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US$ 200 million shortfall for the North

[The Sunday Leader.lk, Thursday, 6 October 2011 12:41 No Comment]

The UN has said that the Joint Plan for Assistance (JPA) for Sri Lanka’s Northern Province is facing a US$200 million shortfall.

The latest Joint Humanitarian and Early Recovery Update states the JPA’s US$ 289 million appeal, only US$ 76.5 million, or 26 percent, has been received.

IRIN has reported that officials at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have declined to comment in detail on how the funding shortfall would affect operations.

But a mid-year assessment of the plan has indicated that only 13 percent of humanitarian, 32 percent of urgent early recovery and 16 percent of early recovery requirements had been met.

UN officials have indicated it was highly unlikely the full appeal would be met this year. Further constraints were avoided in May when Valerie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, released US$ 4.9 million to the priority sectors: food security, agriculture, protection, shelter, water and sanitation, nutrition and health.

There are also concerns that even though food security was among the sectors that received the highest rate of funding by mid-year – 51 percent of the total requirement of $55 million – there are shortfalls.

“Over 60 percent of households in the Northern Province are food-insecure, and lack the income generation and food-production capacity to secure basic needs,” the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has told IRIN.

A recent WFP survey has also revealed that half the 1.1 million people in the Northern Province were indebted, owing on average six months’ income, much of it incurred in buying food.

A survey conducted in June by the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), a French NGO working in the north has found more than 80 percent of households taking part in cash for work programmes spent between 50 and 90 percent of their meager income on food.

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