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Learning English - Words in the News
28 October, 2005 - Published 09:24 GMT
Oxfam says richer governments not helping enough
Relief for earthquake survivors
South Asia earthquake relief

The British-based non-government relief agency, Oxfam, has accused many of the world's richer governments of failing to support the current United Nations appeal for victims of the recent South Asian earthquake. This report from Jill McGivering:

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So far, the UN's special earthquake appeal hasn't done as well as hoped. Only about a fifth of the money requested has actually been given. Even when pledges which have yet to be honoured are included, that's still less than a third of the total of three hundred and twelve million US dollars. Oxfam has now released figures which show many of the world's richer nations have failed to give, what it calls, their fair share, a proportion of the total calculated according to the size of their economy. On that basis, it highlights Japan, Germany, the United States and Italy as countries which it says have given less than a fifth of their fair share. Others, including France, Belgium, Austria and Finland, have yet to give at all, it says.

While some high profile emergencies are well funded, such as the UN appeal for Iraq two years ago and the tsunami appeal, Oxfam says many UN appeals are dismally under-funded. The gap between an emergency appeal being announced and funds actually being received can mean the difference between life and death for many thousands of people involved, it argues. Oxfam wants to see current UN plans for a special Global Emergency Fund both speeded up and better honoured. The new fund was approved by world leaders in September. It's supposed to act as a centralised UN pot of money, which can be handed out in emergencies. But so far that too, says Oxfam, has failed to attract a fifth of the funding it needs.

Jill McGivering, BBC Asia

Listen to the words

earthquake appeal
a serious, formal request for help from the public for earthquake survivors

formal promises to give help or money

yet to be honoured
not delivered yet

made available, published

brings attention to

high profile emergencies
emergencies which are widely known of, widely publicised

are dismally under-funded
have a lot less money than is needed

The gap
The time period

a centralised UN pot of money
a single account within the United Nations where all the money is kept

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