ReliefWeb Latest Reports for Country Office

Afghanistan: Afghan election resolution inches forward with audit deal

Afghanistan - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 11 min ago
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Afghanistan

KABUL, July 31, 2014 (AFP) - Afghanistan's floundering attempts to declare a winner of its presidential election inched forward Thursday with a deal allowing an audit of all votes to restart, but the United Nations warned of the risk of further delays.

Alleged fraud during the June 14 election has plunged the country into a crisis as US-led troops wind down their war against Taliban insurgents and President Hamid Karzai prepares to step down after ruling since 2001.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the two poll rivals, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, had finally agreed how the massive audit would separate fraudulent ballots from genuine votes.

Over eight million votes were cast on polling day, but Abdullah claimed "industrial-scale" fraud had denied him victory after preliminary results suggested that Ghani had won easily.

As the deepening stand-off threatened to spark a return to the ethnic violence of the 1992-1996 civil war, US Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Kabul earlier this month and persuaded the two opponents to agree to the audit.

But the process has been beset by stoppages as the campaign teams fought over each disputed ballot paper.

"What is now needed is full engagement of the parties, the international community and domestic observers," Jan Kubis, head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, told reporters.

"Any delays, any uncertainties, have a major negative impact on both the political and economic situation in Afghanistan."

The audit will restart on Saturday, though the timetable for the new president to be inaugurated on August 2 has been abandoned and no new date has been set.

A smooth election was seen as essential to justify the costly US-led military and civilian aid effort since the Taliban regime fell in 2001, and recent insurgent offensives have heightened fears of a worsening spiral of violence. 07/31/2014 09:04 GMT

The disputed result and uncertainty over when Karzai will hand over power has tainted earlier celebrations over the high turnout and lack of major militant attacks in both the April first-round vote and the run-off seven weeks ago.

"We will resume auditing on Saturday... we ask the candidates and all their agents to respect this decision and cooperate," said IEC chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani.

"The election process has taken a long time and this has concerned people -- business is literally down, it has created a lot of economic problems."

On Wednesday, Kerry described the audit as "painstaking and slow", stressing that the two candidates should fulfil their commitment to accept its results and then form a national unity government.

"The time for politics is over. The time for cooperation is at hand. There is no time to waste," he wrote in an editorial for the Tolo News TV channel.

emh-mam/bgs/ia/pdh

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Zimbabwe: Education Groups Welcome Zimbabwe's New Teachers Program

Zimbabwe - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 13 min ago
Source: Voice of America Country: Zimbabwe

Jonga Kandemiiri

WASHINGTON — Educationists in Zimbabwe have welcomed the Teacher Capacity Development Program that was launched in Harare yesterday by President Robert Mugabe.

But they say they want to have a huge stake in the programme to avoid various glitches like nepotism.

The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe said there is need for transparency and fairness in choosing beneficiaries.

Chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association echoed the same sentiments saying this was long overdue because the country’s teachers must be able to compete well with the rest of the world.

The University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Open University, Great Zimbabwe and Bindura University of Science and Education were selected to start this program which will focus on science, math, vocational training, languages and curriculum development.

Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, Manuel Nyawo, told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that while they welcome the program the government should not invest in someone who is nearing his or her retirement age.

occupied Palestinian territory: Occupied Palestinian Territory: Gaza Emergency Concept of Operations as of 31 July 2014

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 25 min ago
Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster Country: occupied Palestinian territory preview

South Sudan: Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan (S/2014/537)

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: UN Security Council Country: Sudan, South Sudan

1. Introduction

  1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2155 (2014), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) until 30 November 2014 and requested me to report every 60 days on the implementation of the Mission’s mandate. The present report provides an update on developments since the issuance of my report of 6 March 2014 (S/2014/158), including the reconfiguration of UNMISS and the personnel review.

occupied Palestinian territory: Occupied Palestinian Territory: Gaza Emergency Situation Report (as of 31 July 2014, 15:00 hrs)

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 47 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: occupied Palestinian territory preview

Highlights

• 110 Palestinian fatalities were recorded in the past 24 hours, including 18 killed in the devastated Ash Shuja’iyeh neighbourhood.

• Up to one quarter of Gaza’s population may have been forcibly displaced since the start of the emergency, including 250,000 in UNRWA and government shelters.

• Following an attack hitting Gaza’s sole power plant and its subsequent shut down, along with the inability to repair feeder lines from Israel and Egypt, electricity is only supplied for an average of three hours a day.

• Access to food is increasingly affected: bakeries cannot meet the additional demand for bread, triggered by the lack of electricity in households, while the prices of vegetables soar.

• Latest development: a 72 hour ceasefire starting on 1 August at 8:00 has been announced.

