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Central African Republic: Not to be forgotten: Helping people survive CAR crisis

CAR - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 39 min ago
Source: Mercy Corps Country: Central African Republic

For the first time in recent memory, the world is seeing four different crises across the globe that have received the “Level 3 Emergency” designation from the United Nations — a mark reserved for only the most serious humanitarian situations.

Those countries, all active conflict zones, are Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and last, but not to be forgotten — the Central African Republic.

The humanitarian situation

Since January, increased sectarian violence has thrown the country into chaos and 2.5 million people — nearly half the country’s population — have been affected, creating a massive humanitarian crisis. The U.N. has warned that CAR may be at risk of devolving into genocide.

In Bangui, the nation’s capital, the situation changes day to day. Marie De Col, Mercy Corps’ Deputy Country Director in CAR, says that most of the time the city is relatively calm, but violence still erupts in some neighborhoods without warning.

Clashes between civilian groups and other criminal activity are on the rise. No one feels safe in CAR. “People are getting really tired,” said De Col. “They would really like to be given the chance to live in peace.”

Now more than 500,000 people are displaced within CAR, many living in crowded camps with deteriorating conditions. “The situation is appalling,” said Timothée Zoungrana, Mercy Corps’ Program Manager in CAR. “The people living in displacement sites are in dire need of basic supplies and services.”

During the current rainy season, mud, stagnant water and poor sanitation increase the risk of water-borne diseases. For families living in displacement camps, clean water and sanitation facilities are key to survival.

Providing emergency water and sanitation facilities

Our team in CAR is working in the capital Bangui and to the northwest in Bouar to address urgent water and sanitation needs — building showers, latrines and water pumps, teaching people about proper hygiene, waste management and disease prevention, and distributing clean water.

Mercy Corps is now delivering 60,000 liters of clean water per day, reaching at least 23,000 vulnerable people, to two sites on the outskirts of Bangui.

Also in Bangui, our team is leading water and sanitation activities at a settlement that accommodates an isolated enclave of displaced Muslim families.

“The population is really happy to receive help,” said de Col, noting that the community has not received much assistance because of growing security concerns in the area.

Helping people cope with trauma

Helping the people of CAR through the ongoing crisis requires more than just water and supplies. Civilians are experiencing violence and trauma that can cause lasting physical and psychological damage. Women and girls are especially at risk for being attacked during the conflict.

To help them cope, Mercy Corps runs listening centers in Bangui, Bambari, Bouar, Bangassou and Rafai. At these listening centers, which stretch across the country to reach some of the more remote places in CAR, people have access to counseling, legal support and medical care.

“Initially [the centers] are there for gender-based violence survivors, but recently we’ve had visits from people who have been traumatized by what they have seen or what they have done,” said De Col.

This kind of care and support can help survivors of violence heal from horrible traumas they have either experienced or witnessed.

Despite the unpredictable conditions and unending violence, Mercy Corps’ staff in CAR, many who are national citizens, continue to provide help and supplies to those who need it most.

“We know our staff are witnessing violence every day,” said De Col. “I’m really proud of them for working to rebuild their country. What they are living is really difficult.”

What’s next?

Our team will continue to evaluate and address the urgent needs of people affected by conflict in CAR. While emergency response is a high priority in times of crisis, Mercy Corps will also keep working within communities to address underlying problems that are the cause of tension and conflict.

Mercy Corps' work within communities includes working with leaders to build conflict-resolution and mediation skills, encouraging peaceful dialogues and supporting communal development projects — with the end goal of creating more stable and just communities for the future.

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Somalia - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Kenya - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Eritrea - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Uganda - Maps - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Sudan - Maps - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Somalia - Maps - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Eritrea - Maps - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

DRC - Maps - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: Kenya: Registered refugees and asylum-seekers (as of 01 August 2014)

Uganda - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 44 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Kenya: UNHCR Operational Update Dadaab Refugee Camps, Kenya 1-15 August 2014

Somalia - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 53 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Kenya, Somalia preview

Highlights

  • A ‘Go and See Visit’ to Kismayo, Somalia, took place from 4th to 8th August. The visit enabled 19 refugee representatives from the five Dadaab camps to inform themselves about the economic and socio-political realities in Kismayo. Upon their return, the refugee delegates shared their experiences with the camp residents through radio talk shows and meetings.

