School meals at risk for 1.3 million children in West and Central Africa
Source: World Food Programme
Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, World
As schools resume this autumn, widening financial constraints will force the United Nations food agency – the top sponsor of such initiatives – to reduce its reach.
DAKAR – As schools resume this autumn, more than 1.3 million children across West and Central Africa risk missing out on school meals from the World Food Programme (WFP), as widening financial constraints force the United Nations agency – the top sponsor of such initiatives – to reduce its reach.
Dwindling resources, shifting donor priorities and changed financing mechanisms in some countries – all have conspired to create a funding gap and jeopardize programmes. Unless vital funding comes through in the next month, more than half a million children across Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania and Niger could start the school year without the meals they have come to rely upon. By the end of 2016, assistance will run out for a further 700,000 children in 11 other countries.
In Chad – where, in some regions, as many as four-fifths of the population do not get enough food for a healthy life – WFP’s school meals programme has shrunk by more than 90 percent in the past three years due to funding shortages, from more than 200,000 children assisted in 2013 to just 15,000 in 2016. In Senegal, current resources will cover school meals for fewer than a fifth of the children targeted by the programme. In Mauritania and Cameroon, funds ran out during the 2015-2016 school year, forcing WFP to halt assistance in January and May respectively. In Guinea, WFP will halve its assistance this school year.
“In most countries in West and Central Africa – in the grip of chronic hunger and malnutrition, and increasingly affected by conflict – school meals have been a lifeline for children, as they are often the only regular and nutritious meals they receive,” said Abdou Dieng, WFP Regional Director for West Africa.
While in some countries the government and other agencies lead or complement WFP’s programme, in most of this region WFP is the sole or main provider of school meals, targeting areas where hunger and malnutrition levels are highest. Year after year, funding constraints have been forcing WFP to shrink its areas of coverage.
During or after conflict in the Central African Republic, Mali and Niger, or in the aftermath of a major health crisis such as the Ebola outbreak, school meals have played an important role in providing children in need with nutritious meals; encouraging families to send their children to school; and, more broadly, helping children regain their childhood.
“Children from the very countries and regions where needs are most acute are missing out on this vital assistance. We urge our supporters not to forget the value the school meals programme brings – a key vehicle to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition – and not let more than a million children slip deeper or back into in poverty and hunger. We urgently need US$48 million to start or continue our school meals assistance,” said Dieng.
WFP’s school meals are a major social safety net. They encourage primary school children, especially girls, to enroll, attend and remain in school. In 2015, WFP provided daily nutritious meals to over 2.5 million children across West and Central Africa: of these, 1.2 million were girls. Across the region, WFP partners with small-scale farmers to buy locally grown, fresh food, thus not only helping students, but boosting agricultural incomes and local economies at the same time.
For every US dollar invested in school meals, there is an overall economic return of US$3 to US$8, studies by WFP show. This is because improving the health of schoolchildren transforms the rest of their lives: it increases their productivity as working adults, and reverberates through the next generation by improving the health of their own children.
Achieving Zero Hunger and learning for all are key elements in the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 2 on ending hunger by 2030.
Key donors to WFP’s school meals programme in West and Central Africa for the 2015-2016 school year are Canada, the European Union, Japan, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
For more information, please contact (email@example.com):
Adel Sarkozi, WFP/Dakar, Mob. +221 776375964
Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 65132321, Mob. +39 346 7600521
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Bettina Luescher, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. + 41-79-842-8057
Gerald Bourke, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob. +1-646 525 9982
Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington DC, Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993
Asia Pacific shows progress in water security but challenges remain – ADB
Source: Asian Development Bank
By 2050, 3.4 billion people could be living in water-stressed areas in Asia and the Pacific while water demand will increase by 55%, states new report.
Asia Pacific Shows Progress in Water Security, But Challenges Remain – ADB
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – Water security in Asia and Pacific has progressed overall in the past 5 years, but major challenges remain, including overexploited groundwater, demand from rising populations, and climate variability, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The new edition of the Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO 2016) released today at World Water Week in Stockholm provides a snapshot of the water security status of 48 of the region’s countries, using latest data sets. According to these, the number of countries assessed as water insecure has dropped to 29, compared to 38 (out of 49 countries) identified in the previous issue of the report in 2013.
