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At mid-year, $3.4 billion still needed for consolidated humanitarian aid appeals

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(New York/Geneva, 16 July): Six months into 2008, United Nations agencies, the International Organisation for Migration, and 239 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) still require USD 3.4 billion to respond to the world's most severe crises through this year's Consolidated and Flash Appeals. Overall humanitarian funding requirements for 2008 for the 34 countries covered by these 11 Consolidated Appeals and six Flash Appeals have risen from $5.4 billion at the start of the year to $6.5 billion now. The biggest increases are for Somalia (up $235 million to $641 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo (up $161 million to $736 million), West Africa (up $104 million to $416 million), Sudan (up $81 million to $1.95 billion), the Myanmar flash appeal (recently revised up by $294 million, to $481 million) and Zimbabwe (up $78 million, to $394 million).

Extra funding sought to meet food needs accounts for most of the increase: food aid has been re-budgeted upwards by 37%, from $1.9 billion to $2.6 billion, in line with the increase in the World Food Programme's global appeal for 2008. At mid-year, food sector funding amounts to $1.45 billion or 58% of requirements.

In addition to the Consolidated Appeals for protracted crises, there have been six Flash Appeals for sudden onset disasters so far this year (Southern Africa, Myanmar, Kenya, Madagascar, Tajikistan and Bolivia).

To date in 2008, donors have given $2.9 billion to the Consolidated and Flash Appeals, equalling 46% of funding requirements. This is an improvement compared to the mid-point of previous years (43% in 2007, 36% in 2006), which can be attributed both to a better response by donors and to support from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for chronic under-funded emergencies.

'Rapid action by donors is more essential this year than ever. Higher food and fuel costs, an increasing number of food-insecure people, and the impact of climate change have already forced the upwards revision of several appeals or the issue of new appeals,' said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. 'Despite the challenging global economic situation, we are looking for continued generosity on the part of traditional donors - and I can imagine no better time for new donors to come forward to help the escalating numbers of people in need,' he stressed.

The situation in several major humanitarian crises has deteriorated significantly in the first half of 2008 and will require renewed efforts and resources. Instability has worsened in Chad, while in the occupied Palestinian territories Gaza has suffered a virtual quarantine that has cut off much commerce and vital services. Somalis have suffered fresh displacement as fighting continues, and drought has put swathes of the Horn of Africa at risk of famine. In Zimbabwe, even leaving aside the consequences of political violence and tension, the harvest is forecast to be 51% less than last season's due to adverse rains and lack of farming inputs.

In addition to the Consolidated and Flash Appeals, there are other humanitarian or transitional appeals and aid plans for Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Nepal. Requirements for those amount to a further $1.1 billion, of which $770 million has been funded.

Full information on all of these crises can be found in the appeal documents, which are available at www.humanitarianappeal.net. More details on funding per crisis, including donor totals, can be found on the Financial Tracking Service on www.reliefweb.int/fts.

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; John Nyaga, OCHA-NY, + 1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.