ReliefWeb Latest Reports for Country Office

Nepal: Project HOPE Poised to Deploy Medical Volunteers and Humanitarian Aid to Nepal Devastated by Powerful Earthquake

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 18 min ago
Source: Project HOPE Country: Nepal

Millwood, VA, April 26, 2015

The global NGO, Project HOPE, announced today that it is poised to deploy medical volunteers and humanitarian aid to Nepal after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 3,600 people in the worst disaster to hit the South Asian country in more than 80 years.

More than 6,500 people were injured in the earthquake that struck on Saturday, according to the National Emergency Operation Center. The disaster also claimed dozens of lives in India and China. A powerful 6.7-magnitude aftershock hit Nepal on Sunday, causing widespread panic and hampering search and rescue efforts near the capital, Kathmandu.

“Our team in the region is working with the local and international disaster response task force in Nepal to seek collaborations so we can effectively respond to the disaster,” said Scott Crawford, Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Gift-in-Kind at Project HOPE. “We are actively reaching out to our corporate partners to source donated medicines and supplies for health facilities overwhelmed by the disaster.”

Reports from Kathmandu say hospitals are struggling to cope with hundreds of injured patients and there are concerns for the safety of tens of thousands of people camping out in the streets fearing further tremors.

Nepali officials say the country faces food and water shortages and have expressed grave concern for people living in remote areas which remain cut off or hard to access. Officials reported widespread damage to buildings in the epicenter of the quake and the government declared a state of emergency in affected areas. The quake also spawned an avalanche on Mount Everest killing 18 people.

In 2012, Project HOPE volunteers provided crucial medical care and health education to remote areas of Nepal during HOPE’s fourth humanitarian mission with the U.S. Air Force (PACANGEL).

About Project HOPE

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

Media Contact

Geraldine Carroll gcarroll@projecthope.org Tel. +1.540.257.3746

Nepal: Why Nepal response will be so hard

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 27 min ago
Source: IRIN Country: Nepal

LONDON, 27 April 2015 (IRIN) - International aid is beginning to flow into earthquake-hit Nepal, but much more is needed as the scale of the disaster becomes clear and the list of challenges grows. Close to seven million people have been affected by the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck on Saturday. “Three million of them are children, all affected within the space of one day,” said Jean-Jacques Simon, chief of regional communications for the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

“There is an urgent need for temporary shelter in the 16 displacement camps in the Kathmandu valley, and the many more around the region,” said Simon. In hardest-hit areas, 50 percent of homes and buildings are thought to have been destroyed.

Fear forcing many to sleep in the open

In the many camps that have been established for those whose homes have collapsed or who are simply too scared to return, clean water and better sanitation is a key concern. Cholera is endemic in Nepal. Medical supplies and personnel are also urgently required, International Medical Corps said in a statement over the weekend.

UNICEF has supplied the health ministry with 15 large tents, which are mainly being put up in hospital grounds.

“There are so many injured people, and not enough space, so people are parked outside. People are also too afraid to be inside [the hospitals] because of the tremors,” said Simon.

“From what I saw yesterday, there is clearly a lack of medicines, and the morgue is very full,” he added.

Access, capacity and weather hampering aid effort

Poor communications are hampering the government and aid agency efforts to assess the damage caused by the quake. Districts closest to the epicentre - Gorkha, Makwanpur and Lamjung - are still proving almost impossible to access.

“Our teams are just going to the villages and towns outside Kathmandu today. It’s a very difficult job. There are landslide fears, and it’s drizzling now, so the weather is not helping,” Devendra Singh Tak, Country Director of Save the Children India, told IRIN.

“But the government has given clear instructions to start distributing… so the challenge for NGOs is to find solutions and get out there,” Tak added.

Several roads have been damaged and others leading from Kathmandu are clogged with people trying to flee the city. “These are narrow winding mountain roads which are already hard to access in normal times,” said Mike Noyes, Head of Emergencies, at Action Aid. “Getting roads cleared and open as quickly as possible is going to be the key to saving lives over the coming days,” he said.

For UNICEF, the priorities are “health, WASH [water and sanitation], family reunification, and then we get into the protection issues for children,” said Simon. In the short term UNICEF is worried about supplies of diesel needed to run generators.

Save the Children is struggling to find warehouse space for the surge of aid that will be required.

Kathmandu’s small international airport is struggling to cope with the flow of relief supplies, aid workers and journalists arriving and residents trying to escape. Prone to congestion at the best of times, there are now major delays.

“There is complete chaos at the airport right now,” said Tak. “It’s unable to cope with the scale of the problem.”

Flying in from Delhi, normally a 1.5-hour flight, took Tak 11 hours from departure lounge to the arrival hall in Tribhuvan International Airport, including two hours circling Kathmandu waiting to land.

Along with physical relief items, more people are required to help ease the burden on local teams, said Tak.

“We at Save the Children have a large [local] team - but everyone has a personal crisis to deal with first.”

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Nepal: La ayuda de Cáritas llega a los supervivientes del terremoto de Nepal

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 30 min ago
Source: Caritas Country: Nepal

Cáritas Española ha activado su plan de respuesta a la emergencia y ha puesto a disposición de Cáritas Nepal una partida de 100.000 euros

Cáritas. 27 de abril de 2015.- La red internacional de Cáritas ha movilizado todas sus estructuras de respuesta a las emergencias para apoyar la operación puesta en marcha por Cáritas Nepal para prestar auxilio a los damnificados por el terremoto de magnitud 7,9 que afectó el pasado sábado a Katmandú y Pokhara, las dos principales ciudades del país, y que ha causado también importantes daños en las zonas fronterizas de Tíbet y el norte de la India.

