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Humanitarian Situation Deteriorating In Syria As Winter Months Approach

“With more than five million people internally displaced, a suspected polio outbreak, and starvation threatening, the United Nations and aid agencies say that just a trickle of the required assistance is getting into war-ravaged Syria as the harsh winter months loom,” the Washington Post reports. “The U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie…

USAID’s Disaster Assistance Helps India Avoid More Deaths After Cyclone

Noting a cyclone killed at least 10,000 people on the east coast of India in 1999, and a similar cyclone last week hit the same area, resulting in about 50 fatalities, Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID, writes in the Huffington Post’s “World”…

International Community ‘Must Act Quickly’ To Deliver Life-Saving Assistance To Syrians

“The world already knows that [Syria's] Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons, indiscriminate bombing, arbitrary detentions, rape, and torture against his own citizens,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry writes in a Foreign Policy opinion piece. “What is far less well known, and equally intolerable, is the systematic denial of…

U.N., Syria Launch Campaign To Vaccinate 2.5 Children Against Polio

“The United Nations has announced that it will vaccinate 2.5 million children and eight million others in Syria to prevent a widespread outbreak of polio,” GlobalPost reports (Stainburn, 10/26). “As Syria awaits confirmation of suspected polio cases in the east of the country, UNICEF has joined the [WHO] and other…

Syrian Crisis Overshadowing Humanitarian Situations In CAR, DRC, U.N. Official Says

UNICEF Emergencies Director Ted Chaiban “says the dire humanitarian situations in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo are being overshadowed by the crisis in Syria,” VOA News reports. He “was part of an assessment mission to both African countries by the directors of emergencies for seven…

Syria Reports 22 Suspected Polio Cases In Country’s First Outbreak In 14 Years

“At least 22 people are suspected of having polio in Syria, the first outbreak of the crippling viral disease in 14 years, the [WHO] said on Thursday,” Reuters reports. “The WHO, a U.N. agency, said on Saturday that two suspected cases of polio had been detected, the first appearance of…

MSF Officials Discuss Organization’s Withdrawal From Somalia

In the PLOS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Unni Karunakara, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) international president from June 2010 through September 2013, and Jean-Christophe Dollé, MSF representative to Somalia since June 2013, “describe the challenges faced by Médecins Sans Frontières’ TB program as the organization withdrew from Somalia in response to…

Afghanistan IG Finds Delays, Overpayments On USAID-Supported Hospital Construction Project

“A U.S.-funded effort to build a 100-bed civilian hospital in eastern Afghanistan has fallen almost two years behind its planned completion because of poor contractor performance and deficient internal controls, according to an inspector general’s audit [.pdf],” Bloomberg reports (Capaccio, 10/23). “The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said…

U.S. Continues To Support Displaced Persons In Iraq

National Security Staff Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Stephen Pomper and Kelly Clements, deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, write in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog about a recent trip to Iraq “to ensure that U.S. government humanitarian programs and policies are…

Medical Workers In Syria Struggle With Safety, Ethics, New York Times Reports

“[W]hile the Obama administration claims credit for pushing President Bashar al-Assad into giving up [Syria's chemical weapon stockpile], some experts say the real credit lies with the doctors who risked their lives — and confronted thorny questions of medical ethics — to bring to light the use of chemical weapons,”…