The United Nations today appealed for more than $7.1 billion over the coming year to assist 48 million people across 25 countries whose lives have been wrecked by conflict and natural disasters, with the largest amount – over $1 billion – sought for Sudan.
“Our aim is to help people survive the coming year, and start working their way out of vulnerability towards the dignity, safety and self-sufficiency to which every human being has a right,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in the foreword to the 2010 Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal.
Launched today in Geneva by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, the appeal covers 12 of the world’s most severe, prolonged crises: Afghanistan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, the occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, West Africa, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
The 2010 appeal is the biggest launched since the creation of the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) in 1991. Last year the appeal sought $7 billion, which was then a record.
Mr. Holmes said that humanitarian aid should be insulated from the current budget pressures faced by many governments. If not, the people desperately affected by the severest natural disasters and conflicts will pay the price for a recession not of their making.
He noted that the $7.1 billion being sought is “far less than one per cent of the amount spent on financial bailouts and economic stimulus” by governments in response to the economic crisis.
In addition to the amount requested for Sudan, the UN is seeking some $871 million to assist around 7 million Afghans suffering the effects of food insecurity, as well as the consequences of conflict.
Similarly, around $828 million is being sought to address the humanitarian needs in strife-torn DRC, where the needs “were still very great,” according to Mr. Holmes.
Rounding out the top five is a request for $689 million for Somalia, where around 3.7 million people – or about half the population – are dependent on humanitarian aid due to conflict, drought, high food prices and the collapse of the local currency, and a request for $664 million for the “significant” humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Mr. Holmes noted that to date the UN has received $6.3 billion, or 64 per cent, of the $7 billion that was sought one year ago as part of the 2009 humanitarian appeal covering 30 million people in 31 countries.
The appeal launched today is the culmination of the efforts of some 380 aid organizations, including UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other international bodies, which come together to meet the world’s major humanitarian challenges in a strategic, coordinated, effective, and prioritized way.