1,373 Palestinians killed, including at least 852 civilians, of whom 252 are children and 181 are women.

59 Israelis killed, including two civilians and 56 soldiers, in addition to one foreign national

1.8 million People have reduced or no access to regular water and sanitation.

137 Schools damaged during hostilities, some serving as emergency shelters.

250,000 Displaced people hosted in UNRWA and in government schools and institutions.

occupied Palestinian territory: Sudanese Red Crescent medical delegation arrives Cairo on way to Gaza Strip

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 48 min ago
Source: Sudanese News Agency Country: occupied Palestinian territory

Cairo, July 27 (SUNA) The delegation of the Sudanese Red Crescent including 12 doctors and surgeons led by dr. Mohamed Saeed al-Khalifa the cardiology consultant and the chancellor of Al-Azhari University has arrived Cairo on its way Gaza Strip.

The head of the delegation indicated in statement to SUNA that the movement of the delegation is a response to the Palestinian Red Crescent in Ram Allah, noting that the delegation has conducted a number of surgery operations during the first and second Israeli aggression on Gaza.

He pointed out that coordination between the Egyptian Red Crescent and the foreign ministries in both Cairo and Khartoum were made for the arrival of the delegation to Gaza Strip, meanwhile, he called for speeding up the required procedures to enable the delegation to arrive gaze as soon as possible to contribute in alleviating the Palestinian sufferings. TA

Sudan: Over 400 houses affected by rains and flooding in two areas in Khartoum

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 2 hours 50 min ago
Source: Sudanese News Agency Country: Sudan

Khartoum, July 30 (SUNA)- Over four hundreds houses, including 250 in Salaha area and 150 in Ombada, have been affected by the current floods and rains that hit the national capital Khartoum.

Engineer Malik Bashir, the Head of the Emergency chamber set by the Governor of the state to monitor the situation, said a field tour to affected areas in Kharoum by the senior officials headed by the Governor himself, have shown that all state organs are operating at their maximum to face any eventualilty.

He said helicopters are engagted in monitoring the situation and pinpointing to areas with potential threats as result of the rains and floods. He said the government has ordered all staff to cut their vaccation and return to base, thus mobilizing all its resources to face the situation. MA/MA

occupied Palestinian territory: Secretary-General, United States Secretary of State receive assurances for 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 3 hours 24 min ago
Source: UN Secretary-General Country: occupied Palestinian territory

SG/2206

The following joint statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry was issued today:

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry announce that the United Nations Representative in Jerusalem, Special Coordinator Robert Serry, has received assurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

This humanitarian ceasefire will commence at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, 1 August 2014. It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended. During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place.

We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire.

This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence. During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured and restocking food supplies. Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period.

Israeli and Palestinian delegations will immediately be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Government of Egypt, at the invitation of Egypt, aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire. The parties will be able to raise all issues of concern in these negotiations.

We thank key regional stakeholders for their vital support of this process, and count on a continued collaborative international effort to assist Egypt and the parties reach a durable ceasefire as soon as possible.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Note pour les médias n° 09-014 | Kinshasa, RDC | 31 juillet 2014

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 6 min ago
Source: World Health Organization Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Face à la progression de la maladie à virus Ebola en Afrique de l’Ouest, et suite à la Déclaration de la Directrice générale de l’OMS classant cette épidémie au niveau III des urgences de santé publique, la RDC a renforcé les mesures sanitaires de surveillance et de prévention au niveau de ses principaux points d’entrée (aéroports et ports internationaux). C’est ce qu’a indiqué jeudi 31 juillet le Dr Félix Kabange Numbi, Ministre de la Santé Publique au cours d’une réunion de crise avec les partenaires (OMS, CDC-Atlanta, MSF), en présence du Ministre provincial de la Santé (Kinshasa), des autorités de la Direction générale de la Migration (DGM), de la Régie des Voies Aériennes (RVA), du Programme National de l’Hygiène aux Frontières (PNHF), de l’Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) et diverses autres Directions techniques concernées. Il a tenu, ‘‘sur instruction du président de la République, à rassurer toute la population congolaise qu’il n’y avait pas un seul cas de la maladie à virus Ebola en RDC’’.

