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USGS M 2.5+ Earthquakes
Real-time, worldwide earthquake list for the past day
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  • M 2.9, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
    19.380°N 155.234°W

    Saturday, April 25, 2015 21:21:15 UTC
    Saturday, April 25, 2015 11:21:15 AM at epicenter

    Depth: 4.00 km (2.49 mi)

  • M 2.6, Virgin Islands region
    17.661°N 64.790°W

    Saturday, April 25, 2015 07:50:09 UTC
    Saturday, April 25, 2015 03:50:09 AM at epicenter

    Depth: 29.00 km (18.02 mi)

  • M 2.6, Virgin Islands region
    18.745°N 64.650°W

    Saturday, April 25, 2015 01:31:59 UTC
    Friday, April 24, 2015 09:31:59 PM at epicenter

    Depth: 12.00 km (7.46 mi)

  • M 3.2, Dominican Republic region
    19.334°N 68.310°W

    Saturday, April 25, 2015 00:11:50 UTC
    Friday, April 24, 2015 08:11:50 PM at epicenter

    Depth: 52.00 km (32.31 mi)

  • M 3.1, Dominican Republic region
    18.969°N 68.036°W

    Friday, April 24, 2015 23:20:17 UTC
    Friday, April 24, 2015 07:20:17 PM at epicenter

    Depth: 76.00 km (47.22 mi)

ReliefWeb Headlines
ReliefWeb - Headlines
  • International aid groups rush to reach Nepal quake victims
    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nepal, Norway

    Aid organisations responding to the emergency struggle to assess the needs as aftershocks and severed communications hamper rescue efforts.

    Paris, France | AFP | Saturday 4/25/2015 - 20:24 GMT

    Countries and international aid groups rushed to respond Saturday to a massive earthquake in Nepal that claimed more than 1,000 lives as aftershocks and severed communications hampered rescue efforts.

    "We do not yet know the scope of the damage, but this could be one of the deadliest and most devastating earthquakes since the 1934 tremor which devastated Nepal and Bihar," said Jagan Chapagain, Asia/Pacific director of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

    The United States and the European Union were among those to pledge assistance to the government of Nepal, as messages of support poured in from world leaders including China's Xi Jinping, France's Francois Hollande, Germany's Angela Merkel and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

    The IFRC said it was extremely concerned about the fate of rural villages close to the epicentre of the quake, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the capital Kathmandu.

    "Roads have been damaged or blocked by landslides and communication lines are down preventing us from reaching local Red Cross branches to get accurate information," said Chapagain in a statement.

    "We anticipate that there will be considerable destruction and loss of life."

    Other aid organisations responding to the emergency also struggled to assess the needs with communications cut off around the Himalayan nation.

    "Communication is currently very difficult. Telephone lines are down and the electricity has been cut off making charging mobile phones difficult," said Cecilia Keizer, Oxfam country director in Nepal.

    "People are gathered in their thousands in open spaces and are scared as there have been several aftershocks," she added.

    French aid group Action Against Hunger (ACF) said in a statement its teams in Nepal "were on their way to the affected areas to assess the damage and the needs".


    • 'Heartfelt sympathies' - 

    Nations around world have reacted to the deadly 7.8 magnitude quake that rocked Nepal.

    The United States is sending a disaster response team and has authorised an initial $1 million in aid to address immediate needs, the US Agency for International Development said.

    Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance.

    "To the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies," he said. 

    "The United States stands with you during this difficult time."

    The European Union also said its humanitarian experts were heading to the crisis areas.

    "The full extent of the casualties and damage is still unknown but reports indicate they will likely be high, both in terms of loss of life, injuries and damage to cultural heritage," an EU statement said.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences to Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and said the government stood ready to help, her office said in a statement. Merkel was "shaken by the extent of the catastrophe and the high number of victims," it added.

    Britain and Spain also pledged support and assistance, with Norway promising to provide 30 million krone ($3.9 million, 3.5 million euros) in humanitarian aid.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron said the earthquake was "shocking news" and vowed his country, which swiftly sent a team of humanitarian experts to Nepal, "will do all we can to help those caught up in it."

    Israel also said it was sending an aid delegation to Nepal, including a team of paramedics and doctors.

    Charity Christian Aid launched an appeal for funds and said it was working with partner agencies to reach the worst hit areas.

    "It's clear from what has emerged so far that there is an urgent need for emergency shelters, food and clean drinking water, warm clothing blankets and hygiene kits," said the group's regional emergency manager Ram Kishan in a statement.


    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

  • Amid rising death toll in Yemen, UN urges humanitarian access, respect for international law
    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Yemen

    The United Nations human rights office said that civilians are continuing to die in Yemen, with the total number killed between 26 March and 22 April now estimated at 551, including 31 women and at least 115 children.