“Asia and Pacific remains the world’s most vulnerable region to water insecurity and cannot sustain its recent economic growth without addressing this issue,” said ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono, who led the launch in Stockholm. “Meeting the region’s socioeconomic challenges and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water will require bridging the gap in provision of water services between rich and poor in urban areas, and between rural and urban areas.”
The report cites that in Asia and the Pacific, 1.7 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. Recent estimates suggest that by 2050, 3.4 billion people could be living in water-stressed areas in Asia and the Pacific while water demand will increase by 55%.
AWDO 2016 assesses water security in 5 key dimensions—namely household access, economic viability, urban services, restoring rivers and ecosystems, and resilience to water-related disasters. Advanced economies such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand consistently lead the way, followed by countries in East Asia—led by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which has taken the biggest stride to improve water security since the AWDO 2013 edition.
On household access to piped potable water and improved sanitation, the water security score in Asia and the Pacific on a 20-point scale ranges from 4.5 for South Asia to 20.0 for the advanced economies. All parts of the region improved their performance by about 2 points since 2013, except for the Pacific islands. But although the rural-urban gap has been reduced in some countries (such as Armenia and Thailand), the report says major disparities remain between rural and urban areas and between rich and poor on services and infrastructure for piped water supply and sanitation. South Asian countries particularly need to make considerable efforts to improve their performance in this dimension.
The second key dimension, economic water security, provides an assessment of the productive use of water to sustain economic growth in food production, industry and energy. Most of the change since 2013 has been positive with advanced countries again showing the highest scores and Pacific islands lagging. But there remains room for improvement across the region. Countries that merit strengthening current conditions are concentrated in Central Asia.
On No. 3, urban water security, East Asia has shown positive progress while South and Southeast Asia still have some way to go, particularly Myanmar, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Nearly half of the economies have piped water supply levels higher than 85% but less than 50% of the urban population have access to improved sanitation. In many areas, the majority of wastewater is discharged to the environment having received little to no treatment. The report says significant investment and leadership is needed to reliably meet the water needs of cities.
The fourth key dimension describes how well a country is able to manage its river basins and sustain ecosystem services. This shows a wide range of results, with the Pacific islands scoring highly due to good river health and advanced economies doing well due to strong governance. Declining river health is most evident in Bangladesh, the lower Yangtze River Basin of the PRC, Nepal, and Mekong Delta in Viet Nam, the report says.
For the fifth key dimension, resilience to water-related disasters, advanced economies show the strongest performance while much of the rest of Asia and the Pacific has been weak. Between 1995 and 2015, there were some 2,495 water-related disasters striking Asia, killing 332,000 people and affecting a further 3.7 billion. South Asia showed the lowest resilience score, but several other countries showed strong improvement since 2013. These included Pakistan; the Philippines; and Taipei, China.
The report concludes that the relationship between water security and the economy can be a virtuous—or a vicious—circle. “There is a strong relationship between water management and the economy, and investments in good water management can be considered as a longer term payback for increased growth and poverty reduction,” the publication says. “Water-related investments can increase economic productivity and growth, while economic growth provides the resources to invest in institutions and capital-intensive water infrastructure.”
AWDO 2016 is produced by ADB in partnership with the Asia Pacific Water Forum and three specialist agencies—Asia Pacific Center for Water Security at Tsinghua University, International Water Management Institute, and International Water Centre. Key contributions have also been made by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.
Public health emergency declared in Lake Chad basin following Nigeria polio outbreak
Source: Global Polio Eradication Initiative
Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Nigeria
The declaration urges that all countries of the Lake Chad Basin fully implement coordinated outbreak responses to quickly curtail this outbreak and prevent international spread.
Government officials from across the Lake Chad sub-region call for a co-ordinated regional response following the recent wild polio cases in Nigeria
Following the recent detection of wild poliovirus in Nigeria, Ministers of Health from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have declared the polio outbreak in Nigeria as a public health emergency for countries of the Lake Chad basin. The declaration, coming out of the 66th session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for the African Region, demonstrates commitment from governments across the region to bolster momentum in the fight against the virus.
