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Shortfall of $4.8 billion in aid for 2009

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The United Nations has revealed it needs a record $4.8 billion to plug a funding gap in its 2009 aid programmes. Notably, Pakistan's calls for foreign assistance are up tenfold. The financial crisis has been partly blamed for the shortfall.


REUTERS - The United Nations on Tuesday revealed a record $4.8 billion funding gap for its 2009 aid programmes due to strained foreign assistance levels and a ten-fold increase in needs in Pakistan.


"It is clear that the global recession puts pressure on the aid budgets of all donor governments, but of course it puts immeasurably more pressure on crises-stricken people in poor countries," said U.N. emergency relief coordinator John Holmes.


Holmes said in a statement the U.N. has received less than half the $9.5 billion it sought for humanitarian work this year.


The shortfalls are biggest in Sudan ($916 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($505 million), Zimbabwe ($458 million) and Somalia ($428 million), with big needs also in the Palestinian territories ($391 million) and Iraq ($374 million).


The most dramatic rise in humanitarian needs has been for Pakistan, where an army offensive against militants has caused more than 2 million people to flee their homes in recent weeks, the statement said. Pakistan's funding gap is now $312 million.


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