    24 April 2015 – The United Nations human rights office said today that civilians are continuing to die in Yemen, with the total number killed between 26 March and 22 April now estimated at 551, including 31 women and at least 115 children.

    “These are just the civilian casualties,” said Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). “The total number of people killed is considerably higher. Another 1,185 civilians have been injured, including 35 women and 67 children.”

    Mr. Colville said that at least 64 public buildings were either partially or completely destroyed by fighting, adding that several airstrikes hit military and civilian positions in a number of cities, killing 58 civilians including seven children.

    Mr. Colville pointed to specifically to an attack on a bridge by aircraft after the official end of the coalition’s ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ on 22 April, which killed 40 civilians, including seven children, and to an airstrike the previous day in the capital, Sana’a, which killed 20 civilians and injured 120 others, and damaged several UN offices, including the OHCHR in Yemen.

    “Violence has persisted across southern governorates due to street battles between groups supporting members of the popular committees affiliated with the Houthis and local armed groups in Abyan, Dhale, Aden and Lahj,” said Mr. Colville. “In Abyan Governorate on 21 April, at least 14 civilians were killed and another 14 injured, reportedly due to indiscriminate shooting. We have reports of killings by sniper of a child in Dhale and four civilians emerging from a mosque in Aden.”

    He also pointed to reports of arbitrary detention and “disturbing” reports about the humanitarian situation in various parts of the country, particularly relating to healthcare, and he urged all sides to ensure that international human rights and humanitarian laws are respected, and to ensure that all measures are taken to ensure civilians are protected.

    “All sides must ensure that the humanitarian aid – that is so desperately needed – can reach people in Yemen,” Mr. Colville said.

    Also briefing journalists in Geneva this morning was Jens Laerke, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who referred to the airstrike that damaged UN offices in Sana’a, saying windows in the offices of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), OCHA and Department of Safety and Security (DSS) were shattered by explosions.

    Elizabeth Brys, a Spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP) said the agency is continuing its work in Yemen, despite violence and security problems, though it had been limited in its operations, reaching a total of 19,471 conflict-affected people, including only 8,700 persons in Aden.

    WFP aims to increase operations, she said, with a plan to provide emergency food assistance to 2.5 million conflict-affected people throughout the country between May and July, though the agency and its partners would face challenges, such as lack of fuel which affected transport and the ability of families to cook food.

    The number of food insecure people had risen from 10.6 million to 12 million as a result of fighting, with food prices increasing and affecting vulnerable families most strongly. Ms. Brys called for space in which humanitarian operations could be conducted and WFP staff could work safely.

    A spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO) said that approximately $750,000 was needed every month to provide sufficient fuel to cover 100 ambulances and major hospitals in affected governorates as well as mobile teams, and a spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) gave new information on child casualties, saying at least 115 children had been killed and 172 maimed and adding that those figures were conservative.

    The UNICEF spokesperson also confirmed that that at least 140 children had been recruited by armed groups in Yemen, 30 schools had been damaged or occupied by the warring parties and 23 hospitals had been attacked.

    The children of Yemen, who were already vulnerable before fighting started, were even more so now and urgent actions were needed to end grave violations against children, including their recruitment and use by armed groups, and to meet obligations under international law.

  • 1,757 children released from Cobra Faction in South Sudan since January
    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: South Sudan

    More than 280 children (282 boys and 1 girl) have been freed in the final release of children from the Cobra Faction, an armed group in South Sudan.

    1,757 children released from Cobra Faction since January

    JUBA, South Sudan/NAIROBI, Kenya/NEW YORK, 24 April 2015 – More than 280 children (282 boys and 1 girl) have been freed in the final release of children from the Cobra Faction, an armed group in South Sudan.

    The release took place in Labrab, a village in a remote corner of Jonglei State. It is the last chapter in a series of releases that have taken place since January and follows a peace agreement between the faction and the Government of South Sudan.

    Prior to each release, UNICEF and the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (NDDRC) conducted an intensive and detailed screening and verification process with each child. A total of 1,757 children have been released from the Cobra Faction since January.

    “We are very pleased to have seen this process through and that the final group of children has been released from the Cobra Faction,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF South Sudan Representative. “But the work is far from over – these children must be reunited with their families and they must begin the long and difficult road towards rebuilding their lives.”

    During the release ceremony, the children handed in their weapons and uniforms in exchange for civilian clothes. They will stay at the interim care centre where they will receive food, shelter, medical and psychosocial support until their families are traced and they can return home. Since January, 1,104 children have been reunited with their families and more are going home each day. Most of the children are already enrolled in learning programmes.

    The reintegration programme follows the Paris Principles that stipulate a one-plus-one approach, whereby support for each released and reunified child will also be provided to one vulnerable child in the same community. As such the programme invests in infrastructure and services that will benefit the whole community. The two-year reintegration process, which includes ongoing psychosocial support, costs an estimated US $2,580 per child. UNICEF faces a funding shortfall of US $11 million for the programme.

