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  • Dominica pleads for help as storm death toll tops 30
    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Dominica

    At least 31 were killed after tropical storm Erika battered the Caribbean island nation of 72,000 inhabitants, and another two dozen remain missing. Evacuations are underway in some villages.

    Roseau, Dominica | AFP | Tuesday 9/1/2015 - 17:07 GMT

    Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is pleading with world leaders to come to the rescue of his Caribbean island nation after it was battered by a tropical storm that killed at least 31 people.

    Another two dozen remain missing, including two French nationals, after Tropical Storm Erika barreled her way through late last week. The death toll has risen steadily since the storm hit the island of 72,000.

    In a message to the nation on Monday night, Skerrit said 21 nationals and two French citizens are missing.

    He added: "We have written to all foreign governments for help and assistance and I can tell you that the responses that we have received thus far are tremendous."

    At the weekend, in the immediate aftermath of the worst of the storm, which also brought heavy rain to Haiti and Cuba, the prime minister ordered the evacuation of Petite Savanne, a coastal village cut off by mudslides.

    Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago were among the countries helping the evacuation effort by providing helicopters.

    The evacuations of Petite Savanne's 750 residents was expected to be completed on Tuesday.

    "We welcome the evacuation process because it has been very difficult for us and we were in a state of helplessness since we had no communication," Johna Guiste, a tearful Petite Savanne official, told AFP.

    Anelta Hilaire-Francis said she has been marooned on the seashore for the past two days with her children "trying to get out of the village."

    "It's hard and difficult to live, to take in and swallow what has happened to us," she said as she boarded a coast guard boat to a shelter in the capital Roseau.

    Last week Skerrit said he feared the storm had taken the island back 20 years.

    China last week offered $300,000 as emergency humanitarian assistance.

    str-du-pst/dw

  • Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020, UN report warns
    Source: UN Conference on Trade and Development
    Country: occupied Palestinian territory

    Reconstruction efforts are extremely slow relative to the magnitude of devastation and Gaza’s local economy did not have a chance to recover, UNCTAD states in the latest report.

    Gaza could become uninhabitable in less than five years in wake of 2014 conflict and ongoing de-development, according to new UNCTAD report

    Geneva, Switzerland, (01 September 2015)

    ​UNCTAD’s report on assistance to the Palestinian people states that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist. In addition to eight years of economic blockade, in the past six years, Gaza has endured three military operations that have shattered its ability to export and produce for the domestic market, ravaged its already debilitated infrastructure, left no time for reconstruction and economic recovery, and accelerated the de-development of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed.

    The report highlights the severe crises in Gaza related to water and electricity, as well as the destruction of vital infrastructure during the military operations in July and August 2014. For example, Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants rely on coastal aquifers as their main source of freshwater, yet 95 per cent of this water is not safe to drink.

    The report also estimates the direct losses (excluding people killed) of the three military operations that took place from 2008 to 2014 to be close to three times the size of Gaza’s local gross domestic product. However, the total cost may be substantially higher once indirect economic losses are included and lost future income streams from destroyed productive capacities are added.

    In addition to the 500,000 people who have been displaced in Gaza as a result of the most recent military operation, the report estimates significant economic losses, including the destruction or severe damage of more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools and 15 hospitals and 45 primary health-care centres.

    As many as 247 factories and 300 commercial centres were fully or partially destroyed. Serious damage was inflicted on Gaza’s sole power plant. The agricultural sector alone suffered $550 million in losses.

    It is estimated that, even before the military operations in July and August 2014, Gaza’s electricity supply capacity was not enough to meet 40 per cent of the demand (2012 figures). The electricity and energy crisis is exacerbated by the fact that the Palestinian National Authority is not permitted to develop and use the offshore natural gas fields discovered since the 1990s on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast.

    In 2014, unemployment in Gaza reached 44 per cent, the highest level on record. Joblessness was particularly severe among young women Palestinian refugees in Gaza, with more than eight out of 10 women out of work. The economic well-being of Palestinians living in Gaza is worse today than two decades ago. Per capita gross domestic product has shrunk by 30 per cent since 1994.

    Food insecurity affects 72 per cent of households, and the number of Palestinian refugees solely reliant on food distribution from United Nations agencies had increased from 72,000 in 2000 to 868,000 by May 2015, representing half the population of Gaza.

