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Bangladesh: Bangladesh, Myanmar/Burma, India - Tropical Cyclone ROANU - ECHO Daily Map | 23/05/2016

23 May 2016 - 9:26am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka

Situation

  • TC ROANU formed over the southwestern Bay of Bengal, near the southeastern coasts of India, on 18 May. On 21 May morning (UTC) it made landfall in the division of Chittagong (Bangladesh) with approx. max. sustained wind speed of 102 km/h. It later moved into India and Myanmar/Burma, over Mizoram and Manipur states (India) and eventually dissipated over Sagaing region (Myanmar/Burma).

  • In Bangladesh, local media reported, at least 24 people dead, over 100 injured, over 500 000 evacuated, 83 978 homes partially or fully damaged as well as power outages and traffic disruption in the divisions of Barisal and Chittagong, as of 23 May.

  • In Myanmar/Burma, OCHA reports, as of 22 May, mention several homes and bridges damaged in the state of Chin, due to landslides, as well as several temporary IDP shelters damaged in the state of Rakhine, due to strong winds and heavy rain.

  • In India, local media reported two people dead, two injured, 2 500 people evacuated and several homes damaged in the states of Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and southern Assam, as of 23 May.

  • TC ROANU had previously affected Sri Lanka, bringing heavy rain and causing widespread damage and casualties. National authorities reported 92 people dead, 30 injured, 109 still missing, over 186 800 remain evacuated and over 4 500 homes damaged, as of 23 May.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh, Myanmar/Burma, India – Tropical Cyclone ROANU- Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) – ECHO Daily Map | 23/05/2016

23 May 2016 - 9:26am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka

Situation

TC ROANU formed over the southwestern Bay of Bengal, near the southeastern coasts of India, on 18 May. On 21 May morning (UTC) it made landfall in the division of Chittagong (Bangladesh) with approx. max. sustained wind speed of 102 km/h. It later moved into India and Myanmar/Burma, over Mizoram and Manipur states (India) and eventually dissipated over Sagaing region (Myanmar/Burma).

  • In Bangladesh, local media reported, at least 24 people dead, over 100 injured, over 500 000 evacuated, 83 978 homes partially or fully damaged as well as power outages and traffic disruption in the divisions of Barisal and Chittagong, as of 23 May.

  • In Myanmar/Burma, OCHA reports, as of 22 May, mention several homes and bridges damaged in the state of Chin, due to landslides, as well as several temporary IDP shelters damaged in the state of Rakhine, due to strong winds and heavy rain.

  • In India, local media reported two people dead, two injured, 2 500 people evacuated and several homes damaged in the states of Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and southern Assam, as of 23 May.

  • TC ROANU had previously affected Sri Lanka, bringing heavy rain and causing widespread damage and casualties. National authorities reported 92 people dead, 30 injured, 109 still missing, over 186 800 remain evacuated and over 4 500 homes damaged, as of 23 May.

Myanmar: Myanmar - Tropical Cyclone ROANU (ECHO, UNOCHA, GDACS, Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 23 May 2016)

23 May 2016 - 9:22am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Myanmar

In Myanmar, there have been no reports of deaths or of any significant displacement caused by the rains or landslides due to Tropical Cyclone ROANU.

In Rakhine State, damage to houses in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships has been reported. In Sittwe township, temporary IDP shelters collapsed in a few camps. In Chin State, bridges were damaged due to landslides. No significant damage was reported in Sagaing Region.

Assessments are on-going.

World: UNFPA Responding to Emergencies across Asia and the Pacific

23 May 2016 - 5:04am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vanuatu, World

Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world. It is also home to a number of long-running conflicts that exact a human toll. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) places women and girls at the center of humanitarian response. Every year the number and frequency of disasters (whether natural or conflict-related) is increasing, with millions of people displaced from their homes. UNFPA works to fulfill the pledge of the Sustainable Development Goals, leaving no one behind: focusing on the needs of women and girls for a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Globally, 60 per cent of all preventable maternal deaths occur during conflict, natural disasters and displacement. Too often women die because they simply don’t have access to basic reproductive health care. Emergencies also exacerbate gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, when populations are forced to move whether through natural disasters, drought and famine, or conflict.

When health infrastructure and support services break down during emergencies, services to safeguard women’s health and address gender-based violence are as essential as food, water and shelter to save lives. They must be prioritized in humanitarian response.

Advocacy is used to create awareness among humanitarian actors, policymakers and donors; and can be used to influence policy change. Additionally, advocacy is used to ensure funds and other essential resources are available to address sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence services during times of crisis. UNFPA focuses on fully integrating these services into preparedness actions, response and recovery plans, which contribute to saving the lives of women when they are most vulnerable.

UNFPA works closely with governments, communities, young people and partners to:

  • Support preparedness, disaster risk reduction and long-term resilience building, in order to reduce the impact of disasters and conflicts;

  • Ensure reproductive health needs are met in emergencies through the implementation of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health; and

  • Promote the safety and wellbeing of women, girls, boys and men by implementing UNFPA’s Minimum Standards for prevention and response to gender-based violence in emergencies.

UNFPA works to uphold the dignity and rights of every person in a crisis. Without the generous support of donors it would be impossible to carry out this critical work. We thank the governments, civil society partners and private sector entities who work with us. And we invite those who wish to support UNFPA including our humanitarian response activities to contact us at apro.office@unfpa.org

Myanmar: Roanu Spares Myanmar

23 May 2016 - 4:10am
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

The on set of Myanmar’s monsoon season started with the nervous anticipation of Cyclone Roanu. Despite initial concerns, the storm created little damage.

