Half of all health facilities in Yemen now closed
Source: UN News Service
The transportation of medical personnel, as well as treatment for the injured, has become increasingly difficult. There is also a shortage of medicine and specialized staff.
28 March 2017 – More than 14 million people in Yemen have no access to health services, the United Nations health agency today said, warning that transportation of medical personnel and treatment for the injured is getting increasingly difficult as this week the fighting enters its third year.
At least 7,719 people have been killed and 42,922 injured since 19 March 2015, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported, but the actual numbers are believed to be higher.
“More than half of all health facilities are closed or functioning only partially,” Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesperson, told journalists in Geneva.
Mr. Jasarevic, who was in Yemen in February, said that at least 274 health facilities had been damaged or destroyed as a result of the conflict, and some 44 health workers either killed or injured.
He noted also a shortage of medicines and specialized staff, such as surgeons, many of whom have fled the country.
“For more than six months, health facilities in Yemen had received no financial support to cover operational costs and staff salaries,” the spokesperson said.
As a result, health facilities such as the chemo-dialysis centre in Hudaydah, is on the brink of ceasing operations, as there was no more fuel to run the obsolete chemo-dialysis machines, Mr. Jasarevic noted. Without the facility 600 people with kidney failure would likely die.
The long-term impact of the conflict is also having detrimental effects on the country’s food system and infrastructure.
Malnutrition is on the rise with close to half-a-million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, with one out of every two children under the age of five stunted in their growth.
This is “a 200 per cent increase since 2014 – when that number was at 160,000 – raising the risk of famine,” said Christophe Boulierac, spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
UNICEF estimates that every 10 minutes, at least one child dies in Yemen as a result of preventable causes such as malnutrition, diarrhoea or respiratory tract infections.
In addition to malnutrition, children face malaria and dengue fever, both of which have been on the rise in the past two months. An outbreak of cholera has been contained, Mr. Jasarevic said.
WHO, UNICEF and other UN agencies and their partners are providing aid but resources are stretched. For 2017, for example, the health cluster appealed for $322 million.
Pervasive malnutrition, shuttered schools jeopardize Yemen’s future generations
Meanwhile, Humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, denounced a raft of atrocities taking place in Yemen, including reportedly at least 1,540 children killed; 2,450 children injured; and over 1,550 children recruited to fight or to perform military related duties. Moreover, Hundreds of people have been killed in mosques, markets, funeral wakes, schools and hospitals.
“With malnutrition amongst children at an all-time high and at least two million children out of school, the conflict and its consequences is jeopardizing future generations in Yemen,” he said, explaining that more than 11 per cent of Yemen’s entire population has been forced to move from their homes in search of safety and livelihoods. One million of these people have sought to return to their areas of origin only to find destruction and lack of opportunities to re-start their lives.
Stressing that no humanitarian response can meet the increasing needs that the war is causing, Mr. McGoldrick said: “The people of Yemen have suffered long enough […] Only peace can end the suffering and I continue to call on all the parties to return to the negotiating table and to make effective their responsibilities to civilians across Yemen.”
Nigeria Humanitarian Fund seeks support for millions in need
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
In February 2017, the United Nations emergency chief launched the NHF - a Country-Based Pooled Fund (CBPF) - in support of life-saving humanitarian and recovery operations.
The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) is a timely and effective tool to support humanitarian action in Nigeria. It allows public and private donors to pool their contributions to enable the delivery of humanitarian life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people.
A NEW FUND FOR URGENT RELIEF
The eight-year conflict in North-East Nigeria has created a deepening humanitarian crisis. Boko Haram violence and military operations continue to affect millions of people, and some 8.5 million people need urgent assistance in the worst-affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Almost 1.9 million people, of which more than half are children, have been forced to flee their homes.
In 2017, over 70 humanitarian organizations plan to assist 6.9 million people with nutrition, food, shelter, health, education, protection and water and sanitation support. Assistance will include early recovery and livelihood interventions to help people out of crisis and back on the path to development. Public partners, relief organizations and other key stakeholders involved in the humanitarian response in Nigeria, collectively expressed support for the establishment of the NHF as a strategic and vital tool to deliver the most urgent humanitarian relief.
In February 2017, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator launched the NHF – a Country-Based Pooled Fund (CBPF) managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian (OCHA) – in support of life-saving humanitarian and recovery operations.