    “The release of the children associated with the Cobra Faction is a small piece of good news in what is otherwise a terrible situation for children in other parts of South Sudan, where many hundreds of children have been abducted and forcibly recruited in Unity and Upper Nile Sates,” said UNICEF’s Veitch. “UNICEF is extremely concerned about the welfare of children recently recruited around Malakal in Upper Nile State, given the recent upsurge in fighting in the area. We again call for the immediate release of these children and we continue to stand ready to provide all necessary support for their demobilization.”

    About UNICEF UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

    For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

    Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

    Access broadcast quality b-roll and photos of ongoing demobilization efforts in South Sudan here

    For more information please contact:

    Suzanne Beukes, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan; Mobile: +211 956 256 285;

    James Elder, UNICEF Eastern & Southern Africa; Mobile: +254 71558 1222;, @1james_elder

    Melanie Sharpe, UNICEF New York, Mobile +1917 251 7670,

  • UN humanitarian chief calls for zones of peace in Syria
    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Syrian Arab Republic

    In a briefing to the Security Council, Valerie Amos appealed for an end to attacks on education and health facilities, and for the negotiation of humanitarian pauses and days of tranquillity.

    As delivered

    Since my first briefing to the Council on Syria some three years ago, we have sat in this chamber many times and borne witness to the spiraling violence and growing despair in the country. Each time, I speak of atrocity after atrocity; violation after violation; misery after misery. And, despite the Council's unity on the appalling humanitarian consequences of the conflict and three resolutions demanding protection for civilians and full humanitarian access, the government, armed and terrorist groups continue to kill, maim, rape, torture and take Syria to new lows that seemed unimaginable a few years ago.

    People have become numb to figures that should, every day, shock our collective conscience and spur urgent action. More than 220,000 people have been killed; over one million injured. More than 7.6 million people are displaced within Syria and nearly four million have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. People risk their lives if they stay, and some when they leave as we have seen with those who have drowned in the Mediterranean.

    We need the numbness to the senseless violence and the apparent apathy to end.

    Violence has continued to escalate in a number of areas of the country. In the past weeks alone well over 100,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Idlib; many of them for the second time. More than 1,500 people have been injured. But none of the three hospitals that were operating less than a month ago are functioning. There is nowhere for those seeking medical help to go.

    And despite the Council’s concerted action on the removal and destruction of chemical weapons, there are fresh allegations that chemical weapons have been used again in Idlib, killing and injuring civilians.

    Civilians in Aleppo also continue to be subjected to indiscriminate fire from the air and from underground, with barrel bombs dropped on opposition-controlled parts of Aleppo city and tunnel bombs exploding under government-controlled districts. And it is civilians who are paying the heaviest price.

    The Council has been briefed extensively on the situation in Yarmouk, once a symbol of Syrian hospitality with refugees and host communities living side by side. Today people have reached new levels of despair.

    Hundreds of thousands of people elsewhere in the country also remain besieged. Theirs is a daily struggle for survival as they remain trapped and out of our reach, subjected to collective punishment. Full and unimpeded humanitarian access remains a priority.

    Humanitarian workers, often at great risk to themselves, are responding as best they can throughout the country including through cross-border operations.

    On March 26th, a team of United Nations humanitarian workers and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers delivering humanitarian supplies in Ar Rastan was briefly detained by a non-state armed group. ISIL has continued to inhibit the delivery of aid and this month has even prevented polio vaccines from reaching hundreds of thousands of children under five years old. The Government has finally approved a number of interagency convoys and critical food and education assessments but there continue to be restrictions in aid delivery that limit our capacity to deliver. Last month I called on the Council to remind government security forces that all aid – particularly medical and surgical supplies – must be allowed on convoys. Despite these calls, and the approval of civilian authorities, Government security forces again removed all surgical supplies from the trucks destined for Ar Rastan in Homs governorate, depriving people of urgently needed treatments.

    In resolution 2139, the Council expressed its intent to take further steps in the case of non-compliance with the resolution.

    Fourteen months later, there continues to be a shocking lack of respect for the most basic rules of international humanitarian law and a total absence of accountability. The failure to stop the violence has undermined the credibility of this Council and eroded confidence in the international community to take its responsibilities seriously. Billions of dollars have been pledged for humanitarian assistance, which we welcome, but the people of Syria, rightly, want more. They want an end to the war which has ravaged their country and destroyed lives and livelihoods.

    I am appealing to the Council to look seriously at all the options at its disposal which could help to bring an end to the violence in Syria, stop the violations of international law, protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access. Some are practically difficult, others contentious, but given the conditions ordinary Syrians have to face I ask the Council to consider the following:

    First, demand that attacks on education and health facilities cease and schools and hospitals become zones of peace. This is in line with resolution 2139 in which the Council 'demands that all parties demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities and avoid establishing military positions in populated areas and desist from attacks directed against civilian objects'.

