Oxfam: New Figures Show "Stingy" Response to World's Worst Emergencies


While the world's richest countries have given millions of dollars to ensure that the UN appeal for the tsunami is funded, their response to the world's 15 other biggest emergencies has been stingy, said international agency Oxfam, today.

Bernice Romero of Oxfam International said: "The tsunami has shown that when the world wants to deal with a humanitarian crisis it can mobilize massive resources and save lives. So far the global response to world's other emergencies has been stingy in comparison. The aid agenda should be set according to need and not according to media coverage."

In November last year, Kofi Annan launched an appeal for the world's 15 worst crises. According to UN figures just 4% of what is needed has been pledged, which shows how rich countries give according to their political interests rather than humanitarian need.

The new figures come out as donors meet in Switzerland to discuss their aid spending plans for 2005. Donations by the international community to some of the world's worst humanitarian disasters have so far been very slow and are almost 10% down on what they were at this time last year.

There are fifteen UN designated emergencies aside from the tsunami, where a total of 29 million people desperately need help. The figures show that:

  • The international community has provided $500 for each individual affected by the tsunami, but so far just 50 cents per person affected by the war in northern Uganda.
  • The UN has appealed for $158 million for Uganda, but so far it has received just $1.2 million, or 0.8% of what is required.
  • For Sudan the UN has appealed for $1.5 billion, but has so far received only 5% of this total. This amounts to just $16 per person.
  • The UN appeal for West Africa, a region recently plagued by locusts, has so far received nothing. As a result 400,000 people are without food in Mauritania and Mali.
  • The UN appeal for the Democratic Republic of Congo has received only $800,000, just 0.4% of what is needed to save the lives of 1.2 million people. The appeal so far provides just 60 cents per person affected by the conflict.

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