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ReliefWeb - Updates

Philippines: Army engineers fast track construction of permanent shelters for IDPs

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 03:57:52 +0000

Country: Philippines
Source: Government of the Philippines

By Lou Ellen L. Antonio
Published on September 18, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) -- The 55th Engineer Brigade (EBde) of the Philippine Army is pushing for the completion of 50 permanent shelters for the internally displaced persons living in “no-build zones” inside the most affected area of the city.

The 553rd and 551st engineer battalions under the said brigade are responsible for the construction of the permanent housing units in Barangay Kilala.

LtCol. Elmer Oamil, deputy commander of the Joint Task Group Builders and commanding officer of 553rd Engineer Battalion, said the army engineers initially constructed 11 housing units.

“Initially 11 units ang inumpisahan namin at ngayon 80 percent na. After macomply ang 11, we will again start 38 out of 50,” he said.

[We initially constructed 11 units which are now 80 percent completed. After complying the 11, will again start 38 out of 50.]

To recall, the Philippine Army through the 55th EBde inked a project partnership agreement with 12 homeowners associations (HOA) in the city for the site development and construction with funds from the Government of Japan through the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).

Oamil also shared that the rainy season and electricity interruption in the area cause delays in the construction.

However, based on the assessment of the UN-HABITAT, the construction of the army is speedy.

The army official also reaffirmed their commitment to helping reconstruct and rebuild the city.

“Sa pangunguna ng aming brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando, taos-puso naming ibibigay ang aming kakayanan para sa ikadadali sa rehabilitasyon ng Marawi City,” he said.

[With the leadership of our brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando, we will lend our skills wholeheartedly to fast track the rehabilitation of Marawi City.]

The National Housing Authority and Task Force Bangon Marawi acquired the land used for the construction of shelter units. The construction of other housing units in Barangay Mipantao Gandongan is also ongoing. (LELA/PIA ICIC)

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Peru: Perú 345W – COVID-19: Pueblos indígenas (17 de septiembre de 2020)

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 03:53:57 +0000

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

Please refer to the attached Infographic.

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Haiti: Dépister la malnutrition à domicile en période de Covid-19

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 03:41:08 +0000

Country: Haiti
Source: UN Children's Fund

Des mères apprennent l’usage du périmètre brachial pour dépister la malnutrition à domicile

Jean Panel Fanfan

11 septembre 2020

Au lieu de se rendre au centre de santé et risquer de s’exposer à la propagation de la COVID-19, des mères apprennent l’usage du périmètre brachial pour dépister la malnutrition à domicile. Ce projet de l’UNICEF exécuté par l’ONG Action contre la faim (ACF) est financé par la Direction générale pour la protection civile et les opérations d'aide humanitaire européennes de la Commission européenne (ECHO) et en appui au Ministère de la santé publique et de la population (MSPP).

Le visage de Saint-Louis Cédeline, 23 ans, devient triste et sombre quant elle parle de la condition de son enfant, atteinte de malnutrition aigüe. Tous les symptômes de la maladie sont là, l’enfant accuse une très faible croissance pour son âge. Elle lui donne son bain de manière délicate, car l’enfant est très fragile.

« Quand j'ai de l'argent, je lui donne à manger trois fois par jour et je la lave délicatement car elle a aussi de graves problèmes de peau. J’applique des lotions sur tout son corps. Elle dort sur des draps propres. Je prends soin d’elle pour qu'elle soit en bonne santé », explique Cédeline. Cependant les choses ne sont pas toujours faciles. Parfois, elle passe de longues nuits sans sommeil à prendre soin de l’enfant qui n’arrive pas à dormir. « Je dois la consoler toute la nuit », murmure-t-elle.

Cédeline habite à Palant, une localité située au Nord-Ouest d’Haiti. La mère de deux enfants a vu le nouveau coronavirus affecté sa famille, considérablement. Son mari, un pêcheur, n’arrive plus à vendre son poisson comme auparavant. « Avant, les touristes arrivaient ici et les hôtels achetaient beaucoup de poisson », lâche-t-elle dans un souffle. « Aujourd’hui, les gens n’achètent plus et trop peu d’argent arrive à la maison ».

En période de Covid-19, elle a appris comment prendre le périmètre brachial de son enfant, ce qui lui évite de se rendre trop souvent au centre de santé et de s’exposer ou d’exposer son enfant au virus. Les infirmières du centre de santé lui ont donné les conseils pour prendre soin de son bébé. Elle a aussi reçu du plumpy nut, un aliment thérapeutique prêt à l’emploi fait à base de pate d’arachide, pour nourrir régulièrement sa petite fille. « Pour le moment, l’indicateur est entre le rouge et le jaune », dit-elle. Tant que le périmètre brachial affiche jaune ou rouge, l’enfant souffre de malnutrition aigüe sévère et a besoin de soins. « J’ai bon espoir qu’un jour, il va tomber dans le vert et que mon enfant sera guéri », espère-t-elle.

Au service de la communauté

Louise Béthanie, les yeux vifs et la voix assurée, est la mère-leader qui a appris a Cédeline à dépister la malnutrition chez sa fille. Chaque jour, elle va de maison à maison pour montrer aux mères comment prendre le périmètre brachial, à l’aide d’un ruban tricolore pour dépister la malnutrition chez les enfants. « J’apprends aux mères à prendre le périmètre brachial de leurs enfants. Si l’indicateur s’arrête sur la zone rouge ou jaune, la situation est grave et l’enfant est référé au centre de santé immédiatement. S’il est sur le vert, je félicite les parents et je les encourage à ne pas laisser l’enfant tomber dans la malnutrition », explique-t-elle.

A l’apparition des premiers cas de COVID-19 dans le pays, il y a eu une forte baisse des activités institutionnelles et communautaires. Car les parents avaient peur de fréquenter les institutions sanitaires et contracter le virus, alors que les agents de santé et les prestataires n’avaient pas le matériel de protection requis. Grace a un financement d’ECHO, l’UNICEF et l’ONG Action contre la faim (ACF) ont formé des mères-leaders pouvant former d’autres mères à dépister la malnutrition de leurs enfants.

Certes, Béthanie a une volonté innée d’aider son prochain, son dévouement est renforcé par la disponibilité des soins. « J’ai choisi sensibiliser sur la malnutrition parce que j’ai trouvé une institution qui prend les enfants en charge. Sinon, même si j’avais sensibilisé les parents sur comment nourrir les enfants, ils n’auraient pas les moyens de leur donner la nourriture adéquate », souligne-t-elle.

Réduire les visites au centre de santé pour protéger les mères

« L’UNICEF appuie plusieurs partenaires dans l’accompagnement des activités communautaires, notamment dans la formation de mères-leaders qui apprennent à d’autres femmes comment prendre le périmètre brachial », explique Erline Mesadieu, spécialiste en nutrition à l’UNICEF. « Ainsi les mères peuvent faire le suivi nutritionnel de leurs enfants et leur donner le plumpy nut, si nécessaire ».

Même si la pandémie à coronavirus prévaut encore, les enfants malnutris doivent continuer de bénéficier de soins leur permettant de jouir d’une bonne santé. Cette innovation, simple mais efficace, a permis de réduire les visites aux institutions sanitaires et protéger les mères et les enfants contre la COVID-19.

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Libya: Risk Communication and Community Engagement Working Group (1-31 August 2020 : Bulletin)

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 03:17:55 +0000

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Country: Libya
Source: UN Children's Fund

Please refer to the attached file.

