[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 14:13 GMT
UN launches biggest annual appeal
Quake survivors carrying bottled water in Balakot, Pakistan
The Pakistani quake forced a re-think of global aid efforts
The United Nations has launched an appeal for a record $4.7bn (2.7bn) to help more than 30 million victims of war, famine and natural disaster.

The amount is equal to global military spending in 48 hours, UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland says.

"We can afford to clothe, to feed, to care for all of the children of this world," he told the BBC's World Today.

Ten rich countries supplied 90% of UN humanitarian aid, he said, adding that oil-rich countries could give more.

"The 10 top donors are more or less the same now as a few years ago," he said.

"There are growing economies on many continents which should become bigger donors. We expect the oil-rich countries to give more."


UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the international community had the capacity to pay, but now had to display the will to do so.

Jan Egeland
It's not going well in Darfur at all... We're hanging in there by our fingernails
Jan Egeland
UN emergency relief co-ordinator

"In a world of plenty, continued suffering is a terrible stain on our conscience," he said at the launch of the UN's 2006 humanitarian appeal.

"It is inexcusable that we not strive, with every resource at our disposal, to eliminate suffering."

The UN wants to provide life-saving help to people in 26 countries.

Many are in Africa. In particular, the UN wants $1.5bn - nearly a third of the total - for Sudan. The aid would mainly be split between the western Darfur area, where violence continues, and the now peaceful south, where reconstruction is under way.

"It's not going well in Darfur at all," Mr Egeland said.

"We are stretched to the limit. We're hanging in there by our fingernails."

There are also ongoing emergency appeals for devastated regions in West Africa, including Ivory Coast and Liberia.

The appeal includes aid for those affected by last December's tsunami and the recent earthquake in Kashmir.

Elsewhere, the call for assistance covers Russia's breakaway region of Chechnya, the Palestinian territories, and flood victims in Guatemala.

Emergency fund

Mr Egeland said increased donations were necessary because of the large number and complexity of operations.

"We are asking exactly the amount of 48 hours of military spending in this world, or we're asking for the equivalent of two cups of coffee per rich person."

United States: $966m (1*)
Japan: $372m (2)
European Commission: $302m
Private donations: $283m
Britain: $186m (4)
Norway: $148m (24)
The Netherlands: $138m (15)
Canada: $137m (8)
Germany: $107m (3)
Sweden: $101m (19)
*Ranking of size of economy
Sources: OCHA, World Bank

"If they all gave the equivalent of two cups of coffee, we would cover all the needs for these 31 million people in a desperate situation."

However, Mr Egeland said part of the reason the UN needed a record amount of money was because things were going well in some places.

"Peace agreements mean better access to places like eastern Congo and southern Sudan, so we can get to more people than ever before if we get enough money," he said.

Mr Egeland also said he hoped a $500m global emergency fund would be set up in February, to respond to unforeseen crises.

The UN leaders accompanied their demands with praise for the world's response to recent disasters like the Asian tsunami and American hurricanes.

BBC UN correspondent Susannah Price says that on average, the UN receives less than three-quarters of the funding it asks for every year, and countries often wait until the last moment to pay, which leads to increased costs.

UN warning on quake relief focus
25 Nov 05 |  South Asia
Quake pledges exceed aid target
19 Nov 05 |  South Asia
Support for new UN emergency fund
16 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature
Profile: United Nations
24 Aug 05 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific