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Myanmar: Myanmar: Fire destroys 49 longhouses at IDP camp in Sittwe

6 hours 55 min ago
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

A FIRE, reportedly beginning in a kitchen at the Baw Du Ba internally displaced persons (IDP) camp-2 in Sittwe destroyed 49 longhouses yesterday.
The fire started at around 9.10 am and was brought under control by firemen at 10 am, according to the local fire department.
Six longhouses were destroyed by the firefighters in order to control the blaze and stop the spread of fire to other structures.
The fire caused losses totaling K137.5 million according to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
A total of 1,744 persons from 435 different households, who were left homeless by the fire, are currently being sheltered at the Ohndawgyi relief camp.
The Rakhine State Government and local Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Department have provided relief aid to the fire victims and are establishing tents for them at their temporary shelter location.
Red Cross members in Sittwe are providing medical assistance to the injured. No deaths were reported.

Myanmar: Midwives save lives in remote, conflict-hit Myanmar

10 hours 52 min ago
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Myanmar

Yangon - In Myanmar’s Magway region, far too many mothers, babies and infants die needlessly.

The remote Central Western district has the highest infant mortality rate in the country, and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in a nation where nearly one third more mothers die through childbirth than the South East Asian average.

Midwife Daw Aye Myint arrived in Magway in September 2015, determined to do something about it. She now gets vital healthcare and support to pregnant women, new mothers and newborn babies across four villages with a combined population of around 2,600.

“I make four or five routine visits to three other villages each month,” she says. “In the summer they are easily accessible, but when the rains come the roads turn into mud, but I manage.”

The first ever health professional to be based in the village of Htamakaut, Myint also provides on the job training to the single auxiliary midwife and the two community health workers in the area.

She also supports a potentially lifesaving expanded programme of immunization (EPI) for the local population.

“The EPI taxes our resources to the limit,” she says. “We have to coordinate with the village authorities of each village, and ensure that all the families from each village are gathered in the same place on the designated day.”

Myint is one of seven midwives to be trained, deployed and supported to the impoverished region by the Myanmar Nurses and Midwives Association (MNMA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

As part of a wider programme to ensure quality care reaches women and girls in remote and conflict-hit areas, she received 18 months midwifery training and a five-day pre-deployment course before heading out to Htamakaut.

“They have experience, and can share it with community health workers and auxiliary midwives in the villages,” says Dr. Kyaw Kyaw, the local township's medical coordinator.

“Their value lies in the fact that they can blend in with rural people very easily. They are trusted, and respected. Where they are deployed, we are certain that maternal and infant care improves greatly, thanks to MNMA and UNFPA.”

Dr. Hla Hla Aye, UNFPA’s Assistant Representative in Myanmar, says that getting more professional midwives out to remote areas is key to bringing down maternal and newborn mortality rates.

“58 midwives received pre-deployment training with our support in 2015,” she says, “and 136 midwives have received training that they then share with others on emergency obstetric care.”

World: World events - ECHO Daily Map | 03/05/2016

3 May 2016 - 10:32pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Syrian Arab Republic, Vanuatu, World, Yemen

India, Nepal – Forest fire
• According to media, forest fires have been affecting northern India, especially the state of Uttarakhand, as well as some areas of Nepal over the past couple of months causing casualties and damage.
• Media report at least 18 people dead, of which 11 in Nepal and seven in Uttarakhand state (India), as of 3 May.

India – Severe weather
• Heavy rain and thunderstorms have been reportedly affecting several areas of the country over the past few days causing floods.
• As of 3 May, media reported two people injured, over 1 000 houses damaged and power outages in Nagaland state.

Myanmar/Burma – Severe weather
• Severe weather, including heavy rain and strong winds, has reportedly continued to affect several areas of the country over the past few days causing more casualties and damage.
• Local media reported one person dead, at least three injured and 1 000 homes damaged in Mandalay city as well as several people were left without power in the regions of Yangon and Mandalay, as of 2 May. National authorities also report more than 450 people homeless in the state of Kachin.

Indonesia – Severe weather
• Heavy rain has been affecting several areas of the country over the past week causing floods and landslides.
• National authorities report, as of 3 May, two people dead, three injured and four missing due to a landslide in Lebong district (Bengkulu province) that occurred on 28 April. Search operations are still ongoing. OCHA also reports that over 1 500 houses have been damaged by floods in the provinces of Aceh, Central Sulawesi, Banten and West Java.

Vanuatu – Earthquake
• An earthquake of magnitude 6.0 M at a depth of 5 km hit off the western coast of Malakula island (Melampa province, Vanuatu) on 30 April at 8:35 UTC. The epicentre was located 35 km south-west of the Lakatoro city and 17 km south-west of Travendoua village. USGS PAGER estimates that 2 000 people were exposed to "Strong" shaking. No tsunami threat was posed by this earthquake
• As of 3 May, there have been no reports of damage or injuries.

Yemen – Conflict
• The casualty figures of the Yemen conflict are on the rise. As of 20 April, a total of 6 433 deaths and 30 819 injuries had been recorded at health facilities according to WHO.
• According to UNHCR, Yemeni refugees from O’bock camp in Djibouti have started to return. Since early March a total of 555 refugees have spontaneously returned to Yemen. In addition, a total of 10 424 migrants and asylum-seekers arrived in Yemen during the month of March, mostly Ethiopians. In spite of the conflict, 28 717 new arrivals were registered in Yemen in the first quarter of 2016 while at least 27 people have gone missing at sea.

Syria – Conflict
• Following the increase in violence in Aleppo, 88 international and Syrian NGOs have called on the Governments of USA and Russia, cochairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), to help restore the cessation of hostilities that has been increasingly challenged in recent weeks.
• The surge of violence in Aleppo has brought to an end the relative calm that the population had enjoyed since the cessation of hostilities entered into effect in late February. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) at least 253 civilians, including 49 children, have died in shelling, rocket fire and airstrikes in Aleppo since the surge in fighting began in late April.

Myanmar: Severe weather coming this week: DMH

3 May 2016 - 10:15pm
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

THE weather bureau has warned the public of strong winds accompanied by hailstorms and lightning strikes in many parts of the country, alerting the peoples to the possibility of severe weather patterns from 3 to 7 May.

The Meteorology and Hydrology Department announced the warning saying its observation at 3:30pm yesterday found some cumulus clouds in upper Sagaing, Mandalay and Magway regions and Kachin, Shan, Chin and Rakhine states due to unstable atmospheric pressure.

