UNICEF has launched its largest ever emergency appeal for funding. The children’s aid agency of the United Nations is warning that the level of conflict in the world is creating unprecedented levels of need. UNICEF estimates that approximately one in four children globally live in a country that is affected either by a disaster or conflict. The agency is appealing for $3.6 billion in order to deliver emergency assistance in 2018.
Responding to crises all over the world
My Penrose of UNICEF UK says that in many countries around the world war and violence continues to intensify. He adds that the countries that have the most need are Yemen where there was a massive cholera outbreak in 2017 on top of the proxy war that is taking place there and Bangladesh which saw a huge influx of refugees as a result of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic have also seen their crises take turns for the worse.
Cholera outbreaks at an unprecedented level
UNICEF is warning that as many 60,000 children are at risk of starvation in North Korea and the imposition of international sanctions has resulted in aid deliveries being slowed down. Last year a record number of cholera outbreaks occurred globally, particularly in parts of the world that are affected by conflict which caused the collapse of public services such as water and sanitation systems. In Yemen the number of people suspected of being affected by cholera was 1 million, representing the largest and fastest outbreak of the disease in modern history.
Donors simply not responding with enough aid
Despite the requirement to deliver a humanitarian response, it is highly unlikely that donors will respond and contribute the billions of dollars that are required. Last year only 65 per cent of the funding requirement was met by mid-December. Mr Penrose says that the aid agency always hopes the full amount will be raised but unfortunately experience says otherwise. As many as 50 million children have had to flee their homes in response to violence, poverty or natural disaster.
Country appeals don’t receive the necessary funding
Some of the 10 largest country funding appeals received less than half of what was required last year. The DRC for example is facing a crisis that has forced 1.7 million people to flee their homes, however it’s country appeal only managed to raise just 33 per cent of its funding requirement making it the least funded country appeal. A recent report commissioned by Care International found that the crisis in the DRC was the least reported in Western media outlets.
The UK is the world’s second largest donor country
The UK has been relatively generous compared to other donor countries, and was the second largest contributor to humanitarian appeals donating $199.5 million. The United States was the largest donor, contributing $553.1 million. 84% of the funding appeal this year has been earmarked for countries that have been affected by violence and conflict. A third will go towards delivering humanitarian aid in Syria where civil war has been raging for eight years. Money will also be used to assist countries hosting refugees such as Jordan and Lebanon.
Worried about the onset of monsoon in Bangladesh
Another crisis high in the list of priorities for Unicef is helping Rohingya refugees that have taken shelter in Bangladesh where the monsoon season is fast approaching. Last year 655,000 Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar for Bangladesh with children making up more than half the new arrivals. The refugees live in flimsy tents constructed from plastic and bamboo. Mr Penrose says the onset of monsoon in Bangladesh could be catastrophic because the major killer in such environments is poor sanitation.
Money raised through UNICEF’s funding appeal this year will be used to meet basic emergency needs such as water and sanitation, nutrition, education and protection.
Category: Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide is warning that the Democratic Republic of Congo is in the midst of perhaps the most urgent humanitarian crises anywhere in the world this year. The aid agency says conditions in the DRC continue to worsen with 13 million people in need of assistance, 4.3 million people losing their homes as a result of civil war and 7.7 million people starving. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), a shocking two million children in the country are at risk of severe acute malnutrition which if left untreated could result in death.
Suffering on a massive scale
Reka Sztopa the aid agency’s Regional Director for Central Africa says that suffering is taking place on a massive scale and continues to get worse with each passing day. Concern is urging that it be given unrestricted access in order to deliver lifesaving assistance and is appealing for funding to support its efforts. The aid agency has had a presence in the DRC for more than two decades and says that aid has not arrived nearly fast enough. This despite the fact that 13 million people require assistance and a decision by the United Nations to upgrade the DRC’s status to a Level 3 Emergency.
Funding requirements not being met
What that means is the DRC joins Syria and Yemen as being the worst-of the-worst humanitarian crises. If there is no immediate intervention, hundreds of thousands of people will end up starving. The UN has requested $1.68 billion in humanitarian funding, but so far only 2 per cent or $36.8 million of the requested amount has been received this year. Last year only 57 per cent of the DRC’s funding requirements was met.
Conflict is a persistent threat
The displacement in the country is the result of a conflict between various armed militia which are seeking control of land and resources. Last year it was estimated that in the DRC, 5,500 people fled there homes every day as a result of the fighting. Mark Johnson Concern’s man on the ground in the DRC says that conflict is a persistent threat to local communities and its impact is very real and clear to see. He adds that recently the agency was distributing aid when fighting broke out in a town that was located quite close by. The fighting forced Concern to postpone what it was doing so that it could make sure that the communities that were affected and its staff members supporting them were safe.
