By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey became the most-spending country in the world in global humanitarian assistance for two years in a row in 2017 and 2018, an independent international development organization announced.
The country spent $8.4 billion in humanitarian assistance in 2018, while its aid expenses were $8.1 billion in 2017, according to the Development Initiative's (DI) Global Humanitarian Assistance Report, released on Monday.
In 2018, some 29% of all international humanitarian aid -- $28.9 billion -- came from Turkey, the report showed.
Assistance provided by other countries dropped on an annual basis in 2018, including the U.S. (from $6.68 billion to $6.65 billion), Germany (from $2.98 billion to $2.96 billion) and the U.K. (from $2.52 billion to $2.19 billion).
Turkey's humanitarian aid expenditures were nearly 1.1% of its GDP in 2018, up from 1% in 2017.
The U.S. provided 0.032% of its GDP, Germany 0.074% and the U.K. 0.077%.
Turkey had been ranked third in the DI report in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and second in 2016.
It also hosts the highest number of refugees -- 4 million -- in the world, according to official figures. The number of Syrian refugees living in the country was 3.66 million as of September.
- 1.8B people in poverty
Globally, 1.8 billion people live in poverty, and 697 million of them face extreme poverty as of last year, down from 2 billion and 753 million in 2017, respectively, the report highlighted.
"People living in poverty are defined as living on less than $3.20 a day; people living in extreme poverty are defined as living on less than $1.90 a day," the report said.
It stressed that in 2018, humanitarian aid totaled $28.9 billion, while it was $28.6 billion in 2017, $26.5 billion in 2016, $25.2 billion in 2015 and $22.2 billion in 2014.
Some $22.6 billion of humanitarian assistance were provided by governments and EU institutions while the rest of the amount was given by private donors.
Private donors included individuals, trusts, foundations, companies and national societies.
The report noted that the most humanitarian aid went to Syria ($2.35 billion), Yemen ($1.9 billion), South Sudan ($1.37 billion), Iraq ($1.25 billion), and Somalia ($1.01 billion).
Syria was the single largest recipient of humanitarian assistance for the sixth consecutive year.
Multilateral organizations transported $14.7 billion aid, while $9.7 billion aid went through non-governmental organizations and $2.2 billion through the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movements.
The report said: "In 2018, 206.4 million people were estimated to be in need."
"Ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to cause untold suffering and contributed to the record numbers of people who were forced from their homes," the report added.
DI is an independent international development organization that focuses on the role of data in driving poverty eradication and sustainable development.