Hay miles de víctimas –los informes oficiales hablan ya de más de 3.500 fallecidos-- y los daños estructurales en Katmandú son extensos. La red Cáritas, presente en el terreno Varios miembros de la red Caritas Internationalis, que se encontraban presentes en el país asiático en el momento del seísmo, han sumado de forma inmediata sus esfuerzos a los equipos de rescate de Caritas Nepal. Eleanor Trinchera, coordinadora de programas de Caritas Australia para Nepal, que está en Katmandú, ha explicado que "nunca había visto tanta devastación. Mientras que las calles están dominadas por el caos y llenas de gente que intenta encontrar amigos y seres queridos, la ciudad está paralizada, con edificios destruidos, calles bloqueadas, cortes eléctricos y réplicas constantes". Distribución de lonas para refugios temporales Los expertos de Cáritas en el terreno, además de llevar a cabo las primeras evaluaciones sobre cuáles son las necesidades más urgentes, han comenzado ya a ofrecer la primera respuesta de emergencia a los supervivientes. A lo largo de ayer domingo, Caritas Nepal distribuyó 50 lonas para familias que se habían quedado sin techo y tenían que pernoctar al aire libre. "Las operaciones de rescate son las principales prioridades en este momento. Muchas personas han perdido sus hogares y están en las calles o en espacios abiertos, expuestos a las bajas temperaturas nocturnas. A todos ellos intentamos proporcionarles alimento de primera necesidad y refugio temporal", ha informado el director de Caritas Nepal, Fr. Pius Perumana, desde Katmandú. "Desde mediodía del sábado se han producido 66 réplicas menores, que se han visto seguidas hoy por otro fuerte temblor, lo que es un fenómeno raro en un período tan corto. El daño de este causado por este último terremoto va a ser devastador", ha añadido. Respuesta de Cáritas Española Cáritas Española ha activado su plan de respuesta a las emergencias para coordinar con Cáritas Internationalis las acciones más urgentes a desarrollar en las próximas horas. Junto a ello, ha decidido movilizar una partida 100.000 euros de su fondo de emergencias para ponerlo a disposición de las necesidades de Cáritas Nepal. Asimismo, ha habilitado una cuenta corriente y la línea gratuita 900.33.99.99 para canalizar la solidaridad de los donantes españoles con los damnificados del terremoto de Nepal Oración por el pueblo de Nepal La red Cáritas ha distribuido también una oración por las víctimas del terremoto, a la que invitan a sumarse a las 165 Cáritas nacionales de su red mundial.

Nepal: Médicos del mundo atenderá a unas 10.000 personas afectadas por el peor terremoto de los últimos años

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 33 min ago
Source: Médicos del Mundo Country: Nepal

Madrid, 27 de abril de 2015. Un equipo de medicina y cirugía compuesto por seis expertos en emergencias (coordinador, logista, anestesista, traumatólogo, cirujano y enfermera), junto con un kit de material completo con capacidad para atender a unas 10.000 personas, están camino de Nepal para desplegar la respuesta de emergencia necesaria en una situación como la que se está viviendo en estos momentos.

Más de 3.700 personas muertas y cientos desaparecidas son los últimos datos del terremoto que tuvo lugar el sábado y que ha dejado al país en una situación de colapso y absoluta necesidad. "Acceder en el menor tiempo posible al mayor número de personas para garantizar la atención sanitaria es el objetivo del equipo que Médicos del Mundo está desplazando a Nepal, lo cual es difícil porque las comunicaciones y las carreteras están cortadas, hay avalanchas y cortes de luz", comenta José Félix Hoyo, médico y vocal de Ayuda Humanitaria de la organización.

Presentes en Katmandú y Chautara con proyectos de salud materno infantil desde antes del terremoto, Médicos del Mundo está coordinando la respuesta más efectiva con los equipos presentes en el terreno y los que saldrán de forma inmediata, con los organismos internacionales y con las autoridades nepalíes.

El material aportado por la organización, que saldrá hoy en el avión de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional al Desarrollo (AECID) está compuesto, entre otros productos, por un kit quirúrgico y otro de salud reproductiva para poder atender a unas 10.000 personas. A este respecto, José Félix Hoyo, apunta que el kit "contiene todo lo necesario para poder operar a una persona en las mejores condiciones posibles en una situación de carencia, sin que se tengan que preocupar por nada más que tener al mejor profesional para ello".

Asímismo, se está en contacto continuo con la Organización Mundial de la Salud quien recomendará la zona de intervención más efectiva para garantizar la atención de todas las víctimas, ya que el terremoto se ha dejado sentir en un área geográfica amplia.

Los datos que siguen llegando alertan del colapso de los hospitales y del aumento del número de víctimas. La llamada a la ayuda internacional hecha por el gobierno da muestra de la situación que se está viviendo en el país asiático. La movilización internacional debe ser rápida para ser eficaz. Por ello, nuestros equipos ya están en camino.

Una vez que nuestro equipo se encuentre en la zona, dispondremos de testimonios e imágenes.

En estos momentos, cualquier apoyo económico es importantísimo para trabajar para aliviar las consecuencias de esta terrible catástrofe. Puedes donar en: Emergencia en Nepal.

