Medical crisis grows in South Sudan
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross
Country: South Sudan
Decades of violence in South Sudan have shattered hopes for a sound medical system. In an emergency situation, the absence of roads is a death sentence.
The 17-year-old would have been the mother of twins. Nyandieng's first child was delivered at the family's simple mud and straw home. But complications prevented the second twin's birth. Seeking help, the family carried the still-pregnant teenager to the nearest clinic - a torturous five-hour walk away.
Edward Dramwi, a nurse with the International Committee of the Red Cross, helped deliver the second child that night at a simple clinic in the town of Waat. But the child was stillborn. In addition to the trauma of losing a baby, Nyandieng also lost a lot of blood. She needed a transfusion, a procedure that was beyond the capacity of this clinic.
The next morning the first thing Edward did was check in on Nyandieng. She looked frail, weak and exhausted. Family members wiped her brow and tried to keep flies away from her face.
"We can't do anything else for her here. She must go to hospital," Edward said. During the dry season a car would have taken the young woman. Now, though, the seasonal rains would prevent that. "The road is completely flooded. The car won't make it there," he told the family.
Decades of violence in South Sudan have shattered hopes for a sound medical system. For a patient who needs to reach a hospital in an emergency the absence of roads is a death sentence.
To reach the hospital the family would have to walk through swamps for nine hours. They decided against it. Two hours later Nyandieng died, and the family took the mother and stillborn child home, where the first-born twin must fight to survive without its mother.
"It is so painful to watch your patients die just because there is no road and you can't send them to hospital," Edward said, profound distress showing on his usually bright and smiling face. "A few weeks ago, a pregnant woman arrived at night. Her uterus ruptured. The only thing we could do was try to console her. She cried all night and died in the morning."
Preventative measures can improve a mother's chances for a safe delivery, but a lack of awareness and difficult access mean a limited number of women reach assistance. The clinic works with traditional birth attendants who try to persuade women to come to the clinic at the early stages of pregnancy for prenatal checkups.
"We try to identify high-risk pregnancies early and tell the women to go to hospital before the labor starts," explains Nyawech Sammuel, a midwife assistant at the Waat clinic.
But even this approach has its limits. Advanced medical devices like ultra-sound machines are extremely rare. Health workers' abilities to detect abnormalities are limited. "At least every three months there is a maternal death. This is the minimum. Often there are more" said Patricia Maina, an ICRC health delegate.
The ICRC is supporting the Waat clinic to ensure that people affected by conflict have access to basic healthcare services. Some other health facilities in the region closed down because of a lack of money, increasing the pressure on Waat.
"This structure was originally supposed to provide services to some 45,000 people, but it is currently serving between 60,000 and 70,000 people with only two clinic officers to attend to them. Many patients come to us from far away," said Patricia.
All the medical supplies in Waat are delivered by airplane or helicopter, and sometimes supplies run low. When fighting broke out in Juba in July, the Waat clinic went weeks without a re-supply, Edward said. "During that time a woman brought a child with a mild pneumonia. Our stock was completely out of antibiotics. A few days later the pneumonia became severe and the child died."
Finding skilled workers is another challenge. "I can't even take holidays because there's nobody to replace me," said Nyawech. Most of the healthcare workers never receive any formal training, and instead learn on the job. Many lives depend on their skill and dedication alone. "When a woman is bleeding I have to use the right technique to arrest the blood. If I fail, the woman will die," says Nyawech.
Tens of thousands of people have died in fighting since late 2013, though no one knows an exact number. What is certain is that this unknown number rises every day, even when the guns are silent.
"These people are the war victims," Edward said, sweeping his arm toward the patients in the simple medical clinic. "But they die unnoticed."
100,000 trapped and fearful civilians in South Sudan town
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: South Sudan
Until recently, Yei had largely escaped the effects of the primary conflict in South Sudan. Security deteriorated rapidly after a new conflict broke out in Juba in July.
Civilians seeking safety from raids flee to Yei town to join tens of thousands there with no means to leave as military operations continue.
