Weekly News Feb 20 - Feb 26, 2017

Humanitarian Emergency Weekly News


Peru: Floods displace thousands

There has been nationwide flooding in Peru, which has affected 376,562 people, left 46,384 homeless, damaged 81,263 dwellings, rendered 5,541 dwellings uninhabitable and caused 4,393 dwellings to collapse throughout the country. On 1 to 2 February 2017, there was heavy rainfall (115 liters per meter2) for approximately 14 consecutive hours in the Province of Chiclayo, which produced a total of 510,000 cubic meters of rainfall. The magnitude of the rainfall can only be compared to that caused by the El Niño phenomenon on 14 February 1998. The intense rains have affected a total of 32 districts causing outages in electrical service and the water system and many sections of the sewer system to collapse; moreover, the collection of solid waste has been halted, causing contamination and the appearance of vectors in the areas most affected by the flooding. Families have been forced to take refuge in the homes of relatives and rescue the few belongings that remain; other families are living outdoors as they do not have anywhere to take refuge. To date, no deaths nor disappearances have been reported. Read More

Egypt's Christians flee Sinai amid Islamic State killing spree

Christian families and students fled Egypt's North Sinai province in droves on Friday after Islamic State killed the seventh member of their community in just three weeks. A Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia's Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province's capital, have also left. Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire. Sectarian attacks occur often in Egypt but are usually confined to home burning, crop razing, attacks on churches, and forced displacement. Egypt is battling an insurgency that gained pace in 2013 after its military, led by Sisi, overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed. Read More

New refugee settlement opens in Uganda as thousands of South Sudanese continue to flee every day

UNHCR and partners have opened a new settlement area in Arua district, northern Uganda that is set to become host to thousands of arriving refugees from South Sudan. The new Imvepi settlement was opened after Palorinya settlement in Moyo district, which was opened in December 2016, rapidly reached its 135,000 refugee-hosting capacity. With thousands of new arrivals fleeing to Uganda every day, South Sudan is now Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the world’s third after Syria and Afghanistan – with less attention and chronic levels of underfunding. The new Imvepi settlement area has been identified as it is expected to be able to accommodate up to 110,000 new arrivals who flee to Uganda in the weeks and months ahead. Imvepi was considered a suitable location for the new settlement as some of the previous infrastructure remains intact from when the area was previously utilized to host South Sudanese refugees. More than 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees have fled to neighbouring countries in the region, around half of which are located in Uganda. More than two-thirds of South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda have arrived since the outbreak of violence in Juba in July 2016. Currently, the influx shows little sign of abating, with more than 116,000 South Sudanese refugees having fled to Uganda in 2017 alone. Read More

Special Report


NATO develops telemedicine system to save lives in emergencies

NATO has developed a multinational telemedicine system, enabling medical specialists to provide real-time recommendations to first responders at emergency scenes or in combat zones. The telemedicine system can be used both by the military and civilian paramedics. “In the event of a disaster, telemedicine helps eliminate distance barriers and improves access to medical services that would often not be available on the ground, even in remote areas,” explained Ambassador Sorin Ducaru. Thanks to telemedicine, medical specialists, located in different parts of the world, are able to assess patients, diagnose them and provide real-time recommendations. Portable medical kits allow first responders at the scene to connect to the system, receiving expert advice from medical specialists. This allows the right aid and care to reach those who need it most quickly, with the potential to save many lives in disasters. Read More

Humanitarian Health Updates


Iraqi forces punch into western Mosul, launch air strikes in Syria

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces pushed into western Mosul on Friday after retaking the city's airport from Islamic State. The International Rescue Committee said the most dangerous phase of the battle was about to begin for the 750,000 civilians believed to be trapped inside Mosul. The United Nations has warned up to 400,000 civilians could be displaced by the new offensive amid food and fuel shortages. The new offensive comes after government forces and their allies finished clearing Islamic State from eastern Mosul last month, confining the insurgents to the western sector of the city, which is bisected by the Tigris river. Commanders expect the battle in western Mosul to be more difficult, in part because tanks and armored vehicles cannot pass through the narrow alleyways that crisscross ancient districts there. Read More

Humanitarian situation worsens in Myanmar despite Aung San Suu Kyi

5,500 people have been stranded since September in Myaing Gyi Ngu, an area in Kayin State where relief supplies trickle in only sporadically as international aid agencies are largely blocked. The military and its Border Guard Force militia sent people to Myaing Gyi Ngu when they began operations against a faction that had broken away from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, a former insurgent group that signed a “Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement” in 2015. The NCA was a centrepiece of the previous government’s attempts to forge a peace deal with ethnic armies. Many hoped that Aung San Suu Kyi’s electoral triumph would revive peace negotiations. Fighting has gotten worse, and the government was forced to call off the next round of peace talks scheduled for 28 February. As the security situation has declined, so has access to those affected, with humanitarian groups saying the government is preventing them from bringing aid to displaced people. The UN says about 218,000 people are displaced inside Myanmar, mostly in temporary camps in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states. Another 100,000 people or so more recently fled their homes. Read More


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