AN INVESTMENT IN HUMANITY
The NHF provides an opportunity for donors to pool their contributions to deliver a stronger collective response. It will help in-country relief organizations to reach the most vulnerable people and ensure maximum impact of limited resources:
- NHF is inclusive and promotes partnerships: Funds are directly available to a wide range of relief partners. This includes national and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN Agencies and Red Cross/Red Crescent Organizations.
- NHF is timely and flexible: It supports the delivery of an agile response in a fluid emergency.
- NHF is efficient and accountable: It minimizes transaction costs and provides transparency and accountability. Recipient organizations are thoroughly evaluated and relief projects are monitored with regular reporting on achievements.
COORDINATED, TIMELY ALLOCATIONS
Under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) in Nigeria, the NHF will boost the response with direct allocations to frontline responders for activities prioritized within the programmatic framework of the Nigeria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). This ensures that funding is available and prioritized at the local level by those closest to people in need.
The HC is supported by the Humanitarian Country Team and the NHF Advisory Board. The advisory board includes representatives of donors, national and international NGOs and UN agencies to ensure decisions reflect the views across the humanitarian community.
Operational support is provided by OCHA’s Humanitarian Financing Unit based in Maiduguri in Nigeria’s northeast. This set-up ensures that the NHF is managed from the epicentre of the crisis with allocation processes and monitoring close to operational partners and their projects, while maintaining a close link to strategic decision-making in the capital, Abuja. OCHA’s wider coordination activities on the ground (including needs assessments and common humanitarian planning) also help to ensure effective use of NHF funds.
Like all CBPFs, the NHF is designed to complement other humanitarian funding sources, such as bilateral funding and the Central Emergency Response Fund.
There are currently 18 active CBPFs globally. In 2016, they allocated more than $720 million to enable humanitarian partners to deliver lifesaving assistance to millions of people affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts. Following the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the UN Secretary-General stressed the critical role of CBPFs, and called on donors to increase the proportion of HRP funding channelled through CBPFs to 15 per cent by 2018. This would translate to close to $2 billion annually.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The Nigeria HRP seeks US$1.05 billion to provide life-saving assistance for 6.9 million people. In its first year of operations, the NHF aims to attract between $50-$80 million in support of the HRP. Donors are urged to contribute to the NHF and are invited to contact :
Mr. Noel Tsekouras +234 903 781 0140 | email@example.com | nhf@unorg
Thousands of displaced people are losing their lives while fleeing the fighting in Mosul
Source: International Organization for Migration
More than 286,020 individuals have been currently displaced by Mosul operations, which began on 17 October 2016; this current displacement figure increased by 122,000 in February.
Iraq - Since 25 February, when people from West Mosul first began to flee, the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has tracked a total of 27,634 families (165,744 individuals) in their location of displacement.
The largest group of these displaced people – 28,770 individuals – is sheltering in the Qayyara airstrip, constructed by IOM in cooperation with Iraq’s Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoMD). The emergency site, the largest constructed for the Mosul crisis, is now home to 8,792 families in total (48,959 individuals), an increase of over 28,000 since the West Mosul operations started on 19 February.
Construction work continues at IOM’s second camp in Haj Ali with a capacity for 7,500 plots for families (45,000 individuals). Currently, 4,356 plots (19,880 individuals) are in use mostly by internally displaced persons (IDPs) from West Mosul.
More than 286,020 individuals have been currently displaced by Mosul operations, which began on 17 October 2016; this current displacement figure increased by 122,000 in the past month. Cumulatively, more than 350,000 individuals have been displaced by Mosul operations; however, as of 23 March, more than 76,000 have returned.
Thousands of displaced people are losing their lives while fleeing the fighting in Mosul. This is Sara Alaa’s story:
Bent over, sobbing quietly as he muttered incomprehensible words, Abdullah gripped the empty-looking body bag as if his life depended on it.
At first glance, the cadaver pouch that lay on a stretcher looked empty; large parts of it appeared hollow until Abdullah unzipped it.
The little girl looked like she was asleep. Her eyes half closed, her mouth slightly opened as if she was still breathing and her pretty face unscathed. Her black hair tied back from her face, she was dressed in a sweatshirt with little coloured flowers and the word “Love” printed on it.
