For weeks now the conflict in the Central African Republic has been intensifying and this has resulted in a virtual blockade of critical humanitarian assistance required by thousands of families displaced by the violence. Unicef has said a few planes have been permitted to land in the South-East town of Bangassou carrying 5.6 tonnes of emergency aid including cooking material, soap, water buckets, blankets and mats. The aid was distributed amongst 800 households by Unicef partner organisation ACTED.
Thousands of families in desperate need of assistance
Unicef representative for Central African Republic Christine Muhigana says the agency has been attempting to reach thousands of families in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, but this has become nearly impossible because the escalating violence has made it too dangerous. Ms Muhigana says given how critical the situation has become in the South East of the country, the only available solution was to airlift emergency supplies to families and children in these difficult to reach areas.
Clashes between armed groups
There have been a number of clashes between armed groups in the South East of the country which have left more than 300 people dead and 200 injured the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes seeking out safety. This represents the Central African Republic’s largest population displacement since 2014. In Bria 40,000 people out of a total population of 47,000 have left with most people who have fled being children.
UN asking for access to civilians
In the worst affected areas, the roads are only accessible via UN military escort due to the violence and this means truck drivers do not wish to transport supplies because they fear for the lives. Unicef is calling on all armed groups to give aid workers the ability to access civilian populations without any impediments so they may deliver life-saving supplies and service without delay.
Escalating violence may unwind previous agreements
Unicef also worries that the most recent outbreak of violence could mean the unwinding of prior commitments made by armed groups to release all captive children and cease any further recruitment. In May 2015 leaders of 10 different armed factions in the Central African Republic committed to releasing children and since that agreement was signed, over 7,000 children have been released from their ranks.
Category: Concern Worldwide
The people of Ireland contributed roughly 25 per cent of Concern Worldwide’s global income last year, giving approximately €51 million. Last year Concern said it was able to deliver aid to 22.6 million people across 27 of the world’s poorest countries. The aid agency initiated responses to 45 global emergencies in 25 countries and helped 4.6 million people. Concern Worldwide’s total annual income was the highest it’s ever been in 2016 with the aid agency managing to raise €183.5 million last year.
Giving is a response to extreme poverty
Concern says its fund-raising achievement is a reflection of “the growing level of global humanitarian need and the organisation’s increasing focus on supporting people living in extreme poverty”. Dominic MacSorley heaped compliments on both the Irish government and the general public all over the world who donated with so much generosity. He said that generosity was critical to the success of Concern’s fund-raising efforts. Mr MacSorley has been working for Concern for 35 years and earned an income of €99,740 last year said that the charity sector has had a tough time of late.
“As an organisation, we understand the crucial importance of maintaining the highest standards of accountability and transparency as we deliver our programmes across some of the world’s poorest countries. The €183.5 million raised last year is a record in Concern’s 49-year history and we will continue to work even harder to ensure we retain this valuable support.”
Responding to emergencies
Concern responded to a number of major emergencies last year including a response to the ongoing crisis in Syria where Concern delivered aid to 1 million people across Lebanon, Turkey and within Syria. The aid agency also responded to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti where it was able to help 10,000 people by providing them with essential household and hygiene items. Concern is also heavily involved in responding to the widespread drought that has hit Ethiopia where nearly 200,00 children and adults have been treated for malnutrition.
Celebrity mothers have kicked off the fundraising effort by Oxfam which is targeted at families and is called Dressed by the Kids which is set to occur on 16th June. The proceeds will be used to fund Oxfam’s lifesaving work around the world. Television personalities such as Ashley James, Suzanne Shaw, Gaby Roslin and Kate Thornton eschewed their stylists for a day and allowed their kids loose on their closets, and wore whatever jumbled concoctions of styles their kids chose for them.
Raising money by having a laugh
Television presenter Kate Thornton took the help of her 9-year-old son to kick of the fun campaign. Ms Thornton said her son was completely in charge and they laughed all day. She went on to add that as a parent she would like to impart the knowledge to her child that we have the ability to help those most in need. Gabby Roslin handed over her wardrobe reigns to her children aged 10 and 15 and when she saw what they had chosen, she said that it would never have been a combination of clothes she ever would have chosen. She adds that as a family they wanted to support Oxfam’s important work.
