200,000 vulnerable civilians under 'virtual state of siege' in Taizz City
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The UN humanitarian chief calls for unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance and protection to civilians as the humanitarian situation in the central Yemeni city is worsening.
I am deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation for people living in the central Yemeni city of Taizz. Since September fighting has intensified there, and some 200,000 vulnerable civilians are living under a virtual state of siege, in dire need of drinking water, food, medical treatment, and other life-saving assistance and protection.
Civilian neighbourhoods, medical facilities and other premises around the city are continually hit by shelling, while checkpoints are preventing people from moving to safer areas and seeking assistance.
Al-Houthi and popular committees are blocking supply routes and continue to obstruct the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid and supplies into Taizz City. Those hospitals that are still functioning are overwhelmed with wounded patients and face severe shortages of doctors and nurses, essential medicines and fuel.
Despite repeated attempts by UN agencies and our humanitarian partners to negotiate access and reach people, our trucks have remained stuck at checkpoints and only very limited assistance has been allowed in. I am also alarmed by reports that some of the aid destined for Taizz City has been diverted away from the people it was intended for.
This is unacceptable. I call on all parties to work with the United Nations and other neutral and impartial organizations to urgently facilitate the delivery of life-saving assistance and protection to civilians and the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian workers to Taizz City, without further delay.
Thousands of families are living in fear and without basic aid in other locations across Yemen. It is vital that all parties in this conflict do their utmost to protect all civilians. People must not be denied life-saving help. The international community must hold all parties who violate humanitarian and human rights law to account.
24 November 2015
Community resilience in areas impacted by the Lord’s Resistance Army
Source: Harvard University
Country: Central African Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, South Sudan, Uganda
The LRA has operated for more than two decades in Africa. Because of the long history of the conflict, many affected communities have evolved complex mechanisms to protect themselves.
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has operated for more than two decades in Africa, perpetrating a campaign of terror that has destabilized communities across four countries. They are known for their brutal attacks against civilians, including killing, torture, and mutilation, as well as the widespread abduction of children to increase their ranks. The group has its roots in northern Uganda, where it terrorized inhabitants for more than 15 years and was responsible for the abduction of more than 20,000 children and displacement of more than 1.9 million people (Human Rights Watch [HRW], 2012). After military pressure forced the LRA to leave Uganda, the group migrated into the border region between South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Estimates of the total number of people displaced by the LRA across all four countries run as high as 2.5 million (United Nations Security Council [UNSC], 2013; Internal Displacement Monitoring Center [IDMC], 2013); the UNSC reports that LRA combatants have abducted between 60,000 and 100,000 children. The number of civilians killed by the LRA remains difficult to estimate, but ranges from the tens of thousands (Ahere & Maina, 2013; HRW, 2012) to more than 100,000 people (UNSC, 2013).
At its peak, the LRA had between 3,000 and 5,000 members (Lancaster, Lacaile, & Cakaj, 2011).
Increasing regional military action against the LRA and an increasing number of combatant defections, however, has weakened the group, and current estimates put the number of remaining LRA combatants at 150 Ugandan males, not including the fluctuating number of abductees and non-combatant members (Ronan, 2015). The LRA continues to terrorize communities across a wide geographic region despite recent successful efforts to diminish the power of the group. Because of the long history of the conflict, many affected communities have evolved complex mechanisms to protect themselves.
The goal of this research is to investigate the sources of resiliency and vulnerability in LRA-affected communities.
Results of this research seek to inform better programmatic responses in these contexts, and to create lessons learned that might be applicable in other areas affected by non-state armed groups. To frame the study, we used the UN definition of resilience: “The ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions” (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction [UNISDR], 2007. The project drew on focus group discussions (FGDs), key informant interviews (KIIs), and a conceptual mapping exercise to generate qualitative data around the impacts of the LRA and resilience mechanisms employed by affected communities across all four countries.
This report will first provide an overview of the LRA’s impact on civilian communities, and the methods used for the current project. The research results will then be presented. The first section will outline the repertoire of violence used by the LRA and the evolution of these abuses over time. The second section will provide a detailed treatment of the mechanisms of self-protection and resilience that communities have developed over time to mitigate the impact of the LRA. We conclude with an overarching discussion of findings and implications. A second affiliated report will examine the internal organization of the LRA, its command and control structures, and the changes in the group over time.
