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Colombia: FARC to free Colombian general, others next week

Colombia - Chad - 5 hours 4 min ago
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Colombia

Bogota, Colombia | AFP | Saturday 11/22/2014 - 15:58 GMT

FARC guerrillas who captured a Colombian general and four others will release them next week, president Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday, paving the way for a return to peace talks.

"I am giving instructions to facilitate their liberation next week," Santos said in a Twitter message, noting that the Marxist guerrillas had already provided coordinates of where the captives would be delivered.

The November 16 kidnapping of General Ruben Alzate in the remote, jungle-covered Choco region threw peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government into disarray, with Santos suspending the two-year negotiations.

The two sides have been negotiating in Cuba for an end to the 50-year conflict that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and caused more than five million to flee their homes.

Alzate was kidnapped along with a corporal and an adviser. The FARC is also holding two soldiers who were kidnapped November 9 near the Venezuela border in Arauca province.

The Red Cross, which the government has asked to assist in the handover, said Thursday it had a "green light" to begin the transfer.

But the operation appeared to stall Friday and there was no immediate sign that military activity had been halted in either of the regions where the hostages were captured, a precondition for the handover.

Founded in 1964, the FARC is the largest of the guerrilla groups active in Colombia, with about 8,000 fighters.

In a sign the conflict is far from over, a police officer was killed and four others wounded Saturday in an attack authorities blamed on the FARC.

Suspected FARC fighters carried out a dawn offensive on the island of Gorgona off the Pacific coast, Cauca province police chief Ramiro Perez Manzano said.

Three other police officers went missing during the fighting.

  • Questions over kidnapping -

General Alzate, the head of an army task force charged with fighting rebels and drug traffickers in the Choco region, is the highest-ranking officer to be captured by the FARC in five decades of conflict.

He was taken hostage along with Corporal Jorge Rodriguez and army adviser Gloria Urrego as they traveled by boat to visit a civilian energy project in the remote western region.

FARC fighters were already holding two other soldiers captured in combat in the eastern department of Arauca, Paulo Cesar Rivera and Jonathan Diaz.

Diplomats from Cuba and Norway, two of the countries acting as guarantors of the peace process, announced Wednesday that a deal had been struck to free all five hostages, but gave few details.

The defense ministry says Alzate, 55, was ambushed by armed guerrillas on arrival in the village of Las Mercedes.

But questions have emerged about why he was apparently traveling in civilian clothing and without a security escort.

Local residents denied Thursday that he had been ambushed, casting further uncertainty on the incident.

Choco has been one of the regions hardest hit by the conflict and numerous rebel groups, drug gangs and illegal mining operations flourish in the hard-to-reach, densely forested department, whose population is overwhelmingly poor and black.

pcp/wat/pst

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Iraq: Iraq - Erbil Governorate - Baharka Camp - Camp Infrastructure - Updated 17 November 2014

Iraq - Maps - 10 hours 17 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, CCCM Cluster, REACH Country: Iraq

World: Global Weather Hazards Summary November 21-27, 2014

Somalia - Maps - 11 hours 27 min ago
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Somalia, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia

Slow start to seasonal rainfall continues in Angola and Zambia, dryness remains in Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania

  1. Low and poorly distributed seasonal Deyr rains have led to growing moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions throughout several local areas of southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, and coastal Tanzania. The persistence of below-average rainfall in November is likely to reduce crop growth and limit the regeneration of pasture.

  2. Since late September, erratic and poorly distributed rainfall has led to large moisture deficits in northern Angola. The early season dryness follows drought conditions during last year’s rainy season, which may further worsen ground conditions.

  3. Several weeks of infrequent and below-average rainfall has led to unusual early season dryness in parts of southern DRC and northern Zambia.

  4. Below-average and erratic rainfall across parts of southern Côte d’Ivoire and southern Ghana during October have led to increasing dryness.

World: Global Weather Hazards Summary November 21-27, 2014

Haiti - Maps - 11 hours 27 min ago
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Somalia, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia

Slow start to seasonal rainfall continues in Angola and Zambia, dryness remains in Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania

  1. Low and poorly distributed seasonal Deyr rains have led to growing moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions throughout several local areas of southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, and coastal Tanzania. The persistence of below-average rainfall in November is likely to reduce crop growth and limit the regeneration of pasture.

  2. Since late September, erratic and poorly distributed rainfall has led to large moisture deficits in northern Angola. The early season dryness follows drought conditions during last year’s rainy season, which may further worsen ground conditions.

  3. Several weeks of infrequent and below-average rainfall has led to unusual early season dryness in parts of southern DRC and northern Zambia.

  4. Below-average and erratic rainfall across parts of southern Côte d’Ivoire and southern Ghana during October have led to increasing dryness.

