UN Central Emergency Response Fund surpasses 2 billion U.S. dollars in funds

08:28, May 20, 2011      

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The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has broken 2 billion U.S. dollars in funds distributed to aid agencies in natural and conflict-related emergencies, said a UN spokesperson Thursday.

"(It is) a milestone in efforts to speed up the international response to humanitarian," Martin Nesirky told reporters in a daily press briefing.

He said it has become the UN's sixth largest source of revenue for humanitarian appeals, allocating an average of 400 million dollars annually to 82 countries.

"Since 2005, 122 governments and the private sectors have committed more than 2.3 billion dollars to the Fund," he said. "35 member states have both benefited from and contributed to the CERF. "

"Member states established CERF for a simple reason: when people are hit by disaster, there is no time to lose," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a press release from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). "CERF is a proven life-saver."

According to the press release, in January 2010, for example, CERF allocated 10 million dollars five hours after a massive earthquake struck Haiti which jumpstarted life-saving operations before other funding came online.

Also, this year CERF distributed nearly 5 million dollars in response to multiple crises in Zimbabwe, with acute malnutrition, drought, and cholera. The allocation was used to start life-saving programs and also to ensure continued assistance until additional funding is secured.

"From Haiti to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Pakistan, CERF has enabled us to react faster and more comprehensively than ever before," said Valerie Amos, UN under- secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, in OCHA press release. "The generous contributions from member states make this possible. In 2010 alone, CERF money helped more than 22 million people in 45 countries. There can be no doubt: CERF saves lives."

Launched in 2006, CERF works to ensure that life-saving aid is made available within hours of a major emergency and to support humanitarian agencies in countries that are short of funding.

Source: Xinhua
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