Top UN official appeals for over $2 billion to fund humanitarian projects
(UN News Service), 20/11/08: The top United Nations relief official on Thursday called for more than $2 billion for humanitarian projects next year in Sudan, with almost half of the funds being earmarked for the war-torn region of Darfur, where violence has uprooted nearly half the 6 million-strong population.
Speaking in Geneva Thursday, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said that while a quarter of the needs for Sudan have been met, over $1.5 billion is still needed for the vast nation in 2009.
"The extent of the appeal to donors is even more ambitious given the global economic environment and the parallel needs swelling in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, Ethiopia and elsewhere,"he said at the launch of the fifth annual Sudan Work Plan.
Humanitarian efforts in Sudan must not slacken or be reduced, stressed Mr. Holmes, who also serves as UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.
"More than ever, the international community and the governments concerned need to pull
together to ensure that millions of people are afforded access to relief and recovery assistance," he added. "Otherwise, we risk undermining achievements to date or jeopardizing critical events ahead."
In the past four years, the UN and its partners have endeavoured to deliver food, water, shelter and and other basic services to many parts of the country and have also built clinics and schools.
In some regions of the country, more than half of the population still has no access to clean water, with even fewer able to access proper sanitation, the Coordinator said, adding that diarrhea remains a leading cause of death in parts of Sudan's east.