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ReliefWeb - Updates

older | 1 | .... | 54 | 55 | (Page 56) | 57 | 58 | .... | 728 | newer

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    Source: UN General Assembly
    Country: Mali, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic (the), World

    GA/11336

    Sixty-seventh General Assembly
    HIGHLIGHTS

    Assembly, ‘Grand Pantheon of Hope for World’s People’, Spotlights Peaceful Dispute Settlement, among other Vital Issues for Sixty-Seventh Session

    Against a backdrop of unravelling socio-political landscapes in Africa and the Middle East, weather-related and natural disasters wreaking havoc across virtually all regions, and uneven progress on the Millennium Development Goals — telltale signs the world in 2012 was becoming more unpredictable and dangerous — the General Assembly, during the main part of its sixty-seventh session, tackled a range of the year’s most critical international issues.

    “We are beset by a series of ruptures that seem to be building in intensity … [and whose] effects can barely be kept in check,” said Assembly President Vuk Jeremić of Serbia as he opened the 193-member body’s 2012 general debate. Rarely had it been more necessary for the world to draw closer together, he stressed, adding that “it is to that endeavour that I believe we should devote the full scope of our resources”.

    The General Assembly, as “the grand pantheon of hope for the peoples of the world”, had a major role to play, he said, in navigating an increasingly complex international landscape, which was marked, in particular, by the repositioning of States, the rising influence of non-State actors and new quests for empowerment by populations around the globe. “Let us bring to bear on the problems we face a renewed spirit of cooperation, a tenacity of purpose, and a will to overcome differences,” he said, urging Member States to “find the courage to master the many challenges ahead — and in so doing, work to assert the pre-eminence of justice.”

    While some recent calls for self-determination had engendered peaceful transitions of power and the rise of new, democratic Governments — several of whose newly-elected leaders addressed the Assembly for the first time in 2012 — Mr. Jeremićnoted concerns that the Arab Spring might have had a number of unintended consequences. Among those were the reawakening of sectarian loyalties and ethnic, as well as tribal tensions, many of them long suppressed. “The legacy of the grand, noble quest of the peoples of the Middle East for empowerment hinges on how these and other dangers are going to be dealt with,” he stressed.

    Indeed, he said later in the session, with the onset of globalization, “what happens in one part of the world invariably affects us all”. It was with that in mind that he had chosen “bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means” as the session’s overarching theme, he said, adding that the enormity of the challenge was evident. “Let us bring to bear on the problems that we face a renewed spirit of cooperation, a tenacity of purpose and a will to overcome differences,” he stressed, calling on Member States to find the courage to master the many challenges that lie ahead, and, in so doing, reassert the pre-eminence of justice.

    “This is a time of turmoil, transition and transformation”, agreed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his address to the general debate. Warning that “time is not on our side”, he presented a sobering snapshot of a world in which people were struggling to cope with numerous hardships, from economic inequality to intolerance and fallout from conflict in places such as Syria and Mali. They needed ideas, leadership and results, “now, not in the distant future”, he declared, urging political leaders to overcome divisions and “wilful blindness” before it was too late to tackle such global challenges as widespread insecurity, deepening inequality, Government waste and the impacts of climate change.

    Bookended by bloody conflicts in Syria and the Gaza Strip — and punctuated by several others — the session saw Member States sharply divided over how to react to such crises. Regarding Syria, many delegates, speaking in particular during the Assembly’s annual debates on the work of the United Nations and on the Assembly’s own revitalization, focused on the inability of the Security Council — the main body responsible for international peace and security — to act to prevent further tragedy, and called on the Assembly to play a complementary role.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Somalia
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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Insecurity remains driver of displacement although December recorded lowest number of the year.

    • A near average harvest is expected.

    • Health partners curb deadly, but preventable, diseases through mass vaccinations.


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  • 01/04/13--04:34: Chad: Urgent work in Chad
  • Source: Merlin
    Country: Chad

    Mark Hawkins

    I have recently returned from Chad where I spent two weeks in one of Merlin’s newest programmes. I visited our main operational base in Massaguet, just over an hour’s drive east from the capital city of N’djamena.

    The southern part of Chad is in the Sahel region of Africa. Sahel was in the headlines earlier in 2012 due to a drought. This is why Merlin is on the ground now providing urgent emergency aid.

