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ReliefWeb - Headlines

ReliefWeb - Headlines

Humanitarian Coordinator seeks government support as Iraqi displaced families make their way back home

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 18:03:36 +0000

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Iraq

Close to one million people were forced to flee violence in search of safety. Hospitals, bridges, schools, water treatment and power plants were contaminated with unprecedented quantities of explosive hazards.

Military operations by Iraqi security forces to retake Mosul city in Ninewa governorate from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ended last July, but the human suffering and enormous physical destruction are still heavily felt across the country. Close to one million people were forced to flee violence in search of safety. Hospitals, bridges, schools, water treatment and power plants were contaminated with unprecedented quantities of explosive hazards and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that were left by ISIL.

Read more on unocha.org

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Los defensores de DDHH en Colombia son un “blanco fácil” - Relator de la ONU

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 16:07:02 +0000

Source: UN News Service
Country: Colombia

El relator especial denuncia que las personas que corren más riego, tras el Acuerdo de Paz, son los líderes sociales que apoyan la construcción de la paz. Los asesinatos de defensores de derechos humanos se han disparado aún cuando tasas de homicidio se están reduciendo el país.

Un relator de la ONU denuncia, tras visitar el país, que las personas que corren más riego, tras el Acuerdo de Paz en Colombia, son los líderes sociales que apoyan la construcción de la paz. Los asesinatos de defensores de derechos humanos se han disparado en un país en el que las tasas de homicidios se están reduciendo.

Un relator especial* de la ONU ha denunciado que los defensores de los derechos humanos son las personas “más en riesgo” en la Colombia posterior al Acuerdo de Paz.

Los asesinatos, las amenazas y los actos de intimidación a estos líderes sociales **han aumentado “de manera dramática” **desde hace dos años, declaró este lunes Michel Forst, relator especial de Naciones Unidas sobre la situación de los defensores de derechos humanos.

"Colombia está pasando la página de décadas de violencia armada, existe una responsabilidad colectiva e histórica de proteger a aquellos que dan su vida para la realización de los derechos humanos y la construcción de la paz", dijo el relator.

El aumento de la violencia contra defensores de los derechos humanos se está produciendo cuando la tasa general de homicidios se ha reducido en un 40 por ciento.

"Los defensores y las defensoras de los derechos humanos en Colombia están operando en un en torno coercitivo e inseguro", sostuvo Forst al final de una visita de 14 días a Colombia. “No solo eso, también son estigmatizados por diversos sectores de la sociedad como guerrillas, ‘el enemigo interno’, informantes, o personas anti-desarrollo".

Más peligro en las zonas rurales

Según Forst, en las áreas rurales, “donde la ausencia del Estado se junta con una numerosa presencia de grupos armados organizados e ilegales”, los defensores son “un blanco fácil” para quienes ven en ellos y en su agenda de derechos humanos un obstáculo para sus intereses. “Me sorprendió saber que por 100 dólares podías “salirte con la tuya”, o al menos contratar a un asesino a sueldo (sicario)”, añadió.

El experto se reunió con más de 200 defensores, la mayoría mujeres, de diversas regiones. “Durante mi visita escuché docenas de testimonios de violencia extrema y generalizada en contra de líderes y lideresas sociales y comunitarios, campesinos, periodistas, indígenas y afrocolombianos, así como en contra de mujeres defensoras de los derechos humanos y de quienes defienden los derechos LGBTI”, detalló.

Forst aseguró que “las personas más en riesgo” tras el Acuerdo de Paz son líderes sociales y comunitarios, y miembros de las presidencias de las Juntas de Acción Comunal; especialmente quienes apoyan las políticas derivadas del Acuerdo como el Programa Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos Ilícitos (PNIS), y que reclaman la restitución de tierras.

"Me preocupa que los defensores y las defensoras de los derechos humanos no estén seguros en Colombia mientras persista la impunidad. Esta es una de las áreas que debe abordarse con urgencia", insistió el relator, que dio la bienvenida al anuncio del Gobierno de que creará una comisión para implementar una política pública integral para defensores de los derechos humanos y para reconocer su trabajo.

En el último día de su visita, el experto entregó una declaración de fin de misión con una serie de recomendaciones para las autoridades colombianas y otros actores con el fin de que mejoren la protección de estas personas.

*Los Relatores Especiales de Naciones Unidas forman parte de los 'Procedimientos Especiales', el mayor órgano de expertos independientes en el sistema de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos, el cual reúne a los mecanismos de investigación y monitoreo establecidos por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos, con el fin de hacer frente a situaciones concretas en países o a cuestiones temáticas en todo el mundo. Los expertos de los procedimientos especiales trabajan de manera voluntaria; no son miembros del personal de las Naciones Unidas y no perciben ninguna remuneración por su trabajo como Relatores. Los relatores especiales son independientes de cualquier gobierno u organización y ejercen sus funciones a título individual.

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EU steps up assistance for victims of the Venezuela crisis with an additional €20 million allocation

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 15:48:42 +0000

Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

The EU's assistance, delivered through partners on the ground, focuses on emergency healthcare, food aid, shelter and protection for the most vulnerable families affected by the crisis.

Brussels, 4 December 2018

The European Commission has allocated an additional €20 million to respond to the urgent needs of those affected by the socio-economic crisis in Venezuela.

This comes on top of €35 million in emergency relief and development assistance for people in the country and the region announced in June.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides visited Colombia in March and travelled to the eastern border with Venezuela and the Simon Bolivar bridge, crossed by thousands of migrants on a daily basis.

"I have seen first-hand the anguish and suffering of many Venezuelans, who have been forced to leave their homes by the unfolding crisis in the country. The EU remains committed to help those in need in Venezuela, as well as the host communities in neighbouring countries. Our new funding will enhance our efforts to provide health and food assistance, emergency shelter, and improved access to water and sanitation." said Commissioner Stylianides.

The emergency relief package will boost the ongoing EU response to help the most vulnerable, and support the reception capacities of the host communities in the region. The EU's assistance, delivered through partners on the ground, focuses on emergency healthcare, food aid, shelter and protection for the most vulnerable families affected by the crisis.

Background

The socio-economic crisis in Venezuela is marked by lack of access to basic services, scarcity of food and epidemic outbreaks. Children, women, elderly people and indigenous populations are the most affected.

The crisis has triggered enormous suffering, displacement and migration. According to the United Nations, more than 3 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015 and are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries - predominantly in Colombia (currently hosting close to 1 million Venezuelans), Peru (506,000), Ecuador (221,000) and Brazil (85,000). This represents the largest human migration in Latin America in recent times.