With Naypyitaw’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) citing that there are no recorded fatalities and little damage to report.

“We’re still waiting to collect enough information from the affected states, but at this stage there is little to report,” said Win Htein Kyaw, Director of the Union EOC.

A full report of damages from Rakhine and Chin States, Sagaing and Magway Regions will be released soon. The storm reportedly made landfall over Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bizarre Saturday afternoon at around 3pm. A landslide in Chin State reportedly destroyed 19kms (12 miles) of pipeline connected to a hydroelectric dam located outside of Falam in Chin State.

The Global New Light of Myanmar attempted to contact the Minister of Municipal, Electrical Power and Industry of Chin State, but was unable to reach him before time of print.

Chinland Herald Chief Editor, Nhge Pi told The Global New Light of Myanmar that the winds had died down Saturday night and that by Sunday morning the sun could be seen, shortly disappearing behind a blanket of cloud by the afternoon.

Another source on the ground in Chin State said that the winds weren’t that strong, only reporting heavy rains.

The storm was not severe in northern Rakhine State with Maungdaw resident Maung Win Thein stating that winds weren’t, “that bad.”

“The internet slowed down so we had to rely on information from our radios, but the storm wasn’t bad. Everyone was well prepared before hand so there hasn’t been any distribution of food aid,” Maung Win Thein told The Global New Light of Myanmar.

Kyaw Min, Head of Rakhine State Relief and Resettlement Department said that there hasn’t been any damage reported to them and no landslides in the north of the state, nor has any aid been handed out due to the lack of damage.

Saturday evening OCHA released their first report about the storm issuing a warning stating that, “relevant government departments and the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) are all on standby for search and rescue activities.

MRCS has mobilised over 100 Emergency Response Team Members and volunteers and also disseminating early warning alerts to the communities in Chin, Rakhine, Magwe and Sagaing.” Also saying that humanitarian organisations were assessing relief stock in the country, and that in Rakhine an assessment team consisting of 75 people were ready for deployment if necessary. Hla Tun, Deputy Director of Myanmar’s Department of Meterology and Hydrology (DMH) said that the storm has now dissipated over land and is regarded as a ‘green’ alert, meaning it is over. The depression is moving north-east over Sagaing Region and into Kachin State. It is now currently noted as depression Roanu.

The depression is set to bring heavy rain to Sagaing Region and Kachin State. Rakhine can expect heavy coastal showers today.

A large cloud cluster sits over the majority of Myanmar with rain expected throughout the entire country today.

Jaiden Coonan

Myanmar: Myanmar Seeks to Break Vicious Circle of Flood and Drought

23 May 2016 - 12:12am
Source: Inter Press Service Country: Myanmar

By Sara Perria

HTITA, May 22 2016 (IPS) - It has been two weeks now since the village of Htita, with its few bamboo houses hemmed in by parched, cracked earth and dried-out ponds, has enjoyed the novelty of its first ever water well.

Young housewife Lei Lei Win walks to the noise of breaking soil to fill two yellow containers previously used for cooking oil. With the weight of the 20-litre ‘buckets’ balanced on a pole on her shoulder, it now takes her only one minute to provide her family with the water that she will need to get washed, cook, and also drink. She usually makes two trips a day.

“I save a lot of time,” says Lei Lei, dressed in a traditional longyi skirt. “Before I had to walk much more to fetch water.”

The nearly 200-metre-deep well is not the result of government planning, but the combined 3,000-dollar donation by a Yangon businessman who hails from the village and a travel agency named Khiri, run by a Dutchman, which donates part of its income to build wells in the driest parts of the country.

Situated in the internal region of Bago, Htita is only a two-hour drive from Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon. Even closer is the village of Kawa. But even if residents are enjoying better living conditions, only a few here can afford to pay some 30 dollars a month – a considerable amount of money in Myanmar – to pump water from a nearby underground water source directly to the house tank. HTITA, May 22 2016 (IPS) - It has been two weeks now since the village of Htita, with its few bamboo houses hemmed in by parched, cracked earth and dried-out ponds, has enjoyed the novelty of its first ever water well.

Young housewife Lei Lei Win walks to the noise of breaking soil to fill two yellow containers previously used for cooking oil. With the weight of the 20-litre ‘buckets’ balanced on a pole on her shoulder, it now takes her only one minute to provide her family with the water that she will need to get washed, cook, and also drink. She usually makes two trips a day.

“I save a lot of time,” says Lei Lei, dressed in a traditional longyi skirt. “Before I had to walk much more to fetch water.”

The nearly 200-metre-deep well is not the result of government planning, but the combined 3,000-dollar donation by a Yangon businessman who hails from the village and a travel agency named Khiri, run by a Dutchman, which donates part of its income to build wells in the driest parts of the country.

Situated in the internal region of Bago, Htita is only a two-hour drive from Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon. Even closer is the village of Kawa. But even if residents are enjoying better living conditions, only a few here can afford to pay some 30 dollars a month – a considerable amount of money in Myanmar – to pump water from a nearby underground water source directly to the house tank.

According to a 2014 census, a third of households in the country of 51.5 million people uses water from “unimproved” water sources. A quarter of the population has no flush toilet. Only an average 32.4 percent of households use electricity for lighting.

The same census found that life expectancy in Myanmar is among the lowest in the ASEAN region. Much of this is due to lack of water and food security, with water scarcity and excess of rainfall playing an equal role.

