The UN has allocated US$104 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to bolster aid operations in 13 of the world’s most neglected and under-funded humanitarian crises.
“Millions of people need help around the world in places which have fallen out of the headlines,” said Valerie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. “These funds will help to save lives.”
As the largest recipient, South Sudan will receive $20 million for aid to southerners returning from neighbouring Sudan. Since the end of October 2010, over 362,000 people have returned to South Sudan—the world’s youngest country. Aid agencies in that country are preparing for a possible mass influx of up to 700,000 people who will have to return by 8 April, before they become illegal residents in Sudan.
Other recipients of CERF funds, selected based on their humanitarian needs and current funding levels, include Djibouti and Eritrea in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Congo, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Haiti and Syria.
“What this money does is provide an injection for those countries to help them get their programmes off the ground at the beginning of the year,” said Steve O’Malley, Chief of the CERF secretariat.
In February, UN country teams in the 13 countries will determine specific use of the funding. Last year, an estimated 35 million people benefited from aid operations in 20 under-funded crises in countries such as Pakistan, Myanmar, Somalia, Niger and Colombia.
In 2011, Somalia received some $15 million for drought and famine relief. Pakistan received another $9.7 million for food, water, shelter and health care for thousands of families devastated by the floods. CERF’s second round of allocations for underfunded crises is expected in July 2012.