    I was in Massaguet for around five days setting up radio communications and helping the team with their plans for future expansion further to the east. One evening, we received a call from the local hospital where one of the wards Merlin was supporting was plunged into complete darkness. When we turned up, I carried out a few checks and established that there was power to the lights. A simple change of a tube would hopefully solve the problem. As a poorly resourced hospital there were no spares, so one of the Logistics team was dispatched to the local market to buy some more tubes.

    Whilst waiting for the tubes to arrive, I started to look around the hospital. For the size of population covered, it’s not a very large hospital, perhaps a maximum of 8 wards?

    Within the grounds of the hospital, there were plenty of relatives of the sick. They all had good reason to be there and they have a very important role to play in the care of sick family members. Unlike hospitals in the UK where some visitors moan about paying car parking charges for a few hours visit, things are different in Chad.

    No complaints

    Car parking is not an issue at the Massaguet Hospital, in fact the only vehicles seen will belong to Merlin or the Ministry of Health. Most patients are transported to hospital by foot often carried by other family members across desert conditions. Some distances involved are equivalent to my daily 60km cycle ride and will take a few days.

    The families staying within the grounds will perform a very essential role for family sick members; they will prepare the meals for the duration of the stay. This is normal practice for many hospitals across Africa, no cause for complaints about hospital food here.

    In the dark ward, there is an infant barely more than 4 weeks old crying loudly. He is in a very bad way as he is suffering from malnutrition. He is in one of 10 very large beds in the ward with his mother. A nurse was gently rubbing some lotion into the baby who was “Red” in colour. One of the Merlin told me that this baby was meant to be black, but the red colour was one of the symptoms of malnutrition. Had this baby not reached the Merlin Therapeutic Feeding team within a few more days, he would have become another person to add the very high mortality rate of the Sahel region. This was not an occasion to use photography but I will leave this desperate scene to your imagination.

    This baby will be saved. As his condition improves, he will be moved to the second ward where follow up treatment will take place. When the baby is well enough, he will be discharged from Hospital. Sadly I can not guaranty a happy outcome as he will no doubt return back to some remote village where food and water is in short supply.

    "A job well done for the hospital, but what can be done to prevent babies and infants from getting to this sorry state in the first place?"

    Idi, is the Senior Logistician for Massaguet, originally from Burundi; he has many years’ experience in providing support to programmes throughout Africa. Whilst coordinating the Logistics for the Merlin Chad programme (and providing some support for my work) he was also part of the team drawing up plans to provide clean water to some villages in the region. Things will move fast and by the time this article gets posted online, the planning will be complete and Merlin will start work and clean water will begin to flow a few villages somewhere in the Sahel region of Chad.

    Back here in the UK, the countdown clock is running quickly towards the big ride which begins at the end of August 2013. My target of £20,000 is a long way off but with everyone’s help, I will get there. As an aid worker (and Merlin insider), I can assure everyone that money raised will be spent intelligently. We are fast, dynamic and effective. When I am cycling from the UK to Africa, there will be low spots as I reach the massive hills of Spain, but I do know that if I keep focused on the things Merlin will achieve with your kind donations, I will keep going!


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal
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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Congo (the), Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Gambia (the), Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo
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    CERF disburses over $164.5 million in 2012 for emergency humanitarian response in West and Central Africa

    The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated, over the last three months, a total of $ 8.7 million to Cameroon, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Togo. More than $ 5.4 million were disbursed for floods in Chad ($ 3.1 million), Cameroon (2 million) and Niger (359,170 dollars), while 1.5 million was granted to fight locust threats in Mauritania and Chad. Togo received $ 1 million to address the needs of Ghanaian refugees and host communities in the north and Mauritania received over 720,000 dollars to control Rift Valley fever.


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    Source: UN Radio
    Country: Gambia (the)

    Listen

    More than 80,000 people in The Gambia are benefiting from a government project that reclaims and develops degraded land to use for agriculture.

    The project, which is funded by the UN Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), uses very simple technologies.

    A number of dykes and spillways that have been built in the area where the project is being implemented to retain water that used to flow away, making the land more productive.

    Nearby, they are also turning swampland into farmland.

    Dianne Penn reports.