Parmi d’autres mesures de prévention annoncées par le Ministre de la Santé Publique, il y a lieu de citer entre autres: i) la mise en place d’un screening médical des voyageurs en provenance de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, plus particulièrement pour les compagnies qui desservent les principales capitales des pays de cette partie de l’Afrique; ii) l’installation prochaine d’un scanner thermique ainsi que des thermomètres à laser dans les principaux aéroports internationaux de la RDC (N’djili, à Kinshasa, Luano, à Lubumbashi, Bangboka à Kisangani etc.); iii) l’identifi cation des structures sanitaires de référence de la capitale pouvant recevoir un cas suspect éventuel de la maladie à virus Ebola. Il s’agit de: l’Hôpital général provincial de référence, ex-Mama Yemo, l’Hôpital Biamba Marie Mutombo, l’Hôpital de l’Amitié Sino-Congolaise, l’Hôpital Mama Mobutu de N’djili, l’Hôpital de référence de Kinkole, la Clinique Ngaliema et le Centre Médical de Kinshasa); iv) la vérifi cation des stocks physiques de kits de protection disponibles dans les toutes les provinces et zones de santé de la RDC Il a aussi annoncé le renforcement des capacités de l’INRB avec l’appui de l’OMS pour l’analyse des échantillons suspects; la modifi cation de l’ordre opérationnel de positionnement des services à l’aéroport international de N’djili, en vue de permettre notamment aux agents du PNHF d’avoir accès à l’aéronef en cas d’un cas suspect, la consultation des fi ches conseils des voyageurs et l’obligation à tout voyageur débarquant à remplir une fi che sanitaire d’accueil. ‘‘La sensibilisation des voyageurs, au départ de la RDC vers l’Afrique de l’Ouest, doit être une activité clé pour suivre régulièrement l’évolution de l’épidémie en cours’’, a ajouté le Ministre de la Santé Publique.

Le Dr Kabange Numbi a également souligné la nécessité urgente d’organiser des exercices de simulation pour les personnels du PNHF commis dans les points d’entrée en RDC ainsi que des briefi ngs à l’endroit des médecins traitants des hôpitaux ciblés de la capitale pour l’actualisation de leurs connaissances au sujet de la maladie à virus Ebola et l’hygiène en milieu hospitalier. ‘‘Mieux vaut prendre des mesures drastiques de préparation et de réponse qui nous permettent de prévenir toute éventuelle survenue de l’épidémie susmentionnée dans notre pays que de courir après’’, a souligné le Ministre de la Santé Publique. Il a appelé à ‘‘la réactivation et à l’actualisation du Plan de contingence aux niveaux national et provincial face à cette urgence de santé publique’’. Il a également sensibilisé la population à observer des mesures d’hygiène individuelles et collectives, particulièrement à se laver les mains fréquemment au savon ou avec les solutions de lavage des mains hydro-alcoolique. ‘‘L’OMS va travailler en étroite collaboration avec le gouvernement et les partenaires de la santé pour identifi er les besoins urgents en vue de renforcer les mesures de prévention et le système de préparation face à la menace que représente la maladie à virus Ebola’’, a indiqué pour sa part le Dr Joseph Waogodo Caboré, Représentant de l’OMS en RDC. Il a par ailleurs rappelé la nécessité pour tous les pays de contribuer urgemment au fi nancement du Fonds Africain pour les Urgences de Santé Publique.

Guinea: As West Africa Ebola outbreak worsens, CDC issues Level 3 Travel Warning

Guinea - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 17 min ago
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

CDC surge scaling up response in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued a warning to avoid nonessential travel to the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This Level 3 travel warning is a reflection of the worsening Ebola outbreak in this region.

CDC is rapidly increasing its ongoing efforts in the three nations. CDC disease detectives and other staff are on the ground:

  • Tracking the epidemic including using real-time data to improve response Improving case finding

  • Improving contact tracing

  • Improving infection control

  • Improving health communication

  • Advising embassies

  • Coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners

  • Strengthening Ministries of Health and helping them establish emergency management systems

“This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. Far too many lives have been lost already,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “It will take many months, and it won’t be easy, but Ebola can be stopped. We know what needs to be done. CDC is surging our response, sending 50 additional disease control experts to the region in the next 30 days.”

CDC expects its efforts not only to help bring the current outbreak under control, but to leave behind stronger systems to prevent, detect and stop Ebola and other outbreaks before they spread.

In addition to warning travelers to avoid going to the region, CDC is also assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. On the remote possibility that they do, CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, quarantine. CDC also provides guidance to airlines for managing ill passengers and crew and for disinfecting aircraft. Earlier this week, CDC issued a Health Alert Notice reminding U.S. healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and isolate suspected patients and how they can protect themselves from infection.

At this time, CDC and its partners at points of entry are not screening passengers traveling from the affected countries. It is important to note that Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, and that transmission is through direct contact of bodily fluids of an infected, symptomatic person or exposure to objects like needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

Over the next five years the United States has committed to working with at least 30 partner countries (totaling at least 4 billion people) to improve their ability to prevent, detect, and effectively respond to infectious disease threats -- whether naturally occurring or caused by accidental or intentional release of pathogens.