También puedes realizar una transferencia a nuestra cuenta de Banco Santander:

ES93 0049 0001 5928 1001 0006

También a través del número de teléfono que hemos habilitado para esta emergencia:

902286286

CONTACTO DE PRENSA: Más información: Laura Cabezas 915436033 / Extensión 103 y móvil 629214755

Somalia: Somalia Rainfall Forecast - Issued: 27 April 2015

Somalia - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 35 min ago
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Somalia

Moderate to heavy rains are expected in most parts of the country in the coming three days. However, the north western parts including Awdal and parts of Woqooyi Galbeed may receive little or no rains during the same period. Flash floods may occur in central regions and other low lying areas due to the foreseen rains.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 27 April 2015

Ethiopia - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 46 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Ethiopia

Key Issues:

  • There is a 93 per cent resource shortfall (US$25.4 million) for the third round relief food ration expected to be distributed in June-July, which is the height of the hunger season.

  • Severe water and pasture shortages, deteriorating livestock body condition and livestock deaths were reported in areas that received inadequate seasonal rains.

  • Aside from a contribution from the Federal Ministry of Health, no funds were committed and/or received from donors for the planned measles vaccination campaign in October 2015.

Burundi: OCHA Eastern Africa/Flash Update 1 - Elections Crisis in Burundi and Regional Impacts

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 53 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania

Civil unrest erupted on Sunday 26 April in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, after the ruling CNDD-FDD party overwhelmingly (88%) elected President Pierre Nkurunziza on Saturday 25 April as its candidate for the 26 June presidential election. Nkurunziza has been in office for two terms since 2005, and a broad array of actors (including the UN) has warned that an attempt to seek a third term is unconstitutional and contrary to the spirit of the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi that ended a decade of civil war in the country.

Public protests resumed today, with various media outlets reporting that five people had been killed since yesterday. There has been widespread intimidation and efforts to shut down media outlets, as well as intimidation and arrests of rights activists, notably Pierre Claver Mbonimpa.

UNHCR-Rwanda reports that as of 26 April, 20,408 Burundians had sought refuge in Rwanda over the past two weeks. UNHCR reports that together with the Government of Rwanda and partners, they are working to relocate a total of 16,000 refugees from the two reception centers, Bugesera and Nyanza, to the new Mahama refugee camp by Friday 1 May. The number of refugees being relocated on a daily basis to the new camp is increasing due to the sharply rising rate of new arrivals (almost 3,000 individuals arriving daily as of 25 April, up from an average of 500 daily arrivals between 16-21 April), overwhelming the two reception centers. UNHCR, the Government and partners are planning for a continued high rate of influx.

Meanwhile, UNHCR in Uvira, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, reports that 4,000 Burundians have sought refuge in the DRC, while UNHCR in Tanzania – which has historically hosted hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees – reports only 100 arrivals from Burundi thus far.

No urgent humanitarian needs have yet emerged in Burundi. However, the newly re-established Burundi Humanitarian Country Team has endorsed an inter-agency contingency plan for the upcoming elections. They are urgently requesting US$11.6 million for priority preparedness and response to the needs of up to 50,000 people most likely to be affected within the first eight weeks of violence due to elections. In a worst case scenario, 350,000 people could be in need of humanitarian assistance within six months.

The next Flash Update will be issued within the next 48 hours. In the meantime, for further information, contact Matthew Conway, Public Information Officer, OCHA Eastern Africa, at conwaym@un.org.

Nepal: Lessons Learned for Nepal Earthquake response, 27 April 2015

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 4 hours 57 min ago
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Nepal

The aim of this product is to improve the performance of humanitarian actors in the response of the Nepal earthquake, assist agencies working in the response and encourage positive action by decision makers. The lessons learned below have been a product of the analysis of main findings and lessons from evaluations of past earthquakes, with similar characteristics and features of Nepal. ALNAP is currently producing a more in-depth lessons learned paper, to be published next week.

South Sudan: South Sudan – Crisis Fact Sheet #7, Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 (as of 27 April 2015)

Sudan - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 36 min ago
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: South Sudan, Sudan, United States of America

HIGHLIGHTS

  • USAID/OFDA announces more than $16.45 million in new FY 2015 funding to support the humanitarian response in South Sudan

  • Violence escalates in and around Malakal town, Upper Nile State, triggering additional humanitarian concerns

  • Aid workers continue to face access constraints and dangerous conditions while implementing relief operations in conflict-affected areas of South Sudan

Nepal: Upon directives from President, ERC completes preparations to dispatch urgent relief aid to Nepal

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 45 min ago
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Nepal, United Arab Emirates

ABU DHABI, 26th April, 2015 (WAM) -- Emirates Red Crescent Authority (ERC) has completed its preparations to dispatch urgent humanitarian aid to those affected by Nepal's earthquake.

The move follows the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and follow up by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the ERC.

The ERC announced that it would do what it takes to implement the directives of the leadership to assist the victims of the earthquake disaster and help mitigate the repercussions of the tragedy.

Dr. Hamdan Mussalam Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ERC, said, "The directives of the leadership to assist those affected by the quake in Nepal come within the framework of humanitarian and moral responsibility shouldered by the UAE to alleviate the suffering of victims worldwide. It is also part of the development efforts led by the UAE in the developing and natural disaster-prone regions."

He added, "The UAE's strategy and plans in this respect meet humanitarian and basic needs worldwide."

