“With almost 60 million people forcibly displaced around the world, we face a crisis on a scale not seen in generations,” said Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator as he released US$70 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for chronically underfunded aid operations.

CERF provides essential resources to support humanitarian responses to conflict and disaster. Governments and other donors (such as companies, foundations, and individuals) can donate to CERF year-round. CERF pools these funds so when disaster strikes or crises need more resources, there are funds immediately available.

CERF’s announcement today focuses on “underfunded emergencies.” Often, when a crises stops appearing in the headlines, so do donations. CERF helps make sure humanitarian groups have funds to continue their lifesaving work through underfunded emergencies grants.

According to CERF, the funds announced today will support the following:

  • Some $21 million will allow humanitarian partners in Sudan and Chad to sustain basic services and protection activities for millions of people from Sudan’s Darfur region;
  • Humanitarian agencies in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia will receive $33 million. In Somalia, over 730,000 people continue to require emergency food and nutrition assistance, a dire situation now further compounded by the needs of people fleeing conflict in Yemen.
  • $8 million will help relief agencies provide assistance, including emergency shelter and improved access to health care, for neglected communities and displaced people in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • $8 million will help sustain humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, where a lack of adequate funding has forced relief agencies to reduce their operations at a time when needs are increasing because of intensified fighting.

While these funds will provide important help to people in their time of need, more resources are needed.

“These CERF grants are a last resort for aid operations and represent a life-line for some of world’s most vulnerable populations,” said Under-Secretary-General O’Brien. “But the urgent needs of millions of children, women, and men continue to increase and funding shortfalls deny them the aid, protection, and dignity they deserve, no less than the rest of us. I urge donors to support relief efforts in these protracted and all but forgotten crises.”

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(Photo: OCHA/Z.Nurmukhambetova)