John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, today chaired the launch of the Humanitarian Appeal Mid- Year Review for 2010. The Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations, Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, and the Chief Executive Officer and President of InterAction, Samuel Worthington, also participated. The revised appeals are now seeking a total of $9.5 billion to help 53 million people in 34 countries. Funding is now at 48 percent, leaving $4.9 billion still needed.

"Maintaining humanitarian aid budgets this year in the face of recession and pressure on budgets has been a real achievement by many donors," Mr. Holmes said. "I urge them to keep up this effort to ensure that people struck by disaster or conflict receive the help they desperately need for the rest of the year," he added.

The original appeals for 2010, launched in November 2009, sought $7.1 billion, which has now risen to $9.5 billion with new crises, including the earthquake in Haiti, plus deterioration in some existing crises, including the Sahel and the Central African Republic. In the Sahel, food insecurity and malnutrition are increasing because of drought and crop failure, particularly in Niger and western Chad. In Niger, acute malnutrition among children is now well above emergency levels. The number of people in severe need of food in the country has almost doubled compared to the number originally planned. In Chad, the number of people in urgent need of help has more than doubled. In the Central African Republic, where the appeal has received only 35 per cent of requirements so far, the amount of funding needed has increased by 28 percent because the overall humanitarian situation has deteriorated, leaving increasing numbers of people in need.

One key finding in the review is that funding levels this year have dropped slightly compared to recent years but not as deeply as feared, considering the global economic recession. The major donations to Haiti following the earthquake in January seem to have affected funding for other crises, but again only slightly. In total, funding for appeals at this juncture amounts to $4.5 billion, compared to $4.6 billion at mid-2009. This total is however influenced by funding from private sources after the earthquake in Haiti, of which $278 million has gone to projects in the Haiti humanitarian appeal, accounting for almost one-third of the appeal's funding to date. The Haiti appeal itself has been fully reviewed but remains at around $1.5 billion for the year, with 64% of this so far met.

The Review also found a wide variation in appeal coverage, with appeals receiving anywhere between 31 and 64 percent of the funding required. Funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), now the seventh largest source of aid to appeals, has helped to balance such disparities, but only up to a certain point.

"Halfway through 2010, it is clear that global humanitarian needs are increasing," said Mr. Worthington. "We must maintain our focus on adequate funding support, particularly for the most underfunded crises, for those common services which support the entire humanitarian community including safety, security and coordination, and for efforts such as monitoring and evaluation, which increase accountability to the populations we serve," he added.

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)