By: Rocco Nuri | 30 September 2016
YEI, South Sudan – Ongoing military operations in a previously-peaceful part of South Sudan have trapped an estimated 100,000 people in a town that is facing a humanitarian crisis, raising concerns for civilians’ safety.
More than 30,000 people fled into Yei in the country's far south following deadly attacks and looting on nearby villages during September, church leaders in the town told an a high-level mission led by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. UNHCR says it is “increasingly concerned” over the fate of these people trapped in the town in Central Equatoria State, about 150 kilometres south-west of Juba.
“They are slaughtering innocent people like animals.”
They joined thousands of others who fled fighting in July. The displaced communities are now living alongside Yei’s population of 60,000. These civilians have no means to leave and face increasing acts of violence against them.
“They are slaughtering innocent people like animals,” said one young woman too frightened of reprisals to give her name. “This is brutal. I don’t understand why we have suddenly become a target. I thought wars were fought between armies. We are citizens of this country. I feel hopeless. I can’t do much but pray for peace.”
Several civilians have been hacked to death, including women, children, and babies, witnesses told the UNHCR-led multi-agency mission on September 27. Uniformed men were said to have detained many young men accused of supporting forces opposed to the government. Many others were assaulted and their property looted or burnt.
“We can’t leave this place, not even to go to our farms.”
Until recently, Yei had largely escaped the effects of the primary conflict in South Sudan. But political tensions had begun emerging late in 2015, and security deteriorated rapidly after a new conflict broke out in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, in July.
“We can’t leave this place, not even to go to our farms,” one 50-year-old farmer told UNHCR. “There are military personnel and checkpoints all around the town. Our harvest is rotting. We need to start planting now, otherwise we won’t have any food next year.”
Displaced people need food, household items, and medicines, and children need to be able to go to school, UNHCR said. Food prices are skyrocketing, local hospitals are functioning at reduced capacity, and there are indications of increasing sexual and gender-based violence, and unaccompanied and separated children.
“UNHCR condemns these acts that have caused death, fear and suffering of innocent people,” said Ahmed Warsame, UNHCR’s Representative in South Sudan. “We urge the Government of South Sudan to protect the lives of civilian populations and ensure their freedom of movement and access to safety. We highly commend the local church for providing shelter and protection to people in need.”
Refugees as well as South Sudanese citizens have become caught up in the conflict. Armed groups have repeatedly entered a refugee settlement called Lasu, firing shots, assaulting refugees, and looting and destroying humanitarian goods and property, refugee leaders told the UNHCR mission to Yei. A young Congolese refugee was killed, leaving two children orphaned.
“It is unacceptable that a place conceived to provide sanctuary to people fleeing war and persecution has now become the target of senseless acts of violence.” Warsame said. “We urge all the parties to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum and refugee settlements.”
David Lokonga Moses, the Governor of Yei River State, assured of a meeting of the authorities of the government’s efforts to restore peace and security for the population in Yei.
In Juba, humanitarian partners are responding to the situation by readying food supplies, non-food items including shelter and emergency household items, and medicines.
Deteriorating security in South Sudan has forced more than 200,000 people to flee the country since July 8, bringing the number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries to over 1 million.
In South Sudan, more than 1.61 million people are internally displaced and another 261,000 are refugees from Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic.
Mobile health teams help to save lives of children in Yemen as conflict surges
Source: UN Children's Fund
UNICEF and its partners have completed an ambitious drive to reach children and women in Yemen with critical health and nutrition services to save lives as the conflict continues.
Sana’a, Yemen, 30 Sept, 2016-UNICEF and its partners have completed an ambitious drive to reach children and women in Yemen with critical health and nutrition services to save lives as the conflict continues.
The campaign from 24-29 September was carried out across the country to reach more than 600,000 children under 5 years and over 180,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers with a package of health and nutrition services that include vaccination, vitamin supplementation, deworming, screening for malnutrition and treatment for childhood infections as well as antenatal and postnatal care for women.