Latest Global Emergency Overview highlights floods in Somalia and crises in Nigeria and Ukraine
Source: Assessment Capacities Project
Country: Afghanistan, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen
The weekly Global Overview aggregates information from a range of sources and provides the latest updates on and a ranking of current humanitarian crises.
Somalia: Flooding has affected 132,000 people and displaced an estimated 60,000 as low-lying areas of Mogadishu have now been inundated, as well as areas of Middle Shabelle and Lower Juba. Main supply roads are impassable and some airstrips unusable The middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle River remain at high risk of flooding.
Nigeria: Over 50 people were killed and more than 140 injured in bombings in Maiduguri, Kano, and Yola in the past week. Despite continued insecurity in the northeast, the government has announced plans to start closing IDP camps in Adamawa at the end of the year, and in Borno state in January 2016.
Ukraine: Both warring sides have moved some military equipment that had been withdrawn back to the contact line, and the President of Ukraine has threatened to return all withdrawn weapons if separatist forces continue to violate the ceasefire. The truce has been broken in a number of locations. In Crimea, more than 1.6 million people are without power and water supplies to high-rise buildings have stopped after main electricity lines from Ukraine were blown up.
Updated: 24/11/2015. Next update: 01/12/2015
Global Emergency Overview Web Interface
Food prices rise sharply after fighting disrupts Afghan harvest
The harvest has been halted in the country’s breadbasket in the northern province of Kunduz, where farmers have fled fighting and fields are infested with explosives.
CHARDARA DISTRICT, Afghanistan, 24 November 2015 (IRIN) - Food prices are shooting up in Afghanistan as the harvest has been halted in the country’s breadbasket in the northern province of Kunduz, where farmers have fled fighting and fields are infested with explosives.
The war between pro-government forces and the Taliban has been intensifying in the north. Insurgents briefly took over Kunduz City at the end of September, the first time the group has controlled a provincial capital since being ousted from power in 2001. Thousands fled the capital and surrounding districts as the Afghan army, backed by American forces, fought to retake the area. Many have now returned to their homes, but farmers are still unable to harvest their crops.
“While retreating, the Taliban mined our fields with IEDs (improvised explosive devices),” said Haji Hashim Khan, a 57-year-old farmer in Chardara District, about 10 kilometres from Kunduz City. “The crop is ready for harvest but we cannot touch one fruit or vegetable.”
With abundant waters from the Amu Darya River, a sunny climate, and fertile soils, Kunduz Province has been a main supplier to the rest of the country of crops such as wheat, rice, cotton, almonds, potatoes, tomatoes and watermelons.
According to Rabbani Haqiqatpal, director of planning and statistics at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Afghanistan produced 410,000 tonnes of rice and 4.9 million tonnes of wheat last year. Kunduz contributed 61 percent of the rice harvest and 12 percent of the wheat yield.
“Kunduz is a key agricultural province,” he told IRIN. “The fighting there in the past nine months has impacted agricultural trade in the whole of northern Afghanistan and its effect is now being felt even in Kabul."
Afghanistan has been importing rice and wheat for several years and will have to import even more of the two grains in 2016, causing prices to rise, Haqiqatpal said.
Prices have already increased sharply in the market in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, where rice is retailing at 120 afghani (USD 1.80) per kg compared to 80 afghani at the same time last year. Wheat is fetching 30 afghani per kg compared with 20 afghani in 2014.
In Chardara and nearby districts of Ali Abad and Khan Abad, the usually bustling agricultural markets are shuttered as farmers have nothing to sell.
While fighting over the past couple months has destroyed the harvest in Kunduz, the farmers’ problems started early in the year as the Taliban began expanding its territorial influence. Fazel Khan, who owns 50 acres near the highway linking Chardara to Kunduz City, said he hadn't set foot on his farm for seven months.
“The Taliban started gathering on the outskirts of the district around March, just days after I had planted tomatoes and watermelon on my field,” he said. “They drove me and other farmers from the area as they feared we would report their activities to the authorities.”
The 60-year-old said he then started working as a labourer on someone else’s farm, but that didn’t last long. “The Taliban was soon there,” said Khan. “There were daily skirmishes between them and the security forces and we were caught in between.”
The fighting destroyed many fields, as insurgents used them as cover to move positions and Afghan forces fired artillery that burned the crops down, farmers told IRIN. In addition to food shortages, the fighting has also led to unemployment in the agricultural sector.