The forecast of the Meteorology and Hydrology Department at that time said rain accompanied by strong wind, hailstorms and lightning are expected over those regions from 3 to 5 May.

The same severe weather pattern is expected to strike upper Sagaing Region, Kachin State, Chin State, Mandalay Region, Bago Region, Yangon Region, Taninthayi Region, Shan State, Kayah State, Kayin State and Mon State from 6 to 7 May, said the statement.

GNLM

Myanmar: Myanmar/Burma- Severe weather (NOAA, MOI, DMH, Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 3 May 2016)

3 May 2016 - 2:44pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Myanmar

Severe weather, including heavy rain and strong winds has reportedly continued to affect several areas of the country, especially Mandalay region, over the past few days causing more casualties and damage.

Local media reported one person dead, at least three injured and 1 000 homes damaged in Mandalay city as well as several people were left without power in the regions of Yangon and Mandalay, as of 2 May. National authorities also report more than 450 people homeless in the state of Kachin.

Over the next 24 h light to moderate rain may continue affect the central, northern, south-eastern, eastern and western areas of the country, including the ones already affected.

Myanmar: UN Agencies Welcome Japan’s Generous Contributions To Development And Humanitarian Activities In Myanmar

3 May 2016 - 8:59am
Source: World Food Programme, UN Human Settlements Program, Food and Agriculture Organization, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Japan, Myanmar

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar – United Nations agencies today welcomed the generous contributions made by the Government of Japan to their operations in Myanmar. The four agencies – the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) – received a total of JPY 3.76 billion (approximately USD 31.7 million) in contributions. This timely injection of funding will enable the agencies to continue and advance their development and humanitarian activities in Myanmar.

The donation was formally handed over to the UN agencies on 27 April by H.E. Tateshi Higuchi, Japan’s Ambassador to Myanmar, at a ceremony at the Ministry of Border Affairs in Nay Pyi Taw. Lt.-Gen. Ye Aung, Union Minister of Border Affairs, represented and delivered a speech on behalf of the Myanmar Government.

Japan's contribution of JPY 531 million (USD 4.5 million) to FAO will be used to improve agricultural livelihoods and build resilience of communities affected by conflict and floods in Rakhine and Chin states. The recent Crop and Food Security Assessment report for Myanmar highlighted that poor, remote communities in Rakhine and Chin are particularly vulnerable in terms of resilience to withstand disasters. In addition to providing direct agricultural inputs to affected communities, the Japanese funding will go towards critical asset rehabilitation, upgrades or replacement, for example grain storage and irrigation systems. “This project will incorporate disaster risk reduction activities to ensure communities are better able to cope with future disasters,” said Bui Thi Lan, FAO Representative in Myanmar.

UN-Habitat received a contribution of JPY 607 million (USD 5.1 million) which will assist the vulnerable ethnic communities project for Chin State on constructing community infrastructure, increasing access to safe drinking water and reconstructing housing badly affected by the 2015 floods. It will contribute to empowering communities to ensure they will jointly work to build or renovate quality basic services and housing to give targeted population basis for healthy and productive life. The project is framed within the overall objective of helping Myanmar’s ethnic poor and vulnerable communities to address the emergency needs to restore their normal life and to sustainably improve quality of life. Bijay Karmacharya, Country Programme Manager of UN-Habitat said that the project will reach most needy and vulnerable communities who are in dire need of recovery of their housing and basic service infrastructures. It will be implemented in 200 villages across Hakha, Tedim, Falam and Thatlang townships, aiming to benefit over 90,000 people.

UNHCR is grateful for Japan’s contribution of JPY 365 million (USD 3.1 million), which will support the agency’s efforts to assist the Myanmar Government in addressing the needs of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rakhine and persons without citizenship across the country. UNHCR leads efforts relating to protection, shelter, camp coordination and camp management, and emergency relief items as part of the inter-agency response to displacement in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan states. “We are deeply appreciative of Japan’s long-standing commitment to supporting refugees and all those who have been forced to flee their homes,” said Giuseppe de Vincentiis, UNHCR Representative in Myanmar. “This latest contribution to UNHCR in Myanmar will help us to provide for the vital and basic needs of IDPs while we continue our work with the Myanmar Government to find long-term solutions to their plight.”

Japan’s generous JPY 2.26 billion (USD 19 million) contribution to WFP will assist internally displaced people, communities affected by floods and landslides, pregnant and nursing mothers, young malnourished children, people living with HIV and TB patients, as well as preschool and primary school children in Rakhine and Chin states, by (re-)creating community infrastructures, distributing relief assistance, providing nutrition support, and daily school meals. The contribution will be predominantly used to provide locally purchased rice, pulses and salt and internationally purchased vegetable oil, blended food and high energy biscuits to 300,000 people. WFP will also employ cash based transfers, allowing internally displaced people and affected population to choose their preferred food. “With Japan’s timely contribution and in partnership with the Government of Myanmar, WFP will enable recovery of the most affected communities across 20 townships in Chin and Rakhine States and for this, we are most thankful.” said Dom Scalpelli, Country Director and Resident Representative, WFP Myanmar.

For further information, please contact:

FAO Myanmar Renata Sivacolundhu, Emergency Communications & Advocacy Officer Renata.sivacolundhu@fao.org/ +95 9 793 120 232

UN-Habitat Myanmar Bijay Bahadur Karmacharya, Country Programme Manager bijay.habitat@gmail.com / +95 9 421 170 787

UNHCR Myanmar Kasita Rochanakorn, Associate Public Information Officer rochanak@unhcr.org / +95 9 448 034 427

WFP Myanmar May Myat Swe, Reports and Communications Officer maymyat.swe@wfp.org/ +95 1 2305971~6 (Ext: 2424)

Myanmar: Landslides in Kachin State cause food shortages

3 May 2016 - 8:28am
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

Around 15 villages in Kachin State’s Hsawlaw Township are facing food shortages following landslides triggered by heavy rains over the weekend.

Yaw Na, a former MP in the Kachin State parliament, said that landslides completely destroyed two villages — Larchin and Zapanhka — leaving more than 100 families homeless.

“The villages are miles away from one another and the army is airdropping aid supplies to areas that are not otherwise accessible,” said Yaw Na.

Residents of the affected areas were advised on the weekend to seek shelter in the village of Kanpan in Chipwi Township, which is still reachable by road.

Officials said that so far there have been no reports of casualties from the disaster.

Kachin State is prone to extreme flooding and landslides. In 2014 and 2015, flooding in jade-mining areas in the state’s north displaced many local communities.

