CERF Newsletter January 2008

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 29 Jan 2008
Pledges and Contributions

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is pleased to acknowledge the receipt of five new contributions for 2007 and ten for 2008 (as of 31 December) totalling $47,401,891. They were made by Australia ($8,760,000), Canada ($35,116,374), Kazakhstan ($50,000), the Republic of Korea ($1,500,000) and Poland ($260,000) for 2007 and Bhutan ($1,480), Bosnia and Herzegovina ($5,000), Bulgaria ($5,000), Ecuador ($20,000), Guatemala ($10,000), New Zealand ($1,000,000), Romania ($359,625), San Marino ($4,412), Turkey ($300,000) and the Alexander Bodini Foundation ($10,000) for 2008.

OCHA encourages all Member States to turn their pledges into contributions as soon as possible.

Second High-Level Conference

At the 13 December High-Level Conference in support of the CERF, 69 donors pledged $419.5 million for 2008, bringing the total pledges and contributions since the Fund's inception in March 2006 to more than $1.1 billion.

The fourteen new donors include Bhutan, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Latvia, Mongolia, Romania, San Marino, Syria, Tunisia, the Holy See, the Alexander Bodini Foundation, and the Western Union as the first contributor from the corporate sector. John Holmes, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), called the conference "an important milestone in the history of humanitarianism." Many of the statements delivered at the conference can be found on the CERF website (http://cerf.un.org).

Country Highlights

In December 2007, the ERC approved more than $17.9 million in grants from the CERF's window for rapid response.

BANGLADESH - Cyclone Sidr hit the south and southwest Bangladesh coast on 15 November 2007, affecting some 30 districts. According to government sources, over 3,300 people have died and many more remain missing. The World Food Programme (WFP) is using a $5 million CERF grant to provide emergency food for up to 2.2 million people, complementing assistance provided by the Government of Bangladesh and other UN agencies.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Six weeks after Tropical Storm Noel, Tropical Storm Olga hit the Dominican Republic on 12 December, killing 33 people and temporarily displacing 61,000. Some 1,900 homes were seriously damaged. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is using a $210,000 CERF allocation to assist 5,000 families and 8,000 children under ten, ensuring food security, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation. It is distributing hygiene and cleaning kits, jerry cans, kits of baby food, and protein supplements for children. A $250,000 CERF grant is enabling the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to support 940 returning families to establish healthier conditions in their communities. With an allocation of $315,000, WFP is providing life-saving food rations to 25,000 displaced people living in shelters.

ETHIOPIA -The delivery of food aid to the Somali region is complex because of ongoing military operations, lack of proper road and telecommunication infrastructure, unfavourable climatic conditions and insecurity in general. A $598,000 CERF allocation is enabling WFP to set up ten mobile warehouse tents, equipped with radio communication systems, to support the systematic monitoring of food transport and storage for some 600,000 beneficiaries in the region.

In addition, malnutrition and communicable diseases, including acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), remain the major health challenges in the Somali region. A World Health Organization (WHO) project, using a $697,000 CERF grant, is providing essential drugs and other medical supplies to health facilities and strengthening the disease surveillance and reporting system.

According to a 2006 report, almost a quarter of deaths in the Somali region occur during childbirth. With $100,000 from the CERF, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is aiming to improve delivery practice. In order to treat rape cases, it is supplying drugs and rapid training to health staff. As the lead agency for the logistics and telecommunications cluster, WFP is using a $921,000 CERF allocation to establish two common UN temporary outposts in order to provide food aid, nutrition, agricultural and water and sanitation assistance to 640,000 beneficiaries in five zones of the Somali region. It is also setting up an inter-agency emergency communications system to increase the safety of UN staff.

GUINEA - By mid-October, more than 7,000 cholera cases with 262 causalities had been officially registered in Conakry and several localities. With a $400,000 allocation, WHO is training 145 health workers and ensuring that 6,000 cholera cases are correctly managed and 60,000 contact persons properly followed up. The UN agency is also distributing 15 cholera kits and specific drugs, and supporting surveillance and supervision systems. UNICEF is using a $289,000 CERF grant to control the cholera outbreak in several prefectures. With its implementing partners, it is disinfecting all cholera-affected households and 100 open wells in villages. UNICEF is also providing water treatment and promoting hygiene measures to as many as 150,000 households. In response to heavy rainfall in August 2007, which has seriously damaged food crops and market gardens in three prefectures, the CERF has allocated $363,000 to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to reduce food insecurity. Each of the 3,200 beneficiary households is receiving vegetable seeds and basic agricultural tools.

MOZAMBIQUE - In 2007, Mozambique suffered a severe drought in the southern provinces of Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo; devastating floods in the central region river basins; and a cyclone that devastated coastal districts in the Inhambane province. Some 520,000 individuals required food assistance until the next main harvest in March 2008. WFP is using a CERF grant of almost $1.1 million to locally purchase emergency food for some 186,500 (out of the planned total of 471,000) people in disaster-affected districts. WFP expects to procure roughly 1,865 tons of cereals to cover one month's worth of food rations for the beneficiaries.

NEPAL - Close to 40 percent of children, under five are underweight and almost one in two children are stunted.

Political conflict and natural disasters also have led to new displacements among the already vulnerable population. Through the $1 million allocation, the CERF is supporting two components of WFP's comprehensive operation of food assistance to 39,700 conflict-affected people in Nepal (out of 1.3 million beneficiaries for the whole project). In particular, WFP is supplying 851 metric tonnes of rice to support communities struggling from recurring disasters and communities accepting returnee populations. WFP is also assisting communities, through food-for-work programmes, to rebuild or construct critical infrastructure.

SENEGAL - According to a survey conducted in 2007 by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 24,000 Mauritanian refugees staying in Senegal asked to return to their home country after 18 years in exile. A $348,000 CERF allocation is enabling UNHCR to repatriate up to 7,000 refugees in safety and dignity by organising "go and see" visits and providing vaccination and a medical screening.

SUDAN - With the surge in violence, in particular intra-tribal fighting, and the resulting impact on the human rights situation in West Darfur, UNHCR has received $1.85 million from the CERF to ensure protection for 800,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 50,000 Chadian refugees. The CERF allocated a further $2.9 million to UNHCR to support the safe return of 30,000 refugees (who currently live in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya and Uganda) to Southern Sudan.

A $941,000 CERF allocation is enabling WHO to strengthen the local health systems' capacity to rapidly detect, assess and contain an outbreak of the Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in humans in five northern states. WHO is tightening the infection control practices at the hospitals, reinforcing coordination and operations management, as well as integrated surveillance, case management, infection control and risk communication to help 14.7 million people.

FAO is using a $560,000 CERF grant to assist the Government of Sudan in its efforts to prevent a possible outbreak of RVF in livestock that could have a long-term impact on food security, livestock trade and cash income for the rural poor who depend on their livestock.

TIMOR-LESTE - Continued insecurity because of increased tensions in Timor-Leste and the lack of proper communication tools resulted in difficult and hazardous working conditions for humanitarian staff.

A $210,000 CERF grant is enabling WFP to address UN agencies' communication needs by upgrading the existing network to expand coverage, installing new security telecommunications facilities and establishing independent communication mechanisms and other standard operating procedures in accordance with UN requirements.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Rudolph Muller (CERF Secretarist):  mullerr@un.org);
Ms. Shoko Arakaki (Donor and External Relation Section): arakaki@un.org

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