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Yemen: Despite 'positive atmosphere,' Government of Yemen suspends participation from joint peace talks

Yemen - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 11:49pm
Source: UN News Service Country: Yemen

1 May 2016 – Despite the positive atmosphere of the Yemeni peace talks which prevailed during the past few days, the United Nations envoy for Yemen announced today that the Government's delegation suspended its participation in the plenary sessions because of reports received from Amran governorate.

“We understand the reasons that lead to this decision; however we urge all the parties to engage in good faith and demonstrate wisdom in their participation in the talks, Yemenis are counting on them,” said UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in a statement.

“We believe that all difficult issues should be discussed at the negotiating table in a transparent manner, in order to reach a comprehensive agreement which will put an end to this kind of incidents. We are not underestimating the importance of what happened or what is happening,” he stressed, adding that the only path to a solution is through a peaceful dialogue with full adherence to Security Council resolutions.

Mr. Cheikh Ahmed further noted that the UN is in constant contact with the De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC), and through it with the local committees, to investigate and halt all breaches of the cessation of hostilities. On 10 April, both parties had committed to adhere to its terms and conditions, which the UN envoy had presented.

After communicating extensively with the delegation of the Government of Yemen and meeting the leaders of Ansar Allah and the General People's Congress delegation this afternoon, the envoy confirmed that he had received assurances from the parties regarding their commitment to resolve the outstanding issues without convening joint sessions.

According to the statement, United Nations political experts are currently reviewing the documents presented by the two delegations in order to identify common ground between them; the world body hopes to resume the talks and build on the tangible progress achieved during the past two days.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and thanked him for his country's constant support to the UN in the Middle East and for hosting the peace talks.

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 4 | 1 to 30 April 2016

TyphoonHaiyan - RW Updates - 1 May 2016 - 11:49pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines
Highlights
  • 32 of 81 provinces in the Philippines are suffering drought.

  • Small-scale farmers hit by the drought in parts of Mindanao are exhausting coping strategies while local authorities work to deliver assistance.

  • 23,000 people remain displaced in Zamboanga City two and half years after the September 2013 conflict.

  • The Philippines seeks international classification for its search and rescue teams.

  • Philippine private sector gears up disaster preparedness ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Sarangani farmers go hungry in drought El Niño brings drought to 40 per cent of the Philippines

“Now we seldom eat rice or bread, [and when we do] it’s mostly with just vegetables,” says farmer Jennie Korbo, while surveying the cracked, parched soil of what used to be a corn field in Sarangani province, Mindanao.

While the Philippines is in the midst of election fever, farmers in the south are suffering from El Niño-induced heat that is laying waste to normally productive land.

Jennie has lost her two last corn crops and is now in serious debt because of the drought.
The ribs of her two cows are clearly visible as they amble from tree to tree seeking shelter from the unrelenting sun. “I just give them water so that they feel full. They only eat the dried corn stubs from the field,” she says.

The provincial capital of Alabel in Sarangani is full of farmers like Jennie who depend on corn for their livelihood. The municipality declared a state of calamity in 2015 when the region began to feel the full impact of El Niño.

Now with an estimated 40 per cent of the country suffering drought, 11 provinces, 10 cities and 26 municipalities and barangays across the country - but mostly in Mindanao – have declared states of calamity. Some 182,000 farmers with 224,800 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by El Niño.

Local authorities struggle to respond quickly due to funding freeze

In Alabel, an estimated 5,500 hectares of land normally supporting corn – including Jennie’s 1.8-hectare rented farmland – lie unplanted since February due to the lack of water. About 500 hectares of banana plantation are also affected, municipal agriculturist Enriguito Dagupto estimates.

According to Dagupto, many of the farmers say their families are close to starvation and are waiting anxiously for assistance from the Government. “The national government has promised irrigation pumps and seeds but as of now they have not been delivered. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also promising food and clothing,” says Dagupto.

The farmers’ problems are compounded by the fact that government assistance has to follow special procedures for the 45 days in the lead up to the national and local elections in May. The municipality’s emergency funds are far from sufficient to help all those in need. “We have PhP3 million (US$64,000) in the calamity fund but are allowed to use only half of it [for this drought],” Dagupto says. The rest is saved for future possible calamities.

Although Sarangani province is among the poorest in the Philippines, its fertile land provides corn, rice, banana, coconut, vegetables and fruits for the rest of the country. Since February the region has lost half of its high-value crops, according to estimates.

The national weather bureau forecasts that dry conditions in parts of Mindanao may last until July. The local officials say they can only pray for the rain to come earlier. “We are getting worried that if assistance does not arrive in time, our people will really suffer. There may be massive hunger and peace and order will be affected,” says Dagupto.

Farmers cope with hardships as they await assistance

The Government has released $98 million to help counter the impact of El Niño on agriculture, through providing seeds, fertilisers, water pumps and technical training to the affected farmers and cloud seeding and other water supply augmentation. In addition, $11 million has been made available for emergency employment assistance and another $2 million for food distribution to the affected households. Unfortunately, none has arrived to help Jennie so far.

UN agencies, the Red Cross, and international and national NGOs are supporting the authorities with emergency food security assessment, distribution of food, water and other relief items, and financial and technical assistance to the affected farming communities especially in Mindanao.

While the scorching El Niño heat continues, Jennie slips deeper into debt. She borrowed PhP30,000 ($640) for seeds and fertilizer last August. “Before, we got 250 sacks of corn from my land; the last time I only harvested 20 sacks.” In February this year she did not plant at all.

