U.N. Needs $5B For Humanitarian Aid This Year, Mid-Year Report Says

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) launched its mid-year appeal Wednesday, requesting “nearly $5 billion to meet its commitment to help 53 million people in 34 countries who need humanitarian aid this year as a result of conflict and disasters,” the Associated Press reports.  

“The U.N.’s original appeal for 2010, launched last November, sought $7.1 billion but that increased to $9.5 billion with the earthquake in Haiti and the deepening of crises in Africa’s Sahel region, the Central African Republic and elsewhere,” the news service writes (Lederer, 7/14).

Aid donations are “only lagging slightly” compared with recent years, according to the U.N. News Centre. John Holmes, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said, “Maintaining humanitarian aid budgets this year in the face of recession and budgets has been a real achievement by many donors.” Holmes called for donors to “persist” and “ensure that people struck by disaster or conflict receive the help they need for the rest of the year to stay alive, avoid recoverable harm, and restore dignity and basic self-sufficiency” (7/14).

Reuters notes that the aid appeal for Niger went up from $191 million to $253 million “after new figures last month showed that over one in five children were already facing acute malnutrition in worst-hit regions.” OCHA’s mid-year review shows that “donors had by June 25 provided 58 percent of the revised requirement, leaving a shortfall of $107 million” (7/15).

“The U.N. appeal for Haiti remains at around 1.5 billion dollars for the year, with 64 percent of the amount met so far, according to OCHA,” Agence France-Presse writes (7/14).

Report Highlights U.N. Shortcomings In Haiti Earthquake Response

Also on Wednesday, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) released a report on the aid response to the Haitian earthquake, which calls for “restricting the delivery of some humanitarian goods and the establishment a certification process to regulate further aid,” Foreign Policy’s “Turtle Bay” blog reports.

“‘Is there a point at which the system can be too inclusive in coordination and planning?’ asks the 32-page report … ‘The Haiti response operation has received literally tons of inappropriate relief items. Many governments appear to feel the need to send a plane full of relief goods, for internal political reasons, whether or not the goods are appropriate,'” the blog reports. The “controversial” report highlights the “U.N.’s shortcomings in coordinating activities with local charities, the U.S. military, and private businesses eager to play a role in the relief effort,” but it also acknowledges that “huge strides” have been made in refining the U.N.’s role over the last few months (Lynch, 7/14).

In related news, PBS’ NewsHour examines the situation in Haiti for people who had a limb amputated as a result of the earthquake (Suarez, 7/14). The NewsHour also featured an interview with Haitian President Rene Preval. Preval discusses switching from an emergency response to reconstruction, foreign aid and reflects on the six months since the quake (Suarez, 7/13).

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