Oxfam works with the world’s poorest
Oxfam works on behalf on the over 1 billion people that are trapped in extreme poverty and the millions of families who lack access to the necessities required to live in good health and safety. Oxfam is one of the oldest UK charities and has been working with some of the world’s poorest people for more than seven decades. The organisation spans 90 countries and is currently devoting attention to the millions of people who face the prospect of starvation as a result of the hunger crisis that has struck the Horn of Africa.
Kids have wild imaginations
Katie Piper who is a philanthropist chose to kick off the campaign wearing unicorn horns and an odd pair of shoes chosen by her daughter Belle who is 3. Not surprisingly she said she would never wear such an outfit ordinarily by because her daughter had chosen it to help other children her age in the poorest countries in the world she was unable to refuse. Ms Piper says she can’t wait to see how the country dresses up on June 16th because kids really do have the wildest imaginations.
Category: Save the Children
Ray Parlour the football legend who played for Arsenal was there to inaugurate one of three new football pitches that are located in North Jakarta’s disadvantaged slum communities. Ray was there to participate in the Save the Children football programme which is financed through the Arsenal Foundation. Arsenal ran an end of season campaign to fund the project in order to enable children to be empowered to fight for their rights and help them escape tragic circumstances.
Safe spaces for children
Ray visited the programme in Indonesia’s capital that is providing a safe place to play for vulnerable children and in the process, build their confidence by encouraging teamwork. As part of his visit, Ray played football with the kids and participated in a training session run by Drew Tyler, who is a coach at Arsenal Soccer School.
Speaking about the visit, Ray said that football has been such a big part of his life and provided him with so many opportunities that it is truly amazing to see the sport used in a way that makes such a massive difference to children’s lives. Ray cited the example of a young boy called Dhani who lives on a bench at the edge of a rubbish dump. Dhani has had to leave school in order to support his family and listening to his story was a real eye opener for Ray. Dhani faces so many struggles each day but through football he can live out some of his childhood and put a smile on his face.
Lack of public spaces
Fajar Jasmin who works for Save the Children in Indonesia said that there are more than 1.6 million people living in North Jakarta and there are lots of urban slums in the region. Many children from this part of the city live in extreme poverty and are socially excluded every day. These children are forced to live in conditions which are unstable and are exploited and neglected combined with a lack of public spaces. As a result of the Arsenal Legends game which Ray participated in, The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children have come together to enable the power of football and the Arsenal brand to build and run pitches.
UNICEF says that there are 1.4 million children in drought ridden Somalia that will likely suffer from acute malnutrition this year. That is a 50 per cent increase from the first estimate which was made in January. The figures include more than 275,000 children who are likely to face a severe form of acute malnutrition which is life threatening and are nine times more likely to die of diseases such as measles or cholera. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says the combination of dehydration and malnutrition added to displacement is deadly for children.
Children could die within hours
Ms Mercado added that a child that was severely dehydrated and malnourished can die within a few hours if they fail to receive treatment for diarrhoea or cholera. Measles is also a major threat because it is airborne and can spread like wildfire in the camps. It is estimated that 2.9 million people in Somalia face the prospects of famine. In North-East Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen 17 million people are at risk says the United Nation. In pockets of South Sudan, famine has already been declared.
Huge increase in children suffering from malnutrition
So far UNICEF has treated roughly 56,000 Somali children for malnutrition since the start of the year which represents an increase of over 88 per cent over last year said Ms Mercado. UNICEF funds nutrition and cholera centres but has no data on how many children have died from hunger and disease in Somalia. Ms Mercado said that during the 2011 famine an estimated 258,000 people perished over a year and half period. 133,000 of the people who died were young children.
“Every mother I spoke to said their children were sick, either with diarrhoea, or vomiting or feverish. Most had never been vaccinated before because of the insecurity across the country,” Mercado said. “The pace and the scale of displacement have risen exponentially.”
Approximately 615,000 Somalis have had to flee their homes since last November because of the drought and crop failure. They join the 1 million people that have already been internally displaced. The UN has managed to achieve approximately 60 per cent of its funding target for its humanitarian appeal of US$ 720 million for Somalia. A spokesperson for the agency said it is in a race against time.