    Second, a specific Security Council Mandate to the Commission of Inquiry looking specifically at the situation in besieged communities and the militarisation and responsibility for attacks on medical and educational facilities. This should be done through the conduct of a fact-finding mission.

    Third, mandate the negotiation of humanitarian pauses and days of tranquillity.

    Fourth, send perpetrators a clear message that their crimes will not go unpunished and demonstrate to the Syrian people that there will be justice for the crimes committed against them. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

    Fifth, enforce an arms embargo and targeted sanctions for violations of international humanitarian law and non-respect of humanitarian imperatives.

    Mr. President,

    This Council has paid great attention to the humanitarian situation in Syria. But try as we may, there is no humanitarian solution.

    The only solution is through political dialogue that reduces and ultimately ends the violence.

    Time is, however, running out for Syria, and for the neighbouring countries which have taken on such a heavy burden on behalf of the international community. This is a crisis with potential global repercussions. I ask this Council to match its scale with an equally bold and courageous response.

  • Measles vaccination campaign targets over 2.6 million Syrian children
    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Syrian Arab Republic

    A 10-day measles immunization campaign is underway in Syria. Aimed at children between six months and five years of age, vaccination will be provided in 1,209 health centres,

    Over 230,000 others likely to miss out due to conflict

    DAMASCUS, 24 April 2015- A 10-day measles immunization campaign is underway in Syria to protect children from this deadly disease. Launched on 19 April, the campaign is aimed at children between six months and five years of age. Vaccination will be provided in 1,209 health centres, and nearly 6,000 health staff and mobile teams are participating in the campaign.

    By the end of 2014, 594 children had been diagnosed with measles. Of these, almost half were not immunized. Since the conflict began in 2011, immunization rates across the country have fallen from 99 percent to just 52 per cent due to lack of access and severe damage to health infrastructure – nearly one third of the country’s health centres are either damaged or destroyed. UNICEF estimates that over 230,000 children in hard-to-reach areas across the country will likely miss out due to the ongoing conflict.

    “In situations of conflict and upheaval, measles can be deadly, especially for children, which is why we must do everything possible to get all children vaccinated wherever they are across the country,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “As long as children are left under-reached, the risk of children falling ill and diseases spreading will continue”.

    The campaign coincides with World Immunization Week which focuses this year on “Closing the Gap” – sending a direct appeal to the global health community to focus on vaccinating the most marginalized children.

    In Syria, the focus during this campaign will be on reaching displaced children. UNICEF estimates there are more than 3.8 million children internally displaced across the country, many of whom were missed out in previous measles campaigns. At least 646,000 are under the age of 5.

    Children receiving the vaccines will also be checked for signs of malnutrition and provided with vital supplements and referral to medical services as needed.

    This is the second campaign in less than a year. In 2014, UNICEF and partners reached 840,000 children with vaccination against measles.

    UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Health with the provision of vaccinations and syringes, cold chain equipment and the training of vaccinators. Mass media and community outreach activities are taking place including through the dissemination of short message services (SMS), community meetings, recreation activities and social media campaigns.

    For further information, please contact:
    Juliette Touma, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa,, +962-79-867-4628

    النزاع الدائر قد يؤدي إلى عدم تلقيح 230,000 طفل

    دمشق، 24/4/2015 - يتم حاليا تنفيذ حملة تلقيح ضد مرض الحصبة تستمر لعشرة أيام في سوريا لحماية الأطفال من هذا المرض القاتل. تستهدف الحملة التي بدأت في 19 نيسان الأطفال الذين تتراوح أعمارهم بين 6 شهور و5 سنوات. سيتم تقديم التلقيح في 1,209 مركز صحي حيث يشارك حوالي 6,000 من الطواقم الصحية والطواقم الجوالة في الحملة.

    ومع نهاية عام 2014 وصل عدد الأطفال المصابين بالحصبة إلى 594 طفل. وتشير التقارير إلى أن نصفهم لم يحصلوا على اللقاح. منذ اندلاع النزاع عام 2011 انخفضت معدلات التلقيح في البلاد من 99% إلى 52% نتيجة صعوبة الوصول والأضرار الكبيرة التي الحقت بالبنية التحتية للقطاع الصحي. علماً ان حوالي ثلث المراكز الصحية الموجودة في البلاد تعرضت للتدمير او الضرر الكبير. تقدر اليونيسف أن أكثر من 230,000 طفل يعيشون في مناطق يصعب الوصول إليها في مختلف أنحاء البلاد، وفي الغالب ستفوتهم فرصة الحصول على اللقاح بسبب النزاع الدائر.

