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UN relief chief allocates 75 mln USD to boost aid operations in Sahel, Horn of Africa


UNITED NATIONS, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The UN humanitarian chief has allocated 75 million U.S. dollars to boost life-saving relief work in two of the world's most neglected regions: the West African Sahel and the Horn of Africa, a UN spokesman said Wednesday.

Valerie Amos, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has allocated the money from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters at the daily briefing.

Eleven countries were selected based on a global review of critical aid operations that are facing funding deficits. This is the second of two annual rounds of allocations for underfunded emergencies, Haq said.

"With so many crisis competing for attention, many people in need are forgotten," the spokesman said, quoted Amos as saying.

According to a press statement released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the money will help relief agencies provide urgent aid to millions of people in these regions affected by violent conflict, mass displacement and deepening food insecurity.

"This allocation will help critical emergency operations in the Sahel and in the Horn of Africa, regions with high levels of malnutrition and food insecurity. People are hungry. Their plight was front-page news just two years ago. These countries could fall back into crisis if we don't help now," Amos said in the statement.

Countries in the Horn will receive 44.5 million dollars. The largest single allocation, 20 million dollars, will go to Somalia, where 2.9 million people are struggling to feed themselves.

Humanitarian agencies in Ethiopia, Kenya and Eritrea will receive 12 million, 10 million and 2.5 million dollars, respectively. Another 30.5 million dollars will allow aid agencies to boost emergency operations in seven countries in the Sahel including Niger, Cameroon, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Nigeria and Gambia.

When CERF was established in 2005, humanitarian appeals sought 6 billion dollars in funding worldwide and by mid-2014, that amount has nearly tripled to 17 billion dollars. Since its inception, the Fund has allocated more than 3.4 billion dollars for humanitarian agencies operating in 88 countries.