Fighting Stops in Casamance, But Conflict Continues
Fighting Stops in Casamance, But Conflict Continues

The United Nations says it needs $368 million for humanitarian work in West Africa in 2010.

The West Africa division of the U.N. Office of Humanitarian Affairs has launched an appeal for $368 million to continue its work in the region in 2010.

The money will go towards financing 129 projects, as diverse as child malnutrition in Sierra Leone and sanitation in flood-prone areas of Senegal.  Among the targeted countries are the 15 nations that make up the Economic Community of West African States.

They include Mali, where climate change is taking its toll on farmers, and the volcanic islands of Cape Verde, where a Dengue Fever outbreak has swept through the population.

The appeal is part of a larger U.N. drive to raise money for humanitarian projects throughout Africa, for a total of $7.13-billion.

U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Chad Michele Falavigna says $470 million is needed for that country.

"The strategic objectives of the 2010 consolidated appeal are to ensure the continuation of life saving assistance and protection to refugees and displaced populations, to continue to reinforce humanitarian space, but to build sustainable capacity at national level with local actors for a sustainable solution of the crisis in Chad," said Michele Falavigna.

Chad's humanitarian crisis has been exacerbated by an influx of refugees from Sudan's Darfur region.

"In 2010 we will continue focusing on emergency relief, while we will start early recovery programs," said Falavigna. "We will start assistance to the judiciary system, we will start reinforcing law and order, we will start supporting development programs through micro credit, through community action."

Most of the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs' budget is funded by contributions from member countries.

In 2009, the Office for Humanitarian Affairs in west Africa appealed for $404 million and 70 percent of those funds have been received.  Since the its first regional appeal in 2003, west Africa has received more than $1.2 billion in humanitarian aid.

Among other projects, those funds have eased the effects of climate change on cotton farmers in Burkina Faso and have helped Sierra Leone and Liberia transition from war to development.