Aid funding comes up short for countries on the verge of famine

UN General Assembly

Aid funding comes up short for countries on the verge of famine

The UN’s 193 member countries are facing a number of humanitarian issues, including famine. Continuing violence has made a bad situation even worse in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Earlier this year the United Nations issued an urgent appeal for nearly $5 billion, but as of last month, only half the money had been received.

CGTN’s Nick Harper reports from New York.

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Getting food to 20 million people spread across vast stretches of land is challenging in peacetime. When war rages, like it is currently in the four countries above, the situation is only further complicated.

“The security situation on the ground is often so bad that quite often we cannot reach these populations that need to receive that food,” according to Ron Redmond, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refguees.

Muslim extremists are creating chaos in Nigeria and Somalia, ethnic strife is troubling South Sudan, and civil war rages in Yemen. The fighting in these countries not only creates food insecurity, but also erects roadblocks to those trying to solve the problem.

To avert famine, the U.N. and aid groups are engaging in longer-term peace and development efforts.

“The kinds of early investments that the donors are making, in peace-building and stabilization and resilience, are key to the success of our diplomatic efforts to resolve the political disputes, as well as to our military and peace-building efforts to marginalize groups like al Shabaab,” Corinne Graff, senior policy scholar at the United States Institute for peace, said.

But with the U.S. proposing around a 50 percent slash in the money it gives to peacekeeping, these interventions may be harder to fund. As they stand now, U.N. donations are far from hitting targets.

According to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, this year Yemen and Somalia are less than 50% funded. That’s a shortfall of more than $2 billion for these two countries alone.

“It’s extremely difficult because there are so many competing needs, humanitarian needs, around the world,” Redmond said. “On top of that, there’s a certain fatigue that has set in among some donors. The international community sometimes looks at these as if they are hopeless.”