World: Global Weather Hazards Summary November 21-27, 2014

DRC - Maps - 11 hours 27 min ago
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Somalia, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia

Slow start to seasonal rainfall continues in Angola and Zambia, dryness remains in Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania

  1. Low and poorly distributed seasonal Deyr rains have led to growing moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions throughout several local areas of southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, and coastal Tanzania. The persistence of below-average rainfall in November is likely to reduce crop growth and limit the regeneration of pasture.

  2. Since late September, erratic and poorly distributed rainfall has led to large moisture deficits in northern Angola. The early season dryness follows drought conditions during last year’s rainy season, which may further worsen ground conditions.

  3. Several weeks of infrequent and below-average rainfall has led to unusual early season dryness in parts of southern DRC and northern Zambia.

  4. Below-average and erratic rainfall across parts of southern Côte d’Ivoire and southern Ghana during October have led to increasing dryness.

World: Global Weather Hazards Summary November 21-27, 2014

Côte d’Ivoire - Maps - 11 hours 27 min ago
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Somalia, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia

Slow start to seasonal rainfall continues in Angola and Zambia, dryness remains in Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania

  1. Low and poorly distributed seasonal Deyr rains have led to growing moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions throughout several local areas of southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, and coastal Tanzania. The persistence of below-average rainfall in November is likely to reduce crop growth and limit the regeneration of pasture.

  2. Since late September, erratic and poorly distributed rainfall has led to large moisture deficits in northern Angola. The early season dryness follows drought conditions during last year’s rainy season, which may further worsen ground conditions.

  3. Several weeks of infrequent and below-average rainfall has led to unusual early season dryness in parts of southern DRC and northern Zambia.

  4. Below-average and erratic rainfall across parts of southern Côte d’Ivoire and southern Ghana during October have led to increasing dryness.

Liberia: Regional ETU status - West Africa Ebola outbreak (as of 21 November 2014)

Guinea - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 7:22pm
Source: US Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Colombia: Colombia - Informe Flash MIRA: Municipio San Calixto (Norte de Santander) 10/11/2014 – 14/11/2014

Colombia - Chad - 21 November 2014 - 4:10pm
Source: UN Country Team in Colombia, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Colombia

Entre abril y octubre de 2014, se han presentado frecuentes enfrentamientos armados entre el Ejército y grupos armados no estatales en zona rural y urbana del municipio de San Calixto (Norte de Santander), en la región del Catatumbo. Las condiciones de seguridad en la zona, tras el evento más reciente -el día 5 de octubre-, limitaron el acceso de organizaciones del Equipo Humanitario Local (EHL) para realizar una evaluación MIRA para conocer las necesidades humanitarias de la población. El temor de la población ante la intensidad de las confrontaciones ha causado el desplazamiento masivo intermitente de más de 700 personas 12 veredas de San Calixto, la conformación de un Refugio Humanitario en el mes de julio en la vereda Mesitas (Hacarí), civiles heridos, limitaciones a la libre movilidad de la población (que además han causado inasistencia escolar), gran impacto en las condiciones de salud psicosocial de la población, y limitaciones de acceso humanitario que afectan acciones en los sectores de Protección, Seguridad alimentaria y nutrición, Agua, saneamiento e higiene. Las hostilidades han causado daños en la infraestructura, techos, paredes y mobiliario en viviendas, pequeños negocios y escuelas.

Basados en los resultados preliminares de la misión MIRA - Multi-Cluster Initial Rapid Assessment1 realizada en el municipio de San Calixto, se pudo evidenciar que el impacto humanitario de las acciones armadas en la zona, está generando necesidades humanitarias prioritarias en los siguientes sectores: i. Protección: Riesgo alto de nuevos desplazamientos en San Calixto, Hacarí y El Tarra, estigmatización de comunidades campesinas, infracciones al Principio de Distinción y Proporcionalidad del Derecho Internacional Humanitario, retenciones ilegales y limitaciones de acceso a medidas de protección. ii. Educación: Riesgo de deserción escolar por la continuidad de acciones armadas en la zona y presencia de MAP/MUSE y AEI en los entornos escolares, falta de alimentación escolar continua y de calidad, pérdida de motivación por enfoque de la población en cultivo de coca. iii. Salud / Agua, saneamiento e higiene: Afectación psicológica, en particular de madres cabeza de familia y niños/as. Limitación de acceso a agua potable y destrucción de las principales fuentes naturales de agua durante las acciones armadas.

Colombia: Colombia – Limitaciones a la movilidad en comunidades indígenas y afrocolombianas en Medio Atrato (Chocó) Flash Update No. 1 (21/11/2014)

Colombia - Chad - 21 November 2014 - 2:40pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Colombia

**Flash Update No. 1 – Limitaciones a la movilidad en comunidades indígenas y afrocolombianas en Medio Atrato (Chocó) **

Desde el 18 de noviembre, las comunidades ubicadas en la cuenca del río Bebará, en zona rural de Medio Atrato (Chocó), han limitado su movilidad y actividades diarias por temor ante la presencia masiva de fuerza pública y el desarrollo de operativos militares que se adelantan en la zona para el rescate de un general, un suboficial y una funcionaria civil del Ejército, retenidos por las FARC-EP en zona rural de Quibdó desde el pasado 16 de noviembre.