IP/18/6645

Press contacts:

Carlos MARTIN RUIZ DE GORDEJUELA (+32 2 296 53 22)
Daniel PUGLISI (+32 2 296 91 40)

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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IOM raises protection concerns as number of migrant arrivals in Yemen nears 150,000

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 10:53:53 +0000

Source: International Organization for Migration
Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen

The Displacement Tracking Matrix forecasts a 50% rise over 2017 in migrant arrivals in 2018, despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen and deadly perils along migration routes.

Geneva/Djibouti City – The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) forecasts a 50 per cent year-on-year rise over 2017 in migrant arrivals to Yemen – with nearly 150,000 migrants expected to enter the country in 2018. This, despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen and deadly perils along migration routes across the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.

IOM recognizes the challenges facing the region’s states in protecting and responding to this dire humanitarian situation. Therefore, tomorrow (05/12) IOM will bring together seven countries – Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia and Yemen – for a conference in Djibouti: Drawing on Peace Dividends in the Horn of Africa to Ensure Urgent Enhancements in the Management of Migratory Flows to Yemen and the Gulf Countries.

In July, IOM, together with key UN and NGO partners, launched the Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen, a three-year multi-partner strategy to address humanitarian and development needs tailored to this migration corridor.

Located at the cusp of two continents, Yemen historically has been an origin, transit and destination country of migrants. Today, an estimated 92 per cent of its incoming migrants are Ethiopian nationals, with Somalis accounting for the rest. In 2017, an estimated 100,000 migrants reached Yemen.

Migrants reaching Yemen travel first by land, primarily through Djibouti, and eventually undergo perilous boat journeys across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, now one of the busiest maritime migration routes in the world. A smaller number sails from Somalia's coastline.

Both routes are also among the world’s most “youthful,” in the sense that minors account for an estimated 20 per cent of the migrants. Many are unaccompanied.

The upsurge in Yemen’s migrant arrivals exceeds 2018 arrivals to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea (107,216 arrivals this year).

“These migrants dream of a better life for themselves and their families, they seek work, security and new opportunities, and most are too young to understand the difficulties ahead,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies. “Instead, they face risk and abuse on the way, including human trafficking. Most who make it to Yemen then find themselves stuck in a conflict, exposed to further violence and danger.”

The Drawing on Peace Dividends conference will foster dialogue between IOM, its humanitarian partners and representatives of the seven countries.

IOM hopes, because of the discussion, these states will take tangible actions to strengthen immediate humanitarian assistance for the protection of migrants; address the root causes of dangerous migration; and encourage more robust legal mechanisms for migration while opening opportunities for transiting migrant populations, as well as sending and host communities.

In his prepared welcome remarks IOM Director General, António Vitorino said: “We are here today to put measures in place to protect people on the move, prevent future loss of life, and address the root causes and drivers of irregular migration in the region. Orderly, safe and dignified migration is not possible without the pursuit of sustainable peace and development in countries of origin, transit and destination for migrants.”

“I invite you to engage in meaningful discussions devoted to ensuring the immediate humanitarian and protection needs of migrants and host communities,” added DG Vitorino.

DG Vitorino urged participants to not lose sight in 2019 of the continued peril migrants face on this route. Since the beginning of 2014, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded more than 700 deaths in the Gulf of Aden.

The conference is being generously supported by Djibouti and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.

Recent IOM data is based on the assessment of DTM flow monitoring points in Somalia, Djibouti and Yemen.

For more information, please contact Angela Wells at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email: awells@iom.int

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Global humanitarian appeal seeks $21.9 billion to help 94 million people in 2019

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 08:02:50 +0000

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

The UN and its partners aim to assist 93.6 million of the most vulnerable with food, shelter, health care, emergency education, protection and other basic assistance, according to the GHO.

Global trends and challenges

More than 1 per cent of people across the planet right now are caught up in major humanitarian crises. The international humanitarian system is more effective than ever at meeting their needs – but global trends including poverty, population growth and climate change are leaving more people than ever vulnerable to the devastating impacts of conflicts and disasters.

Humanitarian needs are increasing despite global economic and development gains. In the past decade, the world has made profound development progress. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of people living in extreme poverty fell from 1.2 billion to 736 million. The world is also richer than ever before: global GDP rose from $63.4 trillion in 2008 to $80.7 trillion in 2017.
But in recent years, more than 120 million people each year have needed urgent humanitarian assistance and protection. There are more crises, affecting more people, and lasting longer today than a decade ago. Most humanitarian crises are not the product of any single factor or event, but of the interaction between natural hazards, armed conflict and human vulnerability.

People’s vulnerability to crises is not just about where they live, but also about how they live.
Poverty, inequality, population growth, urbanization and climate change can erode people’s resilience and make them more susceptible to shocks. Although development gains are being made, progress has been uneven. The rate of extreme poverty remains high in low-income countries and in countries affected by conflict. Crises have disproportionate consequences for the poor: people exposed to natural hazards in the poorest nations are at least seven times more likely to die from them than those in the richest nations.

Fragile and conflict-affected areas are growing faster and urbanizing more rapidly than the rest of the world

In the past five years, the world’s population has grown by 400 million people, from 7.2 billion in 2014 to 7.6 billion in 2017. Although global population growth has slowed compared with previous decades, the rate has been uneven. Today, an estimated 2 billion people live in fragile and conflict affected areas of the word, where they are extremely vulnerable to the impact of conflicts and disasters. This number is projected to increase, as the population in these areas is growing twice as fast as the rest of the world, with an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent, compared with 1.2 per cent globally. And the urban population in fragile areas grows by 3.4 per cent each year, compared with the world average of 2 per cent. These trends can compound resource scarcity and increase vulnerability to disasters. Urban population density can also amplify the impact of disasters and conflicts. In 2017, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 92 per cent of casualties were civilians, compared with 20 per cent in other areas. The populations of countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence are also younger than the global average. Whereas the proportion of the world’s population under 14 years of age has been steadily declining to about 25 per cent today, the average for countries in fragile situations is 40 per cent. As a result, one in every four children in the world is living in a country affected by conflict or disaster, facing threats of violence, hunger and disease. In 2017, more than 75 million children experienced disruptions to their education because of humanitarian crises, threatening not only their present well-being, but their future prospects as well.