To make matters worse, there is lack of access to clean water and sanitation which has resulted in an outbreak of cholera. So far more than 1,200 people have died as a result of the disease which is being described as the worst outbreak in over two decades. Concern is doing its best to fight the disease and prevent it from spreading across provinces in the South-East of the country. The agency is providing support and access to clean water and sanitation to more than 61,000 people.
Dozens of young girls will participate in a charity football match to commemorate a mother of two. The Pleasley Stags Girls Football Club Under 13’s team will play host to the Moorgreen Colts’ Under 13’s team on Sunday March 18th at the Rotherham Road Recreation Ground, in New Houghton, on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border.
In memory of Jackie Page
The match is being organized by Amy and Jemma Page in memory of their mum, Jackie Page who died unexpectedly at the age of 45 after a heart attack. The venue of the fixture is her home village and its date is set for the day after what would have been Jackie’s 48th birthday. Amy who is 26 and serves as secretary of Pleasley Stags Girls FC and helped set it up last year says setting up a football club was something her mother was extremely passionate about. Jackie wanted to help her daughters out and wanted to raise money so her girls could participate in extra activities which would create plenty of happy memories whilst growing up.
Money raised will got to Nottingham Hospitals Charity
All of the funds raised by the match will be donated to Nottingham Hospitals Charity which supports the Queen’s Medical Centre. Jackie spent nine days at the centre’s ICU before her family made the heart-breaking decision to end life support. Jemma who is the club’s welfare office says the ICU is a terrible place to be and not somewhere anyone ever wants to end up. However, the hospital staff ensured her mother’s final days were a little bit better and although they never heard her speak or saw her move, they took her in to their hearts and provided the girls with so much support during one of their most difficult experiences.
Celebrating their mother’s life
Jemma adds that all the girls and their parents are aware of her mother and its great to have their support. For Jemma and her sister every day is hard but the football club gives them something they can focus on and it will mean a lot to celebrate her life with her friends, family and even those who never had the opportunity to meet her but have still taken both sisters and their mother into their hearts.
The sisters do a lot of good
Naomi Walters a senior community fundraiser at Nottingham Hospitals Charity knows the sisters well and says they have completed a huge number of fund raising events in memory of their mother. This latest event is another way to honour their mother’s memory and raise money for the adult ICU in Nottingham. The money the sisters raise makes a massive difference to patients by providing specialist equipment and additional services and staff training. Ms Walters says everyone at Nottingham Hospitals Charity is grateful for the continued support of the sisters.
According to Oxfam, the gap between the ultra-wealthy and everybody else in the world continued to widen last year as an increasing proportion of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small minority. Oxfam says that 82 per cent of all income generated last year was earned by the wealthiest 1 per cent of the global population. Contrastingly the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth at all.
A failing system
Some critics have expressed their doubts about Oxfam’s findings but the charity remains resolute that the system is failing. Oxfam blames a number of things for the disparity, ranging from tax evasion, the ability of corporations to influence policy, cost cutting and the erosion of workers rights. Sadly, Oxfam has been producing reports with similar findings for the last five years. In fact, in 2017 the charity calculated the world’s eight richest people were worth as much as the world’s poorest half combined.
This year Oxfam has revised that estimate and now says the 42 richest people on the planet control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half. It also revised its 2017 estimate up to 61 people with the charity citing improved information for the revision though it added that the trend of widening inequality continues. Oxfam released its report to coincide with last month’s World Economic Forum in Davos which is a conference that attracts the global elite.
All talk no action
Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive says that the issue of inequality typically features high on the agenda of the conference, however most of the tough talk on the topic usually fades away at the first instance of resistance. Working out how much wealth the super-rich and extremely poor have is a difficult task. The former prefers not to publicise their wealth and poor countries tend to have poor statistics.
Rethinking business models
Oxfam want’s businesses to rethink their models and is urging them to stop completely focusing on maximising shareholder return and ignoring their broader social impact. The charity says there is massive support for action, with 72 per cent of the 70,000 people it polled across ten countries saying they wanted their governments to do something immediately about the gap between the rich and the poor.
Category: Guide Dogs For The Blind
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The largest ivory market in the world just banned its trade and Avaaz was right at the very heart of the fight. The ivory market in Hong Kong is simply enormous and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of elephants. With this amazing species heading towards extinction Avaaz launched a massive petition that was sent to legislators in Hong Kong. Many legislators engaged with Avaaz and a media storm emerged prior to the vote with legislators actually holding up Avaaz campaign ads during the debate.
