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Guinea: UNICEF Guinea: Humanitarian Situation Report, 29 August 2014

Guinea - ReliefWeb News - 56 min 55 sec ago
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Guinea preview

Highlights

 As of8 August 2014, Guinea has recorded a total of70 cases and43 deaths .
Ebola confirmed cases and deaths have risen to 507 and99 , respectively .

  • As of August 22, 103 children (0 - 18 years) were among the cases (76 confirmed, 23 probable, 4 suspected) ; 70 have died.

  • UNICEF handed over 100 motorcycles, 430,000 bars of soap, 230,000 bottles of chlorine, 20,000 posters, 500 handwashing stations, megaphones and other communications materials to the government to fight Ebola. The items were valued at more than 650,000 USD

  • UNICEF and partners developed and implemented an action plan with the goal of optimizing operations before the end the first half of September.

  • In Nzérékoré city demonstrations occurred on Thursday. The cause was a rumor that officers reportedly went into the local market to spray against Ebola. People panicked, looted , and attacked the Regional Hospital of Nzérékoré. Groups of youths armed with stones, sticks and other sharp objects chanted “ Ebola, it's wrong, there is no Ebola. ” Regional and prefectural authorities, elders, religious leaders and local representatives of the UN system, including UNICEF, are conducting advocacy to find lasting solutions to this situation .

  • Community sensitization activities continue in Conakry, Nzérékoré Macenta Yomou, Siguiri and Kouroussa continue. 220 new religious leaders were trained and gave sermons in 220 places of worship in Conakry and Nzérékoré; 11,050 households we re sensitized through door to door visits and public events. This included the distribution of 28.066 pieces of soap, chlorine 15.084 bottles, and thousands of flyers.

  • UNICEF and partners also reached 220,500 people via 5 0 national bus stations, 10 wharves and 10 fishing ports, the placement of 60 handwashing stations in public sites and the distribution of 8,000 bottles of chlorine and 8,000 pieces of soap in various locations;

  • 311 traditional healers from associations of traditional healers Kissidougou, Guékédou Macenta have been trained on Ebola.

Situation in Numbers:

29 August

Ebola

670 cases in Guinea (507 cases of confirmed Ebola)

443 deaths (99 have been confirmed Ebola)

103 children with Ebola *

70 children died* *0-18 years

UNICEF funding needs until December 2014

US$ 9,249,257

UNICEF funding gap

US$ 7,118,333

occupied Palestinian territory: UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, makes his first visit in office to Switzerland

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 14 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: occupied Palestinian territory

Bern

The UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, has made his first official visit in office to Switzerland. During the two day trip, he met the President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Didier Burkhalter; the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yves Rossier and other senior officials of the Foreign Ministry, including the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation. Mr. Krähenbühl also met with the Swiss Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee.

“I wish to thank the government and people of Switzerland for their generous and unwavering support to UNRWA and the refugees we serve. The recent fighting in Gaza and the UNRWA response demonstrated once more how vital our services have become,” said Mr. Krähenbühl. “As the discussions intensify about the reconstruction of Gaza, it is becoming clear that UNRWA will be central to that effort. But let it not be forgotten that Swiss funds are supporting our services beyond Gaza, across the Middle East in war-torn Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank."

While in Bern, Mr. Krähenbühl briefed senior officials on the work of his Agency during the recent Gaza fighting and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. He announced that at least 20,000 homes were destroyed during the recent fighting in Gaza, and that there had been widespread destruction of public infrastructure. He argued that it was “an imperative for the international community and for the people of Gaza to reconstruct after the devastation”, which was unprecedented in recent history. But he warned that with the current blockade of Gaza in place, it could take over a decade to rebuild. Therefore, the blockade must be lifted.

“I visited Gaza three times during the recent conflict and the impact of the fighting on individual human lives, particularly the young, is palpable and profound. Hundreds of thousands of children are deep in trauma. We estimate that of the 3,000 children injured, 1,000 will have disabilities for life,” said Mr. Krähenbühl. “Several hundred UNRWA counsellors are working to restore a sense of normality. UNRWA will do all it can to restore human dignity to a community that has suffered enough.”

Mr Krähenbühl also expressed concern for the “more than 50,000 people” still living in UNRWA schools in Gaza because their homes had been destroyed. “We need to do all we can to find alternative accommodation for these people, as we are determined to begin our delayed school year on 14 September. It will be a challenge. We run 245 schools in 156 school buildings, many of which were damaged. We are giving an education to over 240,000 students in Gaza and we cannot put their education on hold. Education delayed is education denied,” he stressed.

Switzerland is the 11th largest UNRWA donor. Contributions to the Agency from Switzerland for 2014 so far stand at over CHF 16 million (US$ 17.4 million). The majority of these funds support the main UNRWA services, such as the education of half a million children and the provision of health care services to millions across the Middle East.

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 70.5 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness UNRWA Spokesperson Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659 Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267 c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295 Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724 s.mshasha@unrwa.org

Nepal: U.S. Summit highlights new approaches and funds up to $70 million to build a more resilient Nepal

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 20 min ago
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Nepal, United States of America

The U.S. Mission in Nepal, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), today announced three new programs with up to $70 million in funds that will help communities more quickly recover from natural disasters and other stressors. The announcement came at a Resilience Summit organized in Kathmandu. The Summit brought together government officials and development experts to look for new models to solve complex and interrelated challenges such as extreme poverty, food security, and climate shocks. Working under the leadership of the Government of Nepal, the U.S. Government aims to save and improve more lives, build inclusive economic growth, and decrease the need for humanitarian assistance.

Speaking at the Summit, U.S. Ambassador Peter Bodde, shared, “Resilience is essential if we are to win the fight against poverty. We know we cannot prevent floods and landslides, but we can work much harder and more strategically to ensure these shocks don’t devastate families or set back hard-won development gains.”

Chief Guest at the Resilience Summit, Vice Chair of National Planning Commission Dr. Govinda Pokhrel, said, “The Government of Nepal sees resilience as a vital framework to help alleviate poverty and promote more sustainable development, lessening the impacts of disasters. That will take creativity, innovation, and cross-sectoral partnerships, and we are pleased that USAID is highlighting this most important priority.”

The three USAID Resilience Projects are:

An up to $70 million Community Resilience Program integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into USAID’s food and nutrition security efforts in Nepal. A quarter of Nepal’s population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day, and this program will benefit an estimated 5 million of the most vulnerable in Nepal’s hill regions.

A $500,000 Innovative Early Warning Flooding System: USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance will fund an early warning system to help protect communities in the Eastern region from flooding. The project will install gauges along flood-prone rivers and share real-time data with district authorities using SMS and email. This will help save lives in the event of flood.

A $100,000 Science and Technology Competition for Resilience – a call for bold and innovative solutions to “building sustainable food security” in Nepal. The Competition opens on September 4, and will be open to individuals, non-profits, academic institutions, and the private sector, with a focus on districts primarily in the Eastern regions of the country. More information will be released soon.