Normally Jennie would earn PhP20,000 ($430) per harvest. Now she can’t pay back her loan with its steep 10 per cent monthly interest rate. Plus she needs money to pay the rent on her farmland and food for the family. The solution is to eat less, earn a few extra dollars from ad-hoc jobs and borrow more.

Jennie’s family is consuming bananas as an alternative to their staple food of rice. Her eldest son had to drop out of school to take a job as a motorcycle driver, while other siblings earned small fees for setting up an instant photography service at local end-of-school-year ceremonies.

These, however, are not sustainable means to make the family’s ends meet, and Jennie is worried about the decreasing water level in her hand-pumped tube well. If the family runs out of potable water, she may have to borrow again, from whomever she can, even though she will probably spiral downward into debt which may take a long time to repay, even after the weather improves.

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 4 | 1 to 30 April 2016

TyphoonHaiyan - Latest Reports RW - 1 May 2016 - 11:49pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines
Highlights
  • 32 of 81 provinces in the Philippines are suffering drought.

  • Small-scale farmers hit by the drought in parts of Mindanao are exhausting coping strategies while local authorities work to deliver assistance.

  • 23,000 people remain displaced in Zamboanga City two and half years after the September 2013 conflict.

  • The Philippines seeks international classification for its search and rescue teams.

  • Philippine private sector gears up disaster preparedness ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Sarangani farmers go hungry in drought El Niño brings drought to 40 per cent of the Philippines

“Now we seldom eat rice or bread, [and when we do] it’s mostly with just vegetables,” says farmer Jennie Korbo, while surveying the cracked, parched soil of what used to be a corn field in Sarangani province, Mindanao.

While the Philippines is in the midst of election fever, farmers in the south are suffering from El Niño-induced heat that is laying waste to normally productive land.

Jennie has lost her two last corn crops and is now in serious debt because of the drought.
The ribs of her two cows are clearly visible as they amble from tree to tree seeking shelter from the unrelenting sun. “I just give them water so that they feel full. They only eat the dried corn stubs from the field,” she says.

The provincial capital of Alabel in Sarangani is full of farmers like Jennie who depend on corn for their livelihood. The municipality declared a state of calamity in 2015 when the region began to feel the full impact of El Niño.

Now with an estimated 40 per cent of the country suffering drought, 11 provinces, 10 cities and 26 municipalities and barangays across the country - but mostly in Mindanao – have declared states of calamity. Some 182,000 farmers with 224,800 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by El Niño.

Local authorities struggle to respond quickly due to funding freeze

In Alabel, an estimated 5,500 hectares of land normally supporting corn – including Jennie’s 1.8-hectare rented farmland – lie unplanted since February due to the lack of water. About 500 hectares of banana plantation are also affected, municipal agriculturist Enriguito Dagupto estimates.

According to Dagupto, many of the farmers say their families are close to starvation and are waiting anxiously for assistance from the Government. “The national government has promised irrigation pumps and seeds but as of now they have not been delivered. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also promising food and clothing,” says Dagupto.

The farmers’ problems are compounded by the fact that government assistance has to follow special procedures for the 45 days in the lead up to the national and local elections in May. The municipality’s emergency funds are far from sufficient to help all those in need. “We have PhP3 million (US$64,000) in the calamity fund but are allowed to use only half of it [for this drought],” Dagupto says. The rest is saved for future possible calamities.

Although Sarangani province is among the poorest in the Philippines, its fertile land provides corn, rice, banana, coconut, vegetables and fruits for the rest of the country. Since February the region has lost half of its high-value crops, according to estimates.

The national weather bureau forecasts that dry conditions in parts of Mindanao may last until July. The local officials say they can only pray for the rain to come earlier. “We are getting worried that if assistance does not arrive in time, our people will really suffer. There may be massive hunger and peace and order will be affected,” says Dagupto.

Farmers cope with hardships as they await assistance

The Government has released $98 million to help counter the impact of El Niño on agriculture, through providing seeds, fertilisers, water pumps and technical training to the affected farmers and cloud seeding and other water supply augmentation. In addition, $11 million has been made available for emergency employment assistance and another $2 million for food distribution to the affected households. Unfortunately, none has arrived to help Jennie so far.

UN agencies, the Red Cross, and international and national NGOs are supporting the authorities with emergency food security assessment, distribution of food, water and other relief items, and financial and technical assistance to the affected farming communities especially in Mindanao.

While the scorching El Niño heat continues, Jennie slips deeper into debt. She borrowed PhP30,000 ($640) for seeds and fertilizer last August. “Before, we got 250 sacks of corn from my land; the last time I only harvested 20 sacks.” In February this year she did not plant at all.

Normally Jennie would earn PhP20,000 ($430) per harvest. Now she can’t pay back her loan with its steep 10 per cent monthly interest rate. Plus she needs money to pay the rent on her farmland and food for the family. The solution is to eat less, earn a few extra dollars from ad-hoc jobs and borrow more.

Jennie’s family is consuming bananas as an alternative to their staple food of rice. Her eldest son had to drop out of school to take a job as a motorcycle driver, while other siblings earned small fees for setting up an instant photography service at local end-of-school-year ceremonies.

These, however, are not sustainable means to make the family’s ends meet, and Jennie is worried about the decreasing water level in her hand-pumped tube well. If the family runs out of potable water, she may have to borrow again, from whomever she can, even though she will probably spiral downward into debt which may take a long time to repay, even after the weather improves.