Category: Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, Save the Children
The British public has once again showed its generosity by helping to raise £50 million in 22 days for East Africa. The money will be used to enable aid agencies to step up their efforts to deliver food and assistance to millions of people who are on the brink of starvation. The total amount raised by the UK to help with food shortage in Yemen and East Africa is £72 million when you include the £15 million the UK government has also contributed.
Helping to save lives
This means the British people are already helping to save lives says Saleh Saeed CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Mr Saeed says the £50 million raised for East Africa will provide millions of people living in the drought afflicted areas with food, water and access to medical care for more than two years. The Yemen appeal which was launched back in December last year has so far raised £22 million.
Assistance being delivered despite of obstacles
More assistance is already being delivered to those in need in spite of the fact that there are many challenges. For example, as a result of the conflict in Yemen the cranes in the port of Hodeida have been destroyed. In South Sudan fighting is taking place and in Somalia vast swathes of the country are controlled by terror groups who have blocked access to aid. Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan and in Somalia people face the prospect of starvation with roughly 20 million people affected.
All the leading charities are contributing
The DEC is made up of the UK’s leading charities and is lending its support in East Africa where food shortages are most acute. According to Mr Saeed there have been reports that the delivery of aid has had an immediate impact to the lives of people affected by the crisis. Concern Worldwide has set up a nutrition centre just outside Mogadishu the capital of Somalia. Save the Children is also working with about 40 drought affected communities in Ethiopia and Somalia and providing them with food, water, and medical care. Oxfam is delivering water and providing sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people in Kenya.
Still lots more to be done
Mr Saeed said whilst the he was very grateful for what has been provided so far, there is still far more to be done as the crisis get worse. He added that the UK can be proud of its response to the East Africa and Yemen appeal. A lot of money has been raised and the UK government and the British public are leading the charge.
Oxfam said ahead of the recent Climate Change March on Washington, that global warming is responsible for making drought and humanitarian disasters worse. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that roughly 12 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are at risk of starvation due to recurring droughts. The agency believes that Somalia in particular is at risk of entering into a state of famine for the second time in six years.
Climate change a real threat
Nigel Tricks, regional director for Oxfam said in an interview that in East Africa, climate change is a very real problem that poses a threat today in East Africa. Mr Tricks added that what were once previously thought to be once in a lifetime droughts now seem to be routine. According to Mr Tricks, for the first-time camels and donkeys which are typically resistant to lack of water are dying by the score and this is causing havoc in the lives of pastoralists.
Thousands of people participated in the March
Thousands of people took part in the People’s Climate Change March held in Washington at the end of April. Last month President Trump signed an order to repeal climate change regulations that were enacted under the Obama administration. President Trump was keeping a promise to provide support to the coal industry and the move was provocative because it raises the question of whether the US will support an international deal in the fight against global warming.
Years of low rainfall
Oxfam says that this is the third year of very low rainfall in East Africa and this is combined with above average temperatures, which is part of trend that started in the 1980’s. One activist for an aid agency said that in the Kenyan town of Kilifi, people were going hungry and cattle were dying as a result of drought which really started to have an impact last year. Southern and Eastern Africa were hit badly by drought in 2016 which was exacerbated by El Nino which is when the surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean rises. The combination of the two has wilted crops, slowed economic growth and caused food prices to rise.
Category: Save the Children
Save the Children says it strongly condemns the recent appalling attack on busses that were being used to evacuate civilians from two towns in North-West Syria, Foua and Kefraya. A number of people including children are thought to have been killed in what appears to be a savage attack. Sonia Khush who runs Save the Children in Syria says people have been living under siege for the past couple of years and the condition they live in are truly horrific.
Attacking civilians with impunity
In a strongly worded statement Ms Khush added that once people finally had the chance to leave all sides participating in the conflict continue to attack civilians with no repercussions. This has had devastating consequences for children and their families. Ms Khush says civilians should never be targeted. The attack took place whilst thousands of people were being evacuated from four towns that are under siege.
Children are dying
Two towns are government held and are Foua and Kefraya, whilst the other two towns, Madaya and Zabadani are held by opposition forces. Whilst under siege, critical aid such as medicine and food are prevented from entering for months at time. To add to that, children are dying from starvation, sniper fire and bombing. Save the Children is urging all parties involved in the conflict to make sure that the remaining evacuees are completely protected and given safe passage.
