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Oxfam appeals to help the forgotten millions

Media Release

For Immediate Release November 10, 2004

Oxfam appeals to international community to help the forgotten millions

Donor governments are today being urged to pledge US $1.7 billion to the United Nations annual humanitarian appeal and help save the lives of millions trapped in 14 forgotten crises around the globe, by international agency Oxfam.

Devastating conflicts in Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and many other countries mean that 13 million people are currently living as refugees and a further 25 million are displaced within their own countries.

Oxfam said the world's spending priorities were wrongly skewed towards defence. A staggering $900 billion is spent on defence globally, yet wealthy nations spend between just $50-60 billion on overseas aid.

Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Barry Coates said that the annual UN appeal was a crucial opportunity for donor governments to fund humanitarian aid efforts to reach those desperately needing food, water, healthcare, education and protection.

"Every day we face the terrible reality that there is not enough aid to reach those in need," said Coates. "The generosity of the world's wealthy nations simply has not kept pace with the rising calamities."

"In Northern Uganda, a war has raged for 18 years causing 1.6 million to flee their homes, yet it has largely been ignored by donor governments and the world's media," said Coates.

And in the Darfur crisis, many crops were not sown due to fighting and insecurity, and the early end of the rainy season means an estimated 2 million will need food assistance in the coming months.

Key figures from the 2004 UN humanitarian appeal:

- The UN appealed for $3.4 billion for 2004 to help save the lives of 45 million people in 21 of the world's worst crises. Yet as at November 4, donor countries had provided only just over half the funding required, at $1.86 billion

- In 2004, the UN appealed for US $162 million for the Democratic Republic of Congo, but received just $101 million, just 62% of its appeal

- In 2004, for Darfur and Chad, the UN has appealed for US$535 million but so far has received less than two thirds of its appeal, $343 million

- For Liberia, donors provided less than half the total needed: $140 million was needed, just $66 million provided

- The appeal for Sierra Leone was just 36% funded: the UN appealed for US $61 million, received just $22 million

- Cote d'Ivoire: the UN appeal for $61 million received just $11 million, just 18% of the total needed.

Oxfam New Zealand continues to appeal for funds for emergency work in Darfur, Sudan and in refugee camps in neighbouring Chad. To donate call 0800 600 700 or

visit www.oxfam.org.nz


UN CAP Appeal Fact Sheet

Thursday November 11, 2004


The United Nations is launching its annual Humanitarian Appeal 2005 today in New York, urging donor governments to pledge $1.7 billion to assist people caught up in the world's forgotten emergencies. It is a product of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP), which brings together an assessment of the needs to respond and help 23 million people in 14 crises. The UN has identified the priority countries as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, and the Palestinian Territories. The Humanitarian Appeal 2005 is prepared by the UN agencies working on the ground in crises.

Results for UN Humanitarian Appeal 2004

- The UN appealed for $3.4 billion for 2004 to help save the lives of 45 million people in 21 of the world's worst crises. Yet as of November 4, donor countries had provided only just over half the funding required, at $1.86 billion (54%).

- For the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN appealed for US $162 million but received just $101 million, just 62% of its appeal.

- In Liberia, donors provided less than half the total needed: $140 million was needed, just $66 million provided.

- Sierra Leone was just 36% funded. The UN appealed for US $61 million, received just $22 million.

- In Cote d'Ivoire, the UN appeal for $61 million received $11 million, just 18% of the total needed.

- Full 2004 appeal figures: http://ocha.unog.ch//fts/reports/pdf/ocha_21_2004.pdf

Killer Facts:

- A staggering $900 billion is spent on defence globally, yet wealthy nations spend between just $50-60 billion on overseas aid.

- Right now, 13 million live as refugees, with another 25 million displaced within their own countries (UNHCR).

- In 2003, $529 million was spent in aid for Afghanistan whereas over $10 billion was spent on the military presence there, i.e. nearly 20 times more is being spent on the military presence than on rebuilding the country.

- For Darfur and Chad, the UN has appealed for US$535 million but so far has received less than two thirds of its appeal, $343 million.

