Richer nations accused over disaster fund

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Rich countries are failing to contribute to an international emergency fund leaving the world dangerously unprepared for future disasters, the International Development Secretary said.

Andrew Mitchell said the United Nations’ disaster response funding system is expected to be left severely underfunded despite a wave of large-scale disasters over the past year, including famine in the Horn of Africa, the Japan tsunami, New Zealand earthquake and floods in Pakistan and the Philippines.

The Government is giving £20m support to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) next year and has called on the international community to “wake up” to the challenge ahead.

It said many rich countries wait until a disaster strikes before responding.

The fund – set up following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami to provide a coordinated international response – is expected to have a shortfall of £45m next year.