Her grandfather, Abdullah, had rushed her to IOM’s field hospital in Hammam al-Alil after ISIL shot her while the family was trying to escape Mosul’s al-Jadeeda neighbourhood in the early hours of last Thursday morning (23 March). Abdullah, his wife and seven other family members, including two blind women and Sara’s relatives, were trying to flee when an ISIL sniper began shooting to stop them leaving.
“We froze in our tracks out of fear. The two blind women fell to the ground. Relatives started to drag them back to the safety of a nearby building,” said Abdullah’s nephew, Salah, who had accompanied Abdullah to the field hospital.
Another ISIL sniper appeared at the top of the street where they were hiding, spraying the area with machine gunfire to prevent families from running.
Abdullah instinctively grabbed a terrified Sara and held her in his arms.
“I took her into my arms embracing her body to protect it from the shooting,” he sobbed.
But the sniper was too quick. Two bullets were fired, one entering Sara’s tiny body from the back and exiting from her chest leaving a big hole near the heart. Another bullet hit Abdullah in the abdomen.
In the panic that ensued, Abdullah and his nephew, together with Sara, were put in a car and driven to the IOM and Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) hospital in Hammam al-Alil.
“When Sara arrived at the field hospital, she was already dead,” explained the surgeon on call that morning.
By late morning, Sara’s mother was en route to the hospital, unaware that her youngest child had been killed.
“I couldn’t tell her mother on the phone,” Abdullah said as he sobbed inconsolably. “She is in a taxi on her way here and does not know that her daughter is dead,” he said, burying his face in the body bag as he wept.
“We should have been celebrating the liberation of our neighbourhood having survived ISIL for two and a half years,” he said. “Instead we are grieving. Her life started with ISIL and was ended by them,” said Abdullah.
About 600,000 people are still in the areas of West Mosul held by ISIL, including 400,000 who are "trapped" in the Old City under siege-like conditions.
Throughout the morning, victims of the conflict arrived at the IOM and QRCS field hospital.
There was seven-year-old Ali, whose left foot had been amputated two days earlier and now needed post-operative treatment. His two aunts came with him as his mother, who had been injured, was now bedridden.
“Shhhh,” they whispered as Ali cried in pain. “He still doesn’t know he has lost a foot.”
Then came young Firas, 19, shot in the back by an ISIL sniper as he tried to flee Mosul al-Jadeeda that morning.
Another seven-year-old boy wailed in pain as the doctors checked the external metal fixators they had attached to his leg a week earlier. ISIL had fired mortar at his family’s house.
An elderly diabetic lady, Umm Omar, was wheeled in for post-operative care.
She was not a victim of sniper fire or shrapnel. Living under ISIL, especially in the last few months meant lack of access to medical support, insulin and healthy food, in addition to major stress. With no means of treating her medical condition, she developed gangrene and had to have both legs amputated below the knees.
Victim after victim, all from Mosul al-Jadeeda, streamed into the field hospital that morning telling a similar story – that ISIL deliberately shot at them as they tried to escape. They shot to kill, not differentiating between man, woman, child or the elderly.
The medical team at IOM’s field hospital worked tirelessly as the victims turned up. They soothed children and calmed adults while they cleaned, disinfected, treated and patched up the wounds.
But as the day progressed, the news worsened with reports emerging that over 130 civilians had been killed in the same neighbourhood, Mosul al-Jadeeda, by collation airstrikes.
ISIL has warned civilians about leaving the areas still under their control. In recent weeks as Iraqi forces advance in Mosul, they have imposed a mounting reign of terror on those civilians still entrapped.
With ISIL using civilians as human shields, even forcing their way into homes where families have gathered for safety and firing mortars from rooftops of houses with civilians in the lower floors, an increase in the number of innocent people being killed has been reported in recent weeks.
The IDPs and patients described the situation of many civilians still living inside West Mosul as extremely bleak. If they stay, the likelihood of being killed, either by coalition air strikes or Iraqi forces’ artillery, is high; if they leave, the chances that ISIL snipers, mortars and gunmen will kill them are high also.
But despite the risks of being shot by ISIL, many say the chance of making it out, however slim, is worth the try.
For further information, please contact IOM Iraq:
Hala Jaber, Tel. +964 751 740 1654, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: email@example.com
18.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection support in Yemen
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Two years of relentless conflict have devastated the lives of millions of people. Some seven million women, children, and men could be put at risk of famine in 2017.
