The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, is releasing $100 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to assist millions of people in what it calls “forgotten emergencies.”
OCHA reports money for 11 humanitarian operations in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East has dried up, putting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people at risk.
The United Nations says it needs $49.5 billion this year to assist 204 million people threatened by conflict, climate shocks, hunger and forced displacement.
To date, only $17.6 billion of this total amount has been received. While this is a large amount of money, OCHA deputy spokesman Jens Laerke said the funding gap is nearly $32 billion, the largest it has ever been.
He said the release of $100 million is meant to shrink this critical funding gap and address the problem head on.
“It may seem like a drop in the bucket and if you look at it from that perspective, it is a drop in the bucket,” he said. “But, the CERF funds, a key criterion is it has to go to lifesaving projects. So, it is the worst of the worst that we are trying to address with the CERF funding. And I guarantee you, for those whose lives are hanging by a thread, it means something.”
Laerke said the consequences for hundreds of millions of vulnerable people will be many and very severe, if money to assist them at this time of greatest need is not forthcoming.
“That can range from loss of life to victims of or survivors of gender-based violence who receive no support,” he said. “Children who do not get the vaccines that they need and so on and so forth.”
Laerke said the $100 million will help scale up lifesaving operations in the 11 countries, which include Yemen, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Venezuela.
He noted that CERF has allocated a record $250 million dollars so far this year to countries that are in a desperate state, but largely overlooked.