Background - Quick Facts and Links

  • Over the last 30 years, total development losses as a result of recurring crises represent $3.8 trillion worldwide. According to the World Bank, $1 out of $3 dollars in development funding is lost as a result of recurrent crises.

  • The rising toll of climate change combined with population growth means more people stand in harm’s way, and many of them are already poor or vulnerable.

  • The number of weather-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years. The year 2013 was the year with the most disasters. This year’s unprecedented flooding and landslides affecting thousands of Nepalis – already among the most vulnerable – across the country are examples of increasing weather-and climate-change induced disasters.

  • In Nepal, over 2 million people live on potentially hazardous fault lines, where earthquakes could cause severe damage.

occupied Palestinian territory: Gaza Situation Report 56, 02 September 2014

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 23 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: occupied Palestinian territory

UPDATE AS OF 1600 HRS

The number of displaced in UNRWA schools remains higher than the number of displaced sheltered during the peak of the hostilities from 27 December 2008 to 19 January 2009. 31 UNRWA school buildings – every fifth building – continue to serve as collective centres, sheltering 58,217 displaced. Highlights

The emergency declaration still remains in place and the UNRWA Operations Rooms in Gaza City and in the five governorates remain staffed. Recruitment of dedicated staff to manage the UNRWA collective centres is underway. A collective centre management team will operate from the Gaza Field Office once the emergency is declared over and Area Operations Room in the governorates are closed.

UNMAS completed clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) of all but three UNRWA schools and an UNRWA maintenance office. UXO clearance allows for cleaning, assessment and repair works of the Agency’s installations, particularly schools in light of the start of the new school year on 14 September.

In coordination with the Ministry of Education, preparations for the new school year are ongoing. UNRWA is expecting over 241,000 students in 252 schools, the vast majority of which will be run on a double-shift basis as there are insufficient buildings. The UNRWA Community Mental Health Programme, school counselors and teachers are working together – through workshops and in-service training – to prepare particularly for the first two weeks of school which will focus on psychosocial activities as per the Agency’s emergency education plan. Also medical examinations will be conducted, and glasses and hearing-aids will be provided if required under the Agency’s Special Children – Special Needs Initiative. UNRWA will also provide stationary for the first semester and is coordinating in-kind donations to be distributed to students most in need. Besides cleaning and maintenance work, technical preparations of the school buildings include tenders for the school canteen and securing water supply to schools.

In view of the upcoming shelter assessments, UNRWA completed training of all essential Relief and Social Services and Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme staff in all five areas of the Gaza Strip. A further 200 Palestinian engineers recruited under the Job Creation Programme, who will also work on shelter assessments, will be trained as of 2 September.

UNRWA is expecting the shelter assessment to start next week. Social workers and engineers will assess damage to Palestine refugees’ homes. UNRWA is urgently looking for donors to fund cash support to encourage displaced to rent the few homes available on the market. Vouchers to purchase food and non-food items, if funding available, will provide an incentive for host families to continue sheltering displaced relatives and friends. Most families in Gaza are very poor and cannot afford to shelter displaced over an extended period of time. The question remains how Gaza reconstruction is to start under the current access regime imposed by the Government of Israel, which does not allow construction material on the local market.

There is a huge backlog of new UNRWA projects worth 94.5m USD submitted long before the summer hostilities, but priorities will have to be reviewed in light of the unprecedented destruction in Gaza. Only one re-housing project, worth 16.5 million USD, was approved in 2014, the first approval in over a year. The project was submitted to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on 2 December 2012, but approval was received on 13 May 2014 only. UNRWA, however, has received COGAT clearance to resume the coordination of construction materials through the only functional border crossing for previously approved projects.

All 21 UNRWA Health Centres reopened on 1 September and continue to serve the entire population of the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of the 50 day war, UNRWA Health Centres have recorded a total of 650,518 patient visits, including maternal health care visits, child visits, such as for example for immunization, visits by people with non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, and 388,156 visits to seek medical care for acute and common illnesses. For most of the conflict only two thirds of the Agency’s health centres were functional and on average only three quarter of the health staff were able to report to work. The daily average of patient visits, however, was just below the pre-war average.

UNRWA is hoping the ceasefire will hold but is finalizing plans should there be a resumption of violence. Without a political solution a new cycle of violence is very likely. The Israeli blockade on Gaza needs to be lifted, and transfers to Gaza’s traditional markets West Bank and Israel need to be allowed. Exports remain virtually banned, with only 183 truckloads leaving the Gaza Strip over the course of the year 2013. Palestinians need access to traditional markets, to fishing areas and land. Freedom of movement should be permitted.

The war hit Gaza at a time of a governance vacuum, with a National Consensus Government in place since 2 June 2014 which is still to assume effective power. The challenges remain huge, ranging from payments to former de facto government staff, including the police and teachers, who have not seen full salaries for over one year. Salary payments for employees paid by the Palestinian Authority are due this week. There are growing concerns over potential civil unrest.

General

Past 24 hours: The overall situation in Gaza remains calm. At 0600hrs, the Israeli navy opened fire towards Palestinian boats northwest of Rafah, forcing them ashore

UNRWA RESPONSE

Coordinating more than thirty truckloads of vital supplies is all in a day’s work for Wafa Nassman and her colleagues. As a Logistics Assistant at UNRWA in Gaza, Wafa has expanded on her usual role and responsibilities to facilitate customs requirements, navigate crossings and help coordinate the distribution of supplies such as food, water, fuel, mattresses and other emergency items into and across Gaza.

“I am responsible for coordinating the shipment of food and non-food commodities via trucks into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only functioning border crossing with Israel, and through the West Bank checkpoints, for example for the bread we have to bring in from Hebron” explained Wafa. “The process starts from submitting clearance requests for the items, drafting correspondence for the relevant authorities, following up on approvals and coordinating requests with trucks that cross terminals the next day.”

The logistics teams’ role does not stop there. They are also responsible for the loading and transporting of cargo into warehouses in Gaza and finally, for distribution to governorates.

Since the emergency was declared on 8 July, Wafa has been working every day as part of a three-person team at the Central Operations Room in Gaza City. With her two male colleagues, Wafa helps maintain continuous communication and follow ups to ensure goods are delivered to internally displaced persons in UNRWA shelters as quickly and efficiently as possible.“I took on additional responsibilities due to the emergency. This has included preparing security clearances for the movement of UNRWA vehicles and trucks inside the Gaza Strip at the height of hostilities, as well as all follow up and management of the trucks to ensure each vehicle makes it safely to their destinations and delivers aid items right on time.”

To achieve the scale of response required to deliver vital supplies to the nearly 300,000 displaced in UNRWA shelters, as well as continue to provide the Agency’s regular services to over 1.2 million Palestinian refugees, including regular food aid to some 830,000 beneficiaries, requires more than 33 trucks, 52 drivers, 150 packers and 160 loaders – all of whom work daily on the Gaza emergency response.