Improving these capabilities for each nation improves health security for all nations. Stopping outbreaks where they occur is the most effective and least expensive way to protect people’s health.
The President’s FY 2015 budget includes a request of $45 million to fund this global health security effort.

occupied Palestinian territory: ‘It Was Past Time for an Immediate and Unconditional Ceasefire’ in Gaza, United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency Chief Tells Security Council

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 21 min ago
Source: UN Security Council Country: occupied Palestinian territory

Security Council

SC/11504

7232nd Meeting (AM)

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Also Briefs

Damage to neighbourhoods and essential infrastructure in Gaza was clear, and it was past time for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) told the Security Council today following its late-day announcement yesterday to convene a further meeting on the situation.

In a sombre briefing to the 15-member body via video conference from the beleaguered enclave, Pierre Krähenbühl reported that, in a hospital paediatric ward, he had seen injuries to children that were "the real and unacceptable consequence of an armed conflict waged with excessive — and at times disproportionate — force in densely populated urban settings".

In describing the situation, he drew attention to the artillery fire that had struck an elementary girls’ school in Jabalaya, believed to have come from the Israeli military. The school was a designated emergency shelter for displaced persons and its location well known to Israeli forces, he said, strongly condemning the attack as a serious violation of international law.

Noting the unacceptability of rocket fire on Israeli cities, he described three separate occasions in which UNRWA had found rockets belonging to armed groups in its empty facilities, immediately alerting all relevant parties each time. He strongly condemned placement of weapons in Agency facilities and said he was working to improve procedures to address such violations. Nonetheless, the discoveries did not justify attacks on UNRWA facilities.

The circumstances faced by Gaza’s internally displaced persons in shelters were increasingly dire as the ongoing hostilities severely restricted the Agency’s ability to mitigate the situation. He was also concerned about the Israeli military’s recent instruction to residents of Gaza City and Khan Younis to evacuate their homes, because UNRWA could not accommodate them. He stressed that further large-scale displacements would, under international humanitarian law, be the direct responsibility of the occupying Power.

“Even war has rules,” Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the Council, also via video conference. The world, she said, watched in horror as events unfolded. Gazans sought refuge wherever they could, fleeing to areas they deemed safe, but those had become fewer and further between. Indeed, she said, "the reality of Gaza today is that no place is safe".

She underlined that parties to the conflict had an "absolute obligation" to protect civilians from indirect or indiscriminate attacks, stressing the inviolability of United Nations operations, personnel and premises. Finally, there “could be no justification for failing” to protect humanitarian workers.

She outlined work being done by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), noting the difficulties they faced due to fighting going on around them, and called for urgent provision of funding to the United Nations family. Adequate assistance could not be provided without an urgent injection of funds, she said.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 10:28 a.m.

Briefings

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefing the Council via video conference from Trinidad and Tobago, said that more than 80 per cent of Gaza's 1.8 million residents had relied on humanitarian aid even before the outbreak of hostilities. Since the conflict erupted, more than 80 per cent of those killed were civilians, including 251 children. Fifty-nine Israelis had been killed, with dozens more injured. Up to 440,000 people in the Gaza Strip were displaced and more than 240,000 were being hosted at United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools. Others sought refuge wherever they could. People often fled to areas they deemed safe, but such areas were becoming harder to find, given the compact size of the Strip. Due to the blockade, most could not leave the enclave, even for urgent medical attention.

In addition, she reported, dozens of United Nations’ facilities had come under attack, including an UNRWA school where 19 people had been killed. The United Nations had lost seven staff members and many other humanitarian workers had been killed, she said, adding, "the reality of Gaza today is that no place is safe". The parties to the conflict had an "absolute obligation" to protect civilians from indirect or indiscriminate attacks. United Nations operations, personnel and premises must remain inviolable and the warring parties must protect humanitarian workers. "There could be no justification for failing to do so," she stressed.

Homes, infrastructure and public works had been destroyed, while two out of the three United Nations compounds in Gaza had been damaged, she informed Council members. Medical facilities had not been spared, including some that had been hit multiple times. Gaza's only power plant had been struck and many areas had limited or no electricity. The immediate, medium- and long-term impact of the conflict on public works could not be overstated. She was deeply concerned about the possible contamination of water systems.

The United Nations was working to meet increasing humanitarian needs, she said, and that included efforts by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to provide food and medical services. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was delivering paediatric drugs and providing psychological support. Fighting hampered the ability of humanitarian workers to move around and until a long-term ceasefire was put in place, it would remain difficult to reach those in need. A ceasefire was needed to care for the injured, recover the dead and provide civilians with a reprieve to restock their homes. The Israeli Government, Hamas and other militant groups must comply with their international legal obligations and be held accountable to international standards, and not to the standards of the other party.

