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Wed, 19.03.2003
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Less charity spending as war approaches
UNICEF reports lack of funding to other regions

New York (pte033/19.03.2003/13:47) - Months of tension and debate on a possible war in Iraq have taken their toll on financial aid to millions of children in crisis regions around the world.

Children's aid organization UNICEF has reported that the financing of emergency aid programmes is crumbling away in over thirty countries. In 2003 up to 501 million dollars in aid were supposed to be available. By the end of February UNICEF had only received 14 per cent of the sum, compared to 30 per cent received by the same time in 2002.

"The month long Iraq crisis has obstructed aid to just about every other emergency," said UNICEF manager Carol Bellamy. Donors have not been willing to confirm aid to other humanitarian emergencies, as they are uncertain how much money would be needed during a war in Iraq. Bellamy called this "understandable", but pointed out that a reduction of spending to other countries could have a devastating effect on the lives of millions of other children. Twelve countries, including Columbia, Rwanda, and the Central African Republic, have not received any money at all up to now.

In spite of these concerns, UNICEF has also taken precautionary measures for an emergency in Iraq, investing up to ten million dollars in the past months. As the war is expected to affect Iraq's children, about 1,000 tons of protein-rich biscuits and 155 tons of special milk have been delivered to fight against malnutrition.

About half of Iraq's population of 24.5 million are children or teenagers. "About one fourth of Iraqi children are underweight when they are born, Every fourth Iraqi child under five suffers from malnutrition," said Carel de Rooy of UNICEF Iraq. A week ago Rooy said: "The current situation is bad enough. A war would be a heavy blow for Iraqi children, who are already fighting for survival." (newsfox-special Iraq)

Submitter: pressetext.europe
Contact: Newsfox Desk
Phone: + 43 - 1 - 811 40 - 319