ReliefWeb Latest Reports for Country Office
Central African Republic: Central African Republic: Unprotected zones - the suffering of the civilian population in Haute-Kotto
Although stability appears to be returning to the Central African Republic, the root causes of the crisis have not been resolved. Indeed, while there have been no intercommunal clashes in the east of the country, it remains in the grip of non-state armed groups. This briefing illustrates how the population of Haute-Kotto, which has been overlooked for decades due to the weakness of the state, risks having to continue to suffer various forms of abuse and violence.
The new MINUSCA mandate established by Resolution 2301 seems impracticable given the limited financial and human resources currently available to it. For these reasons, special attention must be given to the strategies for its implementation and the prioritization of its activities.
occupied Palestinian territory: UNSCO Socio-Economic Report: Overview of the Palestinian Economy in Q2/2016
Real GDP in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in Q2/2016 was 1.7% higher than in Q1/2016, driven by a 4.0% growth in the West Bank. Real GDP in Gaza contracted by 4.8% during the same period. Compared to Q2 2015, real GDP in the oPt grew by 3.9% driven by a 3.3% growth rate in the West Bank and a 5.8% growth rate in the Gaza strip. In Q2/2016 the Gaza economy constituted about 24% of the overall Palestinian economy, down from about a third in the previous quarter, and the Strip’s GDP per capita was 44% of the West Bank’s, compared with about half of the West Bank’s in the last quarter.
In the West Bank, between Q2/2015 and Q2/2016 there was significant expansion in real value added in financial and insurance activities (13.1%) and the transportation and storage sector (15.7%). There was significant contraction in real value added in agriculture, forestry and fishing (11.3%), construction (7.9%), and wholesale and retail trade (4.9%).
During the same period in the Gaza Strip, agriculture, forestry and fishing contracted by 25.6%, the construction sector by 11.0%, and the transportation and storage sector by 7.0%. The services sector grew by 17.4% and financial and insurance activities by 17.0%.
The services sector was the largest one in the West Bank economy in Q2/2016, accounting for 18.7% of GDP. This was followed by the wholesale and retail trade sector (17.1%) and mining, manufacturing, electricity and water (15.3%).
Public administration and defense continued to be the largest employers of people in Gaza, also accounting for the largest proportion of the Gaza Strip’s GDP in Q2/2016, accounting for 30.9% of the total, followed by services (25.5%), and wholesale and retail trade (16.7%).
Final consumption in the West Bank was 114.5% of GDP in Q2/2016. Household final consumption constituted 91.9% of GDP while government final consumption was 21.0% of GDP. Gross capital formation accounted for 27.9% of GDP, most of it gross fixed capital formation (25.9% of GDP). Exports of goods and services from the West Bank made up 24.5% of GDP while imports represented 64.4%, resulting in a West Bank trade deficit of 39.9% of GDP in the quarter.
In the Gaza Strip, final consumption in Q2/2016 was 132.6% of GDP, household final consumption was 75.0% of GDP and government final consumption was 43.7% of GDP. Gross capital formation was 2.6% of GDP, and gross fixed capital formation, 16.1% of GDP. Exports from the Gaza Strip amounted to 3.2% of GDP while imports amounted to 35.3%, resulting in a trade deficit equal to 32.1% of GDP in Q2/2016.
The industrial production index (IPI) increased from 101.75 in April to 107.94 in May 2016, but then fell to 102.82 in June (base year is 2015). Activity in mining and quarrying (with a share of 4.06% in the IPI) grew significantly in May and June but then contracted in July.
The manufacturing Industry (with a share of 83.19% in the IPI) grew in April and May, but then contracted in June. Activity in the Water Supply, sewage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities sector (with a share of 0.78% in the IPI) contracted in April but recovered strongly in May. Activity in the Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply sector (with a share of 11.98% in the IPI) decreased in April and May but grew strongly in June 2016.
18 Mobile Storage Units (MSUs), dispatched from Brindisi for the WFP, are on the way to Erbil.
The WHO wants to see a worldwide switch from the traditional "live" oral polio vaccine
By Tom Miles
GENEVA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Two companies making vaccines to help the world eradicate polio are failing to produce enough, so many countries should prepare to give lower doses to make stocks last, a group of experts has advised the World Health Organization.