    The report maintains that even before the three military operations, the economic blockade in place since 2007 had already led to the large-scale cessation of productive operations and loss of employment. Exports from Gaza have been almost completely blocked, imports and transfers of cash severely restricted and the flow of all but the most basic humanitarian goods suspended.

    The report warns that donor support remains a necessary but insufficient condition for Gaza’s recovery and reconstruction. Short of ending the blockade, donor aid will remain vitally important but will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment in Gaza.

    UNCTAD assistance to the Palestinian people

    During the reporting period, UNCTAD continued to work, in cooperation with various stakeholders and beneficiaries, towards the facilitation of Palestinian trade and the reintegration of the Palestinian economy with regional economies and the world. Moreover, UNCTAD continued to conduct policy-oriented studies on various aspects of Palestinian economic development and to provide training and advisory services aimed at building Palestinian human and institutional capacities to facilitate economic development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

    In early 2015, UNCTAD successfully concluded the implementation of a project on capacity development for facilitating Palestinian trade. The project increased the awareness of Palestinian shippers and professionals from the private and public sectors of best practices in trade facilitation, and resulted in savings in the supply chain.

    For more information, please contact:
    UNCTAD Communications and Information Unit
    T: +41 22 917 5828
    T: +41 79 502 43 11
    E: unctadpress@unctad.org
    Web: unctad.org/press

  • Latest Global Emergency Overview highlights humanitarian crises in Papua New Guinea, Guatemala and Central African Republic
    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, 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.

    Snapshot 25 August–1 September 2015

    Papua New Guinea: 1.8 million people have been affected by prolonged dry spell and frost in the Highlands region; 1.3 million are reported to be most at risk. Crops have been destroyed, and several chools and health facilities have been closed due to water shortages. The affected population is reported to be resorting to less reliable sources of drinking water.

    Guatemala: Ongoing drought caused by El Niño had led to a deterioration of food security. Nearly one million people are facing acute food insecurity, mainly due to decreased harvest. 900,000 people have no food stocks left.

    CAR: Clashes between anti-balaka and ex-Seleka in Bambari, Ouaka, have displaced at least 4,250 people. A spontaneous IDP site has been set up inside the MINUSCA compound, and conditions are dire, with no sanitation facilities and limited access to water and shelter.

    Updated: 01/09/2015. Next update 08/09/2015.

  • Naciones Unidas constata crisis humanitaria en la frontera Colombia-Venezuela
    Source: UN Country Team in Colombia
    Country: Colombia, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

    En los últimos nueve días en promedio 1.500 colombianos deportados y retornados han cruzado a diario la frontera en Norte de Santander, lo que ha generado una crisis humanitaria.

    En los últimos nueve días en promedio 1.500 personas han cruzado a diario la frontera en Norte de Santander lo que ha generado una crisis humanitaria. · Naciones Unidas ha estado en terreno desde el primer día de la emergencia. con un equipo interagencial de ACNUR, OCHA, OIM, que se está reforzando con la actuación de PMA, PNUD, UNICEF y la OPS. · Naciones Unidas valora el esfuerzo del Gobierno nacional para atender las necesidades de los afectados. · A pesar de los esfuerzos nacionales persisten necesidades de respuesta diferencial en albergues, registro, agua, saneamiento ,alimentación, salud. También hay vacíos en protección.

    Una misión de representantes del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas en Colombia recorrió los albergues en Cúcuta y Villa del Rosario en la frontera con Venezuela, para conocer de primera mano la situación humanitaria de los colombianos que han sido deportados y retornados en los últimos días. De igual forma, reforzar el trabajo que desde el inicio de la emergencia realiza Naciones Unidas en el terreno, a la que ha respondido de manera coordinada y complementaria con las autoridades nacionales.

    La delegación fue encabezada por Fabrizio Hochschild, coordinador residente y humanitario y representante del PNUD; Stephan Jaquemet, representante de la Oficina en Colombia del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR); Max Bonnel, jefe adjunto de la Oficina para la Coordinación de Asuntos Humanitarios (OCHA); Deborah Hines, representante del Programa Mundial de Alimentos (PMA) y Alejandro Guidi, jefe de misión de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM).

