Twenty aid agencies on Wednesday issued an open letter (.pdf) “urg[ing] the international community to change its approach to Somalia ‘and enhance diplomatic engagement with the parties to the conflict, to ensure the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid,'” particularly before the rainy season brings the threat of disease, IRIN reports (9/21).
Health In Emergency Situations/Humanitarian Assistance
PRI’s “The World” recently spoke with Matt Ellingson, director of Program Development at Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization, who was part of a mission to North Korea this month during which five U.S.-based, non-governmental organizations were allowed to send observers to the country to monitor delivery of aid to areas affected by severe floods this past summer. The group “came away concerned about widespread malnutrition and starvation in North Korea” and “is now calling for an urgent humanitarian intervention,” “The World” reports. The radio show provides audio of the interview and a link to a “factfile” on the North Korea food crisis published in The Telegraph earlier this month (9/23).
“Philippines authorities are warning of possible water-borne disease outbreaks following Typhoon Nesat,” which ripped through the country on Tuesday causing widespread damage including power outages, flooding and landslides, IRIN reports (9/28). According to Reuters, at least 21 people have been killed by the storm and its consequences (Mogato, 9/28).
“The U.N. on Wednesday said food assistance has reached nearly half the Somalis in need, [and] it warned cases of diarrhea and cholera could spike with the seasonal rains expected in October,” the Associated Press reports (9/28). “However, the report released Tuesday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that four million Somalis remain in crisis nationwide, and that 750,000 people risk death in the Horn of Africa nation within the next four months,” according to VOA News.
Haitian health authorities on Friday said the death toll from cholera has risen to 6,435 since October and that “the number of people infected with cholera almost reached half a million, although the ministry repeated the epidemic was decreasing,” Xinhua reports (9/30). U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos wrapped up a three-day visit to Haiti on Friday, saying the “number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) still in camps in Haiti after their homes were destroyed by last year’s catastrophic earthquake has declined from 1.5 million to 600,000, but hardship in the settlements has not eased,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “Limited funding has led to a decline in the number of humanitarian agencies working in key sectors, such as water and sanitation and camp management. Hundreds of latrines are now unusable and overflow, especially during the current rainy season, posing significant health risks, even as efforts to keep the cholera epidemic at bay continue,” the news service writes (9/30).
Health care workers fleeing the besieged Libyan city of Sirte on Sunday said people wounded in the fighting “are dying on the operating table because fuel for the hospital generator has run out,” Reuters reports. “The fighting has entered its third week and civilians are caught up in a worsening humanitarian crisis,” the news agency writes, adding that “[a]id workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who brought medical supplies into Sirte on Saturday could not reach the hospital because of shooting.” The organization said it plans to return to Sirte and reach the hospital if security allows, Reuters notes (10/2).
“More than 12,000 have been infected and 125 people have died over the past two months in Pakistan after coming down with dengue fever, a health department spokesman said Friday,” CNN reports (Habib, 10/1). Citing the same numbers, WHO spokesperson Tarek Jasarevic said the agency is providing support for “case management, community mobilization, vector control and public awareness campaigns,” according to the U.N. News Centre. “Last year, 11,024 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 40 deaths were reported in Pakistan, but this year the number of cases has climbed to 12,466,” the news service writes (9/30).
“The U.N. World Food Programme [WFP] said Wednesday that more Yemenis were going hungry because of rising food prices and severe fuel shortages brought about by months of political unrest,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The months of violence and instability have pushed the already stressed Yemeni economy to the brink of collapse and forced millions of families further into poverty,” the news service writes, noting that “WFP â€¦ is expanding its services to help feed some 3.5 million of the most vulnerable people in Yemen” (10/12).
VOA News reports on reactions from last week’s U.N. World Summit on Food SecurityÂ in Rome: “The delegates in Rome promised to continue efforts to reduce by half the number of hungry people by two thousand fifteen. But critics pointed out that world leaders made a similar promise more than ten…
The U.N. on Monday called for “a total of $7.1 billion in 2010 to fund urgent humanitarian assistance for 48 million people in 25 countries,” Reuters reports (Evans, 11/30).