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Health In Emergency Situations/Humanitarian Assistance

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U.S., Aid Agencies Struggle To Provide Humanitarian Aid For Situation In Libya

The U.S. government and “its European allies are considering the use of naval assets to deliver humanitarian aid to Libya … even as they weigh the legality of imposing a no-fly zone without United Nations authorization, according to U.S. and European officials,” the Washington Post reports.

U.N. Aid Agency Heads Appeal To World Leaders To End Syrian Violence

“World leaders must act urgently to break the diplomatic deadlock around Syria if they want to prevent the crisis from reaching a dangerous tipping point, the heads of the United Nations aid agencies said on Monday in a rare political appeal,” Reuters reports (Humphries, 4/15). In the statement, published as an…

Humanitarian Conditions Deteriorating In CAR, Aid Groups Warn

“A rebel takeover of several key towns in the Central African Republic (CAR) has placed additional strain on humanitarian conditions that were already precarious due to years of armed conflict,” IRIN reports (1/4). “Humanitarian groups have expressed alarm at the lack of access to more than 300,000 civilians caught up in the fighting,” the Guardian notes, adding, “The U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, and the [U.N.] security council have condemned the attacks and called on the rebels to halt hostilities” (Tran, 1/4). “In many areas, basic health care and education are provided by aid groups or not at all,” IRIN writes (1/4). “The Central African Republic has been wracked by political unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960,” the Guardian notes (1/4).

Onset Of Winter, Lack Of Aid Workers Threaten Delivery Of Syrian Humanitarian Aid

Noting that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “estimates that 25 percent of Syria’s population needs humanitarian relief,” Rachel Brandenburg, a U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) program officer for the Middle East, writes in a USIP blog post, “Within Syria and around its borders, residents and those who’ve fled the fighting face dangerous shortages of food, fuel, medical supplies, and shelter.” She says the onset of winter will increase the need for shelter, clothing, and food. Brandenburg notes that two plans call for $1.5 billion in aid during the first half of 2013, but she adds aid workers are in short supply. “As of early December, only 20 international and 100 Syrian national WFP staff remained in-country to support an operation aimed at feeding 1.5 million Syrians,” she says (1/3).

U.S. Continues To Respond To Syrian Crisis

Noting “[t]he two-year anniversary of the Syria uprising coincides with another dark milestone: over one million refugees have fled Syria,” Anne Richard, assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, writes in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, “This escalating crisis … is challenging all of us to do more.…

U.N. ‘Must Face Up’ To Haiti Cholera Outbreak

In this Guardian opinion piece, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., writes that the U.N. “must face up” to a cholera outbreak allegedly brought to Haiti by peacekeeping troops in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. “More than 500,000 have been infected, and the disease — which Haiti has not had in more than a century — is now endemic to the country and will be killing people there for many years to come,” he writes.

Government, Humanitarian Agencies Respond To Flooding In Philippines, Warn Of Disease Threat

“Philippine authorities are warning of the spread of diseases in cramped evacuation centers, days after flash floods hit the southern Philippines and claimed more than a thousand lives,” ABC/Asia Pacific News reports, noting that flooding also has affected the country’s northern provinces, displacing at least 50,000 people (Escalante, 12/20). Tropical Storm Washi “hit the main southern island of Mindanao over the weekend, bringing heavy rains, flash floods and overflowing rivers that swept whole coastal villages away,” forcing 44,000 people to evacuate the area, Agence France-Presse/Inquirer News writes (Celis, 12/21). Officials say hundreds of thousands of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and the U.N. has stepped up its efforts in the area, the U.N. News Centre reports (12/20).

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