Background and Objectives

With a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Misurata municipality as well as the South Region, posing a high risk of virus spread, there was an urgent need to intensify efforts and scale up of UNICEF Risk Communication and Community Engagement activities. South region campaign as well as Misurata focused campaign contributed toward the control of the further spread of COVID-19 pandemic by reducing human-to-human transmission and mitigated its collateral impact and the risks to the continuity of essential social services for children, youth, care providers, women and vulnerable populations. By adapting different communication channels and tools, the two campaigns promoted facts over fear, brought trustworthy guidance to parents, caregivers and educators.

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World: Global Weather Hazards Summary: September 18 - 24, 2020

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 03:00:35 +0000

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Countries: Afghanistan, Belize, Benin, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, World, Yemen
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network

Please refer to the attached file.

Heavy rainfall continues across West and East Africa, causing additional flooding

  1. Desert locust swarms remain present across parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, and Yemen. Locust numbers are expected to increase in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Yemen.

  2. Below-average rainfall since June has sustained dryness along the Gulf of Guinea region. Relief to moisture deficits is unlikely as the end of the rainy season nears.

  3. Heavy rainfall over the past two weeks triggered flooding across Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Ghana. Additional rainfall will maintain a high flood risk.

  4. Consistent rainfall over the past several weeks has caused the Awash River in Ethiopia to flood. Additional rainfall next week will maintain a high flood risk.

  5. Above-average rainfall since July has caused widespread flooding across Sudan. The additional forecast rainfall is likely to worsen conditions over many local areas.

  6. Heavy rainfall last week caused significant flooding in the South Kivu Province of eastern DRC.

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Philippines: DOH, WHO, UNICEF to conduct nationwide measles campaign starting October 26 September 18, 2020

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 02:38:54 +0000

Country: Philippines
Sources: Government of the Philippines, World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund

17 September 2020——The Department of Health, supported by WHO and UNICEF, will conduct the nationwide measles and polio supplemental immunization campaign starting October 26 this year. In the Philippines, an estimated 2.4M children under the age of five are susceptible for measles. Measles or tigdas is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. Among those who are not immune, up to 9 out of 10 people exposed to the measles virus will contract the disease

The nationwide Measles Rubella-Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization campaign will be rolled out in two phases. Phase 1 will be conducted from 26 October to 25 November 2020 in Mindanao Regions, CAR, I, II, IV-B and V. Phase 2 will be conducted in February 2021 in Visayas Regions, NCR, III and IV-A. DOH is conducting the campaign for children under five years old— around 9.4M children for the measles-rubella vaccine and 6.9M children for the oral polio vaccine.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a high-quality immunization campaign is urgently needed to stop measles transmission and possible outbreaks. We encourage parents and caregivers to have their children immunized. The measles vaccine is safe, effective and free. To protect against COVID-19 infections, all health care workers have been trained and provided with Personal Protective Equipment,” Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque says.

In 2020, pockets of measles outbreaks are being reported in the Philippines. As of August 2020, there are around 3,500 reported measles cases with 36 deaths. Most of the cases are among children under five years old.

Measles is a dangerous and fatal disease, with complications that can include severe diarrhoea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear and eye complications, encephalitis or swelling of the brain, or permanent disability. There is no specific treatment for measles. The only reliable protection from measles is vaccination.

“While measles is highly contagious, it is also a preventable disease. We must not lose the decades of progress we have achieved in immunizing and protecting Filipino children, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measles vaccine is safe and has been in use for 50 years. The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks, saving an estimated 2-3 million lives worldwide every year,” WHO Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe says.

As a result of immunization challenges before and during the pandemic, too many children are missing out on routine immunization in the Philippines. Among the reasons for the low coverage are fears of contracting COVID-19, a constrained health system and rapidly spreading misinformation on vaccination.

“We are at an especially challenging time when immunization for children is being threatened. All of us must do our part in ensuring children in our family are immunized, and that we provide the correct information to parents, community members and among our peers. COVID-19 is a challenge and a chance to reflect on what needs to change so that Filipino children can survive and thrive,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov says.

WHO and UNICEF are fully committed to supporting the Philippine government in the fight against measles. WHO and UNICEF support the DOH in vaccine procurement and delivery, development of immunization guidelines and communication materials, and building the capacity of DOH staff nationwide to plan and ensure that all eligible children are protected through safe and effective vaccines for measles, rubella and polio.

For more information, contact:

Carlos Joshua Lazaro, Media Relations Unit, Department of Health, mrudoh2020@gmail.com, +63 905 763 1184Jun Ryan Orbina, Communications Officer for the Expanded Programme on Immunization, WHO Philippines, orbinaj@who.int, +639064386312Niko Wieland, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Philippines, nmwieland@unicef.org, +63 917 867 8366 Marge Francia, Communication Officer, UNICEF Philippines, mfrancia@unicef.org, +63 917 858 9447

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World: Sustainable and resilient supply chains crucial to COVID-19 recovery

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 02:27:24 +0000

Country: World
Source: International Civil Aviation Organization

Montréal, 17 September 2020 – Through a joint statement on the crucial importance of resilient and sustainable integrated supply chains to the global recovery from COVID-19, ICAO and seven other UN bodies have encouraged States to realize more effective coordination and cooperation between the transport modes, and across borders.

“We are calling on all Governments to maximize the contribution of international trade and supply chains to a sustainable socio-economic recovery in post-COVID-19 times, through greater use of international legal instruments and standards, as well as strengthened regional and sectoral cooperation,” declared ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.

The statement was signed by Dr. Liu and the heads of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (UNECLAC), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA).

It points to a number of specific mechanisms, such as the United Nations TIR Convention and its eTIR International System, the CMR Convention and its eCMR Protocol and the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), and international standards for data exchange, such as those developed by UN/CEFACT, noting that “these instruments allow for moving cargo across borders without requiring physical checks and for reducing contact between people.”

For air transport specifically, States have been invited to follow the key principles presented in the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Report and implement its recommendations and guidelines.

“We are encouraging States to take a risk-based approach to restoring connectivity with minimal restrictions while preventing the spread of COVID-19, protecting the health and safety of drivers, crew and border agency personnel,” Dr. Liu recalled.

Here, the implementation of Public Health Corridors (PHC) will be of special importance to ensuring “COVID-19 free” flight operations.

The joint statement builds on the momentum launched by ICAO in the very earliest days of the pandemic to ensure the safe, secure, and sustainable restoration of air connectivity. This momentum includes the development and then universal and cost-free provision of key technical guidance, and continuous advocacy for the pivotal importance of air transport to both recovery from the pandemic and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

ICAO is also providing States with assistance in regard to the implementation of its COVID-19 recovery materials, including through the organization of webinars. A webinar series on air cargo digitalization, which is scheduled to kick off on 29 September 2020, will directly support the achievement of the objectives of this joint statement.

Resources for Editors

About ICAO

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and guidance necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States.

ICAO's COVID-19 PortalICAO and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

General Contact

communications@icao.intTwitter: @ICAO

Media Contact

William Raillant-ClarkCommunications Officerwraillantclark@icao.int+1 514-954-6705+1 514-409-0705 (mobile)Twitter: @wraillantclarkLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/raillantclark/

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World: Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021 : 2019 Annual Report

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 02:20:07 +0000

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Country: World
Source: UN Development Programme

Please refer to the attached file.

Foreword

Building a More Gender Equal World

As I write this foreword, like many of my United Nations (UN) colleagues around the world, I continue to work from home due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, while the pandemic has changed how the UN operates, it has not changed our commitment to realising a more gender equal world.

Gender equality and women’s rights have advanced immensely since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 25 years ago (Beijing+25). Some of the major success stories include progress in education and health. Between 1995 and 2018, for example, the number of girls of primary and lower-secondary school age who are out of school nearly halved. The global maternal mortality ratio declined by 38 percent from 2000 to 2017.

