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ICRC budget for year 2000 tops one billion Swiss francs

10-02-2000 News Release 00/04

On 8 February 2000 the ICRC launched three appeals completing its annual Emergency Appeals issued in December 1999. These new appeals total nearly70million Swiss francs (US$ 42.2 million; Euro 43.6 million), needed to finance the organization's activities in East Asia (Jakarta regional delegation), East Timor and the Russian Federation (Moscow regional delegation) up to the end of the current year. Last December the rapidly changing situation in these three regions made any realistic forecast of objectives and budgets for the coming year impossible.

This additional sum brings the ICRC's field budget for 2000 to Sfr 907.6 million (US$ 547.1 million; Euro 564.7 million). With the Sfr144.5 million (US$ 87.1 million; Euro 89.9 million) required for the operational support services provided by headquarters, the organization's overall budget has topped the 1 billion franc (US$ 602.8 million; Euro 622.2 million) mark.

The ICRC's regional delegation in Jakarta needs Sfr 12 million (US$ 7.2 million; Euro7.5million) to encourage ratification of the humanitarian treaties and promote respect for humanitarian principles, and to support the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. In Aceh, Irian Jaya, Ambon, West Kalimantan and West Timor, it works with the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia – PMI) to protect and assist people affected by violence, especially detainees, displaced people and dispersed families.

Some Sfr 17 million (US$ 10.2 million; Euro 10.6 million) are required for East Timor, where the entire population has suffered the effects of the recent upheaval. Here the ICRC is focusing its efforts o n aiding people living in remote areas, maintaining health services at Dili General Hospital, providing temporary shelter for the most vulnerable among those who have lost their homes, restoring and maintaining family links, and protecting detainees and civilians who may be at risk within their communities.

In the Russian Federation the ICRC needs over Sfr 41 million (US$ 24.7 million; Euro25.5million) to meet its objectives, which are twofold. On the one hand it will continue its aid programmes for people affected by the conflict in the northern Caucasus, and on the other it will pursue its efforts to promote respect for humanitarian law through nationwide dissemination programmes for the authorities, in the education system and among the armed forces, a crucial aspect of its mandate.

With regard to the vast humanitarian needs created by the ongoing Chechen crisis, the ICRC's main priority is to continue providing some 150,000 people in the region with basic necessities, in coordination with the authorities and other humanitarian agencies. Other programmes, conducted mainly in neighbouring Ingushetia, include assistance for medical facilities treating the displaced and the wounded and water-supply and sanitation projects. Together with the International Federation, the ICRC will continue to support the Russian Red Cross Society and its local branches in carrying out their programmes in aid of displaced Chechens. Furthermore, the ICRC stands ready to extend its activities in the Chechen republic once it has obtained the necessary security guarantees and assurances that its working procedures are accepted by all concerned.

The field budgets for 2000 are considerably higher than those presented a year ago. This can be explained by the fact that a number of budget extensions were required to cope with the various crises that occurred throughout 1999, a year which saw a record high in the number of conflicts and other situa tions of violence around the world. In order to respond to these crises the ICRC had to review its objectives 11 times, arriving at a final budget of Sfr911.7 million (US$ 549.6 million; Euro 567.3 million) by the end of the year. All indicators suggest that this level of violence will persist in 2000 and that the situation may change even more abruptly and unpredictably.