CERF: Providing a lifeline for people in forgotten crises

17 Jan 2014

A displaced family living in a longhouse in Kyein Ni Pyin camp in Pauktaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar. Credit: OCHA/Pierre Peron
UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos allocates $95.5 million to help people caught in 11 underfunded crises.

United Nations Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos has allocated US$95.5 million to sustain emergency aid operations in some of the world’s worst, yet most neglected, humanitarian crises.

This funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is the first of its two-part annual allocation for underfunded emergencies. It will ensure that life-saving relief work continues in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“People living through some of the most critical humanitarian crises do not always receive the attention that they need,” said Ms. Amos.  “These allocations will go to help people in places where large-scale human suffering has been forgotten or overshadowed by other emergencies.”

Aid agencies in Mali will receive $11.5 million. The country is struggling to recover from a violent political turmoil and a food and nutrition crisis that has gripped much of the Sahel in recent years. Humanitarian needs remain high, the food situation is critical and hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of acute malnutrition.

Despite these challenges, donor support for humanitarian action in Mali has been low. For example, the 2013 appeal for Mali only received 50 per cent of required funding by the end of the year, seriously hampering aid efforts.

Myanmar is also struggling with extreme humanitarian needs but low financial support. Years of conflict and unresolved ethnic strife have contributed to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. However, UN agencies report that humanitarian activities only received 47 per cent of required funding in 2013.

Some $5.5 million from the CERF allocation will allow UN agencies in Myanmar to maintain operations in Kachin and Rakhine states, where thousands of families caught in the middle of fighting still need humanitarian assistance.

The rest of the CERF funding will support relief efforts in Chad ($10 million), Colombia ($4.5 million), Djibouti ($4 million), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ($6.5 million), Haiti ($6 million), Sudan ($20 million), Uganda ($4 million), Yemen ($14 million) and Pakistan ($9.5 million).

Each allocation represents a fraction of the overall humanitarian funding requirements for each emergency, but CERF funding is prioritized to address the most immediate, life-saving needs.

Approximately one third of all CERF funds are reserved to help redress imbalances in global aid distribution. The latest allocations bring the total amount disbursed through the underfunded-emergencies window to $1.12 billion since CERF’s inception in 2006. The next round of underfunded allocations will be announced in July 2014.

More>> CERF Allocations for Underfunded Crises 

Note: This story was updated 22 January to include the allocation for Pakistan and the resulting change to the overall figure.

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