Major campaign to immunize 5.8 million Iraqi children against polio
Source: World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund
Today, on World Polio Day, the Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF and WHO, launched a week-long nationwide campaign to immunize Iraq’s children against polio.
Bagdhad, Iraq – Today, on World Polio Day the Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a weeklong nationwide campaign to immunize Iraq’s children against polio.
Under the slogan “two drops can change a life,” the five-day campaign aims to reach an estimated 5.8 million children below the age of five in Iraq, regardless of previous vaccination status.
Polio is a highly infectious viral disease that attacks the nervous system. Children under five years of age are the most vulnerable to the disease, but timely immunization can prevent infection.
“The Government of Iraq is committed to polio eradication, and conducted 16 campaigns to that end in 2014 and 2015 as part of the Middle East Polio Outbreak response,” said UNICEF Representative in Iraq Peter Hawkins.
Since April 2014, no new polio cases have been reported in Iraq, thanks to the government’s strong commitment and the hard work of frontline workers. In May 2015, Iraq was removed from the list of infected countries.
However, the risks of a resurgence persist due to possible surveillance and immunization coverage gaps among Iraq’s displaced populations as well as those living in inaccessible areas and informal settlements.
“There is still a risk of polio returning to Iraq,” said WHO Representative to Iraq Altaf Musani. “Polio transmission is ongoing in Pakistan and Afghanistan and new cases of polio have also been confirmed in Nigeria,” he said. ”Until transmission is stopped globally, we need to maintain high levels of vaccination coverage and keep surveillance systems strong, to be on the alert for the virus,” he added.
The Iraq Polio partnership conducted 2 national immunization rounds in February and April this year, reaching over 91% of the targeted population.
This month’s vaccination campaign will be conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH) with support from WHO and UNICEF, with special attention to the most vulnerable children in Internally Displaced Persons and Syrian Refugee camps, informal settlements, host affected communities and newly retaken areas. More than 25,000 vaccinators will go from house to house during the campaign, visiting families.
WHO will cover the operational cost, intra and post campaign monitoring, while UNICEF will provide support for focused social mobilization services. In coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health (MOH), the KRG Ministry of Health, Zain and Korek Telecommunications Company will contribute into social mobilization and communications campaign with a focus on IDPs.
Ajyal Sultany, Communications Officer, WHO, Iraq. +974 7510101469, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Behn Nogueira, Chief of Communications, UNICEF, Iraq. +964 (0) 782 782 0238, email@example.com
Latest humanitarian snapshot highlights flooding and displacement across Southeast Asia
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: China, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Viet Nam
Approximately 159,000 people are displaced and an estimated eight have been killed in the Philippines due to Typhoon Haima; 250 hectares of rice have been damaged in Indonesia.
On 19 October, Category 4 Typhoon Haima (locally named Lawin) made landfall in Cagayan province. After landfall, the storm left a broad path of debris, causing flooding and landslides, and damaging about 46,000 houses. As of 24 October, authorities have confirmed eight fatalities and approximately 159,000 people remain displaced (38,000 people are staying inside evacuation centres and 121,000 people outside of evacuation centres). The Government is leading the humanitarian response and has declined an offer of international assistance.
On 18 October, Typhoon Sarika made landfall on China's southern island of Hainan as a Category 2 typhoon with torrential rain and winds of up to 162 km/h. Nearly 500,000 people were evacuated from coastal and low-lying areas. Just days later on 21 October, Typhoon Haima made landfall in Guangdong province as a Category 1 typhoon. Nearly 1.7 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haima, with some 668,000 evacuated ahead of the storm's arrival. No casualties have been reported. The provincial government provided relief goods to the affected communities.
Following days of torrential rainfall and high tides, at least 1,000 houses were flooded in coastal areas of Palopo City, South Sulawesi province on 21 and 22 October, affecting about 3,000 people. Flood waters also damaged around 250 hectares of rice fields and farm land. The local government provided basic relief assistance to the affected communities.