Al Mazrouei noted that the UAE leadership and people are following with great concern the humanitarian repercussions of the earthquake disaster, stressing that assisting vulnerable people currently facing a tough humanitarian plight is a duty that does not stop at certain limits or countries, because humanity is greater than the borders and languages, adding that the UAE's support to the homeless and displaced people affected by disasters and crises "is a true expression of the noble sentiments of the people of UAE towards people in need throughout the globe."

He commended the AED5 million donation of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, to help the victims of the earthquake.

Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, secretary-general of ERC, said the two ERC delegations left the country for Nepal upon the orders of Sheikh Hamdan to oversee the ERC relief operations there.

Nepal: Norway providing an immediate NOK 30 million to help victims of the earthquake in Nepal

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 5 hours 47 min ago
Source: Government of Norway Country: Nepal, Norway

Press release | Published: 2015-04-25

'The international community needs to take immediate action. Norway has already announced that we will contribute NOK 30 million to the emergency relief effort,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

'Nearly one thousand people are reported to have died in today's earthquake in Nepal, and even more have been injured. Our thoughts go to all those who have been affected and to the people of Nepal. Many have lost loved ones, and even more have been injured and seen their homes and communities destroyed.

A massive earthquake hit Nepal and the neighbouring countries earlier today. Sources indicated that the epicentre was between the capital Kathmandu and the second largest city, Pokhara. So far, there has been little information from the area around the epicentre, but several buildings in Kathmandu are reported to have collapsed. The earthquake has also set off an avalanche at Base Camp, the starting point for climbing Mount Everest.

'It is important to gain an overview of what is needed so that relief efforts can be started as quickly and effectively as possible. The funding from Norway will be channelled through the UN system and various NGOs. We are following the situation closely and will consider providing more assistance when we know more,' said Mr Brende.

The number of casualties has not yet been confirmed and may be rise. Preliminary reports indicate that nearly a thousand people may have died.

Norway is already one of the largest donors to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). These are funds that the UN and IFRC can draw on immediately when major humanitarian crises arise. The Norwegian Refugee Council's emergency standby roster Norcap has already been asked to assist, and is preparing to deploy a team. The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection is ready to send personnel through the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism, but has not yet received a request.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in close contact with the Embassy in Kathmandu and is compiling a list of Norwegian citizens in Nepal. As Norwegians are not obliged to register travel or stays abroad, it is difficult to gain a full overview. The telephone network in Nepal is unstable and the electricity supply is down at times.

Manning at the Foreign Service Response Centre has been increased in response to the many enquires in connection with the earthquake. As far as we know, no Norwegian citizens have been injured or killed, but several have been affected by the earthquake.

Members of the public who are concerned about family or friends in Nepal can contact the Ministry on telephone line: +47 23 95 23 95.

Afghanistan: Out of the ashes, Afghanistan rises: the role of sport in conflict resolution and development

Afghanistan - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 2 min ago
Source: Peace Direct Country: Afghanistan

April 27 2015: Vanessa Thevathasan reports on how sport is providing new avenues for peace and development in Afghanistan.

Sporting diplomacy for peace and development is a growing phenomenon in Afghanistan. Thirty years of conflict and centuries of tribal and ethnic marginalisation have left the nation deeply divided and without a unifying identity. With sport becoming a popular interest, especially among the youth, football, cricket, and rugby are all playing a greater role in bringing the nation together. While much more needs to be done to recognise and invest more in sport, early successes over the past few years are indicating the clear potential, hunger and ambition to turn Afghanistan into an internationally competitive sporting nation. Sport is already becoming intrinsically linked with national identity, harmony and unity.

The second annual United Nations International Day for Sport and Development, held on 6 April 2015, highlighted how sport can be an effective tool for peacebuilding and development. In 1978, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) established sport as a “fundamental right for all”. The April event is a reminder that this right is often ignored or violated, no less in Afghanistan where rule under the Taliban meant a tragic decline in sports. Since the fall of the regime in 2001, sport has made a spirited return.

Bridging divides: sport as an avenue for social cohesion

Asad Ziar, the CEO of the Afghanistan Rugby Fed­er­a­tion (ARF) sums up the merits of sports to transcend social conflict and aggression: “in­trin­sic val­ues, such as team­work, fair­ness, dis­ci­pline and re­spect, are un­der­stood all over the world and can be uti­lised in the ad­vance­ment of sol­i­dar­ity and so­cial co­he­sion.” While the new government will clearly be concerned with public policy focusing on increasing youth employment and security, sport is nevertheless fundamental for national unity and hope for youth. By its nature sport is about citizenship, inclusion and participation – vital values to instill in a society trying to heal after decades of violence and division. Great strides have already been made. Cricket has had a meteoric rise in Afghanistan: last year Afghanistan defeated Kenya in the Twenty20 World Cup 2014, and qual­i­fied for the World Cup 2015 for the first time ever. Cricket has itself become a positive narrative of hope and potential. Many of the players were born in refugee camps in Pakistan, a country where cricketing culture is well established. Playing in schools and streets, interest in the game matured to create genuine talent. Kabir Khan, a former Pakistan Test player who now coaches the Afghan side, states: “[t]hese players have a real hunger for the game. Throughout their lives they have seen real lows and a lot of hard times during the war and afterwards. They want to prove to the world that there is more to Afghanistan than war.” The tale is one of bringing normality to young lives uprooted by conflict, and recognising that violence is not inevitable.