Widespread flooding and landslides in July last year decimated nearly one million acres of rice crops and displaced over 300,000 households.

Last year’s flooding was so severe that that it stymied the country’s economic growth to levels lower than previously forecast by the World Bank.

This year, Kachin State has been spared some of the worst of the extreme weather that has hit large parts of the country in recent weeks. However, strong winds did extensive damage to three camps for internally displaced persons in the state’s Chipwi and Waingmaw townships on 19 April.

Myanmar: Myanmar: Baw Du Pha 2 IDP Camp, Rakhine State (as of 03 May 2016)

3 May 2016 - 8:14am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Myanmar

A fire swept through "Baw Du Pha 2" Muslim IDP camp in rural Sittwe in Rakhine State today just after 9:00am. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the authorities. Initial reports indicate that it is likely it was an accident resulting from a cooking fire.

The exact number of affected long houses is unconfirmed but first reports indicate that 44 were destroyed and between 5 and 9 badly damaged. An estimated 440 households (about 2,000 individuals) were affected, but exact numbers are unconfirmed. The total number of long houses in this camp before the fire was 156.

Based on the current information available, at least 14 people were injured by the fire. There are unconfirmed reports of fatalities but this has not been verified. Local and humanitarian organisations are supporting the authorities in responding to immediate needs in medical aid and shelter, and in the coming days in assessing and responding to humanitarian needs such as food, water and sanitation, and other basic necessities. (source: State Authorities, MRCS, UN, INGOs)

Myanmar: Blaze destroys hundreds of homes in Myanmar Rohingya camp

3 May 2016 - 5:47am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Tuesday 5/3/2016 - 09:41 GMT

A major fire on Tuesday damaged or destroyed the homes of nearly 450 Rohingya Muslim families living in a camp for people displaced by 2012 communal fighting in western Myanmar.

The charred remains of wooden shelters and twisted metal roofs were visible through a thick haze of smoke after the fire broke out in the early morning, a stark reminder of dire living conditions for over 100,000 Rohingya confined to bleak camps in Rahkine state.

Authorities said a cooking stove caused the blaze at the Bawdupa camp near the state capital Sittwe, with strong winds believed to have spread flames from house to house in the tinder-dry area.

A local police officer told AFP the fire was extinguished after it charred 448 family dwellings.

"We are still checking whether they were any injured. We do not know yet how many people are now homeless but local authorities are working on it," he told AFP, asking not to be named.

Some 140,000 people, mainly Rohingya, have been trapped in the grim displacement camps since they were driven from their homes by waves of violence between Buddhists and minority Muslims four years ago.

The conflict left Rahkine state deeply scarred, effectively segregating communities on religious grounds and despressing the local economy.

It also stoked wider Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar, which has seen outbreaks of anti-Muslim bloodshed in other areas in recent years.

Rakhine's Rohingya are labelled "Bengali" by hardline Buddhists and many government officials, who brand them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though many can trace their ancestry back generations.

Faced with apartheid-like restrictions that limit access to jobs, education and healthcare, thousands have braved perilous boat journeys in search of better lives in Malaysia and Indonesia.

An exodus last year sparked a regional crisis and a crackdown on smuggling routes.

Last month at least 20 Muslims from a Rakhine displacement camp drowned when their boat capsized in choppy waters while it was travelling to a market in Sittwe.

Passengers said they were forced to take the dangerous sea route because authorities ban them from travelling by road.

hla/klm/ssm/sm

World: Humanitarian Funding Update April 2016 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals

3 May 2016 - 2:52am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen
  • As of 30 April, global funding requirements to meet the needs of 89 million people across 39 countries through humanitarian response plans and appeals for 2016 amount to over US$20.3 billion. About $3.8 billion in funding has been received so far, leaving a shortfall of $16.5 billion. With the emergence of new humanitarian crises, global financial requirements have increased by around 2 per cent in the first trimester of the year.

  • The Ecuador Earthquake Flash Appeal issued in April seeks $72.8 million to support 350,000 people with multi-sector life-saving assistance over a three-month period. Also this month, the humanitarian country team in Port-au-Prince concluded a Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti, requiring $193.8 million to overcome severe food insecurity affecting 1.3 million people, and ensure protection for returnees andOn 26 April, the Emergency Relief Coordinator convened a global call for support and action to avert accumulation of adverse effects of the El Niño crisis. An estimated $3.6 billion is required to respond to this crisis in countries across East Africa, Southern Africa, Central America, Asia and the Pacific, through government plans, plans developed by the humanitarian community, and in some cases joint government-humanitarian country team plans. This figure is expected to escalate.

  • Funding for the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) is at 13 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. Although the London conference earlier this year saw record-level pledges, many donors have not yet allocated the funds pledged, and disbursement rates remain low. Without tangible contributions, organizations cannot scale up or sustain operations in Syria and the region.

  • Over the last month the Financial Tracking Service (FTS) recorded funding for the Syria 3RP increased by 17 per cent; appeal funding for South Sudan increased by 14 per cent, and funding towards Fiji, Honduras, Senegal, and the Nigeria RRP increased by 12 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, reports on funding for The Gambia have yet to come in. Please see overleaf for information on time-sensitive funding needs.

  • By end-April the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has received $229.7 million in contributions for 2016 (this is 81 per cent of all commitments and 51 per cent of the annual funding target). The Fund has allocated $96.5 million in rapid response grants to 16 countries, and $99.9 million from the first round of underfunded emergency grants in 9 countries. Following the earthquake in Ecuador, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien announced a

  • $7 million CERF allocation to support immediate life-saving response efforts in affected areas. This funding will help kick-start vital logistics, shelter, WASH, and emergency health operations in affected areas of Ecuador. As the El Niño global climatic events continue to impact tens of millions lives across the globe, CERF has also allocated approximately $50.3 million for life-saving activities in response to drought, floods and cyclones since January this year, with an additional $6 million currently being processed.

  • In the first quarter of 2016, country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) received $171 million from 11 donors. 60 per cent of this funding has gone to NGOs, including 11 per cent to national NGOs. OCHA manages 18 CBPFs in crisis-affected countries, allowing donors to pool their earmarked contributions to a specific emergency and enabling Humanitarian Coordinators and the best-placed organizations on the ground to deliver assistance in a timely and coordinated manner.

Myanmar: Drought reaches Karenni State for first time in memory

3 May 2016 - 2:35am
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

By NAW NOREEN

The drought that is hitting many parts of Burma this year has reached a region that rarely lacks for water — Karenni State, where local people says their wells are drying up for the first time in living memory.