On 20 October, flooding due to tropical depressions Aere and Sarika affected over 131,000 households and temporarily displaced about 1,800 households in central Viet Nam. While local media reported that flood waters were receding, initial damage assessments indicate significant damage to agricultural land and livestock with impacts for the livelihoods of affected communities. The equivalent of US$67 million in damages were initially reported by authoritis. No international support has been requested. 4
Humanitarian partners estimate that between 10,000 to 15,000 people have been displaced from villages in northern Rakhine State since armed attacks on 9 October and the subsequent security operations. As of 24 October, there is no humanitarian access to these affected people. In addition, another 3,000 ethnic Rakhine people are also displaced and are currently staying at monasteries, schools and camps in the town centres of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Sittwe. WFP reports that 50,000 food-insecure people in Maungdaw, who normally receive assistance, cannot be reached and 65,000 children in Maungdaw and Buthidaung are not receiving WFP's normal school feeding support.5
On 21 October, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck Tottori Prefecture. The quake caused 24 injuries and damaged 346 houses in Tottori and Okayama prefectures. As of 23 October, 655 people remain in 25 evacuation centres in Tottori due to fear of aftershocks. The Government continues to provide emergency support to the the most affected areas.6
Fighting displaces 75,000 people in north-central Somalia
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The impact of the conflict is putting a strain on depleted aid supplies meant to respond to the needs of those affected by effects of natural hazards such as flooding and drought.
Fighting continued for the third week in Gaalkacyo, leaving 18 people killed and 60 injured since 7 October 2016, according to local authorities. By 23 October, humanitarian partners in Gaalkacyo now estimate that over 75,000 people have been displaced, but local authorities have indicated that the number could be higher as more people continue to flee the violence. Renewed heavy fighting erupted on 22 October 2016, leaving six people dead, 21 injured and displacing thousands of people to the outskirts of the town, according to local authorities. Renewed clashes were also reported the morning of 24 October. An estimated 20 per cent of the fatalities and injuries are civilians, many of them due to stray bullets. All the internally displaced (IDPs) settlements in south Gaalkacyo with an estimated population of 20,000 have been vacated. An estimated 60 per cent of the IDPs in north Gaalkacyo have faced secondary displacement from their settlements. Altogether, some 40,000 displaced people have faced secondary displacement. The displaced have moved to villages and settlements in the outskirts of the town on both sides. Gaalkacyo town has an estimated population of more than 270,000 people, according to UNFPA figures. The Federal Government of Somalia’s efforts to restore peace in Gaalkacyo are under way. In December 2015 when a similar conflict broke out, efforts from the political leadership at Federal level and the regional bodies such as IGAD spearheaded talks led to the cessation of hostilities. A recommendation from the 2015 fighting after negotiations that a joint committee be established to look into the root causes of the fighting and avoid future conflicts did not take off.
An inter-agency assessment conducted on 19 October 2016 by humanitarian partners and local authorities established that all IDP and host community settlements around the Garsoor area where the fighting is concentrated have been vacated. Locals have expressed concern about the lack of progress on the peace process. The fear that the conflict may last longer than anticipated is driving more people out of their homes. The conflict in Gaalkacyo will worsen the situation of IDPs, especially those facing secondary displacement. The impact of the conflict is putting a strain on depleted humanitarian supplies meant to respond to the needs of those affected by effects of natural hazards such as flooding and drought in the region as the Deyr rainy season begins.
Humanitarian impact and needs
Assessments by humanitarian partners and estimates from the fighting of 22 October indicate that over 75,000 people have been displaced. All 13 IDP settlements in south Gaalkacyo and another eight in the north of the city have been abandoned. Most of the displaced have fled to the villages and settlements in the outskirts of the town.
Some of the displaced local residents from the host community have fled to rural villages and other outlying towns where they are staying with friends and relatives. The displaced people are in need of shelter/NFIs, food, water/sanitation services, health, nutrition and protection related interventions. The onset of the rainy season is likely to affect the displaced especially those spending nights in the open. Some 80 per cent of the displaced are women, children and elderly. Since the fighting started, UNHAS has been forced to cancel four scheduled flights to Gaalkacyo as a safety precaution. The fighting has affected over 20,000 learners as all schools remain closed.
Insecurity due to the fighting has resulted in most humanitarian organizations limiting staff movements as a safety precaution. The disruption and partial closure of businesses and commercial activity continue to affect the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people who depend on the markets for survival. The conflict has also impacted livestock owners and traders who rely on Gaalkacyo as the transit center for trucks carrying livestock to the port of Bossaso. The only known hindrance to the movement of humanitarian supplies between the two sides, are concerns regarding staff safety and security. Gaalkacyo provides the access network to central regions such as Hiraan, Galgaduud and South Mudug for commodities from the port of Bossaso. Conversely agricultural products and livestock from South Central pass through Gaalkacyo onward to northern towns.
