Tovah Lazaroff
The Jerusalem Post
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

First time such large gap exists between initial aid request, amount of money donated since UN began humanitarian appeal to member states, international organizations in 2003.

The UN was only able to fund 52 percent of the humanitarian aid it wanted to provide to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in 2010, according to statistics it released on Wednesday at a press conference in Jerusalem.

It’s the first time such a large gap has existed between the initial aid request and the amount of money donated since the UN began a humanitarian appeal for Palestinians to member states and international organizations in 2003.

Known as the Consolidated Appeals Process, the money raised is not part of the UN’s annual budget for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The UN raised funds that met 79% of its humanitarian requests for Palestinians in 2009 and 75% in 2008.

Maxwell Gaylard, UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, told reporters that the global economic crisis as well as events in Pakistan and Haiti had contributed to the “disappointing figures” in 2010.

His office noted that some of the projects such as those for education, agriculture and sanitation were not perceived by donors as emergency items.

According to Gaylard’s office, the Palestinian territories were the UN’s sixth most under-funded appeal in 2010. Such appeals raise an average of 61% of the targeted amounts, it said.

The 2010 Palestinian appeal raised $259.2 million, which when combined with unspent money from 2009 funded a total emergency humanitarian assistance budget of $312.7m. Gaylard noted that the 2010 campaign followed a massive appeal in 2009 to find money to deal with the aftermath of the IDF’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.

In 2009, the UN raised $594.5m., for a total funded budget of $636m., a number that is also double that of 2010’s.

In 2008, the UN raised $287m., for a total funded budget of $337.4m., slightly higher than in 2010. In 2007, the UN raised $252.6m., for a total funded budget of $277.3m. In the first appeal in 2003, the UN raised $151.1m., for a total funded budget of $175.

The drop in aid in 2010 to a level slightly below that of 2008’s did not stop the UN from launching an emergency appeal on Wednesday for $576m. for 2011, making it the fifth largest UN emergency campaign.

The largest 2011 appeals are for $1.7 billion for Sudan, $907m. for Haiti, $719m. for the Congo and $679m. for Afghanistan.

What frustrates him about the Palestinian appeal, Gaylard said, is that unlike in a natural disaster, the humanitarian problem in the West Bank is man-made and unnecessary.

Humanitarian assistance there is a necessity, but it is not the answer, he said.

The situation can only be resolved through a political solution that would bring peace and prosperity to the region, Gaylord said.


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