GENEVA (AP) _ The International Committee of the Red Cross, one of the world’s biggest humanitarian organizations, faces a deficit of up to $46 million this year, an official said today.
Arnold Blaettler said there was a risk the Swiss-run agency might have to cut its operations if it didn’t receive extra money.
Blaettler said the the cash crisis meant the Red Cross was no longer able to plan ahead and had to cope on a day-to-day basis.
Donations by Western governments provide the bulk of the agency’s funding, with Switzerland as the biggest single contributor. Other sources are national Red Cross societies all over the world and private donors.
The funding crisis stems mostly from tighter government aid budgets caused by the recession, and many aid organizations are feeling the squeeze.
Also, many donations are tied to aid for certain areas, some of which have actually required less money than foreseen - the Persian Gulf region and Romania, for example, - while other crises developed unexpectedly.
The economic magazine Cash published details today of the Red Cross’ financial crisis and said the deficit could be as high as $66 million. However, Blaettler said the figure was more likely to be $33 million to $46 million.
He said the Red Cross planned to seek extra funds from countries like Taiwan and South Korea, in addition to Western donor nations.
The Geneva-based agency has won wide respect for its work in trouble spots around the world, including in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Somalia.
Blaettler said the agency’s field operations were expected to cost $530 million this year, and headquarter costs a further $100 million.