, GENEVA, Dec 14 – The United Nations said on Wednesday it needed $7.7 billion in aid funding for 16 countries next year, with the biggest chunk to go towards helping victims in drought-devastated Horn of Africa.
Some $1.5 billion in funds are destined for Somalia, where 250,000 people are at risk of imminent death.
Kenya, which is also suffering from drought-induced crop failure, poor livestock conditions and rising food prices, would need $764 million in 2012.
The UN declared six regions in southern Somalia famine zones earlier this year, and although it said last month that three regions were no longer in the grip of famine, more than half of Somalia’s 10 million people remain in dire need of help.
The appeal also covers Sudan and the fledgling South Sudan, where fighting has plagued the border regions.
Overall, the funds are to help some 51 million people. Other countries or districts included in the appeal include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Occupied Palestinian territory, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Niger, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Djibouti and the Philippines’ Mindanao.
The total sum sought has fallen from 2011 however, when the UN sought $7.9 billion.
According to the UN, this may be due to “an easing of certain crises, and thus fewer people in need.” Two cases in point were Chad and Haiti.
Coordination has also been improved, with overlaps eliminated, it added.
Acknowledging that funding budgets were under strain due to the public debt crisis in the industrialised world, UN aid chief Valerie Amos nevertheless urged member states to make an extra effort to help the world’s most vulnerable.
“This is a time of pressure on aid budgets,” she said. However, countries must “make the extraordinary political effort necessary to raise the resources needed to help people,” she stressed.