The central plains of Myanmar, bordered by mountains on the west and east, include the only semi-arid region in South East Asia – the Dry Zone, home to some 10 million people. This 13 percent of Myanmar’s territory sums up the challenges that the country faces with respect to water security: an uneven geographical and seasonal distribution of this natural resource, the increasing unpredictability of rain patterns due to climate change, and a lack of water management strategies to cope with extreme weather conditions.

“Water is abundant and plentiful in Myanmar, but there is little infrastructure and electricity, so the economics of accessing water are problematic. This is why the shortages continue year after year,” says Andrew Kirkwood, fund manager of the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), a multi-donor fund that focuses on the rural poor in Myanmar.

About 90 percent of rain in Myanmar falls during the rainy season, from June to October. But geographical differences are enormous: rainfall ranges from 750 mm per year in the most arid region of the country to 1,500 mm in the eastern and western mountains and 4,000 to 5,000 mm in the coastal regions.

Shortages in the dry zone have been more acute this year because the scant rains of the year before resulted in limited water-storage, according to LIFT. On top of this, El Nino’s higher temperatures during the following 2016 hot season triggered higher evaporation rates.

However, in other areas of the country, failure in ensuring water security has historically been caused by the opposite: extreme rain and disastrous floods.

With the deadly 2008 cyclone Nargis still engraved in the country’s memory, during the rainy season of 2015 the country had to face another emergency. Vast areas, from states in the North-West to the Delta region, were hit by severe and prolonged rains. With no proper water control measures in place, the outcome of an otherwise-manageable natural phenomenon was disastrous: dozens of deaths and almost two million acres of rice fields either destroyed or damaged, according to UN’s humanitarian disaster agency OCHA.

In both cases – drought and floods – failures in managing water security bring precarious hygiene conditions and illnesses, while the effects on agriculture reflect in high malnutrition rates. In the Dry Zone, 18 percent of the population suffers from malnutrition, according to a 2013 LIFT survey, while a staggering quarter of children under the age of five are underweight.

What to do

The correct administration of water resources is the root of the problem in Myanmar, according to NGOs and institutional actors. UN data shows that only about five percent of the country’s potential water resources are being utilised, mostly by the agricultural sector. At the same time, growing urbanisation and the integration of Myanmar into the global economy after five decades of military dictatorship are enhancing demand.

The new government of the de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is therefore faced with the major challenge of delivering solutions to support the ongoing economic growth.

“Sixty percent of irrigation in South East Asia comes from groundwater,” says LIFT’s fund manager Kirkwood. “But it’s only six percent in Myanmar. Our knowledge of how much groundwater there is and where this groundwater is, is not good at all.”

Even against the odds of scant resources, farmers in the Dry Zone produce most of Myanmar’s sesame and pulses, making it one of the largest exporters in the world. The economic impact of better exploitation of resources is evident. However, says Kirkwood, investments have been so far misplaced – forcing farmers, for example, into rice cultivation – and policies inefficient, such as not collecting sufficient fees for water.

Terre des Hommes, an NGO, has successfully introduced into the Dry Zone a hydroponic farming system developed by the University of Bologna. The system requires 80-90 percent less water than soil-based farming, while recycling fluids enriched with fertilizers. It allows landless farmers in particular access to fresher and cheaper food.

“The project has involved 45 villages in townships across Mandalay and Magway,” says project manager Enrico Marulli. The latter region has the highest under-five mortality rate in the entire country, more than twice the rate of its biggest city, Yangon, reflecting the urgent need for life-improvement solutions.

But the long-term sustainability of these project finds its limits in the overall restructuring that the country has to endure. With a new greenhouse costing between 70 and 80 dollars, without external donors’ contribution only access to credit can support vital technological improvements.

However, farmers’ financial inclusion is virtually inexistent. In contrast to other developing countries, microfinance in Myanmar goes mainly to the agricultural sector, says LIFT, but only bigger financial institutions have the capacity to sustain longer-term, higher investments.

Al of these issues will come to the fore on May 24, when the Global Water Partnership High Level Roundtable on Water Security and the SDGs will be held in Yangon. The meeting aims to accelerate gains made by ongoing projects related to water and sanitation, under the guidance of the government of Myanmar and the World Bank.

Meanwhile, in the village of Htita, villagers continue to enjoy the revolution of the new well and fill their yellow containers.

World: No Protection, No Respect: Health Workers and Health Facilities Under Attack: 2015 and Early 2016

22 May 2016 - 8:00pm
Source: Safeguarding Health in Conflict Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, World, Yemen

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

International law dating back more than 150 years holds that in all armed conflicts, whether internal or international, parties must not attack or interfere with health workers, facilities, ambulances, and people who are wounded or sick. The Geneva Conventions and customary international humanitarian law provide that parties have a duty to distinguish between military and civilian objects and to take precautions to avoid harm to hospitals even when a military target is nearby; that hospitals and clinics may not be taken over for military or security purposes—and that even if they are, parties to a conflict have an obligation to minimize harm to civilians inside; that health professionals may not be subjected to punishment for adhering to obligations to provide care consistent with their ethical duties, including treating the sick and wounded without discrimination; and that access to health care may not be obstructed through such practices as unreasonably delaying or blocking passage of ambulances, supply transports, medical staff, and the wounded and sick. International human rights law imposes similar obligations.

This report reviews attacks on and interference with hospitals, health workers, ambulances, medical supply transports, and patients in armed conflict and times of political violence that violated these obligations in 2015 and during the first three months of 2016.

ATTACKS ON AND INTERFERENCE WITH HEALTH CARE

Attacks on health services take many forms but can be grouped into four major categories:

  1. Bombing, shelling, and looting facilities or transports, in some cases as a result of targeting the facility or transport, and in other cases because of an indiscriminate attack that failed to take precautions to avoid harm to the facility.