Football has had similar success. In September 2013, the Afghan football team beat India 2-0 in the South Asian Football Federation Championship to bring home the trophy. This culminated last year with FIFA awarding the Fairplay Award to the Afghan Football Federation in recognition of its work, developing grassroots football and training young players. Speaking about this award, Tokyo Sexwale said “It takes a great amount of dedication and hard work to develop football at grassroots level, to build infrastructure for the game so that it can grow, and to nurture a national league in the midst of years of violence and destruction. But that is just what this remarkable and worthy winner has achieved.” In a deeply divided society, times of national celebrations show how uniquely effective sport can be in bringing people together in a collective show of unity and belonging, whether Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, UzbeksAimaks, Turkemen or Baloch.

Sport also has an important role in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes. Whilst handing over arms is one aspect of DDR, such programmes are only successful if they prevent a remission into violence. Sports activities designed for reintegration of participants can help promote peaceful social values within an environment where aggression can be transcended and reconciliation and respect between opponents can be fostered.

Additionally, sports programmes linked with development initiatives have helped empower youth by creating new opportunities and potential for change. Skateistan is an NGO providing skateboarding lessons and access to education for street-connected children, allowing them to form new relationships to overcome social barriers. Organisations like Skateistan are crucial for tackling youth development issues by supporting the reintegration of this often marginalised demographic, and offering a more secure route to social and economic opportunities.

Bridging the gap: sport as an avenue for female empowerment

Women’s sports are tentatively being accepted and expanded. The 2012 Olympic Games has stood out has a testament to the rise of female athletes, such as Tahimina Kohistani, who represented Afghanistan in women’s 100 metres. Her participation alone is a huge victory for women’s inclusion and recognition on the international sports stage, but also highlights the many challenges that women face in her country: “In my society, there is no sport for females. My people do not accept sport for women… All along there have been people who wanted to disturb me, to stop me… I represent a country where every day there are suicide bomb blasts. It is important that a girl from such a country can be here. ”

Sport is rapidly becoming an avenue for women’s empowerment. Awista Ayub is a powerful symbol for bridging human rights with sport. Founder of Afghan Youth Sports Exchange (AYSE), Awista has spearheaded the movement for women’s football throughout Afghanistan. By promoting female and youth participation in sports, “young girls who participate in sport learn to be more confident, self-assured, and aware of their identity.” Although the situation has improved considerably, there is still the need for secure proper facilities to develop women’s football. It will require sustained investment, political support and commitment to bring women into the mainstream of competitive sports and put sportswomen on the map. Only then will sport truly thrive in Afghanistan.

Looking to the future: what more can be done?

With clear dividends that sport can play in Afghanistan, coaches, NGOs, and officials should invest in community-based sports programmes (CBS) to bring about more far-reaching social change. In time, more homegrown talent will emerge with more qualified coaches and sports professionals, to support the long-term development of all forms of sport in Afghanistan. No doubt Afghanistan is going through a rigorous process of change.

The immense challenge of achieving social, political, economic and security transition will clearly be the first priority for the new unity government. However, upgrading and creating new facilities for recreation will help spread sport further afield in Afghanistan to include all social groups. The right to play must be guaranteed and protected.

Currently, there are many provinces with populations over a million without a single stadium, yet there is immense eagerness to participate in sport. CBS programmes, like Awista’s AYSE, provide the space for children to realise their right to play. a right that is desperately needed as a respite from violence and poverty. As sport attempts to branch out in Afghanistan, working with key communal decision-makers, including tribal, village, and religious elders and leaders, will be critical to the success of many of these programmes. By finding common ground, sport provides peaceful, productive and fun alternatives to resolve conflicts and the culture of sport can start to thrive within all sectors of society, especially the youth population. Slowly but surely, sport is bringing the country together.

Nepal: Earthquake in Nepal: Switzerland sends rapid response team to the disaster area

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 4 min ago
Source: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Country: Nepal, Switzerland

Bern, Media release, 26.04.2015

To assess the situation after the devastating earthquake that struck the Himalayan region, Switzerland dispatched a team of specialists to Nepal on the morning of 26 April 2015. Working under the coordination of Swiss Humanitarian Aid, the team includes a doctor, a structural engineer, a logistics specialist and a water expert, and will set up initial emergency assistance.

Swiss Humanitarian Aid sent a rapid response team to the disaster area the day after a devastating earthquake struck Nepal and also caused damage and deaths in parts of India, China and Bangladesh. The six-person rapid response team – comprised of a team leader, a deputy team leader, a doctor, a structural engineer, a water specialist and a logistics specialists – left Zurich for the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, on a Swiss Air-Rescue (REGA) aircraft on the morning of 26 April 2015. As soon as they arrive in Kathmandu, the specialists will assess the situation and needs in the disaster area, coordinate efforts with the authorities and local partners, provide initial emergency assistance, and support the Swiss embassy and the cooperation office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Kathmandu.

Besides a large number of deaths and injuries in Nepal, the earthquake also caused much damage to buildings, roads and bridges, and triggered avalanches and landslides across the Himalayan region. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Switzerland offered the Nepalese and Indian governments emergency assistance. Switzerland's subsequent emergency assistance in the affected region will be based on the initial assessment of the situation carried out by the Swiss rapid response team. The Swiss rapid response team will be reinforced with additional personnel depending on the developing situation.

