Pakistan - ReliefWeb News
The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals on active public health threats.
This issue covers the period 22-28 May 2016 and includes updates on Zika virus, outbreak of yellow fever and Polio.
Total arrivals in Greece (Jan - 26 May 2016): 156,261
Total arrivals in Greece during May 2016: 1,159
Average daily arrivals during May 2016: 45
Average daily arrivals during Apr 2016: 122
Estimated departures from islands to Mainland: 60
Italy - IOM reports an estimated 194,611 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea in 2016, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain, through May 25. Fatalities – including some 100 still missing – IOM estimates at 1,475 through 26 May 2016.
Flavio Di Giacomo of IOM Rome notes that 37,363 migrants and refugees arrived on Italian shores through 25 May, including all rescued individuals brought ashore so far this week. That total will certainly climb today (27/5), as some 10,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued in the region since Monday, 23 May.
IOM Rome reports that over two days this week, 25 May and 26 May, dozens of migrants lost their lives in three separate accidents in international waters. One incident, occurring on Wednesday in Libyan waters, involved a steel-hulled fishing boat carrying over 600 migrants that capsized as the Italian navy ship “Bettica” was preparing to transfer the migrants. In cooperation with the “Bergamini,” another Italian navy ship, Italian authorities managed to rescue 540 migrants. They recovered five corpses.
The rescued migrants were taken to Porto Empedocle. According to eyewitness accounts of the incident, some 100 people are believed to be missing. Witnesses reported that the boat may have been carrying as many as 650 passengers. They added that the vessel set sail from Sabratha, Libya, on Tuesday evening. Witnesses said that the majority of migrants rescued are Moroccans.
On Wednesday a group of 130 migrants, who arrived in Lampedusa, reported to IOM that seven passengers died on another boat, most likely due to fuel spills from the engine. Among the deceased was a Nigerian mother traveling with her 9-month-old daughter. The baby survived and is now in the care of doctors at the reception centre in Lampedusa.
Yesterday evening another shipwreck took place in the channel of Sicily. The Spanish ship “Reina Sofia,” which was patrolling the area in the framework of the EU’s Operation Sophia, spotted a capsized wooden boat. At least 77 migrants were rescued, while at least another 30 remain missing.
“These have been very difficult operations for the boats patrolling the Mediterranean,” said Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome. “We commend the outstanding work of the rescuers involved in the operations carried out at sea. Thanks to them, more than 10,000 lives were saved between Monday and Wednesday in the Channel of Sicily and further rescue operations were carried out yesterday.”
Added Soda: “Despite peak arrivals registered throughout this week, the numbers are in line with last year’s trend: as of yesterday about 43,000 arrivals have been registered in Italy since 1 January 2016. Last year, at the end of May, arrivals were 47,400. What we are seeing today is not an emergency in terms of numbers: it is an operational emergency, since thousands of people are risking their life at sea and it is very difficult to save everyone. This year over 1,470 migrants have already died or gone missing at sea. This number would have been much higher without the rescue operations currently active in the Channel of Sicily.”
For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic please go to:
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int
For further information please contact IOM Greece. Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: email@example.com or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Abby Dwommoh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +903124551202, Email: email@example.com
Or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or IOM Geneva, Leonard Doyle, Tel: +41-792857123, Email: email@example.com or Joel Millman, Tel: + 41 79 103 87 20, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
194,611 arrivals by sea in 2016
1,375 dead/missing published 10:00 CET 27 May
1,011,712 arrivals in 2015
Djibouti: Djibouti: Inter-agency update for the response to the Yemeni situation #41 (25 April - 09 May 2016)
- According to the latest available statistics from IOM and the Djibouti government, 35,562 persons of mixed nationalities have arrived in Djibouti as of 31 March 2016 (since 26 March 2015). Of those, 19,636 persons (56 per cent) are Yemeni nationals, 13,962 (38 per cent) are transiting migrants and 1,964 persons (6 per cent) are Djiboutian returnees.
- As of 09 May 2016, UNHCR and ONARS registered 6,260 refugees of whom 6,008 are Yemeni nationals. Most refugees are sheltered in Markazi refugee camp; the remaining refugees live in Obock and Djibouti city.
- As at 09 May, a total of 873 refugees returned spontaneously home from Obock (Markazi camp and Obock town).
