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Welthungerhilfe sees growing danger for relief organisations in conflict areas

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The number of violent incidents trebles - Annual report: almost 60% of available funds spent on emergency aid

Berlin, 29.5.2007. In 2006 Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action) spent almost 60% of its entire funds on emergency aid dealing with the repercussions of crises, conflicts and natural disasters. By far the largest recipient was Sudan, receiving 53.9 million euros of aid as Welthungerhilfe provided for almost half a million refugees in the troubled western province of Darfur, as well as engaging in other activities.

Last year Welthungerhilfe had a total of 165 million euros at its disposal. Of this, 34.7 million euros came from donations from 294,000 contributors. The remainder was made up of public funds provided by the World Food Project, the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Administrative overheads took up 1.4% of the total budget, public relations and advertising 4.3%. Welthungerhilfe was once again awarded the Seal of Approval by the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) and came runner-up in the Transparency Prize awarded by the international auditing company, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Although 2006 wasn't dominated by widely publicised disasters like the tsunami, Welthungerhilfe nonetheless faces major challenges," says Ingeborg Schäuble, Chairperson of Welthungerhilfe's Board of Directors. "We still need the full support of our donors and public funders to help the 850 million people in the world suffering from chronic malnutrition, as well as those faced by acute hunger as a result of armed conflict."

Welthungerhilfe's Secretary General, Hans-Joachim Preuß, stresses the increased risk involved for agency employees. According to a recent study, the number of violent attacks (murder, kidnapping and bombings resulting in severe injuries) tripled between 1997 and 2005. During this period there were a total of 408 violent incidents, in which 941 people were directly affected. 434 aid workers paid with their lives.

According to Hans-Joachim Preuß, maintaining "independence, impartiality and neutrality" is the best way to ensure the safe working conditions of relief organisations, alongside tightening security measures. "We are therefore calling above all on intervening states in armed conflicts not to instrumentalize relief organisations as a part of their strategy."

To read the annual report and accompanying statements, or for further information regarding Welthungerhilfe, see www.welthungerhilfe.de