Read the full story by Reuters.
Free of charge maritime transport to Haiti
The Logistics Cluster has secured free of charge maritime transport to Haiti. Options to ship from Panama and Dubai hubs are available. Estimated transit time to Port au Prince is 14 days from Panama and 45 days from Dubai.
If your organization is interested in this offer and you had not contacted us yet, please kindly send your requirement to email@example.com. The offer is valid until 18 November 2016.
Please note that UNHRD could procure humanitarian assistance items on your behalf, should required items be not available in Dubai/Panama depots.
Effort to cut child deaths includes new construction standards for schools, evacuation drills and putting climate risks into the curriculum
By Saleem Shaikh
SAJAWAL, Pakistan, Oct 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When seven hours of non-stop rain led to a flash flood that swept through his village school, leaving it heavily damaged, science teacher Ali Zamin Samejo had to be hospitalised for shock.
Read the full story by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr. Bo Schack, has written anopinion piece widely picked up by local and regional media. The op-ed reflects on the blockade of the coastal territory now entering its tenth year. Mr. Schack starts with a quote from 36-year-old Ali, who works as a waiter in one of the coffee shops in Gaza city. Ali was born in Gaza and for almost ten years he has been living under a tight blockade on air, land and sea. “I have survived the past three wars, but that is not the problem. In this place, wars come and go. The bigger struggle is not to lose hope. The only way I can do that is to retreat, and create my own world, and become oblivious,” Ali told Mr. Schack, who notes that the blockade keeps Ali and the rest of the 1.8 million people of Gaza isolated and locked into a tin y 365 square kilometres- enclave - the Gaza Strip has one of the highest population densities in the world - tormented by extreme poverty and dilapidated by repeated conflicts. Mr. Schack also talked about the impact of the blockade on the people of Gaza during a press conference held in Gaza city in the previous week, emphasizing how the severe restrictions lead to more frustration, pessimism and, possibly, radicalization. A video of the event can be viewed here.
The UNRWA Gaza Training Centre (GTC) organized a graduation ceremony to celebrate the creativity and innovation of its students who completed various different technical and vocational training courses. The Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr. Bo Schack, attended the event, together with other senior UNRWA staff, the 300 graduates and their parents. The ceremony also included an exhibition of the samples of the best work of students. In 2016, a total of 730 students will graduate from the GTC. At the same time, approximately 1,230 students started their technical and vocational training courses in the two UNRWA Vocational Training Centres in Gaza city and Khan Younis, southern Gaza, in September for the new school year 2016-2017, in addition to around 470 youth who started their apprenticeships in the local market after completing training at the Gaza Training Centre. In total, over 2,220 youth are currently getting trained in both training centres. Many students currently enrolled in the two training centres come from the most vulnerable families in Gaza: 50 per cent of all registered students are part of the Agency’s Social Safety Net (SSN) category – meaning those households that are living below US$ 1.74 per person per day; 29 per cent are categorized as Absolute Poor (households that live below US$ 3.87 per person per day). To date more than 22,000 students have completed the UNRWA Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.
The Communications with Communities (CwC) team, part of the UNRWA Gaza Field Communications Office, is co-chairing, together with the International Organization Oxfam, the first CwC/accountability working group in Gaza. The group was established by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which previously established CwC working groups in other fields to coordinate community engagement activities to avoid duplication, exchange best practices and discuss technical issues. Other participants of the working group in Gaza include the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), local non-governmental organizations as well as representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs. The focus of the working group is threefold; to address the urgent information and communications needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Gaza through the analysis of available data on communications needs, the development of a sector-wide CwC (emergency) communications manual that serves to increase coordination and messaging of humanitarian actors in crisis and non-crisis situations, as well as to generally mainstream CwC practices across local and international organizations working in Gaza.
The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle features an interview with the UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, predominantly focusing on UNRWA’s work in Gaza and Syria. The Commissioner-General emphasized the psychological impact facing Palestinians in Gaza, as well as the delays in reconstruction resulting from the ongoing blockade. Krähenbühl added that the international community has to ensure that Palestine refugees are not forgotten: “If we had to reduce our education services for half a million Palestinian boys and girls in the region, that is not only a factor that affects their dignity and future prospects, but it’s also a factor that impacts regional stability.” The interview is accompanied by a short report showing the Agency’s efforts in Gaza in terms of reconstruction and food distribution. The filming for the German broadcaster team had been organized and facilitated by the Gaza Field Communications Office.