“Farmers, farm labourers, truck drivers — all are now sitting idle,” said Khan Mohammad, a rice farmer in Khan Abad District. “Agriculture is the backbone of Kunduz’s economy. People here either work on the fields or are involved in processing or transporting of farm produce. They have nothing to do now.”
Last October, Mohammad said he sold a tonne of rice for 1,400 dollars, which met the needs of his family of 10 for six months. This year, he doesn’t know how they will survive.
Many other families face similar challenges.
“Chronic malnutrition is alarmingly high in Afghanistan,” the World Food Programme said in a 30 September report, which stated that 41 percent of children under five are malnourished.
Facing a funding shortfall of 30 million dollars, WFP has reduced its food rations for people affected by conflict and natural disasters. The organisation told IRIN it was too early to comment on whether the current food shortages and rising prices would affect its programmes.
The number of Afghans considered severely food insecure grew by 317,000 people to almost six percent of the population over the past year, while one in every four Afghans is moderately food insecure, according to a quarterly report up to September by the Afghanistan Food Security Cluster, which is comprised of aid and government agencies.
UNHCR warns of new humanitarian problems building at crossings from Greece into Balkans
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Greece, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Pakistan, Serbia, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, World
With refugees expected to continue arriving in Europe via Greece over the winter, it is imperative that the situation be managed so as to minimize the risks of new problems being created.
On Friday last week, UNHCR, together with our partners IOM and Unicef, expressed our shared concern at the risks associated with a series of new and uncoordinated restrictions imposed on several borders in the Balkans in use by refugees and migrants. The negative consequences of these actions are already becoming clear as people become backed up in countries along the route and without proper solution to their situations. A new humanitarian situation is developing in Europe that needs urgent attention.
The new restrictions chiefly involve people being profiled on the basis of their alleged nationalities. At the borders between Greece and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and between Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, nationals of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are being allowed to cross. Nationals of other countries are being stopped – about 1,000 people are stuck at the main entry point into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from Greece. With frustrations growing, protests have erupted among some 200 people – mainly Iranians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. Some 60 people are on hunger strike, and 11 individuals are reported to have stitched up their mouths. About 150 people have returned voluntarily over the past 48 hours to Athens where they are being advised that they can seek asylum. Near Edomani, the border point, UNHCR and partners have set up a transit centre consisting of 7 heated rubb halls where stranded people can stay the night and receive a hot meal.
With refugees and migrants expected to continue arriving in Europe via Greece over the winter and into 2016 it is imperative that the situation be managed in such a way as to minimize the risks of new problems being created. All people have the right the right to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard. Proper information needs to be provided to people affected by decisions at border points, and proper counselling needs to be available. In addition, arrangements to accommodate people affected must be in place.
With the current situation in Greece, UNHCR remains concerned that the measures on the borders into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and between Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia will play into the hands of people smugglers as people seek alternatives to the chaotic situations in which they find themselves. As we head into winter, stabilization and proper and comprehensive management of Europe’s refugee and migrant situation remains urgently needed.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
In Athens, Aikaterini Kitidi on mobile +30 393 711 5656
In Edomani, Stella Nanou on mobile +30 694 458 6037
In Rome, Carlotta Sami on mobile +39 335 679 4746
In Lesvos, Boris Cheshirkov on mobile +359 878 507 041
In Geneva, Adrian Edwards on mobile+41 79 557 9120
In Geneva, Karin de Gruijl on mobile +41 79 255 9213
In Geneva, William Spindler on mobile +41 79 217 3011
Ukraine's 'Invisible Crisis': 1.5 Million IDPs with nowhere to go
Source: US Institute of Peace
About 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled the war in the east, and more than 1.4 million of them are still in the country, overwhelming the host communities that receive them.
When 5,000 people flooded into a city of 500,000 in one night with little more than the pajamas on their backs, they were greeted by the mayor and an assemblage of churches and civic groups ready to embrace them with shelter, food, clothing and moral support. The scene might sound like something from Europe’s west, where refugees are flooding in from the Middle East and Africa. But this is Ukraine in the midst of a war and an economic crisis, and two years into upheaval, the strain is beginning to show.
In a nation of 44 million people, about 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled the war in the east initiated by Russian-backed separatists, and more than 1.4 million of them are still in the country. About two-thirds find refuge with friends, family or others who’ve been displaced, and humanitarian agencies are bracing for the long haul. Ceasefire terms reached in Minsk, Belarus, in February and September have largely held, but spurts of renewed fighting include a battle that killed six Ukrainian soldiers last weekend. More than 8,000 people have died since the war began in April 2014.