Sana'a, 28 March 2017
Two years of relentless conflict in Yemen have devastated the lives of millions of people. An alarming 18.8 million of them- almost two thirds of the population- need some kind of humanitarian or protection support. This man-made disaster has been brutal on civilians. Some seven million women, children, and men could be put at risk by famine in 2017.
Ordinary Yemenis are bearing the brunt of a conflict which is not theirs; caused by warring parties who are conducting themselves in a manner that totally disregards their responsibilities to do their upmost to protect civilians while they wage a war that is pushing Yemen further into despair. Over 50,000 civilians have been killed, injured or maimed. Atrocities, including at least 1,540 children killed; 2,450 children injured; and over 1,550 children recruited to fight or to perform military related duties have been reported. Hundreds of people have been killed in mosques, markets, funeral wakes, schools and hospitals.
Deliberate military tactics to shred the economy have moved an already weak and impoverished country towards social, economic, and institutional collapse. Half of the population lack access to basic healthcare. Thousands have died from preventable diseases, which shockingly include one child every ten minutes. With malnutrition amongst children at an all-time high and at least two million children out of school, the conflict and its consequences is jeopardizing future generations in Yemen More than eleven per cent of Yemen’s entire population has been forced to move from their homes in search of safety and livelihoods. One million of these people have sought to return to their areas of origin only to find destruction and lack of opportunities to re-start their lives.
Prolonged displacement and the lack of sustainable return options are putting people in greater jeopardy, as humanitarians struggle to meet their daily needs and host families deplete their resources. In the past few weeks alone, intensified fighting in Yemen’s Western Coast has forced more than 48,000 people to move.
A continuation of this conflict only increases the suffering across Yemen and makes matters worse.
Despite the lack of money and adequate humanitarian access, humanitarian partners have provided coordinated aid to millions of people across Yemen’s 22 governorates during the past two years. Donors can now help us avert this humanitarian catastrophe, including famine, by funding the US$2.1 billion requirement to help deliver life-saving food, nutrition, water, shelter and protection support to over 12 million people that are in desperate need of help.
Granting humanitarians safe and unhindered access to those in need and safe movement to those seeking assistance is also something I call on all warring parties to ensure.
The people of Yemen have suffered long enough and no humanitarian response can meet the increasing needs that the war is causing. Only peace can end the suffering and I continue to call on all the parties to return to the negotiating table and to make effective their responsibilities to civilians across Yemen. The time has come for the warring parties to place the very people they claim to be fighting for at the center of their concerns and end the fighting.
For further information, please contact:
George Khoury, Head of OCHA Yemen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +967 712 222 207 Ahmed Ben Lassoued, Public Information Officer, email@example.com, Tel. +967 712 222 855 OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int.
Mosul: Protection of civilians paramount as ISIL intensifies use of human shields
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein deplores the massive loss of civilian lives in west Mosul in recent days, victims of actions by ISIL and of airstrikes.
GENEVA (28 March 2017) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday deplored the massive loss of civilian lives in west Mosul in recent days, victims of actions by ISIL and of airstrikes.
Bodies continue to be found in buildings where civilians were reportedly held by ISIL as human shields, and were subsequently killed by airstrikes conducted by Iraqi Security Forces and International Coalition forces, as well as by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) allegedly planted in the same buildings by ISIL. Numerous other civilians have been killed by shelling and have been gunned down by ISIL snipers as they tried to flee.
Zeid welcomed the announcement by Iraqi Security Forces and the International Coalition that they are conducting investigations into some of the most serious incidents resulting in loss of civilian lives, and stressed that “the investigations into all such incidents must be thorough and transparent, to establish the facts and the number of civilian casualties in each case, and the findings must be made public.”
The UN Human Rights Chief also called on them “to undertake an urgent review of tactics to ensure that the impact on civilians is reduced to an absolute minimum, in full accordance with international humanitarian law.” He urged the Iraqi Government and its partners to ensure the rights of surviving victims are respected and that they receive appropriate reparations and other medical and psycho social support as required.
According to information verified by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, at least 307 people were killed and another 273 wounded between 17 February and 22 March. The most deadly incident occurred on 17 March, when an airstrike -- reportedly targeting ISIL snipers and equipment -- hit a house in al-Jadida neighbourhood in western Mosul city. Witnesses reported that ISIL had previously forced at least 140 civilians into the house to be used as human shields. They also said that ISIL had booby-trapped the house with IEDs. So far, official figures indicate at least 61 people were killed in this single incident, but the actual figure may be much higher.
