US$10 million from UN

central_emrgency_fundHARARE The United Nations emergency relief coordinator John Holmes has allocated close to US$10 million to boost Zimbabwes humanitarian effort as an international appeal for assistance to the crisis-stricken country remains largely underfunded.

Relief agencies in Zimbabwe received the largest portion of funds allocated during the UN Central Emergency Response Fund’s (CERF) underfunded round announced last week. Zimbabwe got US$9.98 million or 13 percent of the total CERF allocation of US$73.3 million to needy countries.

The funds would be apportioned by the UN resident coordinator Agostinho Zacarias to priority life-saving programmes identified by UN humanitarian agencies, the International Organization for Migration and their non-governmental organisation partners.

This is the third CERF allocation for Zimbabwe in 2009 following similar disbursements in January and February. On January 30, Holmes allocated some US$7.8 million to help Zimbabwean authorities and United Nations agencies to implement a number of

urgently-needed programmes to combat cholera.

The UN emergency relief coordinator allocated a further US$11 million in February to organisations operating in Zimbabwe for humanitarian support. CERF was established in 2006 to help agencies respond rapidly to new or deteriorating humanitarian situations and mostly targets countries whose appeals for assistance would be underfunded.

UN agencies and their humanitarian partners have requested a total of US$718 million to support those in need in Zimbabwe in 2009 only 36 percent of the appeal had been funded by June 17. To date about US$256.7 million has been funded out of the US$718.6 million needed to fully meet Zimbabwes humanitarian needs for 2009.

Relief agencies say Zimbabwes overall humanitarian situation remains acute despite the flicker of hope caused by Februarys formation of a coalition government by President Robert Mugabe and arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai. A substantial number of Zimbabweans are said to require food aid this year while the infrastructure for delivering basic social services is in serious need of rehabilitation.

High vulnerability levels, coupled with one of the world’s highest HIV infection rates of 15.6%, deepen the population’s vulnerability. Other countries that received large allocations under the latest CERF round were the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Colombia, Haiti and Yemen.

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