The world had watched in horror as events unfolded in Gaza, including the desperate situation of children there, she said, adding that "even war has rules". Funding was urgently required, with the United Nations family appealing for additional resources. Adequate assistance could not be provided without an urgent injection of funds. The violence must be stopped. The people of Gaza wanted to live in safety, security and dignity; the people of Israel wanted the same. "I hope the international community can help them to achieve it," she concluded.

PIERRE KRÄHENBÜHL, Commissioner General, UNRWA, speaking via video conference in Gaza, said eight Agency staff had lost their lives since the start of hostilities. He had seen first-hand in the past two days the damage done to neighbourhoods and essential infrastructure. In a paediatric ward, he saw "the real and unacceptable consequence of an armed conflict waged with excessive — and at times disproportionate — force in densely populated urban settings".

An elementary girls school in Jabalaya had been struck by artillery fire, he went on, adding that UNRWA had assessed the strike as have come from the Israeli military. The school had been designated as an emergency shelter for displaced people and its precise coordinates had been communicated to the Israeli military on 17 separate occasions. The people sheltering there had been instructed by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes and were seeking shelter. He called for an immediate investigation by Israel into the attack, which he condemned strongly as a serious breach of international law. The fact that it was the second such attack on a school sheltering displaced people made the call more urgent.

At the same time, he reported, UNRWA had found rockets belonging to armed groups in empty UNRWA facilities on three separate occasions, and each time, had immediately alerted all relevant parties. He strongly condemned the placement of weapons in UNRWA facilities and said he was working to improve procedures to address such violations. Nonetheless, he stressed, the discoveries did not justify attacks on UNRWA facilities.

The number of internally displaced persons was growing daily, he said, with 220,000 people currently displaced. That number was four times higher than the peak number of displaced people in the 2008-2009 conflict, and UNRWA was doing everything to provide them with minimum needs. Conditions were increasingly dire in shelters, with hygiene especially worrying. Pregnant women and newborn babies were being sheltered in appalling conditions, while the ongoing hostilities severely restricted the Agency’s ability to mitigate the situation.

He expressed concern about additional displacement, because UNRWA could not accommodate more people. He was particularly concerned about the Israeli military's recent instruction to residents in neighbourhoods of Gaza City and Khan Younis to evacuate their homes and he appealed to the international community to help address the extreme situation. Further large-scale displacements would, according to international humanitarian law, be the direct responsibility of the occupying Power. The current reality in Gaza was unsustainable and the political and humanitarian costs grew daily as infrastructure was destroyed and international law violated. He underlined that rocket fire on Israeli cities was unacceptable and had to cease.

It was past time for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, he said, adding that even that was not enough. Notwithstanding Israel's legitimate security concerns, the illegal blockade of Gaza must be lifted because the situation could become unliveable within just a few years. Urgent international steps were needed to ensure security for the entire region.

For information media • not an official record

occupied Palestinian territory: Switzerland steps up humanitarian aid to Gaza

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 24 min ago
Source: Government of Switzerland Country: occupied Palestinian territory, Switzerland

Bern, 31.07.2014 - Faced with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, Switzerland is increasing its humanitarian funding to CHF 1.7 million. This sum has been earmarked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN.

In response to the current crisis, Switzerland decided to step up its humanitarian aid by allocating one million Swiss francs to the ICRC in Gaza. This additional funding will allow the ICRC and its partners to evacuate and treat injured civilians, repair health facilities and provide emergency medical supplies to Gaza. Switzerland has also allocated CHF 700,000 to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund which will finance humanitarian projects that meet the needs of the communities most affected by the conflict.

As part of its cooperation programme, Switzerland funds several international and local organisations that are working not only to alleviate the humanitarian crisis linked to the current conflict but also the structural development problems affecting the Gaza Strip. Switzerland also funds a programme in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law, and supports numerous organisations active in promoting the protection of civilians and respect for international law. Swiss funding for development and humanitarian aid in the whole of the occupied Palestinian territory totals CHF 28 million per year. Switzerland is also financing a peace promotion programme in the amount of two million Swiss francs.

occupied Palestinian territory: HM The King's Humanitarian Assistance To Palestinian, A Considerable Contribution To Alleviate Sufferings

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 27 min ago
Source: Government of Morocco Country: Morocco, occupied Palestinian territory

The initiative taken by HM King Mohammed VI to grant an emergency humanitarian aid, worth USD 5 million, to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip will significantly contribute to alleviate their sufferings resulting from Israelis' military assaults, said secretary general of the Palestinian information ministry Mahmoud Khalifa.

The Palestinian official told MAP that the Royal support will serve to buy medicine and other medical equipment for the Gaza hospitals, expressing the Palestinians respect for this welcome initiative.