In another serious incident, on 22 March, an airstrike hit a residential building in Rajm Hadid neighbourhood in western Mosul city. ISIL reportedly filled the house with people from the surrounding neighbourhood, including children, and then used the house to launch rocket-propelled grenades against the Iraqi Security Forces. The airstrike killed a seven-year-old girl and trapped eight other children under the rubble, seven of whom were later found and taken to hospital.
In addition, between 23 and 26 March, reports were received that at least 95 civilians were killed in Risalah, Nabils, Uruba and Sainaah al-Qadimah neighbourhoods in western Mosul city as a result of shelling, vehicle-based and other explosive devices planted by ISIL, as well as by ISIL snipers.
There are also reports that ISIL has forcibly transferred civilians within western Mosul. On 20 March, ISIL militants allegedly forced 38 families to leave their homes in the Bab al-Beth neighbourhood, as Government forces began operations in the area, and moved them to a west Mosul neighbourhood known as 17 Tamouze, using them to shield their fighters as they relocated, as well as in strategic locations. ISIL has also reportedly forced families to stay in some 15 houses on the frontlines in the Nablis and Risala neighbourhoods and are using those houses to launch attacks on Government forces. There have been numerous reports that ISIL snipers have shot at, and in some cases killed or wounded, civilians attempting to flee towards the Iraqi Security Forces, and that ISIS has also shelled civilians in areas of the city retaken by Government forces.
“ISIL’s strategy of using children, men and women to shield themselves from attack is cowardly and disgraceful. It breaches the most basic standards of human dignity and morality. Under international humanitarian law, the use of human shields amounts to a war crime,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “And shooting civilians in the back as they flee for their lives is an act of monstrous depravity.”
Zeid stressed that the conduct of military operations in densely populated areas continues to pose a significant and serious risk to civilians who remain in those areas. “The conduct of airstrikes on ISIL locations in such an environment, particularly given the clear indications that ISIL is using large numbers of civilians as human shields at such locations, may potentially have a lethal and disproportionate impact on civilians,” he said.
“I do not underestimate the enormity of the challenges facing the Iraqi Security Forces and their Coalition partners as they try to dislodge ISIL from their last strongholds in Mosul, and the immense difficulties they face in trying to save civilians from their nightmare existence under ISIL control,” Zeid said. “This is an enemy that ruthlessly exploits civilians to serve its own ends, and clearly has not even the faintest qualm about deliberately placing them in danger. It is vital that the Iraqi Security Forces and their Coalition partners avoid this trap, review how their procedures comply with their obligations under the international humanitarian law principle of precautions, and consider all tactical options available with a view to avoiding civilian loss of life and, in any event, reducing the impact of operations on the civilian population to an absolute minimum.”
For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / email@example.com) or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9466 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
New digital platform offers ‘radical transparency’ in aid spending
Source: Start Network
Start Network’s innovative portal means every aid agency project supported by the Start Fund in crises around the world can be viewed and its outcome evaluated by anyone who visits the site.
A global network of aid agencies has launched a new online platform that will allow its donors and the public to monitor humanitarian alerts as they happen, follow how money is spent and see how many people have been helped.
Start Network’s innovative portal, made public for the first time today, means that every aid agency project supported by the Start Fund in crises around the world can be viewed and its outcome evaluated by anyone who visits the website.
The Start Fund, a pooled rapid-response fund, is run collectively by Start Network’s 42 aid agency members around the world. The fund has enabled members to intervene in 99 emergencies, helping more than five million people since April 2014. Details of current projects will be made available as they unfold in real time, and information about projects already completed will be easily accessible.
Sean Lowrie, Start Network’s director, said: “This is a radical exercise in transparency which will ensure that the Start Fund is open to real-time scrutiny, like no other fund of its kind in the world. It will help to ensure that we are accountable to donors – currently four governments, and ultimately their taxpayers – and, just as important, to the communities affected by crises whose needs we seek to serve.”