- 6,260 Refugees registered since the outbreak of the crisis
- 2,551 Registered females.
- 2,327 Registered children and adolescents.
- Ensure protection of refugees and asylum seekers and provide assistance.
- Provide documents to refugees.
- Work with the government to ensure access to territory and feedom of movement.
- Continue to develop the infrastructure at Markazi camp.
- Continue border monitoring activities.
On 25 May, the Greek Alternate Minister of Migration Policy, Yannis Mouzalas, met the Regional Governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, and agreed that the refugee population present in Greece will be distributed fairly across the country by September. The Minister stressed that many current hosting centres in the Greek region of Macedonia will be closed and replaced by new sites across Greece, where refugees will be transferred to.
In Athens on Tuesday 24 May, the Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard met with the Chief of the Greek Armed Forces to discuss Washington’s intention to contribute to patrols in the Aegean aimed at curbing irregular migration. This discussion comes after the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, expressed Washington’s interest in contributing naval forces to NATO’s mission in the Aegean. The US vessel is to join four NATO ships currently patrolling the Aegean, including the British Cardigan Bay, the Turkish Bodrum, the German Bonn, and the Dutch Van Amstel.
On the occasion of the G7 Summit to be held in Japan on 26 and 27 May, EU leaders are expected to focus their discussions on migration and refugee issues, among other topics. In particular, the G7 is expected to call for a global response to the current challenges, and to commit to increased global assistance. In a joint statement ahead of the Summit, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, called on G7 Leaders to meet such expectations.
However, they also stated that “because of geography, the most responsibility is and will continue to be placed on Europe”. Tusk also called on G7 Leaders to encourage other donors to also increase their efforts and, as well as to foster the establishment of resettlement schemes and other legal pathways around the world.
Death at Sea
The Italian Navy reported that a shipwreck occurred on Wednesday, 25 May, off the coast of Libya.
During routine surveillance in the Strait of Sicily, the Navy vessel Bettica identified a boat in precarious conditions with approximately 500 people on board.
The boat capsized due to overcrowding and instability.
Rescue operations began immediately after, while the nearby Navy ship Bergamini sent a helicopter and naval rescue vessels. Over 500 people were rescued and seven bodies were recovered. Both the survivors as well as the bodies of the seven drowned people were taken aboard the Bettica.
Attacks on Health Care
Attacks on health care in emergency situations disrupt the delivery of essential health services, endanger care providers, deprive people of urgently needed medical attention, and undermine our long term health development goals.
WHO collaborates closely with others to better understand the problem, bring attention to the issue, and find solutions that can prevent attacks; protect health facilities, workers, transport and supplies; and ensure the continued provision of health care despite such attacks.
WHO releases new report on attacks on health
Currently there is no publicly available source of consolidated information on attacks on health care in emergencies. This report is a first attempt to consolidate and analyse the data that is available from open sources. While the data are not comprehensive, the findings shed light on the severity and frequency of the problem.
Over the two-year period from January 2014 to December 2015, there were 594 reported attacks on health care that resulted in 959 deaths and 1561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies. More than half of the attacks were against health care facilities and another quarter of the attacks were against health care workers. Sixty-two per cent of the attacks were reported to have intentionally targeted health care.
By Lyndal Rowlands
UNITED NATIONS, May 26 2016 (IPS) - While long-awaited new vaccines for malaria and dengue may finally be within reach, many of the world’s existing vaccines have remained unreachable for many of the people who need them most.
The recent outbreak of yellow fever in Angola shows how deadly infectious diseases can return when gaps in vaccination programs grow.
Earlier this week World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan noted that the recent outbreak of deadly disease has happened despite a vaccine being available for nearly 80 years.
“The world has had a safe, low-cost, and effective vaccine that confers life-long protection against yellow fever since 1937,” she said. “Yellow fever vaccines should be used more widely to protect people living in endemic countries.”
Unfortunately yellow fever is one of many vaccine preventable diseases which has persisted and at times resurged. So far only one of the world’s existing vaccines, the smallpox vaccine, has reached the ultimate goal of eradicating a disease entirely.
In 2015, the world inched closer to eradicating one other disease through the use of immunisation, when Nigeria became the last country in Africa to get rid of polio.
“We are in the endgame period of polio as we expect to see soon the interruption of polio in the remaining two countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Dr Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, Director of the WHO Department for Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals told IPS.