Over 34,000 health workers supported by 880 supervisors and monitors spread across Yemen’s 333 districts using over 10,000 vehicles and other means of transportation such as motorcycles, donkeys or simply walking long distances and difficult terrains to reach children and women in far flung corners of the country.
“We have increased our geographical reach to all parts of the country as well as increased the number of times we do the integrated outreach. This has resulted in delivering medical assistance to the most hard to reach communities especially those most affected by the conflict”, said UNICEF Yemen Representative, Julien Harneis.
This health drive comes at a critical time as Yemen’s conflict has left the health and nutrition system in tatters putting the lives of millions of children and women at risk.
“With the health system hanging in the balance, such outreach programmes are helpful but are not sustainable in the long run. Outreach campaigns alone cannot address the medical needs of the population, the health system needs to be back on its feet urgently,” he added.
Recently, the Ministry of Health announced that it has run out of basic operational costs for the primary health care system. This means it won’t be possible to transport medical supplies including medicines from stores to far flung health units; there will be no fuel and electricity for powering refrigerators for storage of temperature-sensitive vaccines and medicines and health centres will have no light.
The numbers of children at risk in Yemen are staggering; 2.5 million children are at risk of diarrhoea, 1.3 million at risk of acute respiratory tract infections and 1.5 million are malnourished, 370,000 of them suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
UNICEF is scaling up its response but the humanitarian needs are enormous. Since January, UNICEF has supported the vaccination of over 4.6 million children against Polio, the treatment of over 133,000 children against severe acute malnutrition and over 168,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers received support during and after pregnancy including knowledge on how to care for their babies and of themselves.
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WHO calls for immediate safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from conflict areas
Source: World Health Organization
Country: Syrian Arab Republic
“The situation is heart rending and enraging,” says WHO DGl Margaret Chan. “With the relentless attacks on health workers and hospitals, the handful of doctors still alive cannot possibly cope."
30 September 2016 | GENEVA – The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on belligerents in Syria to allow for the immediate and safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from all areas affected by the conflict, including eastern Aleppo. The Organization is also calling for a halt of attacks on health care workers and facilities.
“The situation is heart rending and enraging,” says WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “With the relentless attacks on health workers and hospitals, the handful of doctors still alive cannot possibly cope. Hospital beds are too few, equipment has been destroyed, and essential medicines, including anaesthetics, are running out. Many patients needing emergency trauma care are children. ”
More than 270 000 people are trapped in east Aleppo with dwindling supplies of food, water and fuel. Humanitarian organizations have not been allowed to deliver aid, including medical supplies from WHO since the besiegement of the city on 7 July. Within the past week, over 840 people have been injured, almost a third of them children, while the health facilities that would treat them are crumbling and understaffed. Fewer than 30 doctors remain in the east of the city, and only 6 partially-functional hospitals are in service.
WHO is calling on all parties in the conflict to:
• allow the immediate evacuation of the sick and wounded from all areas affected by the conflict, including eastern Aleppo;
• allow access to provide medicines, medical supplies, fuel and health personnel, to support overwhelmed staff in Aleppo;
• immediately halt all attacks on health workers, facilities and supplies;
• respect the safety and neutrality of health workers and health facilities;
• cease removal of critical supplies from deliveries of medical supplies.
“Attacking health care is both illegal and barbaric,” says Dr Pete Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s health emergencies programme. “Blocking whole populations from access to medical care, food and water is intolerable. It is inexcusable cruelty.”
WHO and partners have positioned medical supplies for delivery into eastern Aleppo, but they have not been granted access. The organization has also developed strategies for medical evacuations as soon as this becomes possible. In the meantime, WHO will train first responders on trauma care via telephone and video calls.
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Philippines has built only 1% of homes promised after Typhoon Haiyan
Vice President Leni Robredo, newly installed as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council admits only around 1% of the target of 205,000 homes has been achieved.
By David Doyle
When Typhoon Haiyan smashed into this city in the central Philippines almost three years ago, Arsenio was one of the lucky ones – he survived by swimming a kilometre to safety.