On 19 October the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, briefed the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. He stated that the international focus on the question of Palestine may have been overtaken by the tragedy in Syria and elsewhere in the region, but that it cannot be allowed to become a secondary problem. “The inability to see beyond the horizon and grasp the benefits of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, of ending the occupation, of establishing a two-state solution that meets the national aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis alike, is a historic loss to the region as a whole,” he stated. The Special Coordinator also mentioned that the absence of progress has led to frustration and growing anger among Palestinians, thereby reiterating the message of the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Bo Schack, given during a press conference on 17 October in Gaza.Mr. Mladenov also talked about his recent trip to Gaza during which he witnessed “warehouses, empty of construction materials, as the reconstruction process is significantly slowing down,” explaining that this is due to limitations of imports; no new residential reconstruction projects have been approved since March, he went on, adding that in the recent days the approval of some 80 projects – some of which had already been started - has been revoked by Israel. He finished his briefing by warning those “who believe that the people of Gaza can be punished by closures or by imposing restrictions on the entry of construction materials that are vital for the economy. They should know that the temperature in Gaza is rising.”
In its Socio-Economic report of quarter two of 2016, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) once again summarized the dismal status of the Gaza economy, suffocated by a more than nine-year long blockade. The real gross domestic product (GDP) in Gaza contracted by 4.8 per cent in quarter two compared to the previous quarter, and in quarter two the economy in Gaza constituted 24 per cent of the overall Palestinian economy, down from around a third in quarter one. Further, within one year the already stifled agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors in Gaza further contracted by 25.6 per cent in the second quarter this year, and the construction sector contracted by 11 per cent. With an average unemployment rate of over 41 per cent, as reported by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the public administration and defence sectors continued to be the largest employers of people in Gaza. Overall, the Palestinian account deficit increased to minus US$ 391.5 million or 11.6 per cent of GDP in quarter two of 2016 (from 8.4 per cent of GDP in the first quarter). The decrease was driven primarily by the higher goods and services trade deficit. Exports continued to be mainly destined to Israel. Similarly, the majority of imports continued to come from Israel. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 453 truckloads exited Gaza in quarter two of 2016, compared to 595 in the first quarter. In 2000, an average of 1,271 truckloads exited Gaza per month; in 2007, when the blockade was imposed, the number decreased to 481 per month and one year later to an average of only three per month.
P-au-P, 26 oct. 2016 [AlterPresse] --- Une jeune fille, d’environ 18 ans, est décédée et cinq (5) autres personnes sont blessées, dont l’une grièvement, à Dame-Marie (une des communes dans le département de la Grande Anse), lors d’une distribution d’aide, le mardi 25 octobre 2016.
Cet incident est survenu, lors d’un dérapage dans la baie de Dame-Marie, au moment où un bateau du programme de distribution d’aide déchargeait l’aide alimentaire, destinée à cette communauté et certaines sections communales limitrophes, indique le Ministère de l’intérieur et des collectivités territoriales (Mict), dans une note datée du 25 octobre 2016 et transmise à AlterPresse.
Le Mict évoque une tentative de pillage, par certains riverains, de la cargaison, déchargée du bateau, à partir de chaloupes vers la côte, sous la supervision des maires accesseurs.
Des pierres et des conques de lambis ont été lancées par les pilleurs en direction des policiers nationaux et des agents de la Mission des Nations unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti (Minustah), qui assuraient la sécurité des opérations.
Les forces de l’ordre sont intervenues, en faisant usage de gaz lacrymogènes et de projectiles, afin d’évacuer la foule, rapporte la note.
Tout en déplorant cet incident, qu’il qualifie de malheureux, le Mict affirme avoir passé des instructions au délégué départemental et aux maires, afin qu’ils prennent toutes les dispositions, qui s’imposent, pour assister les familles des victimes.
Des mesures ont été également prises pour rétablir l’ordre et renforcer la sécurité à Dame-Marie.