Last month an ambitious plan to switch to a new polio vaccine was rolled out globally. The switch took place because the vaccine no longer needed to fight against type 2 polio which has not been seen since 1999, said Okwo-Bele.
However Okwo-Bele told IPS that the world needs to get as good at getting rid of old vaccines as it has become at finding new ones.
“The pipeline for vaccines is so big now that we should get better at using the currently available vaccines so that we can get rid of these vaccines,” said Okwo-Bele.
“The past year only we could work and almost secure the availability of dengue vaccine, malaria vaccine and we are almost there for the Ebola vaccine,” he said.
A tuberculosis vaccine may still be five to seven years away, he added, but could be an important tool in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
However although recent and promised new additions to the list of vaccinations offer hope, some developing countries are concerned that high costs, particularly of newer vaccines, mean that their children will not be able to benefit from these advancements.
The fickle and secretive vaccines market is dominated by a handful of major pharmaceutical companies prompting developing country governments to ask the World Health Organization last year to help them navigate the purchasing process.
“There was real earnest frustration that they weren’t getting any real assistance to benefit from those new vaccines and afford those benefits for their children,” Kate Elder, Vaccines Policy Advisor at Medecins Sans Frontieres’ (MSF) Access Campaign told IPS.
One way that the WHO is addressing this problem is through establishing its own database of prices that governments pay for vaccines.
Okwo-Bele told IPS that countries without “negotiating powers” pay “far higher” prices for vaccines than other countries.
For example said Okwo-Bele, countries in Southern Africa have been known to pay higher prices for vaccines than other countries with higher incomes.
Fortunately, not all developing countries have to fend for themselves on the vaccines market. The world’s poorest countries have access to much lower prices negotiated collectively by organisations including the vaccine alliance – GAVI, UNICEF and the Gates Foundation.
However according to the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the children most likely to have not been vaccinated are the ones living in countries that have been effected by conflict.
“Almost two-thirds of children who have not been immunised with basic vaccines live in countries that are either partially or entirely affected by conflict,” UNICEF said during World Immunisation Week in April.
Elder notes that governments and organisations proving vaccines in conflict affected countries are only eligible for the lower vaccine prices negotiated via GAVI if the country affected by conflict is also considered to be a Least Developed Country.
So while Yemen, which is a Least Developed Country is eligible for these lower priced vaccines, Syrians are not.
“It’s common sense that humanitarian organisations should have access to the lowest global prices, unfortunately it hasn’t been the formula so far,” Elder told IPS.
“When you are in a humanitarian emergency one of the first things that you do in a camp is you vaccinate against measles,” said Elder, “because if you get measles in a refugee camp it’s very, very dangerous.”
While there are provisions for humanitarian organisations to access lower priced measles vaccines, the same is not true for the relatively newer and more expensive pneumococcal vaccine, she said.
“We agree that pricing based exclusively on GNI (Gross National Income) is an artificial marker. However, we do agree with pricing to take into account ability to pay / affordability,” UNICEF told IPS in a statement. “UNICEF’s work in influencing markets to achieve a healthy state is about influencing fair prices and affordability,” the statement said, noting that this approach has helped bring down the price for some vaccines for both GAVI and non-GAVI eligible countries.
Overall, Okwo-Bele noted that vaccines should be seen as an important investment regardless of the context.
“It’s linked to the basic saying, prevention is better than a cure, and prevention is cheaper than the cure, and that stands wherever you are whether you’re in the developed or developing countries,” he said.
Arrivals and departures
An estimated number of 1,375 people lost their lives at sea while attempting to reach Europe this year, which is 25% lower than the number people who died during the same period of time in 2015 (1,828). As of 24 May, no such events took place in the Aegean Sea, where during the first months of the year (as of April), 376 people died. By contrast, nearly 95 refugees and migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea during May last year, and an estimated 330 died in May 2014. So far this year, 190,960 people reached Europe via the Mediterranean Sea (Spain: 903, Italy: 33,907, Greece: 156,150). As of 23 May, 190,057 people arrived to Italy and Greece.
On 24 May, five separate disembarkation operations of people rescued at sea took place in Augusta (508 people), Catania (395 people), Pozzallo (417 people), Reggio Calabria (290 people), and Crotone (395 people) totalling 2,005 people. People mainly originate from Sub-Saharan countries, Somalia, Eritrea, Egypt, Palestine, and Iraq. Reportedly, another 850 people were intercepted by Libyan authorities. Several hundred rescued refugees and migrants are due to arrive in Italian ports today following rescue operations.
