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Zimbabwe: UN Supplies Life-Saving Aid, Needs Funds

Zimbabwe: UN Rushes In Life-Saving Aid, Additional Funds Needed

New York, Sep 18 2008 3:10PM

The United Nations and other organizations are rushing to provide basic life-saving aid to millions of Zimbabweans following the recent political settlement in the southern African country and urgently need additional funds, the top UN humanitarian official said today.

“This is a critical moment, which comes immediately after the peaceful resolution of the political stalemate in Zimbabwe and the lifting of the restrictions on field operations of non-governmental organizations (NGOs),” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said in a statement.

“Already, NGOs and UN agencies are re-establishing operations to provide basic life-saving assistance and expect to reach nearly 3 million people across the country by October.

“During this period when humanitarian needs are particularly acute, we – the United Nations, the Government of Zimbabwe, the humanitarian and development communities and regional countries – must work more closely than ever to ensure that these needs are met,” he added.

Zimbabwe suspended all field operations by NGOs, often the UN’s main implementing partners in delivering aid, in the run-up to presidential elections that led to the political crisis, now resolved through a power-sharing agreement.

The 2008 Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal for Zimbabwe is currently funded at 60 per cent of the $394 million required. Critically under-funded sectors include emergency agriculture and education. Funding in health, water and sanitation also remains low.

“This is worrying at a time when the people of Zimbabwe urgently need food, seeds, fertilizers and essential drugs, among so many other priorities,” Mr. Holmes said. “While the humanitarian community must urgently step up immediate interventions, I call on the donor community to step up its funding in parallel, particularly to priority sectors and projects."

The Government must also ensure safe, unfettered access by the humanitarian community as it undertakes its critical work. “For our part, we will continue close cooperation with the Government of Zimbabwe, regional countries and organizations as well as development partners to support humanitarian efforts and recovery initiatives,” he added.

ENDS

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