Une enquête est également ouverte pour fixer toutes les responsabilités dans le cadre de cette affaire, fait-il savoir.
Récemment, des attaques ont été enregistrées sur plusieurs convois humanitaires, dont ceux du Programme alimentaire mondial (Pam), qui apportaient de l’aide aux sinistrés des départements du Sud, de la Grande Anse et des Nippes ’Sud-Ouest), dévastés durant le passage de l’ouragan Matthew.
Le titulaire du Ministère de la justice et de la sécurité publique (Mjsp), Camille Junior Édouard, a condamné énergiquement les actions de ces pillards. [jd emb apr 26/10/2016 10:40]
P-au-P, 27 oct. 2016 [AlterPresse] --- De concert avec l’Académie de formation et de perfectionnement des cadres (Afpec), le secrétaire général de l’Université publique de la Grande Anse (Sud-Ouest d’Haïti), Grégory Casimir, lance un cri d’alarme en faveur des sinistrés de ce département, trois semaines après le passage de l’ouragan Matthew.
La situation devient de plus en plus grave, à cause des pluies diluviennes qui continuent de s’abattre sur le département, rapporte-t-il.
« La pluie vient compliquer la situation, puisque la majorité des toitures en tôles ont été emportées par les vents. Il n’y a pas encore de véritables distributions de tôles dans la ville », se plaint-il.
Ces derniers jours, des rivières, comme celles de Dame Marie, d’Anse d’Hainault, des Abricots et de Bonbon, étaient en crue.
Dans la ville de Jérémie, chef-lieu du département, la situation des sinistrés se complique davantage. La plupart d’entre eux n’ont, jusqu’à présent, reçu aucune assistance des autorités de l’État, dit-il.
Le maire principal de Jérémie, Claude Aris Milord, a déjà appelé les organismes, qui apportent l’aide dans le département de la Grande Anse, à accélérer le processus pour permettre à la population de sortir de l’impasse, rappelle Casimir.
Les activités scolaires, commerciales toujours paralysées
Les activités scolaires n’ont pas encore repris dans le département de la Grande Anse, notamment à Jérémie et les zones avoisinantes, indique Casimir.
La majorité des écoles publiques ou privées de la zone ont été considérablement endommagées, lors du passage de l’ouragan Matthew.
Trois semaines après le passage du cyclone Matthew, sur 774 écoles affectées par l’ouragan Matthew, seulement huit (8) d’entre elles ont pu être réhabilitées à date, selon un rapport du Ministère de l’intérieur et des collectivités territoriales (Mict), rendu public le week-end écoulé.
Parmi ces écoles affectées, on dénombre 228 dans le département des Nippes (une partie du Sud-Ouest), 217 dans la Grande Anse (autre partie du Sud-Ouest), 171 dans le Sud, 73 dans le Nord-Ouest, 33 dans le Sud-Est, 26 dans l’Artibonite, 22 dans l’Ouest et 4 dans le Plateau central.
Les activités commerciales peinent à reprendre, également à Jérémie, en raison des dégâts causés au niveau des plantations. Les commerçants n’ont plus rien à vendre dans les marchés, puisque tout a été détruit, souligne l’universitaire.
L’eau potable, un casse-tête
En outre, l’eau potable n’est pas accessible à la population dans certaines communes du département de la Grande Anse, signale Casimir.
« Certaines institutions ont installé des points de traitement de l’eau, mais une grande partie de la population n’y a pas accès. Au niveau de Jérémie, il n’existe pas de points de distribution », se lamente-il. [jep emb gp apr 27/10/2016 14:00]
By Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh
MOGADISHU, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Islamist militant group al Shabaab took control on Wednesday of a town in southern Somalia after African Union peacekeepers and government troops abandoned it, residents and the group said.
Read the full story on Reuters.
Ce matin du 5 octobre 2016, premier jour du lancement des Journées de la santé de l’enfant (JSE) dans la province du Nord Kivu, Neema Risiki, 22 ans, est l’une des premières personnes à prendre d’assaut, avec son enfant, le centre de santé de Mugunga situé à environ 10 km au sud-ouest de Goma, chef-lieu de la province du Nord Kivu.
