U.N. Launches Largest Ever Annual Aid Appeal, Asking For $7.4B In 2011

In its annual appeal, the U.N. on Tuesday asked “governments and private donors for a record $7.4 billion next year to provide 50 million people worldwide with food, clothing and other urgent humanitarian aid,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (11/30).

The funding is to help alleviate suffering related to “the effects of conflicts and natural disasters in 28 countries over the coming year,” the U.N. News Centre writes. “The amount sought for 2011 is the largest since the creation of the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) in 1991. It comprises appeals for the West Africa region and 13 countries – Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Haiti, Kenya, Niger, the occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe,” the news service notes (11/30).

“Among the highlights of the 2011 CAP are the inclusion of more natural disasters … and a recognition that while some humanitarian emergencies – such as last year’s humanitarian crisis in Uganda – may have come to an end, vulnerabilities in other countries and regions are growing. This year’s appeal also introduces a new Gender Marker tool meant to address the distinct humanitarian needs of women, girls, boys and men,” IRIN reports (12/1).

“In 2011, tens of millions of people will need help to survive,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said in a statement, Environment News Service reports. “Conflicts and natural disasters will cut them off from their homes, their livelihoods, and from access to essentials like drinking water and health care,” said Amos, who launched the appeal in Geneva (11/30). The largest amount of the appeal, $1.7 billion, will be used for aid operations in Sudan, Amos said, VOA News reports. “Amos says humanitarian needs have eased slightly in some protracted crises. She notes there is better food security in parts of Somalia following adequate rains and harvests. She says Niger’s food and nutrition crisis has lessened since its acute peak earlier in the year. But, she is quick to add the food crisis remains alarmingly large and severe. She says food security also has improved somewhat in Zimbabwe, though these three African countries still require a large-scale and urgent response,” according to the news service (Schlein, 11/30).

About 425 aid groups contributed to the CAP, ENS writes. Of the appeal, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said, “These needs pertain to sudden-onset disasters, but also to protracted humanitarian crises, often linked to conflict or persistent drought. For example, Somalia is entering its 20th year of crisis. Djibouti is suffering from four consecutive years of failed rainfall.” Chan described 2010 as an “extraordinary year … Not in terms of the number of humanitarian emergencies, which was somewhat lower than in recent years, but because of the two mega-disasters in Haiti and Pakistan” (11/30).

Also on Tuesday, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said relief efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are under-funded, noting that the $827.6 million appeal sought for 2010 is only 59 percent funded, the U.N. News Centre writes. “The under-funding of this appeal – the second most important one after the appeal for Sudan – will have dire consequences,” Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA spokesperson, said during a news conference. “By year-end, it is likely that 200,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition will not have been assisted due to a lack of funding; that 180,000 children under the age of one will not have been vaccinated against relevant diseases; and that 100,000 children under five exposed to malaria in endemic areas will not have been assisted through malaria management care,” she added (11/30).

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