However, the 2019 UNDP Human Development Report shows that overall progress on gender equality has been mixed. Progress has occurred faster for basic capabilities such as voting and self-employment than for enhanced capabilities, where there is more power at stake – such as women’s leadership in business and politics. There isn’t just a gender gap – this is a power gap.

We see these gender inequalities every day. Political violence towards women is at its highest level ever. Climate change may increase the risk of violence against women 5 while the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a massive spike in gender-based violence. 6 As the world shut down in the face of the pandemic, it had a marked effect on the 92 percent of women workers in developing countries who are employed informally with limited social protection. Indeed, public trust in governments is decreasing and 2019 was marked by an unprecedented mobilization of women’s movements.

Against this global background, and together with our UN sister agencies and other partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) places gender equality at the very heart of our development efforts. As the largest UN organization in the field, with operations in 170 countries, UNDP plays a key role at the global and national levels to advance women’s rights and gender equality – offering effective, value-for-money development support to countries and partners.

This work is guided in part by our Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021. In 2019, UNDP made large strides in implementing this strategy, with transformative work in areas such as governance and gender-responsive climate action. UNDP is now working to ensure that gender is strongly integrated into all of our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

This annual report highlights key achievements made by UNDP in closing gender gaps in 2019, as well as emerging trends and challenges that lie ahead. Learning from these lessons will be vital to accelerate progress towards gender equality at the speed and scale now needed.

Achim SteinerAdministratorUnited Nations Development Programme

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Afghanistan: Polio this week as of 17 September 2020

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 01:37:25 +0000

Countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malaysia, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Yemen
Source: Global Polio Eradication Initiative
  • The Polio Oversight Board (POB) held its second meeting of the year virtually to discuss the programme’s financial requirements for 2021, to receive an update on the recommendations of the GPEI Governance Review and to consider a proposal to develop a new polio programme strategy. Read more on the meeting.

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the acute challenges it posed to both polio and immunization activities presented an unprecedented opportunity to coordinate and reimagine collaboration. Given the new context, the focus of the work shifted to develop an interim Programme of Work for Integrated Actions in the context of COVID-19 (iPOW). The draft iPOW summarizes the current level of integration between GPEI and EPI and, more importantly, identifies critical actions across key priority areas of work to drive synergies and materialize efficiency gains by building on initiatives accelerated by COVID-19 to ensure a successful resumption of all immunization activities. iPOW is open for stakeholder consultation until October 1st, 2020.

  • The GPEI established an nOPV2 Working Group to manage and coordinate the rapid and effective rollout of nOPV2. The group includes representatives from each of the GPEI partner organizations and focuses on research, regulatory, supply, communications, policy, and implementation readiness activities. Take a look at an updated information sheet detailing the structures and linkages of the Working Group.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):

  • Afghanistan: two WPV1 cases, one WPV1 positive environmental sample and ninecVDPV2 cases

  • Pakistan: two WPV1 cases, eight WPV1 positive environmental samples and sevencVDPV2 cases

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo): nine cVDPV2 cases

  • Somalia: one cVDPV2 case and two positive environmental samples

  • Sudan: one cVDPV2 case

  • Mali: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample

  • Central African Republic: one cVDPV2 case

See country sections below for more details.

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Colombia: Reporte Situacional Local, GIFMM Nariño (junio 2020)

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 00:48:56 +0000

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Countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Sources: R4V, Grupo Interagencial sobre Flujos Migratorios Mixtos

Please refer to the attached file.

Situación

  • Migración Colombia emite la resolución 1431 del 19 de junio 2020 donde se adopta el protocolo de ingreso y salida de ciudadanos nacionales y extranjeros en la frontera terrestre Colombo - Ecuatoriana .

  • El ministro de Salud, Fernando Ruiz, visita el departamento de Nariño para conocer las acciones de fortalecimiento frente a la respuesta a la emergencia sanitaria por COVID-19 .

  • El Fondo Binacional de Desarrollo entre Colombia y Ecuador fortalece la red hospitalaria de la Zona de Integración Fronteriza .

  • El director de Migración Colombia informa que la cifra de ciudadanos venezolanos en Colombia descendió respecto al mes anterior. Sin embargo, en Nariño se evidenció un leve aumento, puesto que para mayo había 13.613 venezolanos y en junio pasaron a ser 13.826 refugiados y migrantes en el departamento .

Respuesta

  • WASH: >4.700 personas recibieron kits e ítems claves de saneamiento, protección e higiene.

  • Multisectorial: >600 beneficiarios fueron apoyados con servicios de alojamiento temporal y >1.800 personas recibieron kits de viaje y abrigo.

  • Protección: >400 personas recibieron servicios de asesoría legal; >620 niños, niñas y adolescentes recibieron servicio especializado de protección de niñez; >500 personas recibieron servicios de protección y >430 fueron asistidos a través de los Espacios de Apoyo.

  • Salud: >1.950 consultas de atención primaria de salud para refugiados y migrantes provenientes de Venezuela y >550 personas recibieron atención en salud mental o apoyo psicosocial.

  • SAN: >2.200 refugiados y migrantes recibieron asistencia alimentaria, >3.000 personas recibieron comidas calientes en comedores comunitarios y >1.900 personas recibieron kits alimentarios.

  • Transferencias Monetarias: >300 refugiados y migrantes recibieron transferencias monetarias multipropósito

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Burundi: Executive Summary – Resilience Capacities for Reconciliation in the Great Lakes Sub-Region

Fri, 18 Sep 2020 00:44:10 +0000

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Countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda
Source: Interpeace

Please refer to the attached file.

Executive Summary

This report presents the results of research conducted in Burundi, Rwanda and the provinces of North and South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to identify the resilience capacities that foster reconciliation practices. The three countries make up the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC), a sub-regional body established in 1976 to advance the economic and social development and peace among the member countries. This sub-region has been marred by years of violent conflict as a result of the lead up to and the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Identity-based conflicts have led to cycles of political and ethnic violence in the sub-region. In Burundi, the most notable episodes of violence occurred in 1965, 1972, 1988 and 1993. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda was a culmination of cycles of inter-ethnic violence that commenced in 1959. The impact of this Genocide reverberated throughout the region, particularly in eastern DRC, as individuals and groups moved around the three countries. The First Congo War (commenced in 1996) and the Second Congo War, which commenced in 1998, led to the largest number of conflict related deaths since World War II. The consequences of these conflicts continue and the presence of armed groups in Eastern DRC render the context persistently insecure. The 2015 electoral crisis in Burundi, led to a movement of refugees in the sub-region and a consequential deterioration of relations between Rwanda and Burundi, resulting in barriers to the movement of people and goods and impeding efforts to enhance regional cooperation.

Today, each country in the region is on its own trajectory of reconstruction and reconciliation. In Rwanda, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission has taken the lead in promoting social cohesion in the wake of international and national transitional justice processes. In Burundi, the Arusha Accords of 2000 established a basis for power-sharing and overall peace and reconciliation. In the DRC, several peace agreements have been signed, including the latest agreement concluded in 2013 in Addis Ababa. Previous efforts to establish a national reconciliation commission in the DRC have faced challenges, but the change of government after the December 2018 elections offers an opportunity to relaunch a process aimed at strengthening national cohesion and good governance.

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Greece: “Enough is enough”: Time to stop the cycle of suffering for refugees on Greek islands

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 23:49:15 +0000

Countries: Greece, World
Source: Médecins Sans Frontières

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling on the Greek and the EU authorities to stop their efforts to rebuild a new system of containment for refugees and asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos, Greece, and to break once and for all the cycle of suffering for people trapped on the Greek islands. European states should take the fire in Moria refugee camp on 8 September as an opportunity for real change in European migration policies and start by evacuating all people on Lesbos and the other Greek islands.