Cinq jours primordiaux pour améliorer la santé de l’enfant
« Je m’apprêtais à aller au champ lorsque ma voisine m’a annoncé la nouvelle » a-t-elle déclaré. « J’ai dû renoncer à mes activités pour emmener d’abord mon fils et celui de ma cousine se faire soigner ».
Organisées par le gouvernement provincial avec le soutien technique et financier de l’UNICEF, les Journées de la santé de l’enfant ont pour objectif de promouvoir la santé infantile et maternelle dans toutes ses dimensions et sur toute l’étendue de la province. Pendant cette campagne étalée sur cinq jours, chaque enfant de moins de cinq ans reçoit une dose de vitamine A et de Mebendazole.
« Mon fils faisait souvent des diarrhées accompagnées de fièvre et de maux de ventre. Les infirmiers m’ont toujours dit qu’il y aurait des vers dans son ventre. Quand j’ai appris qu’on donne aussi des médicaments qui soignent ces vers, je n’ai pas hésité à l’emmener ici » a indiqué Risiki dont le fils aîné vient de recevoir une goutte de vitamine A et un comprimé de Mebendazole.
Une vulnérabilité chronique due à l’insécurité et à la pauvreté généralisée
Originaires du territoire de Masisi en province du Nord Kivu, Risiki et son mari avaient fui leur village en 2010 à cause des affrontements armés opposant des groupes rebelles aux forces armées régulières de la RDC. Depuis, ils se sont installés à Mugunga où ils vivent des travaux journaliers agricoles. Mais le revenu de cette activité est à peine suffisant pour assurer une alimentation équilibrée à la famille.
« A cause de la pauvreté généralisée et des déplacements récurrents des populations, plusieurs familles vivent dans des conditions difficiles et ne mangent même pas à leur faim. Leur pouvoir d’achat est très bas ; cela a des répercussions sur leur état de santé » a déclaré Paul Mulolwa, infirmier titulaire au centre de santé de Mugunga.
Selon les résultats de la deuxième enquête démographique et de santé en RDC (EDS-RDC II 2013-2014), le taux de mortalité infanto-juvénile est de 65 pour 1000 au Nord Kivu. L’étude révèle aussi que plus de la moitié des enfants de moins de 5 ans de la province ont un retard de croissance tandis que 27 % des enfants de ce même groupe d’âge sont anémiés.
Des gouttelettes qui sauvent la vie
La prise de la vitamine A couplée au Mebendazole permet non seulement de protéger les enfants mais aussi de réduire les dépenses des ménages liées aux problèmes de santé. Cette vitamine renforce la protection contre les infections, stimule la croissance, contribue à prévenir la malnutrition et améliore la vision des enfants. La supplémentation adéquate (deux fois par an) permet de réduire de 99% la prévalence d’une certaine forme de cécité et de faire baisser de façon significative la mortalité infanto-juvénile due à des maladies comme la diarrhée (33%) et la rougeole (50%). Quant au Mebendazole, il permet de protéger les enfants contre les vers intestinaux.
« Ces deux interventions ont un impact avéré sur le développement intellectuel des enfants avec des résultats sur leurs performances scolaires et leur productivité à l’âge adulte. J’invite donc tous les parents à conduire leurs enfants âgés de 6 à 59 mois, au centre de santé ou au site d’intervention le plus proche pour recevoir la dose de vitamine A et de Mebendazole » a déclaré Amina Bangana, Spécialiste de la Nutrition, représentant le chef de bureau de l’UNICEF pour la Zone Est à la cérémonie de lancement des JSE.
Risiki, qui attend un autre bébé dans les tous prochains mois, a aussi pu bénéficier d’une dose de vaccin qu’elle n’avait pas reçue lors de ses visites prénatales. Consciente des problèmes de santé vécus lors sa première maternité, la jeune mère promet de sensibiliser ses voisines à respecter les visites prénatales et à allaiter leurs enfants pendant les six premiers mois suivant la naissance de l’enfant.
Plus d’informations à propos de la santé des enfants en RDC
SENGGI, Indonesia, Oct 24 2016 (IPS) - Only two decades ago, Usku, Molof and Namla, three villages in Senggi District, Papua, were the battlefield of feuding tribes fighting for their ulayat (communal land). Afra, the triumphant tribe, then settled in the villages and led a life of hunting and gathering.