    Duration: 2’50″


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal
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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan (the), Western Sahara, World, Yemen
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    The Desert Locust Situation improved in the Sahel of West Africa as locust numbers declined during December due to control operations in Niger and Mauritania and drying conditions. On the other hand, the situation remained serious in winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea where adult groups and small swarms laid eggs, giving rise to hopper bands in Egypt, Sudan and Saudia Arabia.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania
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    Local rice and sorghum are the most consumed food products by poor households in Mauritania followed by imported wheat which is a substitute that these households turn to the most. Local rice is grown in the river valley (in the southern regions of Trarza, Brakna, Gorgol and Guidimakha). Sorghum is produced in all areas of production (rainfed) and in flood-recession areas. However, a significant portion is imported from Mali and Senegal. Mauritania depends greatly on food imports (70% in a good agricultural year and 85% in a bad year) than on internal production. Nouakchott is the principal collection market for imported products and also the distribution market where traders acquire supplies for the secondary markets referenced below. Cooking oil is consumed mainly in urban areas. The sale of animals is a lifestyle in all areas and an important source of income and food.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    01/04/2013 22:08 GMT

    DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP, Kenya, Jan 04, 2013 (AFP) - Two youths died and several people were wounded during a grenade attack at a refugee camp in eastern Kenya near Somalia on Friday, an AFP journalist and police said.

    The AFP journalist viewed two bodies, while the Red Cross said on its Twitter account that seven people had also been wounded in an attack on a restaurant in the Dadaab refugee camp complex, the world's biggest, which lies about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the border with Somalia.

    "We lost two people and others have been injured," regional police chief Philip Tuimur said.

    A police source who requested anonymity said the grenade was thrown from a moving vehicle.

    Dadaab has sheltered Somalians fleeing violence and drought for more than 20 years, and their numbers currently stand at nearly half a million.

    Attacks have increased within Kenya since Nairobi sent army soldiers into southern Sudan to fight Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents in late 2011.

    Similar attacks and cross-border raids in the region have been blamed on the insurgents or their Kenyan supporters, who have vowed revenge.

    The Shebab still control large parts of southern Somalia, despite African Union troops, allied Somali forces and Ethiopian soldiers having wrested control of several key towns.

    Kenyan troops, now integrated into the African Union force, seized the Shebab bastion of Kismayo, a key southern Somali port, in September. That led to warnings of retaliation from both the Islamist insurgents and their Kenyan supporters.

    But the Shebab have denied involvement in previous similar bombings.

    Violence in Kenya -- ranging from attacks blamed on Islamists, inter-communal clashes and a police crackdown on a coastal separatist movement -- have raised concerns over security ahead of elections due in March 2013.

    Five years ago, elections descended into deadly post-poll killings that shattered Kenya's image as a beacon of regional stability.

    In Somalia in 2011, famine caused by extreme drought exacerbated by conflict claimed tens of thousands of lives and affected more than four million people, according to the United Nations.

    Over a million Somalis are displaced inside the country, while over a million are refugees in neighbouring nations, according to UN figures.

    Somalia has been in political chaos and deprived of an effective central government since the fall of President Siad Barre in 1991.

    However, a new administration took office last September, ending eight years of transitional rule by a corruption-riddled government.

    In recent months, the 17,000-strong African Union force, fighting alongside government troops and Ethiopian soldiers, have wrested a string of key towns off the extremist Shebab.

    The United Nations in December appealed for $1.3 billion (one billion euros) to support 3.8 million people -- about half the population of the war-torn country -- it said are in need.

    str-mom-aud/gd


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    Source: UN Women
    Country: Mali, Nigeria, Senegal

    Ending violence against women to also be a key focus of the week-long trip

    New York, 4 January — Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet will highlight the urgent need for increasing women’s participation as the foundation for nation building and economic progress during her forthcoming trip to West Africa.

    During the visit from 7- 11 January Ms. Bachelet will visit projects which advance women’s economic empowerment and rights on the ground, and meet with the Heads of State and other high-ranking Government officials in the three countries. Starting the weeklong visit in Senegal, and then travelling to Mali and Nigeria, Ms. Bachelet will also hold discussions with civil society leaders, academics, private sector and UN System colleagues.