After fires which mostly destroyed Moria refugee camp on 8 and 10 September, thousands of people have been forced to sleep in the streets with almost no assistance, no hygiene measures and no sanitation facilities. The Greek and EU authorities are responding by trying to enforce the containment of people on Lesbos, and a new camp is currently under construction.

European States are increasingly sending aid and support, but except from a few unaccompanied minors, they have shown no intention to relocate other people on Lesbos and to review their approach of containment.

“The stubbornness of the Greek and EU authorities to keep asylum seekers on the islands at any cost is irresponsible and has dire consequences,” says Stephan Oberreit, MSF head of mission in Greece. “The migratory pressure on the Greek islands should be perfectly manageable at European level and the transfer of a few hundred of unaccompanied minors to a limited number of European countries is just not enough.”

For the last five years, MSF teams on the Greek islands have treated the consequences of European migration policies that pushed thousands of men, women and children in search of safety beyond their limits and to the deterioration of their physical and mental health. Among them are thousands of children and hundreds of victims of torture and violence, that have been retraumatized in Moria to a point which our doctors have repeatedly described as a mental health emergency.

“There are five years of cumulated and publicly-available evidence proving that the inhumane reception conditions, the unfair asylum procedures only lead to cyclical disaster and unmeasurable suffering,” says Oberreit. “Year after year, we read statements and declarations that the situation will improve, means will be deployed.”

“On the ground, MSF teams only see more misery, more human suffering, a routine of humiliation, xenophobia and violence,” Oberreit continues. “Continuing with this model means persevering in a deliberate mechanism of intentional violence, with full knowledge of its humane cost.”

Despite the policy-orchestrated nature of this crisis, the root causes of this disaster have never been questioned by European authorities, and nothing has been done to completely review a system that was rotten to the core.

European leaders must now respond by providing efficient and regular relocation mechanisms to ensure safe and dignified accommodation of people on the Greek mainland and in other European countries. Any new camps established must be only for transit or pre-relocation purposes.

“The argument of some European leaders that if people will be moved from the islands, the flows of 2015 will be repeated, is dangerous and completely misleading,” says Oberreit. “The current situation is not comparable to 2015; arrivals in Greece have never been so limited. There is literally no evidence that the arrival of a few thousand people, mainly families, would constitute a ‘pull-factor’ for more people to follow.”

MSF will continue to demand the creation of safe and legal pathways for those who seek a safe place to live and a better future for themselves and their families. Deterrence policies will not stop people; there is no refugee or immigration crisis today. There has always been a European reception crisis and an overall inadequate asylum system.

“Enough is enough. Decent solutions are possible,” says Oberreit. “Many countries and communities in Europe have expressed their willingness to host people in search of safety. The time has come for EU countries to recognise the failure of deterrence policies and stop using immigration as a means of short-term political calculations.”

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World: WFP Chief warns of grave dangers of economic impact of Coronavirus as millions are pushed further into hunger

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 22:38:03 +0000

Countries: Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, World, Yemen
Source: World Food Programme

Transcript as delivered of remarks by UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley to today’s virtual session of the UN Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (Segment on food security risks in DRC, Yemen, Northeast Nigeria and South Sudan).

NEW YORK – Five months ago, I warned the Council the world stood on the brink of a hunger pandemic. A toxic combination of conflict, climate change and COVID-19, threatened to push 270 million people to the brink of starvation. Famine was real. It’s a terrifying possibility in up to three dozen countries if we don’t continue to act like we’ve been acting.

Fortunately, since we talked about this back in April the world really listened. Donors, leaders all over the word responded, they acted. Countries large and small took extraordinary measures to save the lives of their citizens and support their economies, spending $17 trillion on fiscal stimulus and central bank support. The IMF and the G20 nations threw a lifeline to the poorest nations by suspending debt repayments. That made a huge impact. Donors stepped up with advanced funding so we could pre-position food and move cargo earlier, as well as supporting with additional life-saving dollars. With our donors’ help, the global humanitarian community launched a huge and unprecedented global fightback against the Coronavirus.

Along with our partners, WFP is going all-out to reach as many as 138 million people this year – the biggest scale-up in our history. Already, in the first six months of 2020, we’ve reached 85 million people.

WFP is doing what we do best - adapting and innovating to meet the unique demands of the pandemic. Launching new food and cash programmes to support the hungry in urban areas. Supporting over 50 governments to scale up their safety nets and social protection programmes for the most vulnerable. Getting nutritious food to millions of school children shut out of the classroom during lockdown.

Every day, we are succeeding – because of you -- in keeping people alive and avoiding a humanitarian catastrophe. But we’re not out of the woods. This fight is far, far, far from over – the 270 million people marching toward the brink of starvation need our help today more than ever.

We’re doing just about all we can do to stop the dam from bursting. But, without the resources we need, a wave of hunger and famine still threatens to sweep across the globe. And if it does, it will overwhelm nations and communities already weakened by years of conflict and instability.

This Council made a historic decision when it endorsed Resolution 2417 and condemned the human cost of conflict paid in suffering and hunger. The resolution called for effective early warning systems and, once more, I am here with my colleagues to sound the alarm.

Excellencies, the global hunger crisis caused by conflict, and now compounded by COVID-19, is moving into a new and dangerous phase – especially in nations already scarred by violence. The threat of famine is looming again, so we have to step up, not step back. Quite frankly, 2021 will be a make-or-break year.

Financially, 2020 was a record year for WFP. We hit $8 billion for the first time ever - but our budget was set before the pandemic hit. Economies were strong. Reserve/emergency funds were available. But now, I am truly worried about what will happen next year. I know your governments are spending billions on domestic stimulus packages. National budgets are tight, and reserves are running low if not out. And, economies are shrinking. But I urge you – don’t walk away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance. Don’t turn your backs on the world’s hungriest people.

As COVID-19 pushed countries everywhere to lock down, the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs have been destroyed, and remittances have collapsed. The impact has been felt hardest by the 2 billion people who work in the informal economy around the world - mainly in middle and low-income countries. Already only one day’s work away from going hungry, in other words living hand to mouth. You and I have food in the pantry in a lockdown. We have enough food for two or three weeks. These people don’t have that luxury. If they miss a day’s wages, they miss a day’s worth of food and their children suffer. They don’t have the money to buy their daily bread in those circumstances. This inevitably creates a risk of rising social tensions and instability.

It is critically important we balance sensible measures to contain the spread of the virus, with the need to keep borders open and supply chains going and trade flows moving. We also have to be vigilant and guard against unintended consequences, which could hit the poorest people the hardest. In fact, in the 80-odd countries that we’re in, we’re working with the presidents, the prime ministers, the ministers of government, literally on an hourly basis, dealing with issues that are popping up because of quarantines and lockdowns, distribution points. We’re all learning from this and making headway.

But let me just give you a couple of examples, because a lot of people thought that the virus would be even more deadly in Africa. But it is definitely impacting Africa. We’re not out of the woods yet. And the good news is it hasn’t been as deadly but it has been devastating in other ways. For example, the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine has analyzed the closure of vaccination clinics in Africa during lockdown. It calculated that, for every COVID-19 death prevented, as many as 80 children may die due to a lack of routine immunizations.

There is a grave danger that many more people will die from the broader economic and social consequences of COVID-19 than from the virus itself, especially in Africa. And the last thing we need is to have the cure be worse than the disease itself.

