This week, on 17 December, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will mark its 10 year anniversary. Created in 2005, CERF marked an innovative breakthrough in humanitarian funding by Member States of the UN General Assembly as a “fund for all, by all”. It raises and pools funds before the need arises, and provides fast, predictable funding to partners on the frontlines at the onset of a crisis, as well as financing critically underfunded emergencies.
The El Niño global climatic event has had a devastating impact on millions of people across the globe throughout 2015. East Africa, Southern Africa, the Pacific Islands, South East Asia and Central America will continue to be at risk of extreme weather, including below-normal rains and flooding, in early 2016. The humanitarian fallout in certain areas will include increased food insecurity due to low crop yields and rising prices; higher malnutrition rates; devastated livelihoods; and forced displacement.
Total allocations: US$32,576,320
In March 2014, CERF allocated some $6 million to support humanitarian partners providing life-saving aid to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.
In November 2014, the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) approved $15 million from CERF for the provision of urgent aid including clean water, food and transportation for refugees from South Sudan in Ethiopia.
16 October 2013: Since 2011, violent conflict and tensions between the Borena and Gabra tribes in Moyale, Kenya, have forced an estimated 70,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries, particularly Ethiopia. An inter-agency joint rapid assessment confirmed that the conflict has claimed the lives of 54 people and resulted in large-scale property destruction, including schools and health centres. In August 2013, the intensity of the conflict increased significantly and caused thousands more households to join their relatives in Ethiopia.
7 June 2013: At the end of May, more than 100 cases of yellow fever were reported in the South Ari district of Ethiopia’s South Omo zone. Thirty-nine of these cases were fatal.
Yellow fever requires an immediate response as it is highly transmissible, causing massive outbreaks and alarming fatality rates. Yellow fever cannot be treated, but it can be prevented through a vaccine. When the epidemic occurs in unvaccinated populations, case-fatality rates may exceed 50 per cent.
Refugees in Ethiopia supported with $10 million from the CERF
13 September 2011: More than $10 million was allocated from the CERF in September to enable United Nations agencies to provide life-saving assistance to refugees in Ethiopia. More than 77,000 refugees fled ongoing conflict and drought in Somalia during the course of the year, arriving at overflowing camps in south-eastern Ethiopia. The majority of the refugees were women and children. An assessment carried out in early 2011 suggested that they were in alarmingly bad health and suffering dangerously high levels of malnutrition.
The World Food Programme (WFP) was provided with $5.3 million from the CERF to provide emergency food assistance to 300,000 refugees over a three month period. A further $129,000 allowed WFP to put in place vital communications support for humanitarian organizations involved with the response. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) used $4.6 million of CERF funding to provide shelter materials, non-food items (such as kitchen sets and sanitary kits) to refugee families at the camps, as well as meals at refugee transit centres.