More people are being displaced by conflicts

By the end of 2017, war, violence and persecution had uprooted 68.5 million men, women and children around the world – the highest number on record, and nearly 10 million more people than in 2014. Just over 40 million people were internally displaced by violence within their own countries, and 25.4 million refugees and 3.1 million asylum seekers were forced to flee their countries to escape conflict and persecution. The levels of new displacements far outstrip returns or other solutions. In 2017, 5 million people returned to their areas or countries of origin, but 16.2 million people were newly displaced – an average of one person displaced every two seconds, and the highest level of new displacement on record.

The rise in forced displacement is not the result of an increase in conflicts. In fact, after peaking in 2014, the number of political conflicts worldwide decreased by about 10 per cent, from 424 in 2014 to 385 in 2017, although there are still more conflicts compared with a decade ago (328 in 2007). However, during the same period, the proportion of violent and highly violent conflicts, which are more likely to cause human suffering, destruction and displacement, increased from 53 per cent to 58 per cent of all conflicts worldwide.5 The total economic impact of conflict and violence has also increased, from $14.3 trillion in 2014 to $14.8 trillion in 2017.6 The major share of both the human and economic cost of conflicts is borne by developing countries, which host 85 per cent of refugees.

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Uganda and DRC agree to intensify cross-border surveillance to tackle Ebola

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 07:33:45 +0000

Source: World Health Organization
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda

To increase awareness, the participants agreed to intensify risk communication and community engagement to address rumours on Ebola, particularly at the Kasese - Kasindi-Lubiriha border area.

Kasese 3rd December 2018:- As the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak spirals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and DRC have resolved to increase cross-border surveillance on both sides of the Uganda-DRC border. This was the consensus during a cross-border meeting among health officials from the two countries, held at Kasindi- Lubiriha immigrations office, in DRC.

One of the ways suggested to improve cross-border surveillance is to harmonize the data collection tools to ensure that similar information is captured at the screening points along the Uganda-DRC border in both countries. The officials also highlighted the need to map out all the points of entry along the border to ensure that no border entry point lacks a screening point.

To increase awareness among the populations on both sides of the border, the participants agreed to intensify risk communication and community engagement to address the issue of misconceptions, rumours and myths on Ebola, particularly at the Kasese - Kasindi-Lubiriha border area.

The Uganda team also shared experiences about the functionality of the different pillars in the EVD preparedness response. From that, the DRC team particularly appreciated the use of Village Health Teams to conduct risk communication and community engagement. They also welcomed the community-based disease surveillance approach, promising to apply it in the DRC context.

The meeting was attended by teams from both countries including health, security, immigration, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Uganda Red Cross.

Despite having no confirmed case of EVD, Uganda remains on high alert and is implementing a series of activities to ensure preparedness. These activities include border screening, community based and health facility surveillance, coordination of activities, collection and testing of blood samples from alert cases and capacity building for Infection, Prevention and Control. Other activities include clinical management, psycho-social care for safe and dignified burials, risk communication, community engagement and cross-border surveillance.

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Polio outbreak in Syria successfully stopped

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 15:30:14 +0000

Source: World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund
Country: Syrian Arab Republic

After an 18-month long intensive vaccination campaign, the outbreak has been successfully stopped with no international spread, according to experts.

After an 18-month long intensive vaccination campaign in the face of a poliovirus outbreak in Syria, the outbreak has been successfully stopped.

2 December 2018 – The polio outbreak of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) detected in 2017 in Syria has been successfully stopped, with no international spread, according to experts.

An official outbreak response assessment, comprising experts in global public health, virology and epidemiology, reviewed all available surveillance and immunization evidence from the past 18 months, and conducted first-hand field visits to the affected areas, including the epicentre of the outbreak, Deir Ez-Zor. The group concluded that the outbreak could now be closed.

The first cases of the cVDPV2 outbreak were confirmed in June 2017, in Deir Ez-Zor governorate in eastern Syria. It resulted in 74 cases, the most recent of which had onset of paralysis more than 12 months ago, on 21 September 2017.

“Ending a polio outbreak is a complex task, involving disease detection, intensive outbreak response, liaising between different parties and stakeholders, prompt delivery of oral polio vaccine to large populations that are frequently on the move, and detailed and ongoing surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis,” said Anirban Chatterjee, Regional Chief of Health for UNICEF Middle East and North Africa. “The cessation of this outbreak is a win for public health and a major achievement for all partners who supported efforts to contain and control the outbreak.”

“Surveillance is stronger today than it was 18 months ago, when the initial cases were detected,” said Chris Maher, Manager for Polio Eradication in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region. “Access for both surveillance and immunization is dramatically better, and immunity levels have been increased as a result of the comprehensive outbreak response conducted across Syria.”

However, risks around the re-emergence of cVDPV or the reintroduction of wild poliovirus remain high for Syria. “So, as we celebrate what is a remarkable achievement in stopping this outbreak, amid very challenging circumstances, we must not lose sight of the risks posed by continued circulation of virus in other parts of our Region. Efforts must continue to build on boosting immunity levels and strengthening our disease surveillance,” Mr Maher said.

This outbreak was tackled with the same outbreak response approach that successfully stopped a wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) outbreak in 2013 in the same area of Syria. Despite the high risks associated with large-scale population movements, deteriorated health infrastructure, and the access and insecurity issues affecting some of the outbreak area, effective collaboration by local authorities on surveillance and vaccination ensured health workers could reach and vaccinate enough children to raise immunity levels. Donor engagement, including support by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, helped ensure maximum coverage for the campaign, regardless of the children’s location and areas of control.

Syria is no longer infected with polio but is vulnerable to re-infection. It remains subject to temporary recommendations issued by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee.

Lessons learnt from this outbreak response regarding excellent coordination, timely implementation of response activities, vaccine management, grassroots community engagement and strengthened surveillance systems are being applied to other areas with similar challenges, including in the Horn of Africa, currently affected by strains of both cVDPV2 and cVDPV3.

For more information please contact:

Emma Sykes

WHO Polio Communications Officer

+962 7 91329071

Dr Fazal Ather

Regional Polio and Outbreaks Coordinator

UNICEF Middle East and North Africa

+962 7 98100579

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Children with disabilities remain among the most marginalized segment of the population

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 14:59:35 +0000

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: World

A review of studies shows children with disabilities are more likely than other children to experience violence, including sexual violence, and that this vulnerability is heightened in humanitarian crises.

During armed conflict, children with disabilities are caught in a vicious cycle of violence, social polarization, deteriorating services and deepening poverty. Global estimates suggest there are between 93 million and 150 million children with disabilities under the age of 15.
Given that disability is often not reported due to stigma there is reason to believe actual prevalence could be much higher. Although efforts to ensure the fulfilment of their rights have improved, girls and boys with disabilities continue to remain among the most marginalized and excluded segment of the population. This is amplified during situations of armed conflict. The barriers to full participation they face on a day-to-day basis are intensified and compounded when infrastructure is destroyed, and services and systems are compromised and made inaccessible. This results in the further exclusion and marginalization of children with disabilities, and prevents them from accessing schooling, health and psychosocial support, or a means of escape from conflict.

