19 JULY 2006

At Midyear, United Nations Still Needs $3.1 Billion for Humanitarian Action

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 18 July (OCHA) -- Six months after the launch of the Humanitarian Appeal 2006, the United Nations and its partners still require $3.1 billion to address the urgent needs of 30 million people struck by crisis in 31 countries worldwide.

Using the resources mobilised under the appeals -- which total some $1.7 billion in cash and in kind, equalling 36 per cent of funding requirements for the year -- much has been achieved:  tens of millions of people have been fed; millions have been vaccinated; and hundreds of thousands have been provided shelter.

Following the acute decline in humanitarian funding recorded in 2004, and the recovery to previous levels by mid-2005, funding by mid-2006 is much the same as last year.  One year ago, total humanitarian funding of the United Nations Appeal amounted to 48 per cent of requirements.  However, excluding the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami flash appeal, which was nearly fully funded in record time, humanitarian funding of the remaining consolidated appeals amounted to only 36 per cent of requirements.

"Much has been achieved in the face of these crises in the first half of 2006, but much more remains to be done.  The percentage of funds provided is still inadequate, and there continues to be a delayed donor response," noted Yvette Stevens, Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator and Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.

Of the 20 appeals, 9 have received less than 32 per cent of requirements to date.  Against the Horn of Africa regional appeal, which requires some $119 million, only $17.5 million, or 15 per cent, has been committed.  Towards the $1.6 billion required for humanitarian assistance under the Sudan work plan, just 24 per cent -- $503.4 million -- has been received. The Burundi appeal, which asks for $123 million, has received just $32 million, or 25 per cent of requirements, while the action plan for the Democratic Republic of the Congo has less than $184 million of the $705 million required -- just 26 per cent.

Other underfunded appeals include the Republic of Congo, against which less than $10 million of the $34 million required -- 27 per cent -- has been provided.  Liberia, with $40.6 million of the $144 million required is just 28 per cent funded.  The appeal for Guinea, which asks for $26 million, has just $7.5 million, also 28 per cent of requirements.  Against the $43.7 million required for Côte d'Ivoire, only 29 per cent -- $13.5 million -- has been provided.  And, for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, whose revised appeal requests $383.5 million, just 31 per cent of requirements -- $117.6 million -- have been met.

"We must do better in terms of providing adequate levels of predictable humanitarian funding for our Appeals," stressed Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.  "Doing as well as last year is not enough; we must strive to make progress over and above previous years."

Full information on all of these crises can be found in the appeal documents, which are available on www.humanitarianappeal.net .

For further information, please call Kristen Knutson, OCHA NY, +1 917 367 9262; or Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570.  OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org  or www.reliefweb.int .

* *** *