Oxfam: Donor conference raises loose change for UN appeal

Published: 22 November 2005

Yesterday's (Wednesday's) donor conference in Geneva failed to deliver the urgently needed funds for the UN earthquake appeal, said Oxfam International today.

Yesterday's (Wednesday's) donor conference in Geneva failed to deliver the urgently needed funds for the UN earthquake appeal, said Oxfam International today.

Though an additional $580 million was promised, bringing the total of recorded pledges to nearly $1.3 billion, so far only $16 million from this conference is for immediate relief. Most of the money raised was for long-term reconstruction which is vital but the immediate needs should be the priority at this stage.

The increasing need on the ground has meant that the UN has revised the amount it is asking for from $238 million to $550 million. This has meant that as a percentage, the UN appeal is actually less funded now than it was yesterday. The percentage of funds actually pledged to the UN appeal has dropped from 30% yesterday to 20% today.

"There is a reconstruction donors conference in November, it's like rich countries turned up to the wrong meeting.

Of course reconstruction is important but there's no point budgeting to rebuild someone's house if they have died in the cold during the winter. Millions are homeless today and can't wait for the long term.

Unless governments immediately start funding this UN appeal we will be left with the tragic irony of people dying due to a lack of resources while other money is marked for 'non-emergency use only'." said Jo Leadbeater, Oxfam's Head of Advocacy.

Yesterday's donor conference in Geneva took the amount pledged to the UN appeal from $95million to $111million, an increase of only $16million.

"Donors needed to provide hundreds of millions of dollars for emergency relief yesterday, instead they could only scrape together $16million. This is loose change for donor governments. We needed 30 times more than they pledged," said Leadbeater.

Oxfam is calling for rich country governments to fund a US$1billion global emergency fund so that the UN's emergency work isn't delayed in the future.

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