A regional response to a regional risk
The declaration requests that Nigeria and all countries of the Lake Chad Basin, as a matter of the utmost urgency, fully implement coordinated outbreak responses in order to quickly interrupt this outbreak before the end of 2016 and prevent international spread. It calls on all Member States of countries of the Lake Chad Basin to extend all possible support, including political advocacy and engagement at all levels, for successful coordination and implementation of synchronized polio vaccination activities across the countries of the Lake Chad sub-region. The declaration builds on the sustained commitment of member states across the region in the path towards polio eradication, highlighted at the African Union summit in June 2015 where African heads of state gathered to declare polio eradication a “historical legacy for future generations”.
Immediate action, challenging terrain
An immediate response was mounted by the Nigerian government following the outbreak by quickly declaring it as a public health emergency and mobilizing the needed resources, with a large-scale vaccination campaign implemented and further rounds planned across the Lake Chad sub-region.
While challenging terrain lies ahead in beating the poliovirus for good, in Nigeria, and in Africa – not least because of the grave humanitarian situation in many of the countries around Lake Chad – the declaration of a regional emergency provides an important foundation for action, including the mobilization of necessary financial, political and technical support from partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and governments across the region.
New displacement along Mosul corridor
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Military operations along the Mosul corridor have intensified since mid-June forcing nearly 84,000 people between 16 June and 24 August to flee along two main trajectories, according to IOM.
New displacements caused by military operations in the Mosul corridor.
Humanitarian organizations are responding to ongoing needs while scaling up in preparation for large-scale displacements from Mosul.
More than 850,000 displaced people have returned to their homes.
Funding shortfalls limit the ongoing humanitarian response and hamper the preparations for Mosul.
New displacement along Mosul corridor
Military operations along the Mosul corridor have intensified since mid-June forcing nearly 84,000 people between 16 June and 24 August to flee along two main trajectories, according to IOM: the vast majority (approximately 69,500 people) went south towards Salah al-Din Governorate, while others (approximately 14,500 people) fled east towards Debaga in Erbil Governorate.
Families displaced from the western bank of the Tigris river in Al Qayyarah and Al Shirqat districts walk 30-60 kilometres to reach Tulul Baq, where they undergo a first security screening. From there, they are transported further south to a transit site at Al Hajjah, where they undergo final security clearance and registration. Many have settled in host community areas in and around Tikrit, however, more recently, families have begun to move to displacement camps. With limited camp capacities, families also live in schools, empty houses and unfinished buildings. Humanitarian partners are providing ready-to-eat food and water to the newly displaced, and shading and health care via mobile clinics.
However, the limited number of NGOs operating in Salah al-Din is preventing further scale up of operations.
Families from the east bank of the Tigris from Al Qayyarah to Al Shirqat head up to 50 kilometres towards Makhmur in Erbil Governorate, from where they are transported to Debaga camp. The influx of new displaced families has added further pressure on the congestion of the camp. Of the currently over 35,000 inhabitants, over 8,000 live in the congested security screening area as no tents are available for screened families to move into. The Debaga Stadium shelters over 4,700 people and the new site, Debaga 2, over 11,000 people. One camp extension with 600 plots is underway and others are planned.
In Kirkuk Governorate, military operations launched mid-June in Hawiga have forced an increasing number of families from their homes seeking safety in territory controlled by the Government. In recent weeks, the number of new arrivals in Kirkuk has tripled to over 2,500 people per week. Some families flee via Debaga camp in Erbil from where they are transported to Kirkuk, while others flee northeast to try to reach government controlled areas of Kirkuk directly. The two major displacement camps in Kirkuk, Laylan and Nazrawa, are near capacity. A new camp in Daquq is under construction and partners are considering out-of-camp solutions.
Protection concerns and lack of access to basic services
Protection of displaced people remains a key concern for humanitarian partners. Families on the move have reportedly been victims of improvised explosive devices, snipers and other attacks by armed group actors. In some cases, families have remained stranded waiting to cross into government held territory with no humanitarian support. The security vetting process that all displaced men and boys older than 14 years undergo is stringent and humanitarian partners have raised concerns about the protection of civilians during displacement, including at security screening sites. The distance to the battlefield is in some cases not sufficient, as frontlines remain dynamic. Screening sites also offer very limited shelter, shading, food, water, hygiene and sanitation and healthcare. On 19 August, six mortar shells impacted at a fertiliser plant north of Baiji used as a screening site, reportedly killing 14 and injuring 35 people, including over 20 displaced people. The site has since been closed.