“Every time there is a storm, I get scared, even after three years,” he said. “I don’t want to go through the same thing again.”
Read the full article on IRIN
More help needed for DPRK flood survivors as winter closes in
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Shelter remains the paramount need. About 30,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, and many survivors have been staying in public buildings or with host families.
30 September, Beijing / Kuala Lumpur. One month after devastating floods struck the northeast region of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is urging international donors to support ongoing relief efforts for hundreds of thousands of people in need.
The floods affected large areas of Hamgyong Province, killing hundreds and leaving 70,000 homeless. The IFRC together with the DPRK Red Cross Society has been at the forefront of relief efforts, reaching close to 30,000 people with emergency items such as tarpaulins for shelter, bedding, kitchen sets and toiletries, but more help is required.
“Urgent action is needed before the first snows fall. Last year that was in third week of October. People lack proper shelter, clothing and other basic items to stay warm and healthy through the winter”, said Chris Staines, Head of Delegation with the IFRC in DPRK.
“Much is being done by the residents themselves and civilian volunteers who have travelled to the area to help – but they are working against the clock. We are calling on the international community to put people first and recognise the pressing humanitarian needs on the ground.”
On 21 September, the IFRC launched a 15.2 million Swiss Franc emergency appeal (USD 15.5 million, Euros 13.9 million) to reach more than 330,000 people with aid. So far the appeal is only 11% covered.
IFRC delegate Patrick Elliott recently returned from Musan County and Hoeryong City where he was assessing the impact of the floods.
“In some villages the damage is extreme. We travelled for almost two hours down the Tumen River from Hoeryong City and found a village where 300 houses had been swept away when the river burst its banks. Only 100 homes remained. Access to many affected areas remains a challenge, thousands of people are working to clear and repair the roads by hand”.
A major concern for the Red Cross is the approaching winter. Shelter remains the paramount need. Upwards of 30,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed and many survivors have been staying in public buildings or with host families. Temporary shelters are going up fast and the government is taking the lead on constructing permanent homes. On its part, the IFRC is purchasing thousands of roofing sheets which will be shipped into DPRK.
“The situation at the moment isn’t easy, but in two to three weeks it will be a different story,” said Elliott. “It’s already chilly at night and temperatures will soon plummet to below zero. People have lost their coal supplies and are burning bits of wood in makeshift stoves to keep warm. They need a proper roof over their heads, fuel and warm clothes. The risk of a secondary disaster is very real. At a DPRK Red Cross First Aid post we visited in one village, you see increasing numbers of elderly and young coming for treatment for communicable diseases like diarrhoea and respiratory infections. Under these conditions it’s what we’d expect, but it’s a growing concern.”
As Mosul offensive approaches, UNHCR planning intensifies
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
At least 700,000 residents from Iraq’s second city and surrounding areas will need urgent assistance in the form of food, shelter water and medical support.
At least 700,000 residents from Iraq’s second city and surrounding areas will need urgent assistance in the form of food, shelter water and medical support.
By: Matthew Saltmarsh
GENEVA - The anticipated Iraqi military offensive to retake Mosul threatens to produce one of the largest-man made displacement crises of recent times, UNHCR’s representative in Iraq has warned.
As the clock ticks, the UN Refugee Agency is working intensively with partners to ensure that the humanitarian community is ready for the expected human outflow, Bruno Geddo told reporters at a briefing in Geneva on Thursday.
Humanitarian agencies predict that more than one million people could be displaced by the offensive by Iraqi Government forces to retake the country’s second city. They expect at least 700,000 will need urgent assistance in the form of shelter, food, water or medical support.
“The stakes could not be higher,” Geddo told the media at the Palais des Nations.
Nearly one in 10 of the Iraqi population has been displaced due to conflict since 2014. Some 61,900 people have been uprooted from Mosul and surrounding areas since March, with an additional 100,500 displaced from Shirqat, Al Qayyarah and surrounding areas since June.
In June, the Iraqi government declared that it had re-taken control of Falluja from extremists, but the human cost was high and the international community was criticized for failing to anticipate the degree of displacement and suffering.
