Tuesday, December 27, 2011

World 'dangerously unprepared' for future disasters

BBC: Some countries' failure to pay into a UN disaster relief fund is leaving the world "dangerously unprepared" for future crises, Andrew Mitchell says. The international development secretary said several countries had not donated to the Central Emergency Response Fund, aimed at speeding-up relief delivery.

Britain has increased its pledge for 2012 from £40m to £60m but the fund is expected to be £45m short next year. The international community must "wake up" to the challenge, Mr Mitchell said.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was set up in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004. It includes a grant element based on voluntary contributions from governments and private sector organisations and individuals.

The fund was designed by the United Nations to speed up relief in crisis zones with one central fund, though many countries still choose to give bilaterally.

ActionAid spokeswoman Jane Moyo told BBC Breakfast: "The importance of this fund is that it pre-positions money where it is most needed and it is important that people - other governments - pull their weight because then we can help people who are most in need, in their time of most need."

The fund has been hit hard by a series of natural disasters this year - the tsunami in Japan; an earthquake in New Zealand; famine in the Horn of Africa; and floods in Pakistan and the Philippines....

In the village of Aynanshahadig, Oxfam is running a cash-for-work project that pays local people to work on projects that are beneficial to the community. These pastoralist men have helped build a check dam which will prevent gulley erosion. Photo by Oxfam East Africa, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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