    Durante el recorrido, en albergues en Villa del Rosario y Cúcuta, la delegación de ONU conoció, entre otras situaciones, que cerca de 10.000 personas han retornado desde Venezuela y otras 1.100 han sido deportadas, en la frontera con Cúcuta, según las cifras oficiales recogidas por OCHA. Mientras que en Arauca y La Guajira, se ha informado que más personas han cruzado la frontera. Esta situación ha generado una crisis humanitaria de importantes dimensiones.

    “Nos preocupa enormemente que hasta 1.500 personas están cruzando la frontera a diario, muchas de ellas en difíciles condiciones a través de trochas y del río. Algunas de esas personas fueron obligados a abandonarlo todo y hoy padecen una situación de necesidad e incertidumbre frente a su futuro”, expresó Fabrizio Hochschild.

    “Estamos aquí desde el momento que comenzó la emergencia. Más de 15 funcionarios de Naciones Unidas en Cúcuta están dedicados de tiempo completo a trabajar de la mano de las autoridades nacionales para responder a las necesidades de la población deportada y retornada”, añadió.

    Desde el inicio de la emergencia la Oficina del Alto Comisionado para los Refugiados (ACNUR), la Oficina para la Coordinación de Asuntos Humanitarios (OCHA) y la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones han activado su respuesta. A este esfuerzo se sumó el Programa Mundial de Alimentos con asistencia alimentaria y Unicef en apoyo al ICBF.

    “Se destaca el trabajo que están haciendo nuestros socios humanitarios, en especial el Consejo Noruego para los Refugiados (NRC), el Servicio Jesuita para los Refugiados y la Pastoral Social”, destacó Max Bonnel, de OCHA.

    Balance

    Luego de visitar Villa del Rosario donde se encuentra uno de los mayores albergues, los delegados de la ONU escucharon casos de separación de familias, pérdidas de sus medios de vida, demolición u ocupación de sus viviendas y destrucción de sus documentos de identidad, entre otros abusos durante su salida forzosa.

    A pesar los esfuerzos nacionales de respuesta persisten necesidades en albergues, registro, agua y saneamiento, salud y hay vacíos en protección. En los albergues los afectados expresaron su preocupación por su futuro y el de sus familias que en muchos de los casos continúan en el otro lado de la frontera.

    El representante de ACNUR, Stephan Jaquemet, insistió en la necesidad de que estas personas reciban asistencia y protección. “ACNUR ha entregado refrigerios y raciones alimentarias en los puntos de ingreso y asentamientos de la población retornada, kits de aseo, colchonetas, colchones, juegos de sábanas, cobijas térmicas y toallas entre otros. Los beneficiarios de esta ayuda se estiman en más de 2.000 personas”, dijo.

    “Recibimos denuncias sobre refugiados y solicitantes de asilo quienes pese a su status habrían sido obligados a regresar a Colombia. Estamos verificando estos casos, de ser constatado constituiría una violación del derecho internacional de refugiado”, agregó.

    La Organización Internacional para las Migraciones continúa apoyando el registro de las personas retornadas e insiste en que estos esfuerzos son necesarios en otras zonas de la frontera como La Guajira y Arauca donde ya se documentan casos de retorno y deportación. De igual forma, en el marco de un convenio con Cancillería, OIM también ha apoyado el traslado terrestre de cerca de 272 deportados y retornados a sus lugares de origen..

    Las agencias de Naciones Unidas están realizando misiones diarias a la zona rural de Villa del Rosario y Puerto Santander para conocer las necesidades de la población y apoyar la respuesta del Estado Colombiano.

    El PMA ha puesto a disposición su capacidad de respuesta para garantizar con un enfoque diferencial la alimentación de la familias que retornan y se reintegran a la sociedad, mediante alimentación escolar y asistencia alimentaria a través de bonos electrónicos para ser redimidos en tiendas y supermercados”, enfatizó Deborah Hines, Representante del Programa Mundial de Alimentos en Colombia.

    La asistencia del sistema en Colombia no se limitará a la fase de la emergencia y continuará con la estabilización socioeconómica de la población retornada y deportada.

    Se continuará con el apoyo a los esfuerzos nacionales de respuesta y se reitera la disposición a movilizar recursos adicionales en caso de ser requerido por el Gobierno Nacional.

