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UN receives only 23 per cent of its appeals for relief funds

UN receives only 23 per cent of its appeals for relief funds

Six months after Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched a United Nations system-wide appeal for contributions to fund humanitarian projects around the world, a mid-year report shows that only 23 per cent of the needs have been met.

Of the $2.8 billion called for in the 2001 Consolidated Appeals, only $625 million has been received, leaving a gap of about $2.1 billion, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which issued the report.

Some of the least funded appeals are for Somalia, which received only 5.2 per cent of the $129 million needed, and Tajikistan which received 8.9 per cent of $82 million, OCHA said in a statement issued today in Geneva and New York.

"The infamous gap between relief and rehabilitation yawns even wider and our efforts to make the bridge to the future are constantly falling short without funding," Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator Ross Mountain said today at a press conference in Geneva, where a review of the contributions to the appeals is currently underway. "The costs of preventing further conflict is much less than picking up the pieces."

Mr. Mountain also drew attention to the dangerous climate in which humanitarian workers must carry out their duties. "Humanitarian space is shrinking and providing assistance while minimizing risks to humanitarian workers and beneficiaries is an ongoing challenge," he said.

According to the mid-year report, the latest trends clearly indicate that while natural resources can be a basis for economic development, in many African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, they have become the very source of conflict.

"The revenue from diamonds is used to purchase weapons that fuel the fighting," the OCHA statement said. "Sanctions against countries and individuals involved in illegal activities must be closely monitored and run the risk of harming innocent civilians."