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 4 | 1 to 30 April 2016

ReliefWeb - OCHA Situation Reports - 1 May 2016 - 11:49pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines
Highlights
  • 32 of 81 provinces in the Philippines are suffering drought.

  • Small-scale farmers hit by the drought in parts of Mindanao are exhausting coping strategies while local authorities work to deliver assistance.

  • 23,000 people remain displaced in Zamboanga City two and half years after the September 2013 conflict.

  • The Philippines seeks international classification for its search and rescue teams.

  • Philippine private sector gears up disaster preparedness ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Sarangani farmers go hungry in drought El Niño brings drought to 40 per cent of the Philippines

“Now we seldom eat rice or bread, [and when we do] it’s mostly with just vegetables,” says farmer Jennie Korbo, while surveying the cracked, parched soil of what used to be a corn field in Sarangani province, Mindanao.

While the Philippines is in the midst of election fever, farmers in the south are suffering from El Niño-induced heat that is laying waste to normally productive land.

Jennie has lost her two last corn crops and is now in serious debt because of the drought.
The ribs of her two cows are clearly visible as they amble from tree to tree seeking shelter from the unrelenting sun. “I just give them water so that they feel full. They only eat the dried corn stubs from the field,” she says.

The provincial capital of Alabel in Sarangani is full of farmers like Jennie who depend on corn for their livelihood. The municipality declared a state of calamity in 2015 when the region began to feel the full impact of El Niño.

Now with an estimated 40 per cent of the country suffering drought, 11 provinces, 10 cities and 26 municipalities and barangays across the country - but mostly in Mindanao – have declared states of calamity. Some 182,000 farmers with 224,800 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by El Niño.

Local authorities struggle to respond quickly due to funding freeze

In Alabel, an estimated 5,500 hectares of land normally supporting corn – including Jennie’s 1.8-hectare rented farmland – lie unplanted since February due to the lack of water. About 500 hectares of banana plantation are also affected, municipal agriculturist Enriguito Dagupto estimates.

According to Dagupto, many of the farmers say their families are close to starvation and are waiting anxiously for assistance from the Government. “The national government has promised irrigation pumps and seeds but as of now they have not been delivered. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also promising food and clothing,” says Dagupto.

The farmers’ problems are compounded by the fact that government assistance has to follow special procedures for the 45 days in the lead up to the national and local elections in May. The municipality’s emergency funds are far from sufficient to help all those in need. “We have PhP3 million (US$64,000) in the calamity fund but are allowed to use only half of it [for this drought],” Dagupto says. The rest is saved for future possible calamities.

Although Sarangani province is among the poorest in the Philippines, its fertile land provides corn, rice, banana, coconut, vegetables and fruits for the rest of the country. Since February the region has lost half of its high-value crops, according to estimates.

The national weather bureau forecasts that dry conditions in parts of Mindanao may last until July. The local officials say they can only pray for the rain to come earlier. “We are getting worried that if assistance does not arrive in time, our people will really suffer. There may be massive hunger and peace and order will be affected,” says Dagupto.

Farmers cope with hardships as they await assistance

The Government has released $98 million to help counter the impact of El Niño on agriculture, through providing seeds, fertilisers, water pumps and technical training to the affected farmers and cloud seeding and other water supply augmentation. In addition, $11 million has been made available for emergency employment assistance and another $2 million for food distribution to the affected households. Unfortunately, none has arrived to help Jennie so far.

UN agencies, the Red Cross, and international and national NGOs are supporting the authorities with emergency food security assessment, distribution of food, water and other relief items, and financial and technical assistance to the affected farming communities especially in Mindanao.

While the scorching El Niño heat continues, Jennie slips deeper into debt. She borrowed PhP30,000 ($640) for seeds and fertilizer last August. “Before, we got 250 sacks of corn from my land; the last time I only harvested 20 sacks.” In February this year she did not plant at all.

Normally Jennie would earn PhP20,000 ($430) per harvest. Now she can’t pay back her loan with its steep 10 per cent monthly interest rate. Plus she needs money to pay the rent on her farmland and food for the family. The solution is to eat less, earn a few extra dollars from ad-hoc jobs and borrow more.

Jennie’s family is consuming bananas as an alternative to their staple food of rice. Her eldest son had to drop out of school to take a job as a motorcycle driver, while other siblings earned small fees for setting up an instant photography service at local end-of-school-year ceremonies.

These, however, are not sustainable means to make the family’s ends meet, and Jennie is worried about the decreasing water level in her hand-pumped tube well. If the family runs out of potable water, she may have to borrow again, from whomever she can, even though she will probably spiral downward into debt which may take a long time to repay, even after the weather improves.

Categories: RSS feeds

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 4 | 1 to 30 April 2016

Philippines - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 11:49pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines
Highlights
  • 32 of 81 provinces in the Philippines are suffering drought.

  • Small-scale farmers hit by the drought in parts of Mindanao are exhausting coping strategies while local authorities work to deliver assistance.

  • 23,000 people remain displaced in Zamboanga City two and half years after the September 2013 conflict.

  • The Philippines seeks international classification for its search and rescue teams.

  • Philippine private sector gears up disaster preparedness ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Sarangani farmers go hungry in drought El Niño brings drought to 40 per cent of the Philippines

“Now we seldom eat rice or bread, [and when we do] it’s mostly with just vegetables,” says farmer Jennie Korbo, while surveying the cracked, parched soil of what used to be a corn field in Sarangani province, Mindanao.

While the Philippines is in the midst of election fever, farmers in the south are suffering from El Niño-induced heat that is laying waste to normally productive land.

