GENEVA, November 20 – The United Nations on Wednesday launched its largest ever aid appeal, saying it will need seven billion dollars to help 30 million people in 31 countries during 2009.
The Humanitarian Appeal 2009 is the largest since the creation of the so-called Consolidated Appeals Process in 1991, with Sudan accounting for more than a quarter of all intended funds, the UN said in a statement.
The appeal comprises twelve consolidated appeals for the Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq and its region, Kenya, the Palestinian territories, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, the West African region, and Zimbabwe, the UN said.
Sudan is the subject of the largest individual appeal at 2.1 billion dollars, followed by Somalia (919 million), DR Congo (831 million), Zimbabwe (550 million), and Iraq and the region (547 million).
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged countries to give generously to the appeal despite the economic crisis.
"The global financial crisis has raised inevitable concerns that there could be a decline in humanitarian funding in 2009. I urge member states and private donors not to let that happen," Ban said in a foreword to the appeal.
The need for aid will be even greater in 2009 than 2008 due to the global food crisis, the effects of climate change and the persistence of long-running conflicts, he said.
"As stabilisation is the watchword in turbulent economic times, so must stability be our goal in helping desperate victims of conflict, natural disasters and extreme hardship," he added.
Ban’s point was echoed by the UN’s chief humanitarian official John Holmes who said the target would not place too great a burden on rich countries.
"The seven billion dollars that we seek equates to, for every 100 dollars of national income in rich countries, only a few cents of aid," he said.