Their semi-nomadic lifestyle carried on despite the so-called transmigration in the adjacent village of Waris, where villagers from Java started a new life under central government sanction.
The three villages border Papua New Guinea, covering around 4,000 square kms, and are the least developed spots in the island of Papua.
Now the villages are being transformed, with permanent houses and front-yard farming. Where there used to be scarcity, food abounds.
It all began less than three months ago when the ministry of villages, underdeveloped regions and transmigration sent a team of agricultural and social experts to the villages and worked together with the locals to improve the living conditions of the Indonesia’s eastern-most border communities.
Dasarus Daraserme, 50, said that farming makes his life much easier. “These days, I don’t have to go deep into the forest to find food. It’s all right here in my front yard, you see?” he told IPS, pointing at his newly-sown crops.
“It was getting harder and harder to find food, animals and herbs there [in the forest],” he added.
Expansion by three big palm oil plantations has reduced forest resources in the Keerom District.
Daraserme said his plot yields more than he and his family need, even after he sold the surplus. “We need only one and half kilogrammes of vegetables and fruits a day in average, or some five kilogrammes a week. Now we have hundreds of kilogrammes of cucumber, soybean, chilly, tomatoes, green beans. We don’t know what to do about it,” he said.
Anton Sirmei, 53, who grows pumpkin, kale, cabbage, chilly and tomatoes, also has a surplus. “In the past, there was a lack of food. That’s a problem. Now we have more. This is also a problem,” he said.
The closest town with a market is Senggi, which is 12 hours away on foot. Car transportation is available only once a week.
Professor Ali Zum Mashar, who trains the locals in farming techniques, is now helping them organise a cooperative to sell their agricultural products.
“The government invested some money in the village corporation, just the set the wheel of business in motion,” Mashar said.
Mashar said he actually expected a large surplus. “My microbe-based fertilizer can change bare lands into fertile spots. It is able to convert an ex-mining site to a green farm, let alone this fertile soil of Usku,” he said.
He found 18 species of microbes in the forests of Kalimantan while doing his doctoral studies in 2000. He eventually developed a technology that converts the microbes into liquid form, which he calls Bio P 2000 Z. Successful experiments have proved their capability to increase crop yields by as much as threefold.
“The crop yields should double in quantity, quality and speed. We started working in August, now after only three months, you can see for yourself,” he added, pointing at the gardens in the houses’ front yards.
He said the first goal is that the people have enough food, which has been achieved. Expanding the markets is the next step.
The villagers harvest their crops every two weeks. In terms of both quantity and quality, the Usku villagers produce better vegetables and fruit than their counterparts in the transmigration enclave, who are mostly skilled farmers from Java.
Usku, Molof and Namla village definitely have much more to offer than vegetables, fruits and crops to the outside. Non-timber forest products such as herbs and spices, honey, cinnamon, resin, sandalwood and various fruits also have high economic values for the local community.
Mashar and his team are now constructing a ranch for deer breeding in effort to reduce deer hunting in the forest. “But deer breeding is more than just foodstock. It will become tourist attraction too. So soon we will have a sort of village tourism here,” he said.
The biggest challenge now is training villagers in business management, in a community where 80 percent of the population is illiterate. The village has only one primary school with poor facilities. Four teachers manage around 150 students.
Health care is another major issue. The clinic has only one doctor and often has no medicines. Common diseases here are elephantiasis, skin fungus and mumps.
But hopes are high that the increasing harvest will improve incomes, and bring better medical services, education and infrastructure.
“There is still a long way to go. But we are paving the way to a better tomorrow,” Mashar said.
After a major disaster, humanitarian workers often rush to chaotic and dangerous environments to help people in their time of need.
Since Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti’s southwestern peninsula three weeks ago, USAID’s Hurricane Matthew Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) and our partners have been working around the clock to support the Government of Haiti’s efforts to provide help to communities affected by the storm. On top of delivering food assistance and relief supplies, we are clearing roads and debris, providing materials for emergency shelter, and working with health authorities to monitor and prevent the spread of disease in areas where water and sanitation services have been compromised.