Rebuilding Haiti after Hurricane Matthew
Source: Inter Press Service
Country: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti
Neighboring nations did not experience such devastation, with only four deaths in the Dominican Republic and none in Cuba. So why did Haiti take such a hard hit?
By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 23 2016 (IPS) - As Haiti reels from another disaster once again, many are questioning the humanitarian system and looking for long-term solutions with Haitians at the heart of response.
Since Hurricane Matthew made landfall in early October, over 500 Haitians have reportedly died, thousands of homes have been left destroyed, and vital farm land overturned. This devastation has affected over 19 percent, or 2.2 million, of the Caribbean nation’s 10 million citizens. More than 12 percent of the population is in need of immediate assistance, especially in the southern part of the country.
In response, the United Nations launched a flash appeal of $119 million to provide urgent life-saving aid to 750,000 people in the next three months. This appeal is in addition to $194 million for the 2016 Haiti Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) requested early this year.
Neighboring nations however did not experience such devastation, with only 4 deaths in the Dominican Republic and none in Cuba. So why did Haiti take such a hard hit?
“Fundamentally, the problem is that Haiti is very poor,” David Sanderson, a Professor at the University of New South Wales specialising in humanitarian responses told IPS.
Haiti, a nation formed following a slave rebellion, has long struggled with extreme poverty, after beginning its existence in debt to its former coloniser France. Meanwhile aid delivered to Haiti has often been criticised for being insufficient and inefficient and at times even counter-productive.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere with more than a quarter of its people living in extreme poverty. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction found that poverty and disaster mortality often go hand in hand, reporting that the majority of the 1.35 million killed by natural disasters between 1996 and 2015 occurred in low-income countries.
Many have also noted the impacts of decades of political instability and corruption in creating a weak government that has not enacted key disaster preparedness policies such as necessary improvements to infrastructure.
According to a report from the American Institute of Architects, there is no national building code and a lack of enforcement of building construction standards. Instead, engineers often use standards from other countries that do not account for Haiti’s own context.
The government was only weakened further following the devastating magnitude 7 earthquake in 2010 which claimed over 200,000 lives and left over 1.5 million people homeless. Now over six years after the earthquake, almost 60,000 people are still displaced.
A Byproduct of the International Development System
However, many are pushing back on this narrative, pointing to the international aid regime as a major source of the country’s inability to withstand and recover from such disasters.
“The weakness of the government is a byproduct of the entire international development system,” said France Francois, a former development worker in post-earthquake reconstruction efforts, to IPS.
“It’s easy to point the finger and say well the Haitian government should have done this or should have done that, but what you have to look at is the larger structure…It’s not simply because [the government doesn’t] want to do things, it is because they don’t have the capacity and they don’t have the capacity because they only get one percent of foreign aid,” Francois continued.
Haiti-American development consultant Jocelyn McCalla echoed similar sentiments to IPS, noting that the international aid regime has lead to very few assets being provided “in order to build the capacity of Haitians themselves to own the process of rebuilding.”
According to the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, the Haitian government received less than one percent of humanitarian aid after the 2010 earthquake while humanitarian agencies and international non-governmental organisations received the other 99 percent. Provisions for long-term recovery funding to the Government of Haiti was slightly higher at approximately 15 percent.
This failure to assist and coordinate with the government creates a “vicious cycle” in which Haitians are left relying on forces “outside of their control,” said Haiti-American development consultant Jocelyn McCalla to IPS.
“Haiti has become a Republic of NGOs—so international NGOs have created this complete parallel of government that always bypasses the Haitian government,” said Francois.
She also pointed to the disconnect between donor priorities and Haitians’ needs.
As part of efforts towards reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake, the Bush-Clinton Haiti Fund, created by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, invested $2 million in the Royal Oasis Hotel aimed to house aid workers and foreign investors.
Though the project was meant to create jobs for Haitians, it failed to address the permanent, seismic-proof housing needs of thousands of Haitians.
“If you asked the Haitian people…they would have said that [being] safe during a hurricane is a priority for them, not hotels for foreigners,” Francois told IPS.