    Naciones Unidas tiene presencia permanente en el Puesto de Mando Unficado –PMU- en el que Gobierno colombiano coordina la respuesta desde la Unidad Nacional de Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres.

    “En medio de la crisis hemos escuchado durante nuestra visita que esta emergencia plantea problemas más de fondo en la frontera y es necesario trabajar en la generación de alternativas económicas lícitas y la promoción de una cultura de la legalidad”, explicó Hochschild.

    Naciones Unidas continuará respondiendo a la emergencia con una estrategia de largo plazo a través de intervenciones integrales que ayuden a mejorar las condiciones y oportunidades de la población en la zona fronteriza.

    “La mejor forma de hacerlo es a través del diálogo y la cooperación entre los dos países”, finalizó el Coordinador Humanitario de la ONU.

  • UNHCR delivers aid to Eastern Ukraine after August fighting
    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Ukraine

    This past weekend, UNHCR managed to deliver humanitarian aid to Horvlika and nearby areas in Eastern Ukraine not controlled by the Government for the first time in several weeks.

    In Ukraine, August has seen heavy fighting to the north of Donetsk in and around the town of Horvlika. Since the start of the conflict in 2014 around 40 per cent of the population of Horvlika has left and according to local authorities only 150,000 out of 250,000 people remain there. This past weekend, UNHCR managed to deliver humanitarian aid to Horvlika and nearby areas in Eastern Ukraine not-controlled by the Government for the first time in several weeks. Thirteen UNHCR trucks carrying 260 metric tons of shelter materials and basic relief items travelled with support from WFP and partners and delivered reinforced plastic sheets, timber, plywood, roofing sheets, cement and other construction materials for acute and medium repairs, as well as basic relief items.

    Despite a ceasefire agreement signed in February 2015, fighting since the beginning of August around Horvlika has caused damage to residential areas and forced local residents to retreat into the basements of their ruined homes. More than 1,200 private houses were destroyed by shelling in Horlivka and many families homes have been left without roofs, windows or walls.

    According to local authorities, over 260 multi-storey buildings were damaged, including 17 hospitals and 82 schools and kindergartens. Six road bridges and nearly a quarter of the city’s heating facilities were also affected. There are reported disruptions in the provision of electricity and water.

    The humanitarian and shelter goods delivered will provide over 5,000 families with material for emergency repairs. Another 110 households will receive shelter materials for light and medium repairs. Over 3,000 beneficiaries will be provided with basic relief items such as blankets, bed linen and towels. The distribution to the affected civilian population will be organized under the supervision of the UNHCR partner ‘People in Need’ in the next ten days.

    In the last several weeks, access to the conflict zone remained challenging, greatly restricting the delivery of much needed humanitarian aid to those in need. It is expected that further convoys carrying aid to the areas affected by the conflict will be organized in the next few weeks. With the imminent arrival of the cold season, preparations for autumn and winter are becoming a priority, especially for towns and villages with a high level of destruction.

    In the past week, UNHCR also delivered assistance to over 1,500 people in government controlled areas. In particular, basic relief items were distributed to some 800 people in the area of Mariupol in the southern part of the Donetsk region. UNHCR emergency shelter materials were dispatched to the village of Sartana, following a recent spike of hostilities near the conflict line.

    For more information on this topic, please contact:

    In Kyiv, Nina Sorokopud sorokopu@unhcr.org Mobile: +380(50)3101767

    In Geneva, Adrian Edwards Edwards@unhcr.org Mobile: +41 59 557 9120

    In Geneva, William Spindler spindler@unhcr.org Mobile: +41 79 217 3011

  • More than half Yemeni population severely food insecure
    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Yemen

    Insecurity, poor rains and high cost of agricultural input continue to negatively affect the overall performance of agriculture production. As a result, a 30% cut in crop harvest is expected.

    Escalation of conflict and civil insecurity, disruptions of markets and trade activities and poor Agriculture Season worsens the prevailing Humanitarian Crisis

    Highlights

    • More than 50% of the Yemeni population are living under severe food insecurity condition (IPC/June 2015); compared to the previous year, the number of people who are food insecure in 2015 have increased by 21.7%

    • A total of 6.2 million people are under emergency phase (IPC Phase 4) and food security situation is further deteriorating due to the conflict, limited humanitarian assistance, lack of income and employment opportunities, and disruptions of markets and trade activities.

