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GLOBAL: UN seeks $3.8 billion for crises-hit communities

NEW YORK, 10 December 2007 (IRIN) - The UN has launched a US$3.8-billion appeal to provide emergency aid to 25 million people next year as they struggle to survive conflict, climate-related disasters and other humanitarian crises.

“We live in a world of unprecedented prosperity. But despite this, millions of people continue to endure crises where the essentials of existence - clean water, life-saving drugs, and emergency shelter among others - are denied them and where insecurity is a part of everyday life,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in a forward to the 2008 Humanitarian Appeal, launched at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva on 10 December.

As in 2007, Sudan accounts for the largest share of the appeal at $930 million, compared with more than $1.2 billion last year. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the occupied Palestinian territories follow, with $567 million and $462 million respectively.

“Many humanitarian crises involving conflict continue, in Somalia, Sudan, the occupied Palestinian territories, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to name just a few - and people living in such extreme circumstances will need continued generosity in 2008,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said at the launch.

“Floods, hurricanes, cyclones, and drought also struck more frequently in 2007, and this trend points to a future where aid agencies, and the world’s vulnerable poor, will have to respond ever more frequently to climate-related disasters,” he added.

“As a citizen of this world, I am deeply alarmed by the suffering of so many people around me,” Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group, said in a statement at the launch. “Each year the world spends approximately $1 trillion on armaments and $350 billion on agricultural subsidies. The Humanitarian Appeal 2008 seeks just about 1 percent of that - a sliver of the rich countries’ wealth.”

The appeal marks the culmination of an undertaking in which 188 organisations, including UN agencies, NGOs and other international bodies united to meet the world's major humanitarian challenges in a strategic, coordinated and prioritised way.

The proportionate scale of the appeal was a point stressed by Ban as he broke down the $3.8 billion total among 25 million beneficiaries. “This means $152 per person in need - or, put another way, for every $100 of national income in developed countries, a few cents of humanitarian aid,” he said.

The 2008 appeal includes five fewer countries than in 2007. In the cases of the Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Burundi, humanitarian needs have declined thanks to the efforts of past appeals and can now be handled as part of reconstruction and development planning.

Among the 24 countries targeted are the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, the occupied Palestinian territories, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.





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This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
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