The Center for Global Development also found that donor concerns trumped the Haitian government’s post-earthquake priorities as funding requests for reconstruction, education and health fell significantly short.
The failure to focus on resilience and disaster preparedness is not isolated to Haiti. Sanderson, who is one of the editors of the 2016 World Disasters Report, found that only 40 cents to every $100 spent on development aid was invested in disaster risk reduction activities.
“That’s wrong—there should be way more going in advancement to stop disasters from happening in the first place,” Sanderson told IPS, adding that there is a shared responsibility towards such action.
As a result of past failures, many have said that greater transparency and accountability is “sorely needed.”
Francois particularly pointed to the American Red Cross’ alleged mismanaged funds and unfulfilled promises to build homes for Haitians. Though the group received nearly $500 million in donations following the earthquake, ProPublica and National Public Radio released an investigative report claiming the Red Cross only built six permanent homes.
In response, the Red Cross denied allegations and called the misrepresentation “disappointing.”
“Despite the most challenging conditions, including changes in government, lack of land for housing, and civil unrest, our hardworking staff—90 percent of whom are Haitians—continue to meet the long-term needs of the Haitian people. While the pace of progress is never as fast as we would like, Haiti is better off today than it was five years ago,” Red Cross said in a statement.
Francois said that beneficiaries must hold organisations and donors accountable for aid flows, and that organisations must work with and involve communities in every step of the way.
“That’s standard best practice,” she told IPS.
“What I hope will happen is that those who want to support Haiti and the Haitian government will sit down with the proper authorities and put together what the long term sustainable plan will look like for this reconstruction effort,” she continued.
McCalla highlighted the need to ensure there is no repeat of the cholera epidemic that was introduced to the waterways following the 2010 earthquake.
UN peacekeepers have been blamed for the outbreak which has so far killed over 10,000 people. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found “an exact correlation” between arrival of Nepalese peacekeepers to the appearance of first cases in the Meille river. In August, a UN spokesperson said that the UN was convinced it needed to do more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak, however the UN has continued to claim immunity
“Because of a number of past failures, we should respond clearly and say we are accountable…we want to work with the Haitian people to do it…and also make every effort possible to commit to remedying the situation,” McCalla told IPS. However, no effort has been made thus far, he added.
Investing in Local Institutions and People
As the three week mark approaches along with the fading interest and relief resources that often goes with it, the push for long-term solutions is underway, one that gives control to Haitians.
“Business as usual is not an option,” said Sanderson, urging for a focus on long-term recovery that puts local citizens in charge.
McCalla and Francois made similar comments, highlighting the need to invest in Haitians.
“When you cast (Haitians) aside, and say we’re going to take care of everything…that is demeaning,” McCalla told IPS.
He also stressed the need to challenge the “charity” narrative of Haiti.
Francois said that organisations should hire and train Haitians not only as a way to build trust, but also to show their investment in communities.
“You build the local capacity so that you are no longer needed…you are supposed to grow and change and show results but only in the development world, remaining stagnant is something to be proud of,” she told IPS.
Though Haiti will continued to need funds, “people are not helpless,” McCalla told IPS, noting that many are already trying to rebuild their livelihoods and country whilst asserting their position at the forefront of disaster relief and recovery.
Ambassador of Haiti to the U.S. Paul Altidor released a statement at the wake of the disaster, urging for a coordinated and strategic relief effort “to avoid mistakes from the past.”
“As the country continues to assess the extent of the damage, the state of Haiti strongly encourages all who wish to help to work with the local organisations and institutions on the ground in order to gain their input on the actual needs of the affected communities,” he said in a statement, adding that local institutions can also be good partners too and should not be bypassed.
UN envoy urges 72-hour extension of ceasefire in Yemen
Source: UN Department of Public Information
Special Envoy reminds all parties of an obligation to allow unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to all parts of Yemen, in addition to a comprehensive halt to military activities of any kind.
With the 72 hour Cessation of Hostilities in Yemen coming to an end, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail OuldCheikh Ahmed, urges all parties to agree to its extension for at least another renewable 72 hours.
"The ceasefire was largely holding despite reported violations from both sides in several areas. We noted over the last days that food and humanitarian supplies were provided to several affected neighborhoods and that UN personnel were able to reach areas that were previously inaccessible. We would like to build on this and we aim for a wider outreach in the next few days", said the Special Envoy.