DART Press Officer Scott Fontaine asked several team members to share insight into their work and what motivates them. Read on to meet seven of these dedicated disaster response workers.
Mette Karlsen, Food Security Advisor
Mette first came to Haiti in 2005 to evaluate development programs in the southern peninsula. Now, the native of Norwood, N.J., is working to ensure that urgent food assistance reaches the people who need it most.
What is your role on the DART? I help get food to the people who no longer have anything left after the hurricane. I’m also working on strategies for the U.S. Government on how to help these people to get back on their own two feet, get food back on their tables, their kids back to school, and their lives rebuilt.
**What is your most memorable moment so far? **A week after the Hurricane, it rained … a lot. The capital of Port-au-Prince was not very affected by Hurricane Matthew, but this rain turned the roads into roaring rivers and it paralyzed the city. It impressed upon me how traumatic the Category 4 hurricane must have been, and it really reinforced our need for urgency to respond.
What motivates you? The goodness of humanity.
What do you want to accomplish on this response? I want to get people the food and assistance they need to rebuild their lives.
Al Gembara, Civil-Military Affairs Officer
When the military needed to know where to send their helicopters or what to deliver, they turned to Al, a resident of Alexandria, Va.
What is your role on the DART? I liaise with the U.S. military, which is providing a unique capability on this response. Specifically, they provided critically needed airlift to help us distribute relief supplies to areas that are inaccessible by road.
What is your most memorable moment so far? The first time we successfully delivered relief commodities to the hard-hit city of Jeremie. Roads were cut off, and people were running out of food and clean water. Hundreds of Haitians were at the landing zone when the helicopters landed, and they knew relief had arrived.
What motivates you? Now that I’m a father with another child on the way, I can’t help seeing my kids in the faces of all children around the world. It shouldn’t matter where you were born or into what circumstances — if someone is in need, I want to provide help and comfort.
What do you want to accomplish on this response? First and foremost, help those in greatest need. I also want to represent the best the American people have to offer.
Jonathon Anderson, Deputy Team Leader
Jonathon knows Haiti as well as anyone else at OFDA. Since 2014, the native of Syracuse, N.Y., has worked in Port-au-Prince as a regional advisor.
What is your role on the DART? My day-to-day is lots of focus on operations, planning, programs, information and meetings with the U.S. Embassy, other donors and partners — with time for snacking in between.
What is your most memorable moment so far? The day after the storm passed, I joined an overflight with Provisional President Privert, Ambassador Mulrean, the directrice of the Haitian Department of Civil Protection and a representative from the United Nations Disaster Assessment Committee.
What motivates you? Two things: OFDA’s mission to help people who really need it, and the team we have here. We have a great team.
What do you want to accomplish on this response? I want the DART to collectively support the best response we possibly can.
Lara Sulzman, Information Officer
For information officers like Lara, the demands of serving on a DART are nonstop. They constantly collect, analyze and report information about the humanitarian response — and the native of Staten Island, N.Y., is putting those skills to work on the Hurricane Matthew DART in Haiti.
What is your role on the DART? In a word, I write! I convey the DART’s activities and information about the disaster- — such as needs of disaster-affected people and challenges to providing assistance — to our colleagues in Washington, D.C. I like to think of myself as an internal reporter, as I regularly speak with nearly everyone on the DART to capture their work in a daily report.
What is your most memorable moment so far? Taking my first helicopter ride to deliver food to an area made inaccessible by the hurricane is tied with doing laundry with my boss for most memorable.
What motivates you? I am very inspired by the resilience of people who have lost everything to a disaster. While there are always sad stories, there are many more of courage, creativity, and humor amidst dire circumstances.
What do you want to accomplish on this response? I want to do my best to ensure that all aspects of our team’s work is given the attention it deserves in our reporting, I want to help identify where our assistance is most needed, and I want to eat as many Haitian avocados as possible.
Pete Warker, Safety and Security Coordinator
Pete, a former Marine and resident of Emerald Isle, N.C., ensures all members of the DART can help coordinate the humanitarian response in a safe and responsible manner.
What is your role on the DART? My job is to ensure the safety and security of all DART members for the DART team leader. I coordinate approval by the regional security officer for DART members to travel throughout Haiti to perform their duties providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by Hurricane Matthew.