International attention on Ukraine tends to be dominated by talk of whether the U.S. and European Union will extend their sanctions against Russia and whether to step up arms supplies to the Ukrainian government. But meantime, the conditions for the country’s internally displaced people (IDPs) and their host communities have become what former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer calls an “invisible crisis.” Verveer serves as special representative on gender issues for the chairmanship in office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is monitoring the ceasefire in Ukraine and coordinates projects such as legal reform.
During a recent visit to Ukraine, Verveer said, officials clearly were overwhelmed by the massive and unfamiliar demands for assistance and coordination, though the government in Kyiv remains the largest single provider of aid to the displaced. The impact of the war and displacements are profound, said Verveer and Natalia Karbowska, chairman of the board of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund, an organization that provides grants to women’s organizations in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova and is affiliated with the Global Fund for Women.
The two spoke at an event at USIP on Nov. 19 that explored how Ukraine’s civil society networks and the goodwill shown amid the humanitarian crisis might provide a foundation for social understanding and reconciliation, and how those displaced could find a voice and connections to political and economic life.
The discussion occurred just days before the second anniversary of the day protests began on Nov. 23, 2013, in Kyiv’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan. They were spurred by then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection, under Russian pressure, of a planned association agreement with the European Union. The demonstrations, also known as the “Revolution of Dignity,” ultimately broadened to reflect public outrage over corruption and ineffective governance. Yanukovych fled the country and Russia soon swept into Ukraine to occupy the Crimean Peninsula and send fighters and weapons to back separatists in the eastern Donbas region.
“The Revolution of Dignity won, but we knew at that time that the change that we all campaigned for will not come immediately,” Karbowska said. Still, neither the demonstrators in the Maidan, nor the military were prepared for the Russian armed incursions. And the country’s institutions had no experience in dealing with the floods of displaced people fleeing the war zone.
Welcomes From Volunteers
So volunteers stepped into the breach. They mobilized to support the army and those displaced by the fighting, raising millions of dollars for aid in a country with no culture of philanthropy, Karbowska said. They have successfully lobbied for national and local measures to reform corrupt governing structures, though the pace of change has been sluggish. Advocates have pushed for laws to ban discrimination against displaced Ukrainians and to give them priority for places in kindergartens, the equivalent of day care in a country where parents desperately need jobs and can’t afford child care on their own.
“For me, this is a real indication of civil society in Ukraine – people mobilizing to achieve results, people mobilizing to change policies in their country,” she said.
Volunteers in the eastern city of Kharkiv make a point of expressing strong words of welcome to people fleeing the war-torn region nearby. And it was the city of Mariupol to the south where the mayor turned out to greet 5,000 displaced people who arrived by train one night.
“What does it mean to be internally displaced?” said Dawn Calabia, honorary advisor at Refugees International, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy organization. She visited Ukraine in August. “For some of the people I met, it meant that they got on a train in Donetsk and they wound up in Mariupol in their pajamas because the shelling had started at night and they had fled.”
“The deputy mayor said to us, `What do you do when 5,000 people come on a train in the middle of the night? So we called the people we knew, and people came out to respond to the needs,’” Calabia said in the USIP discussion.
Verveer, who also is executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in Washington D.C., said she saw “vibrant civil society leadership” in Ukraine, with a non-profit sector that has knowledge and capabilities but suffers from too little support from the international community.
The U.S. Congress currently is in negotiations over the final budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Those talks include an aid package for Ukraine that contains economic support, military equipment and humanitarian assistance. Verveer and William B. Taylor, USIP’s executive vice president and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said it’s important to maintain vigorous support for Ukraine.
'We Need to Do More'
The United Nations refugee agency reported in October that it has been able to raise only 56 percent of the $41.5 million it says is needed to serve Ukraine’s 1.5 million internally displaced people. Overall, 5 million people need $316 million of humanitarian aid, and only 45 percent of that has been funded or pledged.
“This is a critical time for our own country” in relation to support for Ukraine, Verveer said. “We need to do more.” Verveer emphasized a comment from the audience that the problems of Ukraine aren’t intractable but rather that it’s entirely possible for Ukraine, with its vibrant civil society and the resilience of its local communities, to fully address its issues with sufficient international assistance.
