Seven underfunded emergencies receive $30 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund

(New York, 30 July 2008): United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, today announced the allocation of $30 million to support agencies carrying out life-saving aid programmes in seven crisis countries in need of an injection of aid funding – Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Syria.

The largest recipient of funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund’s (CERF) grant allocation to underfunded emergencies is Chad, which will receive $6.8 million. The humanitarian situation in Chad has deteriorated during the first half of 2008 as a result of worsening insecurity and an influx of new refugees from Sudan’s Darfur region and the Central African Republic. An estimated 500,000 people are heavily dependent on humanitarian aid. The allocation is for projects in the 2008 United Nations Consolidated Appeal for Chad, which requested $306 million. Eight months into the year, the Appeal is less than half funded, including crucial sectors such as protection, health and education.

In Syria, a CERF grant of $4 million will benefit up to 1.5 million increasingly impoverished refugees from Iraq. The refugees are in dire need of food, non-food items and health services. Agencies working in Iraq will receive $5 million, while those implementing projects in Sri Lanka will get $4 million. Programmes in Afghanistan will receive $4.6 million, Burundi $3.6 million and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea $2 million.

‘Millions of people affected by some of the less visible crises around the world often have to endure great deprivation,’ said Mr. Holmes. ‘Funds from CERF’s underfunded emergencies window are often the last source of hope for people in such circumstances,’ Mr. Holmes added.

The funds made available today will be granted to United Nations humanitarian agencies and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and through them to partner organizations, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to support humanitarian projects in the affected countries. Countries were selected to receive grants based on an analysis of the funding levels of their aid programmes, the severity of the humanitarian needs, and security and other constraints on aid delivery.

This is the second round of allocations from CERF’s window for underfunded emergencies in 2008. The first round in February allocated $104 million for underfunded emergencies to 14 countries.

CERF is funded by voluntary contributions from Member States, non-governmental organisations, local governments, the private sector and individual donors. This year, the donors pledged nearly $432.2 million in support of the Fund, bringing the total amount contributed to CERF since March 2006 to more than $1.1 billion. As mandated by the General Assembly, CERF commits one-third of all funds each year to redress imbalances in the global aid distribution by supporting neglected crises.

For further information, please call: Dawn Blalock, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 318 8917, John Nyaga, OCHA-New York, + 1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570, Susan Christofides, CERF Secretariat +1 917 367 5252. OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or http://www.reliefweb.int

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