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UN Appeals For East And West Africa

Some $750 Million Sought In UN Appeals For East And West Africa

New York, Nov 24 2008 4:10PM

The United Nations today set in motion further elements of the African regional component of its $7-billion annual humanitarian appeal, seeking help for millions of people suffering from drought, floods, high food prices and displacement in the eastern and western regions of the continent.

In Nairobi, Kenya, the humanitarian community and the Government launched the 2009 Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan (EHRP), requesting $390 million for 1.6 million victims of food and livelihood insecurity and scant health care, as well as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the East African country.

“The appeal outlines the humanitarian community’s plans for collective response in 2009 to address humanitarian needs and assist early recovery needs,” Aeneas Chuma, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, said.

More than 4,200 IDPs uprooted by post-election violence remain in camps and some 54,000 others are living in 121 transit sites. Drought, floods, rising food and commodity prices, reduced cereal production and livestock diseases have combined to increase food insecurity among many vulnerable populations, including pastoralists in arid and semi-arid areas, coastal lowland areas and amongst the urban poor, with an estimated 1.4 million currently receiving food aid.

Regionally, Kenya’s porous borders have witnessed continued refugee flows. The deteriorating situation in Somalia precipitated an increased influx across the border, adding to a refugee population that already far exceeds the capacity of existing camps. Due to the continuing crisis in Somalia, new arrivals are expected to continue during 2009, increasing the strain on existing refugee support mechanisms.

On the other side of the continent in Dakar, Senegal, the UN launched an international appeal for $361 million to finance humanitarian projects that will help stem the impact of the high food prices crisis on millions of people in one of the world’s poorest regions.

“Our appeal to the generosity of the international community is more than just asking for money,” UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA ) regional representative Hervé Ludovic De Lys said.

“The food crisis and its adverse effects call for more collaboration with States so that, beyond short-term solutions, more durable solutions are adopted to combat issues linked to socio-economic development, inequities of the free market notably with regards to access to basic needs for the poorest, and the negative effects of climate change.”

The appeal serves as a strategic forum between humanitarian and development partners for durable solutions to help some 250 million people who are also threatened by new, emerging crises in the region, he added.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), one of the agencies on the frontline, says West Africa has been particularly hit by the high food prices crisis earlier this year, especially in countries highly dependent on imports to feed themselves.

“WFP and its partners have been able to respond and are continuing to act to make sure the most vulnerable households did not fall into undernutrition,” WFP Regional Director Thomas Yanga noted. “The continuous support of the international community is therefore crucial especially for our work in urban areas if we want to sustain the benefits of this response.”

Last week Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes called for $2.2 billion for the Sudan Work Plan for aid projects next year in Africa’s largest country, with nearly half earmarked for the war-torn region of Darfur, where violence has uprooted almost half the 6 million-strong population.

As with today’s launch, that plan is part of the larger Consolidated Appeal launched in Geneva on 19 November for $7 billion worldwide, by far the largest such appeal ever and nearly double the amount sought for 2008.

ENDS

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