16 June 2017

Australia for UNHCR’s 2016 Annual Report was released today highlighting the ongoing commitment and generosity of thousands of Australians towards refugees. Australia for UNHCR raised a record $33.9 million in 2016 to support UNHCR’s emergency and humanitarian programs worldwide. Notably most of these funds were donated by individual Australians (84,283 in 2016) with increasing support also from business, community groups and refugee diaspora.

A key highlight was the support from Australia’s Vietnamese community, itself the beneficiary of UNHCR support in the past. Through events in NSW, QLD, WA and SA, the community raised more than $550,000 to support Australia for UNHCR’s appeal for Syrian refugees.

Funds raised through Australia for UNHCR’s regular giving programs provided UNHCR with much needed predictable and sustainable income to help it respond to multiple humanitarian emergencies, largely across Africa and the Middle East. Emergency funding helped provide lifesaving equipment and core relief items such as shelter, water and sanitation, blankets and nutritional support to people fleeing conflict.

The war in Syria has displaced 11 million people - 5 million have fled the country, and a further 6 million are displaced within Syria. By the end of 2016, fighting in Mosul had forced 116,000 people to flee the city and surrounding areas – around one third of these people are now living in camps. In South Sudan, violence erupted in July, forcing more than 760,000 people to flee. As well as this, lesser known crises are affecting Yemen and Nigeria, where 2.3 million and 1.7 million people have been displaced respectively.

Overall 75 per cent of funds were raised for UNHCR’s general emergency operations; 19 per cent raised for emergencies in Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and Ecuador; and 6 per cent for specific projects providing targeted support for women, girls and children.

These projects include:

  • Sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Australian for UNHCR was the largest private sector donor to UNHCR’s programs in DRC (raising $2.5 million over three years)
  • A project in Burkina Faso that established sustainable dairy micro-enterprises owned by local women’s groups. This assists local farmers to process and preserve milk from their livestock, and ensures a reliable supply of milk to refugee families.
  • A major project in Ethiopia to improve water and sanitation facilities for 95,000 people in both the refugee and host populations. Over three years, UNHCR will install robust water infrastructure, construct private family latrines and conduct hygiene education programmes in five refugee camps.
  • Special protection and support, such as family reunification and foster care, for thousands of displaced children who were separated from their families.
Australia for UNHCR National Director Naomi Steer said, “With more than 65 million people forcible displaced globally and the number growing every day, Australian donor support is more critical than ever."

“The fact that Australia for UNHCR is in the top ten donor private sector donors to UNHCR, ahead of many governments, is a testament to the generosity of thousands and thousands of Australians supporting UNHCR. This enables us to provide timely and targeted life-saving support to refugees,” she added.

Key highlights for Australia for UNHCR in 2016

  • 84,283 people donated to Australia for UNHCR, raising a record $33.9 million
  • 75% of funds raised supported UNHCR general emergency response globally
  • More than $640,000 was raised to protect children forced to flee alone
  • Vietnamese diaspora communities raised $550,000
  • $873,000 was raised via the new community fundraising initiative Team UNHCR
  • 236,439 people follow Australia for UNHCR on social media
  • Prominent Australians supporting Australia for UNHCR through our Special Representatives program, include author Carina Hoang, actor Jane Turner, cricketing legend Ian Chappell, actor Marta Dusseldorp and former refugee and youth advocate Yarrie Bangura.

Key facts for UNHCR in 2016

  • UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is the leading global agency for refugees
  • There are currently more than 65 million people forcibly displaced globally
  • One in 113 people worldwide is displaced.
  • UNHCR works in 128 countries
  • There are 9,396 UNHCR staff in the field
  • UNHCR responds to emergencies within 72 hours
  • In 2016, UNHCR shipped emergency equipment including 256,000 tents, 804,000 solar lanterns, 1.2 million mosquito nets, 3.4 million plastic sheets and 6.6 million blankets.

Australians wanting to support UNHCR can donate at www.unrefugees.org.au

About Australia for UNHCR

Australia for UNHCR is the National Partner of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Australia for UNHCR is an Australian charity, which fundraises to provide life-changing humanitarian support to refugees and other displaced and stateless people supported by UNHCR.

For further information please contact:

Mark Macdonald 
Head of Communications & Public Affairs 
Australia for UNHCR
[email protected]
0431 619 892

Wendy Bruere
Media & Communications Coordinator
Australia for UNHCR
[email protected]
0406 814 867

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