    • Insecurity, poor rains, high cost of agricultural input (seed, animal feed, machinery rents, fuel for irrigation pumps etc) continue to negatively affect the overall performance of the agriculture production. As a result 30% reduction in crop harvest is expected from the key cropping regions of central highlands, southern uplands and western coast plain.

    • FAO has activated Level 3 Emergency Response in Yemen on 14 of July 2015 given the urgent need to scale up its response to the large scale impacts of the crisis on food security and nutrition. The activation of the L3 Emergency will require timely and coordinated humanitarian response to crisis affected population.

  • UN aid chief calls for sustained donor support as humanitarian needs "greater than ever"
    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Syrian Arab Republic

    Needs are growing, aid agencies are forced to scale back. "Funding shortfalls in Syria can be the difference between life and death" said Stephen O’Brien at a donor meeting in Kuwait.

    Kuwait City, 1 September 2015
    As prepared for delivery

    Your Excellencies,
    Ministers,
    Colleagues,
    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Welcome to this fifth meeting of the Syria Top Donors Group.

    I start with my sincere and countless thanks to His Highness the Amir and the Government and people of Kuwait for their exemplary and steadfast generosity; their continuing proactive, positive, principled engagement; their willingness to host the International High-Level Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria; and their support in hosting these Top Donors Group meetings.

    Thank you in particular to Dr. Al-Matouq for your leadership and determined efforts to promote the humanitarian agenda with the states of the Gulf region, and for your support in mobilizing resources for the Syria response.

    Thank you to all of the members of the Top Donors Group for your strong advocacy on behalf of the humanitarian community that is working to respond to the humanitarian and resilience needs of people affected by the conflict in Syria.

    Last year, an impressive 90 percent of pledges to the Syria crisis turned into commitments. That is a direct result of your persistent advocacy efforts. So far Australia,

    Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and Kuwait have all committed their pledges for 2015.

    I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the Government of Switzerland to the Group. We all value your engagement and commitment.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    As the Syria crisis enters its fifth year, humanitarian needs are greater than ever. The conflict has forced 7.6 million people into displacement in Syria while more than four million people have taken shelter in neighbouring countries.

    One million people have been displaced by violence this year alone, many for the second or third time, and the humanitarian crisis only looks set to worsen if a political solution is not found.

    This year – and thanks to your generous contributions - humanitarian agencies have delivered food aid, shelter, cash and vouchers, medical services, clean water supplies, psycho-social support and schooling to millions of people in Syria and in neighbouring countries. International and Syrian NGOs are a cornerstone of this response.

    UN agencies were able to significantly scale up cross-border operations under Security Council resolution 2165 and 2191. A huge thanks to all of you whose generous support has backed this work. In the first half of 2015, food was delivered to 5.9 million people per month and medical treatments and supplies were provided to nine million people. In the circumstances, these are truly outstanding results - life-saving and protection – on which we can and must build with confidence and significantly scale up to match the escalating needs.

    But as open conflict continues to spur an ever-deepening humanitarian and protection crisis in Syria, humanitarian needs continue to vastly outpace the response.

    This is partly due to the insecurity that is still seriously impeding aid agencies from accessing everyone in need.

    Operating in Syria is difficult and dangerous: 79 humanitarian aid workers have been killed since March 2011. But despite the dangers, humanitarian agencies continue to stay and deliver to millions of people in need.

    A second reason for the gap between needs and response is the funding shortfall. Aid agencies have received just one third of the funding needed for the Syria Response Plan and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan. For 2015, the combined plans call for US$7.42 billion, of which only $2.38 billion has been received.

    I know that a significant amount - estimated at $500 million - has been channeled outside these plans. We welcome every contribution that goes to Syrians in need. However, I encourage everyone to allocate funding in line with our comprehensive strategy and make sure that all funding is reflected in OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service so that programming and financing is as transparent as possible and we can avoid duplications.

    But despite the generosity of our donors, the message is clear: Needs are growing and aid agencies are forced to scale back.

    We urgently need donors to convert outstanding pledges into firm commitments.

    Funding shortfalls in Syria can be the difference between life and death. Under-funding could have disastrous results on the civilian population both inside Syria and on Syrians who have crossed borders into neighbouring countries.

