The United Nations flash appeal for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami was "an extraordinarily effective emergency relief effort," but all the world's other "neglected emergencies" are woefully under-funded even though the amount sought is only a fifth of what Europe spends on ice cream each year, a senior UN official said today.
In presenting a mid-term review of what was originally a six-month $977 million flash appeal, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland extended its duration to 12 months and increased the total to $1.087 billion, noting that in overall aid 92 governments had pledged $5.8 billion, with several billion more raised by private individuals and corporations.
But despite this positive assessment of the immediate relief phase for the December tsunami, which killed more than 200,000 people and left up to 5 million more in need of basic services in a dozen countries, Mr. Egeland noted a growing frustration in the reconstruction phase, where houses have not been rebuilt and livelihoods restored.
"We are not making as fast progress in recovery and reconstruction of livelihoods as the people would like to see," he said. "What we have to avoid is a loss of momentum…We have to redouble our efforts in this period."
While most of the money pledged for the flash appeal is already in hand or firmly committed, this is not the case for the world's other emergencies, excluding the appeal for Sudan, with the UN receiving only about nine per cent of what it has sought – $168 million out of $1.7 billion.
"The money we ask for all of these other forgotten and neglected emergencies is one-fifth of what Europe spends on ice cream per year. It is two-and-a-half fighter jets," Mr. Egeland said.
"And it is a shame really that we are making so little progress on fundraising for forgotten and neglected emergencies, in Africa especially," he added, referring to humanitarian crises in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Somalia and West Africa.