  • In a joint mission, representatives of the Government of Kenya and UNHCR visited the Liboi-Dhobley Border Crossing Point on 12th August to assess border formalities and procedures. The mission was informed that the Dhobley Transit Centre can only process 100 returnees per day. Further, the local government authorities of Somalia assured that the safety and security of returnees will be of utmost priority to them.

Kenya: UNHCR Operational Update Dadaab Refugee Camps, Kenya 1-15 August 2014

Kenya - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 53 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Kenya, Somalia preview

Highlights

  • A ‘Go and See Visit’ to Kismayo, Somalia, took place from 4th to 8th August. The visit enabled 19 refugee representatives from the five Dadaab camps to inform themselves about the economic and socio-political realities in Kismayo. Upon their return, the refugee delegates shared their experiences with the camp residents through radio talk shows and meetings.

  • In a joint mission, representatives of the Government of Kenya and UNHCR visited the Liboi-Dhobley Border Crossing Point on 12th August to assess border formalities and procedures. The mission was informed that the Dhobley Transit Centre can only process 100 returnees per day. Further, the local government authorities of Somalia assured that the safety and security of returnees will be of utmost priority to them.

Iraq: Displacement from al Muqdadiya, Sa’aiya and Jalawla to Khanaqin & Kalar (5 June – 18 August 2014)

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 55 min ago
Source: REACH Country: Iraq preview

OVERVIEW

Ongoing fighting between Armed Opposition Groups (AOGs) in Northern Diyala Governorate has caused a series of localised displacements between early June and August 2014.

In early June AOGs expanded their reach throughout Southern and Central Iraq, advancing in greater numbers and with increased coordination into Diyala Governorate, home to a mixture of Sunnis and Shias, from Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen population groups.

Following the initial escalation of conflict in early June, fighting continued throughout July, causing the gradual displacement of populations from towns and villages in Northern Diyala Governorate into Kurdish controlled territory, perceived as safer. While lulls in fighting allowed some displaced families to return to their place of origin, IDP numbers steadily increased. Simultaneous clashes between AOGs and Shia militias in the town of al-Muqdadiya; and the seizure of Sa’adiya in late June, followed by Jalawla on August 10th, resulted in widespread displacement towards the perceived safer towns of Kanaquin, Kalar, and other towns under Kurdish control.

Findings presented in this briefing note are informed by primary data collected between 17 – 18 August by REACH enumerators through 13 Key Informant interviews and 11 focus group discussions, consolidated and triangulated with available secondary data.

Iraq: Displacement from Sinjar, 3-14 August

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: REACH Country: Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey preview

OVERVIEW

On 3 August 2014, the arrival of Armed Opposition Groups (AOG) caused up to 200,000 people to be displaced from their homes in Sinjar City and the surrounding towns and villages. Predominantly home to Yazidi communities, the area was also hosting Shia Turkmen who had previously fled to Sinjar when AOGs took over towns and villages in and around Tal Afar. Turkmen Shia communities that remained in Sinjar on 3 August experienced secondary displacement.

The Yazidis are one of Iraq’s oldest minorities, whose population in northern Iraq represents the vast majority the estimated 700,000 Yazidis worldwide. Now displaced to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Syria and Turkey, many Yazidis fear to return to and represent a particularly vulnerable group. With ongoing plans to establish camps to host them, the large majority of displaced Yezidis are in the meanwhile staying in temporary accommodation in public and empty buildings, and in the open; relying on host community and humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.

Findings presented in this factsheet are informed by primary data collected between 13 – 18 August by REACH enumerators through 136 Key Informant interviews, complemented by Focus Group discussions and triangulated by available secondary data.

Iraq: Saudi Arabia supports WHO's response to the Iraq crisis

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 52 sec ago
Source: World Health Organization Country: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic

20 August 2014, Erbil - Humanitarian health services in Iraq have received a much-needed boost through a $US 49 million grant provided by Saudi Arabia to WHO for its response to the health crisis facing millions of people affected by the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

The recent upsurge in violence, massive population movement, and presence of over 250 000 Syrian refugees in northern Iraq is straining an already beleaguered health system. The donation from Saudi Arabia, the largest ever humanitarian contribution to WHO for a specific crisis, enables the Organization to scale up its response to disease outbreaks, malnutrition, medicine shortages and overburdened hospitals and clinics.

Humanitarian health care providers will tackle medical complications resulting from malnutrition by providing targeted support to 350 000 people, including children under the age of five, pregnant and lactating women and patients suffering from severe malnutrition,” says Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO’s Representative to Iraq.

