Tuesday, November 18, 2008

International Red Cross asks for $420 million

Making it's annual appeal for money in South Africa today, the International Red Cross says it must raise $420 million dollars.

But just like many other organizations, they worry that the credit crisis effecting money supplies thought the world will get in the way of meeting that goal.

From this Associated Press article that we found in the International Herald Tribune, the Red Cross says the money is needed to better prepare for it's disaster work.

"We must not allow the looming financial and economic crisis to dampen our resolve to address the humanitarian needs of those who do not make the international headlines," Bekele Geleta, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a statement.

The agency's southern African operations director, Francoise Le Goff, said a special effort had been made to limit the request to the most essential projects.

Kelly David, head of U.N. aid efforts in southern Africa, joined Le Goff Tuesday to underline humanitarian workers' fears.

"We are probably going to have to do more with less," David said. Budgets for 2009 were likely safe, she said, but "we will begin to feel the crunch" in 2010.

Le Goff said Western leaders were quick to devise bailout plans for their economies, but said humanitarian needs rarely got such attention.

"It's an enormous frustration," she said. "It's revolting."

Le Goff said southern Africa is particularly vulnerable because AIDS, poverty and weak governance have combined to create an ongoing emergency, with malnutrition and diseases like cholera chronically at levels seen elsewhere only when disaster strikes.

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