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UN emergency response funds allocated to neglected crises

UN emergency response funds allocated to neglected crises

The United Nations’ central body for coordinating relief and humanitarian aid has allocated more than 100 million dollars in grants for critical life-saving work in some of the world’s neglected trouble-spots.

The money will fund the work of UN agencies and their partners in 15 countries, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

Announcing the allocation, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, described the grants as “often the last bit of hope for millions of people caught up in some of the most severe and protracted humanitarian crises around the world.”

The grants are made from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is mandated to commit one-third of its money each year to redress imbalances in the global distribution of aid by supporting neglected crises.

“It is thanks to the existence of tools like the CERF and the generous support it receives from donors each year that we can fill gaps in the humanitarian response and provide assistance to the most vulnerable,” Mr. Holmes said.

The $104.2 million allocated today includes $38 million to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), $10 million to Ethiopia, $7 million to Côte d’Ivoire and Pakistan, and smaller sums to Niger, Nepal, Kenya, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Mali, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Myanmar.

Over the past year, CERF funding has made a critical difference in countries including Côte d’Ivoire, which received only 53 per cent of the resources needed for critical basic needs in 2007. CERF funds were used to provide food, health care and education to internally displaced persons (IDPs), including children, and made it possible for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to restore access to safe drinking water in remote, rural communities. Over the past two years, a total of $200 million of all funds contributed to the CERF has been used in support of forgotten crises in 23 countries, mostly in Africa.

The CERF is funded by voluntary contributions from Member States, non-governmental organizations, local governments and individual donors.