  2. Violence inflicted on health workers independent of an attack on a facility or transport.

  3. Military takeover of hospitals, or fighting in and around hospitals.

  4. Obstruction of access to health care, medicine, and essential supplies. Bombing, shelling, burning, looting, and other violence inflicted on health facilities and transports

Hospitals, ambulances, and medical supply transports have been attacked and looted in many countries, sometimes intentionally and sometimes due to attackers failing to take precautions to distinguish between military and civilian objects. These attacks have led to the deaths of health workers, medical staff, and others during initial attacks and during ongoing violence following the attacks.
In five countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen—hospitals were subjected to aerial bombing, as well as to explosives launched from the ground. In Syria, where the most rigorous reporting has taken place, at least 122 attacks on hospitals were documented in 2015, with some facilities hit multiple times. Syrian government forces and their Russian allies engaged in vicious “double-tap” attacks, launching a second strike after rescuers came to the aid of those wounded in the first attack. In four such double-tap attacks, 31 people were killed and more than 150 wounded. In Yemen, health facilities were attacked at least 100 times; a Saudi-led coalition indiscriminately bombed many hospitals, including in one case unleashing a two-hour bombardment. Opposing Houthi and allied forces have committed violations as well, shelling hospitals from the ground.

In Afghanistan, at least 92 acts of violence against health facilities and health workers killed 55 people. Forty-two people, including 24 patients, 14 health workers and four caretakers, were killed as a result of a United States military air attack on the Kunduz Trauma Center, the only facility of its kind in northern Afghanistan (whose coordinates were known to all parties to the conflict). Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which operated the facility, phoned and texted US authorities during the strike seeking to stop the attack, to no avail. In Iraq, there were at least 61 attacks on health facilities and personnel. In one of them, Iraqi Security Forces bombed a maternity and children’s hospital, killing 31 people, including at least eight children, and wounding 39 others. In Libya, the kidney disease and internal medicine wards and staff dormitories of a hospital were bombed.

In Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan, health facilities have been burned and/or looted, medical supply vehicles attacked on the road, and medical staff abducted; these attacks have often forced the suspension of medical activities in the affected areas. In Central African Republic, there were more than 200 attacks on and looting of humanitarian compounds and transports, many of which were providing health care to a population in desperate need; there were 30 such attacks in Mali, as well. In South Sudan, health programs and nongovernmental organization (NGO) compounds in the Upper Nile region were repeatedly attacked during 2015, and multiple health workers were killed in separate incidents.

Violence inflicted on health workers independent of attack on a facility or transport

Horrific violence has been inflicted on health workers, patients and their families, and staff independent of the impact of shelling, bombing, and burning. In Democratic Republic of the Congo, seven patients and a nurse were brutally murdered inside a clinic. In one atrocity in Sudan, security forces attacked and looted the town of Golo in West Darfur, encouraging civilians to seek protection in a hospital. The security forces subsequently detained the civilians in the hospital for weeks, raped at least 60 women, and executed at least three people.

In Syria, 27% of the health workers killed in 2015 were shot, executed, or tortured to death. In Iraq and Libya, the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has forced health workers, under threat of death, to give its fighters priority in treatment, including moving from their places of work at civilian hospitals to ISIL facilities housing injured fighters. ISIL executed at least 12 health workers in 2015. Health workers have been ambushed, abducted, and killed—often while in marked medical vehicles—in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.

Globally, health workers who participate in vaccination programs, as well as police and other security personnel charged with protecting them, are especially vulnerable to attack, particularly those involved in polio prevention (table 1). Their necessary travel to remote and dangerous areas puts them at a high risk of murder and abduction.

Military takeover of health facilities and fighting around hospitals

In some cases, fighting took place directly on hospital grounds. In Iraq, there were at least two instances of firing directly at a hospital; in one of them, combatants were fighting from the roof while the opposing forces shelled the hospital. Also in Iraq, ISIL forces have taken over civilian hospitals for their own use, sometimes evicting all civilian patients. In Thailand, armed insurgents took over a hospital to stage an attack on a nearby government security post.

Military forces have entered hospitals to remove enemy fighters, often severely disrupting care and assaulting patients or staff. On one occasion, 300 fighters in Yemen entered a hospital and forced staff to reveal the location of two Houthi fighters, who were then removed and executed outside the hospital; Houthi forces retaliated by firing repeatedly at the hospital. In Afghanistan, Afghan National Security Forces took control of clinics five times to search for medical supplies or wounded enemies, disrupting care and intimidating patients and staff. In one case, two patients were removed from the hospital and health workers were arrested and beaten. Israeli security forces entered Palestinian hospitals on at least eight occasions to conduct investigations, during which they interfered with patient care and, on some occasions, assaulted patients and/or health workers.

Obstruction of access to health care, medicine, and essential supplies

Obstruction of access to health care took place in many of the countries included in this report. This was carried out through blocking, unreasonably delaying, or threatening medical supply and aid transports, ambulances, health workers, and patients and their families.

Parties to each conflict have frequently restricted passage of health and other humanitarian aid, often in dire health situations. In Syria, the Assad government has continued to block humanitarian aid to besieged and hard-to-reach populations who are at risk of starvation. In South Sudan, parties to the conflict have periodically suspended or obstructed the flow of aid to people in desperate need, who have been displaced and are living in precarious settings. Sudan has severely restricted NGO access to areas of great need for health care aid in Darfur. The government of Iraq has prevented the delivery of health supplies to ISIL-controlled areas, including Mosul, Fallujah, and Anbar.