The health projects will be implemented in all areas hosting displaced people, plus conflict-affected governorates (Anbar, Ninewah, Salah El-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and the Kurdistan Region). Low immunization coverage, and compromised access to quality health care are among the main health concerns. Ongoing insecurity compounds the crisis.

The threat of infectious disease outbreaks, like cholera, diarrhoeal diseases, measles and hepatitis E, has increased due to population displacement and the strain on the health system. The disease control programme aims to halve the number of acute watery diarrhoea cases, and increase childhood immunization coverage, particularly in Anbar, where the polio vaccination coverage rate will rise from 48% to over 94%.

Access to health services in conflict-affected areas has been greatly compromised. Most hospitals and clinics can no longer cope with the influx of displaced people seeking health care. In Anbar, only 40 of the 153 public health centres are functional, with the main Fallujah and Ramadi hospitals operating at limited capacity. In Mosul, the number of functioning public health centres has been decreasing daily since early June 2014. The capacity of health facilities in Sinjar, Tel Afar, Tikrit and Hamdiniyah has been greatly affected, with Tel Afar hospital reportedly damaged by explosions, although still partly functional.

“Even before the current crisis, Iraq’s health system and the health of its people were facing major challenges,” says Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain. “This has only been exacerbated by the new waves of insecurity in many parts of the country.”

WHO support aims to expand access to health services, including emergency obstetric care for expectant mothers, noncommunicable disease care and psychosocial support, to a wider catchment area of people.

For its work, and that of its health partners, in Iraq, WHO has received US$ 55 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Kuwait, the Republic of Korea, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs during 2014.

For more information, please contact:

Ajyal Sultany
Communication Officer
World Health Organization Iraq
Tel:+9647809269506
Email: sultanya@who.int

Paul Garwood
WHO Department of Communications
Telephone: +41 227911578
Mobile: +41 796037294
E-mail: garwoodp@who.int

More information on the Regional Office website

Iraq: Displacement of Christian Communities from Ninewa Plains, 3 - 7 August 2014

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 5 min ago
Source: REACH Country: Iraq preview

OVERVIEW

As a result of armed opposition groups occupying the towns of Tilkaif, Bashiqa, Bartella and Qaraqosh, and surrounding villages, an estimated 200,000 Christians and scores of other minorities living in the area of Ninewa Governorate north and east of Mosul, known as the Ninewa Plains, were displaced by 6 August. Among those people fleeing from the Ninewa Plains were approximately 50,000 predominantly Christian IDPs, who had previously been displaced fromMosul following the fall of the city to armed opposition groups between 6th-10th June. Christian communities followed a specific displacement pattern, with up to 130,000 fleeing to Erbil Governorate—in particular its Christian Ainkawa neighbourhood—and up to 70,000 to Christian communities in Duhok Governorate. The influx of such a large group of IDPs has led to overcrowding in communal shelters, forcing approximately 8% to stay in unfinished construction sites or in the open.

This briefing is informed by primary data collection (98 key informant interviews, and 172 household level interviews) by REACH enumerators, triangulated by secondary data review and interviews with Christian community leaders.

Iraq: Displacement of Shabak & Turkmen Shi’a Minorities from Tal Afar & Ninewa Plains (June - 18 August 2014)

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 9 min ago
Source: REACH Country: Iraq, Turkey preview

OVERVIEW

The takeover of the city of Mosul on 6 June by Armed Opposition Groups (AOGs), and intense fighting in Tal Afar on 16 June displaced an estimated total of more than 500,000 people. Tal Afar and the Ninewa Plains, an area located east of Mosul and proximate to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), are home to a variety of religious and ethnic minorities, including Shabak and Turkmen populations, who had to escape the conflict. Both Iraqi Turkmen, who are Iraq’s third minority group, and Shabak people, include a significant proportion of Shia Muslims, whose displacement patterns were found to be distinct from that of other minority groups.

Initially sheltered by other minorities located throughout Ninewa Governorate during the early stages of the conflict in June, the majority of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) then fled to Shia-majority governorates in the south of Iraq when AOGs expanded their presence further into the Ninewa Plains. It is now estimated that 30,000 Shabak and Turkmen Shia displaced families, located in central and southern Iraq, are living in precarious conditions and in dire need of support.

Through key informant interviews conducted by REACH enumerators in northern and southern Iraq, this brief outlines the overall trends of displacement of Shabak and Turkmen Shia communities originating from the Ninewa Plains and Tal Afar area.

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