Pakistan floods, West Africa food crisis top recipients from UN fund

A woman and her children in Chad where efforts are being made to tackle soaring malnutrition

5 October 2010 – Humanitarian agencies responding to emergencies in Pakistan, Niger and Chad received the most allocations from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) during the third quarter of this year, it was reported today.

The CERF, which is provides resources rapidly to assist people affected by natural disasters and conflicts, allocated nearly $40 million to aid agencies providing life-saving assistance to those affected by the worst flooding Pakistan has experienced in a century, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which manages the fund.

During the past three months, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) received a total allocation of $15 million to respond to severe food shortages caused by a prolonged drought in Niger. The food crisis in the West African country has left about 7 million people, or about 46 per cent of the population, in need of food assistance. Since the beginning of the year, humanitarian agencies in Niger have received a total of $35 million from CERF.

More than $10 million went to humanitarian agencies in Chad, where they are responding to high rates of malnutrition caused by food shortages that followed poor harvests across West Africa’s Sahel region. The $10 million allocation brought to $21.5 million the total amount of funding allocated to agencies in Chad so far this year.

Other humanitarian emergencies that have received funding from CERF during the past three months include Myanmar, where agencies received $2.4 million following severe flooding and landslides. The funds will enable the agencies to provide food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities to those affected. In total, agencies working in Myanmar have received over $6.4 million from CERF this year.

In Burkina Faso, CERF allocated $2 million to support agencies providing food assistance, access to water, and prevention of child malnutrition and diseases following floods that affected more than 105,000 people.

To respond to the problem of lead poisoning in Nigeria, CERF has allocated nearly $2 million to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to enable the agencies to identify communities at risk, provide medical care to those affected and clean up contaminated villages.

CERF was also a source of funds used to respond to locust infestations in Madagascar and Georgia, with $4.7 million going to agencies in the African country and $293,000 to the European nation, respectively.

Over the past three months, the fund also allocated a total of $42 million under an arrangement where long-standing humanitarian emergencies can receive support from CERF if they are consistently under-funded.

The General Assembly created CERF in 2005 to provide predictable and equitable funding to those affected by natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies. It seeks to complement and not to substitute existing humanitarian funding mechanisms such as the UN Consolidated Appeals.

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