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.
In January 2015, extremely heavy rains and floods displaced 230,000 people in Malawi, and 50,000 people in Mozambique. In response, United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos approved US$10.9 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support humanitarian partners assisting thousands of families.
8 November 2013: For the second time in 2013, Malawi has suffered late rains, prolonged dry spells and flooding. The climate shocks, coupled with high market prices for fuel, seeds and fertilizer have meant that less was planted and even more less harvested, causing severe food insecurity. United Nations reports estimate that some 1.46 million Malawians are affected.
In response, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has provided a rapid response grant of US$8,049,782 to three United Nations agencies.
31 December 2012: During the 2011 and 2012 agricultural seasons, Malawi experienced widespread dry spells that reduced the production of food crops. 2012 was the fourth consecutive year of limited or no access to food crops due to a high number of natural disasters in the preceding years. The most affected districts were Balaka, Blantyre, Chikhawawa, Mulanje, Neno, Nsanje, Ntcheu, Phalombe and Thyolo.
An estimated 1.97 million people will struggle to meet their minimum food requirements until the next harvest in March 2013. More than 277,000 of those people are children.