Your continued support for humanitarian programmes is critical right now. It’s a matter of life and death - literally. For millions of people in the countries being discussed today. And for many millions more in the other countries edging closer to the brink of starvation. We know that, already, there are 30 million people who rely solely on WFP for their survival. That’s the only food they get. If they don’t get the food we provide, the die.

Let me turn to the countries on today’s agenda. In the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, conflict and instability had already forced 15.5 million people into crisis levels of food insecurity. These are people on the brink of starvation. The latest assessment indicates that the upsurge in violence, coupled with COVID-19, has sent this total sky-rocketing to nearly 22 million people, an increase of 6.5 million people. And I should warn you these numbers assume WFP is able to maintain current levels of food assistance. If we are forced to scale back operations, the outlook is even worse.

In YEMEN, the world’s worst catastrophe, worst human disaster, it continues… years of conflict-induced hunger and now the COVID-19 pandemic. 20 million people are already in crisis due to war, a collapsed economy and currency devaluation, crippling food prices and the destruction of public infrastructure. We believe a further 3 million may now face starvation due to the virus.

Because of lack of funding, 8.5 million of our beneficiaries in Yemen only receive assistance now every other month. We will be forced to cut rations for the remaining 4.5 million by December if funds do not increase. You can only imagine the impact that will have on the Yemeni people.

The decision by the Ansar Allah authorities to close Sana’a International Airport last week has made an already impossible situation worse. As the only airport in northern Yemen, it is a critical access point for humanitarian staff. The inability to move people in and out will hamper our efforts to stave off famine.

The alarm bells in Yemen are ringing loud and clear, and the world needs to open its eyes to the Yemeni people’s desperate plight before famine takes hold. And that famine is knocking on the door right before our eyes.

NIGERIA: COVID-19 is also forcing more people into food insecurity. Analysis shows measures imposed to contain the virus reduced incomes in 80 percent of households. You can imagine the devastation with that alone.

In the northeast of the country, 4.3 million people are food insecure, up by 600,000 largely due to COVID-19. While in the large urban area of Kano, the number of food insecure people during that lockdown period from March to June went from 568,000 to 1.5 million people – an increase of 1 million people. Very troubling.

SOUTH SUDAN: The outlook there is similarly worrying, where even before the pandemic, 6.5 million people were expected to face severe food insecurity at the height of the lean season, made worse by the violence in Jonglei State in recent months. This has resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians, a large number of abducted women and children, and widespread loss of livestock and livelihoods. In addition, virus outbreaks in urban areas such as Juba could put as many as another 1.6 million people at risk of starvation.

Finally, even though it is not on today’s agenda, I also want to highlight the disaster unfolding in Burkina Faso, driven by the upsurge in violence. The number of people facing crisis levels of hunger has tripled to 3.3 million people, as COVID compounds the situation…displacement, security and access problems. For 11,000 of these people living in the northern provinces, famine is knocking on the door as we speak.

Excellencies, we know what we need to do. We have made huge strides forward in spotting the early warning signs of famine, in understanding its causes and consequences. But, tragically, we have seen this story play out too many times before. The world stands by until it is too late, while hunger kills, it stokes community tensions, fuels conflict and instability, and forces families from their homes.

I recently learned that, in Latin America, hungry families have started hanging white flags outside their houses to show they need help. And there are a lot of them: 17.1 million severely food insecure people today, compared with 4.5 million only six or seven months ago.

A white flag is the sign of surrender - of giving up. Well, we CANNOT and we MUST NOT surrender, or tell ourselves there is nothing we can do, because millions of people around the world desperately need our help.

Truth is, we are all out of excuses for failing to act - swiftly and decisively - while children, women and men starve to death. Today, as humanitarians, we are here to warn you of the pressures caused by conflict and COVID-19. We must act and we must act before the dam bursts.

But there is hope amid the turmoil. We’ve seen some bright light in the last few weeks. The peace agreement signed in Sudan and in the Middle East in the last couple of weeks gives us some hope, because peace is the key to all of this. And this is what the Resolution 2417 is all about.

And so we need everyone on board. And so, Mr President, the governments are strapped, people are strapped financially. It’s time for the private sector to step up.

Quite frankly, you may wonder why I am bringing this up at the Security Council. But I will take every opportunity I get to sound the alarm before it is too late.

We need $4.9 billion to feed, for one year, all 30 million people who will die without WFP’s assistance.

Worldwide, there are over 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion. In my home country, the USA, there are 12 individuals alone worth $1 trillion. In fact, reports state that three of them made billions upon billions during COVID! I am not opposed to people making money, but humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes.

It’s time for those who have the most to step up, to help those who have the least in this extraordinary time in world history. To show you truly love your neighbour. The world needs you right now and it’s time to do the right thing.

For photos, click here.

# # #

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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Contact

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Martin Penner, WFP/ Rome,
Mob. +39 345 614 2074

Bettina Luescher, WFP/ Berlin,
Mob. +49 160 9926 1730

Tomson Phiri, WFP/ Geneva,
Mob. +41 79 842 8057

Jane Howard, WFP/ London,
Tel. +44 (0)20 3857 7413, Mob. +44 (0)796 8008 474

Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York,
Tel. + 1 646 556 6914, Mob. + 1 929 289 9867

Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington,
Tel. +1 202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993

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Urgent action needed to avert the risk of famine in Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen, FAO Director-General tells UN Security Council

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 22:25:12 +0000

Countries: Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Conflict and COVID-19 are also worsening food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan

17 September 2020, New York/ Rome - FAO Director-Genaral QU Dongyu, today warned the United Nations Security Council that Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen were at risk of a looming famine and appealed for an urgent and united humanitarian response to save lives and livelihoods.

"Tragically, there are many more situations where conflict and instability, now also exacerbated by COVID 19, are drivers for more serious hunger and acute food insecurity. This is particularly visible in areas where conflict and other factors such as economic turbulence, and extreme weather, are already driving people into poverty and hunger," he said.

In a virtual briefing to the Security Council on conflict and hunger, Qu also underscored the dire situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.

The Security Council invited FAO's Director-General, the United Nations' Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, and David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, to provide an update on the food security situation in a number of countries around the world experiencing food insecurity.

"Worldwide, those hardest hit include the urban poor, informal workers and pastoral communities as well as people who are already particularly vulnerable - children, women, the elderly, the sick and people with disabilities," the FAO Director-General said.

"We need first and fast aid to stop hunger, we need prevention and production locally, we need political willingness and we need collective actions, as the forecasts for food security in 2020 continue to worsen," he added.

This is the second time this year that Qu has been asked to brief the Security Council on situations of conflict induced food insecurity. Together with Lowcock and Beasley he last addressed the UN body in April.

COVID-19, Desert Locust are factors exacerbating acute food insecurity

Qu expressed deep concern about the latest data on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which shows that some 21.8 million people are unable to get enough food on a daily basis. Qu said this was "the highest number of people experiencing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity ever recorded in a single country".

In Yemen, Qu pointed out that Desert Locusts have further threatened food availability. "FAO urges all those concerned to work towards granting access for control operations to prevent the pest from further worsening the deteriorating situation in Yemen and beyond," he said.

He also expressed "great alarm" about the worsening situation in Burkina Faso, where the number of people experiencing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity has almost tripled.

In northern Nigeria, between June and August 2020, the number of people in crisis or facing emergency levels of acute food insecurity increased by 73 percent compared to the 2019 peak figure and reached almost 8.7 million, Qu said.

He noted that in Somalia, 3.5 million people face crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity between July and September 2020. This increase of 67 percent compared to the 2019 peak is due to the triple shocks experienced this year - COVID-19, floods and the desert locust upsurge. "While much progress has been made in controlling the locusts, FAO is making every effort to sustain control operations," the Director-General said.