    Public services in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, which between them are hosting millions of refugees from Syria, are straining at the seams.

    Without new funding, the World Food Programme has already scaled back food aid by one fifth, and food vouchers by as much as half for some displaced communities, and will have to further reduce its food aid and cash assistance.

    UNICEF will not have the $185 million it needs to build, supply or staff new schools. This could jeopardize the education of 1.6 million children inside Syria.

    The funding gap will continue to deny 225,000 people access to life-saving health care inside Syria.

    And unless donors come forward, the timely procurement of vital shelter supplies or clothes that Syrians will need to survive the winter months will not be possible.

    Providing these life-saving services is essential to a dignified life for everyone affected by this conflict, in Syria and beyond. But the only thing that will make a lasting difference is that the fighting stops. That there is a political solution.

    As the war enters its fifth year, we must look forward and do more to support people as they try to rebuild their destroyed livelihoods. This is the only way we can really help people to regain their independence and support their families once again.

    Given the volatility of the situation in Syria, responding to the overlapping and ever-shifting needs requires flexible funding mechanisms.

    As part of the Whole of Syria approach, humanitarian teams in Syria and across the region are working together to assess the evolving needs. The results of these efforts will be reflected in the upcoming Humanitarian Needs Overview. I would like to encourage humanitarian organizations and governments from the Gulf to actively participate and contribute to the humanitarian needs exercises.

    I thank all the Gulf humanitarian actors, especially the State of Kuwait, for supporting the multilateral humanitarian system and reaching out to millions of people in need.

    The consequences of the Syrian conflict will be felt many years after the fighting comes to an end - not only across the region, but also more widely as people flee Syria in search of safety and better opportunities. We are witnessing this in the growing migration crisis that is playing out on the shores of Europe, with the number of migrants and asylum seekers at record highs. This growing crisis puts all the more onus on the need to find a political solution to the Syria conflict.

    Over coming months and over the course of next year, we will continue to call for your vigorous and sustained support. We will continue to ask donors to come forward and meet their commitments, as well as to leverage additional funding for the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Only by working together can we mobilize the support Syrians so desperately need.

    I once again warmly thank Kuwait for hosting this meeting and salute their commitment to our common humanity. As I said yesterday to His Highness the Crown Prince, humanitarian action is in the Kuwaiti DNA as evidenced by H.E. the Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs’ enthusiastic and encouraging commitment about the world Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul next year in May.

    I also thank you all for taking the time today to participate. I look forward to a fruitful discussion.

  • One month on, emergency relief still needed in flood-struck Myanmar
    Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
    Country: Myanmar

    Although the water level is now gradually receding, new heavy monsoon rains might still worsen the situation in the southwest delta region of the country.

    By Johanna Lassy-Mäntyvaara, Finnish Red Cross

    One month has passed since heavy monsoon rains and Cyclone Komen caused severe floods in Myanmar. The farmland bordering the village of Yay Dar Gyi in the southwest Myanmar area resembles a lake. The paddy fields have been engulfed by a mass of water that still reaches up to six feet high in some parts. Although the water level is now gradually receding, new heavy monsoon rains might still worsen the situation in the southwest delta region of the country.

    “There is a risk of new flooding in September in the Irrawaddy delta,” says Dr Aung Kyaw Htut, Deputy Secretary-General of the Myanmar Red Cross Society. He is visiting a Red Cross team at work in the Kayaung Gone Township to assess the situation.

    Around Kayaung Gone 82 evacuation camps were set up in monasteries and schools to house over 3,000 people fleeing the floods. Red Cross volunteers are supporting people in some of the camps by cooking meals and distributing food and other personal hygiene items.

    “While emergency relief is still needed in the southwest of Myanmar, the Red Cross has already started to plan for the long-term recovery of affected communities in other parts of the country where the floods have receded and people have returned to their villages”, explains Nicolas Verdy, Operations Coordinator with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) which has recently launched an emergency appeal to support the Myanmar Red Cross response to the floods.

    “The livelihoods of thousands of people have been hit hard and they need financial assistance to recover. Our cash transfer programme will allow farmers to buy new seeds, fertilizers and tools for the next harvesting season”, says Verdy.

    People in the village of Yay Dar Gyi are used to living with seasonal flooding. To manage rising water levels, houses in the village are built on seven foot high stilts. This year the floods almost reached the full height of the stilts.