“We have learned a lot of lessons from the Falluja crisis in June,” Geddo added. “The first lesson is that it is too late if you receive funding once the crisis hits the television screen.”
This time, UNHCR’s strategy has been built around expanding and creating new camps, and pre-positioning emergency supplies and shelter kits to try to assist the expected outflow once the fighting starts.
Geddo said a “crescent of camps” was being readied in safe locations in four governerates around Mosul. Of these, 11 are either planned or completed and another four existing camps have capacity. Together, these could ultimately accommodate 20,000 family plots or about 120,000 people. In addition, Government camps could accommodate about 150,000 people.
For shorter term assistance, UNHCR has prepositioned tents close to the assumed theatre of operations. Hopefully, people in these areas could be relocated once their homes and villages have been secured.
Still, Geddo warned, there are constraints around the creation of camps including the scarcity of suitable land, which is often hard to lease, contaminated, the wrong topography or too close to the assumed front line. He also said that bringing displaced people from Mosul to temporary camps risks inflaming ethnic and religious tensions.
“The other constraint,” he added, “is time.” Reports suggest the offensive may occur as early as next month.
“We know that this is coming, and the donors have accepted and are funding our plans to prepare – even though the funds may not cover all our needs,” he added.
“There is still a problem with funding,” Geddo said. The Mosul emergency response budget has been set at US$196 million, but that is currently only 33 per cent funded.
Last week UNHCR reported from Debaga and Najaf on forcibly displaced families and unaccompanied children already fleeing areas surrounding Mosul.
In addition to the camps, 38,000 tents have been procured by UNHCR. A total of 50,000 emergency shelter kits will be used to build more rudimentary shelters in emergency camps or collective centres and 30,000 sealing-off kits have been procured for use in unfinished or abandoned buildings.
Furthermore, 100,000 core relief kits, which include blankets, mats, jerry cans and kitchen utensils, have been earmarked. Funding permitting, UNHCR plans to procure winter assistance kits for 138,000 families including blankets, mattresses, heating stoves, plastic sheeting and insulation kits.
Amid fears that civilians might be used as human shields by extremists, Geddo said UNHCR has been strongly advocating for allowing civilians access to safety if they manage to reach certain areas.
“Iraq has been going through intermittent wars since 1975 — the Iraqi people are deeply traumatized,“ he said. “This war now — 2016-2017 – might, with luck, mark a turning point for the country. The international community should not succumb to fatigue.”
New programme gives 100,000 children access to education in Lebanon
Source: World Bank
Country: Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic
“Our objective is to make sure that these (out-of-school) kids, who have done nothing to find themselves in this abysmal situation, will not turn into a lost generation,” said Ferid Belhaj of the World Bank.
WASHINGTON-September 27, 2016 – A $224 million Program will provide access to and enhance the quality of the Lebanese public education system. One hundred thousand additional Lebanese children and Syrian refugees between ages 3-18 will be enrolled over the lifetime of the Program. The World Bank Group’s board of directors approved today the “Support to Reaching All Children with Education (RACE 2)” which includes a $100 million funding by the International Development Association (IDA), at rates normally reserved for low-income countries.
As a part of the Program, the Bank is providing a $4 million grant from the Results in Education for all Children Trust Fund. This combination of efforts is expected to attract additional support from the international community, including $120 million in grant financing. The credit and associated grant financing uses an innovative results-based-approach focused on increased enrollment and education system quality and will disburse directly against achieved results.
“Our objective is to make sure that these (out-of-school) kids, who have done nothing to find themselves in this abysmal situation, will not turn into a lost generation,” said Ferid Belhaj, Director of the Middle East Department at the World Bank. “Indeed, the high level of concessionality that is offered here is unprecedented for a middle income country. The refugee crisis is hammering Lebanon in an unprecedented way. It is putting tremendous pressure on the country’s infrastructure—electricity, water, sanitation, public services, health and education,” Belhaj added. “Lebanon has offered the world a global public good. It has, in a sense, pre-paid its dues to all of us. It is time for the international community to rise up to its responsibilities and to help Lebanon mitigate the heavy impact of the Syria crisis.”
