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Ongoing Conflict Aggravating Health Of Syrians, WHO Warns

The WHO on Tuesday “warned that the ongoing conflict in Syria, which will soon enter its third year, will lead to a sharp spike in the number of people needing urgent aid, including food, clean water and vital medical services,” the U.N. News Centre reports (2/5). “Further aggravating the health of Syrians,…

International Community Pledges $1.5B In Aid For Syria At U.N. Fundraising Conference

“In the largest ever fundraising conference in U.N. history, the international community pledged [Wednesday] more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for the people of Syria,” IRIN reports. Noting the conference was hosted by Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, foreign minister of Kuwait, the news service writes, “The largest donors…

President Obama Announces $155M In Humanitarian Aid To Syria

“President Barack Obama [on Tuesday] approved an additional $155 million of humanitarian aid and announced it himself in order to underscore to the Syrian people and the international community the U.S. commitment to assisting Syrians and other refugees in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance as a result of [Syrian President…

U.N. Calls For Additional Funding For Humanitarian Response In Syria

“As fighting continues in Syria’s civil war, the United Nations has said that it will be forced to cut already reduced food rations to hundreds of thousands of refugees unless a huge cash injection is found,” Al Jazeera reports. “About four million Syrians rely on international assistance to cope with…

Lancet Commentary Cautiously Optimistic About Public Health System In Haiti

In this Lancet commentary, John Vertefeuille, Scott Dowell, Jean Domercant and Jordan Tappero of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examine the state of the public health system in Haiti three years after a 7.0 earthquake struck the country, writing, “Haiti is starting to show that its health services…

U.N. Warns Humanitarian Needs Growing In Syria; 2.5M People Need Emergency Food Aid

“The United Nations food relief agency [on Tuesday] warned that humanitarian needs in Syria — especially for food — are growing, with serious bread and fuel shortages across the war-torn country,” the U.N. News Centre reports (1/8). “The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said nearly 2.5 million people — most of them…

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).

3 Years After Devastating Earthquake, Haiti Remains In Fragile State

“On the eve of the third anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, the country remains in a fragile state,” a New York Times editorial states. “Billions of dollars in aid and lofty promises to ‘build back better’ have brought it only so far,” but “[a] recent article by Deborah Sontag of the Times showed, in disheartening detail, the distance between hope and reality,” the editorial continues, and recounts a number of challenges highlighted in the article, such as a slowing of flood aid and “the tendency of humanitarian aid organizations to go back to what they had been doing before the earthquake, in areas like sanitation, health, education and transportation.”