Condition of People
In Greece, at Eidomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants have been camping for the past two months in hopes that the border crossing would re-open and they would be able to continue their journey, decongestion efforts have been ongoing. People are transferred to several sites throughout mainland Greece. UNHCR has provided people with humanitarian assistance in formal sites and informal sites such as Eidomeni. On 23 May, the Greek Government announced the evacuation of approximately 9,000 people, informing refugees and migrants accordingly. The evacuation of the site began on 24 May and is ongoing.
At the UN World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed his satisfaction with the implementation of the EU-Turkey Agreement so far, saying that refugee flows have significantly diminished. During a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Tsipras noted that people smuggling seems to have been deterred to a great extent, with NATO’s participation being a crucial element.
Planning, preparation and funding
The European Commission has awarded 25 million euros in emergency funding to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) to enhance its capacity to further support Greek authorities. These additional resources will be used to support the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March and the EU emergency relocation scheme. The funding is provided under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of EC DG Home and will allow for the deployment of additional member state experts and interpreters, as well as the setting up of mobile EASO offices in hotspots to assist with asylum application processing.
First Pakistani Cargo flight with relief subsidiaries for the recent natural disaster victims in Sri Lanka arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Katunayake, yesterday (23rd May).
The Cargo Plane brought full load of C-130 aircraft carrying priority relief items as indicated by the Sri Lankan authorities.
The relief items such as generators, shelters, tents, and medicines were handed over to the Minister for Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa in a solemn ceremony by the High Commissioner to Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj Gen. Syed Shakeel Hussain.
The government of Pakistan excluding their early decided modern 30-bed state-of-the-art field hospital and 17 medical doctors for providing health care assistance, has sent these relief items following a request of the Sri Lankan government.
Floods and landslides caused by torrential rains with gale force winds in Sri Lanka have left 71 people dead, 127 missing, and over 319,000 displaced from homes while over a 427,000 people are affected by the adverse weather.
Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Friday (20th May) conveyed his condolences over flood situation and directed relevant authorities for immediate arrangements ofrelief to Sri Lanka.
High Commissioner Maj Gen. Syed Shakeel Hussain at the ceremony in BIA affirmed Pakistan’s continued assistance to Sri Lanka in any urgent requirement of flood reliefs and rehabilitation efforts.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa pointed out that Pakistan has always been amongst the First who come and support the people and government of Sri Lanka. He also conveyed gratitude on behalf of the government and people of Sri Lanka for the assistance extended by Pakistan in Sri Lanka’s hour of need.
The second Pakistani special flight carrying relief goods is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka today (24th May).
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
The Paris Agreement, which was finalized at the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) has been signed by 175 countries on April 22, 2016. This is the first step in implementing this historic agreement which seeks to limit global warming below 2oC. The ratification of this agreement, based on parliamentary discussion and approval within the signing countries would be the next step in making it come into force. Perhaps, this is the best time for nations to reflect on the best ways to implement the Paris Agreement.
This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the theme of 'Implementing COP21 Paris Agreement'. It highlights the views of some of the most reputed academics and practitioners who have closely followed the evolution of this agreement. Important aspects such as the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), national mitigation and adaptation strategies have been highlighted in this issue.
Similarly, this issue also highlights the role of international partnerships; public systems and sharing of technical know-how between nations in the pursuit of climate justice.
Developing countries like India have the additional onus of reconciling the development aspirations of their people with the commitments of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, it will be valuable to see how innovatively can India and other nations implement the Paris Agreement to make the world safe from the adverse impacts of climate change. – Kshitij Gupta, AIDMI
Islamabad, May 24, 2016: Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar addresses World Health Assembly - Calls for equity and social protection as Priority for global health.
Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar addressed the 196 nation World Health Assembly calling for greater emphasis on equity in access to health-care and people-centered set of universal and transformative goals and targets for the future. The Sustainable Development Goals, she said with strong focus on equity will serve to ensure that “no one is left behind’.
Health is positioned as a major contributor to the other Sustainable Development Goals, and reciprocally benefits from progress towards the other Sustainable Development Goals, she said.