Nepal: Guide to Giving to humanitarian action in response to the Nepal earthquake

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 13 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Nepal

CONTRIBUTING TO THE NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

To find out about the latest response and about organizations operating in the country, view the country page on the OCHA website: www.unocha.org/nepal

DONATING THROUGH THE CENTRAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND (CERF)

CERF provides rapid initial funding for life-saving actions at the onset of emergencies and for poorly funded, essential humanitarian operations in protracted crises. The OCHA-managed CERF receives contributions from various donors – mainly governments, but also private companies, foundations, charities and individuals – which are combined into a single fund. This is used for crises anywhere in the world. Find out more about the CERF and how to donate by visiting the CERF website: www.unocha.org/cerf/our-donors/how-donate

IN-KIND RELIEF AID

The United Nations urges donors to make cash rather than in-kind donations, for maximum speed and flexibility, and to ensure the aid materials that are most needed are the ones delivered. If you can make only in-kind contributions in response to this disaster, please contact: logik@un.org.

REGISTERING AND RECOGNIZING YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS

OCHA manages the Financial Tracking Service (FTS), which records all reported humanitarian contributions (cash, in-kind, multilateral and bilateral) to emergencies. Its aim is to give credit and visibility to donors for their generosity to show the total amount funding and resource gaps in humanitarian appeals.

Please report your contributions to FTS, either by email to fts@un.org or through the on-line contribution report form at http://fts.unocha.org.

occupied Palestinian territory: EU Representative presents 2014 European Neighbourhood Policy Progress Report to Minister Al Malki

oPt - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 14 min ago
Source: European Commission Country: occupied Palestinian territory

EU Representative presents 2014 European Neighbourhood Policy Progress Report to Minister Al Malki The EU Representative, Mr. John Gatt-Rutter presented today the 2014 European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) progress report for Palestine to the Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Riad Al Malki. The report on Palestine underlines key developments and reform efforts in 2014 and makes recommendations for the year to come. The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy first published the annual “neighbourhood package” on 25 March 2015 which includes progress reports on 16 of EU's closest neighbours .

"Palestinians faced exceptional challenges in 2014 namely the suffering and destruction caused by the summer conflict in Gaza, the breakdown in peace negotiations in early 2014, and increased tensions across the West Bank including in East Jerusalem. We have witnessed the formation of the Palestinian National consensus government that we welcomed. However, unfortunately to-date this government is still unable to assume its full responsibilities in Gaza," said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter. "Palestinian civil society in the West Bank still enjoys a relatively positive environment but there has been a shrinking of democratic space with complaints of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Now after Palestine acceded to a number of international human rights conventions, it is important to focus now on the implementation of the commitments contained in these agreements."

The report describes all reforms initiated, carried out successfully, or delayed during 2014 in the different areas of cooperation between the EU and Palestine. The armed conflicts in Gaza over the summer constituted a major setback. With over 2100 Palestinian and 71 Israeli casualties during 50 days of hostilities, the conflict was the third and most deadly conflict in Gaza in the last six years. The formation of the National Consensus Government was expected to foster the necessary harmonisation of legislation between Gaza and the West Bank, and the unification of their respective legal systems. However, there were no tangible developments in this regard. The Palestinian economy, which has been slowing down since 2013, entered recession in 2014, due in part to the negative effects of the conflict in Gaza. The restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation, particularly in Area C, remained the biggest obstacle to Palestinian socio-economic development. These included the periodic with-holding of customs and tax revenues by the Israeli authorities.

Human rights issues continued to be a matter of concern, despite some limited progress, such as the amendment of the Penal Code on the issue of honour killing and the accession of Palestine to a number of international conventions. In the West Bank, despite a relatively positive environment, there has been a shrinking of democratic space with complaints of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, as well as reported violations of freedom of expression (undue pressure on journalists) and assembly (violent dispersion of demonstrators).

On the basis of the Country Progress Report, several actions are recommended to the Palestinian Authority for the year to come, amongst others: abolishing the death penalty while fully abiding by the de facto moratorium on the death penalty; pursuing positive steps in view of an early resumption of the Middle East Peace Process; and advancing intra-Palestinian reconciliation in line with the principles set out by President Abbas on 4 May 2011, resuming full governmental responsibility in Gaza and organizing free and fair presidential and legislative elections across Palestine.

Read full report here ENP-Palestine

Contacts:
The Office of the European Union Representative:
Shadi Othman (02 5415 867, 0599 673 958) http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/

Yemen: One month on, humanitarian situation in Yemen deteriorating, as conflict spirals out of control

Yemen - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 29 min ago
Source: Oxfam Country: Yemen

One month into the crisis, Oxfam warns that power stations in Yemen are almost out of fuel, phone networks are suffering extensive damage, and the banking system is at a standstill. The escalation in violence has also damaged the water infrastructure leaving millions of Yemenis without clean water. The crisis has so far claimed more than 1100 lives – mostly civilians.

“The country is on the brink of collapse,” said Grace Ommer, Oxfam’s Country Director in Yemen. “This cannot go on any longer, and civilians cannot continue to bear the brunt of this war. We need to see an immediate end to the violence, all import routes into the country need to be opened immediately to ensure that vital supplies can enter the market, and we need orchestrated attempts to ensure that aid is reaching the affected communities in Yemen.”

The closure of import routes continues to limit the entry of vital supplies into the country, putting millions more at risk, as supplies of fuel, food and medicines run critically low. Yemen imports nearly 350,000 tonnes of food every month, but very little has gone through over the last month, because of the blockade.