The new web platform is intended to deliver:
- Transparency - ensuring impact and decision making are transparent and open to scrutiny
- Accountability - enabling taxpayers and communities affected by crises to hold the Start Fund to account by having access to data on each alert, and the lessons learned
- Engagement – allowing many more people to engage with decision making and see the impact
- Automation – enabling the Start Fund to handle more frequent crises through the network’s growing membership, ultimately on a far larger scale, using technology to offer more to more people while keeping the central team small
The Start Fund uses a three-stage alert and decision-making process to decide when and whether to intervene in a crisis, with members involved at every stage. It was set up to tackle below-the-radar emergencies or sudden “spikes” in humanitarian need within longer running crises, plugging the gap in more traditional sources of funding. It seeks to be collective, impartial and objective, and it aims to have money on its way within 72 hours of an alert being raised.
It is supported by the governments of the UK (UK aid through DFID), Ireland (Irish Aid) and the Netherlands (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and by the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department. It has enabled emergency aid to reach people affected by crisis in 50 countries.
Recent interventions have enabled member aid agencies to help Zimbabweans caught up in flooding that killed 246 people and forced thousands from their homes; the most vulnerable households in farming districts of Sri Lanka badly affected by drought; Afghan families driven from their homes in winter by fighting between Taliban and government forces; and Mongolian herders and their families, whose livestock has been hit by the second successive year of exceptionally cold conditions known as “Dzud”.
The portal offers to all users:
- A map that shows at a glance Start Fund alerts by location
- A table of all alerts, which can be filtered by alert type, aid agency and location
- Downloadable data enabling anyone to look further into the decisions made and the impact
- Graphics for each alert showing key stages of the crisis, the decision process and the response
- A learning page to ensure that the Start Fund’s new way of tackling humanitarian crisis continues to improve
Start Network members can also see additional features that will allow them to take part more easily in decision making.
Damien Mosley, Programme Funding Coordinator for Concern Worldwide, a Start Network member, said: “The new Start Fund portal is miles ahead in providing easily accessible information to all member agencies and its partners. Concern Worldwide can find all its data from past projects and the decision making behind our responses in a heartbeat. In terms of transparency you can’t ask for much more than this.”
Helen James, head of digital at the Start Network, who has been working on the project with external developers Mirum over the past year, said the new platform was more complex than its ease of use suggested.
“At the front end it displays information in a simple way which makes it accessible to wider stakeholders – members, donors, partners, taxpayers – and to anyone who wants to see exactly how the Start Fund operates.
“It all rests upon a complex, data-heavy process at the back, which will enable the information to be automatically updated as new data comes in. It’s an integrated system that combines out-of-the-box features of a number of low-cost platforms. This makes it flexible and means it can be scaled up and adapted as the Start Fund grows and its ways of working evolve in the future.”
For further information contact David Wastell: email@example.com
T: +44(0)20 3763 0074 | M: +44(0)7770 380 804 | Twitter: @davidwastell
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Start Network members agree to put long-term humanitarian goals above any short-term financial benefit to their individual aid agency.
Start Network was originally 15 British humanitarian agencies, impatient at the slow pace and duplication of effort in aid delivery, which came together to develop an emergency response fund. It now has 42 members spanning five continents. It aims to lead for change in the humanitarian system and manages aid programmes that contribute to this objective.
The Start Fund is the first multi-donor pooled fund managed exclusively by NGOs and was created in April 2014 to fill a gap in humanitarian funding. Since then it been activated 99 times and reached more than five million people in 50 countries, with assistance totalling more than £19 million. It aims to begin disbursing funds to “below-the-radar” emergencies within 72 hours of a member sending an alert. It is financed jointly by the UK Aid (DFID), Irish Aid (Government of Ireland), the Government of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department.
Other Start Network initiatives include Start Engage, helping communities in disaster-prone areas to prepare for future crises; Start Labs, fostering innovation for the humanitarian system, and Start Response, organising multi-agency interventions in larger and more enduring crises.
Detailed data on Kenya drought reveals more events likely
Source: Kenya Red Cross
“This finding underscores the use of climate information for early warning, early action initiatives to mitigate such disasters,” said Dr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRCS.
Climate scientists from multi international agencies, on 23 March 2017, released a detailed study of the Kenyan drought, whose main message is: prepare for more.
The scientists shared their findings at the conclusion of a three-day conference in Nairobi that brought together representatives from the government, private sector, Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and other humanitarian agencies.
The study says there’s a detectable ‘climate signal’ – a measure of the influence of human-induced climate change – in the atmospheric temperatures behind the drought. Data indicates they were “higher than they would have been without the influence of climate change,” according to a summary of the scientific findings made available online.