The challenges we face are related to building health systems capable of providing integrated, people-centered care, she said. Addressing new health priorities without compromising existing programs requires careful balance. The non-communicable diseases are becoming a global challenge in developed and developing countries alike. They will sooner or later overwhelm the existing health system capacities unless rapid investments are made in disease prevention and health promotion. Noting the need to strengthen linkages between health, development and humanitarian work, a growing concern in many countries will be how to better integrate humanitarian and development assistance.
The Minister informed that Pakistan is taking strides in prioritizing universal health coverage through launching Prime Minister’s National Health Program for population living below poverty line. The program is being implement across the country in phases and is providing free of cost treatment to hundreds of thousands of families through both public and private health facilities.
Pakistan is giving attention to implementation of International Health Regulations to stop spread of disease across borders in a globalised world. Most recently, we have completed our Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulations and Global Health Security Agenda. The External Evaluation assessed country capacity to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to public health threats. Pakistan is the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and in Asia to volunteer for this assesment the minister said. On polio eradication she informed the global health leadership that the country has taken major strides to arrest spread of polio with 11 cases restricted to three well defined regions as compared to 24 in corresponding period last year. This year 9 percent environmental samples found positive as compared to 22 percent last year. The intensity and distribution of wild poliovirus has declined significantly. Aggressive campaigns are being undertaken in 2016 to stop poliovirus transmission with major strides in security for teams, campaign quality and monitoring, she added.
Arrivals and departures
In Greece, an estimated 126 people arrived over the weekend (21-22 May) in the northern Aegean (35 on Lesvos, 76 on Chios, and 15 on Samos).Condition of People
A study carried out by Save the Children emphasized that child refugees stranded in Greece have been out of school for an average of 1.5 years. The study conducted ahead of the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit found that Syrian child refugees have been out of school for an average of 25.8 months, while Afghan child refugees spent an average of 10.7 months out of the classroom. Yesterday, 23 May, Save the Children, along with UNICEF and others, unveiled a new fund for schooling in emergencies called Education Cannot Wait to help provide schooling for displaced children. Save the Children said it has been providing non-formal lessons – including English and Greek classes – through child-friendly spaces established in several sites in Greece in partnership with UNHCR, and is currently scaling up its education activities in Greece to provide child refugees with access to basic education through temporary classrooms.Key Developments
On 23 May, the Foreign Affairs Council discussed external aspects of migration, in particular, ways to further strengthen cooperation with countries of origin and countries of transit through a common EU approach. In its conclusions on the external aspects of migration, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to a comprehensive and geographically balanced approach, based on bilateral and multilateral cooperation, as well as building on all existing instruments. Ministers notably stressed the need to address the root causes of migration, combat smuggling and trafficking, and ensure cooperation on return and readmission. Focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean, the Council underlined the importance of further implementing the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March. Regarding the Central Mediterranean route, the Council highlighted the need to use the broad range of tools available to manage flows, in cooperation with third countries of origin and transit, and in close collaboration with UNHCR and IOM.
The Council also discussed and adopted conclusions on EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia, the EU naval operation to support the fight against smuggling and trafficking in the southern central Mediterranean.
Ministers agreed to extend the Operation’s mandate by one year and add two supporting tasks: ensuring capacity building of and information sharing with the Libyan Coastguard, and contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on high seas off the coast of Libya. The Operation’s mandate will be formally amended once the necessary preparatory work is conducted.
Finally, the Council discussed and adopted conclusions on the EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq, outlining priorities in working to achieve lasting peace, stability, security in Syria, Iraq and the wider region.
STATISTICS AND HIGHLIGHTS
- UNHCR and partners learned of 150 irregular arrivals: 93 from fYR Macedonia, 51 from Bulgaria and six from Montenegro.
- The number of asylum seekers waiting to be admitted into Hungarian “transit zones” increased after Hungarian authorities’ halved daily admission from some 60 to some 30 asylum seekers. As a result, on average 418 asylum seekers, predominantly women and children, were waiting for admission in the open, without shelter or sanitary facilities. In the last three days, 100 were admitted into Hungarian asylum procedures.
- In Belgrade between 340 and 480 refugees/migrants were assisted by UNHCR and partners in parks on near the bus/train station. At the end of the reporting period, Krnjaca Asylum Centre (AC) hosted 237 refugees/migrants without referral letter from the authorities.
