CERF August Newsletter 2007

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 16 Aug 2007
Pledges & contributions

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is pleased to acknowledge the receipt of one new contribution of $500,000 (as of 27 July) made by China. OCHA encourages all member states to turn their pledges into contributions as soon as possible.

Country highlights

In July 2007, the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) approved $15.12 million in grants from the CERF's window for rapid response. Details on each allocation can be found below, or on the CERF website at http://cerf.un.org.

Lesotho - The country has seen the worst drought in over 30 years. National cereal production is down by 42 percent compared to last year, reaching only 72,000 tons for a population that would need about 328,000 tons. Between 250,000 and 300,000 people will not be able to meet their food requirements as a direct consequence of the current drought.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is using the $1.5 million CERF grant to provide 2,900 tons of food commodities during September and October to 130,000 people in the southern lowlands and the foothills. The beneficiaries include households that have lost all their crops, have only limited agricultural income opportunities or have no other option except to buy their food.

With a CERF allocation of almost $1.7 million, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is supplying agricultural inputs, such as good quality seeds and fertilizer, for the 2007/2008 season to 20,000 vulnerable farming households through input trade fairs.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is using the CERF grant of $710,000 for life-saving therapeutic feeding programmes and for addressing the underlying causes of malnutrition. The UN agency is providing food and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) items to 200,000 people, including 80,000 children and 120,000 pregnant or lactating women.

Pakistan - In late June, Cyclone Yemyin brought devastating heavy rains and flooding to the southern districts of Balochistan and Sindh, affecting approximately 2.5 million people, including some 377,000 who are now homeless and living in relief camps or spontaneous settlements. The CERF has allocated $4.4 million to seven UN agencies. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is distributing blankets, sleeping mats, plastic sheeting, and tents to the displaced, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is supplying potable water, kitchen sets, jerry cans, and personal hygiene kits to relief camps and makeshift settlements.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing medicine and vaccines, as well as a surveillance system to monitor and respond to disease outbreaks.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is establishing mobile service units to assist flood-affected newborns and their mothers, and UNICEF is distributing safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene kits, and educational materials. FAO is supporting the prompt resumption of agricultural activities and the restoration of food availability in the affected areas. WFP is establishing logistical hubs, warehouses, and transport services, including airlifts, to support humanitarian operations. In addition to the CERF's rapid response funding, the

UN has launched a $38 million flash appeal to cover humanitarian needs and early recovery activities in the affected areas for the next three months.

Philippines - In late 2006, a series of typhoons affected more than seven million people in the country, leaving 1,158 dead and 300,000 displaced. Moreover, infrastructure damage and agricultural losses added up to some $450 million. Eight months later, over 3,000 families are still staying in evacuation centers, and an additional 42,000 families are living in shanties or improvised shelters, especially in the provinces of Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines. In July 2007, the CERF allocated $938,000 to UN agencies to provide emergency relief assistance to typhoon victims. This amount comes in addition to a grant of $2.6 million disbursed in late 2006. The 2007 allocation is addressing the core humanitarian needs of those people who were unable to return to their destroyed homes to date. IOM is constructing temporary shelters, as well as helping in camp management, including the distribution of non-food items (NFIs), capacity building and coordination of humanitarian assistance. WHO is strengthening and expanding the existing disease surveillance network and training psychosocial counselors, while the UNFPA is supporting reproductive health activities.

Somalia - Some 400,000 people have been displaced to various urban locations and one third of the inhabitants of Mogadishu are displaced within the capital as a result of recent conflict and the floods in late 2006. These population movements have disrupted the economy and reduced livelihood opportunities. Access to basic services and food has considerably deteriorated, while concerns about the spread of water-borne diseases remain.

The CERF made available almost $1.1 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for a project that seeks to assist most of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Central Somalia and in Mogadishu by providing NFIs in addition to emergency health and water interventions, and support for crisis mitigation. An allocation of $1.7 million is enabling the WHO to improve access to basic life-saving health services by providing emergency medical kits, essential drugs, family hygiene kits, as well as fuel and other necessary supplies to ensure that health facilities are functioning. The WHO is also seeking to contain the outbreak of infectious diseases by supplying safe drinking water to people at risk and critical life-saving skills and supplies to health workers.

Togo - Reports from recent assessment missions conducted by UNICEF, WFP and FAO indicate that the nutritional situation in the regions of Savanes, Kara and Maritime is alarming. With the estimated rate of acute malnutrition above emergency thresholds, the CERF has allocated $2.3 million to urgently assist 95,000 children under five years of age.

With an allocation of $1.3 million, UNICEF is concentrating on therapeutic feeding for 23,000 children under five years of age. The CERF funding is enabling UNICEF to control acute malnutrition and keep rates below the critical range, i.e. ten percent. Through the promotion of improved child feeding, care giving and care seeking practices at the facility, family and community levels, the programme is seeking to prevent further acute malnutrition in early childhood. As part of a comprehensive response in collaboration with UNICEF, WFP is implementing a supplementary feeding programme for 70,000 children under five years of age suffering from moderate or acute malnutrition. Based on a daily food basket with items such as corn soya blend (CSB), oil and sugar for three months, the operation will require more than 1.3 tons of supplies.

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 http://unocha.org/.