- In the first three months of the 2003 Iraq appeal, donors mobilized nearly $2 billion or $74 per person in Iraq. In comparison, the UN appeal for Indonesia was funded to only $7 per person.

Talking points on DRC, Uganda, Sudan

UGANDA: protection of civilians and an end to war

- The war is not over: despite claims the end of the war is imminent, after 18 years of military action, people are still not safe to sleep in their own beds in Northern Uganda.

- An entire generation has grown up under the shadow of the war. Every day Oxfam sees the reality of a conflict that the world has had its eyes closed to and that has been left to fester. Some 1.6 million people have had to flee their homes, many of them have had no access to help as it is simply too dangerous for aid agencies like Oxfam to reach them.

- There must be renewed efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict. We urge the government and UN Security Council members to ensure a permanent end to the conflict.

- It has just been reported that the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) would like to talk peace. It is difficult to think of talking peace with a group that has caused such pain and hardship. But this must be used as a chance to find a peaceful solution

- Night after night, 40,000 young children live the nightmare of having to leave their homes - and their parents - in the bush and walk for hours to nearby towns seeking shelter in schools or town halls in the hope of avoiding being abducted at night by the LRA.

DRC: Protection of civilians and increased humanitarian assistance needed

- Six years of intermittent war has taken a huge toll on people in DRC. Rising conflict in recent months has forced thousands of people in eastern DRC to flee their homes and communities to live instead in terrible conditions in makeshift camps and shelters. In many places, despite the lack of assistance available in camps and shelters, people are still scared of insecurity and won't go home. Civilians have to be protected. The UN's military force in DRC, (MONUC), needs to fulfill its mandate and protect civilians. The Government also has a responsibility to protect its civilians.

- DRC is on the brink of peace. The months ahead are a critical time to consolidate the fledgling/fragile peace. The international community and the signatories to the Pretoria Peace accord must all play their part to keep the peace in DRC and move towards the elections in 2005.

- Donors must deliver on promises to implement the key building blocks to peace. Money is needed to respond to the needs of up to 5 million people are currently displaced in DRC in total, and refugees returning from Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi.

- Donors, the UN and the DRC government must work towards full disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

- This is not just another complicated African conflict - but a country where individual people have become pawns for power brokers who are interested in money and not peace. The peace dividend needs to be more lucrative than the war dividend to those in control of armed groups and in the Government.

- An estimated 3 million people have lost their lives in the DRC in the last three years of conflict.

SUDAN: food and water shortages are increasing, attacks on civilians getting worse

- Food and water shortages are increasing as the rainy season comes to a premature end. There are indications of widespread crop failures and food shortages throughout Darfur. Many crops were not sown this year due to fighting and insecurity - and the relatively light rainfall hasn't been sufficient to sustain the few crops that were planted. The UN estimates that 2 million people will need food assistance in the coming months.

- Over six months after the ceasefire, civilians throughout Darfur continue to be targeted by organised militias and other armed groups. The end of the rainy season is bringing renewed attacks on villages in West and South Darfur, increased banditry and further fighting between Government of Sudan forces and rebel groups.

- The presence of militias and other armed groups around camps and towns in Darfur poses direct and daily threats to tens of thousands of displaced people who have sought shelter there.

- When women and girls venture beyond the perimeter of some settlements, they are subjected to extreme forms of harassment and violence, including beating, abduction and rape. When men leave the safety of the camps, they risk being killed. Terrified people say that police and government soldiers have been unable to protect them from these horrifying attacks.

- Oxfam welcomes the announcement that over 3,000 African Union personnel will be deployed to Darfur to monitor the ceasefire and protect civilians. The African Union has a key role in ending violence against civilians in Darfur. But their current mission is under-staffed and under-resourced.

- Time is running out. The new AU troops must be deployed to Darfur at once - especially to areas where threats to civilians are greatest.

- The international community must deliver their existing pledges immediately and provide additional funding for increased logistical support, communications equipment and transport to strengthen the ability of the AU mission to stop the violence against civilians that continues throughout Darfur.

- There must be an immediate cessation of hostilities and a renewed commitment by all parties to the peace talks.


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