As it is, Ukraine’s extended political, military, economic and social crisis is straining the country’s social fabric, Karbowska and others said in the USIP discussion. Soldiers coming home to an economy with no jobs are lashing out at their families. Local residents resent the priority given displaced Ukrainians for the precious kindergarten spaces. And then there’s the backdrop of tensions between the east and west that contributed sparks to the war in the first place.
Karbowska noted a growing lack of tolerance in communities amid the new competition for resources. That creates tensions between those displaced and local residents.
Ukraine is, in some ways, at a tipping point, said Lauren Van Metre, USIP’s acting vice president for applied research on conflict.
The significant support of the central government despite its strained coffers and the leadership that civil society “allows us to imagine very important possibilities for Ukraine,” Van Metre said. “Could this goodwill and community openness contribute to internal reconciliation?”
“Could this change perceptions of Kyiv by populations from the east?” Van Metre said. “While the potential for constructive engagement…does exist, winter is also near and local economies are constrained.”
Oksana Shulyar, a political affairs counselor at the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington D.C., notes that Ukrainians staying in the country alleviates the risk of adding to the flow of refugees entering western Europe. About 1.12 million have fled Ukraine, most to Russia, according to U.N. figures.
“The winter is coming and we urgently need additional assistance for rebuilding infrastructure in the conflict-affected areas,” said Shulyar, who attended the USIP event. “The solution to the IDP problem in Ukraine is an inclusive combination of larger financial support, Ukraine’s further reforms efforts and continued pressure on Russia until the Minsk agreements are implemented in full.”
'The Ground Truth'
Women particularly are critical to addressing the plight of internally displaced people, pressing for government reform and shepherding any reconciliation efforts that might emerge, said Karbowska and Verveer. Fully two-thirds of those displaced in Ukraine are women, and the economic crisis has thwarted their ability to get jobs to earn a living if they are the only source of income while men are deployed.
“Women are critical agents of change,” Verveer said. “They have the ground truth.”
Women’s non-government organizations have provided emergency aid, jobs skills training and initiatives to prevent domestic and community violence. They also are trying to advance women’s participation in decision-making and dialogue to defuse conflict.
“We see that society is really ready for new faces in politics, for new values in politics,” Karbowska said. “And we do think that women could bring these values.”
Verveer said women in parliament – they make up 11 percent of the members -- are working together across party lines to address the country’s crisis, even traveling to the East in groups to assess conditions. They expressed a serious need for information from other places that have experienced similar situations, to learn about practices and policies that work, she said.
With Ukraine considering decentralization of authority to address grievances in the east by distributing more government revenue to the local level, citizens need training in how to analyze policies and lobby for change, Karbowska said. “There is also a need for initiatives to build tolerance in communities,” Karbowska said.
Building the capacity of local civic organizations to provide humanitarian assistance also strengthens civil society in transitional countries by connecting it to official structures still struggling to break their top-down habits. And it can prepare citizens for more active roles when they return home.
USIP and the Ukrainian Women’s Fund will conduct a needs assessment to determine what skills and resources IDPs require, beyond immediate humanitarian assistance, so that they can advocate for their rights, and perhaps catalyze future reconciliation and war recovery efforts.
“We as peacebuilders know that successful IDP resettlements secure durable peace processes,” Van Metre said. “We know that giving IDPs a voice introduces critical local knowledge into policy discussions.”
In the meantime, Karbowska urged the U.S. and others in the international community to keep up the pressure on the Ukrainian government to implement the reforms they have promised and to improve conditions for citizens, including those displaced by the war.
“It is important for us that you all do not give up on Ukraine,” Karbowska said. “I know there are many terrible events happening in the world these days, but I do think that they are connected. After the Paris [attacks] last week, pro-Kremlin separatists in Ukraine became more active.”
She said more people are being killed again and there is a danger that the ceasefire will be broken by the end of the year. She hearkened back to the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, recalling that Ukrainians sympathized but “thought it was far away.”
“But now we know it is not,” Karbowska said. “We all live in the same reality…the problem of one country might become a global problem in just one day.”
Viola Gienger is a senior editor and writer at USIP.
The impact of climate change on children
Source: UN Children's Fund
According to UNICEF, more than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence, and about 160 million live in high drought severity areas.