Health care targeted in Syria almost daily
Source: World Health Organization
Country: Syrian Arab Republic
Between 9 and 19 August 2016, attacks were reported on 11 hospitals, 5 ambulances and one primary health care centre in Hama, Aleppo, Idleb and Homs governorates.
Cairo, 24 August 2016 – The World Health Organization observes with dismay the frequent attacks on health care facilities in Syria. Nearly every day, hospitals, clinics and ambulances are being targeted.
Between 9 and 19 August 2016, attacks were reported on 11 hospitals, 5 ambulances and one primary health care centre in Hama, Aleppo, Idleb and Homs governorates. Most of these health facilities became nonfunctional afterwards, depriving hundreds of thousands of people of their right to health care.
Attacks on health care in Syria have been increasing on a yearly basis. WHO deplores these attacks and demands that all parties to the conflict cease them immediately. The attacks represent an unconscionable violation of international law, denying mothers, fathers, daughters and sons of their right to urgently needed health care. We also appeal to those governments and interlocutors that have influence over the warring parties to use their leverage to bring an end to these atrocities.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016)
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Relentless fighting questions peace process future
Source: International Peace Institute
Country: South Sudan
The renewed conflict calls for a serious rethinking of the mechanisms needed to ensure local justice, accountability for crimes committed, and an inclusive and legitimate peace process.
South Sudan’s capital Juba has in the past month witnessed the heaviest fighting since the country’s civil war began in December 2013. In a particularly violent period in July, scores were killed and at least 120 women raped, including just outside the United Nations base. The violence has rightly led to questions again being asked about the future of the peace process and international engagement with South Sudan.
Last Friday, the Security Council extended the UN’s peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and will issue a new mandate on August 12. The focus is now on the possible deployment of an African Union intervention force. Throughout these processes it is important to not lose sight of the different conflict dynamics in South Sudan, for which there are no quick fixes. The crisis will not be solved with a more strongly worded mandate, particularly as UNMISS has all along been operating under Chapter VII—permitting use of force—of the UN Charter.
When I visited South Sudan in June this year, most locals and members of international organizations I spoke with expected the violence between supporters of President Salva Kiir and then-Vice President Riek Machar to worsen. The hope was that the civilian population was so tired of fighting and the international community’s pressure real enough to coerce Kiir and Machar to commit to forming a functional transitional government.
While peaking recently, fighting has in fact persisted in many areas of South Sudan since the signing of the peace agreement in August 2015. This is reflected in fatality numbers recorded in conflict data sets and reporting by human rights observers, which are nonetheless only able to grasp a fraction of the atrocities committed. Those pushing for the most recent international peace process to succeed may have frequently neglected this reality for political reasons.
While the violence has subsided in those states that were previously most affected, new conflict hot spots have emerged in Western Bahr el Ghaza and the Equatorias region. These developments also signify that there is more than one conflict in South Sudan, despite the different dynamics being overshadowed and/or integrated into the violence between the two major political groups. Both sides have been accused of serious human rights violations—in all likelihood amounting to war crimes—as well as crimes against humanity.
With the renewed escalation of fighting in Juba, civilians fled to UNMISS, which has a mandate for protection of civilians (PoC). Before this violence, about 170,000 internally displaced people sought refuge at these sites, whose many challenges have been discussed on the Global Observatory, and also by me writing elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the ongoing mediation of the peace negotiations by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and IGAD-Plus—taking in representatives of the AU, the UN, China, United States, United Kingdom, and European Union—has faced significant obstacles owing to manifold breaches of the peace agreement by its signatories, including continued violence and Kiir’s unilateral decree on partitioning the country into 28 states, as well as the neglect of local dynamics by many involved in the process.
The return of Riek Machar—since replaced with General Taban Deng Gai by Kiir—was cited as “noticeable progress” for the peace agreement in the latest report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. This seemed to pay little attention to the security implications of assembling two opposing and highly traumatized armies just outside the capital, with one set to be stationed in close proximity of the POC site and the main UNMISS base.