To support the positioning of goods to reach shelters in each governorate, UNRWA has established interim warehousing options to enable to it to expand the capacity of the existing warehouses located in Rafah and Gaza City.

During hostilities all movements are also coordinated in advance with the Israeli authorities in an effort to secure safe passages between points. Security concerns have intermittently limited UNRWA’s ability to deliver – particularly during days when areas such as Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia, Jabalia, Toffah, Rafah and the entire Gaza Strip East of Salah Al Din road were closed due to insecurity.

However, despite the hostilities, the Kerem Shalom crossing was closed only one working day since early July. Due to the urgency of delivering humanitarian assistance, the crossing has been opened all through the Eid holidays and on most Fridays.

Despite some of the challenges, Wafa finds her role very meaningful. “I find dispatching the food commodities to UNRWA shelters, where they are expecting protection and care, is the most important part of my job; I think of every one of them - especially the children, women, and elderly - getting the minimum of what they deserve. All this motivates me to do keep on and stick to my commitment to the Palestine Refugees,” she said.

Wafa Nassman joined UNRWA in December 2008, only two weeks before the 2008/09 hostilities started in Gaza, with UNRWA sheltering over 50,000 displaced. She worked with the Emergency Response Team in a similar role as her job today. Wafa gained experience in coordination and logistics then, and again in the conflict of 2012. As with all of UNRWA’s staff, Wafa is personally affected by the war and hopes that the crisis will soon end. “I was affected exactly like all Palestinians in Gaza. My family and I faced the same fear and the same suffering. We all know, whenever a person feels unsafe, she or he runs to their home as we believe it should be the safest place, but for me and everyone in Gaza there was no safe place,” she reflected.

UNRWA has lost eleven personnel since 8 July. Many UNRWA staff risked their lives by reporting to work every day during hostilities, and the logistics team is no different. “Every day I went to the office, although I was concerned about my life. Giving from my side was to leave my family, and I made my way to the office with other colleagues to continue the efforts we all started together to avoid any delay in delivering humanitarian aid. I received all the support from my family which made me keep going on in this role and they were very worried about me … every night I still come home I thank God that I still have a house and my family are safe and look forward to another day of giving.”

The emergency declaration still remains in place and the UNRWA Operations Rooms in Gaza City and in the five governorates remain staffed. Recruitment of dedicated staff to manage the UNRWA collective centres is underway. A collective centre management team will operate from the Gaza Field Office once the emergency is declared over and Area Operations Room in the governorates are closed.

UNMAS completed clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) of all but three UNRWA schools and an UNRWA maintenance office. UXO clearance allows for cleaning, assessment and repair works of the Agency’s installations, particularly schools in light of the start of the new school year on 14 September.

In coordination with the Ministry of Education, preparations for the new school year are ongoing. UNRWA is expecting over 241,000 students in 252 schools, the vast majority of which will be run on a double-shift basis as there are insufficient buildings. The UNRWA Community Mental Health Programme, school counselors and teachers are working together – through workshops and in-service training – to prepare particularly for the first two weeks of school which will focus on psychosocial activities as per the Agency’s emergency education plan. Also medical examinations will be conducted, and glasses and hearing-aids will be provided if required under the Agency’s Special Children – Special Needs Initiative. UNRWA will also provide stationary for the first semester and is coordinating in-kind donations to be distributed to students most in need. Besides cleaning and maintenance work, technical preparations of the school buildings include tenders for the school canteen and securing water supply to schools.

In view of the upcoming shelter assessments, UNRWA completed training of all essential Relief and Social Services and Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme staff in all five areas of the Gaza Strip. A further 200 Palestinian engineers recruited under the Job Creation Programme, who will also work on shelter assessments, will be trained as of 2 September.

UNRWA is expecting the shelter assessment to start next week. Social workers and engineers will assess damage to Palestine refugees’ homes. UNRWA is urgently looking for donors to fund cash support to encourage displaced to rent the few homes available on the market. Vouchers to purchase food and non-food items, if funding available, will provide an incentive for host families to continue sheltering displaced relatives and friends. Most families in Gaza are very poor and cannot afford to shelter displaced over an extended period of time. The question remains how Gaza reconstruction is to start under the current access regime imposed by the Government of Israel, which does not allow construction material on the local market.

There is a huge backlog of new UNRWA projects worth 94.5m USD submitted long before the summer hostilities, but priorities will have to be reviewed in light of the unprecedented destruction in Gaza. Only one re-housing project, worth 16.5 million USD, was approved in 2014, the first approval in over a year. The project was submitted to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on 2 December 2012, but approval was received on 13 May 2014 only. UNRWA, however, has received COGAT clearance to resume the coordination of construction materials through the only functional border crossing for previously approved projects. .

All 21 UNRWA Health Centres reopened on 1 September and continue to serve the entire population of the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of the 50 day war, UNRWA Health Centres have recorded a total of 650,518 patient visits, including maternal health care visits, child visits, such as for example for immunization, visits by people with non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, and 388,156 visits to seek medical care for acute and common illnesses. For most of the conflict only two thirds of the Agency’s health centres were functional and on average only three quarter of the health staff were able to report to work. The daily average of patient visits, however, was just below the pre-war average.

UNRWA is hoping the ceasefire will hold but is finalizing plans should there be a resumption of violence. Without a political solution a new cycle of violence is very likely. The Israeli blockade on Gaza needs to be lifted, and transfers to Gaza’s traditional markets West Bank and Israel need to be allowed. Exports remain virtually banned, with only 183 truckloads leaving the Gaza Strip over the course of the year 2013. Palestinians need access to traditional markets, to fishing areas and land. Freedom of movement should be permitted.

The war hit Gaza at a time of a governance vacuum, with a National Consensus Government in place since 2 June 2014 which is still to assume effective power. The challenges remain huge, ranging from payments to former de facto government staff, including the police and teachers, who have not seen full salaries for over one year. Salary payments for employees paid by the Palestinian Authority are due this week. There are growing concerns over potential civil unrest.

SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS

The ceasefire holds.

UNRWA INSTALLATIONS

Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. UNRWA estimates that 110 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.

FUNDING NEEDS

The revised flash appeal can be found here.

CROSSINGS

The Rafah crossing was open for humanitarian cases and international visa holders. The Erez crossing was open for humanitarian cases and international staff.

The Kerem Shalom crossing was open.

occupied Palestinian territory: Back to School at UNRWA: Education Touched by Conflict

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 31 min ago
Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Country: Jordan, Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic

Jerusalem

As children in many parts of the world start their new school year, half a million Palestine refugee children should be returning to over 650 UNRWA schools in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Syria – but many cannot.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said, "Palestine refugee children in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are all touched by conflict and dispossession. In Gaza, while the 26 August ceasefire has brought welcome relief to children who have just endured weeks of tremendous violence, none of the 241,000 UNRWA students will return to school on time. It will take time for them to experience anything close to a normal school routine and yet their eventual return to a familiar classroom is a powerful message of hope."