When systems and services break down, children are also left more susceptible to violence. A review of studies shows that children with disabilities are more likely than other children to experience violence, including sexual violence, and that this vulnerability is heightened in humanitarian crises.

The practice of institutionalization of children with disabilities also increases their exposure to violence and further complicates the task of protecting civilians.
History provides several examples such as the Nazi T-4 programme of extermination of adults and children with disabilities, and the slaughter of civilians with disabilities at a psychiatric hospital during the Rwandan genocide. In fact, the existence of clustered settlements, such as psychiatric hospitals, orphanages, social care homes and other institutions has led to the use of people with disabilities as human targets or shields by some combatants.
Injuries sustained by many children during armed conflict may also lead to long-term impairments. There are six grave violations of children’s rights and protection in armed conflict that are on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) Security Council; killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children, rape or other sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. The grave violations can result in physical and psychological injuries that can lead to long-term impairments.

Two key treaties - the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict - protect the rights of children with disabilities. Although the rights and principles set forth in these Conventions apply in situations of armed conflict, they are all too often eroded by the violence, stress, hunger, social breakdown and poverty that armed conflict brings.

Governments around the world have committed themselves to respect, promote, and fulfil the rights of children with disabilities, including in situations of armed conflict, and progress is being made. Efforts by a broad range of actors to implement the CRPD, CRC and other human rights instruments include the development of standards to address the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in humanitarian crises, and guidance on making humanitarian response, development and peacebuilding more inclusive. Efforts to improve the collection and use of data concerning children and adults with disabilities are also underway.

Yet, as this discussion paper makes clear, much more needs to be done. Investments in disability-inclusive humanitarian action and recovery from crises will pay off, contributing towards a dividend of peace built on greater equality, tolerance and justice.

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Readying frontline health workers in Tanzania for Ebola threat

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 12:31:07 +0000

Source: World Health Organization
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Republic of Tanzania

WHO continues to support the nine countries neighbouring DRC in their EVD preparedness work, providing both technical expertise and financial help, as it responds to the outbreak.

8 - 10 October 2018, Mwanza: In this three-days intensive Case Management and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) training, organised jointly by the Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), 35 healthcare workers from the three highest risk regions, Kigoma, Kagera and Mwanza, were assembled at the Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza. Participants included clinicians, nurses, health officers, and ambulance attendants.

The training was interactive with the use of power point presentations, group work, case scenario-based demonstrations and table top exercises. It fulfilled the operational readiness of Tanzania, in Case management and IPC, for any spill over of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases from the current 10th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In his opening remarks, the Mwanza Regional Medical Officer, Dr Thomas Rutachunzibwa, thanked the MOHCDGEC and WHO for their timely and crucial EVD capacity building intervention, urging participant to seize and make best use of the opportunity adding that “ Health care workers are our frontline soldiers and the recent MV Nyerere ferry disaster, which claimed about (227) lives, has taught me that all disasters have health consequences". He closed his remarks by requesting that the training be cascaded to sub-regional levels.

The WHO consultant, Dr Lawrence Ofori-Boadu, explained that a key lesson from the West African Ebola Outbreak is that the number of people who die of Ebola can be significantly reduced when general supportive care is promptly provided to EVD patients, and hence the need for case management teams that are operationally ready.

While echoing the views of other participants, Dr Andrew John said: “I deeply appreciate this opportunity and I feel very confident now to attend to EVD suspects or cases and I feel ready and able to give a helping hand to the response in DRC. I request that refresher trainings be provided to us on a regular basis to maintain our response readiness”.

WHO continues to support the Ministries of Health in all nine countries neighbouring the DRC in their EVD preparedness work, providing both technical expertise and financial help as it monitors and responds to the outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces in DRC. It does so by use of country specific contingency plans and preparedness checklists.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Dr. Grace SagutiTel: +255 754 287 875Email: sagutig@who.int

Dr. Neema KileoEmail: kileon@who.intTel: +255 755 551 804

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FAO Director-General calls for transformative changes to our food systems

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 12:31:01 +0000

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: World

José Graziano da Silva today called on countries to urgently address all forms of malnutrition during his opening address to FAO's Council, the organization's executive body.

3 December 2018, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today called on countries to urgently address all forms of malnutrition, during his opening address to FAO's Council, the organization's executive body.

"The coexistence of undernutrition, obesity and micronutrient deficiencies, what we know as the triple burden of malnutrition, is spreading and affecting almost every country in the world. The international community needs to urgently address this situation by promoting transformative change in our food systems," Graziano da Silva said. "Our Zero Hunger Goal is not just about feeding people, but well nourishing people by providing everyone with the necessary nutrients for a healthy life," he added.

Citing the 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, Graziano da Silva said obesity now affects around 672 million people and the increase has been faster in Africa than any other region. He also said more than two billion people globally suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.

The year ahead

The Director-General also outlined some of the major events for next year including the Food Safety Conference in Addis Ababa in February co-organized with the World Health Organization and the African Union, the Trade and Food Safety Conference in Geneva in April, and the Rural Revitalization Conference in Beijing in May. FAO, with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme, will also host a conference in May to launch the UN Decade of Family Farming (2019-2028).

Graziano da Silva also announced that a dedicated office for South-South and Triangular Cooperation will be established, to reinforce the potential of South-South Cooperation in achieving food security and rural development.

He also outlined FAO's recent achievements including FAO's recent First International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers which produced recommendations that will help to guide FAO's work on innovation, with a focus on creating more employment opportunities for youth.

Gender and geographic balance

FAO has also made strides towards gender parity among professional staff, the Director-General said, with more than 43 percent of all professional posts now held by women.

"This is FAO's highest representation of women among international professionals in the last years," Graziano da Silva said.

In relation to geographic representation among FAO's staff, the Director-General announced that the number of non-represented countries has decreased from 17 to 14, with recent appointees from Timor Leste, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and that the percentage of equitably represented countries is now 87.6 percent.

World Soil Day

Side events during Council include an event on Wednesday to mark World Soil Day 2018 as well as events to highlight FAO's work with Belgium and Sweden, and the African Solidarity Trust Fund.

The FAO Council manages administrative and financial affairs between biennial meetings of the FAO Conference. The 160th Session is the Director-General's last Council before his term ends in July next year.

