The Humanitarian Sector is Failing Older People

A new report from aid agencies Age International and HelpAge International, ‘If not now, when?’ criticizes the humanitarian sector for its failure to address the needs of older people in emergencies. This failure contravenes several international commitments made in recent years and flies in the face of humanitarian principles.
The report uses information gathered from interviews with almost 9,000 older people affected by natural disasters, conflict, or socioeconomic crises in 11 countries, including Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Pakistan.

An older African man stares at the ground. He appears distraught. Dozens of people surround him in the background.
© HelpAge International

It shows how older people, despite the risks they face during emergencies, are marginalized and in some cases excluded by the humanitarian aid response. The report criticizes the humanitarian sector for adopting a ‘one size fits all’ aid approach which fails to take into account the specific needs of older people.

This situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has thrown into stark relief the gulf between the risks facing older people and the level of support available to them.
‘If not now, when?’ provides urgent recommendations for humanitarian actors, donors, and agencies for an inclusive humanitarian response for older people. You can download and the executive summary now. 

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