The summary cites a January 2017 FEWSNET report noting recent “hotter than normal temperature accelerated forage and water depletion across most of the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas.”
The team, however, found no strong influence of climate change on rainfall in Kenya – regarded as the main determinant of surface water – but say they cannot exclude small changes in the risk of poor rains linked to climate change.
The scientists are part of the global World Weather Attribution (WWA) programme that assesses whether extreme climate-related events are more likely now than they would be in a world without climate change.
The WWA group, which for the Kenya study included, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the Princeton-based Climate Central group, who are convenors of the WWA programme, as well as specialists from Melbourne and Oxford Universities and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
The Nairobi conference wrapped up a year-long branch of the programme that also included the UK-based Climate and Development Knowledge Network, concentrating on several developing countries affected by climate-related disasters that may be intensified by human influence.
As Kenyans wait anxiously for the next rainy season, in scientific if not humanitarian terms, the drought that began in 2016 is not yet as exceptional as the 2011 disaster in the Horn of Africa, whose ‘return interval’ the attribution scientists assessed at 1 in 50–60 years.
“This finding underscores the use of climate information for early warning, early action initiatives to mitigate such disasters,” said Dr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRCS. "With the frequency of such disasters, it is time that we explore the link between climate and disasters and take timely action,” he added.
Famine, drought, war threaten millions of children in four countries
Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen
Some 22 million children have been left hungry, sick, displaced and out of school in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, UNICEF said.
Download photos and videos from: http://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AMZIFDD22Q
NEW YORK/DAKAR/NAIROBI/AMMAN, 28 March 2017 – More than a month after famine was declared in South Sudan, time is running out for more than a million children as drought and armed conflict devastate lives in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, UNICEF said today.
“Children can’t wait for yet another famine declaration before we take action,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes. “We learned from Somalia in 2011 that by the time famine was announced, untold numbers of children had already died. That can’t happen again.”
Some 22 million children have been left hungry, sick, displaced and out of school in the four countries, UNICEF said. Nearly 1.4 million are at imminent risk of death this year from severe malnutrition.
UNICEF will require close to $255 million to provide these children with food, water, health, education and protection services for just the next few months, according to a new funding update.
Most of the funds – over $81 million – will go towards nutrition programmes to screen children for malnutrition and provide them with therapeutic food.
An additional $53 million will be allocated to health services including vaccinations, while over $47 million will go to water, sanitation and hygiene programmes to prevent potentially deadly diahorreal diseases.
The remaining funds will help protect children affected by conflict and displacement and provide them with education services. Cash assistance will also be offered to the most vulnerable families.
The resources needed over the next few months are part of a broader appeal for all of 2017, totaling $712 million – a 50 per cent increase over funding requirements in the four countries at the same time last year.
UNICEF has been working with partners in the four countries to respond to the famine threat and prevent it from spreading:
In northeast Nigeria, UNICEF will reach 3.9 million people with emergency primary healthcare services this year, treat 220,000 severely malnourished children under the age of five, and provide more than a million people with access to safe water.
In Somalia, UNICEF is supporting 1.7 million children under-five years of age, including the treatment of up to 277,500 severe acute malnutrition cases through facility-based and mobile health and nutrition services.
In South Sudan, UNICEF, together with partners, has delivered life-saving assistance to 128,000 people in areas affected or threatened by famine, including almost 30,000 children under the age of five.
In Yemen, UNICEF has scaled up activities to respond to malnutrition through health facilities, mobile teams, community health workers and volunteers reaching hard-to-access communities and displaced families. UNICEF is also supporting severely acutely malnourished children and their families with cash assistance and water and sanitation services, including the provision of safe water, supplies and hygiene promotion.
Armed conflict is a major driver of this crisis, UNICEF said, calling for unconditional, unimpeded and sustainable access to the children in need and an end to the violations of children’s rights in the affected countries.
UNICEF also sounded the alarm about a worsening nutrition situation in neighbouring countries.
“As violence, hunger and thirst force people to move within and across borders, malnutrition rates will continue to soar not just in these four countries, but also in the Lake Chad basin and the Greater Horn of Africa,” Fontaine said. “If humanitarian agencies do net get the access and resources they need to reach the most vulnerable, lives will be lost.”
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Fighting the impacts of drought in Kenya
Food scarcity within the markets, livestock death, and fear of sexual attacks as women search for water are among the ramifications of drought affecting more than 3 million people across East Africa.