He added that this initiative shows that the Sovereign is closely following the situation of the Palestinian people following the escalation of Israel's military attacks and also highlights the Sovereign's active role and presence on the international scene.

In addition to the financial aid, HM the King, chairman of Al Quds Committee, decided to offer to the Palestinians injured in these attacks the possibility to receive medical care and treatment in Morocco.

MAP 13 July 2014

Kenya: East Africa Food Security Outlook - July to December 2014

Kenya - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 31 min ago
Source: Government of Kenya, Famine Early Warning System Network, World Food Programme Country: Kenya preview

Food security to deteriorate following below-average March to May long rains

KEY MESSAGES

  • Generally, the below-average long rains resulted in belowaverage crop development in the high- and mediumpotential areas in western Kenya and the Rift Valley. A belowaverage, long rains harvest is expected. Staple food prices are expected to remain unusually elevated through December.
    These areas will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as sufficient income from crop sales and labor will still be available.

  • In the southeastern, marginal, agricultural areas, food consumption will decrease through September. Households have limited income this year, and they need to purchase now while prices have remained high. The majority of households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) but a few areas are likely to enter Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between now and September at the height of the lean season.

  • In pastoral and agropastoral areas, rangeland conditions did not fully recover during the March to May long rains. Pasture, browse, and water are being depleted faster than usual, and the lean season is likely to start earlier than normal in July instead of August. Many households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September while others likely will enter Crisis (IPC Phase 3). However, with the start of the short rains in October, many of these areas are likely to improve again to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

Cameroon: Tailors Become Schoolteachers in Cameroon Camps

CAR - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 40 min ago
Source: Voice of America Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic

YAOUNDA, CAMEROON — Thousands of children from the Central African Republic continue arriving in eastern Cameroon as refugees – more than 18 months since a coup d’état sparked a cycle of killings in their country. They have sought safety in camps next door in Cameroon, but they are not getting the education they need. With little donor money coming in, relief workers can only do the barest minimum such as teacher children songs and handwork.

This year alone, more than 106,000 Central Africans crossed the border. Relief workers expect the number to reach 180,000 by the end of the year. The vast majority of them, about 60 percent, are children who have now been put out of school.

Challenges on Cameroon’s eastern border

Refugee camps have mushroomed along Cameroon’s eastern border and challenge officials who must try to educate young residents as other life-threatening emergencies rage on: malnutrition, sanitation and personal security from violence.

Every morning hundreds of children squat on mats under large white tents in the Gado Badzere camp to sing and recite rhymes. It’s their only chance to forget the mayhem back home and the atrocities they have encountered during their flight.

The learning and recreation areas are called “child-friendly zones” and they were carved out by UNICEF and run by a local organization. Many of those who care for the children are unpaid volunteers recruited from the ranks of the refugees themselves.

When a tailor becomes a teacher

Zaibabou Kaleb was a tailor before the killings began and she fled. She is one of a dozen refugees who have been drafted to supervise children and teach basic skills at the refugee camp, which is home to over 13,000 refugees.

Kaleb says most of the children would like to be in school but don’t have the opportunity. She says at the “child friendly-zone” boys learn how to make wooden toys and girls how to sew. They also listen to educational talks on a variety of subjects.

UNICEF, which has been looking out for the welfare of young refugees, says education is an important priority: only 3 percent of all children of school-going age in refugee camps have ever been to school.

Felicite Tchibindat is UNICEF’s resident representative in the capital, Yaounde. She says it would be hard to put them in local schools in Cameroon.

Three percent have been in a school before

“That is why we took this option of a temporary space to start preparing them and we do have accelerated curricula to help them go to school,” says Tchibinbat. “And then, those who have been to school, we have to evaluate their level and see in which class they should be. Before that we need space for children to start rebuilding, getting their life back to normal.

The program seems to be paying off. Children are beginning to master different skills. Some have developed self-confidence and are willing to walk forward and perform recitations.

The number of children attending educational and recreational activities has been growing, because parents themselves see the importance of education. But Tchibindat says critical obstacles remain.

“The biggest phase will be how to increase the capacity of the different schools in the community so that they are able to accommodate refugees. We know already that this region is a priority-education region, meaning that there are fewer classrooms, fewer teachers, and all that.”

Lack of resources could hamper the plans of organizations like UNICEF. With so many crises in the world, the plight of Central African refugees appears to be getting very little attention from donors. UNICEF, for example, says it needs around $25-million for all its interventions this year. But half-way through the year, only 15 percent has come in.

Central African Republic: Central African Republic (CAR) Situation Report No. 36 (as of 30 July 2014)

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 46 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan preview

Highlights

  • A three-day peace talk was held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, from 21 July, attended by delegates of various political groups and resulting in the signing of a cessation of hostilities, but clashes between the armed groups continued.