Jennie has lost her two last corn crops and is now in serious debt because of the drought.
The ribs of her two cows are clearly visible as they amble from tree to tree seeking shelter from the unrelenting sun. “I just give them water so that they feel full. They only eat the dried corn stubs from the field,” she says.

The provincial capital of Alabel in Sarangani is full of farmers like Jennie who depend on corn for their livelihood. The municipality declared a state of calamity in 2015 when the region began to feel the full impact of El Niño.

Now with an estimated 40 per cent of the country suffering drought, 11 provinces, 10 cities and 26 municipalities and barangays across the country - but mostly in Mindanao – have declared states of calamity. Some 182,000 farmers with 224,800 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by El Niño.

Local authorities struggle to respond quickly due to funding freeze

In Alabel, an estimated 5,500 hectares of land normally supporting corn – including Jennie’s 1.8-hectare rented farmland – lie unplanted since February due to the lack of water. About 500 hectares of banana plantation are also affected, municipal agriculturist Enriguito Dagupto estimates.

According to Dagupto, many of the farmers say their families are close to starvation and are waiting anxiously for assistance from the Government. “The national government has promised irrigation pumps and seeds but as of now they have not been delivered. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also promising food and clothing,” says Dagupto.

The farmers’ problems are compounded by the fact that government assistance has to follow special procedures for the 45 days in the lead up to the national and local elections in May. The municipality’s emergency funds are far from sufficient to help all those in need. “We have PhP3 million (US$64,000) in the calamity fund but are allowed to use only half of it [for this drought],” Dagupto says. The rest is saved for future possible calamities.

Although Sarangani province is among the poorest in the Philippines, its fertile land provides corn, rice, banana, coconut, vegetables and fruits for the rest of the country. Since February the region has lost half of its high-value crops, according to estimates.

The national weather bureau forecasts that dry conditions in parts of Mindanao may last until July. The local officials say they can only pray for the rain to come earlier. “We are getting worried that if assistance does not arrive in time, our people will really suffer. There may be massive hunger and peace and order will be affected,” says Dagupto.

Farmers cope with hardships as they await assistance

The Government has released $98 million to help counter the impact of El Niño on agriculture, through providing seeds, fertilisers, water pumps and technical training to the affected farmers and cloud seeding and other water supply augmentation. In addition, $11 million has been made available for emergency employment assistance and another $2 million for food distribution to the affected households. Unfortunately, none has arrived to help Jennie so far.

UN agencies, the Red Cross, and international and national NGOs are supporting the authorities with emergency food security assessment, distribution of food, water and other relief items, and financial and technical assistance to the affected farming communities especially in Mindanao.

While the scorching El Niño heat continues, Jennie slips deeper into debt. She borrowed PhP30,000 ($640) for seeds and fertilizer last August. “Before, we got 250 sacks of corn from my land; the last time I only harvested 20 sacks.” In February this year she did not plant at all.

Normally Jennie would earn PhP20,000 ($430) per harvest. Now she can’t pay back her loan with its steep 10 per cent monthly interest rate. Plus she needs money to pay the rent on her farmland and food for the family. The solution is to eat less, earn a few extra dollars from ad-hoc jobs and borrow more.

Jennie’s family is consuming bananas as an alternative to their staple food of rice. Her eldest son had to drop out of school to take a job as a motorcycle driver, while other siblings earned small fees for setting up an instant photography service at local end-of-school-year ceremonies.

These, however, are not sustainable means to make the family’s ends meet, and Jennie is worried about the decreasing water level in her hand-pumped tube well. If the family runs out of potable water, she may have to borrow again, from whomever she can, even though she will probably spiral downward into debt which may take a long time to repay, even after the weather improves.

Fiji: Fiji private sector steps up to help in national disaster management

ReliefWeb - Press Releases - 1 May 2016 - 11:28pm
Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, UN Development Programme, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, World Humanitarian Summit Country: Fiji

Suva, 28 April 2016

As momentum builds ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Fiji businesses have agreed to join forces with the Government, United Nations and civil society organizations to establish the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council.

“Tropical Cyclone Winston has clearly demonstrated that businesses are both an integral part of communities impacted by disaster and are major contributors to response and recovery in those communities,” Howard Politini, Vice Chair of the Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation, said.

The Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council will work to support businesses to withstand and recover from disasters, as well as strengthen their engagement in emergency response and recovery efforts in collaboration with the Government, the United Nations and civil society.

The Council will be hosted by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation and supported by the Pacific Island Private Sector Organization. Among those present at an initial planning workshop in Suva were Goodman Fielder, Vodafone Fiji Ltd, Vinod Patel Ltd, Digicel, Westpac Banking Corporation, Bank of South Pacific, Coca Cola Amatil, Fiji Electricity Authority and DHL Express (Fiji) Ltd.

Representatives from the Philippines Disaster Resilience Foundation, a private sector network of Philippine companies, attended the meeting in Suva, Fiji to share their experiences and support the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council.

“Private individuals and organizations have been some of the largest donors to the Cyclone Winston response and it was great to see such high level engagement at the planning workshop. This initiative has already been successful in engaging with businesses in the Philippines and we would encourage any Fijian businesses who are interested in this work to get in touch and get involved,” Rene Meily, the President of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation said.

The Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council will be part of the Connecting Business initiative, a global multi-stakeholder project that is jointly led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Connecting Business initiative will be launched at the World Humanitarian Summit, 23-24 May 2016, Istanbul, Turkey, where the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council will be showcased. The Connecting Business initiative is working with private sector-led networks around the world, including the Philippines, Madagascar, East Africa, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Haiti.