The Special Envoy reminds all parties that the terms and conditions of the Cessation of Hostilities include an obligation to allow free and unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to all parts of Yemen, in addition to a full and comprehensive halt to military activities of any kind. “This must be respected at all times, in all areas”, said the Special Envoy.
The Special Envoy reiterated his call for the immediate reactivation of the De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC) and the deployment of its members to Dhahran Al Janoub as agreed during the Kuwait talks. “I expect all sides to strictly adhere to their commitments and work toward a definitive cessation of violence through a political process. In case parties agree to the extension, the Cessation of Hostilities must be fully respected. Our aim is that it will lead to a permanent and lasting end to the conflict," he added. "Yemenis deserve to live in peace and have access to their basic rights and all parties must assume their responsibility in protecting them."
IFRC launches emergency appeal to assist people affected by Typhoon Haima
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
IFRC seeks funding to bring immediate and medium-term aid to 20,000 people in North and Central Luzon, as well as to support their recovery and increase their resilience to future shocks.
This Emergency Appeal is being issued on preliminary basis and seeks 2,994,770 Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in delivering assistance and support to 20,000 people affected by Typhoon Haima over 10 months. The operation will focus on the following sectors: health; water, sanitation and hygiene; food, nutrition, and livelihoods; shelter; disaster risk reduction and National Society capacity building. The Appeal budget also includes 111,452 Swiss francs to support the IFRC’s role as convenor of the inter-agency shelter cluster. The Appeal will be revised in the coming weeks to further align interventions with new and more detailed assessments. Details will be available in the Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) to be linked.
The operational strategy
While there has not been a formal request for international assistance from the Government of Philippines, members of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), along with local humanitarian partners, are responding to bilateral requests from national and local levels, mainly using in-country resources. As a leading humanitarian actor, and in pursuit of its mandate outlined in Republic Act No. 10072 [Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009], the PRC is mounting an operation to deliver humanitarian assistance to people affected by Typhoon Haima. This Emergency Appeal is being launched to enable the IFRC and member National Societies to support PRC in its response.
The Emergency Plan of Action is being developed jointly by PRC and IFRC, with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Partner National Societies (PNSs) with in-country presence fully updated about the interventions and their rationale. The plan will be adjusted in the coming weeks based on recommendations of ongoing assessments.
The relief phase will focus on providing essential household items, emergency shelter assistance, and multi-purpose cash grants to affected communities as well as psychosocial support and the prevention of water and vector-borne diseases. In the early recovery phase, PRC will accompany affected vulnerable households to repair their damaged homes, support livelihoods recovery and rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities in communities and schools.
The intensity of the typhoon raised concerns that it would have a massive humanitarian impact and the authorities evacuated more than 18,100 families (approximately 90,600 people) pre-emptively to get them out of harm’s way. So far, there have been seven confirmed deaths, with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reporting that at least 2,600 families (around 10,999 people) remain in evacuation centres. There is a need to provide essential services to displaced people, including psychosocial support and restoring family links.
There is also a need for sleeping materials, water storage containers and hygiene items. Furthermore, since it has been observed that markets are functioning in areas reached by PRC teams, provision of cash grants will enable affected people to obtain the items they need, especially as their income sources have been disrupted.
It is still early to quantify the extent of damage caused on shelter and livelihoods by Haima as reports from isolated areas will only be received in the coming two days. However, initial reports from PRC chapters and assessment teams across the affected areas indicate that thousands of families have been left without a roof over their heads while some schools – which are used as evacuation centres – are exposed after typhoon strong winds blew roofing sheets away.
Water and sanitation facilities were also damaged and will need to be rehabilitated. Livelihoods have also been significantly impacted as crops have been flooded or damaged by typhoon winds, including rice crop that have been lost just a few weeks before harvest.
Typhoon Haima is the third major weather disturbance to affect North Luzon within a span of weeks. The collective impact of the three typhoons has left significant humanitarian needs. It is projected that up to five more typhoons may affect Philippines before year-end. This situation calls for urgent action to ensure that affected vulnerable populations are accompanied to get back on their feet and have a roof over their head the soonest.
