Hit hard by a struggling economy, wealthy nations cut aid to developing countries in 2011 for the first time in 14 years. Any more reductions could put a significant amount of lives at risk, as Oxfam says that poorer countries are already suffering considerably, AFP reports.
The statistics come from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), which reported that its 34 members donated a combined $133.5 billion last year. That's a 2.7 percent decrease, with countries such as Austria, Greece and Japan making the most significant cuts. Although local economies are hurting, Oxfam says cutting aid will not help.
"Cutting aid is no way to balance the books. Even small cuts in aid cost lives as people are denied life-saving medicines and clean water," Oxfam's executive director Jeremy Hobbs told the news agency. "Aid is such a tiny part of budgets that cutting it has no discernible impact on deficits - it is like cutting your hair to lose weight."
Although some countries reduced the amount of aid they offered, others still maintained a commitment to helping poorer nations. The United States, France, Germany and Great Britain were at the top of the list.
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