Washington Post - Red Cross asks $198M for Global Aid

The Associated Press

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1999

GENEVA –– The international Red Cross appealed Tuesday for $198 million for relief operations next year, with Yugoslavia, Africa's Great Lakes region and North Korea among the main recipients.

Long-term aid for many ongoing crises – such as those across the former Yugoslavia, in Angola and in and around Congo – is increasingly important, said Margareta Wahlstroem, a senior official with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The Red Cross is seeking $30.4 million for Yugoslavia to help 700,000 refugees from Kosovo and earlier wars in Bosnia and Croatia, and for health and development programs.

The U.N.'s World Food Program, meanwhile, said Tuesday it has appealed for $92.5 million in aid for refugees, displaced persons and other welfare cases throughout Serbia next year.

It will use those funds to help up to 900,000 refugees and social cases in Serbia, the dominant republic in Yugoslavia, Robert Hauser, head of the agency's mission in capital Belgrade, said.

The Red Cross wants $10 million to help alleviate poverty and health problems in the Caucasian nations of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. And $8.5 million is destined to help Tanzania cope with refugees from continuing violence in neighboring Congo and Burundi.

In another major ongoing operation, the Red Cross is seeking $6 million for North Korea, where food shortages continue and natural disasters "could have an even greater impact than usual on affected communities."

Next year's appeal "is just a starting point," Wahlstroem said.

Deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Taiwan, as well as the Kosovo crisis, helped make 1999 a "record year" for emergency aid, she said. The Red Cross federation has sought a total of $354 million, almost double what it appealed for at the beginning of the year.

The federation groups national Red Cross and Muslim Red Crescent Societies worldwide. It is a separate body from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which appeals independently for funding.

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