A million people signed the Avaaz petition
More than a million people signed Avaaz’s petition calling for an ivory ban. Almost immediately after the campaign was launched a key legislator from Hong Kong contacted Avaaz to talk about the campaign which shows it definitely got their attention. Avaaz then got an email from a campaigner saying that a vote to ban ivory would take place within five days so the group immediately swung into action. Social media in Hong Kong was plastered by a video made by WildAid Hong Kong featuring Chinese superstar Li Bing Bing depicting the devastating effects of the ivory trade.
Running ads and joining protests
Avaaz also created a wonderful advertisement to run in Hong Kong’s biggest newspapers on the day the vote was meant to take place telling lawmakers that the elephant’s future lay in their hands. Thousands of Avaaz supporters sent messages to legislators urging them to support the ban and as they were voting Avaaz members participated in a colourful protect organised by a wide variety of campaigners.
Finally, during the debate, just prior to the vote taking place an influential lawmaker who supported the ban held up a giant printed version of the Avaaz advertisement for everything to see, letting his colleagues know the whole world was watching. In the end it was a landslide and the global media has hailed it as a historic victory because the largest ivory market in the world will start to shut down.
Many people participated
Like so many campaigns Avaaz runs, this outcome was not achieved alone. The incredible result was made possible following years of campaigning by WildAid and other organisations. Thanks to a dedicated group of lawmakers, a vote was made to happen. As a result of all that effort, poachers and traders will be deeply angry and the majestic elephant has been handed an important lifeline.
The Silver Line is the UK’s only free 24-hour national helpline for older people that are feeling isolated and lonely. The number is available to call all year round and the service recently revealed that December was the busiest month in the charity’s 4-year history. The news follows hot on the heels of Theresa May appointing MP Tracey Couch to the newly created role of Minister for Loneliness as part of the government response to the report from Jo Co Commission which Silver Line participated in.
The Christmas period is traditionally busy
In December of last year Silver Line responded to 47,318 calls representing a 10 per cent increase over the previous year. The majority of the calls came in between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Sophie Andrews Silver Line’s chief executive says last Christmas was the charity’s busiest ever. 14,000 calls were made to the help line which was an increase of approximately 1,000 compared to 2016. Ms Andrews said the largest spike in calls occurred on New Year’s Day when the help line received 1,773 calls or a 14% per cent increase from 2016.
Elderly people feel isolated over the holidays
Ms Andrews added that New Year’s Day is when the help line usually receives calls from elderly individuals who have not spoken to anyone for days on end and then suddenly find themselves invited to celebrate for a few hours over the festive season. They then find after the celebration, they are all by themselves again and find it hard to deal with the concept of New Year’s Day because they see yet another year of isolation and loneliness stretching ahead of them.
Plenty of volunteers and staff members pitch in
Silver Line is fortunate to have an army of volunteers and along with them the management team and trustees all pitched in to make over 4,700 outbound calls to lonely and isolated elderly people over the course of December. An additional 1,112 calls were made on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day combined. Ms Andrews says that in the four years since the launch of the charity, Silver Line has responded to over 1.7 million calls from elderly individuals who feel isolated and lonely. This however is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of reaching people who are in need of someone to speak to.
Fundraising is the biggest challenge
Ms Andrews says that 80% of the more than 10,000 calls the helpline gets a week come from first time callers who often refer to Silver Line as a ‘lifeline’. According to Ms Andrews the demand for the service shows no signs of slowing down and as we journey into 2018 this means that the cost of running the helpline is rising. In order to keep the service going, Silver Line needs to raise a massive £15,000 per day in donations. This is the charity’s biggest challenge and it needs to be met in order to ensure there is someone there to listen to some of society’s most vulnerable members this time next year.
UNICEF says it is shocked by the scale of attacks on children living in conflict zones around the world last year. In its latest report the agency said there was widespread and blatant disregard for the international laws that were created to ensure the most vulnerable were protected. Manuel Fontaine of UNICEF says that children were actively being targeted in their homes, at schools and in their playground and such brutality cannot become the “new normal”
Conflict zones are where the violence takes place
The report says the conflict zones where children suffered the most last year were in the Central African Republic where children were regularly raped, kidnapped and recruited to join armed militias as violence dramatically increased. In North-East Nigeria and Cameroon, Boko Haram the Islamist militant group forced at least 135 children to serve as suicide bombers. In Myanmar the violence against Rohingya children was both shocking and widespread. In South Sudan an astonishing 19,000 children were forced to join armed groups and the conflict in Yemen left at least 5,000 children dead or injured last year. In Eastern Ukraine, nearly a quarter of a million children live under the constant threat of unexploded landmines that were left over from the war.