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DR Congo, Nigeria and Ethiopia top INFORM's Global Risk Index

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 12:07:50 +0000

Source: INFORM Index for Risk Management
Country: World

The INFORM GRI can help identify where and why a crisis might occur, which means we can reduce the risk, build peoples’ resilience and prepare better for when crises do happen.

Welcome to the INFORM 2019 report.

In 2013 INFORM started to develop and publish a Global Crisis Risk Index. Since that time, INFORM has become a multi-stakeholder forum for developing shared analysis to help to manage humanitarian crises and disasters. INFORM now has partners from across the UN system, donors, civil society, academic/technical community and private sector. The INFORM Global Risk Index (GRI) is a widely recognised and valuable tool that supports decision-making of INFORM partners and others. The INFORM risk analysis process and methodology has been extended to the regional and country level. Over the last two years, INFORM partners have been working to develop a Global Crisis Severity Index (GCSI).

This report therefore marks a recognition of an evolution in INFORM's role - from a publisher of a risk index to a forum for shared analysis, which may ultimately extend to a suite of shared products for use by the entire crisis and disaster management community. This report sets out INFORM's vision for the future, includes the latest results of the GRI, as well as a prototype version of the INFORM GCSI, which will be published as a beta version in 2019.

INFORM partners believe that the availability of shared analysis of crises and disasters can lead to better coordination of actors and better outcomes for at-risk and affected people. Specifically, INFORM creates a space and process for shared analysis that can support joint strategy development, planning and action that can prevent, prepare for and respond to crises.
This can bring together development, humanitarian and other actors to manage risk and respond better when crises do occur.

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South Sudan: UN condemns ‘brutal’ sexual assaults on roads to Bentiu

Sun, 02 Dec 2018 07:07:12 +0000

Source: UN Mission in South Sudan
Country: South Sudan

The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has condemned a series of brutal sexual assaults on women and girls, travelling on the road to Bentiu, a town in the north of the war-ravaged country.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan has condemned a series of brutal sexual attacks on women and girls travelling from their villages to the town of Bentiu in the Unity region of South Sudan.

Approximately 125 women and girls have sought medical treatment after having been raped or sexually assaulted in a tenday period as they walked along roads near Nhialdu and Guit on their way to Bentiu. They report the attacks as having been carried out by young men in civilian clothing or military uniforms. In addition to being sexually violated, they were brutally beaten and robbed.

“These attacks on vulnerable civilians are absolutely abhorrent and must stop,” said the Head of UNMISS and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer. “The violent assaults happened in a Government-controlled area and it has primary responsibility for the safety of civilians. The Mission has held urgent meetings with authorities and urged them to take immediate action to protect women and girls in the area and to hold the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to account.”

“UNMISS peacekeepers have immediately sent patrols to the area to provide a protective presence and our human rights team has launched an investigation to identify the perpetrators. UNMISS engineers are also clearing foliage from the sides of the road so attackers find it harder to conceal their presence,” said David Shearer.

The Mission is also urging armed forces in the area to guarantee command and control over their troops to ensure rogue elements within their ranks are not involved in these criminal acts,” said David Shearer.

Communications & Public Information Section
Spokesperson: Francesca Mold mold2@un.org
www.unmiss.unmissions.org

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Almost all UNRWA installations in Yarmouk and Dera’a camp in Syria severely damaged or destroyed

Sat, 01 Dec 2018 10:59:17 +0000

Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
Country: occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic

Yarmouk was home to about 160,000 Palestine refugees before the conflict. Like in Dera’a, the vast majority of houses have been affected and all basic infrastructure has been destroyed.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has conducted a damage assessment of its installations in the unofficial camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus, as well as the Dera’a Palestinian camp in the South of Syria. The Agency has 23 premises including 16 schools in Yarmouk. Almost all UNRWA premises need major repairs, 75% need to be completely rebuilt and all three of the Agency’s health centres in Yarmouk are completely destroyed. In Dera’a camp, only one distribution centre has been left untouched. The other 6 installations, including three school buildings and a clinic will need substantial repairs.

People have already slowly started to return to Dera’a camp, despite the huge damage and lack of basic infrastructure. Dera’a camp was home to 10,000 Palestine refugees before 2011. So far, 400 families have returned since the government retook control in July 2018. One of those who came back is Wajiha Mohammed. The 63-year-old widow returned to her home last week, along with her two daughters and two grandchildren. Her furniture was all looted, the corrugated iron roof has bullet holes and two ceilings need to be fixed after they were hit by mortars. “I don’t know how I will pay for this, I came back to this house because I was asked to leave the unfurnished house in a safer area where I was squatting; I cannot afford to pay rent. I survive on UNRWA assistance,” she says.

UNRWA welcomes the recent decision by the Syrian government to allow Palestine refugees to return to their homes in Dera’a camp and to Yarmouk camp in future. Yarmouk was home to about 160,000 Palestine refugees before the conflict. Like in Dera’a, the vast majority of houses have been affected and all basic infrastructure has been destroyed.

Once the government re-establishes basic infrastructure like electricity and water and ensures it is safe to enter by clearing the camp of rubble and possible unexploded remnants of war (ERW), the Agency will aim to repair UNRWA facilities that have been damaged or destroyed in order to serve the refugee population and fulfil its mandate. This was previously done with great success in other newly accessible areas following the end of fighting, such as Husseiniyeh in 2015 and Sbeineh and Khan Eshieh camps in 2017.

However, UNRWA is facing a severe funding crisis. The Agency’s 2018 Emergency Appeal for Syria is just 16 per cent funded, out of total requirements of USD 329 million. We call on the international community to provide support for UNRWA to allow the Agency to provide core services, including health services and education, to Palestine refugees in Syria who return to their homes in the camps.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:
Sami Mshasha Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295 Office: +972 (0)258 90724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

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UN humanitarian chief calls for peace in Yemen

Sat, 01 Dec 2018 09:33:05 +0000

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Yemen

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock warns that conditions have deteriorated alarmingly since his last visit. “Yemen is on the brink of a major catastrophe, but it is not too late."

Aden, Sana’a, 1 December 2018: At the end of his mission to Yemen, Under-SecretaryGeneral for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock warned that conditions had deteriorated alarmingly since his last visit.

“Yemen is on the brink of a major catastrophe,” said Mr. Lowcock. “But it is not too late. In my meetings with officials of the internationally recognized Government of Yemen in Aden and the de facto authorities in Sana’a, I was encouraged to hear strong support for relief operations.”