In Sudan, the number of people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance has risen by 64 percent, between June and September 2020, reaching around 9.6 million people, the highest level ever recorded in the country, with serious floods further exacerbating the situation.

Combating acute food insecurity, harnessing the power of investments and innovation

In his address to the Security Council, the FAO Director-General called for a "package of solutions" to be put in place in order to combat acute food insecurity effectively. He said humanitarian-development-peace actions must be well coordinated and complementary and that they need to be mutually reinforcing across global, regional, national and local levels.

"Humanitarian actors can provide first aid. Agri-food systems can play a more sustainable function for better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life," Qu said.

He noted that there was "good news" with FAO forecasting in 2020 a bumper harvest globally in major crops - an all-time high year, with 58 million tonnes above the 2019 outturn.

Qu stressed that such an achievement was being reached thanks to enabling policies, investment and "the hard work by millions of famers".

"Lasting peace and harmony can be achieved, through good policies and investment in agriculture infrastructure and capacity building in the rural development, especially in conflict areas," he said.

Qu said the Security Council can play a pivotal role in addressing the threat of conflict induced acute food insecurity by promoting dialogue and seeking solutions to conflict and violence. This would allow for urgent life-saving and livelihood-saving operations to be scaled up and better integrated humanitarian and development responses to be delivered that address the multiple drivers of food insecurity.

"Once again let me assure the Council of FAO's continued support through policy advice, technical assistance, our Big Data platform and concrete services on the ground," the Director-General concluded.

Contact

FAO Media Relations Office
(+39) 06 570 53625
FAO-Newsroom@fao.org

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World: WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 17 September 2020

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 21:15:07 +0000

Country: World
Source: World Health Organization

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, dear colleagues and friends,

Thank you for joining us for this week’s Member State briefing.

Today we will hear from the Minister of Health of Togo, Moustafa Mijiyawa, on the lessons Togo has learned in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Welcome my brother.

We will then hear an update on planning for the Solidarity Vaccines Trial from our chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan.

We have minimized the presentations today to allow enough time for discussion on this initiative, and we look forward to your guidance and advice on the vaccine initiative.

From the beginning of this crisis, WHO has been supporting global efforts to develop a vaccine. In concrete terms, that means developing target product profiles, criteria for prioritization of vaccines and a core vaccine trial protocol.

We have engaged with vaccine developers and academics to standardize lab assays, animal models, and other normative methodologies.

Throughout the process, we are tracking the landscape of vaccine candidates.

Vaccines will be a vital tool for bringing the pandemic under control. But we have no guarantee that any one vaccine now in development will work. The more shots we have on goal, the higher the chance we will have a very safe and very efficacious vaccine.

That is why we are working to foster global solidarity and collaboration in vaccine research.

It is really encouraging that we see a large number of self-financing countries that are engaged in finding global solutions to access to vaccines.

Our sincere thanks.

As you know, WHO, the European Commission and other partners established the ACT Accelerator in April to catalyse the development and equitable allocation of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

So far, more than 170 countries have expressed interest in joining the COVAX Facility, which will guarantee access to the world’s largest portfolio of vaccine candidates.

I urge those countries that have not yet joined COVAX to do so by tomorrow’s deadline for submitting your commitment agreements to Gavi.

For the ACT Accelerator to work as planned, it must be funded. So far, 3 billion US dollars has been invested. This has resulted in a very successful start-up phase, but it is only a tenth of the remaining 35 billion dollars needed for scale-up and impact.

15 billion dollars is needed immediately to maintain momentum and stay on track for our ambitious timelines.

I would like to thank President Ramaphosa of South Africa and Prime Minister Solberg of Norway for agreeing to co-chair the ACT Accelerator Facilitation Council, which had its first meeting last week. I would also like to thank UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, President Kagame of Rwanda and the ministers from many Member States who participated in the meeting.

If time allows, Dr Bruce Aylward will give an update on the ACT Accelerator at the end of today’s briefing.

Now more than ever, we need to come together to marshal our combined resources to defeat this global threat.

This past Monday, we had the pleasure of presenting the new report from the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board.

As you know, WHO and the World Bank founded the GPMB two years ago because we were concerned that the world was stuck in a cycle of panic and neglect.

In this new report, the GPMB lays out the lessons the world must learn and the concrete actions we can take to protect ourselves.

I urge you all to read the report. We must learn these lessons now and take the necessary steps to make our world safer.

Governments and international agencies must be accountable to the populations we have pledged to serve.

We have to work together, plan for the long term, and realize that spending on health and preparedness is not charity, it’s an investment in our future.

Crucially, we must invest in health and care workers.

Globally, around 14% of COVID-19 cases reported to WHO are among health workers, and in some countries it’s as much as 35%.

However, data are limited and it’s hard to know whether health workers are infected in their workplaces or communities.

But it is not just the risk of infection. Every day, health workers are exposed to stress, burnout, stigma, discrimination and even violence.

That’s why this year, in the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, World Patient Safety Day - which we celebrate today - is dedicated to the safety of health workers.

To mark the day, we are launching a charter on health worker safety, which we invite all countries, hospitals, clinics and partners to implement.

No country, hospital or clinic can keep its patients safe unless it keeps its health workers safe.

Now more than ever, we have a duty to give health workers the safe working conditions, the training, the pay and the respect they deserve.

I thank you.

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World: Secretary-General assures young peacebuilders, ‘I am listening to your voices’, renews call for global ceasefire at International Day student observance

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 20:24:49 +0000

Country: World
Source: UN Secretary-General

SG/SM/20261

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the virtual student observance of the International Day of Peace, in New York today:

The International Day of Peace is traditionally a day when we call on armed combatants across the world to put down their weapons. But, in a time of pandemic, 24 hours is not nearly enough. That is why, last March, I called for an immediate global ceasefire. Because now there is only one true enemy: the virus. The pandemic is the biggest threat to peace and security in our world today.

My ceasefire appeal resonated widely with Member States, civil society and even several armed groups. But, spoilers and distrust have proven to be major obstacles to the implementation.

Now, with the virus still raging but also at a time when we are seeing some encouraging steps towards peace, I will use my annual speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday to renew my appeal. The world needs a new push for peace, and I will urge the international community to mobilize to make it happen by the end of the year.

All of you have a role to play in this effort. You do not have to live in a war zone to help foster the atmosphere we need. I am always inspired by how much meaningful action young peacebuilders take every day to make our world a better place. Now, we need you to inspire combatants engaged in battle to stand down and think of the common good.

This observance also takes place as we mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations. We have commemorated this milestone not with celebration but with conversation. In surveys, polls and dialogues, we encouraged young people in particular to share their views about our future. And I am listening closely to your voices. I know you want change — health care for all, opportunities for all, climate action and an end to discrimination. I can also sense your yearning for greater global solidarity. I want that, too. That is the only way forward.

In these difficult times of physical distancing, let us stay connected. Let us exchange ideas on how to turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for peace and inclusivity. We have seen the virus being used to vilify certain communities and to promote hatred. We have seen it expose the inequalities that have always lurked in our societies. We cannot let that happen. We cannot let the pandemic threaten peace.

We may not be able to stand next to each other. But, we can still strategize together and advocate together and find solutions together. Your contribution to recovery will be crucial because your ideas matter. I hope you will celebrate the International Day of Peace by spreading compassion, kindness and hope among your friends and communities in these troubling times. I hope you will stand together with the United Nations against violence and discrimination. As the theme of this year’s observance tells us, let us shape peace together. And I thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.