Saw Daniel, a resident of the state capital Loilkaw, told DVB that locals have been facing water shortages since the beginning of April, as the unusually hot summer weather continues to take hold and leaves a growing number of wells without a drop of water.

“We are experiencing water shortages in many areas across the town. Areas without tube-wells are completely dried up, as they are the only available source of water at the moment,” he said.

“There a lot of fairly deep wells around my area, but they have all dried up. This has never happened here before this year,” he added.

He said that sympathetic locals have provided some relief to those hit by the drought, but not all affected areas can be reached. In some cases, he said, people are paying up to 3,000 kyat (US$2.60) for a barrel of water, but even then, the supply is not enough to meet everyone’s needs.

“Most of the relief is focused on the Padanyin, Chike and Nuababo areas, so residents in our part of town have to pay [water fetchers] between 2,500-3,000 kyat for a barrel of water from the Belu Creek, but they aren’t always able to deliver.”

Khin Sithu, the chairperson for the Karenni State chapter of the ruling National League for Democracy and a lawmaker in the parliament’s lower house, said the party is providing relief in affected areas but missed some due to a lack of information.

“In order for us to provide help, residents in the affected villages must inform us about their situation and where they are so that we can reach to them,” she said.

Loikaw, Demoso and Hpasaung townships are among the areas affected by the drought.

Myanmar: Calls for More Women in Peace Process on European Study Tour

2 May 2016 - 11:58pm
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By NYEIN NYEIN / THE IRRAWADDY

GENEVA, Switzerland — Bringing more women into Burma’s peace process and construction of a federal state is crucial, several of the country’s female leaders said during a training tour in Europe last month.

The women have played various roles in Burma’s peace process and were invited to Switzerland and Norway to learn more about federalism, peace and security issues, and women’s empowerment. Both European countries are staunch supporters of conflict resolution in Burma.

The participants reflected on how a political dialogue could be conducted in Burma and how federalism could enrich the country’s young democracy.

Naw Zipporah Sein, the vice chair of the Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic armed organization that signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement with the government last year, said: “A federal system is best-suited to Burma to ensure equality and democratic rights.”

“Our public needs to understand how to share power, resources and tax revenue,” she said. “Participation from the people in these core aspects of the federal state is essential.”

Meanwhile, Burma’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi said last Wednesday that the government was planning to hold a 21st century “Panglong-style” conference within the next two months, referring to a 1947 agreement Suu Kyi’s father, Gen. Aung San, forged with several major ethnic minorities.

“[This conference] would be a good venue to talk about federal principles,” Zipporah Sein said, adding that she hoped the government “creates a space” to include all of the country’s ethnic groups, even ones that did not participate in last year’s ceasefire signing.

Zipporah Sein said that the commitment of the Burma Army, also known as the Tatmadaw, would be important to building genuine peace and a federal union. Additionally, there needed to be reforms within both the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed organizations, she continued.

Chin Chin, an ethnic Chin peace negotiator and the director of the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation, agreed that power sharing among the states and the central government was important to creating a truly federal system like the one used in Switzerland.

“We are now able to talk about federalism, something which had been barred from discussion under the military regime,” she said. “That makes me satisfied.”

The delegation is the fourth group to study federalism in Switzerland and was made up of women from ethnic armed organizations, political parties, lawmakers, peace envoys, civil society groups, women’s affairs organizations and journalists.

Ja Seng Hkawn Maran, a Kachin State parliamentarian from the Kachin State Democracy Party, said that in order to have more women participate in decision-making processes, “We have to change our mindset [that only men can lead], which has been deeply ingrained in us.”

“Not just the men, but we women too must change our attitudes so that we can learn and lead,” she said. “We must cooperate and share responsibilities so that we can achieve equality and basic human rights.”

Tin Tin Latt, the vice chair of the Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation, said that the knowledge she gained about conflict resolution and federalism during the trip would help her as a participant in Burma’s peace process.

“The information [about federalism] is all new to me,” she said. “We can take some of these practices and apply them [to building our country].”

The Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation (MWAF) is the largest women’s organization in Burma and boasts the wives of generals and high-ranking military officers as its leaders.

“I am now going to share this knowledge with other women in the MWAF, so that they know when building a federal government, collaboration and respecting minority rights are key,” Tin Tin Latt said.

Switzerland, a federal state, previously hosted three delegations: the Karen National Union (KNU), the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and representatives from the Burma Army. Both the KNU and the RCSS signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in October 2015.

Last month’s delegation focused on Switzerland’s federalism, the role of the police and the army in state building, power sharing among the central government and regional counterparts, ceasefire processes and minority rights protection under a federal state.

Co-organized by SwissPeace and the Burmese NGO Nyein Foundation, and supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the delegation stayed in Switzerland for 10 days and attended two days of seminars in Norway with support from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

Editor’s Note: The author of this story was among the women’s delegation visiting Switzerland and Norway.

Myanmar: Heavy Winds Hit Mandalay

2 May 2016 - 11:55pm
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By ZARNI MANN / THE IRRAWADDY

MANDALAY — Heavy winds hit towns in Mandalay Division on Friday, leaving them littered with debris and killing at least one person in Pyawbwe Township.

Myint Myint Aye, a 32-year-old Pyawbye resident, died when a tree collapsed on top of her on her way home. The division had no other reported fatalities, but the strong winds ripped the roofs off schools and monasteries and damaged local pagodas.

The winds uprooted trees, toppled lampposts and injured three residents in Chanmyathazi and Maha Aung Myay townships, parts of Mandalay city.

“Areas near Kandawgyi Lake in Chanmyathazi were hit hard. Big trees collapsed and lampposts broke. A tent outside a restaurant blew away and at least three people suffered minor injuries,” said an officer from the Mandalay Municipal Department, who was at the scene.

The debris blocked roads around Kandawgyi Lake and in Chanmyathazi and Maha Aung Myay townships. Old trees collapsed, damaging power cables and causing severe blackouts.

“We are trying our best, with the help of the fire brigade and police, to clean the debris,” the officer added. “Technicians from the electrical department are rushing to repair the power cables to restore electricity to the townships.”

Moreover, in Tatkon Township, near Burma’s capital Naypyidaw, three men were struck by lightning and hospitalized with minor injuries, while three others were injured when their homes collapsed.

According to Tatkon locals, about 1,000 homes collapsed, while other buildings sustained damage.

The winds also destroyed homes, schools, pagodas and monasteries in Mahlaing, Singu, Madaya, Yamethin and Thazi townships.