PRC will ensure that interventions are aligned with its own as well as the IFRC minimum standard commitments to gender and diversity in emergency programming, for example by targeting women-headed households, pregnant or lactating women, men and boys made vulnerable by the disaster, families that have not received any or sufficient assistance from the government or other organizations, those belonging to the socially vulnerable households, and those who lack relevant resources to cope with basic humanitarian needs on their own. These groups will be considered according to level of impact.
Coordination and partnerships
The PRC works with the IFRC and ICRC as well as American, Australian, British, Canadian, Finnish, German, Japanese, The Netherlands, Norwegian, Spanish, Swiss and Qatar Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in-country.
All these partners are coordinating with PRC on how and where they can provide support.
In addition to IFRC which has provided financial support via a DREF allocation of 48,659 Swiss francs, ICRC has indicated that it could cover some PRC mobilization costs if required. Three personnel of IFRC are embedded to two of the teams that were deployed closer to the affected areas prior to the typhoon’s landfall while additional personnel in Manila are supporting the National Society in operational planning, logistics planning and coordination. ICRC and PNSs also have technical specialists who can be made available to support the PRC response if required.
Thus far, three meetings of all Movement partners have been held, including one on 21 October. In the latest meeting, PRC invited all the partners to participate in a teleconference held to update the wider Movement counterparts – especially those without presence in the Philippines – about the situation, needs, action and plans with regard to Typhoon Haima. During the teleconference, the leadership of PRC reiterated the approach of having a ‘One Movement Plan’ so as to reach more together.
In addition to coordinating with Movement partners, PRC has assigned dedicated personnel to represent the National Society in NDRRMC meetings. IFRC and PRC participate in meetings of the HCT. Furthermore, IFRC is supporting the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in activities relating to the Shelter Working Group. In readiness to fulfil the IFRC role as co-convenor of the shelter cluster, a fraction of this appeal’s budget is a provision for the deployment of a shelter coordination team if a request for the same is received.
This operation aims to assist 20,000 people affected by Typhoon Haima in North and Central Luzon with appropriate immediate and medium-term assistance in a timely, effective, and efficient manner, as well as accompany them to recover from the impact of the typhoon and increase their resilience to future shocks.
Typhoon Haima displaces over 200,000 people in Philippines
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
A total of 200,862 people are now displaced in CAR and Regions I, II, III, IV-A and V, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Over 200,000 people are displaced in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Regions I, II, III in northern Luzon, and Regions IV-A and V in southern Luzon.
There are about 117,000 people staying in 939 evacuation centres.
Over 6,000 homes are damaged or destroyed in CAR and Regions I, II and III.
CAR and Region I report PhP74.6 million (US$1.6 million) in damages to rice, corn and high-value crops, such as mangoes, bananas, papayas and vegetables.
Region I reports P1.1 million ($25,000) in estimated damages to fisheries.
Kalinga province has declared a state of calamity.
A total of 200,862 people are now displaced in CAR and Regions I, II, III, IV-A and V, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The majority of those—184,705 people—are located in Regions I, II and III in northern Luzon. There are 7, 432 people currently reported displaced in CAR. In the southern Luzon and Bicol regions, 8,905 people remain displaced. While no new casualties have been confirmed, the number may increase as new reports are validated.
There are currently 116,826 people staying in 939 evacuation centres, while 83,986 people are home-based, staying with friends and relatives.
The province of Kalinga declared a state of calamity on 21 October, enabling the release of additional disaster funds for relief efforts.
There are now 6,308 houses reported damaged or destroyed in CAR and Regions I, II and III. About half are located in Region II.
There are 160 municipalities in CAR and Region I still without power, according to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
So far, CAR and Region I are reporting PhP66 million (US$1.4 million) in damages to rice and corn crops and another P8.6 million ($183,000) in damages to high-value crops. Region I is also reporting P1.1 million ($25,000) in estimated damages to fisheries.
There are currently 58 roads and 17 bridges in CAR and Regions I, II and III reported not passable due to flooding, landslides, damage from debris or soil collapses, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Damages to roads, bridges and other structures now totals P582 million ($12.4 million), based on information provided by the regional disaster risk reduction and management offices.
Partner organizations are reporting limited access to clean water in some areas of CAR and Regions I and II, but prioritization remains with debris clearing activities. Government and partner organizations continue to conduct damage assessments and needs analyses as access becomes available.
Cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti set for November 3
Source: Pan American Health Organization
Country: Cuba, Haiti
There is an urgent need to repair non-functional essential health facilities and satellite warehouses housing medical supplies, but actions have been delayed due to lack of funding and materials.
Food distributions have started in selected rural areas in Grand’ Anse, Sud, and Nippes Departments, it is pertinent to maintain this effort.
Cholera vaccination campaign has been set for November 3rd in Sud and Grand’ Anse and is expected to last 10 days.
Due to a review of the official information from the Cholera Epidemiological Surveillance, the revised number of suspected cholera cases is 2271
Urgent need to repair non-functional essential health facilities and satellite warehouses housing medical supplies, however these actions have been delayed due to lack of funding and materials.
Next health group meeting will be held on Friday 21 October at 10:00 am at PAHO/WHO.
UN reports reveal clear use of excessive force, rife impunity for rights violations in DR Congo
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Excessive, including lethal force was used during demonstrations in Kinshasa last month, when at least 53 were killed over two days, 143 injured and more than 299 unlawfully arrested, a preliminary investigation shows.
KINSHASA/GENEVA (21 October 2016) – Congolese police, armed forces and the Republican Guard used excessive – including lethal – force during demonstrations in Kinshasa last month, when at least 53 people were killed over two days, 143 injured and more than 299 unlawfully arrested, according to a UN preliminary investigation report released today.
The preliminary investigation by the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO* documented 422 victims of human rights violations, including violations of the right to life, to physical integrity, to the liberty and security of the person, peaceful assembly and expression. The figures do not reflect the full extent of the violations, as the UN teams were denied access to official records of some morgues and public hospitals as well as various detention facilities, including two key facilities where many of those arrested and many dead bodies were reportedly taken. Investigations are ongoing.
Of the 53 people documented killed, including seven women and two children, at least 48 were killed by State agents, including the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) and soldiers of the Garde Républicaine (GR)and the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC). Perpetrators were not identified in the killing of four police officers and one woman.
The vast majority of the victims – 38 of them – were shot dead. Many of them were shot in the head, chest and back, including a five-year-old girl who was shot in the back, the report states. Others died after being burned, stabbed, beaten or attacked with machetes. Of the 143 documented as injured, 75 were victims of the excessive use of force by State agents while 68 were injured by unknown perpetrators.
The report documents the harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention of local and international journalists, as well as the destruction and looting of the premises of eight political parties. The report also documents reports of violence by demonstrators. Of the four police officers killed, three were beaten to death and one burned alive.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the DRC Maman Sidikou urged Congolese authorities to conduct prompt, thorough, independent, credible and impartial investigations into the very serious human rights violations documented in the report. Sidikou raised deep concerns about the widespread impunity that prevails in the country, highlighting the findings of another UN report ** released today which reveals that a very low number of State agents, especially senior officers, and leaders and combatants of armed groups, are prosecuted and convicted in the DRC for human rights violations.
“While there has been progress, and some 447 FARDC soldiers and 155 PNC officers have been convicted in relation to human rights violations committed between January 2014 and March 2016, widespread impunity continues,” Sidikou said.
“Strong political will is needed to ensure justice and reparation to all victims of serious violations. This is particularly crucial in this volatile pre-electoral context,” Sidikou said. “Effective justice is a major deterrent for future violations of human rights and it is the cornerstone for peace and stability.”
The report on impunity cites the fragile legal framework and the lack of judicial independence and resources as major challenges to the prosecution of perpetrators. In light of the growing number of human rights violations committed by police officers, particularly in the pre-electoral context, the report calls on the Congolese authorities to urgently develop and implement a strategy to prosecute the perpetrators, and to send a clear “zero tolerance” message to end human rights violations by State agents.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed deep concern at the mounting number of very serious human rights violations by State security officers in recent months. He urged the authorities to prioritise justice and accountability for serious human rights violations and remedy for the victims.
“Impunity for serious human rights violations – including the shooting, hacking and mass arrests of protestors – has been a chronic problem in the DRC for decades now. This is clearly outrageous and serves to fuel an already explosive situation in the country. While the rate of prosecutions appears to be rising, new violations continue to be perpetrated with alarming frequency,” High Commissioner Zeid said.
