During early 2007, UN emergency fund provided $130 million to those in need

During early 2007, UN emergency fund provided $130 million to those in need

A landmark United Nations fund has provided $130 million during the first three months of this year for activities delivering aid to those who need it most in programmes ranging from distributing food and clothing to flood victims in Southern Africa and South America to providing much-needed vaccines to respond to cholera and meningitis outbreaks in West Africa.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), was launched last year to speed up relief operations for emergencies, make funds available quickly after a disaster and finance underfunded emergencies.

To date, close to $390 million has been disbursed to 468 projects in 41 countries. Of that amount, $237 million was allocated for emergency situations in 31 countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Djibouti, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. The remaining $152 million was used to help millions suffering in so-called neglected or forgotten crises in 24 countries, such as Angola, Bangladesh, Mali, Haiti and Myanmar.

As of the end of last month, 72 donors – comprising 69 Member States, Hyogo Prefecture in Japan, the Disaster Resource Network and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Humanity First – have pledged more than $640 million to the CERF since its establishment.

The CERF aims to achieve an overall target of $500 million, and the UN predicts this will be reached by 2008.