And in the wake of violence in September 2015, medical teams in the Central African Republic were unable to reach many people in urgent need of medical care because of threats of violence or blockades.

Medical aid has been obstructed in low-intensity conflicts as well. The Turkish government, which is engaged in military action against armed Kurdish separatists, imposed a weeks-long curfew preventing all civilian movement in and out of the city of Cizre and other towns in the southeast. As part of the curfew, security forces prevented the evacuation of wounded and sick civilians, some of whom died as a result. In Ukraine, armed groups suspended MSF humanitarian medical programs for two months in 2015. Throughout the year, restrictions imposed by both sides on individuals crossing conflict lines severely curtailed civilian access to medical care and the delivery of medical supplies, including much-needed medication for HIV, tuberculosis, and drug addiction. In Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israeli security forces created new checkpoints and refused to allow priority of passage to Palestinian ambulances until receiving authorization through bureaucratic channels, thereby delaying the transport of patients who were in the midst of emergencies by up to an hour.

THE AFTEREFFECTS OF ATTACKS

In some cases, in addition to the deaths and injuries inflicted during attacks, the assaults have negatively affected the health of people in the area who need urgent care. In South Sudan, for example, shortly after an attack on Kodok Hospital, 11 people in need of surgery died. In Yemen, infants in a pediatric hospital died when ventilators cut out as a result of an airstrike. In Syria, local security forces would not approve the inclusion of surgical kits and intravenous fluids on a convoy to eastern Aleppo city, depriving more than 33,000 people of these vital medical supplies. The far-reaching effects of these attacks and strategies can be assessed in different ways:

  1. Loss or lack of access to health facilities.

  2. Flight of health workers.

  3. People deprived of health care.

  4. Increased mortality or morbidity risk.

Loss or lack of access to health facilities

In Afghanistan, 23 health clinics in six provinces were closed in early 2016 as a result of violence and insecurity.
In Syria, 57% of public hospitals are not functioning or are only partially functioning; that percentage does not include the informal field hospitals established in opposition-controlled areas that have been subjected to relentless bombing. In Yemen, after a single year of war, 600 health facilities—representing 25% of the country’s overall capacity to deliver health care—were not functioning because of destruction or a lack of staff and/ or supplies. In Libya, 40% of all health facilities are closed because of damage, lack of supplies and staff, or insecurity.
In South Sudan, a scorched-earth war has closed 55% of health facilities in the Upper Nile region, leaving one hospital to serve one million people.

Most health facilities are no longer functioning in Central African Republic. In Sudan, since 2011, the Sudanese Air Force has bombed 26 health facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and health units, leaving only two hospitals to serve 1.2 million people. In Mali, from August through September 2015, security incidents shut down all access to health care in the Mopti, Timbuktu, Kidal, and Gao regions. Additionally, targeted attacks forced Mali’s main international health partner in the region to suspend its activities and relocate staff, resulting in a complete ack of health assistance and the closure of all referral health centers in the districts of Tenekou and Youwaro.
In Thailand, health workers have had to cut back evening hours to avoid being exposed to attacks by insurgent groups.

Flight of health workers

Attacks often lead to the flight of health workers and consequent loss of health services capacity. Half of the health workers who practiced in Syria prior to 2011 and 95% of physicians living in Syria’s major city of Aleppo before the war have left the country. In Iraq, 45% of health professionals have emigrated since 2014. In Libya, 80% of the foreign nurses, who were the backbone of the country’s medical staff before 2011, have been evacuated.
In northern Nigeria, almost all health workers have fled areas controlled by Boko Haram, resulting in the closure of 450 health facilities.

People deprived of health care

One way of assessing the consequences of lost facilities and medical staff is to estimate the number of people who need access to health services but do not have it. Even single events or the loss of a single facility can lead to a dramatic decline in access for large numbers of people.
In Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, an armed group looted a town and brutally murdered seven patients and a nurse in a clinic, leading to the closure of the only health facility that served 35,000 people. In another case, two MSF staff were robbed and kidnapped between Kitchanga and Mweso, Masisi Territory in North Kivu, temporarily suspending medical programs that had conducted 185,000 outpatient visits and 6,000 hospitalizations in the prior 10 months. In South Sudan, violence against a health clinic in Pibor forced movement of key health functions to a more distant location, depriving 170,000 people of access to secondary health care. The destruction of a single hospital in Yemen led to deprivation of services for 200,000 people.

More broadly, UN agencies report a staggering number of people in need of health care in emergencies. Several factors contribute to the need, including civilian injuries, population displacement, and lack of available resources for humanitarian aid. But attacks on and interference with health care are major contributors to this enormous problem. In conflicts with some of the most pervasive attacks on health services, UN reports show the following figures for people deprived of health care:

• Iraq: 8.5 million people

• Libya: 1.9 million people

• Mali: 2.25 million people

• Somalia: 3.2 million people

• Syria: 11.5 million people

• Yemen: 14.1 million people.

Increased mortality and morbidity risk

Another way of measuring the impact of lost medical staff and facilities is by examining the increased risk of mortality and morbidity. Beyond attacks on health facilities and health workers, factors such as lack of food and clean water as a result of armed conflict are often highly significant. Yet diminished health capacity may well exacerbate the impacts of these and related factors.

