such as the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) and the UN Refugee Organization (UNHCR), are the largest recipients of Belgian humanitarian funds with respectively 23.5 and 20.1 million euros.


Majority of refugees remains in their own region

Over the past year, the number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) has continued to rise worldwide. No less than 68.5 million people have left their homes, mostly fleeing violence and conflict. The majority of these people sought refuge in their own country or region. More than eight out of ten (85%) reside in developing countries. Investing in emergency aid, humane reception and protection of refugees in the own region is an absolute priority for the Belgian humanitarian policy.

Record amount for humanitarian innovation

Minister De Croo remains also fully committed to humanitarian innovation. That is why a record amount of 20 million euros was spent on humanitarian innovation in 2018. The funds went to the development of humanitarian drones in Chad for the demining of agricultural areas and to 3D printing of prostheses for war victims in Mali.

To accelerate humanitarian innovation, Minister De Croo will gather the humanitarian community and the private sector in the Egmont Palace for a humanitarian hackathon on the 15th and 16th of January.

Belgian humanitarian policy in 2018 in figures


Five most important humanitarian organizations with which Belgium cooperates (by volume):

  1. International Red Cross: 23.5 million euros
  2. UN Refugee Organization (UNHCR): 20.1 million euros
  3. UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA): 13 million euros
  4. UNICEF: 8.1 million euros
  5. FAO: 7.3 million euros


Main regions and conflicts where Belgium provides humanitarian assistance:

  1. Syrian conflict (Syria and neighboring countries): 25.1 million euros
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo: 28 million euros
  3. Sahel region (Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso): 15 million euros
  4. Yemen: 8.7 million euros
  5. South Sudan: 9 million euros