UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on Monday announced the release of $100 million for Nigeria and eight others from the organisation’s Central Emergency Response Fund.
Guterres said the release of the funds would help to sustain relief operations in what he termed the world’s most neglected crises, according to a statement issued by the secretary-general’s office.
The allocation will enable life-saving help for more than six million people in Cameroon, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Uganda.
The UN chief said the measure was necessary in these countries where levels of vulnerability are alarmingly high but funding remained critically low.
He said: “CERF is a lifeline for people caught up in crises that don’t make the headlines but where needs are just as urgent.
“This funding is crucial so that the UN and partners can continue assisting people who need our help so desperately.”
According to Guterres, a large portion of the allocation will reach people affected by displacement, one of the most pressing humanitarian challenges in today’s world where more than 65 million people are displaced.
He said: “The funding will ensure that millions of people who fled Boko Haram-related violence and conflict in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon will receive health care, food assistance and shelter.
“It will also bring relief to the internally displaced people as well as refugees from neighbouring countries in Somalia, Uganda and Libya.”
Guterres said urgent support would also reach those suffering from malnutrition and food insecurity in Madagascar, Mali and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, who manages the Fund on the Secretary-General’s behalf, commended Guterres gesture.
O’Brien said: “CERF is one of the fastest ways to provide urgent aid.
“The allotment approved today will save lives in all nine countries.”
O’Brien, also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, however, said the allocation of $100 million could only address a small portion of urgent humanitarian needs.
He further highlighted that as the scale and intensity of emergencies continues to increase, a larger, more robust CERF is needed so that aid can reach people, whenever and wherever crises hit.
In December 2016, the UN General Assembly had endorsed a recommendation by former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to double CERF’s annual target to $1 billion by 2018.
O’Brien said: “As we race to address the humanitarian challenges of today, our goal of a one billion U.S. dollars CERF is vital so that help reaches people, whenever and wherever crises hit.
“A strong CERF – for all and by all – is a key step towards our shared commitment to leave no one behind.”