If your organization is interested in joining or supporting the Fiji Disaster Resilience Council, please contact: connectingbusinessfiji@gmail.com

For media enquiries:
Danielle Parry, Public Information Officer, UNOCHA Regional Office Pacific (ROP), Suva,
Email: parryd@un.org Mobile: +679 777 1433

Philippines: Philippines: Candidates’ views on rights in spotlight

Philippines - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 11:14pm
Source: Human Rights Watch Country: Philippines

Presidential Contenders Respond to Human Rights Watch Survey

(Manila) – Two of the five presidential candidates in the Philippines, Mar Roxas and Miriam Defensor Santiago, responded to a questionnaire on key human rights issues facing the country, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing the responses. Topics covered include accountability for abuses by state security forces, ending torture, indigenous peoples’ rights, killings of journalists, HIV/AIDS, and internal displacement. The presidential election is scheduled for May 9, 2016.

All candidates should take a stand on human rights in the campaign’s remaining days.

“Human rights are critically important in the Philippines so it’s important to learn what the candidates have to say about them,” saidBrad Adams, Asia director. “The candidates who responded to the questionnaire are helping Filipino voters better understand the country’s problems, and the steps that can be taken to address them.”

Human Rights Watch sent the human rights questionnaire to all five presidential campaigns on March 21 and sought responses by April 15, a deadline that was extended to April 21. The questionnaire contained 10 questions.

The campaigns of Roxas and Santiago submitted completed questionnaires by April 15. No response was received from the other three candidates: Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, and Grace Poe.

“Human rights and justice go to the heart of how a government should be run,” said Adams.

Human rights have not figured prominently in the media coverage of the campaign or in two of the three presidential debates held so far. Much of the discussion thus far has focused on allegations that Duterte, as mayor of Davao City, was complicit in the operations of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which is linked to hundreds of killings of suspected criminals.

Term limits in the Philippine constitution bar the current president, Benigno Aquino III, from re-election. Aquino has presided over some positive developments on human rights, such as the passage of a reproductive health law. However, impunity persists for extrajudicial killings and torture linked to elements of the military and the police. Killings of journalists continue. Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups forced to flee their homes because of fighting between government forces and insurgent groups have received inadequate assistance.

“The presidential candidates should make their positions and plans for protecting human rights clear,” Adams said. “Filipino voters should go to the polls with full knowledge of their prospective leaders’ positions on these life-and-death issues.”

Niger: Niger Flow Monitoring Points (FMP), Reporting Period: 19 Apr - 25 Apr 2016

Niger - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 9:59pm
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, World

Weekly trends can fluctuate due to security conditions in the region, the political climate in Niger and neighbouring countries, presence of migrants at the flow monitoring points and availability of transport and opportunities. For more detailed analysis see the flow monitoring survey reports.

Niger: Niger Flow Monitoring Points (FMP), Reporting Period: 19 Apr - 25 Apr 2016

Guinea - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 9:59pm
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, World

Weekly trends can fluctuate due to security conditions in the region, the political climate in Niger and neighbouring countries, presence of migrants at the flow monitoring points and availability of transport and opportunities. For more detailed analysis see the flow monitoring survey reports.

Nepal: Nepal One Year On - ACTED's emergency interventions to respond to urgent needs, April 2016

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 9:54pm
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Nepal

Afghanistan: Kunduz: Initial reaction to public release of U.S. military investigative report on the attack on MSF trauma hospital

Afghanistan - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 9:47pm
Source: Médecins Sans Frontières Country: Afghanistan

NEW YORK, APRIL 29, 2016 -- The United States military today released its investigative report on the attack on the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on 3 October 2015. The attack killed 42 people, including 14 MSF staff members, and wounded dozens more.

MSF was only able to access the report today, when it was made publicly available online, following a public briefing by the head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel. Yesterday, MSF received a two-hour verbal briefing from Gen. Votel and his team on the main findings and recommendations of the U.S. military investigation. MSF will take the time necessary to examine the U.S. report, and to determine whether or not the U.S. account answers the many questions that remain outstanding seven months after the attack.

MSF acknowledges the U.S. military’s efforts to conduct an investigation into the incident. Today, MSF and other medical care providers on the front lines of armed conflicts continually experience attacks on health facilities that go un-investigated by parties to the conflict. However, MSF has said consistently that it cannot be satisfied solely with a military investigation into the Kunduz attack. MSF’s request for an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission has so far gone unanswered.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF President. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

The hospital was fully functioning at the time of the airstrikes. The U.S. investigation acknowledges that there were no armed combatants within – and no fire from – the hospital compound.

“The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” said Nicolai. “With multinational coalitions fighting with different rules of engagement across a wide spectrum of wars today, whether in Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen, armed groups cannot escape their responsibilities on the battlefield simply by ruling out the intent to attack a protected structure such as a hospital.”

The nature of the deadly bombing of the MSF Kunduz Trauma Centre, and the recurring attacks on medical facilities in Afghanistan, demand from all parties to the conflict a clear reaffirmation of the protected status of medical care in the country. MSF must obtain these necessary assurances in Afghanistan before making any decision on if it is safe to re-start medical activities in Kunduz.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF President. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

The hospital was fully functioning at the time of the airstrikes. The U.S. investigation acknowledges that there were no armed combatants within – and no fire from – the hospital compound.

