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50 Million People Being Hit By Low Donations

UN Humanitarian Work For 50 Million People Being Hit By Low Donations

A mid-term review of United Nations Consolidated Appeals for nearly $3 billion to improve the lives of some 50 million people suffering in crises has shown a shortfall of $2.25 billion, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

“The response so far is too little, too late for millions of victims in forgotten emergencies,” OCHA chief Jan Egeland said. “Timely and increased funding is essential for effective response.”

The revised requirements for the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP ), launched last November to be used in 2004, totalled $2.95 billion, of which only $696.8 million have been donated, OCHA said.

Despite some generous contributions, only 23.6 per cent of the programmes being run by 168 humanitarian organizations to cope with 25 crises are being funded so far this year, a drop from 33 per cent in 2002 and again in 2003, it said.

Among the reasons for poor funding in 2004 might be that heavy donations in 2003 depleted the funds available for 2004 and that “lacklustre economic situations in industrial countries have reduced governments’ resources from which official humanitarian funds are allocated,” OCHA said.

Country appeals receiving the most meagre responses were Madagascar, which got $149,254 out of $9 million requested (1.7 per cent) to handle drought and cyclones. Indonesia received nearly $1 million out of $43.2 million hoped for (2.2 per cent) as the country experienced floods and earthquake. Donors gave Côte d’Ivoire $4 million out of $61.1 million (6.3 per cent) needed.

The crises getting the best responses were located in Chechnya, Iran and West Africa, OCHA indicated in a table of requirements and contributions.

Chechnya received $29.78 million out of $60.1 million (49.5 per cent), mainly for refugees. Iran got $15.9 million out of the $32 million (48.6 per cent) that humanitarian and heritage workers estimated as necessary for its recovery from last year’s earthquake.

The West African sub-region, the location of recent and current civil conflicts, got $47.3 million out of $108.4 million (43.6 per cent) it asked for to handle humanitarian emergencies, OCHA said.

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