Wednesday, August 22, 2007

8.7 Million Reasons for Hope

The United Nations understands better than most organizations that you cannot deal with aspects of a crisis in isolation. In the case of Sudan, it's becoming increasingly clear that environmental problems have a huge impact on the growing humanitarian crisis. Most recently, devastating floods have left 150,000 people homeless, with the potential to affect many more.

To respond to crises of this kind, the UN created the Central Emergency Response Fund. CERF functions as a stand-by fund to enable timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts. $8.7 million from this fund has been allocated to the crisis in Sudan in order to help 1.5 million people.

Response to this disaster has also brought out the best in UN coordination. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working together to use their allocated funds to respond to all the needs of the flood victims. From health care to access to food and water, the UN has it covered.

Even though disasters of this kind are difficult to predict, the UN has a clear mechanism for obtaining funds and necessary resources to help people on the ground as soon as they need it.