Syria, other poorly-funded crises to receive $100 million from UN emergency fund

Syrian refugees at an informal settlement in Lebanon carry aid items, including wood to strengthen their shelters for winter. Photo: UNHCR/I. Prickett

23 January 2015 – Poorly-funded United Nations aid operations received a boost today when Valerie Amos, the UN’s humanitarian chief, announced the allocation of $100 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to boost relief work in twelve countries in need.

The vast majority of the money – some $77.5 million – will be directed towards countries affected by the Syria crisis. Syria itself will receive the largest single allocation, at $30 million, with the number of people there who need humanitarian assistance snowballing from one million four years ago to over 12 million today.

The remainder is to be spread between Lebanon, which receives $18 million, Jordan and Turkey, receiving $9 million each, Iraq, which is allocated $8 million, and Egypt, where $3.5 million will be channelled.

“Despite critical funding gaps, humanitarian workers remain committed to helping every vulnerable Syrian they can,” said Ms. Amos, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator. “This allocation from CERF will help ensure that they can continue their life-saving work.”

The $100 million allocation is the first of two rounds of emergency humanitarian funding planned for release during 2015 with more directed towards support of relief efforts in countries where needs are high but financial support is low.

Grants from CERF’s underfunded-emergencies window provide a temporary lifeline for people caught in crises where current donor contributions fall short but needs are extreme and major assistance is required.

The long-running conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to have disastrous effects and $14 million is allotted to supporting aid operations in DRC, which will receive the bulk of money at $9 million, with Burundi and Rwanda each receiving $2.5 million to provide urgent assistance for people displaced by violence and the vulnerable communities that host them.

Humanitarian partners in Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Djibouti are also due to receive support to sustain long-standing, but critically underfunded humanitarian operations, including the delivery of food and basic health services.

“We thank our donors who have already pledged $418 million for CERF in 2015. This underfunded emergencies allocation of $100 million from that pool will help millions of people who are caught in crises where the scale of needs has outpaced contributions,” said Ms. Amos.

When CERF was established in 2006, global humanitarian appeals sought $6 billion. That amount has more than tripled to $19 billion. To help humanitarian partners keep pace, in both 2013 and 2014, the Fund allocated more than $175 million through its underfunded-emergencies window.

CERF also provides rapid response funding for new or rapidly deteriorating emergencies and has allocated more than $3.7 billion for humanitarian agencies operating in 88 countries and territories since its inception.


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