For example, in Yemen, apart from death from traumatic injuries, lack of access to health care and lack of immunizations have resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 children under the age of five. UNICEF estimates that 2.5 million Yemeni children are at high risk of diarrheal diseases, 1.3 million are at risk of acute respiratory tract infections, 2.6 million are at risk of measles, and more than 320,000 are at risk of severe acute malnutrition. In Syria, lack of safe drinking water, sanitation, electricity, and fuel has made Syrians more vulnerable to outbreaks of diarrheal diseases, typhoid, hepatitis A, and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Inadequate or nonexistent treatment of chronic diseases—including diabetes, asthma, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease—has increased the risk of death from these diseases. Shortages of skilled birth attendants and obstetricians have increased maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. In South Sudan, attacks on health clinics, humanitarian compounds, and aid workers led to a major decrease in health capacity at a time when there was an unprecedented outbreak of nearly 2.28 million cases of malaria.

Thailand: Army battling to repatriate refugees

22 May 2016 - 11:40am
Source: Bangkok Post Country: Myanmar, Thailand

The army has admitted it is struggling to repatriate more than 100,000 Myanmar refugees along the border, and is pinning its hopes on the new government in Nay Pyi Taw being able to guarantee safety and security.

Thammanoon Withee, commander of the 9th Infantry Division, said on Saturday the army had encountered several problems in its efforts to resolve the border situation after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the refugee situation be resolved.

Maj Gen Thammanoon said most of the Myanmar refugees who were not seeking relocation to a third country were still reluctant to return to their homes.

They were waiting to see the new Myanmar government's policies.

"Nevertheless, we believe more refugees are willing to return to Myanmar as the political situation there has eased and the new government has taken office," he said.

The United Nations Hinh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is helping with repatriations where necessary to ensure safety and human rights. But it does have reservations.

The UNHCR says repatriation must be conducted in line with its benchmarks of safety and the willingness of the refugees. Their return must be approved by Nay Pyi Taw, and the areas where they settle must be accessible to its officials for inspection of living conditions.

Maj Gen Thammanoon said the army was developing good relations with the Myanmar army along the border to help with repatriation.

Thailand hosts nine camps for more than 100,000 Myanmar refugees at a cost of 1.5 billion baht a year.

Among the camps is Ban Ton Yang in Kanchanaburi's Sangkhla Buri district which shelters more than 2,000 Myanmar migrants who have fled from the Karen National Union's battles with the Myanmar military since 1997.

The UN agency's records show that none of the Karen refugees are willing to return to Myanmar, while many have demanded resettlement in a third country.

Maj Gen Thammanoon said repatriation efforts began in 2012 but had made little progress.

In 2013, Gen Prayut, then army chief, urged the Yingluck government to take the issue of repatriation more seriously.

An army source said a critical factor making repatriation difficult was the attitude of the UN refugee agency, which was not fully supporting Thailand's plans.

There was also the fear that Bangkok would be heavily criticised over human rights if it tried to force repatriation of the refugees.

'Republished with permission. © Post Publishing Plc. www.bangkokpost.com'

Myanmar: OCHA Flash Update No 2: Cyclone Roanu Response, 22 May 2016 [EN/MY]

22 May 2016 - 8:52am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

According to the Government Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), Cyclone Roanu made landfall in Bangladesh on 21 May and has finally dissipated after passing Chin State and Sagaing Region in Myanmar on 21-22 May. The status of the cyclone in Myanmar has now been reduced to “Green”.

According to the Government Relief and Resettlement Department, so far there have been no reports of deaths or of any significant displacement caused by the rains or landslides. In Chin State, a few bridges were reportedly damaged due to landslides and some houses were damaged, although in most cases there was only minor damage. The Chin State Government set up an Emergency Management Centre for coordinating the response. In Sagaing Region, according to local authorities, no significant damage has been reported. In Rakhine State, according to local authorities and the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS), no significant damage in towns and villages has been reported as of 22 May, although some temporary IDP shelters in some camps collapsed due to the strong wind and heavy rain.

The Government deactivated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Nay Pyi Taw on the afternoon of 22 May. However, the EOC will continue monitoring the weather and its impact during the monsoon season.

This is the last OCHA update Cyclone Roanu.

Myanmar: OCHA Flash Update No 1: Cyclone Roanu Response, 21 May 2016 [EN/MY]

21 May 2016 - 10:03am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Myanmar

According to the Government Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), Cyclone Roanu is moving north-eastward. It started to make landfall at about 3pm today near Cox’s Bazar Town and Chittagong Town in southern Bangladesh.

Myanmar is now on “red alert” for storm risk in the colour-coded warning system as the cyclone is expected to pass Chin State, northern part of Rakhine State and Sagaing Region as a depression according to DMH. Maungdaw and Sittwe are identified as the townships likely facing the most damaging effects of cyclone, followed by Kyaukphyu. While the wind speeds are not particularly high (50-60mph in the northern part of Rakhine and Chin), large amounts of rainfall are expected to trigger landslides in various parts, particularly in Chin State where some landslides are already being reported earlier today. Heavy showers are expected in Chin and Rakhine states as well as Ayeyarwady, Magway and Sagaing regions with widespread rain all over the country from 21 May to 23 May.

Preparedness efforts are focused on four states and regions: Chin, Rakhine, Magway and Sagaing while reviewing pre-positioning relief items. Relevant government departments and the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) are all on standby for search and rescue activities. MRCS has mobilised over 100 Emergency Response Team Members and volunteers and also disseminating early warning alerts to the communities in Chin, Rakhine, Magway and Sagaing. On 20 May, the government’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Nay Pyi Taw was activated. UN agencies and MRCS have deployed staff to Nay Pyi Taw to support government preparedness and response activities.

Humanitarian organizations have been identifying available relief stocks and resources in-country to support government efforts where required. In Rakhine, humanitarian partners have put together assessment teams involving over 75 staff, ready to deploy if needed. At the same time, humanitarian partners are in close contact with the Rakhine State government to identify the areas most affected and requiring immediate support.