Children will bear the brunt of climate change: UNICEF
More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence, 160 million live in high drought severity areas
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 24 November 2015 – More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence and 160 million in high drought severity zones, leaving them highly exposed to the impacts of climate change, UNICEF said in a report released ahead of the 21st United Nations climate change conference, known as COP21.
Of the 530 million children in the flood-prone zones, some 300 million live in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty – on less than $3.10 a day. Of those living in high drought severity areas, 50 million are in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty.
“The sheer numbers underline the urgency of acting now,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Today’s children are the least responsible for climate change, but they, and their children, are the ones who will live with its consequences. And, as is so often the case, disadvantaged communities face the gravest threat.”
Climate change means more droughts, floods, heatwaves and other severe weather conditions. These events can cause death and devastation, and can also contribute to the increased spread of major killers of children, such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea. This can create a vicious circle: A child deprived of adequate water and sanitation before a crisis will be more affected by a flood, drought, or severe storm, less likely to recover quickly, and at even greater risk when faced with a subsequent crisis.
The vast majority of the children living in areas at extremely high risk of floods are in Asia, and the majority of those in areas at risk of drought are in Africa.
World leaders gathering in Paris for COP21 – held from November 30 to December 11 – will seek to reach agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which most experts say is critical to limiting potentially catastrophic rises in temperature.
“We know what has to be done to prevent the devastation climate change can inflict. Failing to act would be unconscionable,” said Lake. “We owe it to our children – and to the planet – to make the right decisions at COP21.”
Download broadcast quality photos and video.
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: www.unicef.org
Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.
For further information, please contact: Patrick Moser, UNICEF New York, firstname.lastname@example.org; + 1 212 326 7120
Migrant health tops agenda at European meeting
Source: World Health Organization
Country: Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, World
Amid the unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants into the WHO European Region, the meeting will address the major health challenges, needs and priorities of these groups.
Amid the unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants into the WHO European Region, the meeting will address the major health challenges, needs and priorities of these groups
23 November 2015, Copenhagen and Rome
A WHO high-level meeting focused on refugee and migrant health, hosted by the Italian Government, opens today in Rome. The attendees, including ministers of health and high-level representatives from the countries of the WHO European Region and from other WHO regions, will discuss how countries and partner organizations can improve health care and coverage for refugees and migrants. The aim is to agree on a common approach and joint action for meeting the health needs of these vulnerable groups.
In 2015, over 700 000 refugees and migrants have entered the European Region, in addition to the nearly 2 million who have taken shelter in Turkey. Up to 5% of these people need medical assistance, faced with health issues such as accidental injuries, hypothermia, burns, cardiovascular events, pregnancy- and delivery-related complications, diabetes and hypertension. Factors such as mass population movement, water shortage and inadequate shelter and sanitation also increase the risks for acquiring communicable diseases.
"Health systems in the European Region, including those of countries that receive refugees and migrants, are well equipped to diagnose and treat common infectious and noncommunicable diseases," said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. "But we, as a Region, must seek to ensure that all countries are adequately prepared and organized to withstand the added pressures of supporting a mass influx of people, while at the same time protecting the health of their resident populations. A good response to the challenges of people on the move requires health system preparedness and capacity, including robust epidemiological data and migration intelligence, careful planning, training and, above all, adherence to the principles of equity, solidarity and human rights."
Because of the increased risk for communicable diseases, vaccination is a key consideration to be discussed at the meeting. Joint recommendations from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and WHO provide guidance for countries on vaccinating refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in the European Region. These recommendations specify that asylum-seekers and migrants should be vaccinated without unnecessary delay according to the national immunization schedules of any country in which they will probably reside for more than a week. In view of recent measles outbreaks in the Region, countries should prioritize vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and polio. Governments should consider providing documentation of vaccination to avoid unnecessary re-vaccination later. Vaccination is not recommended at border crossings unless there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease in the host or transit country.
Many countries, particularly those on the front line of large-scale migration, have already undertaken vaccination campaigns for new arrivals. Their efforts should be applauded, as should other measures taken to ensure adequate health care for refugees and migrants. However, these groups still face many complex challenges, including limited access to health services, due to high cost, lack of information and administrative, cultural or language barriers. Large-scale migration places immense and often unexpected pressure on the health systems of hosting countries, testing both their capacity and their preparedness.
The Rome meeting will last for 2 days and, in addition to covering the primary health challenges and priorities of refugees and migrants, will seek ways in which WHO/Europe and other partners can best support countries in responding to the current crisis.