“The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” said Nicolai. “With multinational coalitions fighting with different rules of engagement across a wide spectrum of wars today, whether in Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen, armed groups cannot escape their responsibilities on the battlefield simply by ruling out the intent to attack a protected structure such as a hospital.”

The nature of the deadly bombing of the MSF Kunduz Trauma Centre, and the recurring attacks on medical facilities in Afghanistan, demand from all parties to the conflict a clear reaffirmation of the protected status of medical care in the country. MSF must obtain these necessary assurances in Afghanistan before making any decision on if it is safe to re-start medical activities in Kunduz.

Serbia: Serbia Daily Update, 26 - 27 April 2016

Pakistan - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 9:41pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Pakistan, Serbia, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, World

STATISTICS AND HIGHLIGHTS

  • UNHCR and partners learned of 127 irregular arrivals: 110 from fYR Macedonia and 17 from Bulgaria.

  • Over the reporting period between 230 and 280 asylum seekers were waiting their admission into Hungarian “transit zones”. 115 departed by accessing Hungarian asylum procedures.

  • The permission for HCIT to access asylum seekers at the Hungarian border in Kelebija and Horgos remains pending the approval from the authorities.

  • 49 (39 on 26/04 and 10 on 27/04) persons expressed intent to seek asylum, bringing the total in April 2016 to 503 and for the whole of 2016 to 2,444 (statistics courtesy of the Ministry of Interior).

SOUTH

50 refugees remain accommodated at the Reception Centre (RC) in Presevo. Five left the RC towards the North while ten arrived irregularly from fYR Macedonia. The UNICEF/DRC/CSW child friendly space/mother and baby corner hosted nine children and six women. The UNHCR-supported Public Health and the Natan/Humedica clinic treated 39 patients during the two days.

On 27 April, Minister of Labour Mr. Vulin, UNHCR and DRC inaugurated the rehabilitation of the 3rd phase of the Tobacco Factory in order to improve conditions for reception, accommodation and safety within the RC.

BELGRADE

UNHCR and partners assisted between 200 and 270 refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in the city. They were mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, with few from Syria. The Asylum Info Centre facilitated in various referrals, including access asylum procedures to recent irregular arrivals from fYR Macedonia and Bulgaria. UNHCR/DRC doctors treated 48 patients while MSF and Divac Foundation assisted them with food and other aid. Refugee Aid Miksaliste facilities were demolished with a 48 hours information from the authorities. Up to 90 were present at night in the parks near the bus and train station.

WEST

33 refugees remain hosted in the Refugees Aid Points (RAPs) in the West: 10 in Adasevci and 23 in Sid. One Iranian departed under the IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme while five men left towards the Hungarian border. CRS/Divac Foundation continued to provide hot lunches and OM hot tea. The BCM/Sid Health Centre at Adasevci treated two refugees and WAHA 17 in Sid.

NORTH

Between 230 and 280 asylum seekers, including many women and children, waited outside the two “transit zones” in Kelebija and Horgos border crossings or were located nearby Subotica. Some arrived from Sid/Adasevci and Presevo but many were also recent irregular arrivals from fYR Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Serbia: Serbia Daily Update, 26 - 27 April 2016

Afghanistan - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 9:41pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Pakistan, Serbia, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, World

STATISTICS AND HIGHLIGHTS

  • UNHCR and partners learned of 127 irregular arrivals: 110 from fYR Macedonia and 17 from Bulgaria.

  • Over the reporting period between 230 and 280 asylum seekers were waiting their admission into Hungarian “transit zones”. 115 departed by accessing Hungarian asylum procedures.

  • The permission for HCIT to access asylum seekers at the Hungarian border in Kelebija and Horgos remains pending the approval from the authorities.

  • 49 (39 on 26/04 and 10 on 27/04) persons expressed intent to seek asylum, bringing the total in April 2016 to 503 and for the whole of 2016 to 2,444 (statistics courtesy of the Ministry of Interior).

SOUTH

50 refugees remain accommodated at the Reception Centre (RC) in Presevo. Five left the RC towards the North while ten arrived irregularly from fYR Macedonia. The UNICEF/DRC/CSW child friendly space/mother and baby corner hosted nine children and six women. The UNHCR-supported Public Health and the Natan/Humedica clinic treated 39 patients during the two days.

On 27 April, Minister of Labour Mr. Vulin, UNHCR and DRC inaugurated the rehabilitation of the 3rd phase of the Tobacco Factory in order to improve conditions for reception, accommodation and safety within the RC.

BELGRADE

UNHCR and partners assisted between 200 and 270 refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in the city. They were mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, with few from Syria. The Asylum Info Centre facilitated in various referrals, including access asylum procedures to recent irregular arrivals from fYR Macedonia and Bulgaria. UNHCR/DRC doctors treated 48 patients while MSF and Divac Foundation assisted them with food and other aid. Refugee Aid Miksaliste facilities were demolished with a 48 hours information from the authorities. Up to 90 were present at night in the parks near the bus and train station.

WEST

33 refugees remain hosted in the Refugees Aid Points (RAPs) in the West: 10 in Adasevci and 23 in Sid. One Iranian departed under the IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme while five men left towards the Hungarian border. CRS/Divac Foundation continued to provide hot lunches and OM hot tea. The BCM/Sid Health Centre at Adasevci treated two refugees and WAHA 17 in Sid.