For more information please contact:
Pierre Péron | Public Information and Advocacy Officer, Myanmar
Tel: +95 979 700 7815, 9250 198 997 | E-mail: peronp@un.org | Twitter: @pierre_peron www.unocha.org

Myanmar: Tropical Storm ROANU Forecast Track (20 May, 2016 6:00 GMT = 22 May, 2016 12:30 Myanmar Time)

21 May 2016 - 5:23am
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

Myanmar: Tropical Storm ROANU Forecast Track (21 May, 2016 0:00 GMT = 21 May, 2016 06:30 Myanmar Time)

21 May 2016 - 5:21am
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

Bangladesh: Red Cross prepares for further flooding and landslides as Cyclone Roanu bears down on Bangladesh and Myanmar

21 May 2016 - 5:17am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Kuala Lumpur, 21 May, 2016: Over the past week, Tropical Cyclone Roanu, has brought torrential rains to Sri Lanka, triggering landslides and causing widespread flooding across much of the country affecting over 415,000 people. In recent days the storm has tracked northwest in the Bay of Bengal bringing further flooding to parts of the Indian States of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Although weakening in intensity, the Category 1 storm is making landfall in Bangladesh today, threatening further flooding and landslides.

“We are watching this storm very closely. While the wind speeds are not that high, this is a slow-moving weather system and we can expect a massive amount of rainfall”, said Martin Faller, the IFRC’s head of operations for Asia Pacific. “Some places in Sri Lanka received over 12 inches of rain in 48 hours and we are concerned that there will be humanitarian impacts if a similar story unfolds in coastal areas and the hills of Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in both countries are on high alert and have been pre-emptively evacuating people who may be in harm’s way”.

In Bangladesh, a cyclone warning alert has been issued for 18 coastal districts and hundreds of Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers have been helping the Government to evacuate communities in the coastal belt to the safety of cyclone shelters. The cyclone could bring storm surges of over two metres and there are concerns that the heavy rainfall will trigger landslides in the hill regions of Chittagong and Sylhet. As a pre-emptive measure, the Red Crescent has deployed relief convoys from its warehouses in Dhaka and Chittagong with items such as tarpaulins, clothing, water containers and purification tablets, sufficient for 15,000 people. Disaster response teams have also been deployed from Dhaka to support the local district branches with immediate relief distributions to affected people, including cooked and dry food.

While the path of the cyclone tracks directly through Bangladesh, the storm is also expected to impact neighbouring Myanmar with heavy rains and flash floods. Myanmar Red Cross branches and volunteers in the States of Chin, Rakhine, Magway and Sagaing have been placed on alert, emergency response teams have been activated and warning messages are being disseminated to at risk communities. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee of the Red Cross stand ready to provide in-country support if required.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released funds from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support ongoing relief efforts in Sri Lanka and is finalizing the same for an anticipated emergency response in Bangladesh.

For further information and interviews contact:

In Dhaka:

K. Jakaria Khaled, Deputy Secretary General, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society | Mobile: +8801811458501 | Email: jakaria.khaled@bdrcs.org Adith Shah Durjoy, Disaster Operations Coordinator, IFRC | Mobile: +88 1818257651 Email: adithshah.durjoy@ifrc.org In Myanmar:

Shwe Cin Myint, Director, Myanmar Red Cross Society | Mobile: +95 9 977115600 Email: shwecinmyint@redcross.org.mm Amanda George, Community Engagement Advisor, IFRC |Mob. +95 9 254656372 Email: amanda.george@ifrc.org Twitter @mandygeorge In Kuala Lumpur

Patrick Fuller, Communications Manager, Asia Pacific | Mobile: +60 122308451 Email: Patrick.fuller@ifrc.org twitter: pat_fuller In Geneva:

Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications | Mobile: +41 79 213 2413 Email: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org | Twitter:@BenoistC

India: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar/Burma– Tropical Cyclone ROANU - ECHO Daily Map | 20/05/2016

21 May 2016 - 5:07am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka

SITUATION

• TC ROANU formed over the south-western Bay of Bengal, near the south-eastern coasts of India, on 18 May. It then started moving in parallel with the coast of eastern India. On 20 May at 6.00 UTC, its centre was located approx. 120 km south of Ganjam district (Odisha state, India) and it had max. sustained wind speed of 93 km/h.

• Over the next 48 h, it is forecast to continue strengthening as it moves towards the north-east coast of India. It may reach Chittagong division (Bangladesh) on 21 May with max. sustained winds of 100- 130 km/h. Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge are expected to affect the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, as well as southern Bangladesh and western Myanmar/Burma. A storm surge in the order of 1.6- 1.8 m on the coastal area south of the city of Chittagong (Bangladesh) is expected for 21 May morning (UTC).

• TC Roanu previously affected Sri Lanka, bringing heavy rain and causing widespread damage and casualties. National authorities reported over 427 900 people affected, 64 dead, 29 injured, 131 missing, over 319 500 evacuated and over 3 800 homes damaged, as of 20 May. Local media also reported flooding in Chennai (Tamil Nadu state, India), due to heavy rain.

• TC in 2015 in this area: Between 30 July and 1 August 2015, Cyclone “KOMEN” affected southern Bangladesh and western Myanmar/Burma killing at least 48 people and resulting in the displacement of more than 400 000 people

Sri Lanka: Cyclone Roanu Inflicts Deadly Flooding Across Sri Lanka, Threatens Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

21 May 2016 - 1:34am
Source: Direct Relief Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka

• Reported Deaths: 64 • Affected People: 2,300,000+

Direct Relief has extended offers of support this week to the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Center and other longstanding partners in Sri Lanka after powerful storm dropped nearly 15 inches of rain on the island nation. The storm triggered flashfloods and deadly landslides that buried entire villages, forced nearly 300,000 people to evacuate, and claimed at least 64 lives. More than 150 people remain missing.

Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar On Alert

Since shifting northward along India’s east coast, the storm intensified into a tropical cyclone (Roanu) and is expected to make landfall early Saturday.

Bangladesh, northeastern India, and northern Myanmar — each located in the cyclone’s crosshairs — have begun bracing for heavy rains, strong winds, and the possibility of life-threatening flooding and landslides.

Anticipating the need for humanitarian assistance, Direct Relief has reached out to partners in each of the three countries and remains ready to respond. Direct Relief will continue to monitor the situation through the weekend and provide updates as information becomes available.

India: Tropical Cyclone Roanu - Estimated Impacts Warning 11, 20 May 2016 2100 UTC

20 May 2016 - 10:35pm
Source: Pacific Disaster Center Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

India: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar/Burma - Tropical Cyclone ROANU - ECHO Daily Map | 20/05/2016

20 May 2016 - 4:25pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka

SITUATION

• TC ROANU formed over the south-western Bay of Bengal, near the south-eastern coasts of India, on 18 May. It then started moving in parallel with the coast of eastern India. On 20 May at 6.00 UTC, its centre was located approx. 120 km south of Ganjam district (Odisha state, India) and it had max. sustained wind speed of 93 km/h.

• Over the next 48 h, it is forecast to continue strengthening as it moves towards the north-east coast of India. It may reach Chittagong division (Bangladesh) on 21 May with max. sustained winds of 100- 130 km/h. Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge are expected to affect the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, as well as southern Bangladesh and western Myanmar/Burma. A storm surge in the order of 1.6- 1.8 m on the coastal area south of the city of Chittagong (Bangladesh) is expected for 21 May morning (UTC).

• TC Roanu previously affected Sri Lanka, bringing heavy rain and causing widespread damage and casualties. National authorities reported over 427 900 people affected, 64 dead, 29 injured, 131 missing, over 319 500 evacuated and over 3 800 homes damaged, as of 20 May. Local media also reported flooding in Chennai (Tamil Nadu state, India), due to heavy rain.

• TC in 2015 in this area: Between 30 July and 1 August 2015, Cyclone “KOMEN” affected southern Bangladesh and western Myanmar/Burma killing at least 48 people and resulting in the displacement of more than 400 000 people Sources: GDACS, JTWC, RMSC, IMD, Local Media

India: Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) – ECHO Daily Map: 20/05/2016 India, Bangladesh, Myanmar/Burma– Tropical Cyclone ROANU

20 May 2016 - 4:25pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka

**SITUATION*

• TC ROANU formed over the south-western Bay of Bengal, near the south-eastern coasts of India, on 18 May. It then started moving in parallel with the coast of eastern India. On 20 May at 6.00 UTC, its centre was located approx. 120 km south of Ganjam district (Odisha state, India) and it had max. sustained wind speed of 93 km/h.

• Over the next 48 h, it is forecast to continue strengthening as it moves towards the north-east coast of India. It may reach Chittagong division (Bangladesh) on 21 May with max. sustained winds of 100- 130 km/h. Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge are expected to affect the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, as well as southern Bangladesh and western Myanmar/Burma. A storm surge in the order of 1.6- 1.8 m on the coastal area south of the city of Chittagong (Bangladesh) is expected for 21 May morning (UTC).

• TC Roanu previously affected Sri Lanka, bringing heavy rain and causing widespread damage and casualties. National authorities reported over 427 900 people affected, 64 dead, 29 injured, 131 missing, over 319 500 evacuated and over 3 800 homes damaged, as of 20 May. Local media also reported flooding in Chennai (Tamil Nadu state, India), due to heavy rain.

• TC in 2015 in this area: Between 30 July and 1 August 2015, Cyclone “KOMEN” affected southern Bangladesh and western Myanmar/Burma killing at least 48 people and resulting in the displacement of more than 400 000 people Sources: GDACS, JTWC, RMSC, IMD, Local Media

World: Global Humanitarian Overview 2016 Funding Status As of 16 May 2016 - World Humanitarian Summit 2016 edition

20 May 2016 - 12:08pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

India: Sub: Cyclonic Storm ‘ROANU’ over northwest & adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal (Cyclone Warning for north Andhra Pradesh coast for next 12 hrs and Odisha and West Bengal coasts for next 48 hours) (Orange message)

20 May 2016 - 10:43am
Source: Government of India Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar

India Meteorological Department Earth System Science Organisation (Ministry of Earth Sciences),

Time of issue: 1730 hours IST Dated: 20.05.2016

The cyclonic storm ‘ROANU’ over westcentral & adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal moved northeastwards at a speed of 20 kmph during past six hours and lay centred at 1430 hrs IST of 20th May, 2016 over northwest & adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal near latitude 18.8º N and longitude 85.0ºE, about 105 km east-northeast of Kalingapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), 50 km south-southeast of Gopalpur, 240 km west-southwest of Paradip (Odisha) and 800 km west-southwest of Chittagong (Bangladesh). The system is likely to move northeastwards along & off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast and intensify into a severe cyclonic storm during next 24 hours. Thereafter, the system is likely to move east-northeastwards and cross south Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Cox’s Bazar, close to Chittagong in the evening of 21st May, as a cyclonic storm.