  • Since 1 January, 13,698 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have been admitted for treatment across the country. This represents 82 per cent of the SRP target of 16,800 children suffering from SAM.

  • The Government suspended the set-up of the Boganda 1 and Patassé alternative sites as it has proposed a new alternative site.

527,000 IDPs in CAR, including 102,000 IDPs in Bangui (a decrease of 1,400 from 103,400 two weeks ago)

39% Funding available (about US$218 million) against the revised SRP requirements of $565 million

4.6 million Population of CAR 2.5 million People in need of assistance

Central African Republic: Central African Republic (CAR) Situation Report No. 36 (as of 30 July 2014)

Chad - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 46 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan preview

Highlights

  • A three-day peace talk was held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, from 21 July, attended by delegates of various political groups and resulting in the signing of a cessation of hostilities, but clashes between the armed groups continued.

  • Since 1 January, 13,698 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have been admitted for treatment across the country. This represents 82 per cent of the SRP target of 16,800 children suffering from SAM.

  • The Government suspended the set-up of the Boganda 1 and Patassé alternative sites as it has proposed a new alternative site.

527,000 IDPs in CAR, including 102,000 IDPs in Bangui (a decrease of 1,400 from 103,400 two weeks ago)

39% Funding available (about US$218 million) against the revised SRP requirements of $565 million

4.6 million Population of CAR 2.5 million People in need of assistance

Central African Republic: Central African Republic (CAR) Situation Report No. 36 (as of 30 July 2014)

CAR - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 46 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan preview

Highlights

  • A three-day peace talk was held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, from 21 July, attended by delegates of various political groups and resulting in the signing of a cessation of hostilities, but clashes between the armed groups continued.

  • Since 1 January, 13,698 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have been admitted for treatment across the country. This represents 82 per cent of the SRP target of 16,800 children suffering from SAM.

  • The Government suspended the set-up of the Boganda 1 and Patassé alternative sites as it has proposed a new alternative site.

527,000 IDPs in CAR, including 102,000 IDPs in Bangui (a decrease of 1,400 from 103,400 two weeks ago)

39% Funding available (about US$218 million) against the revised SRP requirements of $565 million

4.6 million Population of CAR 2.5 million People in need of assistance

Guinea: Maladie à virus Ebola en Afrique de l’Ouest – mise à jour 31 juillet 2014

Guinea - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 57 min ago
Source: World Health Organization Country: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

Bulletin d’information sur les flambées épidémiques 31 juillet 2014

Épidémiologie et surveillance

Entre le 24 et le 27 juillet 2014, 122 nouveaux cas de maladie à virus Ebola (cas suspects, cas probables et cas confirmés en laboratoire) et 57 décès ont été notifiés par la Guinée, le Libéria, le Nigéria et la Sierra Leone. La tendance de l’épidémie en Guinée, au Libéria et en Sierra Leone reste instable, la transmission se poursuivant à la fois dans les établissements de santé et dans la communauté. L’augmentation du nombre de nouveaux cas de maladie à virus Ebola exige des efforts intensifs de tous pour résoudre les problèmes recensés, tels que la transmission dans les établissements de santé et la recherche efficace des contacts.

Le 29 juillet 2014, le point focal national RSI pour le Nigéria a confirmé que le cas probable de maladie à virus Ebola notifié à l’OMS le 27 juillet 2014 présentait des symptômes à son arrivée au Nigéria et que 59 contacts (15 parmi le personnel de l’aéroport et 44 parmi celui de l’hôpital) ont été identifiés jusqu'ici. Le rapport confirme également que le patient est arrivé par avion à Lagos (Nigéria) le 20 juillet, via Lomé (Togo) et Accra (Ghana. L’échantillon prélevé sur le sujet n’a pas encore été envoyé au centre collaborateur de l’OMS à l’Institut Pasteur à Dakar (Sénégal) en raison du refus des compagnies de messageries de le prendre en charge. Bien qu’un seul cas probable ait été détecté jusqu’ici au Nigéria, la survenue d’un cas d’infection par le virus Ebola dans ce pays représente un fait nouveau important dans l’évolution de l’épidémie.

Les autorités nationales du Ghana, du Nigéria et du Togo continuent de collaborer étroitement avec l’OMS et ses partenaires à l’identificaion et à la recherche des contacts et à l’établissement de plans d’intervention.