NORTH

Between 230 and 280 asylum seekers, including many women and children, waited outside the two “transit zones” in Kelebija and Horgos border crossings or were located nearby Subotica. Some arrived from Sid/Adasevci and Presevo but many were also recent irregular arrivals from fYR Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Nepal: Project HOPE Stands with Nepal on Quake Anniversary

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 9:40pm
Source: Project HOPE Country: Nepal

Millwood, Va., April 25, 2016

Project Hope's humanitarian aid continues in Nepal one year after earthquakes. Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, says it is standing by Nepal on the first anniversary of the earthquake to improve access to health services for communities in need.

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake on April 24th last year killed more than 8,000 people and injured over 21,000, while a major aftershock on May 12th claimed 200 lives and injured over 2,500. The country’s health infrastructure was devastated.

Project HOPE medical volunteers provided emergency medical care to over 1,500 of patients injured in the quakes and the NGO shipped USD $15.8 million of urgently needed medicines and supplies to Nepal, which benefitted 231,976 patients.

“The country was in absolute shock for many months following the disaster and the health system was especially hard hit. So, HOPE initiated a long-term program last year to improve the health of women and children impacted by the earthquakes and provide better access to health services,” said Laxmikant Palo, M.D., Regional Director for Southeast Asia at Project HOPE.

In partnership with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and the local NGO, Nepal Public Health Foundation (NPHF), Project HOPE implemented a need assessment exercise to understand the situation better for appropriate response through a long term public health program.

In January 2016, Project HOPE and Center for Disaster Philanthropy in collaboration with NPHF and MoHP has launched a project to improve maternal and child health nutrition and hygiene practices in Makawanpur district of Nepal.

“Our focus is to help communities develop healthy nutritional and hygiene habits in Makawanpur, a district that was hard hit by the quakes last year. There’s also a great need for neonatal and child health services and it’s crucial that we strengthen the capacity of health care providers, especially in humanitarian assistance, trauma injury, psychosocial support and preparing for future disasters,” said Dr. Palo.

Project HOPE has a long history of responding to disasters, including major earthquakes in Haiti, Japan, Indonesia, China and Armenia. In Nepal, HOPE has a history of humanitarian work in remote areas during the U.S. Air Force humanitarian mission Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) in 2012.

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solution to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. Visit our website projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg.

Media Contact

Melanie Mullinax Tel. +1-540-837-9557 mmullinax@projecthope.org

Colombia: Fuertes lluvias causan emergencia por inundaciones en Soacha

Colombia - Chad - 1 May 2016 - 7:44pm
Source: Redhum Country: Colombia

Colombia, 30 de Abril 2016
Fuente: RCN Radio - CO

Las fuertes lluvias de los últimos días, provocaron que algunas calles, apartamentos e importantes vías, resultaran inundadas ocasionando un peligro inminente para los ciudadanos y demoras en la movilidad por la autopista sur que de Soacha conduce a Bogotá.

El Capitán Iván Valenzuela, Coordinador Departamental de Bomberos Cundinamarca, confirmó que las inundaciones están presentándose en diferentes sectores que se complican con el crecimiento del río Soacha.

“Debido a las fuertes lluvias, el río Soacha está bajando crecido, pero la cuota del río, está por encima de los niveles del alcantarillado, lo que nos genera que el agua se está devolviendo y esto es lo provoca las inundaciones en los diferentes apartamentos”, indicó el oficial de Bomberos.

En este mismo sentido, el Capitán Valenzuela descartó que por el momento se hubiese dado un desbordamiento del río, sin embargo, dijo que están en alerta por la subienda que podría ocasionar una emergencia mayor.

“No es que se haya desbordado, pero tenemos emergencias por la Autopista Sur, tenemos emergencia hacia el sector de San Mateo, Portoalegre y dos barrios más que están reportando inicio de dificultad”, explicó.

El Capitán Valenzuela, subrayó que los uniformados de Bomberos – Cundinamarca, están atendiendo la emergencia por las diferentes zonas que podría tener impacto por el incremento del río.

Sudan: Thirst as South Darfur wells run dry

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 7:11pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

Inhabitants of six villages in the Abu Hamra area of Mershing locality in South Darfur have complained of an acute lack of drinking water.

One of the citizens told Radio Dabanga that the cause of the water crisis was the shortage of wells water resources in the area.

He pointed out that there are only two wells in the area, and those have dried-up owing to the poor rainfall in the past.

He appealed to the authorities to establish water engines and wells in the area to resolve the problem for the 8,000 people who live in the area.

Philippines: Philippines: Coping with El Niño - A corn farmer’s story in Sarangani, Mindanao

Philippines - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 6:43pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

After one year of prevailing El Niño conditions in the Philippines, drought is taking its toll on agriculture and has affected tens of thousands of farmers especially in Mindanao. About 40% of the country, or a total of 32 provinces, is likely to experience drought until the end of May 2016, according to the authorities.

Despite the assistance provided by the government and aid organisations so far, some farmers are resorting to various coping strategies to sustain their living. With the uncertainty of when the weather and climate will improve, and a strong La Niña episode associated with flooding and landslides predicted to follow, farmers will continue to seek their own alternative solutions to feeding their family.

Iraq: SRSG Kubiš Condemns Double Bombings Targeting Civilians in Al-Samawa as Outrageous, Evil Act

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 3:18pm
Source: UN Assistance Mission for Iraq Country: Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq, 01 May 2016 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, expresses outrage at the deliberate targeting of civilians in two car bombings in the city of Al-Samawah in southern Iraq today.

The SRSG offers condolences to the families of the victims and wishes the injured speedy recovery.