Ommer added: “Oxfam welcomed the announcement last Tuesday that the next phase in Yemen would focus on humanitarian access. But as the fighting resumed and the blockade is still in place, the humanitarian situation in Yemen is in fact deteriorating by the day.”

Across Yemen, millions are now without clean water as the infrastructure in some governorates is suffering extensive damage, and workers at water facilities are abandoning their posts. In addition, banks are shut for a fifth week in a row, and post offices are struggling to handle money transfers.

An Oxfam staff member in Hodeidah said: “The big concern for people is the fuel crisis which has impacted food prices and has led to the ongoing power cuts; we now get a few hours of electricity during the night, if at all. However, Oxfam operations are ongoing in Hodeidah where we are assisting an increasing number of internally displaced people fleeing the more dangerous areas in the country.”

Over the last month, Oxfam helped more than 60,000 Yemenis with water, cash, hygiene kits, and livestock to build resilience in affected communities. However, Oxfam staff in Yemen have confirmed that the telecommunications network is severely damaged in some governorates, which, in addition to the potential disintegration of the banking system, could halt Oxfam’s continuing emergency programmes on the ground, further exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.

Contact information

Imad Aoun, Oxfam Middle East Media Advisor, in Beirut. Mobile: +961 71 333459 or IAoun@oxfam.org.uk

Act now - Demand an end to the violence in Yemen

For updates, please follow @Oxfam

India: Quake claims 67 lives in India

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 31 min ago
Source: Government of India Country: India, Nepal

The death toll in India has climbed to 67 with Bihar reporting the highest casualties. The quake and aftershocks, which were experienced in some parts of North and East India, have also left 288 others injured.
Bihar accounted for 52 deaths while 173 were injured.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had yesterday directed government officials to carry out relief work for the affected on a war footing for which all the ministers and secretaries will camp in the districts under their charge.

In Uttar Pradesh, 12 people died and 70 others were injured, while two persons lost their lives and 35 others injured in West Bengal. One person was killed and seven others were injured in Rajasthan.

Five teams of NDRF have been deployed in Bihar and one in UP for rescue and relief operations of affected people. So far, 180 people have been evacuated to safer places by the NDRF in Darbhanga in Bihar.

Centre announces compensation of 6 lakh rupees

The Centre has announced a compensation of 6 lakh rupees to the families of those who lost their lives in the quake across parts of India.

The Bihar Government had announced a compensation of four lakh rupees each to the families of those who were killed in the state.

Uttar Pradesh Government had announced cash compensation of 7 lakh rupees to the families of the deceased, fifty thousand rupees for those who suffered serious injuries and thirty thousand rupees to those with minor injuries.

(PT-27/04)

Nepal: Nepal: Chaos after massive earthquake

Nepal - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 43 min ago
Source: DanChurchAid Country: Nepal

DanChurchAid sends three humanitarian response experts to Nepal to assist the local office and partners in the planning of the relief work as fast as possible.

by Jutta Weinkouff

Everything is still chaos in Kathmandu.

More than 3,600 people have died and survivors are desperately digging in the ruins for relatives. People are sheltering out in the open out of fear for aftershocks and nobody knows anything about the situation in the remote mountain villages.

DanChurchAid sends Erik Johnson, Head of Humanitarian Response, to Nepal along with two experts. They will assist in getting an overview and strengthen DanChurchAid's local office in Kathmandu.

DanChurchAid is also building a tent camp where the victims of the earthquake can stay in safety, until the work with clearing and securing damaged houses are completed.

WASH and CASH

In the camp, one of the humanitarian response experts will help restore a safe water supply and construction of new sanitation.

The second expert will manage DanChurchAid’s distribution of cash to earthquake victims. Cash is often used as payment for the victims themselves participating in rehabilitation and reconstruction work.

Years of preparation for disaster

It has long been clear that at some point a great earthquake would happen in Nepal. However, no one has been able to say when.

For that reason, DanChurchAid has for many years been working with disaster risk reduction in villages in Nepal – meaning teaching inhabitants how to best help themselves when a disaster strikes.

The main rescue efforts often take place before the organized help arrives.

Local disaster groups

In many villages, DanChurchAid has formed local disaster groups which have been repeating again and again, what to do in crisis situations.

  • What do you do if you are inside when the earthquake hit - and if you're out?
  • Where will all meet when the earthquake is over?
  • Who does what in the rescue work?
  • Where is the store with food, medicine and water if supply routes are interrupted?

Facts about the earthquake in Nepal

  • Saturday April 25th, Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale.
  • There is still no overview of the disaster; especially not in the hard to reach rural areas.
  • DanChurchAid is planning a rehabilitation and reconstruction effort lasting at least 1½ years.

Central African Republic: UN: Central African Republic at risk of becoming the world’s largest forgotten humanitarian crisis

DRC - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 47 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

With nearly 900,000 people from the Central African Republic (CAR) forcibly displaced since the outbreak of violence in December 2013, the CAR crisis is quickly becoming the largest forgotten humanitarian crisis of our time. There are more than 460,000 CAR refugees in neighbouring countries and some 436,000 people are internally displaced. In the Central African Republic, a total of 2.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.

Yet humanitarian assistance programmes both for the Central African Republic and the Regional Refugee Response plan remain dramatically underfunded, with funding levels of only 14 per cent for programmes inside CAR and 9 per cent of the refugee programmes in the neighbouring countries.