What is your most memorable moment so far? Traveling to Les Cayes and accompanying DART members on multiple assessments in the southwestern sector of Haiti, as well as actively participating in aid distribution with Catholic Relief Services in the commune of Torbeck.
What motivates you? I spent over 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. I want to continue to serve my country by contributing to the humanitarian assistance of people affected by disaster.
What do you want to accomplish on this response? The safe and healthy return of all DART personnel to their homes and families.
Sonia Walia, Health Advisor
Sonia has worked at OFDA since 2011, helping advise host governments and NGO partners about public health risks that arise during and after disasters. The native of Augusta, Ga., is serving on the Hurricane Matthew DART as its health advisor, with a primary focus on mitigating the spread of cholera.
What is your role on the DART? I provide technical guidance to the U.S. Government and NGOs on health programming to respond to health situations after the hurricane, including cholera.
What is your most memorable moment so far? Our first cholera treatment unit is up and running to treat suspected cholera patients!
What motivates you? Knowing that what we are doing is immediately providing emergency health care to those that need it the most.
What do you want to accomplish on this response? Put health services in place quickly so that we can provide immediate care in the hurricane-affected areas, including prevention and treatment for cholera.
Greg Elder, Planning Coordinator
Greg is no stranger to Haiti. The native of Owensboro, Ky., worked in Haiti for an NGO from 2007 to 2009, and also worked on the humanitarian response after the 2010 earthquake.
What is your role on the DART? As the planning coordinator, I meet with potential partners — like the United Nations, NGOs and the Government of Haiti — to gather information to inform response strategy and program portfolio. I also review concept notes and proposals to shepherd them through the process.
What is your most memorable moment so far? Witnessing the resilience of the Haitian people in the face of such incredible devastation.
What motivates you? Making other people’s lives a little better.
What do you want to accomplish on this response? Help ease the plight hurricane-affected Haitians are experiencing and assist them to get back on their feet.
Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared on USAID's 2030: Ending Extreme Poverty in this Generation pubication on Medium.com.
Hurricane Matthew’s torrential downpours and 145 mph winds felled trees, swept away people and animals, and destroyed up to 90 percent of homes in some areas of the southwestern peninsula.
Over 2.1 million people were affected, and food stocks and crops were destroyed - a critical loss for the entire country because the area is a key food producer for Haiti.
Caritas is focusing on ensuring Haitians have food, clean water and hygiene items, and shelter. Clean water is in short supply and poor sanitation threatens to trigger another outbreak of cholera in the country, a disease that has killed some 10,000 since the 2010 earthquake. Already, new cases are spiking.
Caritas sent engineers to towns in the path of the Hurricane before it struck, so that they could immediately assess structural damage and begin repairs after the storm had passed.
The Caritas confederation is gearing up to provide long-term support to people who’ve survived the hurricane, and an initial programme to help cover people’s immediate needs was launched immediately after the hurricane hit. A longer-term programme will soon take its place.
Caritas secretary general Michel Roy went on a three-day tour of hurricane-effected zones during the week of 17 October to urge people not to forget Haiti.
Before he left for Haiti, he said, “Caritas is calling for a surge of global solidarity to ensure the resources are available to provide support to communities. By walking hand in hand with Haitians during this terrible time, we ensure their suffering will not put on the back-burner.”
IRBIL, Oct 27 (KUNA) Kuwait's Consulate General in Irbil on Thursday distributed 1,850 food packages on Syrian refugees in camps on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.
Kuwait will continue to provide aid to alleviate the suffering of displaced people and refugees, in line with the humanitarian approach of the country, and at behest of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad AlJaber AlSabah, the "Humanitarian Leader." said Kuwaiti Consul General in Irbil Dr. Omar AlKandari.
He added that Kuwait is providing the aid in coordination with the official authorities of Iraq Kurdistan and the Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF), Ismail AbdulAziz, from the BCF expressed gratitude to "endless" Kuwait aid to the displaced people and the refugees in the region.
Since the start of the year, Kuwait has provided nearly 70,000 food packages to displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees in different parts of Iraqi Kurdistan. (end) sbr.tma.hs