    During her day long visit to Mali, the Executive Director will meet with women who have been displaced and affected by the escalating violence in the Northern regions, as well as activists who have been providing assistance, often at the risk of their own lives. She will underline the critical need for inclusiveness in peace processes and that broad social engagement in conflict resolution is imperative for long-term stability and democracy. In her meetings, she will reiterate the message that she delivered to the UN Security Council in November calling upon the international community to adopt specific measures to protect women’s rights and prevent violence against women and children, and emphasizing that it is time to dedicate funding to reparations, care and the empowerment of survivors.

    In Senegal and Nigeria, Ms. Bachelet will call for robust and effective policies that can ensure women’s full participation in the economy and in political decision-making across the board, from the urban to the rural areas.

    The visit comes soon after the UN General Assembly approved banning the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which is prevalent in many of the West African countries. Ms. Bachelet will strongly urge African leaders to ensure ending FGM and all forms of violence against women, which affects seven in ten women in many countries worldwide. She will ask them to COMMIT—through a newly-launched UN Women initiative which calls on Governments to implement international agreements on ending violence against women and commit to new, concrete steps to end this scourge that affects women worldwide.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Malawi
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    Maize, rice, and cassava are the most important food commodities. Markets selected represent the entire geographic length of the country: two markets in each of the north, center, and south. In the north, Karonga is one of the most active markets in maize and rice and is influenced by informal cross-border trade with Tanzania. Mzimba is a major maize producing area in the northern region. Salima, in the center along the lake, is an important market where some of the fishing populations are almost entirely dependent on the market for staple cereals. Mitundu is a very busy peri-urban market in Lilongwe. In the south, the Lunzu market is the main supplier of food commodities such as maize and rice for Blantyre. The Bangula market in Nsanje district was chosen to represent the Lower Shire area, covering Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Nigeria
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    Sorghum, maize, millet, cowpea, gari (fermented cassava starch), and rice are all found in Nigerian markets. Sorghum, millet and maize are widely consumed by most households, but especially in the north, and are used by various industries. Maize is mainly used by the poultry industry as a raw material for feed while sorghum is used by breweries for producing beverages. Sorghum and millet are important for households in the north, particularly the border markets where millet is also heavily traded with Niger. Gari is widely consumed by households in the south and some in the north. Rice is produced and consumed throughout the country. The north is a major production and consumption area for cowpea which flows to the south for use by households and food processing industries. Ilela, Maidua, and Damasak are all critical cross-border markets with Niger. Saminaka,

    Giwa, Dandume, and Kaura are important grain markets in the north, which are interconnected with the Dawanu market in Kano, the largest wholesale market in West Africa, and some southern markets such as Bodija in Ibadan. Millet, sorghum, maize, and cowpea are among the most important cereals traded at Dawanu, while cassava and some cereals are traded with Bodija.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso
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    Millet, maize, and sorghum are the most important food commodities for household consumption. Millet is the staple of the most vulnerable households, while maize and sorghum also contribute to the food basket of a majority of all households. Sankaryare market is the largest and most important market in Ouagadougou and supplies other markets within the country and region. Koudougou is located in one of the most populated areas in the country, where a majority of households depend on the market for their food needs. Djibo is in the highly vulnerable Sahelian zone. Pouytenga is an assembly market for products from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Solenzo is a rural market located in the middle of a surplus production zone. Bobo Dioulasso is important center for both consumption and production – it functions as both the economic capital of Burkina Faso and is located in an important cereal production zone.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Ethiopia
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    Maize is the most widely consumed cereal by the rural poor. Sorghum is generally one of the cheapest cereals. Teff is also very important throughout the country. The most important markets for teff are the large cities including Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Mekele, and Dire Dawa. Addis Abada is the capital city, and Dire Dawa, Mekele, and Jijiga are major towns in the eastern, mainly food insecure, parts of the country. Bahir Dar is a major town in a surplus producing area. Sodo is an urban center located in the Wolayita zone, and is one of the most chronically food insecure parts of the region. Karati is in the Konso special woreda, a densely populated chronically food insecure area in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region. Yabelo and Guradamole are in Borena and Bale zones of southern Oromia Region respectively. These are chronically food insecure, lowland zones.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Kenya
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    Maize and beans are the most important commodities consumed, with maize availability considered synonymous with food security. Beans are very often consumed with maize. The Nairobi market is indicative for urban consumers. Eldoret is a producing area and located in the “grain basket zone.” Kisumu is a large market located in a deficit area with marginal agricultural productivity. Kitui is prone to droughts and is a marginal producing area. Lodwar market is located in Turkana, a highly food insecure pastoral district which is poorly integrated with other markets. Mandera is a food insecure area and cross border market with inadequate trade infrastructure. Marsabit is a conflict affected area that is highly food insecure and poorly integrated with other markets.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Somalia
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    Maize, sorghum, rice, and cowpea are the most important staple foods for Somalis. Maize and sorghum are the preferred staple in agriculture areas, while rice is more popular in pastoral and urban areas. Cowpea is an integral component of all households’ diets.