- 113 (33 on 16/05; 38 on 17/05 and 42 on 18/05) persons expressed intent to seek asylum, bringing the total in May to 455 and for the whole of 2016 to 2,994 (statistics courtesy of the Ministry of Interior).
The 2016 Humanitarian Strategic Plan is only seven percent funded as of 31 March. Despite this, humanitarian partners are making progress in achieving the objectives of the Plan. Of the 15 indicators five are on track, and ten have significant gaps. The indicators covering service delivery to IDPs and refugees tended to have the most progress. It is anticipated that indicators with gaps will be on track after 30 June as many activities were not fully implemented as of this report. Funding to the clusters is a concern as Emergency Shelter/NFI, CoRE, Education, and CCCM reported no funding received. Again, it is hope this situation will be corrected once agreements are finalized later the second quarter. Returns have been on hold since 8 February due to security operations in the return areas. Returns are expected to resume in mid-April.
From 13 to 19 May over 2,000 families returned to Noth Waziristan (NWA) and South Waziristan (SWA) Agencies. The Government has announced a schedule for all remaining returns. This schedule will consist of a series of phases for each agency lasting until mid-November. Stage three of NWA returns is ongoing and involves 22,000 families. Stage four will commence 16 Sep. with the final 40,000+ families.
Phase 3 of SWA continues with the return of 30,000 families, and the final phase 20,000+ families of SWA will finish as of November. Phase 2 of Orakzai will begin shortly with 5,000+ families returning to 88 denotified villages. Phase 3 of Orakzai will start in July and continue until all remaining families have returned to 158 denotified villages. The 3,000+ families of Zakha Khel and Stori Khel in Khyber will return in June. Ongoing sectarian negotiations must be finalized before the final return of 4,500 families to Kurram
QUETTA: The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has called for repatriation of Afghan refugees back to their country because they are creating problems for Pakistan and disturbing its system.
The commission urged the government to pay special attention to removing sense of deprivation among people of Balochistan by protecting their rights.
This was the crux of a consultative workshop on “Development of Redress and Coordination Mechanisms in Balochistan” held here on Tuesday.
Speaking on the occasion, NHCR Chairman retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan urged the federal government to pay heed to problems being reported from Balochistan, particularly those pertaining to human rights violations.
Jelvas Musau, Senior Protection Officer of the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR), said that his organisation was thankful to Pakistan for allowing Afghan refugees to stay here. But the government should also ensure that problems of the refugees are solved and their rights are protected.
He said that the UNHCR wanted the NCHR to play its due role in this regard and added that his organisation would cooperate with the commission in this connection.
He said that the UNHCR was spending remarkable funds for improvement of health and education sectors in the areas hosting Afghan refugees.
Responding to points raised by the UNHCR official, Justice Chohan said that Afghan refugees had been living in Pakistan for decades. But their presence had created several problems for Pakistan and they had become a burden on the national economy, he added.
Referring to the demand for permission to Afghan refugees to take up jobs in Pakistan, he said that the government had the mandate under the international refugee law to take any decision in this regard.
Chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Mama Qadeer and Vice Chairman Nasrullah Baloch alleged that security forces were involved in ‘enforced disappearance of political activists and innocent people’.
They claimed that the Balochistan government had admitted that 10,000 people had been arrested by law enforcement agencies over the past several years.
Justice Chohan asked the two human rights activists to submit evidence of alleged disappearance of people, arrest of women and dumping of decomposed bodies by security forces to the NCHR to help it play its due role in this regard.
He said that the NCHR strongly condemned any wrongdoings in Balochistan and urged the state organs to act within the constitutional and legal framework.
Mama Qadeer alleged that in the past, the brother of the then chief minister was involved in kidnapping people for ransom and now the brother of a top personality in the Balochistan government was behind abduction of doctors and other people for ransom.
The NCHR chairman asked Mama Qadeer to record his statement at the commission office so that it could initiate proceedings.
Fazila Aaliani, an NCHR member, said that people of Balochistan had the right to elect their representatives of their own choice. She stressed the need for breaking the nexus of “mulla, tribal chief and the informer”.
She said that the NCHR would continue to strive for protection of rights of people of Balochistan.
Former provincial chief secretary Hakim Baloch said that the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had said that everyone whether he was Muslim, Hindu or Christian had equal rights as a citizen of Pakistan.
