The United Nations consolidated appeals for countries in crisis has so far received only one-third of the $5.34 billion needed for life-sustaining operations in 2003, according to a mid-year review by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The $1.8 billion received masks serious disparities in response, OCHA said, noting that humanitarian activities in high-profile emergencies such as Iraq and Afghanistan have received strong funding against their appeals, while others like Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have received less than a quarter of what is needed.
OCHA also said food aid receives by far the most funding with contributions exceeding the combined funding for all other activities. The agency noted an especially disturbing trend is low or late funding for rehabilitation programs aimed at helping families to attain self-sufficiency.
“Funding must come early in the year, or agencies are forced to stretch thin resources across sectors, or reduce rations, which leads at worst to increased rates of mortality and morbidity, and at least to fewer people being assisted,” OCHA warned.
The UN Consolidated Appeals aim to bring food to the hungry, medical assistance to the sick, shelter to displaced populations, and to provide for other basic needs, aiding some 83 million people in failed states, countries facing civil war or communities devastated by conflict.