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UN to launch new consolidated humanitarian appeal

UN prepares to launch new consolidated humanitarian appeal

Joeveth is 12-years-old, a landmine victim and orphan. He sits with other children on a bench, his crutch at his side, at a United Nations-assisted centre for war orphans in the town of Kuito in central Angola.

Maria Bokaa, 52, and her two-year-old granddaughter Mariam, walked for four days from Guahun in Sierra Leone to seek safety at Katkama transit camp in Guinea where UN refugee officials will help her. She is mentally and physically drained, caring for her granddaughter after her daughter died.

These are some of the faces and voices that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is attaching to the statistics as Secretary-General Kofi Annan prepares to launch tomorrow the 2004 Consolidated Appeal on behalf of UN humanitarian agencies, seeking to help some 45 million people around the world.

"With the theme this year of 'Hear Our Voices,' we are trying to put the focus back on the people we are working for," says a spokesperson for OCHA, Stephanie Bunker.

Joining Mr. Annan - the keynote speaker at the launching - will be the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland, and the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, Mark Malloch Brown.

The appeal emphasizes the importance of listening to people from communities ravaged by war, conflict, and natural disasters, and those struggling to rebuild, and covers 21 crises, 17 of them in Africa.

Throughout the year OCHA will be adding testimonials like those of Joeveth and Maria to the web site, coaxing the beneficiaries to tell their own stories.

The actual amount sought for the 2004 appeal will not be revealed until Mr. Annan speaks tomorrow, but the 2003 campaign sought more than $3 billion to help 50 million people and the 2002 appeal sought $2.5 billion for 33 million people.

Put together by OCHA, the campaign is a product of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP), a mechanism created a decade ago by the UN General Assembly to plan a common humanitarian strategy and to maximize resources.

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