“One of the explosions took place near a bus station, cutting down innocent passengers”, Mr. Kubiš said. “Targeting civilians in a peaceful city with such intent to kill and injure as many as possible is nothing short of a diabolical act committed by terrorists bent on achieving their sinister agenda regardless of the human cost”.

The SRSG reiterates his call on Iraqis to remain united in the face of such terrorist attacks and on the authorities to pursue and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: DRCongo opposition agrees joint presidential candidate

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 3:16pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP | Sunday 5/1/2016 - 18:34 GMT

by Bienvenu-Marie BAKUMANYA

A coalition of opponents of DR Congo President Joseph Kabila announced Sunday former regional governor Moise Katumbi as their "joint opposition candidate" for presidential elections due before the end of the year.

Democratic Republic of Congo authorities are under pressure from the international community to hold the polls as planned in November before Kabila's second -- and constitutionally last -- mandate ends.

Last month police in the southeast of the country fired tear gas to break up a demonstration by 5,000 people in the latest unrest triggered by fears that Kabila plans to extend his rule into a third term.

Katumbi, a former regional governor in southeastern Katanga, has called for "a credible presidential election to be held in November 2016, which will end (Kabila's) second term in strict respect of the constitution."

On Sunday more than 1,000 supporters chanted Katumbi's name as he was declared the candidate of the newly-formed Alternation for the Republic (AR), which groups 16 small parties.

"We have decided (to present Katumbi) as joint candidate for the presidential election," said Delly Sessanga, the group's coordinator.

"The designation (of Katumbi) is a decisive step... to guarantee democratic alternation," he added.

The country has been in crisis since Kabila's re-election in late 2011 in polls marred by irregularities and massive fraud. His second term expires in December and the constitution bars him from standing again.

Katumbi, who went over to the opposition in September after resigning as governor and quitting the president's party, is a major figure in the country's politics.

Popular and charismatic, the 51-year-old wealthy businessman is also head of the prestigious Tout-Puissant Mazembe football club, three-time winner of the African Champions League.

Another opposition coalition, comprising seven parties which broke away from the majority in September, had already called in March for Katumbi to stand for president.

Katumbi himself has not officially confirmed his candidacy.

DR Congo's political climate has grown increasingly tense, as the likelihood of presidential polls being held before the end of the year weakens with every passing week.

Kabila assumed power after his father, president Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in 2001.

He took up his first elected term in 2006, under a new UN-supervised constitution which provided for two five-year mandates in the vast nation of some 81 million people.

bmb/mt/mfp

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Italy: Up to 100 missing in two Mediterranean shipwrecks: UN

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 1 May 2016 - 12:45pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Guinea, Italy, Libya, Mali, Sudan, World

Rome, Italy | AFP | Sunday 5/1/2016 - 16:55 GMT

Fifteen migrants are missing after their boat sank on Friday, the second shipwreck that day in the Mediterranean, bringing the number of lives lost to almost 100, the UN said Sunday.

A boat carrying around 120 people had sunk early Friday, four hours after leaving Libya for Italy, UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokeswoman Carlotta Sami told AFP, adding that "some 15 persons went missing".

Among the missing were four Nigerians, two people from the Ivory Coast, three from Guinea, two from Sudan and one from Mali, she said.

Survivors were being disembarked in Pozzallo, Sicily, she said, adding that eight people had been taken straight to hospital "due to their serious health conditions," and that two bodies had also been disembarked.

The news came a day after the International Organization for Migration said that only 26 people were rescued from an inflatable boat carrying around 110 migrants when it sank off Libya in a separate shipwreck Friday.

Sami said Sunday that 27 people, including four women, were rescued from that boat sinking.

Survivors had provided harrowing accounts of the tragedy, both UNHCR and IOM said.

"Due to the very bad conditions of the sea, some two hours after the departure the small boat started to take on water," just a few miles off shore, Sami said in an email.

  • Boat broke in two -

IOM spokesman in Italy, Flavio Di Giacomo, told AFP Saturday that the vessel had been "in a very bad state, was taking on water and many people fell into the water and drowned."

The boat in the end broke into two parts throwing all the passengers into the waves, Sami said.

Rough seas and waves topping two metres (seven feet) hampered attempts to find any other survivors.

Sami said the health conditions of several of the survivors were "reportedly serious."

"Survivors say they lost relatives and friends during the shipwreck," she said.

The first hint of the tragedy came early Saturday, when Italy's coastguard said an Italian cargo ship had rescued 26 migrants from a flimsy boat sinking off the coast of Libya but voiced fears that dozens more could be missing.

The coastguard received a call from a satellite phone late Friday that helped locate the stricken inflatable and called on the merchant ship to make a detour to the area about four miles (seven kilometres) off the Libyan coast near Sabratha.

The migrants rescued were transferred to two coastguard vessel and taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Images released by the coastguard showed two women wrapped in shawls and blankets stepping off one of their vessels.

Giacomo said five unaccompanied minors aged between 16 and 17 were among those rescued.

More than 350,000 people fleeing conflict and poverty have reached Italy on boats from Libya since the start of 2014, as Europe struggles to manage its biggest migration crisis since World War II.

The Red Cross also voiced alarm at Friday's tragic boat sinkings, warning that more were likely to come.

"As warmer weather and calmer seas approach, we can expect more people to attempt this crossing," said Simon Missiri, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies regional director for Europe.

"We must work together to focus on providing safe routes for people fleeing their homes and seeking sanctuary," he said in a statement.

More than 1,260 people have already died or gone missing trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe this year, according to UNHCR numbers.

bur-nl/ccr

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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