    وفي هذا الصدد تقول هانا سنجر، ممثلة اليونيسف في سوريا: "في حالات النزاع والفوضى يمكن أن تتحول الحصبة إلى مرض مميت، خاصة بين الأطفال، ولذلك يجب أن نقوم بكل ما بوسعنا لتوصيل اللقاح لجميع الأطفال حيثما كانوا في البلاد. وطالما لا يتم الوصول لجميع الأطفال سيبقى الأطفال معرضين لخطر الوقوع فريسة المرض وانتشاره".

    تتزامن الحملة مع الأسبوع العالمي للتلقيح، والذي يركز هذا العام على "إغلاق الفجوة" - ومناشدة المجتمع الصحي العالمي بشكل مباشر ليقوم بالتركيز على تلقيح الأطفال الأكثر تهميشاً.

    وفي سوريا ستركز اليونيسف وشركاؤها من خلال هذه الحملة على الوصول إلى الأطفال النازحين. اذ تقدر اليونيسف أن عدد الأطفال النازحين في داخل سوريا يتجاوز 3,8 مليون طفل، وأن العديد منهم لم يحصلوا على لقاح الحصبة في الحملات السابقة، وأن 646,000 منهم هم دون سن الخامسة.

    هذه الحملة هي الثانية التي تجري خلال اقل من عام، حيث أوصلت اليونيسف وشركاؤها في العام الماضي لقاح الحصبة الى أكثر من 840,000 طفل.

    تدعم اليونيسف وزارة الصحة من خلال توفير اللقاحات والحقن، ومعدات القناة الباردة وتدريب العاملين على إعطاء اللقاح. كما يتم تنظيم نشاطات الإعلام الجماهيري والتواصل مع المجتمع، التي تتضمن خدمات الرسائل القصيرة والاجتماعات العامة والنشاطات الترفيهية وحملات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي.

    للمزيد من المعلومات الرجاء الاتصال مع: جولييت توما، مكتب اليونيسف الإقليمي في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا،، +962-79-867-4628

  • Immunization drive for over 3 million children in Ebola-hit countries
    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    In Guinea, a measles campaign is underway, with a measles and polio campaign to take place in Liberia in May. Sierra Leone has begun distribution of Vitamin A, deworming pills and screening for malnutrition.

    DAKAR/GENEVA, 24 April 2015 – For the first time since the start of the Ebola outbreak, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are conducting major nationwide immunization campaigns to protect millions of children against preventable but potentially deadly diseases.

    As World Immunization Week is marked from April 24 to 30, the three countries most affected by Ebola aim to vaccinate more than three million children against diseases such as measles and polio in UNICEF-supported campaigns that involve the provision of vaccines and the training and deployment of thousands of immunization teams.

    “While the effort to get to zero cases of Ebola continues, it’s critical that basic health services are restored,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “Stepping up immunization programs that were disrupted by the epidemic will save lives and prevent a reversal of the health gains that were made in these countries before the outbreak.”

    In Sierra Leone, a mother and child health week begins today with the provision of Vitamin A, deworming pills and screening for malnutrition. More than 10,000 vaccinators and distributors will be going door-to-door across the country to deliver the interventions, which also include updates for those aged 0-23 months who have missed routine vaccinations. In May, an immunization drive for 1.5 million children under five will cover measles and polio.

    A nationwide measles campaign got under way in Guinea on April 18 to vaccinate 1.3 million children aged six months to nine years. Some 100,000 children were vaccinated during an initial response to a measles outbreak in February. UNICEF also conducted community sensitization campaigns to inform the public of the safety of the vaccinations.

    In Liberia, a campaign to provide measles and polio vaccinations to over 700,000 children under five years old is planned for May 8-14. UNICEF has supplied over 750,000 doses of measles vaccines, and, together with its partners is training more than 3,000 vaccinators and county health officials. It is also working with the Government of Liberia on nationwide social mobilization efforts to raise awareness of the campaign.

    As the immunization campaigns are taking place while the threat of Ebola remains, vaccinators are following strict protocols including the use of protective wear, such as gloves and aprons, as well as regular handwashing.

    More than 26,000 cases of Ebola and 10,000 deaths have been reported across the three countries where the outbreak has weakened already fragile health systems while disrupting routine health interventions.

    Multimedia assets on immunization, including in Ebola-hit countries, are available on:

    About UNICEF new UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

    For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

    Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

    For more information, please contact:
    Tim Irwin, UNICEF West and Central Africa, , +221 77 676 5117
    Timothy LaRose, UNICEF Guinea, , +224 622 350 251
    Rukshan Ratnam, UNICEF Liberia, , +231 770 267 110
    John James, UNICEF Sierra Leone, , +232 76 102 401

  • Migrants leaving Yemen for Horn of Africa top 10,000
    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Djibouti, Somalia, World, Yemen

    This week the total arrivals in the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Somaliland and Puntland, since the start of the conflict in Yemen, are approximately 10,263.