"A common framework for joint action on refugee and migrant health in the WHO European Region is of urgent importance," said Dr Jakab. "We look forward to using the meeting in Rome to shape such a framework and to agree on collective actions that will help ensure the health and well-being of these vulnerable populations."
For more information about the meeting, please visit our website
Weekly humanitarian snapshot highlights Myanmar displacement, floods in Sri Lanka and Fiji
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Fiji, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka
Myanmar clashes continue, causing both new and secondary displacement of civilians. In Sri Lanka, almost 113,000 people are affected by heavy rains.
Up to 6,000 people remain displaced following fighting in southern Shan State between the Myanmar military and Shan State Army which began on 6 Oct. Clashes continue causing both new and secondary displacements of civilians. Those displaced are staying in monasteries and temporary sites. Assessments conducted by INGOs and local CSOs have identified immediate needs in shelter, hygiene kits, clothing, blankets, food, health and water and sanitation. Some INGOs have provided initial support including NFIs, hygiene, family and shelter kits in close collaboration with local CSOs, who are leading the response. Access remains challenging due to insecurity.
6,000 people displaced
As of 23 Nov, almost 113,000 people in 4 districts are affected by heavy rains since 13 Nov with the Northern Province the most seriously impacted. Currently, almost 760 people are displaced in 12 evacuation centres. The District Disaster Management Unit is responding and no request for assistance was issued. While conditions in flood-affected districts are improving, the Department of Irrigation reports that 27 major reservoirs out of a total 72 reservoirs are overspilling and spill gates were opened to control the water levels. In addition, many other medium and small scale reservoirs are also overspilling and breaches were reported in at least 5 reservoirs in Anuradhapura district.
113,000 people affected
The evolving El Niño has resulted in serious stress on water resources in parts of Fiji, especially the outer islands and remote rural areas. Rainfall recorded in October around Fiji was mostly below average. During Oct, Ono island in southern Lau reported just nine millimetres of rain, or about 10 per cent or the average for this location in Oct. Many other stations reported monthly rainfall below one third of their monthly average. 67,000 people are currently targeted with government water deliveries.
The National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), together with local disaster management agencies (BPBDs) of affected provinces in Kalimantan and Sumatra are conducting evaluation meetings on the fires and haze response. This will lead to agreed preparedness actions for 2016.
BNPB is preparing a draft Presidential Regulation for Forest and Land Fires Management. As of today, 23 Nov, forest fires are completely doused due to recent rainfall and all haze has dispersed.
Mount Sinabung erupted on 17 Nov spewing volcanic ash and causing lava flow down the south-southeast slopes. Its status is maintained at the highest level since 2 Jun 2015, forcing over 9,320 people to remain at temporary displacements.
9,320 people displaced
Typhoon In-fa (known locally as Marilyn) weakened and slowed as it entered the Philippines Area of Responsibility (PAR) on 22 Nov, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). As of 23 Nov, In-fa was located at 1,095 km east of Baler municipality, Aurora province with maximum sustained winds of 150 kph near the center and is forecast to move west northwest at 13 kph. According to current projections, the typhoon is expected to exit PAR on 27 November
Following an assessment of flood damage and recovery efforts in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister requested additional support from national government for immediate rescue and relief efforts. Extremely heavy and sustained rainfall has claimed 169 lives since 1 Oct. Relief efforts are currently being undertaken by the National Disaster Response Force, Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. No request for international assistance has been mad
The benefits and challenges of coordination in the field
Humanitarian responses often involve large numbers of national and international actors. New ALNAP paper looks at the various ways different organisations work together at the country level.
Humanitarian responses often involve large numbers of national and international actors who frequently work in the same geographical areas and towards the same broad goals. However, coordination and collaboration among them are often limited at best. Failure to work together can lead to gaps in coverage and to duplications and inefficiencies in any given emergency response.
This paper looks at the variety of ways that different organisations work together at the country level. It considers bilateral relations between organisations (partnerships), as well as relations among multiple organisations (clusters, networks and consortiums). It also looks at other, non-structural, modalities used to support working together, such as funding mechanisms and standards.
The paper considers the following actors: international and national NGOs; United Nations (UN) agencies, offices, funds and programmes; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; government authorities; donors; and the private sector. It does not consider civil-military coordination or look at coordination bodies and approaches at the regional and global levels.