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Italy contributes €500,000 (US$ 610,000) to help relieve drought-affected people from hunger

LUSAKA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a €500,000 (US$ 610,000) contrib..

LUSAKA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a €500,000 (US$ 610,000) contribution from the Italian Government to provide food to people affected by the drought in Zambia.

Drought and prolonged dry spells have left 2.3 million people severely food insecure and in need of humanitarian food assistance.

“In the context of the current crisis, the Italian emergency contribution confirmed in December 2019 is crucial to WFP. The funds will enable WFP to procure around 340 MT of pulses to cover the food needs of about 99,000 people for an entire month, helping WFP ensure that the people residing in the areas most affected by the drought can receive the immediate assistance they need,” said Jennifer Bitonde, WFP Country Representative in Zambia.

“At the same time, WFP will continue to work to strengthening communities resilience to future climatic shocks under its five-year Country Strategic Plan (2019-2024),” she added.

As part of the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan, WFP is currently supporting the Governments response by providing logistics support by delivering Government-supplied maize meal, as well as by procuring and delivering pulses to ensure a nutrition-sensitive food basket. WFP is also working closely with partners to monitor food distributions and guarantee that resources reach those most in need.

About 1.1 million people are expected to receive WFPs support, while the remaining 1.2 million will be assisted by the Government and other partners, with whom WFP is working and closely coordinating.

Contact

For more information please contact (email address: [email protected]):
Paola Di Tommaso, WFP/Lusaka Mob.+260971020341

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The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

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MSF provides relief items and adapts response for COVID-19 in Idlib

Deir Hassan camp in Idlib province, northwestern Syria, is one of the many camps to which hundreds o..

Deir Hassan camp in Idlib province, northwestern Syria, is one of the many camps to which hundreds of thousands of displaced families fled, to escape the military offensive by Syrian government forces with their Russian allies between December 2019 and early March 2020. Deir Hassan camp hosts more than 164,000 people in settlements scattered over the hills and, as is the case across northwest Syria, it lacks basic services. It is now also threatened by the potential spread of COVID-19.

On 16 March, after assessing the needs in Deir Hassan camp, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) distributed essential items to 180 families in the Latamneh and Al-Habeet settlements, including family tents, mats, plastic sheeting, blankets, cooking sets and hygiene kits.

“We witnessed people living in the open; we also saw two or three families sharing a tent which did not protect them from the cold or the rain,” says Ahmed, MSF project team leader. “There were too few tents to accommodate the new arrivals.”

The next day, the MSF team distributed the same relief items to 115 families in Abo Obeidah, another settlement in Deir Hassan.

“Thanks to MSF, we got tents,” says Manaf Shamma, a displaced mother living in Latamneh. “This camp was set up eight months ago, but it needs latrines, sewage, proper roads.”

COVID-19 pandemic adds to health risks

In Deir Hassan camp, the water and sanitation facilities are inadequate for such large numbers of people, raising the risk of water-borne diseases. So far, upper respiratory infections have been the main condition seen by the MSF mobile clinics. But now the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has become a huge challenge worldwide and in Syria.

The Syrian government reported the first case of COVID-19 in Syria on 23 March. While no cases have been declared in Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold, the disease may spread very quickly through the region, especially in camps, where people live in large settlements, in overcrowded conditions with little sanitation.

MSF has suspended our mobile clinics in Deir Hassan camp to allow our staff to attend training on infection prevention and control (IPC), and to make sure they wont spread the virus. In the coming days, MSF community health workers will hold health education sessions on COVID-19 with displaced families in 10 settlements in Deir Hassan camp, and will distribute leaflets and specific hygiene kits.

As our teams are now focusing their work on infection prevention and control measures, they are providing assistance for the triage and screening of patients in the two MSF-supported health centres, in Deir Hassan and Tal Karama.

Providing shelter and essential items to families further north in Afrin

Alongside this, MSF is organising the distribution of much needed relief items in the Afrin area, further north. Many displaced families sought refuge in this area, as it is controlled by Turkish forces and has not seen any violence.

Some couldnt find proper shelter and settled in unoccupied houses, factories or public buildings. In response, an internally displaced peoples (IDP) camp in the Bul Bul area is being set up on a dedicated site for 400 displaced families. We will supply tents, blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets and hygiene kits for them. The tents will be put up in partnership with Al-Ameen, a local NGO. And once the tents are ready, the displaced families will move into the camp and receive the relief items.