    Kenya - IOM is continuing its humanitarian assistance to migrants, refugees and Third Country Nationals (TCNs) arriving in the Horn of Africa, fleeing the crisis in Yemen.

    This week the total arrivals in the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Somaliland and Puntland, since the start of the conflict, are approximately 10,263.

    Djibouti is receiving the bulk of the people, with arrivals increasing to 8,344 this week. Of these, over 60 per cent are TCNs in need of assistance to return home.

    “Djibouti has the biggest burden with 5,104 TCNs, 2,151 Yemenis, and 1,089 Djibouti nationals having arrived in the country,” said Craig Murphy, IOM’s Mixed Migration Project Coordinator.

    “Most of the people escape Yemen by boat, crossing the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea from Aden, and finally arriving in Djibouti at Obock Port or Djibouti Port.”

    On April 23, one boat arrived at the Djibouti Port carrying some 145 people. Most of the passengers on the boat were Yemeni nationals, but there were also American and British citizens.

    A 29-year-old Yemeni, who asked not to be named, said: “We decided to leave because the situation in Yemen got so hard. We saw people injured and dying in our neighborhood in Aden. There were many snipers on the buildings and it was too dangerous.”

    Yesterday he decided to escape by boat with his mother and two siblings, and they endured a 14-hour boat crossing to Djibouti. He said: “Thank God, the sea was calm, so we didn’t have problems.”

    At the time of their escape, his father was in a different city looking after other family members. They got separated and he was not able to join them due to road blocks.

    He said: “I want to go to another country because I have many ideas, but my country [Yemen] cannot support me.”

    Another 66-year-old Yemeni, who arrived on the same boat, also did not want his name to be used. He was working as a security guard at the port in Aden.

    He said: “Snipers were shooting everywhere. They were shooting at us. They want to kick us out from our country, but they cannot!”

    He arrived with only the clothes he was wearing. The price for the boat trip from Aden to Djibouti is usually about USD 50 per person. Now the price has gone up to USD 200 as more people continue to flee Yemen. However, since he had no money, the operators of the boat let him on board without payment and other passengers gave him food and water.

    IOM Djibouti has so far assisted 156 TCNs with visa support, transfer, transit accommodation, booking and onward air and ground transportation. Some 98 Ethiopian migrants were transferred back to Ethiopia in an IOM operation on 23 April.

    On the outskirts of Obock, IOM is running a Migration Response Center which provides temporary accommodation for migrants and TCNs. UNHCR is also constructing a refugee camp in Obock for Yemeni refugees.

    In the rest of the region, Puntland, Somalia has so far received 1,132 people. Many of them arrive at Bossaso. In Berbera, Somaliland 787 people have so far arrived. There were no registered arrivals this week in Somalia.

    For further information please contact T. Craig Murphy at IOM Kenya, Tel; +254 717 711 822, Email:

  • Special Criminal Court a key step towards restoring justice in CAR
    Source: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I'Homme
    Country: Central African Republic

    The special court will investigate and prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic since 2003, said human rights groups.

    Get New Special Criminal Court Up and Running

    (Bangui, April 24, 2015) – The Central African Republic's National Transitional Council has taken decisive action for justice for the victims of atrocities by adopting a law to establish a Special Criminal Court within the national justice system, 23 Central African and international human rights organizations said today.

    The draft law, which the government sent to the transitional parliament on February 6, 2015, was adopted by an overwhelming majority on April 22 during a plenary session. The special court will investigate and prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic since 2003.

    “By approving the Special Criminal Court, National Transition Council members said that ‘enough is enough’ with impunity and showed that they firmly stand on the side of justice for the victims who lost their lives or suffered atrocities,” said the human rights organizations. “There is no time to lose for the government and its international partners to ensure that the Special Criminal Court is up and running as soon as possible.”

    The court, as set out in the law, will be a hybrid judicial mechanism made up of Central African and international judges within the Central African justice system for a renewable five-year period. The court will have a Central African president and an international special prosecutor. There will be a majority of national judges.

    The Central African authorities have repeatedly admitted the weaknesses of the national justice system, the groups said. The system has been ravaged by years of conflict and it lacks the manpower, material resources, and expertise to handle difficult investigations into complex crimes. Given that the investigations will touch on atrocities committed by armed groups still operating in the Central African Republic, the Special Criminal Court will also play an important role in facilitating the protection and safety of judicial staff, victims, and witnesses.

    “Mass crimes cases are extremely complex to investigate and cannot be treated like an ordinary theft,” said the organizations. “The Special Criminal Court will be a specialized tool to support the Central African justice system in dealing with grave human rights violations and ensuring the security of judges and witnesses.”