La situación ha restringido el abastecimiento de alimentos y el acceso a servicios de salud –para lo que deben desplazarse a la cabecera municipal. También se han suspendido actividades escolares y la atención en los puestos de salud veredales.

Las comunidades afrocolombianas de Bocas de Bebará, El Llano, La Villa, La Peña y Pueblo Viejo; y las comunidades indígenas de Chagadó, Chaquenendó, Las Pavas, Pomparradó y Bebaracito son las más afectadas.

La Personería Municipal reporta que se están presentando desplazamientos individuales desde la desembocadura del río Bebará en el Atrato, hacia comunidades cercanas. Se desconoce el número y las necesidades actuales de estas personas.

Estas comunidades conviven con la presión constante de miembros de las FARC-EP que ejercen control territorial desde hace varios años. Desde inicio de 2014, líderes comunitarios han denunciado la débil presencia del Estado en este territorio más allá de los actuales y ocasionales operativos militares y la necesidad de garantizar condiciones de vida digna. Se espera que después de una posible liberación de los funcionarios, se garanticen condiciones de seguridad para que las comunidades restablezcan su movilidad y retornen a sus actividades cotidianas.

La Alcaldía del Medio Atrato convocó al Comité de Justicia Transicional Municipal el 21 de noviembre para analizar la situación y definir mecanismos de acompañamiento y respuesta humanitaria. La Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral para las Víctimas ha manifestado su capacidad para apoyar subsidiariamente al municipio en la atención de estas comunidades. El Equipo Humanitario Local de Chocó está haciendo seguimiento a la emergencia.

De mantenerse la situación, otras comunidades del Medio Atrato se verían en riesgo de restricciones a la movilidad y desplazamiento forzado, probablemente hacia Quibdó. En febrero de 2014, dos comunidades de esta zona se desplazaron y 4.000 habitantes sufrieron restricciones a la movilidad por riesgo ante combates entre la fuerza pública y miembros de las FARC-EP (ver Flash Update 13/02/2014).

Colombia: Una familia sepultada por nuevo derrumbe en Risarald

Colombia - Chad - 21 November 2014 - 8:47am
Source: El Espectador Country: Colombia

Un nuevo derrumbe en el municipio risaraldense de Quinchía, acabó con la vida de los tres integrantes de una familia, en el kilómetro 7 de la vía que comunica a Riosucio - Caldas con el municpio.

La familia Ladino Cardona, integrada por Jaime Ladino Tapasco, Yorbi Cardona Largo, de 26 años, y el menor Kevin Ladino Cardona, de 5 años, fue arrastrada por la corriente de tierra y lodo cuando se dirigían a Quinchía, municipio de donde eran procedentes.

Los organismos de socorro ya rescataron los cuerpos del padre y el menor, pero aún se realizan las labores de búsqueda del cuerpo de la madre, que no ha sido avistado.

El derrumbe, se suma al ocurrido hace una semana en la mina ilegal Los Alacranes, en zona rural del municipio de Quinchía. En esa ocasión, resultaron sepultados tres mineros que fueron rescatados con vida luego de seis horas de labores de socorro.

Liberia: West Africa: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak (as of 16 November 2014) [EN/FR]

Guinea - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 7:29am
Source: UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response Country: Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone

A total of 15,145 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in six affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America) and two previously affected countries (Nigeria, Senegal) up to the end of 16 November 2014. There have been 5,420 reported deaths.

Au 16 novembre 2014, en fin de journée, 15 145 cas confirmés, probables ou suspects de maladie à virus Ebola avaient été notifiés dans 6 pays touchés (Espagne, États-Unis d’Amérique, Guinée, Libéria, Mali et Sierra Leone) et 2 pays qui ne le sont plus (Nigéria et Sénégal). Le nombre de décès s’élevait à 5420.

South Sudan: South Sudan situation map (November 2014)

Uganda - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 7:18am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan situation map (November 2014)

Sudan - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 7:18am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan situation map (November 2014)

Ethiopia - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 7:18am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan: South Sudan situation map (November 2014)

Kenya - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 7:18am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

Somalia: Somalia Rainfall Forecast - Issued: 21 November 2014

Somalia - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 6:51am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Ethiopia, Somalia

Moderate to heavy rains are expected in most parts of south and central Somalia as well as in the Ethiopian highlands in the coming three days. The northern parts of Somalia may receive light rains during the forecast period.

Somalia: Somalia Rainfall Forecast - Issued: 21 November 2014

Ethiopia - Maps - 21 November 2014 - 6:51am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Ethiopia, Somalia

Moderate to heavy rains are expected in most parts of south and central Somalia as well as in the Ethiopian highlands in the coming three days. The northern parts of Somalia may receive light rains during the forecast period.

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