Tens of thousands of children in Gaza remain displaced after the 50-day conflict. Many thousands will remain sheltering in UNRWA schools for months to come, because their homes have been destroyed. Other vacant schools must be cleared of unexploded ordnance or repaired after damage from shelling.

In Syria, only 42 of the 118 UNRWA schools are operational. Some of these schools are now operating three shifts, while the Agency is also running classes out of 36 alternative facilities. For children with access to education, the trauma of losing homes and classmates affects their ability to learn. While many of the most impoverished have dropped out of school as their families cut back on expenses to survive.

In addition to the children living through conflict within Syria, tens of thousands of Palestine refugees have been displaced from Syria to neighbouring countries – primarily Lebanon and Jordan, Here, students enrolled in new schools often have trouble fitting in with their new peers and adapting to new curriculum.

In the West Bank, the movement restrictions and forced displacement of some Bedouin and farming communities are affecting access to education for the children of those communities.

UNRWA Director of Education Dr Caroline Pontefract said, “UNRWA is committed to doing everything it can to help children affected by conflict access their right to education. This has included setting up temporary teaching points to reach displaced children in Syria, and implementing an emergency education plan in Gaza, which will incorporate psychosocial interventions, the use of new technology, UNRWA satellite TV education programmes and self-learning material for all children.”

Other initiatives to improve the learning environment for Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria include the ‘My Voice – My School’ project, which will use technology to connect classrooms in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon with classrooms in the UK. The online video conversations, supported by British educational social enterprise, Digital Explorer, and Skype’s global platform, will allow students to advocate for their own education and future and share ideas about what makes quality education. Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 70.5 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness UNRWA Spokesperson Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659 Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267 c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295 Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724 s.mshasha@unrwa.org

Thailand: 1,252 Migrant workers have registered at the Surin One Stop Service

Myanmar - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 36 min ago
Source: Government of Thailand Country: Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Thailand

SURIN, 2 September 2014 (NNT) - 1,837 Migrant workers have registered at the Surin One Stop Service since it opened on August 4th up to September 1st 2014.

The Surin Employment Authority has stated that since the opening of the Surin One Stop Service for migrant workers, laborers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia have been coming in droves. A total of 704 workers have applied for legal documents as hired migrant workers.

The center has almost finished the process of registering workers who have applied so far. The province expects to finish registering all migrant workers soon.

Yemen: IMF Executive Board Approves a 3-Year, US$552.9 Million Extended Credit Facility Arrangement with Yemen

Yemen - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 55 min ago
Source: International Monetary Fund Country: Yemen

Press Release No. 14/408

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today approved a three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement with the Republic of Yemen for an amount equivalent to SDR 365.25 million (US$552.9 million; or 150 percent of Yemen’s quota) to help maintain macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth. As a result of the Board’s decision, an amount equivalent to SDR 48.75 million (about US$73.8 million) is available for immediate disbursement. The remaining amount will be phased in semi-annual disbursements, subject to six reviews.

Following the Executive Board discussion on Yemen, Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director, and Acting Chair, said:

“The Yemeni authorities have made commendable efforts to support macroeconomic stability and growth. Nonetheless, political and security challenges have continued to weigh on the policy environment and economic outcomes. In particular, fiscal and external balances have weakened due to delays in key reforms and increased sabotage of oil facilities. Looking ahead, the main challenges are to improve the fiscal and external positions, as well as support inclusive growth and job creation.

“The authorities have launched an ambitious economic program to meet these challenges and durably reduce Yemen’s high unemployment and widespread poverty. The authorities’ program, to be supported by a three-year arrangement under the Fund’s Extended Credit Facility, is designed to address balance of payments needs, close the fiscal financing gap, and maintain macroeconomic stability while protecting the most vulnerable groups.

“The centerpiece of the authorities’ reform package is phasing out large and inefficient fuel subsidies. A first step in this direction has already taken place and will be complemented by well targeted social transfers to the poor. Additional fiscal measures will aim at reducing the budget deficit over the medium term by reforming the civil service and improving tax compliance. These measures will also free budgetary resources for needed infrastructure and social spending.

“To preserve macroeconomic stability in the near term, the central bank needs to adjust monetary policy as needed to limit the impact of subsidies reform on inflation. It should also continue to improve its monetary framework to strengthen policy transmission and support greater exchange rate flexibility. The financial sector reforms planned by the authorities aim at strengthening bank regulation and supervision as well as at enhancing market infrastructure.”

ANNEX:

Recent Developments:

The macroeconomic situation continued to be relatively stable in 2013, and growth remained moderate. Non-hydrocarbon growth was steady at about 4 percent, while hydrocarbon growth picked up strongly, reversing part of the oil output decline in the preceding two years. As a result, real GDP growth is estimated to have doubled to almost 5 percent. At the same time, average inflation edged up slightly to reach 11 percent (up from about 10 percent a year earlier), and the exchange rate remained stable. Inflation moderated in the first half of 2014, but oil production declined due to sabotage activities, leading to severe fuel and electricity shortages.

Yemen has progressed in its political transition since the 2011 crisis. However, the economic recovery remained insufficient to reduce the high levels of unemployment and poverty. The average per capita GDP growth rate was less than 1.5 percent a year preceding the 2011 crisis and has declined since. Poverty and youth unemployment, at about 54 percent and 45 percent respectively, are among the highest in the world. Infrastructure investment has also continued to drop, and foreign direct investment remains concentrated in the hydrocarbon sector that employs a small percentage of the labor force.

Program Summary:

Faced with a rapidly deteriorating economic situation in the first half of 2014, the authorities have initiated a bold economic reform program to reverse the recent deterioration in macroeconomic conditions and to support growth, encourage job creation, and protect the poor. Notwithstanding political challenges, the authorities’ program combines a package of strong policy measures and structural reforms with external financing support.

Key elements of the Fund-supported program are to:

Strengthen fiscal adjustment and protect the poor. This is to be achieved through reforms to reduce untargeted subsidies, contain the wage bill, and enhance compliance of large tax payers. Targeted cash transfers to the poor will be increased by 50 percent following the adjustment in the fuel prices. Infrastructure investment will be gradually increased in order to boost job creation and potential growth. The government will also improve public finance management.

Maintain prudent monetary and exchange rate policies.These will aim at containing inflation, enhancing competitiveness, and avoiding exchange rate volatility while preserving foreign exchange reserves.

Reform the financial sector, improve governance, and encourage inclusive, private sector-led growth. Primary reforms aim at strengthening consolidated and cross border supervision, developing regulation to address risks specific to Islamic banking, and strengthening the Central Bank of Yemen’s powers to resolve banks. Governance reforms include improving the business environment, transparency and accountability. Additional reforms are aimed at enhancing the government implementation capacity to help mobilize donor support and improve public infrastructure investment.