More than 3 million people in Kenya are impacted by the drought across East Africa, with the worst affected living in the arid and semi-arid lands across the country. The rains have been depressed over the past year and pastoralists are very badly impacted, their livelihoods destroyed and their families suffering. FIfteeen of the 23 arid and semi-arid counties are now in the emergency category. The priority now is to save lives and livelihoods.
Food has become more expensive due to the drought
There is no food in the markets and where food is available it is no longer affordable. One kilo of maize used to cost 20 Kenyan shillings but now it's 50 Kenyan shillings. Finding food and accessing potable water and pasture is a huge challenge to communities.
Livestock has died and animals are sick and weak. The value of livestock has gone down in the market and there is no longer the same demand as there was because the drought has impacted business. Water sources have started drying up which is creating anxiety and impacting heavily on lives, especially women’s lives and their safety.
Women fear sexual attacks as they search for water
Women are having to trek longer distances to find water, in many cases walking on average nine kilometres or more to find water. Women have said they feel vulnerable to being targeted in sexual attacks. They have also told us that they are no longer going into the forest to collect firewood because they fear sexual attacks. We have heard from women that they are being told if they offer sex they will be able to access the forest for firewood.
Many women are now left to take care of themselves, their children and the elderly. The men have migrated to find pasture and water for the livestock. This makes women vulnerable. There are many protection issues and this drought is impacting the way of life and the family structures.
There is pressure on these families and where there are children attending school, girls are being taken out of school to support their mothers and family members.
When a girl is removed from school it will impact her entire life as she may as she may not have the opportunity of returning to school again. Some early marriages have been reported in some caes. This is just one consequence of the drought on girls. Child labour is increasing as children are forced to look for work to help their families.
People are becoming weaker - especially children
Malnutrition levels are increasing – families have exhausted all their coping mechanisms and there is less and less food available. The hunger is visible and the people are becoming weaker, especially the children. Elderly women are also particularly vulnerable because they are often overlooked in emergencies and can become isolated.
ActionAid puts women at the heart of the response
ActionAid believes that we need address the immediate concerns but also to focus on long-term solutions, and women must be at the heart of the humanitarian response. We work with women's groups and community-led disaster committees to ensure the most vulnerable in the communities receive assistance, and the affected communities participate in the response.
When women are at the centre of the response there is a shift in power in processes and decision making. We have also found there is also greater accountability and transparency.
We work along with women and citizens' forums for integrating accountability in the processes. ActionAid is committed to working in an accountable and transparent way that reflects and meets the needs of communities.
To date in Kenya we have carried out urgent rehabilitation of water sources so communities access immediately potable water, provided food for vulnerable households, provided school feeding programmes for 46 schools and reaching over 179,467 households.
Immediate actions needed in Yemen to avoid famine
Source: Assessment Capacities Project
Food security is rapidly deteriorating and the situation is now close to famine, with 17.1 million people in need of urgent lifesaving assistance.
The UN has warned that Yemen is at risk of falling into famine if the international community does not take immediate steps to address the severe food and nutrition crisis. 6.8 million people (25% of the population) are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity, only one phase before the declaration of famine. A further 10.2 million (38% of the population) are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The population in Crisis and Emergency has increased by 20% compared to June 2016.
Anticipated scope and scale
Without a significant upturn in the food security situation, 6.8 million people are in danger of falling into famine, and 10.2 million people are at risk of falling in to IPC Phase 4.
Priorities for humanitarian intervention
Food security is rapidly deteriorating and the situation is now close to famine, with 17.1 million people in need of urgent lifesaving assistance.
Nutrition levels are critically low, particularly in the west and south of the country. 4.5 million people need assistance to treat or prevent malnutrition, including 2.2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition, 462,000 of whom are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
Health services severely weakened by conflict are struggling to provide treatment for malnutrition, feeding centres are under-resourced. Cholera, diarrhoea, measles, malaria and other diseases are present, and treatment is often unavailable and hard to access due to widespread damage to infrastructure and insufficient medical supplies coming into the country.
Damage to infrastructure is severe and widespread, and therefore many areas are difficult to access, particularly in the south and west where humanitarian needs are the most severe. Humanitarian workers face insecurity and movement restrictions.
Getting a sufficient amount of aid into the country is very challenging due to the blockade on imports and conflict in port areas, as is the distribution of aid once it has entered the country.