U.N. Reports $4.8B ‘Record’ Aid Funding Shortfall

The U.N. on Tuesday said “it is running a record funding-shortfall of $4.8 billion for its aid operations in 16 crisis-ridden countries” and has received “less than half of the $9.5 billion it needs to carry out it humanitarian operations this year,” VOA News reports (Schlein, 7/21).

At a mid-year review, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said although the organization’s emergency appeals had received more funds compared with the same time last year, poverty and need are increasing due to the economic crisis, the Guardian writes (7/21).

Holmes said extra money is needed because violence and food insecurity worsened living conditions for millions of people during the first half of the year, according to CNN. “It is clear that the global recession puts pressure on the aid budgets of all donor governments, but of course it puts immeasurably more pressure on crises-stricken people in poor countries,” he said (7/22).

Reuters reports that a financing review highlighted that “some 43 million people need assistance this year, up from 28 million in 2008.” The 2009 shortfall “affects all major U.N. humanitarian projects, which involve supplying water, food, medical care and shelter, clearing landmines, and helping vulnerable people improve their agricultural output,” the news agency writes. The countries with the biggest funding gaps include: “Sudan ($916 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($505 million), Zimbabwe ($458 million) and Somalia ($428 million),” Reuters reports (MacInnis, 7/21).

Holmes also highlighted the situation in Pakistan, VOA News writes: “Pakistan has seen probably the most dramatic and dramatically changing humanitarian situation this year with up to two million people fleeing the military operations … That has meant scaling up … a major aid operation with a consequence of large figure of dollars attached to it,” he said.

According to Al Jazeera, Holmes said “the main contributing countries have stuck to their promises which was to maintain their aid budgets, both development and humanitarian budgets, despite the recession” (7/22).