    Mogadishu is Somalia’s largest market with links to most markets in the country. Baidoa is a significant sorghum producing and consuming area. Qorioley is a large maize production area. Burao,
    Galkayo, and Dhusamareb are exclusively pastoral where people depend on purchases of domestically produced sorghum and imported rice. Togwajale is a sorghum producing area with links to Ethiopian markets; most cereal flows from Ethiopia pass through this market. Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland and an important reference market for livestock trade with Ethiopia. Buale, located in an important maize production area in the southern region supplies most nearby markets. El Dhere and Merka are areas of cowpea production: the principal source of income. Bossasso and Kismayo are both port towns and entry points of imports. Beled Weyn connects the south and central regions of the country, and also has linkages with Ethiopia. Belet Hawa is an important cross-border market with Kenya.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger (the)
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    Millet, maize, cowpea, and imported rice are the most important food commodities. Millet is consumed by both rural and poor urban households throughout the country. Maize and imported rice are most important for urban households, while cowpea is mainly consumed by poor households in rural and urban areas as a protein source. Niamey is the most important national market and an international trade center, and also supplies urban households. Tillaberi is also an urban center that supplies the surrounding area. Gaya market represents a main urban market for maize with cross-border connections. Maradi, Tounfafi, and Diffa are regional assembly and cross-border markets for Niger and other countries in the region. These are markets where households and herders coming from the northern cereal deficit areas regularly buy their food. Agadez and Zinder are also important national and regional markets. Nguigmi and Abalak are located in pastoral areas, where people are heavily dependent on cereal markets for their food supply. They are particularly important during the rainy season, when herders are confined to the pastoral zone.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali
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    Millet, rice, and sorghum constitute the basic staple foods for the majority of the Malian population. Millet has traditionally been the most widely consumed, but since 2005 rice has become a popular substitute in urban households. Sorghum is generally more important for rural than urban households. Markets included are indicative of local conditions within their respective regions. Ségou is one of the most important markets for both the country and region because it is located in a very large grain production area. Bamako, the capital and largest urban center in the country, functions as an assembly market. It receives cereals from Koulikoro, Ségou, and Sikasso for consumption and also acts as an assembly market for trade with the northern regions of the country (Kayes and Koulikoro) and Mauritania. Markets in the deficit areas of the country (Timbuktu and Gao) receive their supplies of millet and rice from Mopti, Ségou and Sikasso.


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    Source: Save the Children
    Country: Kenya, Mali, Somalia, United States of America (the), World, Zimbabwe
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    The Results Are In:

    More States Prepared to Protect Our Children “As a nation, we have a moral obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable during disasters: our children,” asserts Mark Shriver, senior vice president of Save the Children’s U.S. Programs.
    That’s why Save the Children is committed to working with policymakers, emergency professionals and child-focused organizations across the U.S. to ensure our children’s safety and well-being – and to hold our states accountable.

    The Report Card: Protecting Our Children During Disasters

    For the fifth consecutive year, Save the Children’s National Report Card on Protecting Children During Disasters assesses all 50 states and the District of Columbia on disaster preparedness and safety requirements for children in child care centers and schools, using four basic standards:

    1. A plan for evacuating children in child care

    2. A plan for reuniting families after a disaster

    3. A plan for children with disabilities and those with access and functional needs 4. A multi-hazard plan for K-12 schools.

    The Results: Improved Preparedness, Our Work Continues

    Save the Children has signi!cantly in"uenced disaster preparedness policy change in 22 states and tracked signi!cant improvement in the number of states meeting all four standards (a 76% increase, from four states in 2008 to 17 in 2012). However, most states continue to fall short when it comes to protecting children in disasters.
    Overall, only one-third of our nation’s states meet all four standards – leaving the majority of American children vulnerable.
    Thanks to your support, Save the Children continues our crucial work to ensure that all American children are protected.


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