“During my mission, I met families outside Sana’a who fled their homes four years ago when conflict escalated and are still living in terrible conditions. In Lahj, I visited an overcrowded camp that hosts hundreds of desperate families displaced by recent fighting in Hudaydah.”

Displacement is one of the most visible consequences of the conflict in Yemen. About 2.3 million people are currently displaced across the country. Since June alone, more than 500,000 people have fled conflict in Hudaydah Governorate.

The conflict – and especially the recent economic crisis – are also driving major increases in severe hunger and malnutrition.

“In Aden, I met emaciated children so malnourished they could barely open their eyes. Humanitarian assistance helps many of these children recover. But I also heard heartbreaking stories of children relapsing again and again because their families simply can’t afford food or proper medical care.”

Throughout his visit, Mr. Lowcock reiterated his call for a cessation of hostilities, particularly in and around infrastructure critical for aid operations and commercial imports. “It is unacceptable to see men with guns inside hospitals,” he said. “Conflict and fighters must stay away from civilian facilities.”

He also urged the parties to facilitate humanitarian assistance and to protect the supply of food and other essential goods. “Humanitarian agencies still face too many obstacles in their work. I was pleased to hear commitments from authorities in Sana’a and officials in Aden to do everything possible to enable effective aid operations.”

Given Yemen’s heavy reliance on imports, Mr. Lowcock also repeated the UN offer to play a role in Hudaydah port to ensure it can stay open. Most food imports enter Yemen through Hudaydah and nearby Saleef ports.

Mr. Lowcock also stressed the need to address the economic crisis. “I listened to families who can’t afford food, clean water or even transport to a clinic where they might access free medical care. We need urgent steps to stabilize the economy, boost incomes and ensure basic commodity prices come down.”

Deteriorating conditions in Yemen mean substantially more resources will be required for the aid effort next year. “Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian operation, but in 2019 it will need to be substantially bigger,” said Mr. Lowcock. Donors this year have provided $2.3 billion for the 2018 response plan, or about 80 per cent of requirements. “I want again to thank all our donors for their support – and I can assure them that their money is saving many lives.”

Mr. Lowcock also reiterated that only a political solution can end the crisis in Yemen.

“I was very pleased to hear de facto authorities in Sana’a and officials of the internationally recognized Government of Yemen in Aden confirm that they intend to travel to Sweden for the talks to be convened by Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy,” said Mr. Lowcock. “This war needs to end. Yemenis deserve a brighter future.”

For further information, please contact:

Erich Opolot Ogoso, Public Information Officer, ogoso@un.org, Cell +967 712 222 860Federica D’ Andreagiovanni, Head of Communication, dandreagiovannif@un.org, Cell +962 796876082OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int.

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More than 30,000 people affected by floods in Paraguay

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 23:46:21 +0000

Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: Paraguay

The perilousness of the affected communities, the forecasts of additional rainfall and the precipitous rise in rainfall in November prompted the Paraguay Red Cross to request a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

In Asunción, 30,225 people (6,085 families) were evacuated to 109 temporary collective centres set up by the Municipality of Asunción and one collective centre managed by the National Emergency Secretariat in a military site in Bañado Tacumbú. On 1 November 2018, the Asunción municipal government declared a 90-day citywide emergency. Over the last few weeks, the number of affected people has increased, and the Paraguayan government has had to evacuate them and install improvised temporary lodgings to house them. The rains are expected to continue, putting those who have chosen to remain in their home at risk and threatening to increase the affected population’s humanitarian needs. To date, there has been 1,561.7 mm of rainfall in the affected area from 1 January 2018 to 23 November 2018, including a sharp increase from October to November 2018; the rainfall total for 2018 is 350.8 mm higher than the yearly average for the affected region2. The unusually heavy rainfall has oversaturated the soil in the affected area and put riverine communities in danger, and recent forecasts suggest that the rainfall will continue unabated, further worsening the situation. The perilousness of the affected communities, the forecasts of additional rainfall and the precipitous rise in rainfall in November prompted the PRC to request a Disaster ReliefEmergency Fund (DREF).

The most affected areas are to the south of Asunción along the banks of the Paraguay River known as Bañado Sur, which includes the neighbourhoods of Tacumbú, Santa Ana, San Cayetano, Sajonia and Yukyty; to the north in Bañado Norte, including the neighbourhoods of Tablada Nueva, Mburicaó and Banco San Miguel; and the area of La Chacarita area, including the neighbourhoods of 3 de Febrero, Oriental, Resistencia, San Pedro, San Vicente and San Felipe.The impact suffered by families in Bañado Norte and Bañado Sur can mainly be attributed to three factors: a) the unusual flooding of the Paraguay River; b) recent road works; and c) poor coordination between the institutions working in the affected area.There are many risks in the collective centres,beginning with the lack of space for the families that will continue to be evacuated and the uneasy coexistence with residents due to the occupation of public spaces.

According to the Hydrometeorological Report issued for the Paraguay River by the Meteorology and Navigation Directorate on 19 November 2018, the atypical flooding is due to the significant amount of rainfall recorded in the last week in the Paraguay River's middle basin. In Asunción, the Paraguay River has already exceeded critical levels (5.50 m), and according to predictions, the river will reach a height of seven metres in December 2018 (8 metres for total evacuation)3, surpassing alert levels. Moreover, it is likely that levels will progressively increase due to the rains seen in recent days.

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OIM apoya retorno voluntario y seguro de cientos de centroamericanos que formaban parte de la caravana de migrantes

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 18:04:58 +0000

Source: International Organization for Migration
Country: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico

Durante su viaje de retorno, los migrantes reciben alimentos y apoyo psicosocial en los cruces fronterizos, así como kits de higiene al llegar a los centros de recepción.

San José – Desde el 4 de noviembre de 2018, la OIM ha facilitado el retorno voluntario y seguro de cientos de centroamericanos que formaban parte de las caravanas de migrantes que se dirigían a EE.UU. a través de territorio mexicano.

Al miércoles 28/11 453 migrantes de los cuales un 84% eran hombres, y que eran parte de las caravanas, solicitaron y obtuvieron el apoyo de la OIM para retornar a sus países de origen o de residencia: Honduras (57%), El Salvador (38%) y Guatemala (5%). Veinticinco niños migrantes no acompañados retornaron por vía aérea.

Se han abierto puestos de asesoramiento y de registro en Tecún Umán (Guatemala), en Tapachula, en la Ciudad de México y en Tijuana (México). Más de 300 migrantes centroamericanos han expresado su interés en retornar desde Tijuana y la OIM está coordinando medios de transporte para ellos que sean seguros y dignos. Los migrantes que desean retornar son asesorados por la OIM la cual evalúa las opciones de las que disponen antes de que tomen la decisión de retornar.

