UN frees $50 million in emergency funds for 6 aid operations

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations said Tuesday it is freeing up $50 million from its emergency response fund to bolster severely underfunded aid operations in six countries, including Yemen and Eritrea.

The U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) said in a news release that the money will provide crucial assistance for 2 million people, including 200,000 refugees, 665,000 internally displaced persons, 170,000 returnees and 530,000 people in host communities.

CERF said $13 million will be used to boost relief operations in war-torn Yemen, where more than 82 percent of the population needs humanitarian assistance, and $2 million will support humanitarian partners in Eritrea.

The remainder of the funds will go to Central African Republic ($9 million), Chad ($10 million), Congo ($11 million) and Rwanda ($5 million), all belonging to a part of Africa that has suffered greatly due to armed conflict, political instability, a lack of food and disease.

"This funding is a lifeline for the world's most vulnerable people caught up in forgotten crises," said U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien. "In recent years, the global refugee crisis has put enormous pressure on CERF to help millions of people fleeing conflicts that linger for lack of a political solution."

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