He said that rights of Balochistan people would be protected only when the constitution and law were implemented in letter and spirit and supremacy of parliament was ensured.
Hakim Baloch proposed that Balochistan should be granted autonomy.
The NCHR chairman responded by saying that the commission was with those people who were seeking their rights.
World: Progress against the polio eradication and endgame strategic plan 2013-2018: Semi-annual status report, July to December 2015
By the end of 2015, strong progress continued towards each of the Endgame Plan’s four objectives. The world has never been closer to eradicating polio, with fewer cases in fewer areas of fewer countries than at any time in the past. The virus is now more geographically constrained than at any point in history. As the GPEI enters 2016, it is more important than ever to redouble efforts to eradicate poliovirus in every corner of the globe.
Recognizing the progress made towards interrupting transmission, at its meeting in October 2015 the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE) congratulated the GPEI and Member States on their contributions to the eradication effort.
The SAGE reaffirmed the date of April 2016 for the switch from trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) to bivalent OPV (bOPV).
A year without polio in Nigeria
In Nigeria, no new cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have occurred since a case with onset of paralysis on 24 July 2014 was reported. WHO declared Nigeria free from endemic polio on 24 September 2015. Three years with no polio cases and certificationstandard surveillance are required before the Africa Regional Certification Commission determines whether the WHO Africa Region can be certified polio-free.
Regional insecurity continues to result in subnational surveillance gaps in Nigeria.
Furthermore, immunization gaps persist, especially in the northern areas. These gaps must be filled for Nigeria to mitigate the risk of reinfection with the disease.
A circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) case with onset of paralysis on 16 May 2015 did not result in further cases in the second half of the year, raising hopes that the aggressive response was effective against the outbreak of this strain. However, its emergence in the first place underscores again the very real risk subnational immunity gaps continue to pose to populations, and the fragility of the progress achieved.
Progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Progress reported in the first half of 2015 continued into the second half of the year – typically the high season for polio transmission.
Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to be treated as a single epidemiological block, with greater coordination between the two to interrupt transmission.
Pakistan is moving back on track. A total of 25 cases had onset of paralysis in the second half of 2015 – a vast improvement on the 206 in the second half of 2014. A national emergency action plan is being overseen by the office of the prime minister, focusing on identifying and reaching chronically missed children with the polio vaccine. Despite this improvement, vaccination gaps persist in Karachi, in the Peshawar-Khyber corridor and in parts of the Quetta block. Pakistan introduced inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization schedule in July.
In the second half of 2015, 14 cases of WPV were reported in Afghanistan. Ten of these were reported in the neighbouring provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar, which border infected regions of Pakistan. This represents a decrease from the 20 cases reported in Afghanistan during the same period in 2014. Endemic circulation continues to be a concern. Security issues still hinder reaching children in some areas of the country, as do operational challenges in fully implementing supplementary immunization activities. No cVDPV cases have been reported since March 2013. Afghanistan introduced IPV into its routine immunization schedule in September 2015.
Continued progress in central Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East
Outbreaks in central Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East appear to have stopped.
Due to the risk of residual immunity and subnational surveillance gaps in some parts of all three areas, comprehensive risk-mitigation activities are continuing there.
Ongoing responses in other areas
In Madagascar, an outbreak of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) continued into the second half of 2015, with a further two cases reported in July and August.
Both cases were linked to cVDPV1 that was detected in the second half of 2014. As time progresses, hopes are raised that this outbreak has also been brought to a close. Further cVDPV1 outbreaks occurred in Ukraine, with a second case in 2015 reported in July, and in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, with eight cases between September and December 2015.
Outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) occurred in Guinea, with four cases reported between July and October, and in Myanmar, with one case in October and one retrospectively assigned with onset in April. While this is far fewer than reported in 2014, emerging cVDPV outbreaks are symptomatic of low immunization coverage in the affected areas.
Recognizing the increasing importance of cVDPV outbreaks in the Endgame Plan, the risks that ongoing subnational surveillance gaps pose in allowing such strains to arise, and the urgent need for the phased removal of OPVs, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee extended its Temporary Recommendations under the “public health emergency of international concern” to countries affected by such strains. Previously, the Temporary Recommendations had been limited to countries affected by WPV.