This situation led to a de facto remilitarization of the imminent surroundings of Juba, putting internally displaced persons as well as UNMISS staff (including civilians) in the crossfire. It seems that political motivations trumped security concerns. In addition, the stark focus on the supposed personal struggle between Kiir and Machar seems to neglect actual power structures in Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the territorially fragmented leadership within Machar’s SPLA-in-Opposition and the conflict’s wider spectrum of armed actors. Many doubt it is wise to hold on to the peace agreement when the government representatives lack credibility and its forces continue to target civilians, while the opposition’s leadership hardly represents the entire group anymore.
With the failure of the peace agreement struck in New York, an arms embargo may finally be possible, as the lowest common denominator on which the UN Security Council can agree. The UN’s Panel of Experts on South Sudan has noted that both sides have “continued to seek to arm their forces” and that “the continued influx of arms has had a devastating impact on civilians.” However, evidence-based research from the Small Arms Survey on the existing Darfur arms embargo shows that effective implementation remains unlikely. The UN embargo in South Sudan does not prevent weapons from reaching armed actors in Darfur and the lack of enforcement has led to a complete loss of its credibility.
Regardless, there are already significant arms on the ground, which means that an embargo could not have the immediate impact of alleviating security threats; nor could it address the pressing scarcity of food and medical aid. The issues in South Sudan are intrinsically linked to global arms trade dynamics and the inability to control where weapons—whether small or large—end up. In July 2015, for example, the Panel of Experts observed the presence of an Austrian-produced intelligence surveillance aircraft in Juba, providing enhanced capabilities to government forces.
Additional troops might help UNMISS better fulfill its protection mandate, but there will still be limitations on what a peacekeeping force can achieve in a vast militarized country where human life currently counts for so little. With UNMISS tasked with supporting the peace process, the decision of Germany, Sweden, and the UK to pull out police officers from the mission was devastating to the credibility of the international commitment and dispiriting to those UN staff and the people of South Sudan left behind.
With hostilities ongoing, the path was left clear for the AU to discuss a proposed intervention force into South Sudan at its recent summit in Kigali. Mulugeta Gebrehiwot and Alex de Waal of the World Peace Foundation have upheld the legality of the AU proposal in light of its Constitutive Act’s principle of “non-indifference” and the AU’s responsibility for the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission of South Sudan’s transitional government. Still, the fate of the intervention remains to be seen, particularly as Kiir has threatened to use force against it.
The renewed conflict is particularly humbling to international actors who may have contributed to sustaining a “violent kleptocracy” in South Sudan’s leadership. It calls for a serious rethinking of the mechanisms needed to ensure local justice, accountability for crimes committed, and an inclusive and legitimately South Sudanese peace process. While concerns over the safety of peacekeepers and civilians—including meeting the humanitarian needs of the latter—must be quickly addressed, achieving lasting peace in South Sudan will take time.
Continued closure of Sana'a airport further deepening suffering of civilians
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen
Initial statistics from the national airline indicate that thousands of people cannot leave while many others remain stranded outside of Yemen, facing financial hardship and administrative hurdles.
Sana'a, 29 August 2016 - The Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen is deeply concerned by the devastating impact that the recent upsurge in fighting is having on civilians in Yemen and along the southwestern border with Saudi Arabia.
In Yemen, seven people have been confirmed dead and one injured following an attack on a market in Baqim, in Sa'ada Governorate. In Saudi Arabia, media reports indicate that attacks from the direction of Yemen have caused an unconfirmed number of civilian casualties. Civilian infrastructure continues to be hit and power plants were attacked across both sides of the border.
In Yemen, in addition to fighting and insecurity, the continued closure of Sana’a airport to commercial flights is having serious implications for patients seeking urgent medical treatment abroad, given the inability of the national health system to treat all medical cases, particularly chronic or life-threatening diseases such as cancer. Initial statistics from the national airline indicate that thousands of people cannot leave while many others remain stranded outside of Yemen, facing financial hardship and administrative hurdles due to expired visas.
The Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen calls upon the relevant authorities for the immediate reopening of the airport and the resumption of commercial flights into Sana’a to alleviate some of the suffering of the civilian population.
The Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen strongly echoes the call made by the UN Secretary-General to all parties of the utmost necessity to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law. He wishes to underline that a political solution is the only viable option to bring the safety and security that the people of Yemen deserve.
Families in DRC rush to get yellow fever vaccinations
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo
The campaign is taking place in 43 health zones in six affected provinces. In Kinshasa province, which accounts for 29 vaccination zones, thousands of people have already been vaccinated.
By Mirabelle Enaka Kima, IFRC
Overcrowded and busy, the Barumbu vaccination site in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been a hive of activity since opening its doors at 7 o’clock on this particular morning.
Like many other health zones in the country, people are lining up to get their yellow fever vaccination, following an outbreak of the potentially deadly disease.
“We are not surprised to see people rushing to our vaccination sites. This was predictable as the news around the outbreak in neighbouring Angola was everywhere and created a psychosis in the population,” said Dr Aline Kulemfuka, head of health and social action with the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“People have heard so much about the yellow fever epidemic because many Congolese trading in Angola were aware of the disease and some, unfortunately, were among the first registered cases here.”
Mothers and children rush to vaccination sites
Olga Ntoumba lives in the Aketi neighbourhood and arrived early at the Barumbu site with her two children. “I was informed about the campaign by a team of mobilizers who are visiting our neighbourhood every morning, providing us with key information on where and when to go for the vaccination,” said Ntoumba.
“This is the first time I am hearing about this illness. Hearing from the Red Cross volunteers that it is an epidemic, made me understand just how dangerous the disease is and the importance for me and my children to be vaccinated.”
Monique Alangui, who regularly trades between Kinshasa and Angola, has also arrived at the vaccination site with her seven children in tow. “We are all glad the campaign has been launched and we welcome the efforts made by health authorities to protect us against this deadly disease. Now that I have been vaccinated, I will freely continue my business which I had to stop since I heard about this epidemic.”
The campaign against yellow fever is taking place in 43 health zones in six affected provinces. In Kinshasa province, which accounts for 29 vaccination zones, thousands of people have already been vaccinated.
On the front lines of the response
Because of the high interest from the public, 3,500 Red Cross volunteers and supervisors were deployed to the vaccination sites for the first three days of the campaign, to help control the crowds, while providing them with useful information about yellow fever.
“Alongside this responsibility, our volunteers will conduct door-to door activities to reach communities. Even if people are generally accepting of the vaccination campaign, we know by experience that there will always be cases of denial as a result of negative beliefs and rumours,” said Dr Jean-Faustin Balelia, health coordinator of the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Our teams have received refresher training on social mobilization techniques and are sufficiently equipped to deal with cases of rejection. Through social mobilization activities during previous campaigns, recorded immunization coverage has been satisfactory. We hope to achieve the same positive result during the yellow fever vaccination campaign.”
Recent statistics from the World Health Organization indicate that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has reported 2,357 suspected cases of yellow fever, with 73 confirmed cases and 16 deaths (18 August). Of the 73 confirmed cases, 56 came from Angola.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal of 2.2 million Swiss francs to support the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in responding to the yellow fever outbreak, as well as measles and cholera. The appeal aims to reach more than 12 million people through social mobilization activities, including environmental sanitation. The appeal is currently 49 per cent funded.
Red Cross seeks urgent help to meet needs of South Sudanese refugee population in Uganda
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: South Sudan, Uganda
"After having travelled more than 400km from Juba, they arrive exhausted, hungry, and in need of shelter. With more families arriving daily, we need to ramp up our activities quickly" - IFRC.
Nairobi/Geneva 29 August 2016 – As thousands of South Sudanese continue to flee their conflict-ridden country, and with projections for that influx to continue over the remainder of the year, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for immediate support to ensure these families receive the life-saving assistance they need.
“The vast majority of people who are crossing into Uganda from South Sudan are women and children, or people with special needs, such as the elderly and those with complex health issues,” said Andreas Sandin, operations coordinator, IFRC, eastern Africa. “After having travelled more than 400 kilometres from Juba, they arrive exhausted, hungry, and in need of shelter. With more families arriving daily, we need to ramp up our activities quickly.”
