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Britain announces £20 million support to UN’s CERF for 2012.

Britain has announced £20 million support to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for 2012.

 

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The announcement is significant as your native land may not be prepared to deal with disasters, at least this is what International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell feels.

He has warned that some of the world’s richest countries are failing to help prepare for large-scale disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and wars, despite clear evidence that the number of catastrophes is likely to increase in the years ahead.

The Department for International Development (DIFD) said: Despite a year of unprecedented disasters – including famine in the Horn of Africa, the Japan tsunami, New Zealand earthquake, floods in Pakistan and most recently the Philippines – the United Nations’ international disaster response funding system is expected to be left severely under-funded.

The system – set up following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami – is designed to bring different countries funding into one single pot that makes the international response faster and more effective.

Experts believe that a sufficiently supported, single approach, with a central fund and effective coordination by the UN will save many more lives in the hours and days after a shock hits. It will reduce the chaos, confusion and delays caused by dozens of countries and agencies responding to the same disaster independently.

Even though Britain has announced £20 million support, many countries continue to wait until a disaster strikes before responding – leaving a £45 million ($70m USD) shortfall in life-saving assistance for next year that could leave many emergencies without adequate funding, especially in the first and most critical phase.

Andrew Mitchell said: “The past shows that international responses could have been more effective if they had been properly planned and coordinated as part of one single system instead of a patch-quilt approach we see all too often.

“The system is in place but too many countries and agencies are failing to back it, leaving the world dangerously unprepared for the scale and number of shocks that lie ahead.

“In those first critical hours when, for example, survivors are still trapped in the rubble of an earthquake, delays and confusion can mean the difference between life and death. The international community must wake up to this challenge and unite its efforts under one umbrella.”

Mitchell said that evidence showed a consolidated fund saved more lives and was more cost effective. It means plans, experts and supplies can be quickly put in place, rather than pushing money out in response to disaster appeals.

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