According to a Department of Meteorology announcement, Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe divisions, along with Kachin, Shan, and Chin states, are expected to receive more heavy winds and rain in the next two days.

Independent meteorologist Tun Lwin issued a statement on his website and on social media that the severe weather was a result of El Niño, and warned about future storms as well.

“Although the country has faced the effects of El Niño, we also need to prepare for La Niña. The weather forecasts show El Niño weather weakening, and ending in June, while there is a 70 percent chance that La Niña will arrive in September,” he wrote on his Facebook.

World: Rapport du Secrétaire général sur les violences sexuelles liées aux conflits (S/2016/361)

2 May 2016 - 4:35pm
Source: UN Security Council Country: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

I. Introduction

  1. Le présent rapport, qui couvre la période allant de janvier à décembre 2015, est soumis en application du paragraphe 22 de la résolution 2106 (2013), dans laquelle le Conseil de sécurité m’a prié de lui faire rapport chaque année sur la mise en oeuvre de ses résolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) et 1960 (2010) et de lui recommander des mesures stratégiques. Les faits nouveaux survenus pendant la période considérée renforcent les craintes au sujet de l’utilisation de la violence sexuelle par les groupes terroristes et extrémistes violents, notamment dans le cadre du système de punition et de récompense instauré pour consolider leur pouvoir. Dans sa résolution 2242 (2015), le Conseil a constaté l’évolution du contexte mondial en matière de paix et de sécurité, en particulier les dimensions sexuelles de l’extrémisme violent et du déplacement massif de population. En qualifiant la violence sexuelle à la fois de tactique de guerre et de tactique de terrorisme [résolution 2242 (2015)], il a reconnu que les stratégies de règlement des conflits et de lutte contre le terrorisme ne pouvaient plus être dissociées des efforts entrepris pour protéger et autonomiser les femmes et les filles et lutter contre les violences sexuelles liées aux conflits.

  2. L’expression « violences sexuelles liées aux conflits » recouvre des actes tels que le viol, l’esclavage sexuel, la prostitution, la grossesse, l’avortement, la stérilisation et le mariage forcés et toute autre forme de violence sexuelle de gravité comparable, perpétrés contre des femmes, des hommes, des filles ou des garçons, et ayant un lien direct ou indirect (temporel, géographique ou causal) avec un conflit. Ce lien peut se manifester dans le profil de l’auteur (qui est souvent rattaché à un groupe armé, étatique ou non), le profil de la victime (qui appartient souvent à une minorité politique, ethnique ou religieuse persécutée), le climat d’impunité (qui est généralement associé à l’effondrement de l’État), les répercussions transfrontières (comme les déplacements de population et la traite des personnes) ou les violations d’accords de cessez-le-feu.

  3. Même si de nombreuses régions sont exposées à la menace de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, en sont le théâtre ou en subissent les retombées, le présent rapport se limite toutefois aux 19 pays pour lesquels on dispose d’informations fiables. Pour la première fois, les entités des Nations Unies sur le terrain ont été priées de présenter des rapports sur l’utilisation de la violence sexuelle comme tactique de terrorisme (voir sect. III). Il convient de lire le présent rapport en tenant compte de mes sept rapports précédents sur les violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, l’ensemble des informations qu’ils contiennent indiquant les raisons qui ont présidé à l’inscription de 48 parties sur la liste (voir annexe). Comme en 2014, la majorité de ces parties sont des acteurs non étatiques. Intervenir auprès de ces acteurs pour les amener à respecter les résolutions du Conseil de sécurité soulève des difficultés politiques et opérationnelles sans précédent. Tous les États qui ont été inscrits à maintes reprises sur la liste en raison de graves violations contre des enfants et de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits ne seront plus autorisés à participer aux opérations de paix des Nations Unies. Les fournisseurs de contingents et de personnel de police qui sont actuellement visés dans cette liste pour de telles raisons sont priés de prendre contact avec mes représentants spéciaux pour s’en faire retirer et pour mettre en oeuvre des engagements assortis d’échéances précises ainsi que des plans d’action concrets afin de faire cesser les violations qui ont motivé leur inscription [voir résolution 2242 (2015) et S/2015/682].

  4. Le présent rapport a été établi sur la base d’informations réunies par les Nations Unies. Grâce à la présence accrue sur le terrain de conseillers pour la protection des femmes, qui sont chargés de convoquer les réunions dans le cadre des arrangements de suivi, d’analyse et de communication de l’information relatifs aux violences sexuelles liées aux conflits et de faciliter le dialogue entre les parties au conflit en vue d’obtenir des engagements en matière de protection, la qualité des données et des analyses guidant les interventions s’est améliorée. À ce jour, 34 conseillers sont déployés dans sept missions. Les six missions de maintien de la paix investies d’un mandat de protection des civils ont toutes mis en place les arrangements de suivi, d’analyse et de communication de l’information et intégré dans leurs dispositifs de protection au sens large le tableau d’indicateurs d’alerte rapide relatifs aux violences sexuelles liées aux conflits. L’action concertée menée pour renforcer les mesures de prévention, d’alerte et d’intervention rapides face aux violences sexuelles liées aux conflits continuera de nécessiter des ressources humaines et financières adaptées à l’ampleur de la tâche.

  5. Renforcer les capacités des institutions nationales est nécessaire pour assurer la répression des violences sexuelles liées aux conflits. Conformément au mandat que le Conseil de sécurité lui a confié dans sa résolution 1888 (2009), l’Équipe d’experts de l’état de droit et des questions touchant les violences sexuelles commises en période de conflit apporte une assistance aux gouvernements dans plusieurs domaines : enquêtes et poursuites pénales, justice militaire, réforme législative, protection des victimes et des témoins, réparations envers les victimes. L’Équipe, qui relève directement de ma Représentante spéciale chargée de la question des violences sexuelles commises en période de conflit, est composée d’experts du Département des opérations de maintien de la paix, du Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme (HCDH) et du Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) ainsi que d’un spécialiste détaché par l’initiative Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict du Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande du Nord. Elle tient à jour une liste d’experts spécialisés dans divers domaines. Depuis sa création, elle joue un rôle moteur dans la mise en place des cadres de coopération convenus entre ma Représentante spéciale et les autorités nationales et les acteurs régionaux, contribuant ainsi aux travaux menés par les entités des Nations Unies sur le terrain. Grâce à la fourniture d’une assistance spécialisée, les gouvernements peuvent juger efficacement les affaires de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, comme en Guinée, où l’appui technique apporté par l’Équipe a permis l’inculpation de 16 dirigeants militaires et politiques pour des actes de violence sexuelle et d’autres crimes commis en septembre 2009. De par sa structure et sa composition, l’Équipe contribue également à améliorer la cohérence entre les entités qui la composent dans le domaine des violences sexuelles liées aux conflits. À ce jour, elle est intervenue en Colombie, en Côte d’Ivoire, en Guinée, au Libéria, au Mali, en République centrafricaine, en République démocratique du Congo, en Somalie et au Soudan du Sud.