Children actively targeted
Mr Fontaine says that children are actively being targeted or suffer from exposure to brutal violence or attacks in their homes, schools and playgrounds. He adds that we should not become accustomed to the violence as these attacks continue to occur year after year. According to the report in some places even after being released by extremist groups, the children suffer further abuse from state security forces. Millions of children are malnourished and are suffering from disease and trauma, particularly when they are denied access to food, water and sanitation as a result of conflict.
Agency urges compliance with international law
UNICEF is urging all parties to immediately comply with their obligations under international law and put a stop to violations perpetrated against children and the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure including schools and hospitals. The agency is calling on states that have influence over the participants in the conflict to use that influence to ensure that children remain protected.
The UK’s largest supermarket chains have become massive plastic waste factories generating over 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging each year. To put that into context, that is enough plastic to cover the whole of Greater London. This is obviously terrible for the environment because all that plastic ends up choking the oceans, killing wildlife and may even contaminate the tap water.
Lend your support
A group of 200 MP’s spanning party lines are urging the big UK supermarket chains like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S to get rid of plastic altogether within the next five years. If enough of us support them, their pleas can be turbo charged and we can eliminate the scourge of plastic pollution for good. By signing the Avaaz petition, you will be lending your voice to the cause and when the petition reaches 200,000 signatures, Avaaz will deliver the message to stores across the country in person.
Supermarkets are major pollution sources
Supermarkets are responsible for about 25 per cent of all the plastic that is used throughout the entire country and most of it ends up either in landfill, the ocean or burned. The planet is simply drowning in plastic packaging, and the most upsetting thing is that it is totally unnecessary. It has already been proven that change is possible. Iceland has embarked on a journey to eliminate plastic after 80 per cent of its customers said they supported the move when they were polled. The UK’s other supermarket chains should follow their lead.
Do not stand for plastic pollution any longer
You can show the UK’s biggest supermarkets that their customers will not stand for plastic pollution any more by joining Avaaz’s call for plastic-free supermarkets. Avaaz is the same community that was able to deliver a million-strong petition to the UN urging that single-use plastic be phased out globally within 5 years. With your support, enough money was raised to begin the process of campaigning to clean up the 10 most ocean polluting rivers in the world. The power of people is huge so let’s use it to win the battle against the use of plastic in supermarkets.
Its official. We are actually poisoning our oceans as anyone who watched Blue Planet II last year will tell you. Horrifying images were on display for all to see which included turtles that found themselves tangled in a mess of plastic, whales that had consumed tonnes of bottles and bags. And who couldn’t be disgusted by the revolting islands of trash that stretched out into the ocean for miles? If immediate action isn’t taken, then by 2050 there will actually be more plastic in the sea than fish!
It’s not all bad news
The news is not all grim however because according to the latest research just 10 rivers are responsible for contributing 90 per cent of the plastic pollution flowing into our oceans. These rivers are located in Asia and Africa so if we focus our efforts on cleaning them up we literally have the ability to ensure our oceans stay clean as well.
Lets not wait for governments to take action
Avaaz has decided to act instead of waiting for governments to do something about the problem. The organisation has a plan which seeks to enlist just 50,000 people and get them to donate a small amount of money. The money raised will be used to recruit plastic experts who will come up with plans to clean up rivers that are being polluted by cities which are located on their banks. Avaaz also plans to launch a huge public awareness campaign aimed at residents of these cities. Not only that but the organisation will lobby donor countries to help finance clean-up activities for the ten offending rivers. All you need to do to get involved is chip in what you can and you can help stop the plague that is killing the planet.
Chip in to solve the problem
Human beings have a terrible addiction to plastic, using 1.4 billion plastic bottles every day, with only a tiny fraction being sent for recycling. Once this plastic ends up in the environment, it can take more than a millennium for the plastic to finally break down. The ten polluting rivers can be found in countries such as India, Laos and Cambodia and the good news is these countries actually want to do something about it but need help. The polluters lack the know-how, resources and will to deal with the problem.
Create a global movement
Fortunately Avaaz has members located in nearly every country in the world and the organisation has a fantastic track record of mass mobilisation. The top experts in plastics pollution are primed to deal with the problem and with your help something can be done about the problem. Plastic pollution is literally asphyxiating our oceans. If enough money is raised, a global movement to save our oceans can be built from the ground up. It is easy to feel despondent when we think about the scale of the problem but now that we know there is a solution we must do something about it because if we don’t, then who else will?