Preparation for the withdrawal of oral polio vaccines and the strengthening of routine immunization systems
The SAGE met in October 2015 and concluded that preparations for the global switch from tOPV to bOPV are on track. Having reviewed transmission data, the SAGE established that the continued use of tOPV in immunization systems constitutes a greater public health risk than do the risks of proceeding with its withdrawal. According to its recommendation, the largest-ever globally coordinated vaccine switch will go ahead in April 2016. All tOPV will be removed from use and replaced by bOPV.
Containment and certification
In September 2015, the Global Commission for Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis (GCC) declared that WPV2 has been eradicated.
No cases of WPV2 have been reported since 1999. Containment activities are being further intensified in the run-up to the tOPV to bOPV switch in April 2016, to guard against any accidental release of poliovirus that could once again cause paralysis and death.
In the second half of 2015, work continued to ensure the investments made in polio eradication serve as a foundation for future global health objectives. In 2015, the GPEI reached more children than ever before, including children in remote and often insecure areas. The lessons learned and infrastructure built can continue to reap rewards after eradication.
The second half of 2015 saw the end of the Ebola epidemic, throughout which the polio team provided staff support, surveillance capacity, contact tracing, data and outbreak management, and logistical support. This is just one example of the polio legacy in action.
Financing the Endgame Plan
The midterm review by the Polio Oversight Board concluded that interruption of transmission would not occur in 2015 and that a further US$ 1.5 billion would be required to fully implement the Endgame Plan.
Looking to the future
Progress in the second half of 2015 was strong and continues to justify cautious optimism.
Africa has been polio-free for a year. Surveillance systems remain essential to monitor and stop outbreaks. The absence of wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) since November 2012 increases confidence that WPV3 transmission has been stopped, leaving only WPV1. On entering 2016, the GPEI is shifting focus onto four key areas:
accelerating emergency measures to overcome the remaining obstacles in reaching all missed children with the polio vaccine;
continuing the introduction of at least one dose of IPV in the routine immunization schedule of all OPV-using countries;
intensifying efforts to monitor the switch from tOPV to bOPV;
ensuring sensitive polio surveillance and continuing to strengthen routine immunization systems to ensure high levels of immunity, particularly in high-risk areas.
This Financial Resource Requirements (FRRs) report is the budget document accompanying the Polio Eradication & Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 (PEESP) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
The FRRs are updated twice per year based on evolving epidemiology and available funding. The financial needs reflected in this publication represent the requirements for activities to be implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) in coordination with national governments, and include agency indirect costs where applicable. The FRRs do not include estimations of costs incurred directly by national governments.
While the FRRs only cover the direct budget requirements for WHO, UNICEF and Gavi to implement activities as per the PEESP, the annual Non-FRR Report captures self-reported donor contributions to areas supportive of polio eradication, but that are outside of the FRRs. Non-FRR contributions are either in kind or in cash and are for activities that directly increase the likelihood of the success of the polio eradication programme, but they are not a part of eradication or other activities included in this FRR document. Non-FRR contributions do not decrease outstanding donor commitments to FRR activities.
For additional financing information, see http://www.polioeradication.org/Financing.aspx
Government of Pakistan has sent a 30 bed fully equipped modern field hospital and relief materials for the victims of the recent floods in Sri Lanka.
The relief assistance includes a state of the art 30 bed field hospital, which is equipped with operation theatres, X- ray systems and Labs, as well as variety of relief items including Medicine, Electricity Generators, Tarpaulins, Tents, in heavy quantities.
As well, 17 Pakistani doctors will also be arriving in Sri Lanka for providing health care assistance to the flood victims.
The authorities in Pakistan following the directions of the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have sent those materials and equipment to Sri Lanka as emergency relief for flood victims.
The two special cargo air crafts with the flood reliefs will be reaching Colombo very soon. According to documents, these relief goods are being dispatched by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the transportation arrangements of the Ministry of Defence and Pakistan Air Force.
Pakistan has also expressed their condolences to the Government and people of Sri Lanka and the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed to provide all necessary assistance to Sri Lanka as required for the rescue and relief operations.
Issuing a press release, the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo said, “The people of Pakistan stand with the brotherly people of Sri Lanka at this time of grief.”
Even earlier, the government and the people of Pakistan have extended their support for Sri Lanka at Tsunami situation, and landslide in Koslanda . The Sri Lankan government and public also supported victims of the deadly earthquake of October 2005 which claimed over 73,000 lives in northern Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well as during dengue epidemic and floods in Pakistan.