The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal of 659,000 Swiss francs to support the Uganda Red Cross Society in assisting 40,000 refugees from South Sudan over the next six months. Interventions will focus on water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, emergency shelter and health.
Since early July, when deadly violence erupted in South Sudan’s capital between groups loyal to the President and those loyal to the Vice-President, more than 80,000 people have fled to neighbouring Uganda – more than the number of South Sudanese refugee seekers seen in the previous three years. Approximately 20,000 people have moved into the recently opened Bidibidi camp in Yumbe District in northern Uganda. That figure is expected to double by December 2016.
“Existing water and sanitation facilities are not able to meet the needs of this refugee population as they currently exist,” added Sandin. “Looking at the projections for the further influx of people, we know the pressure on infrastructure is only going to increase. We have a responsibility to assist these people now, and an opportunity to be prepared for further arrivals over the coming months.”
Only 10 litres of water are available per person per day in the camp, far below accepted standards. Access to proper sanitation facilities is also poor with one communal latrine currently serving 125 refugees. “Open defecation is a common practice in the refugee settlement, particularly close to water sources, which people are also using for their personal needs,” said Dr Adinoyi Adeiza, IFRC health coordinator, Africa region. “It would not take much for a cholera outbreak to run rampant through the camp or extend into host communities.” To raise awareness about proper hygiene, the Uganda Red Cross Society has already mobilized teams of volunteers to visit families in Bidibidi. Teams are also assisting in the registration of new arrivals.
“Through no fault of their own, these families find themselves in extremely challenging circumstances, uprooted, in a foreign country, in unfamiliar surroundings,” said Sandin. “We need to remember that beyond the label of refugees, these are people who need our support, and they need it now.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 190 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org/africa. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
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Latest humanitarian snapshot highlights the earthquake, monsoon flooding and measles in Myanmar
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: India, Indonesia, Myanmar
A 6.8 earthquake hit central Myanmar, killing 3 people amd damaging buildings, while monsoon flooding across 11 states has affected almost 500,000 people.
On 24 August, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Myanmar, killing three people and damaging buildings including more than 100 pagodas. The epicenter of the quake was 25 kilometres west of Chauk, 207 kilometres north-west of Nay Pyi Daw. Due to its location in a sparsely populated area and at a depth of 84 kilometres, the humanitarian impact of the quake was low.
Since the end of July, almost 500,000 people across 11 states/regions have been affected by the monsoon flooding. Displacement numbers have now stabilized and the Government at local, state and regional levels is leading the response, in close cooperation with the Myanmar Red Cross Society and other local actors. A US$3.5 million CERF Rapid Response request has been made to support initial life-saving food security, health and protection activities for more than 80,000 people in the Ayeyarwady, Magway and Mandalay Regions.
500,000 people affected
Approximately 8,000 children in 42 villages across Myanmar's remote Naga Self-Administered Zone have been vaccinated for measles as part of an emergency outbreak response. The outbreak has so far claimed 38 lives, most of them children, in the townships of Lahe and Nan Yun. There have been no additional cases reported in the past week with the containment and immunization campaign now underway. The response is being led by the Myanmar Ministry of Health, regional and local health authorities with support from WHO and UNICEF.
As of 28 August, 32 hot spots had been identified in Riau, central eastern coast of Sumatra, adversely affecting air quality in the area. Strong winds have caused thick smoke from the fires to reach Singapore. A joint task force of various stakeholders including the private sector has been working to extinguish the forest fires alongside BNPB who have mobilized 17 airplanes and helicopters.
Mt. Sinabung, currently on the highest level of alert, continues to spew out hot volcanic clouds. As a result 9,315 people have been forced to leave their homes and are currently living in nine displacement sites. Government reports suggest that the needs of the displaced people are currently being adequately met.
Monsoon rains affected more than 6 million people and killed at least 300 as rivers overflowed in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand states. As of 22 August, Bihar State authorities confirmed that 119 people had died and 150,000 people were sheltering in 162 relief camps. WASH, health, shelter and livelihood support have been identified as immediate needs. National and State Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed to support local evacuation and relief efforts. To date, no international assistance has been requested.
300 people dead