Como parte de este programa, que es financiado por la Oficina de Población, Refugiados y Migración (PRM por su sigla en inglés) del Departamento de Estado de EE.UU., la OIM también coordina con los gobiernos de todos los países involucrados para lograr un retorno regular y seguro de todos los migrantes.

Durante su viaje de retorno, los migrantes reciben alimentos y apoyo psicosocial en los cruces fronterizos, y cuando llegan a los centros de recepción en El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala, también reciben kits de higiene y en muchos casos, algo de dinero para el transporte para poder llegar hasta sus hogares.

Los migrantes que llegan hasta los centros de recepción en los países del triángulo del norte son también derivados a instituciones gubernamentales que pueden abordar sus diversas vulnerabilidades vinculadas a su estado de salud, la protección contra la violencia intradoméstica y el acceso a intercambios de empleos.

"Muchos de los migrantes que he entrevistado como parte del proceso de retorno han dicho que se enteraron de que se organizaban las caravanas a través de las redes sociales y la TV”, relata Maritza Matarrita, una funcionaria de la OIM que trabaja en el área de protección. “Muchos de ellos han dicho que era casi un impulso, no se detuvieron a pensar acerca de los riesgos y de los días agotadores de caminata. Simplemente se unieron a un grupo de amigos o vecinos y partieron junto a la caravana”.

"Mi destino eran los Estados Unidos. Estaba buscando trabajo. Trabajar es lo que he hecho desde los once años”, dice Dennis Javier, uno de los migrantes que pidió el apoyo de la OIM para poder retornar. “Pero viendo como están las cosas, he cambiado de idea. Pienso que es mejor para mi regresar a El Salvador”.

"Desde 1979, la OIM ha ayudado a 1.500.000 migrantes a retornar a sus países de origen o de residencia por medio de sus programas de Retorno Voluntario Asistido,” ha dicho Marcelo Pisani, Director Regional de la OIM para Centroamérica, Norteamérica y el Caribe. “Para la OIM, un programa de retorno voluntario es una parte indispensable de un enfoque integral de la gestión de la migración que persigue un retorno y una reintegración ordenada y humana de los migrantes que no pueden o no desean quedarse en los países de tránsito o de acogida y desean retornar voluntariamente a sus países de origen”.

Puede descargar el último informe de Retorno Voluntario Asistido de la OIM aquí.

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Global Humanitarian Overview: Why does it matter?

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 17:26:38 +0000

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: World

The GHO for 2019 will be launched in Geneva on 4 December. It is the most comprehensive, authoritative and evidence-based assessment of priority global humanitarian needs and how to respond to them.

The Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) for 2019 will be launched in Geneva on 4 December. It is the most comprehensive, authoritative and evidence-based assessment of priority global humanitarian needs and how to respond to them. But why does it matter?

Humanitarian crises across the globe now affect more people and last longer on average than ever before. More resources are required so that aid workers can reach all vulnerable people most in need. While donors have been generous, increasing contributions to inter-agency-coordinated response plans from US$3.7 billion in 2007 to nearly $14 billion thus far in 2018, needs have far outstripped resources year after year.

Read more on OCHA.

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Conflict shuts a third of schools in Yemen’s port city of Hudaydah

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 12:46:31 +0000

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Yemen

More than 60,000 boys and girls are out of school. Fifteen schools are located on the frontline and others are badly damaged or being used as shelters for displaced families, said UNICEF.

Over 60,000 children out of school

Statement attributable to Meritxell Relaño, UNICEF Representative in Yemen

SANA’A, 30 November 2018 – “More than 60,000 boys and girls are out of school because of the fighting in and around the port city of Hudaydah in Yemen. The violence has forced over a third of all schools there to close, with 15 located on the frontline and others badly damaged or being used as shelters for displaced families. Schools running double shifts in the area have had to scale back to just a few hours of instruction in the morning.

“In the worst affected areas of Hudaydah, only one in three students is able to continue their education and less than a quarter of all teachers are present in school. Most education personnel in Yemen have not received a salary in more than two years, and many have been forced to flee the violence or to find other opportunities to make ends meets.

“Despite the many hardships they face, countless teachers across Yemen continue to educate children in any way that they can. Their commitment to keep children learning is nothing short of heroic.

“There is no aspect of a child’s life in Yemen that isn’t deeply impacted by the conflict. As the war on children in Yemen continues to injure and kill, the violence is also having a profound effect on children’s education – and their prospects for a brighter future. Parties to the conflict should immediately stop the fighting and refrain from military activities in and around schools in Hudaydah and across Yemen, to keep students, teachers and other education staff out of harm’s way and give education a chance.

“UNICEF is working on a programme to provide teachers with small cash payments monthly to help keep them in school until the salary crisis is resolved.

“It is urgent that Yemeni authorities work together to find a solution for paying teachers’ and other civil servants’ salaries. Above all, the war on children in Yemen must stop.”

ENDs-

Notes to editors

Across Yemen, more than 2 million children are out of school, an increase of half a million since the conflict escalated in 2015.One in five schools across the country cannot be used because they are destroyed, damaged, sheltering displaced families or being used for military purposes.Working with partners, UNICEF is helping to improve quality and access to education across Yemen by rehabilitating damaged schools, providing temporary learning spaces for children, creating safe learning environments, improving water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in school and training teachers to support the psycho-social needs of conflict-affected children.

Media Contacts

Bismarck Swangin
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Yemen
Tel: +9672 712 223 161Email: bswangin@unicef.org

Juliette Touma
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office
Tel: + 962-79-867-4628
Email: jtouma@unicef.org

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A neglected, dangerous and deteriorating crisis for children in Central African Republic

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 04:34:47 +0000

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Central African Republic

A new UNICEF report finds that 1.5 million children require humanitarian assistance and practically every child needs protection from the armed groups who now control four-fifths of the country.

Two in three children in the Central African Republic need humanitarian assistance

A neglected, dangerous and deteriorating crisis for children

GENEVA/DAKAR/BANGUI, 30 November 2018: Five years after Bangui descended into bloodshed, life in the Central African Republic is even harsher and more dangerous for children. Despite the escalating crisis, international funding and attention are critically low.

A new UNICEF report, “Crisis in the Central African Republic: In a neglected emergency, children need aid, protection – and a future” finds that:

  • 1.5 million children now require humanitarian assistance, an increase of 300,000 since 2016.

