The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has furnished $241 million to help provide relief to disaster-hit areas in some 30 countries since its establishment nine months ago, the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced today.
Of the total, $164 million was disbursed from the rapid response facility for new or rapidly deteriorating emergencies in 24 countries. An additional $77 million from funds earmarked for under-funded emergencies was distributed across 16 countries. The total sum was used to support 328 projects.
The Fund’s achievements include the supply of food rations to thousands of victims of fighting in Timor-Leste in April, the provision of helicopters in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region to allow aid workers to reach otherwise inaccessible internally displaced persons (IDPs), emergency flood relief in Ethiopia, and projects to fight malaria and cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
More recently, the CERF has been used to finance relief operations in Somalia and Indonesia following floods, and in the Philippines after it was struck by a series of typhoons.
The CERF, which has a target reserve of $500 million, was created as part of key UN reforms sought by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to ensure swifter responses to humanitarian emergencies, with adequate funds made available within three to four days as opposed to up to four months or more under the previous $50 million fund.