Action du secteur de la santé

Afin d’accélérer la riposte à la flambée actuelle de maladie à virus Ebola en Afrique de l’Ouest, le Directeur général de l’OMS et d’autres hauts responsables poursuivent les discussions avec la communauté des donateurs, les partenaires du développement et les organismes internationaux au niveau mondial. Les discussions ont été axées sur la nécessité de déployer rapidement des ressources humaines et financières supplémentaires afin d’enrayer la transmission du virus et de mettre fin à la flambée.

Des efforts sont en cours pour développer et renforcer tous les aspects de l’action dans les quatre pays, y compris les investigations épidémiologiques, la recherche des contacts, l’information du public et la mobilisation de la communauté, la prise en charge des cas et la lutte contre l’infection, la coordination et la sécurité. L’OMS collabore également étroitement avec divers partenaires afin de finaliser les plans d’action nationaux qui définissent les besoins urgents conformément à la stratégie adoptée à Accra par les États Membres.

L’OMS et ses partenaires – GOARN, CDC, MSF, UNICEF, IFRC, Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Save the Children, Plan Guinea, et d’autres – continuent de travailler ensemble dans le cadre du Centre de coordination sous-régional pour la flambée de maladie à virus Ebola (SEOCC) à Conakry afin d’accélérer la lutte contre l’épidémie.

L’OMS ne recommande pas que des restrictions aux voyages ou aux échanges commerciaux soient imposées à la Guinée, au Libéria ou à la Sierra Leone sur la base des informations actuellement disponibles concernant cet événement.

Mise à jour sur la maladie

Les Ministères de la Santé de quatre pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest ( Guinée, Libéria, Nigéria et Sierra Leone) continuent à notifier de nouveaux cas de maladie à virus Ebola et de nouveaux décès. Entre le 24 et le 27 juillet 2014, 122 nouveaux cas (confirmés en laboratoire, probables et suspects) et 57 décès ont été notifiés par les quatre pays comme suit: Guinée, 33 nouveaux cas et 20 décès; Libéria, 80 nouveaux cas et 27 décès; Nigéria, 1 cas et 1 décès; Sierra Leone, 8 nouveaux cas et 9 décès.

Au 27 juillet 2014, le nombre cumulé de cas attribués à la maladie à virus Ebola dans les quatre pays atteignait 1323, dont 729 décès. La répartition et la classification des cas sont les suivantes: Guinée, 460 cas (336 confirmés, 109 probables et 15 suspects) et 339 décès; Libéria, 329 cas (100 confirmés, 128 probables et 101 suspects) et 156 décès ; Nigéria, un cas probable décédé; et Sierra Leone, 533 cas (437 confirmés, 38 probables et 22 suspects) et 233 décès.

Cas confirmés, probables et suspects et décès dus à la maladie à virus Ebola en Guinée, au Libéria et en Sierra Leone au 27 juillet 2014

occupied Palestinian territory: Two journalists among 17 killed in Israeli raid on Gaza market

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 7 hours 9 min ago
Source: Reporters sans Frontières Country: occupied Palestinian territory

Two Palestinian journalists were killed yesterday in an Israeli air raid on a crowded market in the Shijaiyah neighbourhood, east of Gaza City.

Rami Rayan, a photographer for the local news agency the Palestinian Network for Journalism and Media, was killed instantly as he was taking pictures of people buying essential supplies in the market during a brief humanitarian truce called by Israeli forces when it was hit in the strike. Sameh Al-Aryan, a presenter with Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV, was severely injured and died several hours later.

Mahmoud Al-Khassas, the editor of the Palestinian Network for Journalism and Media who was accompanying Rayan, was taken to hospital with serious head injuries. A total of 17 people were killed and 210 injured in the raid, which took place on the 23rd day of the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Defence Forces called the truce between 3 pm and 7 pm but said it would not apply to areas “in which IDF soldiers are currently operating”.

The latest deaths bring to nine the number of Palestinians working in the media who have been killed since the start of Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza on 8 July, four of them in the course of their work.

Mohamed Daher, a journalist with the newspaper Al-Resalah, died today from injuries he suffered when his home in Shijaiyah was hit in an Israeli raid on 20 July.

On 20 July, Khalid Hamad, a news cameraman for the Continue TV production company, was killed while he was preparing a report on attacks by Israeli troops on paramedics assisting wounded Palestinians. Wearing a helmet and a bullet-proof vest marked “press”, he was standing near an ambulance when it was hit by a tank shell and set on fire. Hamad was badly injured but could not be evacuated and died of his wounds several hours later.

On 9 July, Hamdi Shehab, a driver for the Media 24 news agency, was killed in an Israeli air raid while he was on his way back to his firm’s office after the Ramadan iftar, the evening fast-breaking meal. He was driving a car marked “TV”.

Since the start of “Operation Protective Edge”, more than 1,306 Palestinians have been killed and 7,200 wounded, while 56 Israeli solders and three civilians have been killed.

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