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Honduras: Providing psychosocial support to COVID-19 patients

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 20:05:07 +0000

Country: Honduras
Source: Médecins Sans Frontières

Since June 13, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has cared for 134 patients with mild to severe COVID-19 symptoms at the Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). More than 100 of those patients have now been discharged. The health center supports the Tegucigalpa hospital system by providing comprehensive medical care, including psychosocial care, for patients and their families.

As of September 14, Honduras had reported 67,789 cases of COVID-19, with approximately 27 percent of these in the capital, Tegucigalpa. This concentration of cases in Tegucigalpa has caused the city’s hospital system to collapse at times during the pandemic.

"The added value of MSF in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is the medical care we give and our experience in managing emergencies," says Jose Antonio Silva, MSF project coordinator for Tegucigalpa. "For this reason we have been able to adapt to the context of the city.”

The psychosocial care team, made up of psychologists and health promoters, gives each patient an activity book when they are admitted, in which they can draw, paint, and read, as a tool for recreational activity and for mental health care. This activity goes hand in hand with psychological care, which is carried out by phone and in person.

“Reading helped me a lot during my time here. It helped me not to think about the disease and it was something very positive," Erenia, a patient at the COVID-19 center, said when she was discharged.

"As MSF, we highlight the mental health care that is given to patients, family members and the health personnel themselves, since it is a component that seeks to give emotional support to all these people," said Silva.

"MSF's kind and enthusiastic care to each patient helps us to see ahead into the future and be able to recover physically," said Francisco, another patient who was discharged from the COVID-19 center. "And I want to thank the mental health team for their kindness and listening time, it helps us to have a better and speedy recovery."

To complete the psychosocial care process and treatment, when they are discharged, each patient is asked to leave a message to the health professionals. They also receive a kit with psychosocial support activities to take home, which has medical guidance for patients in recovery, recommendations for mental health care, information on ways to protects themselves and their families from COVID-19, and leisure activities.

The patients inside the COVID-19 center received quality medical care, access to video calls to speak with their families, and psychosocial care for patients and their families in order to alleviate the pain caused by this disease.

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Secretary-General calls for addressing fragilities of fractured world, invoking United Nations founding principles at annual Peace Bell ceremony

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 19:46:47 +0000

Country: World
Source: UN Secretary-General

SG/SM/20260

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the United Nations Peace Bell ceremony on the occasion of the thirty-ninth anniversary of the International Day of Peace, in New York today:

Good morning and thank you for being with us today for the Peace Bell Ceremony. Thank you, Yo-Yo Ma, for playing for us today, and for everything you do for peace, including your online concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Music is the language of peace, with universal appeal and infinite diversity. Thank you for inspiring us.

Peace is never a given. It is an aspiration that is only as strong as our conviction, and only as durable as our hope. It can take decades, even centuries, to build peaceful, stable societies. But peace can be squandered in an instant by reckless, divisive policies and approaches.

Seventy-five years ago, the United Nations was founded with the overriding goal of preventing war and promoting peace. Since then, we have deepened our knowledge on how to fulfil that noble mission. We have solid evidence that human rights, respect for the rule of law, access to justice and opportunities for all are the building blocks for peaceful communities and societies. This is why the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is above all an agenda for peace.

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding risks to peace everywhere. It poses an enormous threat to people caught up in conflict, which is why I made an immediate appeal for a global ceasefire. I will repeat the call during the General Debate next week. We need to silence the guns and focus on our common enemy: the virus. Beyond war zones, the pandemic is highlighting and exploiting inequalities of all kinds, setting communities and countries against each other.

This ceremony in the Japanese garden is an annual moment of calm before high-level week; a moment that brings us back to our founding purpose of peace. I thank Japan for its contributions to the United Nations, including the Peace Bell, a symbol of unity, cast from coins and medals donated by people from all over the world.

Japanese culture has a deep appreciation for natural imperfections and flaws. This is reflected in the art of kintsugi — putting broken pieces of pottery together with golden lacquer to create a stronger, more beautiful whole. The result is a piece that is not “good as new”, but “better than new”.

As we mark the International Day of Peace, let’s apply this principle to our fractured world. Let’s address the fragilities and inequalities that work against peace so that we emerge from the crisis stronger than before. Let’s push for peace wherever conflict is raging and wherever there are diplomatic opportunities to silence the guns. Let’s prioritize peace and build a safer future for all.

Before I ring this bell and sound a call for peace and a day of non-violence, I ask you to join us in a minute of silence for victims of war and conflict around the world. Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.

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World: OMS: Garantizar la seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud para preservar la de los pacientes

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 19:41:59 +0000

Country: World
Source: World Health Organization

La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) hace un llamamiento a los gobiernos y a los dirigentes del ámbito de la atención de la salud para que aborden las persistentes amenazas a la salud y la seguridad de los trabajadores sanitarios y los pacientes.

«La pandemia de COVID-19 nos ha recordado a todos el papel fundamental que desempeñan los trabajadores de la salud para aliviar el sufrimiento y salvar vidas,» ha dicho el Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General de la OMS. «Ningún país, hospital o centro de salud puede mantener a salvo a sus pacientes a menos que preserve la seguridad de sus trabajadores de la salud. La Carta de Seguridad de los Trabajadores de la Salud de la OMS es un paso para velar por que los trabajadores de la salud tengan las condiciones de trabajo seguras, la capacitación, la remuneración y el respeto que merecen.»

La pandemia también ha puesto de relieve hasta qué punto la protección de los trabajadores de la salud es clave para garantizar el funcionamiento del sistema de salud y de la sociedad.

En la Carta, publicada hoy con motivo del Día Mundial de la Seguridad del Paciente, se hace un llamamiento a los gobiernos y a los responsables de los servicios de salud a nivel local para que adopten cinco medidas destinadas a proteger mejor a los trabajadores de la salud. Se trata de medidas para proteger a los trabajadores de la salud de la violencia, mejorar su salud mental, protegerlos de los peligros físicos y biológicos, promover los programas nacionales de seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud, y vincular las políticas de seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud con las políticas de seguridad del paciente existentes.

Aumento del número de infecciones, enfermedades y agresiones señaladas en relación con los trabajadores de la salud que luchan contra la COVID-19

La COVID-19 ha expuesto a los trabajadores de la salud y a sus familias a niveles de riesgo sin precedentes. Aunque no son representativos, los datos de muchos países de todas las regiones de la OMS indican que el número de infecciones por el virus de la COVID-19 entre los trabajadores de la salud es mucho mayor que entre la población general.

Aunque los trabajadores de la salud representan menos del 3% de la población en la gran mayoría de los países y menos del 2% en casi todos los países de ingresos bajos y medios, alrededor del 14% de los casos de COVID-19 notificados a la OMS corresponden a trabajadores de la salud. En algunos países, la proporción puede llegar hasta el 35%. Sin embargo, la disponibilidad y la calidad de los datos son limitadas, y no es posible establecer si los trabajadores sanitarios se infectaron en el lugar de trabajo o en entornos comunitarios. Miles de trabajadores de la salud infectados por el virus de la COVID-19 han perdido la vida en todo el mundo.

Además de los riesgos físicos, la pandemia ha ejercido niveles extraordinarios de estrés psicológico sobre los trabajadores de la salud expuestos a entornos de gran demanda durante largas horas, los cuales viven con el temor constante de estar expuestos a la enfermedad mientras están separados de sus familias y se enfrentan a la estigmatización social. Antes de que comenzara la pandemia de COVID-19, los profesionales de la medicina ya corrían un mayor riesgo de suicidio en todas partes del mundo. En un estudio reciente - en inglés, sobre los profesionales de la salud se concluyó que, durante la pandemia de COVID-19, uno de cada cuatro estaba sufriendo depresión y ansiedad, y uno de cada tres, insomnio.[1] La OMS evidenció recientemente un aumento de la notificación por parte de los trabajadores de la salud de episodios de acoso verbal, discriminación y violencia física a raíz de la COVID-19.