The support of the international community will continue to be essential in the period ahead.

Sri Lanka: Daily Situation Report - 02 September 2014 at 1800 hrs

Sri Lanka - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 1 min ago
Source: Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka Country: Sri Lanka preview

Sri Lanka: Army provides relief measures in Drought-Hit Areas

Sri Lanka - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 6 min ago
Source: Government of Sri Lanka Country: Sri Lanka

Over 200 families of long-drawn drought hit areas in Kalyanipura, Vavuniya received dry ration packs and drinking water bottles along with a special arrangement coordinated by the Army's 62 Division recently.

The notable welfare measure was initiated by the Rev. Fr Sanjeewa in association with the priest of Waga Parish.

Meanwhile, Security Force Headquarters - Central (SFHQ-C) further extending their humanitarian assistances to the drought hit populace, distributed more drinking water to the village dwellers in the region.

Drought-affected people in Veheratenna also received over 265 packets of rice in addition to the ongoing relief measures.

Moreover, Wanni troops went on distributing crop seeds among the villagers of Nandimithragama, Namalgama, Bogaswewa, Veheratenna and Selalihinigama which situates between Vavuniya and Welioya region. Chairperson of 'Hadabima', Mr Dayananda Herath had supported the Wanni security forces in assisting people.

The government will launch a mega scale water supply project at a cost of Rs.5.4 billion as a long term solution to the problems faced by people in areas which are frequently affected by drought under the directives of His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Philippines: DSWD receives add’l donation for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

Philippines - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 20 min ago
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman receives the P432, 679. 22 check donation of the Association of Asian Election Authorities from Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Sixto Brillantes for Typhoon Yolanda survivors.

In accepting the donation, Sec. Soliman expressed her gratitude to the donors and said that this will be used in building additional transitional units for families displaced by ‘Yolanda’.

As of July 2014, a total of 4,393 families from ‘Yolanda’-hit areas are already residing in transitional shelter units.

DSWD has already received a total of US$23,766,111. 40 and P97, 879, 377.44 local donations for ‘Yolanda‘ survivors, as of September 1.

Iraq: UN Envoy Calls for Investigation into Camp Speicher Massacre [EN/AR]

Iraq - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 27 min ago
Source: UN Assistance Mission for Iraq Country: Iraq preview

Baghdad, 3 September 2014 - The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, has called on the Iraqi authorities to conduct a public and independent investigation into the fate of soldiers and other military personnel who were massacred or are missing from the Camp Speicher military base, when it was seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and associated armed groups on 12 June 2014.

“Evidence suggests that a massacre has been committed at Camp Speicher and hundreds of Iraqis lost their lives at the hands of ISIL. It is in the interest of their families and relatives, who remain unaware of the fate of their loved ones, as well as in the public interest, that the Iraqi authorities do all they can to uncover the truth of what has happened to these men, to locate and identify the remains of any who may have been killed, and to undertake all efforts to secure the release of any who may remain in captivity”, Mr. Mladenov stated. “Any person or group of persons responsible of these acts must be held accountable according to law”, Mr. Mladenov stressed, adding that the events that took place at Camp Speicher on 12 June remain of deep concern to the international community.

The United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution on 1 September calling on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to dispatch a team of investigators to Iraq to inquire into crimes committed by ISIL and associated armed groups as a means of assisting the Government of Iraq and the international community to ensure accountability in relation to those crimes.

On 11-12 June 2014, ISIL and associated armed groups seized large areas of northern and north central Iraq including the Iraqi military base of Camp Speicher located near Tikrit in Salah al-Din governorate. The circumstances of what followed remain unclear. ISIL claimed at the time that it had “executed” some 1,700 captured soldiers and other military personnel from Camp Speicher. Photos and videos posted online by ISIL in the days immediately after the capture of the area, depicted horrendous scenes of a large number of young men being herded onto trucks, transported to a remote location, and then forced to lay on the ground in rows, as ISIL fighters systematically and brutally killed them.

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Eliana Nabaa, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: nabaa@un.org or the UNAMI Public Information Office: unami-information@un.org

Haiti: Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Hait (S/2014/617)

Haiti - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 43 min ago
Source: UN Security Council Country: Haiti preview

I. Introduction

  1. By its resolution 2119 (2013) , the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Na tions Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) until 15 October 2014 and requested me to report on its implementation semi - annually and not later than 45 days before its expiration. The present report covers major developments since the issuance of my rep ort of 7 March 2014 ( S/2014/162 ) to 29 August 2014 and outlines activities undertaken by the Mission in line with its mandate under Security Council resolutions 1542 (2004) , 1608 (2005) , 1702 (2006) , 1743 (2007) , 1780 (2007) , 1840 (2008) , 1892 (2009) , 1908 (2010) , 1927 (2010) , 1944 (2010) , 2012 (2011) , 2070 (2012) and 2119 (2013)

II. Political and security update

Political situation

  1. The reporting period saw, at the outset, the signature of the El Rancho Accord, following an encouraging dialogue process mediated by the Episcopal Conference of Haiti, which convened the executive, the parliament and political parties. The remainder of the period, however, was marked by protracted negotiations between the executive and the legislature on the implementation of the Accord, notably concerning the establishment of an electoral council and the adoption of an amended electoral law, both required to organize the long - overdue local and legislative elections.

  2. The Accord provided for a 10 - day period within which the 2013 electoral law would be amende d to allow for combined elections, by 26 October 2014, for two thirds of the Senate, the entire Chamber of Deputies, municipal administrations and local councils. It also called for the conversion of the former Transitory College of the Permanent Electoral Council into a new provisional electoral council, with an agreement that each branch of power could change one of its three nominees. A partial reshuffle of the Cabinet would allow for the appointment of representatives of political parties and other sect ors of society

Haiti: Haiti launches cholera vaccination campaign

Haiti - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 51 min ago
Source: World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization Country: Haiti

Effort targets 200,000 people in three departments considered at high risk

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2 September 2014 (PAHO/WHO) – Haiti launched a cholera vaccination campaign last week that seeks to reach 200,000 people in three departments. The campaign is being led by the Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) with support from the United Nations and a coalition of strategic partners, including the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

The campaign has financing from the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and is using vaccines from a global stockpile created at the request of the 2011 World Health Assembly as a tool to help control cholera outbreaks worldwide. WHO serves as secretariat for the global stockpile, which is also supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors without Borders, and UNICEF.

Last week’s campaign was carried out in Artibonite (Gonaives and Ennery), Central (Lascahobas, Saut d’Eau, Savanette and Mirebalais), and West (Arcahaie) departments, which are considered high-risk zones. A second phase is planned for mid-September to deliver a second dose of the vaccine.