  6. La Campagne des Nations Unies contre la violence sexuelle en temps de conflit, à laquelle 13 entités des Nations Unies participent sous la présidence de ma Représentante spéciale, appuie l’élaboration de formations, d’orientations et de ressources de sensibilisation destinées à renforcer les moyens techniques dont disposent les entités des Nations Unies sur le terrain pour faire face aux violences sexuelles liées aux conflits de manière globale et coordonnée. En 2015, la Campagne a alloué des financements incitatifs au déploiement de conseilleurs pour la protection de la femme en Côte d’Ivoire et en République démocratique du Congo, aidé à cartographier les interventions en vue de l’application de la stratégie nationale de lutte contre les violences sexuelles liées aux conflits en Côte d’Ivoire et financé un projet conjoint en matière de justice transitionnelle en Bosnie-Herzégovine. Pour améliorer les pratiques sur le terrain, plusieurs outils et produits axés sur le savoir ont été mis au point, notamment : des orientations pour le renforcement de l’intervention médico-légale en cas de violences sexuelles en temps de conflit, élaborées par l’Office des Nations Unies contre la drogue et le crime (ONUDC) et l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS); une note d’orientation sur les points de rencontre entre le Système de gestion de l’information sur la violence sexiste et les arrangements de suivi, d’analyse et de communication de l’information, établie par le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’enfance (UNICEF), le Fonds des Nations Unies pour la population (FNUAP) et le Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (HCR); une série de modalités d’appui au niveau des pays. Des missions conjointes d’appui technique ont été effectuées au Mali en janvier et au Soudan du Sud en avril. En 2015, quelque 30 experts ont été sélectionnés à partir du fichier d’enquêteurs internationaux spécialisés dans les crimes sexuels et sexistes, établi conjointement par l’Entité des Nations Unies pour l’égalité des sexes et l’autonomisation des femmes et l’Initiative d’intervention rapide au service de la justice, et affectés à divers mécanismes de détermination des responsabilités, notamment la Commission d’enquête internationale indépendante sur la République arabe syrienne, la Commission d’enquête sur les droits de l’homme en Érythrée, les missions d’établissement des faits en Iraq et en Libye et les instances nationales chargées de juger les crimes de guerre. En collaboration avec plusieurs partenaires, le Département des opérations de maintien de la paix et le Département de l’appui aux missions ont mis au point un nouveau module de formation sur les violences sexuelles liées aux conflits destiné à être intégré à la formation préalable au déploiement (fondamentale et approfondie), en plus d’un programme de formation avancée sur les missions intégrées à l’intention du personnel militaire, civil et de police.

World: Conflict-related sexual violence - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2016/361) [EN/AR]

2 May 2016 - 4:30pm
Source: UN Security Council Country: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

I. Introduction

  1. The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2015, is submitted pursuant to paragraph 22 of Security Council resolution 2106 (2013), in which the Council requested me to report annually on the implementation of resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010), and to recommend strategic actions. Developments during the reporting period have deepened concerns about the use of sexual violence by terrorist and violent extremist groups, including as part of the systems of punishment and reward through which they consolidate their power. In resolution 2242 (2015), the Council recognized the changing global context of peace and security, in particular the gender dimensions of violent extremism and mass displacement. The Council’s recognition of sexual violence as both a tactic of war and a tactic of terrorism (resolution 2242 (2015)) affirms that conflict-resolution and counter-terrorism strategies can no longer be decoupled from efforts to protect and empower women and girls and to combat conflict-related sexual violence.

  2. The term “conflict-related sexual violence” refers to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, girls or boys that is directly or indirectly linked (temporally, geographically or causally) to a conflict. This link with conflict may be evident in the profile of the perpetrator (often affiliated with a State or non-State armed group), the profile of the victim (who is frequently a member of a persecuted political, ethnic or religious minority), the climate of impunity (which is generally associated with State collapse), cross-border consequences (such as displacement or trafficking in persons) and/or violations of the terms of a ceasefire agreement.

  3. While many settings are affected by the threat, occurrence or legacy of conflict-related sexual violence, the present report is focused on 19 country situations for which credible information is available. For the first time, United Nations country presences were requested to report on the use of sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism (see sect. III). The report should be read in conjunction with my seven previous reports on conflict-related sexual violence, which provide a cumulative basis for the listing of 48 parties (see annex). As in 2014, the majority of listed parties are non-State actors. Engaging with such groups to foster compliance with Security Council resolutions raises unprecedented political and operational challenges. All States repeatedly listed for grave violations against children and/or conflict-related sexual violence will be prohibited from participating in United Nations peace operations. Troop and police contributors that are currently listed for such violations are required to engage with my special representatives in order to be delisted and to implement specific time-bound commitments and action plans to address violations for which they are listed (see resolution 2242 (2015) and S/2015/682).

  4. The report is based on cases documented by the United Nations. The increased presence in the field of women’s protection advisers, who are responsible for convening the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence and facilitating dialogue in order to obtain protection commitments from parties to conflict, has deepened the quality of the data and analysis aimed at informing interventions. To date, 34 women’s protection advisers have been deployed to seven mission settings. All six peacekeeping missions with a mandate that includes the protection of civilians have established the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements and incorporated the matrix of early-warning indicators of conflict-related sexual violence into their broader protection arrangements. A concerted effort to enhance prevention, early warning and timely responses to conflict-related sexual violence will continue to require dedicated human and financial resources commensurate with the scale of this challenge.

  5. Strengthening the capacity of national institutions is critical to ensuring accountability for conflict-related sexual violence. The Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict, in accordance with its mandate under Security Council resolution 1888 (2009), has provided assistance to Governments, including in the areas of criminal investigation and prosecution, military justice, legislative reform, protection of victims and witnesses and reparations for survivors. Reporting directly to my Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Team of Experts is composed of experts from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a specialist seconded by the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Team also maintains a roster of experts with a range of specializations. Since its establishment, the Team has played a catalytic role in implementing the frameworks of cooperation agreed upon between my Special Representative and national authorities and regional actors, complementing the work of the United Nations country presence. With dedicated assistance, Governments can effectively adjudicate such crimes, as in the case of Guinea, where the technical assistance of the Team has resulted in 16 indictments of military and political leaders for sexual violence and other crimes committed in September 2009. The Team, by virtue of its structure and composition, has contributed to enhanced coherence on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence among the entities constituting it. To date, the Team has been engaged in the Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan.