  • Over 43,000 children below five years old are projected to face an extremely elevated risk of death due to severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2019.

  • One in four children is either displaced or a refugee.

  • Thousands of children are trapped within armed groups; thousands more are subject to sexual violence.

  • Practically every child needs protection from the armed groups who now control four-fifths of the country.

  • The number of attacks against aid-workers more than quadrupled – from 67 incidents in all of 2017 to 294 in just the first eight and one-half months of 2018.

“This crisis is taking place in one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, and one of the most dangerous for humanitarian workers,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF’s Representative in the Central African Republic. “Conditions for children are desperate.”

The crisis in CAR is driven largely by fighting between a dozen or so armed groups over cattle routes and lands rich in diamonds, gold and uranium. More often than not, the armed groups target civilians rather than each other. They attack health and education facilities and personnel, mosques and churches, as well as sites where displaced people have taken shelter.

Terrified families are being driven from their homes. As of late September, almost 643,000 people – at least half of whom are children – were displaced across CAR, and over 573,000 had sought refuge in neighboring countries. Coupled with extremely limited access to health care, safe water and sanitation, the forced displacement translates into a malnutrition crisis for children. SAM rates were above emergency thresholds in 16 out of 18 displacement sites surveyed over the past two years; for children forced into the bush, conditions are even more dire.

The crisis is unfolding within an acute development emergency. CAR has the world’s second-highest newborn death rate and maternal mortality ratio, fewer than three out of five children make it through primary school, and almost half the population has no access to clean water. The country ranks 188 out of 189 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index, a composite indicator measuring life expectancy, income and education.

UNICEF is working to reach children in desperate need, often in very dangerous circumstances. This includes:

  • Providing lifesaving therapeutic food, medicine, equipment and training to treat tens of thousands of children with severe acute malnutrition, and working with partners to reach 890,000 women and children to prevent malnutrition.

  • Immunising children against deadly diseases, and helping them access clean water and sanitation.

  • Setting up temporary learning and protection spaces, providing emergency education and recreational supplies, and training community teachers to help get children back to learning in safe spaces.

  • Helping children who have been released from armed groups or subjected to sexual violence to recover and reintegrate into the community.

  • Through the Rapid Response Mechanism, reaching vulnerable communities affected by acute shock quickly with basic, lifesaving supplies and support – tents, mats, mosquito nets, jerry cans and cooking utensils, as well as water and sanitation services.

  • UNICEF provides virtually all the therapeutic food required to treat SAM and almost all the emergency education supplies in CAR. UNICEF also supplies half of the vaccines required in the country, and procures the other half on behalf of partners and the government.

Despite the major upsurge in fighting and displacement, only 44 per cent of UNICEF’s US$56.5 million funding appeal for 2018 had been met as of the end of October. “The children of the Central African Republic have been abandoned for too long,” Muhigana said. “They need attention and help now, and they will need it for the long run.”

Media Contacts

Donaig Le Du
UNICEF Bangui
Email: dledu@unicef.org

Joe English
UNICEF New York
Tel: +1 917 893 0692
Email: jenglish@unicef.org

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Thousands of complex gunshot wounds require urgent treatment in Gaza - MSF

Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:38:32 +0000

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
Country: occupied Palestinian territory

The cumulative needs of wounded patients are creating a medical emergency, as the lack of appropriate treatment in Gaza's crippled health system leads to a high risk of infection.

PARIS/NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 29, 2018—Thousands of people shot by the Israeli army during protests in Gaza this year are overwhelming the Gazan medical system with complex wounds, infections, and disabilities, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

MSF personnel work in four hospitals and five postoperative clinics in the Gaza Strip, providing dressing changes, physiotherapy, and plastic and orthopedic surgery. The cumulative needs of wounded patients are creating a medical emergency, as the lack of appropriate treatment in Gaza's crippled health system leads to a high risk of infection, especially for patients with open fractures.

"Osteomyelitis is a deep infection of the bone," Dr. Mohammed Abu Mughaiseeb, MSF medical referent in Gaza, wrote recently. "If it goes untreated, it can lead to non-healing wounds and increase the risk of amputation. And as time goes on, it gets worse. These infections need to be treated as soon as possible. It's terrifying to think they could lead to amputation for these young men. But the infection is not easy to diagnose and there is currently no structure in Gaza for analyzing bone samples to identify it."

The vast majority of the 3,117 patients treated by MSF from March 30 to October 31 were shot in the legs, with about half suffering open fractures and others suffering severe soft tissue damage. (The total number of people hospitalized with gunshot wounds in this period is 5,866, according to Gaza's Ministry of Health.)

It is not yet possible to properly diagnose many bone infections in Gaza due to the lack of laboratory facilities. However, from MSF's experience with war trauma in the region, MSF expects that at least 25 percent of Gazan patients with open fractures have bone infections, and about 60 percent of all those injured by gunshots will need further surgery, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation.

In addition, a significant proportion of those patients will require some form of reconstructive surgery to properly heal, but untreated infections will prevent that from happening. This burden is too much to bear for the health system in Gaza in its current form, weakened as it is by more than a decade of blockade.

Such a large number of injuries affects not just those injured, but also strains the provision of regular health care in Gaza. The consequences of these wounds—especially if untreated—will be lifelong disability for many, and, if infections are not properly treated, amputation or even death.

Although MSF and other organizations are working to provide treatment for these patients, the scale of the needs is quickly becoming overwhelming, challenging MSF's continued ability to respond. The situation is also worsening as more people are shot, wounded flesh and bone dies, and the risk of infection increases. An adequate response will require major funding, which is urgently needed.

"MSF has already tripled its capacity in Gaza but the volume required of surgery, carefully managed antibiotics, intensive nursing care, and long-term physiotherapy and rehabilitation is staggering," said Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, MSF's head of mission in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "This many patients would overstretch the best health care systems in the world. In Gaza, it is a crushing blow."

MSF currently has 260 personnel working in Gaza, but much more support is needed to equip hospitals, provide drugs and equipment, send specialized surgeons, and open paths to treatment for all patients, whether within Gaza or outside it.

"What is required now is for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to do all they can to facilitate the free access and work of all health care providers in Gaza that are trying to build the advanced capacity to care for these people; for other countries in the region and around the globe to step forward and offer funding and space in their hospitals where advanced surgical capacity exists; and for authorities in Palestine and Israel to facilitate the transfer of these patients abroad," Ingres said. "The alternative—that thousands of patients will be left to deal with terrible injuries, with many permanently disabled and dependent on their families—is unconscionable when adequate treatment is within the world's grasp."

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