“A clear message needs to be relayed from the highest levels of Government that security forces must operate in line with international human rights laws and standards, must refrain from the excessive use of force and that those who breach these laws and standards will be held to account regardless of the affiliations and rank of the perpetrator. As I emphasized during my visit to the DRC in July 2016, the Government urgently needs to take measures to defuse the tensions in the country, particularly by freeing all those detained for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly, association and expression.”
The preliminary investigation report into the September 2016 events is available here:
*_The UN Joint Human Rights Office, which was established in February 2008, comprises the Human Rights Division of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC (OHCHR-DRC). English | French
_** The report on Accountability for Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the DRC, covering the period between 1 January 2014 and 31 March 2016 is available here: English | French
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Mosul: ISIL use of ‘human shields’ underscores need to protect civilians – UN human rights chief
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The UN human rights chief called for the protection of civilians in the military offensive to retake Mosul amid reports that ISIL fighters are using civilians as human shields.
GENEVA (21 October 2016) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for the protection of civilians to be at the forefront of military planning as the Iraqi Government and associated forces attempt to re-take Mosul, amid reports that fighters from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, are using civilians as human shields.
“We are gravely worried by reports that ISIL is using civilians in and around Mosul as human shields as the Iraqi forces advance, keeping civilians close to their offices or places where fighters are located, which may result in civilian casualties,” said Zeid. “We therefore welcome the public statements by Iraq’s leaders that the utmost efforts will be made to protect civilians, as required by international humanitarian law.”
The High Commissioner voiced particular concern regarding the women, children and men held captive by ISIL, especially those from ethnic or religious communities who are at extreme risk. “There is a grave danger that ISIL fighters will not only use such vulnerable people as human shields but may opt to kill them rather than see them liberated,” he said.
“The killings and abuses committed by ISIL fighters when they captured Mosul in 2014, and the horrors they have subjected its inhabitants to ever since, should leave us in no doubt as to the risk civilians face as the fighting for control of Mosul and surrounding areas continues,” said Zeid.
“My Office has verified information regarding several incidents since 17 October where ISIL has forced people to leave their homes in outlying villages to head to Mosul. We also have reports that ISIL fighters have shot dead civilians who have tried to rise up against them or who they suspect are disloyal,” he said.
Among the reports received by the UN Human Rights Office is that ISIL forced some 200 families out of Samalia village to walk to Mosul on 17 October. Also on 17 October, 350 families fled Najafia village in Nimroud Sub-district, towards Mosul, highlighting ISIL’s apparent policy of preventing civilians from escaping to areas controlled by the Iraqi security forces. The Office is also examining reports that at least 40 civilians were shot dead by ISIL in one of the villages outside Mosul.
“We know ISIL has no regard for human life, which is why it is incumbent upon the Iraqi Government to do its utmost to protect civilians,” Zeid stressed.
“All parties to the conflict are bound by international law to observe in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack. All feasible precautions must be taken to avoid and minimize the loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects, including vital infrastructure,” the High Commissioner said. He urged that, “ISIL fighters who have been be captured or have surrendered should be held accountable in accordance with the law for any crimes they have committed.”
Zeid stressed that the security screening of civilians leaving areas controlled by ISIL to ensure they are not ISIL fighters should be carried out only by lawful authorities such as the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi police.
“Screening should be conducted in safe areas and all civilians who have been cleared must be transferred as soon as possible to civilian-run and securely located camps for internally displaced people,” Zeid said. “We are urging the Iraqi authorities to take all possible steps to prevent armed groups operating alongside the Iraqi Security Forces from any form of revenge attack on civilians fleeing ISIL. This issue remains a serious concern as these groups have reportedly subjected people fleeing conflict zones, particularly men and boys above 15 years of age, to threats, intimidation, physical violence, and even abduction and killing,” said Zeid. At the same time, the High Commissioner noted that no person should be the target of any form of revenge because of their presumed link with ISIL or associated groups.
“There need to be real checks to identify vulnerable people and to ensure that they can access the humanitarian aid and care that they need,” the High Commissioner said. "This includes children who, by living in ISIL-controlled areas, may have been indoctrinated and may be exploited to carry out attacks. It is vital to remember that they are not ISIL fighters but children,” he said.
“We are also concerned at reports that some civilians have no choice but to flee west – that is further into ISIL-controlled territory – where Shi’a militia are also believed to be operating,” said Zeid.
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