Millions of people not receiving aid
650,000 people still live under siege in Syria. There are also more than 4 million people living in parts of the country that are considered ‘hard to reach’ and simply not accessible to aid agencies. Despite the fact that various participants in the conflict have pledged to increase aid access, over 90 per cent of people living in these parts of Syria have no seen a single aid convoy in 2017.
More than 200,000 children or nearly a quarter of all children who live in the two areas that are most affected by the continuing conflict in Eastern Ukraine are in urgent need of immediate assistance and psychosocial support says UNICEF. These children need help to deal with the trauma of living through more than three years of violence. The children who most desperately need support live in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts which are within 15 kilometres of the line that separates government and non-government controlled which is where the fighting is at its fiercest.
“The world has forgotten about this invisible crisis in eastern Ukraine, but hundreds of thousands of children are paying a heavy price, one that could last a lifetime without adequate support. We urgently need funds to reach these traumatized children,” said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Giovanna Barberis.
Living in chronic fear
The children who live nearest to the line of control are living in chronic fear and uncertainty which is caused by the sporadic shelling and unpredictable breakout of fighting. They are also confronted by the dangers of landmines and other unexploded devices. These children risk their lives just to get an education. During the most recent escalation of violence that took place this year between February and March, seven schools were damaged. Over 740 schools or 20 per cent of schools in Eastern Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed since the beginning of the conflict back in 2014.
Children require intense psychological support
The vast majority of the 200,000 children that require intense psychological support in Eastern Ukraine are simply not receiving proper care. Services are underfunded and over extended. Social workers and specially trained teachers as well as psychologists are working 24 hours a day. However, as the proxy war continues additional funds are necessary to meet the needs of the children.
Appealing for donations
UNICEF is asking for donations totalling US$31.2 million in order to deliver support to these children and their families that have been scarred by conflict in Eastern Ukraine. This includes $5.5 million to deliver protection for children as well as psychosocial support. At present, UNICEF has not even received a third of the funds it needs and child protection is critically underfunded.
“Children should not have to live with the emotional scars from a conflict they had no part in creating. Additional support is needed now so that young people in Donetsk and Luhansk can grow into healthy adults and rebuild their communities,” said Barberis. “Children and their families urgently need peace. We call on all sides of the conflict to recommit to the ceasefire signed in Minsk to end this senseless violence.”
Category: Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide, the international aid agency has launched an East African Crisis Appeal and is looking to raise €25 Million. The money will be used to deliver emergency support for 1.8 million people in the region that urgently require food assistance as a result of drought and conflict across what is an incredibly fragile region. The aid agency has sent in Emergency Response Teams to deal with humanitarian situation that is worsening by the day in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.
20 million people affected
There are more than 20 million people who require immediate assistance in the form of food, water and shelter. In some parts of South Sudan, famine has already been declared affecting 4.9 million people or 40 per cent of the country’s entire population. These people urgently require food assistance with 100,000 people already at risk of starvation. Conflict as a result of ethnic tension combined with drought has made the problem even more acute. Staff from Concern that are there on the ground are reporting harrowing accounts of families who are fleeing the violence.
Starvation across the continent
Somalia is in a very similar situation with conflict and drought combining to produce famine-like conditions with 6.2 million people or 50 per cent of the country’s population in urgent requirement of food assistance. It is estimated that 363,000 children in Somalia under the age of five is acutely malnourished. In Kenya 2.7 million people face food insecurity whilst in Ethiopia 5.6 million people will require food assistance as a result of the rains failing to arrive.
Concern delivering aid
Concern is delivering a wide variety of services ranging from food, water, nutrition, shelter, sanitation and cash to all countries affected by the crisis. But it urgently requires €25 Million to reach nearly 1.8 million people before the crisis escalates further. Feargal O’Connell who was the most recent country director for South Sudan says that hunger levels across East Africa has reached critical levels. It is predicted that malnutrition rates will climb further with a number of states experiencing extreme shortages of food. Mr. O’Connell says this is a humanitarian crisis that has reached breaking point.