Cinco pasos para mejorar la seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud y la seguridad de los pacientes

En el Día Mundial de la Seguridad del Paciente, la OMS recuerda a los gobiernos que tienen la responsabilidad jurídica y moral de garantizar la salud, la seguridad y el bienestar de los trabajadores de la salud. En la Carta de Seguridad de los Trabajadores de la Salud de la Organización se pide a todos los Estados Miembros y partes interesadas pertinentes que adopten medidas para:

Establecer sinergias entre las políticas y estrategias de seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud y de seguridad de los pacientes:

  • Crear vínculos entre la salud y la seguridad en el trabajo, la seguridad del paciente, la mejora de la calidad y los programas de prevención y control de infecciones.
  • Incluir aptitudes en materia de salud y seguridad del personal y del paciente en los programas de educación y capacitación de los trabajadores de la salud en todos los niveles.
  • Incluir requisitos relativos a la seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud y los pacientes en las normas de concesión de licencias y acreditación en el ámbito de la atención de la salud.
  • Integrar la seguridad del personal y la seguridad del paciente en los sistemas de notificación de incidentes y de aprendizaje.
  • Desarrollar sistemas integrados de indicadores de seguridad del paciente, seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud y calidad de la atención, e integrarlos en el sistema de información sanitaria

    Elaborar y aplicar programas nacionales a favor de la salud y seguridad en el trabajo de los trabajadores de la salud:

  • Elaborar y aplicar programas nacionales de salud ocupacional de los trabajadores sanitarios, de conformidad con las políticas nacionales de salud y seguridad en el trabajo.

  • Revisar y actualizar, cuando sea necesario, los reglamentos y leyes nacionales de salud y seguridad en el trabajo para garantizar que todos los trabajadores de la salud tengan una protección reglamentaria de su salud y seguridad en el trabajo.

  • Designar a funcionarios responsables con autoridad en materia de salud y seguridad en el trabajo de los trabajadores sanitarios tanto a nivel nacional como a nivel de los centros de salud.

  • Elaborar normas, directrices y códigos de prácticas sobre salud y seguridad en el trabajo.

  • Fortalecer la colaboración intersectorial en materia de seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud y los pacientes, velando por que los trabajadores de todos los grupos ocupacionales y la administración estén adecuadamente representados, especialmente en materia de género y diversidad.

    Proteger a los trabajadores de la salud frente a la violencia en el lugar de trabajo

  • Adoptar y aplicar, de conformidad con la legislación nacional, políticas y mecanismos pertinentes para prevenir y eliminar la violencia en el sector de la salud.

  • Promover una cultura de tolerancia cero a la violencia contra los trabajadores de la salud.

  • Revisar las leyes laborales y otras leyes y, cuando proceda, introducir legislación específica para prevenir la violencia contra los trabajadores de la salud.

  • Asegurarse de que las políticas y reglamentos se apliquen efectivamente para prevenir la violencia y proteger a los trabajadores de la salud.

  • Establecer mecanismos de aplicación pertinentes, como mediadores y líneas telefónicas de ayuda, para posibilitar la presentación gratuita y confidencial de denuncias y la prestación de apoyo a cualquier trabajador de la salud que sufra un acto de violencia.

    Mejorar la salud mental y el bienestar psicológico

    • Establecer políticas que garanticen una duración apropiada y justa de las asignaciones a determinadas labores, las horas de trabajo y las pausas de descanso, y reduzcan al mínimo la carga administrativa que pesa sobre los trabajadores de la salud.
    • Definir y mantener niveles apropiados y seguros de dotación de personal en los centros de atención de la salud.
    • Proporcionar cobertura de seguro por los riesgos relacionados con el trabajo, especialmente para quienes trabajan en zonas de alto riesgo.
    • Establecer una cultura de trabajo justa «y sin recriminaciones» a través de una comunicación abierta y la inclusión de una protección legal y administrativa contra las medidas punitivas por informar sobre eventos adversos de seguridad.
    • Proporcionar a los trabajadores de la salud acceso a los servicios de bienestar mental y apoyo social, incluidos el asesoramiento sobre el equilibrio entre el trabajo y la vida privada y la evaluación y mitigación de riesgos.

    Proteger a los trabajadores de la salud frente a los peligros físicos y biológicos

  • Garantizar la aplicación de normas mínimas de seguridad del paciente, prevención y control de infecciones y seguridad ocupacional en todos los centros de atención de la salud de todo el sistema de salud.

  • Garantizar la disponibilidad de equipos de protección personal (EPP) en todo momento, según sea pertinente con arreglo a las funciones y tareas que se realicen, en cantidades y tallas adecuadas y con una calidad aceptable. Garantizar el mantenimiento a nivel local de una reserva adecuada de EPP. Velar por que se proporcione una capacitación adecuada sobre el uso apropiado del EPP y las precauciones de seguridad.

  • Garantizar servicios ambientales adecuados como agua, saneamiento e higiene, desinfección y ventilación adecuada en todos los centros de atención de la salud.

  • Garantizar la vacunación de todos los trabajadores de la salud en situación de riesgo contra todas las infecciones prevenibles mediante vacunación, incluidas la hepatitis B y la gripe estacional, de conformidad con la política nacional de inmunización y, en el contexto de la respuesta de emergencia, garantizar el acceso prioritario de los trabajadores de la salud a las vacunas apenas se autoricen y distribuyan.

  • Proporcionar recursos adecuados para proteger a los trabajadores de la salud contra las lesiones y la exposición perjudicial a productos químicos y radiaciones; proporcionar equipos y puestos de trabajo funcionales y ergonómicos para minimizar las lesiones osteomusculares y las caídas.

Además de la Carta de Seguridad de los Trabajadores de la Salud, la OMS también ha esbozado objetivos específicos para el Día Mundial de la Seguridad del Paciente 2020 con el fin de que los dirigentes en materia de atención de la salud midan y mejoren la seguridad de los trabajadores de la salud e inviertan en ella durante el próximo año. Los objetivos están destinados a que los centros de atención de la salud aborden cinco esferas: la prevención de las lesiones causadas por objetos punzantes, la reducción del estrés y el agotamiento relacionados con el trabajo, la mejora del uso del equipo de protección personal, la promoción de la tolerancia cero frente a la violencia contra los trabajadores de la salud, y la notificación y el análisis de los incidentes graves relacionados con la seguridad.

[1] Pappa, S., Ntella, V., Giannakas, T., Giannakoulis, V. G., Papoutsi, E., & Katsaounou, P. (2020). Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain, behavior, and immunity, S0889-1591(20)30845-X. Publicación anticipada en línea. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.05.026

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Benin: UNHCR West & Central Africa COVID-19 Emergency Response, 17 September 2020

Thu, 17 Sep 2020 19:41:39 +0000

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Countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Please refer to the attached file.

21 Countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

In West and Central Africa, the increase rate in new COVID-19 cases is slowing down while the number of active cases is declining for the past two months, going from 48,443 on 20 July to 23,195 as of 17 September 2020.

In Cote d’Ivoire, UNHCR obtained the opening of humanitarian corridor to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of 63 Ivorian refugees from GuineaConakry which constitute the first return of Ivorian refugees since the pandemic started.

Heavy rainfalls and floods continue to affect several hosting areas, especially in the Sahel where UNHCR is stepping up its emergency interventions along with the implementation of its COVID-19 response.

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