“Preventing and controlling cholera transmission is a priority and requires sanitation and hygiene measures,” said PAHO/WHO Representative in Haiti Jean-Luc Poncelet. “Vaccination is one more tool in the fight against this disease.”

The vaccination campaign complements efforts by Haitian health authorities to improve access to safe water and sanitation, promote hand washing, and encourage community participation in cholera prevention. “The long-term goal is to eliminate cholera from Haiti,” said Poncelet.

From January to August of this year, Haiti reported 7,718 cholera cases, a significant decline from the same period in 2013.

For the current campaign, PAHO/WHO provided strategic support for Haiti to purchase, warehouse and distribute cholera vaccines and to finance, train and equip 370 vaccination teams made up of 1,222 health workers and community agents led by 145 departmental supervisors.

PAHO/WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Haitian Institute for Statistics and Information will undertake an evaluation of the campaign.

PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.

Philippines: Canada Announces Humanitarian Support to Improve the Health and Wellbeing of the Most Vulnerable in the Philippines

Philippines - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 8 min ago
Source: Government of Canada Country: Canada, Philippines

Canada supporting efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of those in greatest need in the conflict-affected areas of the Philippine island of Mindanao

September 2, 2014 – Kamloops, BC - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Western Economic Diversification, Cathy McLeod announced, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Canadian support to the International Committee of the Red Cross to help the most vulnerable in the Philippines.

The announcement was made prior to a roundtable with local stakeholders and members of the Filipino community to discuss the way forward to continue to improve the lives of mothers and their children in the developing world. This meeting was part of the consultations announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit which took place in Toronto from May 28-30, 2014.

“Canada is making a difference in the lives of people around the world,” said PS McLeod. “The contribution announced today builds on this work by supporting efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of those in greatest need in the conflict-affected areas of the Philippine island of Mindanao.”

Today’s roundtable focused on how to ensure that global commitments deliver real results to those in need while remaining accountable to Canadian taxpayers. Canada is committed to scaling up interventions that will have the greatest impact focusing in the areas of strengthening health systems, improving nutrition, and reducing the burden of leading diseases.

“Canada is a global leader in improving maternal newborn and child health,” said Minister Paradis. “By working with partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, we are helping to build prosperous communities support vulnerable women and children can live healthy and productive lives.”

Thanks to Canadian leadership and subsequent global action, maternal mortality rates are declining and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday. Recognizing there is much more work to be done, Prime Minister Harper hosted the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in Toronto in 2014. At the Summit, Canada committed an additional $3.5 billion to continue support through to 2020, and reaffirmed global consensus on a shared commitment to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children under the age of five within a generation.

Quick Facts

  • In 2014, Canada confirmed the Philippines as a new country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.

  • On June 28, 2014, Canada announced funding for the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to provide humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected people in Mindanao.

  • On June 20, 2014, Canada announced funding for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and vulnerable populations around the world, including funds allocated to conflict-affected people in Mindanao.

  • Solid international progress is being made to address maternal, newborn and child health. The number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped substantially – from 523,000 deaths in 1990 to 289,000 in 2013.

  • The global number of deaths of children under the age of five has dropped significantly as well, from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

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Contacts

Sandrine Périon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
343-203-6238
sandrine.perion@international.gc.ca

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media@international.gc.ca
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occupied Palestinian territory: Two-State Solution ‘Disappearing Before Our Very Eyes’, Palestinian Lawmaker Tells Rights Committee, Noting Israel’s Announced Annexation of West Bank Territory

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 15 min ago
Source: UN General Assembly Country: occupied Palestinian territory

GA/PAL/1312

Committee on the Inalienable Rights
of the Palestinian People
363rd Meeting (AM)

Relief Agency Official Describes ‘Extremely Traumatic and Testing Time’

The two-State solution was “disappearing before our very eyes”, while the world was falling short of protecting Palestinians and holding Israel accountable for its actions, the Palestinian Rights Committee heard today in a briefing.

Describing “a system of enslavement” in occupied Palestine, Hanan Ashrawi, a Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council who also serves on the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the Committee — known formally as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People — that Israel’s Government was seeking to impose “Greater Israel” on occupied Palestine.

Providing updates on political developments and the overall situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Ms. Ashrawi said the State of Palestine was still coming to grips with the latest events in Gaza, which amounted to “nothing less than a human tragedy”.

The recent announcement of further annexation of land by Israel was “the latest affront to the international community”, and a purported response to the killing of three Israel settlers, she said, adding that she thought the killing of 19 Palestinians, as well as the destruction without due process of the suspects’ homes, was supposed to have been the response.

Ms. Ashrawi went on to say that the international community owed the Palestinian people remedial action to counter the “grave historical injustice” perpetrated against them when Israel was created. It could redeem itself by ending preferential treatment of Israel and rising to the challenge of ensuring a just peace. She stressed that the conflict’s root causes and injustices must be addressed because “no amount of violence, cruelty or military force” would stop Palestinians’ pursuit of their rights.

The State of Palestine, she said, would continue the path of multilateralism as an alternative to a flawed peace process. Absent a multilateral approach, there would be no hope of non-violent means bearing fruit. Recent such efforts had included a request to convene a meeting of the High Contracting parties of the Geneva Convention, as well as a request for a meeting of the Human Rights Council. Palestinian efforts to accede to international conventions, including the Rome Statute, would continue, as would Palestine’s pursuit of membership in bodies like the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

Meanwhile, she expressed hope that the indirect talks taking place in Egypt would be a launch pad for future talks to alter the current situation. Saving lives was the priority, but the “building blocks of violence”, such as the occupation and the continued siege, must be removed. Crossing points had to be opened, as well as territorial waters, and security zones that affected farming should be dismantled. Israeli security concerns could not be the overarching objective of talks, she said, stressing the need for a firm deadline for their successful completion.

Internally, she said redefinition of the Palestinian Authority was also being pursued, particularly in terms of its functions and its relationship with Israel, including on security and economic cooperation. Work to achieve reunification among Palestinians would continue, as would efforts to strengthen institutions and improve involvement of women and youth in decision-making. The Palestine Liberation Organization needed reform and reactivation, she said, vowing to continue the pursuit non-violent popular resistance and global networking.

During an interactive dialogue that followed, Richard Wright, representative of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in New York, described the Agency’s losses in Gaza, calling the present period an “extremely traumatic and testing time”. Many people remained displaced, with no homes to which to return, and UNRWA schools were unable to open for the new school year as they were still being used as shelters.

Several delegations expressed concern over Israel’s recent announcement to appropriate land from the occupied West Bank, including the representative of Pakistan, who called Israel’s announcement to seize more Palestinian land in the West Bank “unacceptable and condemnable”. He said Ms. Ashrawi’s briefing was “depressing”, although it undoubtedly depicted an accurate picture of the situation in Gaza. The two-State solution was the only viable and sustainable path to peace and security in the region, he added.

The Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, Riyad Mansour, welcomed the briefing and said it was timely, as the next General Assembly session would begin in just a few weeks and provide an opportunity for the international community to again re-visit the possibility of a two-State solution.

Asked by the representative of Iraq about international aid donations and plans of the Palestinian leadership to capitalize on momentum and good will following the atrocities in Gaza, Ms. Ashrawi said specific reconstruction proposals and projects were of great importance and would require wide-ranging efforts across several disciplines. The development of the West Bank was crucial for Gaza’s survival, as the two places were inextricably linked, she said, warning of ripple effects far beyond Gaza in the absence of peace.

Reviewing the recent United Nations Seminar on Assistance of the Palestinian People, held in Nairobi, Kenya from 1 to 2 July, Yusra Khan, speaking on behalf of Desra Percaya, the representative of Indonesia and Committee Vice-Chair, said the gathering had been held under the theme, “Fostering Active International Solidarity with the Palestinians — Solidifying the Economic Underpinnings of an Independent State”. The Secretary-General, in a message, had condemned the violence of June and July and called on Israeli and Palestinian authorities to work together for a return to negotiations. A representative of the State of Palestine had urged continued support for the Palestinian cause, despite the dire nature of the situation.

In other business today, the Committee approved several civil society organizations for accreditation, following on the recommendation of its Working Group. All had been recognized national non-profit organizations and had demonstrated that they had concrete programmes in support of the achievement by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights.

Committee Vice-Chair, Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, thanked Abdou Salam Diallo of Senegal, whose term as Committee Chairman would end on 4 September, for his wise stewardship over the years. His highly successful tenure, said Mr. Tanin, had been marked by several important milestones, including the Committee’s expanded membership and, among others, its resolute support for Palestine’s application for full membership in the United Nations.

Mr. Tanin then announced that the Committee’s next meeting would be held on 3 October, as he reviewed the calendar of significant dates. He noted that the Committee would host Noam Chomsky on 14 October and would meet on 24 November to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Representatives of Indonesia, Turkey, Nicaragua, Malaysia, and Morocco also took part in the interactive dialogue.

For information media • not an official record

Pakistan: Water Balance: Achieving Sustainable Development through a Water Assessment and Management Plan - The Case of Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan

Pakistan - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 46 min ago
Source: Asian Development Bank Country: Pakistan preview

Description

Water availability has a tremendous impact on water resources development and socioeconomic sustainability, particularly in arid and semiarid areas. A thorough assessment of water availability and demand is essential in preparing any water resources development and management plan. In fact, if water is to be managed in a sustainable way planners and managers must know how much there is and how much of it is needed, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions.

The report

This report provides the guidance, methods, data, and analyses needed to assess water availability and needs in micro watersheds. It shows how to prepare short-, medium-, and long-term water investment and management plans on the basis of volume of surface and groundwater within a watershed and the needs of agriculture, people, and livestock.

It also offers a practical approach based on real-life assessments that have helped planners decide on investments to develop and manage water.

Highlights

The report identifies interventions for sustainable use of natural resources in the project area. These include increased utilization of surface water with recharge-cum-delay action and storage dams, small ponds, and check dams for watershed improvement as well as drinking water supply schemes. Setting up lining irrigation channels, controlling grazing of rangelands, and improving agriculture practices are also proposed.

Contents

-Background - Project Area - Assessing Surface Water Availability - Assessing Groundwater - Assessing Water Consumption - Water Balance Model - Water Management Plan - Conclusion

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Ebola outbreak in remote DR Congo district both a challenge and a chance

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 2 September 2014 - 11:55pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

09/03/2014 03:02 GMT

by Marc JOURDIER

KINSHASA, September 3, 2014 (AFP) - When the deadly Ebola virus struck anew last month in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the outbreak was centred in a district sufficiently remote to be both a blessing and a bane for medical staff.

The World Health Organization, quoting local authorities, said Tuesday that 31 people have died since August 11 after the disease was reported around the f Boende.

WHO, however, said the outbreak "remained contained", as more aid teams struggle to reach the area in Equateur province some 800 kilometres (500 miles) from the capital Kinshasa.

"In the DRC, logistics are a major challenge," said Jeroen Beijnberger, medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in this country where decades of neglect have left minimal road and rail structure.

Boende is so isolated that the risk that the highly contagious disease will spread is low, unlike the situation in west Africa, where a raging epidemic has claimed more than 1,500 lives this year, according to the WHO.

Yet Boende's very location in the heart of dense equatorial forest is an obstacle to health workers who need swiftly to quarantine fever victims showing early symptoms like blinding headaches, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

There is no vaccine for Ebola. And since the disease is transmitted through bodily fluids including sweat and saliva, isolating patients from the rest of the community is vital, along with treatment for acute dehydration, before the onset of unstoppable bleeding and the collapse of internal organs.

The death toll varies according to the virulence of the Ebola strain, with an average of 61 percent, based on WHO figures. But the earlier Ebola is detected and its symptoms treated, the higher the chance of survival.

The disease was first identified in DRC, then called Zaire, in 1976 in the north near the Ebola river, which gave the virus its name. The latest outbreak is the seventh to hit the country.

For Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi, there is no connection between the outbreak in Boende and the epidemic that started in Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"In light of the isolation of the region, there has been no contact between people" from the different parts of the continent, Numbi told AFP.

Authorities said the first victim in Boende was the wife of a hunter, whom they said had contact with infected game her husband had brought in from the rain forest.

  • 'Difficulties of access' -

While the health minister declared the Boende outbreak "contained", he said officials were closely monitoring developments, with more medical staff trying to get in to back up personnel already on the ground.

"Given the difficulties of access to the zone," transporting medical teams and their equipment "is a challenge", said Eugene Kabambi, WHO communications officer in Kinshasa.

Air transport laid on by the large UN mission in the DRC, MONUSCO -- a multinational military, police and civilian force first deployed during a regional war fought on DRC soil -- "no longer even flies to Boende," Kabambi said.

Health personnel were forced "to negotiate with the small carriers", he added, in a nation where flying and inland boat travel can be as dangerous as they are indispensable.

And from Boende's airfield, the route is a bumpy dirt track through thick jungle over several streams, where crossing fast-flowing water in the ubiquitous dugout canoes can be a perilous adventure, Kabambi said.

Some MSF and WHO staff have been working in the Boende region with specialised epidemiologists since mid-August. MSF on Monday told AFP that reinforcements had reached the area and were setting up an Ebola clinic. WHO expected to have more personnel arrive this week.

  • Successive outbreaks -

Last week, MONUSCO announced that the United Nations has released $1.5 million (1.3 million euros) to help the Kinshasa government combat the outbreak, with the prospect of doubling that sum.

"The positive point in the DRC is that the country is not confronted with its first Ebola outbreak," Beijnberger said.

"The situation is different to that in west Africa, the virus isn't present in the big towns and urban centres," in contrast to the Nigerian metroplis of Lagos, he added.

