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Qatar Gives $40 Million in Humanitarian Relief

Qatar Gives $40 Million, Mostly Targeted At Gaza, To Boost UN Humanitarian Relief

New York, Feb 23 2009 2:10PM Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his appreciation for a $40 million donation from Qatar to aid United Nations emergency relief and recovery efforts around the world.

The majority of the funding – some $30 million – is targeted at the world body’s humanitarian operations in Gaza, and $10 million has been allocated to the Central Emergence Response Fund (CERF), created in 2006 to speed relief for natural and man-made disasters and save thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost to delay.

In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he “is honoured to accept a generous $40 million contribution from the Emir of Qatar to United Nations humanitarian agencies for programmes to meet the emergency needs of civilians in Gaza.”

Of the $30 million allocated to Gaza, devastated by Israel’s three-week military offensive with the stated aim of stopping Hamas rocket attacks into its territory, some $10 million will be distributed to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to support its life-saving activities.

The remaining Gaza funds will be shared by the World Food Programme (WFP), which provides emergency food assistance to more than one million Gazans, humanitarian projects of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and programmes headed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to help rebuild the damaged agricultural sector.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will also receive funding for its coordination and advocacy activities in the Gaza Strip.

“The Secretary-General is particularly grateful to Qatar for allocating $10 million from the pledge to go to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF),” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in the statement.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, stressed that “the $10 million donation to the CERF is especially significant, as it allows the United Nations to allocate the funds based on need to other parts of the world that are often overlooked.”

I hope that other potential donors will follow suit, as humanitarian needs will only grow in 2009, considering the combined threats posed by intensified conflicts, climate change, the global food crisis and the global economic slowdown,” Mr. Holmes said.

So far in 2009 CERF has provided $8 million for food and safe water to people in Gaza, $10 million to boost aid efforts including water and nutrition programmes in Somalia, and $4 million for emergency programmes in Niger that have received inadequate support from donors.

Since its establishment, more than 100 member states and private sector donors have contributed some $1.5 billion to the CERF, which was envisaged as being “by all, for all” and has disbursed over $1.2 billion to help millions of survivors of natural disasters and conflict in 70 countries.

ENDS

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