UN in search of huge aid funding boost

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UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN will seek greater aid funding next year as a surge in conflicts worldwide is piling on hardship, a senior aid official said on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

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UN deputy aid official Kyung-wha Kang said the world body was trying to come up with innovative ways to raise money for relief operations needed to help growing numbers of civilians trapped in increasingly violent conflicts.

The United Nations, which will launch its 2015 funding appeal on Monday, said it will be seeking far more than the $12.9 billion target set for 2014, when the body aimed to help 52 million people in 17 countries.

“We are talking about 78 million people in 22 countries that would need help in 2015,” Kang told reporters at UN headquarters. “The funding requirements of that will be much bigger,” he added.

The new appeal comes as one of the UN agencies, the World Food Program (WFP), was forced this week to cut off food aid to 1.7 million Syrian refugees from a $64-million shortfall in funding from donors.

WFP launched a social media campaign to try to convince 64 million people to donate $1 in a desperate bid to come up with the cash needed to feed the Syrian refugees.

Kang described the campaign as a “short-term gap stopper” and said there was an urgent need to come up with “innovative out-of the-box thinking” about how to raise funds.

She suggested that the “wall” between funding for humanitarian aid and development financing could be “made more flexible” to tap into the billions directed at poorer countries overall.

The United Nations has been leading major aid operations in Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and the Central African Republic while struggling to raise funds to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The 2015 appeal for humanitarian aid will be announced by Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, who is stepping down in March after more than four years in the job.

AFP

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