    Despite the fact that the community is surrounded by water, evacuations were not needed. People here have other worries. Daw Than Nyun is one of the farmers whose rice paddy has been underwater for four weeks. Her whole crop has been damaged. Together with three other villagers, she owns 30 acres of farmland land and also provides work for day labourers from the village. Daw Than Nyun is waiting for government´s support to get a loan and buy more seeds, fertilizers and tools for the coming harvesting season.

    Health issues are another concern in Yay Dar Gyi. According to the village midwife, colds and respiratory infections are common maladies as people have been living surrounded by the floodwaters for weeks. Diarrhoea has not been identified yet but the risk remains high in the conditions where two of village´s wells are currently unusable because of the flooding. The Red Cross has stepped in with temporary measures to prevent the spread of waterborne disease by distributing water purification sachets and hygiene kits in the village.

    Daw Than Nyun, together with many other villagers, listens carefully when Dr Aung Kyaw Htut explains the principles and activities of the Red Cross. Many of the group express an interest in joining as volunteers.

    “A Red Cross volunteer group in the village could be trained to give first aid and promote good hygiene practices like hand washing and water purification. It is important to have trained volunteers in such disaster-prone villages”, says U Myrit Ngwe, from the Irrawaddy branch of the Myanmar Red Cross.

  • Crisis food insecurity in Sierra Leone persists despite lifting of the official ban on weekly markets
    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Sierra Leone

    The highest levels of food insecurity will be observed in Bo, Kambia, Port Loko, Moyamba, Kailahun, and Kenema districts where poor households are experiencing food consumption gaps.

    Crisis food insecurity persists despite the lifting of the official ban on weekly markets

    Key Messages

    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes are expected to persist through September 2015 due to a prolonged lean season caused by below-average food availability and atypically weak household purchasing power. The highest levels of food insecurity will be observed in Bo, Kambia, Port Loko, Moyamba, Kailahun, and Kenema districts where poor households are currently experiencing food consumption gaps.

    • In early August, the government lifted its ban on weekly markets. Improving market functioning and the upcoming harvest in October will help food and income sources normalize, contributing to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in most areas. However, poor households in Moyamba, Kenema and Kailahun districts are projected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to a slower recovery from this year’s Ebola-related shocks.

  • Démarrage difficile de la campagne agropastorale dans le centre et le nord du Sénégal
    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Senegal

    Face à une situation alimentaire de plus en plus difficile, certains ménages pauvres ont changé de régime alimentaire en baissant le nombre de repas quotidiens de 3 à 2 ou 1.

    Démarrage difficile de la campagne agropastorale dans le centre et le nord du pays

    Messages clés

    • Cette année, le recours des paysans plus que d’habitude vers les variétés hâtives de niébé et du mil Souna est une stratégie pour limiter l’impact négatif du retard d’installation des pluies sur la production agricole afin d’avoir une production proche de la moyenne. La baisse probable des superficies réalisées pour l’arachide qui constitue la principale culture de rente abaissera le niveau de revenu des ménages de décembre à mars par rapport à une année moyenne.

    • Les mauvaises conditions pastorales de février à juin ont sérieusement affecté les revenus pastoraux à un niveau inférieur à la moyenne à cause de la baisse des prix et des productions animales. Les mortalités de bétail plus élevées que d’habitude ont affectés négativement les moyens d’existence des éleveurs limitant ainsi leur accès à la nourriture sur les marchés. La régénération des pâturages et des points d’eau a permis l’amélioration de la situation pastorale.

    • Les appuis en vivre de la part du Gouvernement et des partenaires humanitaires atténuent les difficultés alimentaires des ménages pauvres. Le recours aux stratégies d’adaptation inhabituelles d’emprunts, de réductions des dépenses alimentaires et non alimentaires sera réduit au niveau des ménages bénéficiaires grâce à ces appuis humanitaires en vivres, cash et non vivres.

    • Les prix des denrées sur les marchés restent à un niveau légèrement supérieur à la moyenne pour le mil local et inférieur à la moyenne pour le riz brisure ordinaire qui constitue la principale denrée consommée. Toutefois, la réduction des revenus des ménages agropastoraux pauvres par rapport à la moyenne ne permet pas un accès adéquat à ces denrées.

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