U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday “called on the U.N. Security Council to make combating sexual violence a ‘top priority'” during the opening of a two-day meeting of the 15-member Council on women, peace and security, Xinhua/People’s Daily Online reports (12/17).
Health In Emergency Situations/Humanitarian Assistance
The Haitian health ministry on Sunday said there had been 2,535 cholera deaths since the outbreak hit in mid-October, “dashing hopes the fatality rate might be beginning to taper off,” Agence France-Presse reports.
“Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 â€“ the deadliest year in more than a generation,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. According to global reinsurer Swiss Re, these disasters “caused $222 billion in economic losses in 2010 â€“ more than Hong Kong’s economy.”
“Nearly 260,000 people died in earthquakes, floods, typhoons, heatwaves, fires and landslides in 2010 â€“ the worst toll since 1976 â€“ compared with 15,000 last year, according to reinsurance company Swiss Re. Haiti and Pakistan stood out because of the massive death toll and millions of homeless, and the extent to which both countries tested the limits of international aid. In both countries, the collapsed infrastructure will take decades to rebuild, and the disasters likely set back development gains for generations,” IANS/Sify News writes in an article examining the fall out from the disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.
“More than four months after the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history, vast stretches of land are still under water in the province of Sindh, isolating many communities. … The world’s attention has long since moved on from the Pakistani flood story, but there are still more than 1 million people who remain displaced in Sindh alone, said U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos last Friday after touring the flood zone. Jackie Dent, a World Food Program spokesperson, said that although isolated outlying villages are becoming ‘few and far between as waters recede and access improves’ more are still being found,” TIME reports in an article looking at the effects of flooding and the prospects for recovery.
On Thursday, a food distribution voucher campaign that launched last Sunday, “hit all 16 fixed distribution points around the capital” of Port-au-Prince, CNN reports. “So far, 600,000 people affected by the devastating January 12 earthquake have been able to collect food under this plan, said Marcus Prior, spokesman for the United Nations World Food Programme. ‘We’re encouraged by the way the system is working to get food out into the city to those in need, but still have a long way to go,’ Prior said” (Basu, 2/5).
UNICEF on Thursday launched a $1.2 billion appeal aimed at providing “life saving emergency assistance to millions of children and women in dire need,” VOA News reports (Schlein, 2/4). “The appeal is part of UNICEFâ€™s Humanitarian Action Report 2010, released in Geneva … which spotlights the desperate situation of children and women in 28 countries and territories facing deep humanitarian crises,” the U.N. News Centre writes (2/4).
The death toll from the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti has risen to 230,000, Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue, the country’s communications minister, said on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. She said the new number is only an estimate and it does not include people who had private burials and were buried by family members. The death toll is higher than the previous estimate of 212,000 and the government says some bodies still have not been counted (2/9).
News Outlets Examine Electricity, Customs Hurdles For Foreign Aid, Potential Malaria Increase In Haiti
Since a major earthquake hit Haiti last month, “power has returned to nearly half” of the neighborhoods around Port-au-Prince, but the rebuilding of the country’s power system “is starting almost from scratch,” the Associated Press/New York Times write in an article examining the prospects for Haiti’s electric utility.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday asked former President Bill Clinton, currently the U.N. special envoy for Haiti, to oversee aid and rebuilding efforts in Haiti, CNN reports (2/3).