MSF and Al-Ameen also began running mobile clinics last week in the Bul Bul area and in the western Afrin countryside. But these were suspended to allow staff to attend IPC training.

Considering the huge needs of IDPs in Idlib province, our response remains limited. But it must continue to increase. Our ability to scale-up our assistance will depend on a steady flow of essential relief items, medical supplies and personal protective equipment reaching northwest Syria and also on the ability to send in MSF international staff to support their Syrian colleagues.

MSF has no presence in Turkey. To be able to scale-up the response, we ask all relevant Turkish authorities to facilitate the transit of essential supplies and international staff into northwest Syria.

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USA: Immediately revoke COVID-19 suspension of environmental protections

Responding to the US Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) announcement it would indefinitely suspe..

Responding to the US Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) announcement it would indefinitely suspend enforcement of environmental laws due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard Pearshouse, Amnesty Internationals Head of Crisis and the Environment, said:

“The Trump administration is cynically abusing this crisis to achieve its pre-COVID-19 goal of gutting US environmental regulations.

The Trump administration is cynically abusing this crisis to achieve its pre-COVID-19 goal of gutting US environmental regulations. Its difficult to overstate the risk. The decision to indefinitely suspend the protections afforded by environmental laws will kill or compromise the health of large numbers of people.


Richard Pearshouse, Head of Crisis and the Environment at Amnesty International

“Its difficult to overstate the risk. The decision to indefinitely suspend the protections afforded by environmental laws will kill or compromise the health of large numbers of people. These impacts will be felt by everyone in the USA, but particularly by people already facing marginalization and discrimination, including those who live in areas surrounded by heavily polluting industrial facilities.

“EPA enforcement of environmental laws saves hundreds of thousands of people from premature death each year, and millions more from unnecessary illnesses and sicknesses. This decision should be immediately revoked.

“This could have a devastating knock-on effect on human rights globally if other state authorities follow suit and abdicate their responsibility to protect their populations from pollutants in the air, water and ground.”

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UNHCR airlifts emergency aid for Sudanese refugees in Chad

An emergency shipment airlifted from Dubai arrives in Chad, bringing blankets, jerry cans, mosquito ..

An emergency shipment airlifted from Dubai arrives in Chad, bringing blankets, jerry cans, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, solar lamps and other relief items for thousands of refugees who fled violence in Darfur, Sudan © UNHCR/Aristophane Ngargoune

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, airlifted 93.5 tonnes of emergency aid for Sudanese refugees in Chad from its Global Stockpile in Dubai on Thursday (March 19). The UNHCR-chartered Boeing 777 landed in the Chadian capital yesterday evening.

Clashes in El Geneina, in Sudan’s West Darfur State, since December 2019 have forced more than 16,000 people, mostly women and children, to flee violence and cross into neighbouring Chad.

They arrived exhausted, traumatized and often with signs of malnutrition. Most are staying in the open or under makeshift shelters, with little protection from the elements. Shelter, food, water and basic health care are urgently needed, as refugees are being relocated further away from the border, for safety and protection reasons.

This latest influx brings the total number of Sudanese refugees in Chad to 360,000.

Yesterday’s airlift included 10,000 blankets, 12,000 jerry cans, 12,000 mosquito nets, 10,640 plastic buckets, 6,000 kitchen sets, 4,000 sleeping mats, 2,000 solar lamps and 2,000 plastic sheets, in addition to one ambulance vehicle. These emergency relief items are expected to respond to the humanitarian needs of some 10,000 refugees.

The humanitarian charter flight, worth US$308,000, was organized by UPS through their team in Dubai and the transportation costs were fully covered by UPS.

UNHCR is working around the clock to help people forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution. This shipment will ensure thousands of vulnerable Sudanese families receive much-needed aid.

We are grateful to UPS for its timely donation covering the transportation expenses, and the International Humanitarian City, global hub for humanitarian emergency preparedness and response in Dubai, for its continuous support.

The UNHCR global stockpile in Dubai was established in 2006 and is our largest stockpile in the world. This facility has stocks of family tents and other shelter materials as well as blankets, kitchen sets and other relief items for more than 250,000 people.

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