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UN Central Emergency Response Fund breaks $2 billion disbursement mark

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(New York, 19 May 2011): The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) today surpassed US$2 billion in funds disbursed to aid agencies in natural and conflict-related emergencies, a milestone in efforts to speed up the international response to humanitarian crises.

CERF was launched in 2006 to ensure that life-saving aid is made available within hours of a major emergency and to support humanitarian agencies in countries where there has been inadequate funding.

It has become the UN’s sixth largest source of revenue for humanitarian appeals, allocating an average of $400 million a year to 82 countries. Since 2005, 122 governments and the private sector have committed more than $2.3bn to the Fund. 35 Member States have both benefited from and contributed to the CERF.

“Member States established CERF for a simple reason: when people are hit by disaster, there is no time to lose,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “CERF is a proven life-saver.”

In January 2010, for example, CERF allocated $10 million five hours after a massive earthquake struck Haiti - jumpstarting life-saving operations before other funding came online. It added $15 million three days later, and a further $10.5 million in March - making it the largest CERF allocation to one emergency response. This year, more than $10 million in CERF funding was allocated to the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire.

Illustrating its impact on underfunded countries, CERF has this year disbursed nearly $5 million to respond to multiple crises in Zimbabwe, to tackle acute malnutrition, drought, and cholera. The allocation was used to start life-saving programmes and to ensure continued assistance until additional funding is secured.

“From Haiti to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Pakistan, CERF has enabled us to react faster and more comprehensively than ever before,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. “The generous contributions from Member States make this possible. In 2010 alone, CERF money helped more than 22 million people in 45 countries. There can be no doubt: CERF saves lives.”

For more information on the CERF, please visit cerf.un.org

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