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    13 August 1999
    Secretary-General, Regretting Shortfall, Calls for Greater International
     Response to Humanitarian Crises in Africa


     NEW YORK, 12 August (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a statement made today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

     The humanitarian needs of victims of war and natural disasters in many parts of Africa are nearing irrevocable crisis proportions, and the Secretary-General is alarmed by the poor response of the international community.  United Nations humanitarian agencies and their partners require $796 million to assist over 12 million needy people in Africa during 1999, yet only $352 million has been received.  As a result, humanitarian programmes have had to be cut back and even life-saving assistance in many instances is not being provided where it is urgently required.

     In Angola, it is estimated that 200 lives are being lost each day as the conflict between Government and National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) forces intensifies.  Supplies to assist the 2 million people affected by this war are simply insufficient.  In southern and central Somalia, a combination of persistent conflict, grim prospects for the current harvest and the cumulative effect of six consecutive poor yields are threatening at least 1 million people with famine.

     In the Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as in Ethiopia and Eritrea, there are also serious humanitarian needs that cannot be met due to inadequate donor response.  The latter five countries have recently taken important steps towards establishing peace.  These advances are tenuous and must be bolstered by the provision of aid.

     In the developing world many countries are experiencing unprecedented economic growth and robust budget surpluses.  Yet, international aid budgets continue to stagnate or decline.  The Secretary-General appeals to donors to make a special effort now to help the victims of conflicts and natural disasters in Africa.

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