30 January 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today released $100 million from the organization’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to sustain operations in nine “neglected crises” where levels of vulnerability are alarmingly high but funding remains critically low.
The allocation will enable life-saving help for more than 6 million people in Cameroon, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Uganda.
“CERF is a lifeline for people caught up in crises that don’t make the headlines but where needs are just as urgent,” said Mr. Guterres in a news release.
“This funding is crucial so that the UN and partners can continue assisting people who need our help so desperately,” he added.
According to the news release, a large portion of the allocation will reach people affected by displacement – one of the most pressing humanitarian challenges in today’s world where more than 65 million people are displaced.
The funding will ensure that millions of people who fled Boko Haram-related violence and conflict in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon will receive health care, food assistance and shelter. It will also bring relief to the internally displaced people as well as refugees from neighbouring countries in Somalia, Uganda and Libya.
Urgent support will also reach those suffering from malnutrition and food insecurity in Madagascar, Mali and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“CERF is one of the fastest ways to provide urgent aid. The allotment approved today will save lives in all nine countries,” noted UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, who manages the Fund on the Secretary-General’s behalf.
However, the allocation of $100 million addresses only a small portion of urgent humanitarian needs.
The news release further highlighted that as the scale and intensity of emergencies continue to increase, a larger, more robust CERF is needed so that aid can reach people, whenever and wherever crises hit.
To this end, in December last year, UN General Assembly endorsed a recommendation by then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s to double CERF’s annual target to $1 billion by 2018.
“As we race to address the humanitarian challenges of today, our goal of a $1billion CERF is vital so that help reaches people, whenever and wherever crises hit,” added Mr. O’Brien, also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, noting:
“A strong CERF – for all and by all – is a key step towards our shared commitment to leave no one behind.”
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