  6. The United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative, which consists of 13 United Nations entities and is chaired by my Special Representative, supports the development of training, guidance and advocacy resources aimed at building the technical capacity of United Nations country presences to deliver a coordinated and holistic response to conflict-related sexual violence. In 2015, it provided catalytic funding for the deployment of women’s protection advisers to Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, supported a mapping of interventions to implement the national strategy to combat gender-based violence in Côte d’Ivoire and funded a joint project in Bosnia and Herzegovina supporting transitional justice. A number of tools and knowledge products were produced to improve practice in the field, including guidance on strengthening the medico-legal response to sexual violence in conflict, developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization (WHO); a guidance note on the intersections between the Gender-based Violence Information Management System and the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements, prepared by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and a menu of country-level support options. Joint technical support missions were conducted to Mali in January and South Sudan in April. In 2015, through the joint roster of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Justice Rapid Response of international investigators of crimes involving sexual and gender-based violence, some 30 experts were deployed to accountability mechanisms, including the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, the commission of inquiry on human rights in Eritrea, the fact-finding missions to Iraq and Libya, and the national war crimes processes. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, in collaboration with a range of partners, developed a new conflict-related sexual violence training module for core and advanced-level predeployment training, in addition to advanced-level integrated mission training for military, police and civilian components.

World: CrisisWatch No. 153, 2 May 2016

2 May 2016 - 3:03pm
Source: International Crisis Group Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Western Sahara, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

The month saw fighting escalate again in Syria and Afghanistan, and erupt in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian-backed separatists and Azerbaijani forces. In Bangladesh, election violence and killings by extremist groups showed how new heights of government-opposition rivalry and state repression have benefitted violent political party wings and extremist groups alike. Political tensions intensified in Iraq and Macedonia, and security forces severely supressed opposition protests in the Republic of Congo and Gambia. On a positive note, new governments were formed in the Central African Republic and South Sudan to consolidate peace gains, and talks to end Yemen’s one-year-old civil war got underway, albeit later than planned.

In Syria, the fragile “cessation of hostilities” which began on 27 February collapsed in the north of the country and UN-brokered talks in Geneva unravelled. Violence escalated in Aleppo, where over 250 people were reported killed by days of regime and rebel bombardments starting on 22 April. That the truce lasted as long as it did shows the positive potential the U.S.-Russian partnership can play; its collapse, however, illustrates the limits of that partnership so long as differences over the ultimate ends persist, and support from regional actors, in particular Iran and Saudi Arabia, remains limited at best. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the launch of the Taliban’s spring offensive led to major clashes in several provinces, further dimming hopes of insurgents’ participation in peace efforts and contributing to increasingly strained relations between Kabul and Islamabad. On 19 April, the Taliban detonated a car bomb and launched a gun attack on the National Directorate of Security office, killing 64 in the deadliest insurgent attack on Kabul since 2001.

In the South Caucasus, heavy fighting erupted between Armenian-backed separatists and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh on 2 April, claiming dozens of lives in the most serious escalation since the 1994 ceasefire. Each side accused the other of instigating the outbreak of fighting, and clashes continued across the line of contact despite the declaration of a Russian-brokered truce on 5 April. Crisis Group has cautioned that “there is a strong risk fighting will resume periodically, both to challenge the status quo on the ground and to attract diplomatic attention”, and called for the OSCE Minsk process to be re-energised through sustained high-level political leadership.

Several brutal murders in Bangladesh, including the killing of law student and secular blogger Nazimuddin Samad on 6 April, underscored the growing power and impunity of violent extremist groups. As the political rivalry between the ruling Awami League (AL) party and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) continues to intensify, violent clashes around the second phase of the local elections also persisted, leaving more than 30 party activists reported killed. On 11 April, Crisis Group warned that the political conflict has resulted in “high levels of violence and a brutal state response”, calling for a strengthening and depoliticisation of all aspects of the criminal justice system to restore stability and ensure security.

In Iraq, Prime Minister Abadi’s failure to push his cabinet reshuffle through parliament, blocked by over 100 protesting parliamentarians, angered public opinion to such an extent that crowds of demonstrators broke into the fortified Green Zone on 30 April, prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency. Macedonia’s political crisis worsened as the opposition Social Democrats announced on 6 April that they would boycott the 5 June parliamentary elections due to the government’s failure to implement media reforms and clean up the electoral roll. The president’s decision to pardon all politicians facing criminal investigations for their alleged role in illegal wiretapping triggered days of protests in the capital and elsewhere.

In Africa, the Republic of Congo saw government forces continue to crack down on protests against President Sassou-Nguesso’s disputed 20 March re-election. When on 4 April they met armed resistance in a southern Brazzaville opposition stronghold, at least seventeen people were killed. The next day the government began airstrikes in the south which it said targeted former rebel bases. In Gambia, security forces broke up peaceful demonstrations calling for electoral reform and free speech on 14 April, arresting at least 50 protestors. The news that one arrested senior opposition official had been tortured to death sparked more protests and high-level arrests.

In a major step forward, after more than three years of turmoil, the Central African Republic’s newly-elected President Touadéra appointed his prime minister, who in turn chose a new government. Likewise South Sudan inched closer to implementing its August 2015 peace agreement when on 26 April Riek Machar, leader of the armed opposition (SPLM/A-IO), returned to Juba and was appointed first vice president. Two days later a transitional government was formed.

In Yemen, although fighting continued, UN-sponsored talks between President Hadi’s government and the Huthi/Saleh bloc – which got off to a stuttering start on 21 April – offer the best chance to end the war that began over a year ago and should be actively supported by all sides.

Myanmar: Myanmar: Fierce rain leaves hundreds homeless in Kachin

2 May 2016 - 11:47am
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

A WEEK of fierce rain in Chibwe Township, Kachin State, swelled local creeks, causing floods that washed away 95 homes. No casualties have been reported, but the victims are reportedly running out of food.

In Myitkyina District, the rain fell on two village-tracts in the early morning of 24 April, triggering a flash flood and leaving more than 450 people homeless. Military personnel, teaming with local officials and civil society organisations, rushed to the affected areas to conduct rescue operations.

