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Donors deserve a pat on the back

Boy takes part in cleaning up earthquake rubble at a church/school building in the Martissant neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince. March 2010
(Nancy Palus/IRIN)

Just under half of the US$9.5 billion the UN and NGOs have called for to respond to emergencies worldwide in 2010 was received by the end of June - more than was expected, given the dark economic climate, says the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"Maintaining humanitarian aid budgets this year, in the face of recession and pressure on budgets, has been a real achievement by many donors," said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes in a communiqué.

"I urge them to keep up this effort to ensure that people struck by disaster or conflict receive the help they desperately need for the rest of the year.

Humanitarian funding levels dropped slightly from the $4.6 billion received in mid-2009. Sweden, Guyana and Luxembourg were the most generous donors, in terms of humanitarian spend as a percentage of gross domestic product, while Japan, Australia and the Netherlands were the least generous.

Unhappily, there are growing needs in some emergencies, including in the Sahel, where at last count some 10 million people faced food insecurity, OCHA spokesperson Stephanie Bunker told IRIN. "We need to maintain the momentum we've seen so far," she said.

Some $2.4 billion was added to the original global appeal, mainly for Haiti, the Central African Republic and the Sahel, but this could rise. So far, 64 percent of the $1 billion for Haiti has been committed, and 31 percent of the $568 million for West Africa, though Niger's portion of this was 58 percent funded, according to OCHA.

More than half of the overall humanitarian appeals - $5.2 billion - were for emergencies in five countries: Sudan, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Apart from the Sahel and Chad, which is raising money separately, Bunker said Kenya and Yemen were on also on OCHA's worry list. Smaller crises were faring even less well - Guatemala was 25 percent funded and Mongolia had received just 10 percent of its requested amount. "Every dollar you don't have translates into something not being done; it's that simple," she commented.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has plugged $1.98 billion worth of gaps in some underfunded appeals, but OCHA noted that its resources were limited.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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