The United Nations today appealed for more than $7.4 billion to provide humanitarian assistance to 50 million people suffering from the effects of conflicts and natural disasters in 28 countries over the coming year.
The amount sought for 2011 is the largest since the creation of the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) in 1991. It comprises appeals for the West Africa region and 13 countries – Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Haiti, Kenya, Niger, the occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
“In 2011, tens of millions of people will need help to survive,” said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, who chaired the launch of the appeal in Geneva. “Conflicts and natural disasters will cut them off from their homes, their livelihoods, and from access to essentials like drinking water and health care.
“This appeal is asking for the resources needed to respond quickly. The strong response to the mega-disasters this year in Haiti and Pakistan shows what is possible when the international community comes together,” she added.
The CAP is the culmination of the efforts of some 425 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.
Last year the UN appealed for more than $7.1 billion to assist 48 million people across 25 countries whose lives were wrecked by conflict and natural disasters.
In a related development, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today relief efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are facing major funding problems, with the $827.6 million appeal sought for this year only 59 per cent funded.
“The under-funding of this appeal – the second most important one after the appeal for Sudan – will have dire consequences,” OCHA spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva.
“By year-end, it is likely that 200,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition will not have been assisted due to a lack of funding; that 180,000 children under the age of one will not have been vaccinated against relevant diseases; and that 100,000 children under five exposed to malaria in endemic areas will not have been assisted through malaria management care.”
In addition, up to 76,000 pregnant women will have given birth on the floor in camps for internally displaced persons due to the lack of beds and delivery kits, and up to 5,700 women and girls will have died while giving birth due to the lack of proper care for pregnancy-related complications, she stated.