The soldiers, Red Cross members and volunteers helped the residents clear piles of fallen earth from roads and build makeshift bridges to ensure easy access to the villages. The commander of Northern Command used military helicopters to distribute supplies to flood victims. Myanmar News Agency

Myanmar: WFP Myanmar Country Brief, March 2016

2 May 2016 - 11:45am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Myanmar

Highlights

  • In March, WFP reached 162,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Kachin, northern Shan and Rakhine States as well as flood-affected people, with cash or food assistance.

  • In March, more than 52,400 pregnant and nursing women and malnourished children, including from IDP families, received blended food from WFP.

  • WFP currently requires USD 30 million to meet overall food assistance needs for the next six months.

WFP Assistance

In 2015, WFP extended its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), to harmonise the operation with the work of the United Nations country team. The PRRO contributes to more equitable development and supports national reconciliation by reducing poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition, responding to disaters and increasing resilience among the most vulnerable. Its objectives are aligned with WFP’s Strategic Objectives 1, 2 and 4, Millennium Development Goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, and the Zero Hunger Challenge.

The aims are to 1) prepare for and respond to natural disasters and other shocks in support of the Government; 2) assist post-disaster recovery by rehabilitating productive assets to improve household food security and create socio-economic opportunties for the most vulnerable; 3) address undernutrition among children and pregnant and nursing women, and support at-risk groups such as people living with HIV and tuberculosis (TB); 4) improve access to, and enrolment and attendance at, primary schools; and 5) improve the sustainability of responses to food insecurity and undernutrition through knowledgesharing and capacity development. WFP aims to reach its objectives through five major activities:

Relief: WFP is providing regular life-saving food assistance to people displaced and/or affected by conflicts, violence and natural disasters. WFP and FAO are co-leading the Food Security Sector (FSS) since 2014. FSS has been responding to food and/or cash needs of people affected by ethnic conflicts and natural disasters. After the 2015 nationwide floods, FSS conducted a Flood Impact Assessment and a Crops and Food Security Assessment Mission, both of which identified the food security gaps in some areas.

Nutrition – Linking with national health systems and in line with the national protection scheme, WFP adopts nutrition-specific, nutrition-sensitive and nutrition and food security linked interventions.
In 2016, WFP Country Representative chairs a UN Nutrition Network and WFP continues to provide blended food to pregnant and nursing women and malnourished children.

HIV/TB programme – As good intake of balanced nutrition is pivotal for both HIV and TB patients to keep the immune system strong and to fight diseases, WFP provides food-by-prescription to people living with HIV or TB with an aim to enhance adherence and treatement success.

Community Asset Creation – WFP strengthens community resilience by (re-)creating community infrastructures and income opportunities.

School Feeding - In support of the country’s National Social Protection Strategic Plan and the 2016-2021 National Educational Strategic Plan, WFP and the Ministry of Education have started working towards the nationalisation of the school feeding programme from 2015/16 academic year onwards.
Furthermore, WFP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock, Fishery and Rural Development, has completed Food Security and Poverty Estimation Surveys in 2015 and will develop a country’s first Food Security Atlas, contributing to advancement of the nation’s food security and poverty reduction policies and strategies. WFP also supports the Government in establishing nine resource centres across the country, enhancing national capacity of sustainable food security monitoring and response.

Bangladesh: WFP Bangladesh Country Brief, March 2016

2 May 2016 - 11:30am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Highlights

  • A stakeholder consultation took place in early April on the draft recommendations of the independent Strategic Review on Food Security and Nutrition in Bangladesh commissioned by WFP. The review will inform WFP’s new Country Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020.

  • A new WFP Bangladesh Nutrition Strategy was drafted. It foresees a new role for WFP to engage in designing and to implement nutrition-sensitive social safety nets.

  • WFP conducted a four-day stakeholder Cyclone Simulation Emergency Exercise in Khulna for government officials, local NGOs and UN staff.

WFP Assistance

WFP aims to assist 3.6 million people in 15 prioritised districts over five years under the Country Programme (CP), which is designed to improve the long-term food security of ultra-poor households and the nutritional situation of women and children in the poorest and most food insecure rural areas and urban slums. It has four components:

Improving Maternal and Child Nutrition (IMCN) aims to break the cycle of undernutrition in Bangladesh by treating and preventing moderate acute malnutrition among pregnant and nursing women and children below five. It does so by providing supplementary feeding accompanied by nutrition behaviour change communication (BCC);

School Feeding (SF) aims to contribute to the Government’s goal of achieving universal primary education by increasing enrolment and attendance of pre- and primary schoolchildren through distributing nutritious biscuits and essential learning packages, and by providing technical support;
Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters and the Effects of Climate Change (ER) aims to enhance the resilience and food security of particularly vulnerable people through the creation of community and household assets. It engages participants in community projects, provides training, and gives women a cash grant for investment;

Strengthening Government Safety Nets aims to help the Government enhance social safety nets addressing hunger and household food insecurity by providing technical assistance and implementing a promotional safety net and operational research.

Under its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), WFP is working to improve the food security and nutritional status of over 34,000 refugees from Myanmar through three activities: (i) general food assistance through biometrically coded electronic vouchers; (ii) supplementary feeding; and (iii) school feeding. WFP provides food assistance through electronic vouchers so refugees can purchase food according to their choice. The Rohingya refugees live in two official camps, Kutupalong and Nayapara in Cox’s Bazar District in south-west Bangladesh.

Myanmar: Myanmar Police Force donate water to communities in respective water shortage areas

2 May 2016 - 11:03am
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

Some of the areas in the country are facing scarcity of water as the effect of El Niño. The members of the Myanmar Police Force continuously donated water for drinking, bathing and washing to the communities that have been facing a water shortage.
On 30 April, members of Dawei Township and Launglon Township Police Forces in Taninthayi Region supplied 280 drinking water bottles — a bottle with capacity of 20 litres—and 5100 gallons of water to residents in Dawei Township and Launglon Township.
Similarly, members of Taungtha Township Police Force distributed 4950 gallons of drinking water, and members of Police Forces of Thaton, Kyaikhto, Thanphyuzayat and Bilin Townships in Mon State donated 11375 gallons of water for drinking, bathing and washing, and members of Police Forces from Ngapudaw, Yaygyi, Thabaung, Myaungmya and Mawlamyainggyun Townships supplied 720 drinking water bottles—a bottle with capacity of 1 litre—and 128 drinking water bottles– a bottle with capacity of 20 litres—and 8900 gallons of water for drinking and bathing to the residents who are facing the scarcity of water in respective areas.
Ye Zarni