    The law establishing the Special Criminal Court must now be enacted by the head of state of the transition, Catherine Samba-Panza. The law provides for setting up the court in stages. The judicial police, investigative judges, and office of the prosecutor are to start work first so that investigations can begin as soon as possible.

    Numerous victims of serious crimes committed since 2012 are awaiting justice, the organizations said. The United Nations peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, known as MINUSCA, has already arrested several suspects allegedly involved in serious crimes in recent months, including three leaders of the militia known as anti-balaka, and judicial proceedings against them need to move forward. To become a reality, and to be ready to investigate and judge the atrocities that continue to be committed in the country, the Special Criminal Court now needs qualified personnel, funding, and political support, at the national and international level, the groups said.

    The Memorandum of Understanding between the government and MINUSCA, as well as the law establishing the court, anticipate that MINUSCA will provide the new court with considerable assistance, particularly support for logistics, investigations, arrests, and the nomination of international personnel. The UN Security Council should facilitate financial and logistical support for the court through MINUSCA’s mandate, which is up for renewal in April.

    It will be crucial for the international experts and judges who will support the national personnel to have experience in prosecuting the most serious crimes and the desire to share this expertise and work closely with their Central African peers, the organizations said.

    The organisations took note of the fact that the plenary of National Transitional Council removed from the law a provision specifying that there should be no immunities before the Special Criminal Court, which was in accordance with international law on grave international crimes. However, article 162 of the Central African criminal code clearly states that there can be no immunity from prosecution for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Immunities also do not apply before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In addition, the organizations noted that any re-trial after the phase of appeal based on new facts should only happen exceptionally, under strict conditions, and before the Special criminal court.

    The new law also provides for cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which opened a second investigation in the Central African Republic in September 2014. This will be the first time that a hybrid court has been established in a place where the ICC is also active.

    The Central African Republic has been in acute crisis since early 2013, when the rebels of the Seleka coalition, largely from the northern part of the country, seized power in a campaign characterized by widespread killing of civilians, burning and looting of homes, and other serious crimes. In mid-2013, militias calling themselves the anti-balaka organized to fight against the Seleka. The anti-balaka began committing large-scale reprisal attacks against civilians, mostly Muslims thought to be supporting the Seleka. Thousands of people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced by the conflict.

    “With the referral to the ICC and the establishment of a hybrid court, the Central African Republic is innovating and demonstrating its strong commitment to combating impunity for the most serious crimes,” said the organizations. “The two courts will have to share the workload and develop arrangements governing their mutual cooperation to maximize their efficiency and increase opportunities for justice.”

    The organizations that issued this statement are:

    Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture (ACAT-RCA) Amnesty International (AI) Association des Femmes Juristes de Centrafrique (AFJC) Association des victimes de la LRA en RCA (AVLRAC) Avocats Sans Frontières Centrafrique (ASF/RCA) Bureau Information des Droits de l’Homme (BIDH) Coalition centrafricaine pour la Cour Pénale Internationale (CCCPI) Civisme et Démocratie (CIDEM) Commission Episcopale Justice et Paix (CEJP) Enfants Sans Frontières (ESF) Femme Action et Développement en Centrafrique (FADEC) Human Rights Watch Initiative pour le Développement de Centrafrique (IDC) International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) Lead Centrafrique (Lead) Ligue Centrafricaine des Droits de l’Homme (LCDH) Mouvement des Droits de l’Homme et Action Humanitaire (MDDH) Observatoire Centrafricain des Droits de l’Homme (OCDH) Observatoire Centrafricain pour les Elections et La Démocratie (OCED) Observatoire pour la Promotion de l’Etat de Droit (OPED) Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) Réseau des ONGs de Promotion et Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RONGDH) Réseau national de la Jeunesse pour les Droits de l’Homme (RNJDH)

  • Battles over resources break out in Cameroon refugee camp
    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    Thousands of refugees who preferred living with Cameroonian host families and relatives have been streaming into the Nigerian refugee camp at Minawao due to hardship.

    Moki Edwin Kindzeka

    MINAWAO, CAMEROON - The number of refugees fleeing the Boko Haram insurgency from Nigeria to Cameroon has stabilized in the past month. But thousands of refugees who preferred living with Cameroonian host families and relatives have been streaming into the Nigerian refugee camp at Minawao, northern Cameroon due to hardship. Their numbers have increased from 30,000 to close to 45,000, U.N. agencies report. At the Minawao refugee camp there have also been skirmishes over food and water between the refugees and host communities in surrounding villages.

    Elementary students at the government primary school in Minawao are having interactive lessons with their teacher, Gadsia Rudolph, himself a refugee from Gambarou in Nigeria's Borno state. Rudolph said for more than a month, classes have not been disturbed by an influx of refugee children.

    "The teaching now is moving successfully, there is no problem because we are always with the children. If they say they have any problems we explain and there is no problem,” Rudolph said. “Now I am teaching class one mathematics, sounds, English and words."

