Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg on Tuesday “urged donors to give generously to assist Nicaragua and El Salvador cope with the aftermath of the recent floods, saying that the scale of the disaster is beyond what the small Central American nations can handle on their own,” the U.N. News Centre reports. According to the news service, approximately 1.2 million people in the region are affected by flooding, “[t]housands of homes have been damaged and hundreds of schools, roads and health facilities are closed,” and [w]ater-borne diseases are spreading …, she added.” Bragg also said food security was a concern, as thousands of acres of crops were destroyed, “‘making it increasingly difficult for people to get enough food for the next six months,’ she stated,” the news service notes (11/8).
Health In Emergency Situations/Humanitarian Assistance
The U.N. and several other international aid groups, including Oxfam, Save the Children, Care and ACTED, on Wednesday “warn[ed] they are running short of money and supplies to help millions of people affected by floods in Pakistan,” the Associated Press reports (11/9). “Floods in August hit Sindh province in the south, killing at least 430 people and disrupting the lives of nine million. Many people are still camping out in the open with little food, water or shelter,” Reuters writes, adding “agencies fear flood victims could suffer from a major outbreak of dengue fever, malaria and acute respiratory infection” (Conway, 11/9). The U.N., which has raised just $96.5 million of the $357 million it wants for flood relief, called the appeal ‘distressingly underfunded,’” the Guardian notes (Ford, 11/9).
One year after cholera was detected in Haiti, the New York Times reports on how, “[a]s the epidemic continues, the Cuban medical mission that played an important role in detecting it presses on in Haiti, winning accolades from donors and diplomats for staying on the front lines and undertaking a broader effort to remake this country’s shattered health care system.” The newspaper recaps a brief history of Cuban medical missions in Haiti since 1998 and writes, “There is no doubt that the Cuban mission has been vital here.”
The U.N. reported Friday “that it is increasing its joint efforts with Cambodian authorities and aid providers to offer food assistance to some of the thousands of people that have been displaced by severe flooding recently,” the U.N. News Centre reports. According to the news service, “Some 240,000 people have been displaced by heavy rains and according to the World Food Programme (WFP), 10 percent of the rice crops have been destroyed and 265,000 hectares of rice fields have been damaged, raising the price of rice by 12 percent” (11/4).
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “reports heavy rains and flooding in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are causing havoc among thousands of displaced Somalis in the region” and “flood-damaged roads are hampering relief efforts to thousands affected by the heavy rains,” VOA News reports (Schlein, 11/4). “UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press briefing in Geneva that the agency has distributed 4,500 assistance kits so far, which include plastic sheets, plastic buckets and soap,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/4). “In addition to providing emergency relief for floods, other U.N. agencies continue to increase their efforts to help Somalis who suffer from famine and insecurity,” VOA notes (11/4).
“Despite a massive increase in humanitarian operations and international funding since famine was formally declared 100 days ago, the relief effort in Somalia is expected to miss almost all its key targets for 2011, a draft United Nations report reveals,” the Guardian reports, adding, “[m]alnutrition rates have more than doubled, less than 60 percent of the 3.7 million people targeted have received monthly food assistance, and only 58 percent of a targeted 1.2 million people received critical non-food aid items.”
In a two-part series, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog summarizes the presentations of a panel of experts at the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) 49th Annual Meeting in Boston Sunday, who examined the origins of and responses to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. The first part examines…
The WHO on Saturday said hundreds of thousands of flood victims in Thailand are at risk of water-borne diseases and infections, though no major outbreaks have been reported, Agence France-Presse reports. “The spread of communicable diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory illness and conjunctivitis among displaced flood victims in shelters was a key concern, the country’s WHO representative Maureen Birmingham told AFP,” adding, “Flood-affected people also faced an increased risk of skin fungal infections and leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread through contaminated water,” according to the news service (10/23).
“Americans are among the most generous people in the world, giving more money to charities than citizens of any other nation in the world,” but “[m]uch of our charity goes to disaster relief,” entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson writes in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post’s “Black Voices.” She adds, “I believe we can do more. We need to think long-term and become true partners in reshaping history. We need to boldly invest in innovative responses to Africa’s problems that are relevant locally, and that put Africans in the driver’s seat of determining the future of their continent.”
“As South Korean President Lee Myung-bak continued his state visit to the United States on Friday, a group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) wants the Obama administration to explain what they call unconscionable delays in deciding whether to resume U.S. food assistance to North Korea,” Reuters reports. “Rising global commodities prices coupled with summer floods and typhoons have compounded the emergency this year, and the United Nations estimated in March that more than six million North Koreans urgently need food help,” the news agency writes.