Weekly News Feb 13 - Feb 19, 2017
Humanitarian Emergency Weekly News
Tropical storm Dineo has killed seven people in Mozambique since it hit the eastern coast on Wednesday. The storm, has brought heavy rain and winds of up to 160 km an hour (100 mph), raising the risk of flooding and crop damage in the impoverished southern African country. Mozambique's emergency operational center said in a statement about 130,000 people living in the Inhambane province, 500 km north of the capital Maputo, had been affected by the storm. About 20,000 homes were destroyed by heavy rains and fierce winds. Damage could be inflicted on Mozambique's multi-million dollar macadamia nut industry. Subsistence maize farmers recovering from last year's El Nino-triggered drought are also at risk. Read more.
As the volatile conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its fourth year, 1 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance - nearly double the number this time last year. The increase – an additional 420,000 girls and boys – is due to the continued fighting and the steady deterioration of life in eastern Ukraine, where some 1.7 million people have been internally displaced, and many families have lost their incomes, social benefits and access to healthcare, while the price of living has sharply risen. The situation is particularly grave for the approximately 200,000 girls and boys living within 15 kilometers on each side of the ‘contact line’ in eastern Ukraine, a line which divides government and non-government controlled areas where fighting is most severe. In this zone, 19,000 children face constant danger from landmines and other unexploded ordinance and 12,000 children live in communities shelled at least once a month. Thousands of children are regularly forced to take refuge in improvised bomb shelters. Read more.
Zimbabwe's worst drought in 25 years has left more than 4 million people needing food aid during the peak of the lean season. The 2016 drought has been particularly bad in Zimbabwe, where severe cash shortages have caused widespread food shortfalls and fuelled anti-government protests. Heavy rains this month have inflicted additional damage, battering crops and threatening more hunger in rural areas amid complaints that Zimbabweans who oppose President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party are being denied assistance. Complaints about unfair food distribution prompted an investigation last year by the independent Zimbabwean Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), which found evidence of bias among some officials. Despite government assurances it had addressed the issue, the commission has since received fresh complaints and plans to carry out further monitoring of aid delivery in the coming weeks with the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare. Read more.
The refugee office in Uganda says it has been receiving an influx of up to 4,000 South Sudanese refugees every day for the past one week. Apollo Kazungu, the commissioner for refugees in the office of the Prime Minister in Uganda, says the new arrivals are mainly women and children coming from Kajo-Keji. The refugees are being registered at a transit site for settlement in Palorinya camp in Moyo district. Uganda’s Commissioner for Refugees is aware of the precarious situation and is working to settle the arrivals and improve their living conditions and future prospects. Read more.
When a country is hit by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, a tropical storm or flooding, two things are certain: chaos will reign and coordination is key. The first 72 hours after a disaster are crucial; response must begin during that time to save lives. Here are five things that the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) — the UN’s emergency coordination organization —aims to get right within, and prior to, the first 72 hours. Read more.
Humanitarian Health Updates
As military operations to retake Mosul intensify, concerns mount that these operations may displace additional tens of thousands of civilians – beyond the 160,000-plus individuals currently categorized as “displaced” in the Mosul region after four months of combat. Nonetheless, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has identified a recent spike of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their location of origin across the country despite simultaneous displacement movements. As of 16 February, DTM identified a cumulative total of 217,764 IDPs (36,294 families) displaced as a result of the Mosul operations that started on 17 October 2016. Yet today only 160,302 individuals (26,717 families) remain displaced. The remaining 57,462 individuals (9,577 families) have returned to their location of origin. Yet for the same period, DTM has recorded nearly 1.5 million returnees (a total of 249,327 families), that is, IDPs who believe their communities are safe enough now to return to. This represents an overall increase in the returnee population of 7 percent (98,946 individuals) just in the past month. Read more.
The names of those who died in Cyclone Winston will be read out in a national ceremony in Fiji on Monday to mark Cyclone Winston's direct hit a year ago. The first anniversary will also commemorate the 44 people who died with a minute's silence. FBC reports people will be invited to share their stories of survival and resilience in the days following the disaster, seen as the worst in living memory. The National Disaster Management Office says the focus will be on the strengths and lessons learnt. The broadcaster reported the government would also give an update on recovery and rehabilitation from the Category 5 cyclone on Monday. Read more.
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