While it is difficult to reach the affected area, it is just as hard to leave it, which helps to prevent the spread of Ebola and led the authorities to declare a quarantine zone of about 100 square kilometres (39 square miles) around Boende.

Kabambi said that Congolese authorities had learnt much from successive outbreaks of Ebola.

"Surveillance of epidemics is strongly reinforced" and has led to swift action, Kabambi said, adding that in almost four decades, "there has never been a large town or big urban centre affected in the country."

mj/mbb/nb-ns

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Liberia: Deputy Secretary-General, Addressing Meeting on Ebola, Says Decisions Should Be Based on Scientific Evidence, Not Fear

Guinea - ReliefWeb News - 2 September 2014 - 11:33pm
Source: UN Department of Public Information Country: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

DSG/SM/791

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s opening remarks for the meeting with Member States on Ebola, today, 2 September:

I welcome the Member States to this meeting on Ebola at such a short notice.

I also particularly welcome to this briefing Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Dr. David Nabarro, who serves as the Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola. I am also joined by Executive Director of UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund], Tony Lake, and my UN colleagues from DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations], Department of Field Services, and OCHA [Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs], and Tim Evans, World Bank Senior Director for Health. I am also pleased to welcome Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who has joined us from Canada today.

The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is critically serious and deeply worrying. Although only a few countries have been affected, three of them severely, other countries are increasingly concerned, rightly so, about the possibility of further spread.

The health systems in the affected countries are overwhelmed by the magnitude and complexity of the problems. These countries are finding it extremely difficult to cope. We, the international community, must now step up our efforts and boost the capacity of the affected countries and their systems and provide all support needed.

The outbreak is more than a health crisis. It has already taken a disproportionate toll on economies and affected the daily life and the very fabric of families and societies.

The fear factor plays a strong role in the crisis. I encourage the Member States, and businesses and individuals as well, to take decisions based on scientific evidence, not on fear. Misinformation about Ebola can only exacerbate an already dire or fragile situation in the impacted countries and beyond.

There have been strong responses by Governments, multilateral and regional organisations, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and other partners. I thank them for their support but encourage them to do more and to do so rapidly. I particularly want to commend MSF for their quick and solid response. I would also like to particularly thank the Governments of those affected countries for their political will and determination to come to grips with the problem. Financial resources and a unique mix of capacities to come into those countries are needed immediately so that the spread of the disease can be contained rapidly.

As far as the United Nations is concerned, this is one of the most serious health challenges we have ever faced. The reality on the ground is no different from those caused by natural calamities and conflicts of great magnitude — and in some ways even more difficult with dire consequences in several other areas of society. At the country level, an enormous amount of work is already being done by the United Nations Missions, peacekeeping operations and United Nations country teams.

But we cannot do it alone. We need effective strategies, partnerships, and capacities. There cannot be any weak links in this operational chain. We also need to think in unconventional terms and demonstrate speed and flexibility in defining and executing our strategies. We are faced with severe strains on our own staff working in these difficult conditions. We may need to involve Member States in this coordination task. I recall the tsunami in South-East Asia and the Haiti earthquake when we had a more active role of Member States in those operations.

The Secretary-General has established a United Nations System Ebola virus disease coordination mechanism to ensure that we offer integrated support to affected countries, while helping to prevent spread to other countries.

This coordination mechanism will be guided by the leadership provided by WHO and by its Ebola Response Roadmap. Dr. Nabarro, who has just returned from visiting the affected countries, will, as Senior United Nations Coordinator, ensure effective United Nations system-wide response.

With these remarks, I now would like to invite Dr. Chan to provide an update on the outbreak.

For information media • not an official record

Zimbabwe: Malaria Bounces Back as Anopheles Mosquito Resurfaces

Zimbabwe - ReliefWeb News - 2 September 2014 - 11:26pm
Source: Voice of America Country: Zimbabwe

Arthur Chigoriwa

02.09.2014 19:52

CHINHOYI— Malaria deaths are on the rise in Zimbabwe as gains made in eliminating the infectious disease continue to be eroded by a new drug resistant strain and lack of funds to sustain disease monitoring and control efforts in the country, among other issues.

Officially opening the country’s annual malaria conference here yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr. David Parirenyatwa said gains made in 2012 in fighting the disease are being threatened mostly by the re-emergence of the malaria vector "Anopheles funestus" in the border areas.

The minister said drug resistance malaria and shortages of antimalarial drugs have also become a major hurdle in the government’s efforts to eradicate malaria in Zimbabwe as is fluctuations in rainfall.

Future global warming could also lead to a significant increase in malaria cases in densely populated regions unless disease monitoring and control efforts are increased, according to researchers.

The mosquito-borne disease, that infects around 220 million people a year around the world, killed so thousands in Zimbabwe. Dr. Parirenyatwa said most of the people who succumbed to malaria where from the rural areas where inaccessible roads and lack of medicine remain a problem.

Mashonaland Central Provincial Medical Director Dr. Bernard Chuma said most malaria deaths in the country were due to the poor road network in the rural communities, especially during the rainy season resulting in many failing to access hospitals or clinics.

Mashonaland West PMD Dr. Andrew Kutswa said people living in the new resettlement areas are mostly at risk as the government has not yet built health facilities to serve the new farming communities. Most people, he said, walk more than 20 kilometers to get to the nearest clinic resulting in unnecessary deaths.

Masvingo province representative Dr. Cephas Chakadya blamed politicians for interfering with their work as health officials, adding sometimes health workers are forced to go to areas that are not at risk in the name of political mileage.

Though figures were not readily available, Dr. Chuma said Manicaland had the highest number of malaria deaths due to Mozambican crossing the border to seek medical attention in Mutare.

He said despite limited resources, Zimbabwe is also serving the foreign nationals and saving lives.

Figures are hard to establish for a disease that affects mainly poor communities in rural areas of developing countries.

Some researchers have argued that socio-economic improvements and more aggressive and effective mosquito-control efforts would have a large enough positive effect on the spread and intensity of malaria to neutralize the potential threat of changing climates.

Dr. Parirenyatwa said his Ministry will soon unveil its Malaria Business Plan for 2015 to 2017, hoping to invite private companies and others to join in the fight against malaria.

An estimated 20 million malaria cases and between 300,000—400,000 malaria deaths are recorded each year in the southern African region.

Afghanistan: Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – September 2014

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 2 September 2014 - 10:21pm
Source: Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syrian Arab Republic, South Sudan preview

This month’s update highlights children and armed conflict concerns and provides recommendations for the protection of children in the situations of Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Syria. In particular, the update provides recommendations ahead of the Security Council quarterly debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict is a network of local, national and international non-governmental organizations striving to end violations against children in armed conflicts and to guarantee their rights. Monthly updates are based on the experience of Watchlist and its member organizations in specific country situations and Watchlist’s expertise in over a decade of engagement with the Security Council’s children and armed conflict agenda.

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