UN gives $100 million to ‘neglected emergencies'

The UN on 18 January allotted US$100 million to 14 “neglected emergencies”, where significant humanitarian needs remain but funding is scarce.



It is the first round of 2010 allocations from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which was set up to redress gaps in global aid distribution.



The allocation includes $3 million for Haiti but the country’s full funding needs are being re-evaluated following the 12 January earthquake, according to an 18 January communiqué by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Since the earthquake CERF allocated an additional $25 million to aid agencies in Haiti.



Two West African countries receiving funds face political crises that have stifled donor funding.

Guinea will receive $2 million “to help the UN Country Team to address humanitarian needs”, according to the OCHA statement.



“For us these CERF underfunded emergency allocations are critical to ensure funding for key humanitarian projects in the country,” Philippe Verstraeten, head of OCHA-Guinea, told IRIN. “Humanitarian interventions are chronically underfunded in Guinea as donors tend to back development projects instead.”



And many donors have pulled development funding from Guinea over the past year.



In Niger, which is receiving $6 million, food shortages loom as the political situation has many donors pulling back, according to an aid worker who requested anonymity.



“In this context CERF funds are more than vital, particularly for tackling child malnutrition, boosting families’ food security and supporting pastoralists,” the aid worker said. “The lean season [normally beginning in March] has started earlier in some areas and promises to be extremely difficult for the people."



CERF is funded by voluntary contributions from member states, non-profit organizations, local governments, the private sector and individual donors. The fund is intended to complement existing humanitarian funding mechanisms, providing seed funds for critical operations and funding life-saving programmes not yet covered by other donors, according to the UN.



The latest CERF underfunded emergencies allocation is for the following countries:



Ethiopia $17 million



Democratic Republic of Congo $16 million



Afghanistan $11 million



Kenya $10 million



• Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: $8 million



Chad $7 million



Yemen $7 million



Niger $6 million



Myanmar $4 million



• Colombia $3 million



Eritrea $3 million



Philippines $3 million



• Haiti $3 million



• Guinea $2 million



np/aj