“We must prevent the Central African republic from becoming a forgotten crisis,” said Claire Bourgeois, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in the strife-torn country. “The current funding for the strategic humanitarian response does not allow us to ensure the protection of all these displaced persons or to provide the minimum of what is needed to meet the huge humanitarian needs.”

Violence between various armed groups continues to plague especially in the central part of the country preventing many people from returning home. The transitional authorities, with support of the international community, are struggling to restore law and order, which allowed some to return to other parts of the country.

UNHCR and partners are struggling to provide an adequate level of assistance to the refugees in the four neighbouring countries: Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Registration and relocation of the refugees to safer areas in the country of asylum, key protection activities, are ongoing and UNHCR continues to provide the most basic lifesaving assistance, but important activities such as primary education are lacking because of funding shortages.

“It is critical that the international community does not forget about the Central African Republic”, said Liz Ahua UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Coordinator. “Important progress has been made and we cannot allow these gains to be undone because of lack of funding and support”. There are two crucial milestones coming up in the peace process. The first will be the Bangui Forum on national Reconciliation, bringing all parties together in May to address the political and security issues that lay at the centre of the crisis. The second mile stone will be the national elections scheduled for August. The participation of internally displaced people and refugees in both processes will be crucial to their success.

“In addition to the immediate humanitarian response, we also call on partners working in transition and early recovery to step up and help families restore their livelihoods and resilience,” Claire Bourgeois said. “We also need partners supporting the judicial system to accelerate their support in the fight against impunity for crimes committed in the CAR crisis,” she added.

The CAR situation by numbers:

Total population: 4.6 million

Number of people in the Central African Republic in need of humanitarian assistance: 2.7 million

CAR refugees in Cameroon, Chad, Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo: 461,410, including 219,728 who fled the country since December 2013.

Internally displaced people in the Central African Republic: 436,119, including 43,592 in Bangui

Strategic Response Plan inside CAR (OCHA and 115 partners) Requirements: USD 613 million

Funding received: USD 85 million (14 %)

Regional Refugee Response Plan in the neighbouring countries (UNHCR and 17 partners)

Requirements: USD 331.2 million

Funding received: USD 29 million (9 %)

For more details, please contact:

UNHCR: Karin de Gruijl + 41 79 255 9213
OCHA: Jens Laerke + 41 70 472 9750

Central African Republic: UN: Central African Republic at risk of becoming the world’s largest forgotten humanitarian crisis

Chad - ReliefWeb News - 6 hours 47 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

With nearly 900,000 people from the Central African Republic (CAR) forcibly displaced since the outbreak of violence in December 2013, the CAR crisis is quickly becoming the largest forgotten humanitarian crisis of our time. There are more than 460,000 CAR refugees in neighbouring countries and some 436,000 people are internally displaced. In the Central African Republic, a total of 2.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.

Yet humanitarian assistance programmes both for the Central African Republic and the Regional Refugee Response plan remain dramatically underfunded, with funding levels of only 14 per cent for programmes inside CAR and 9 per cent of the refugee programmes in the neighbouring countries.

“We must prevent the Central African republic from becoming a forgotten crisis,” said Claire Bourgeois, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in the strife-torn country. “The current funding for the strategic humanitarian response does not allow us to ensure the protection of all these displaced persons or to provide the minimum of what is needed to meet the huge humanitarian needs.”

Violence between various armed groups continues to plague especially in the central part of the country preventing many people from returning home. The transitional authorities, with support of the international community, are struggling to restore law and order, which allowed some to return to other parts of the country.

UNHCR and partners are struggling to provide an adequate level of assistance to the refugees in the four neighbouring countries: Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Registration and relocation of the refugees to safer areas in the country of asylum, key protection activities, are ongoing and UNHCR continues to provide the most basic lifesaving assistance, but important activities such as primary education are lacking because of funding shortages.

“It is critical that the international community does not forget about the Central African Republic”, said Liz Ahua UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Coordinator. “Important progress has been made and we cannot allow these gains to be undone because of lack of funding and support”. There are two crucial milestones coming up in the peace process. The first will be the Bangui Forum on national Reconciliation, bringing all parties together in May to address the political and security issues that lay at the centre of the crisis. The second mile stone will be the national elections scheduled for August. The participation of internally displaced people and refugees in both processes will be crucial to their success.

“In addition to the immediate humanitarian response, we also call on partners working in transition and early recovery to step up and help families restore their livelihoods and resilience,” Claire Bourgeois said. “We also need partners supporting the judicial system to accelerate their support in the fight against impunity for crimes committed in the CAR crisis,” she added.

The CAR situation by numbers:

Total population: 4.6 million

Number of people in the Central African Republic in need of humanitarian assistance: 2.7 million

CAR refugees in Cameroon, Chad, Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo: 461,410, including 219,728 who fled the country since December 2013.

Internally displaced people in the Central African Republic: 436,119, including 43,592 in Bangui

Strategic Response Plan inside CAR (OCHA and 115 partners) Requirements: USD 613 million

Funding received: USD 85 million (14 %)

Regional Refugee Response Plan in the neighbouring countries (UNHCR and 17 partners)

Requirements: USD 331.2 million

Funding received: USD 29 million (9 %)

For more details, please contact:

UNHCR: Karin de Gruijl + 41 79 255 9213
OCHA: Jens Laerke + 41 70 472 9750

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