Lebanon has the highest number of refugees-per-capita in the world. Lebanon’s public education system has opened its doors to more than 150,000 Syrian children since the start of the Syrian war some five years ago. Many schools now hold double-shifts of classes in the morning and afternoon to meet the demand. Still, an estimated 300,000 Syrian children living in Lebanon are not enrolled in formal schooling. Despite tremendous efforts by the Lebanese government and the support of the international community to provide education services, the short- and long-term consequences of failing to educate these children are potentially catastrophic.
“This program will support the Government of Lebanon’s key objectives of increasing enrollment and improving the quality of education for all children. In addition, it provides a results-based instrument to channel increased international support,” said Noah Yarrow, World Bank Senior Education Specialist.
The objectives of the Government of Lebanon’s RACE 2 project are: (i) Increasing equitable access by Lebanese and Syrian children to formal education; (ii) enhancing quality of education services through targeted support and tailored training for teachers; and (iii) strengthening the recipients’ education systems at both the central and regional levels.
UNICEF more than doubles funding appeal for children in north-east Nigeria
Source: UN Children's Fund
The agency has revised its appeal from $55 million to $115 million to assist an additional 750,000 people who can now be reached across conflict-affected areas in the northeast of the country.
ABUJA/DAKAR/NEW YORK, 29 September 2016 – UNICEF has revised its humanitarian appeal for Nigeria from US$55 million to US$115 million to assist an additional 750,000 people who can now be reached across conflict-affected areas in the northeast of the country.
As new areas open up to humanitarian assistance, the true scale of the Boko Haram related crisis and its impact on children is being revealed.
An estimated 400,000 children under five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in three states across the northeast this year. More than 4 million people are facing severe food shortages and 65,000 people are living in famine-like conditions, mostly in Borno, the worst affected state.
“Children’s lives are literally hanging by a thread,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes. “We are reaching new areas to provide critical humanitarian assistance but we need greater international support to further scale up and reach all children in dire need,” she added.
The destruction of whole towns and villages further complicates the response. Sixty percent of health clinics have been partially or completely destroyed and 75 percent of water and sanitation facilities require rehabilitation in Borno state.
Nearly one million children are now displaced across the northeast, a million are out of school and hundreds of thousands psychologically affected from the horrors they have lived through.
The conflict-related lack of access to children has also lead to an outbreak of polio in Borno state, where three cases of wild polio virus were confirmed in August and September. UNICEF’s funding appeal comes as a series of massive coordinated emergency polio immunisation and nutrition campaigns in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring countries is underway, targeting 1.8 million children in Borno state alone. The immunisation campaign is also identifying and treating children with severe malnutrition.
UNICEF has increased its response in the areas worst-affected by the Boko Haram conflict since April, supporting basic health care and nutrition for children and mothers, and helping provide safe water and sanitation, child protection services and learning opportunities.
Since the beginning of 2016, 2.6 million conflicted-affected people have been given access to UNICEF-supported preventative healthcare services and nearly 75,000 children have been treated for severe acute malnutrition in northeast Nigeria. The construction and rehabilitation of boreholes has provided nearly half a million people with improved access to safe water. Safe learning spaces, teacher training and educational supplies have helped over 72,000 children to restart their education and some 133,000 children have been provided with psychosocial support.
To date, just US$ 28 million of the US$ 115 million appeal has been received and this presents a serious obstacle to UNICEF’s scale up plan.
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Stakeholders call for more funding to strengthen drought response in Zimbabwe
Source: UN Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe
“We need to keep our radars active and prepare a contingency plan for any eventuality that may arise from the effects of La Niña,” the UN Resident Coordinator said.
Bulawayo, 29 September 2016 -The Office of the President and Cabinet and the United Nations System in Zimbabwe jointly convened today some 150 partners representing Government at central, provincial and district levels, traditional leaders, development partners and NGOs in Bulawayo.
