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UN seeks $4.7 billion for 26 humanitarian crises

UN seeks $4.7 billion for 26 humanitarian crises in 2006

Launching the United Nations yearly Humanitarian Appeal today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for donors to provide $4.7 billion for urgent support to 31 million people in 26 countries stricken by war, natural disasters, drought and a combination of such scourges worldwide.

Saying that the past year, with the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami and American hurricanes, demonstrated a tremendous capacity for giving, Mr. Annan stressed that the appeal “is an opportunity, which must not be missed, to extend that generosity to people whose plight may not capture the world’s attention, but whose suffering is no less tragic.

“In a world of plenty, continued suffering is a terrible stain on our conscience,” he added, describing the “unimaginable conditions” of survivors of catastrophes, who had no access to clean water, food, shelter, health care or other necessities.

He emphasized that the appeals are developed in the field to not only alleviate this immediate suffering, but also to identify and address long-term needs.

The “Humanitarian Appeal 2006” comprises the Consolidated Appeals for relief projects of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations for Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, occupied Palestinian territory, Republic of Congo, Somalia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, the Great Lakes region and the West African region.

“Flash appeals,” which are released in response to sudden onset emergencies during the year, are not included in the Humanitarian Appeal. 2005 was a record year for Flash Appeals, with 10 issued and requirements totalling just over $2 billion.

Funding requirements for major ongoing emergencies such as those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan are included, though, with the latter country requiring the most funding for 2006 – $1.5 billion.

“Unfortunately, many of these disasters have been largely forgotten by the international community,” said Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

“We can no longer afford to neglect the majority of crises – to play a humanitarian lottery in which only one or two crises capture the world’s attention each year, and therefore its support,” he added, stressing that “the funding of humanitarian assistance must be more predictable and more equitable.”

“We need to see an expansion of the humanitarian donor community,” said Mr. Egeland. “For too long we have relied upon the same donors to fund the vast majority of our humanitarian assistance efforts.”

In 2005, nineteen new donors made contributions to the United Nations appeals; at least nineteen additional new donors should contribute in 2006, he said.

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