    Miracle Safu, an eight-year-old refugee from Gwoza in Borno state said they are having their needs met, even at school. "We are very happy, we have food, we have water, we have everything we say thank you," stated Safu.

    Isaac Luka, president of Nigerian refugees at the camp, said for nearly two months there has not been an influx of new arrivals from Nigeria, but that many refugees who preferred to stay with friends and relatives have been rushing to the camp due to hardship. He said they expect to find better living conditions in the camp.

    "The conditions of the refugees is getting shape now compared to two months back. You know we were complaining of water and whatever. It was due to the increase of refugees everyday, but I think by the grace of God things are [now] moving very good," Luka said.

    Conditions are getting better because United Nations agencies, the government of Cameroon and international non-governmental organizations have been contributing food and basic supplies for the refugees. This week, the international organization Plan Cameroon and Irish Aid contributed $160,000 toward basic needs.

    Powell Tchatat, plan coordinator for northern Cameroon, told VOA they were responding to calls made by U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres for the world to help the refugees who were on a brink of a humanitarian crisis.

    "It is a contribution which has been decided based on the need assessment that was conducted in the Minawao camp by the UNHCR and international NGOs. So Plan Cameroon received this contribution from Irish Aid and the non-food items that are being distributed today are made up of blankets, you have multipurpose tanks, you have jerrycans, kitchen sets, you have mosquito nets, you have soaps and plastics," stated Tchatat.

    Yaouba Ngomna, a leader of Gadala village that shares a boundary with the Minawao refugee camp, said he is not happy because his people, who received the refugees have exhausted all they have for their well-being, are not considered when food aid and humanitarian assistance is distributed.

    He said he and his people should not lack food to eat, water to drink and access to schools and hospitals while strangers in their land are provided with everything they need. He said they shared the little food they had with the strangers and should not stay hungry now while the people they have been helping have all they need.

    Tchatat said they are also preparing to assist host communities. "The approach is to combine the needs of the refugees, the needs of the host communities and also to address the issue of the internally displaced people,” he explained. “We thought that it will be good to construct boreholes for the refugees, but also to give the opportunity to the host communities to compensate the loss, to manage the pressure that they have been suffering due to this influx of refugees."

    The government of Cameroon and UNHCR say the number of refugees has increased to about 45,000, but most of them are those leaving host communities in Cameroon for the refugee camp as a result of hardship.

    Early this month, Cameroonians internally displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency complained that they were living in desperate conditions, going without food, water and medicine for days at a time.

  • Eight months after Gaza war, ‘not a single home has been rebuilt’ - UNRWA
    Source: UN News Service
    Country: occupied Palestinian territory

    So far, UNRWA has only received funding to reconstruct 200 of the 9,161 houses totally destroyed, and over 62,500 families are awaiting assistance to commence with minor repairs to their damaged shelter.

    23 April 2015 – Nearly eight months after the ceasefire that ended the most recent hostilities in the Gaza Strip, not a single destroyed home has been rebuilt in the enclave, according to the United Nations agency mandated with ensuring the well-being of Palestine refugees.

    “To date 9,161 Palestine refugee houses have been considered totally destroyed and 5,066 have suffered severe, 4,085 major and 124,782 minor damages,” said Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

    “Meanwhile, the agency has only received funding to reconstruct 200 of the 9,161 houses totally destroyed,” he added. “Over 60,000 Palestine refugee families have been able to complete the repair of their damaged homes with assistance provided through UNRWA.”

    Due to the agency’s lack of funding, 685 families still have not received the transitional rental subsidy for the period from September to December 2014. Some 9,000 refugee families are waiting for the first quarter of 2015 payment and 7,400 families have not received their $500 reintegration grant, he added. Over 62,500 families are awaiting assistance to commence with minor repairs to their damaged shelter.

    “UNRWA has processed all these cases and as soon as funding is secured the Agency will be able to distribute the urgently needed cash assistance,” Mr. Gunness said.

    Another 11,500 families whose homes were totally or severely destroyed have received a one-time rental subsidy payment typically covering a four-month period. Of the families receiving transitional shelter cash assistance, nearly 9,000 also benefited from the $500 reintegration grant.

    During the last summer conflict, a total of 548 Palestinian children lost their lives and about 1,000 children were injured – “some so badly that they will have to live the rest of their lives with disabilities,” Mr. Gunness said.

    “Thousands more were displaced. The unprecedented human, social and physical devastation during the July/August 2014 hostilities had thus a particular impact on children and many are in need of psycho-social support,” he stated.

    The UNRWA Summer Fun Weeks is a programme implemented by the agency to support refugee children’s psychosocial needs by providing them with a safe place to play and develop friendships through sports activities, handicrafts, drawing or theatre. This year’s events will take place between 25 July and 13 August in 120 different locations across the Gaza Strip.

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