The meeting appraised the ongoing drought response in four provinces of Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Bulawayo. The meeting also allowed participants to share good practices in the drought response to strengthen monitoring and accountability to reach the most vulnerable, and to identify preparedness priorities for the impending La Niña response. This first provincial consultative meeting is part of a resolution agreed-to at the regular national level multi-stakeholders’ drought response consultative meeting held on 7 July 2016 in Harare.
Addressing the first provincial consultative drought response meeting, Mr Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said, “The Government, humanitarian partners and local administrators have jointly agreed to strengthen the existing monitoring and accountability mechanisms through adopting standard operating procedures to strengthen our response and accountability to the most vulnerable communities worst affected by the drought. We need to keep our radars active and prepare a contingency plan for any eventuality that may arise from the effects of La Niña.”
Results from the latest Rural Livelihoods Assessment report released by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee in July 2016 show that approximately 4.1 million rural Zimbabweans will be food insecure during the peak hunger period of January to March 2017. Recognizing the negative effect of the drought amongst the urban population, Urban assessment is currently being undertaken to determine the number of food insecure people. The results of the urban assessment are expected to increase the total population affected.
Thanking the UN, development partners and other humanitarian actors for their active engagement in the drought response, Senior Principal Director at the Office of the President and Cabinet Ozias Hove who was standing in for Deputy Chief Secretary Rtd. Col. Christian Katsande, said, “Government has put in place structures to ensure well-coordinated drought response including through facilitating food importation; food distribution to vulnerable groups; and provide emergency water supply; micronutrient feeding of the under-five and school feeding; emergency irrigation and rehabilitation; livestock and wildlife support.”
According to updates from the four provinces:
- In Matabeleland North of the 413,000 people affected all are receiving assistance.
- Of the 340,725 affected populations in Matabeleland South, over 225,000 people are being supported with relief assistance.
- In Midlands out of the estimated 630,000 food insecure people over 350,000 are receiving assistance.
- Over 14,000 drought affected people have been receiving assistance since July 2016 in Bulawayo, while awaiting the final findings of the ongoing urban assessment.
Participants called for the ongoing school feeding programme to cover all school-going children and POTRAZ to increase connectivity to ensure smooth running of the cash transfer programmes.
Since the onset of the drought in 2015, the Government, UN, NGOs and other humanitarian actors have been providing life-saving relief assistance in cash and in kind.
Stephanie Funk, USAID Mission Director welcomed the agreements made by all stakeholders and said "We support the UN principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality. We consider these principles necessary to making sure that our assistance is delivered in an accountable and transparent way, regardless of political affiliation, religion or gender." She emphasized that "the El Niño induced drought is bigger than all of us, we must continue to work together to make our efforts as effective as possible."
Of the $352 million being sought for the Humanitarian Response Plan, nearly $192 million have been committed so far. This funding includes generous donations from USAID, DFID, China, Netherlands, EU, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, India, Switzerland and the UN Central Emergency Fund.
Appreciating the strong financial and in kind support from donors and humanitarian partners, UN Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli said, “There is still a funding gap of $160 million including in food and agriculture and other sectors such as water, sanitation and hygiene; health and nutrition; and protection”, the UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli said.
Expressing gratitude for the generous support from USAID and many other partners, Eddie Rowe, WFP Representative said, “There is an urgent need for additional $111 million for the Food Security sub-sector to address the needs of the 1.9 million most food-insecure people through to the end of the lean season, in March 2017.”
Humanitarian response has so far reached approximately 1.5 million most vulnerable people. There is an urgent need to fund the non-food sectors to ensure that the positive impact that has been achieved in food assistance is not affected by the inadequate funding in the other sectors. United Nations managed humanitarian assistance is guided by the principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality where any and all who are in need are targeted for humanitarian assistance irrespective of their political and other affiliation. The UN has put in place rigorous monitoring, accountability and complaints mechanisms.
The ongoing humanitarian response is linked to recovery, resilience building and medium term development. The UN System together with development partners is supporting national efforts through the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF).
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