Displaying items by tag: humanitarian aid

Thursday, 17 June 2021 21:37

Ethiopia: man-made famine crisis

In Tigray 353,000 starving people are in phase 5 (catastrophe) and 1.769 million in phase 4 (emergency). In other words, famine, though the Ethiopian government refuses to call it famine. Huge numbers of deaths by starvation are unavoidable. In remote villages people are found dead in the morning, having perished overnight. Women who were kidnapped by soldiers and held as sexual slaves, now in hospitals or safe houses, are separated from their children, tormented by the fear they will starve without their mothers' care. Death by starvation happens when the undernourished body consumes its own organs to generate enough energy to keep a flicker of life. Most of the nation is controlled by rebels or military who do not cooperate with humanitarian agencies. Eritrean forces joined the conflict and along with the Ethiopian army they pillage, burn crops, destroy health facilities, and prevent farmers from ploughing their land. This is a man-made famine. There is no drought, and last year's locust swarms have gone.

Published in Worldwide

St Vincent appealed for international help as the nation tackles the daunting cleanup from a series of volcanic eruptions which are ongoing. The island has a population of 110,000, and 20,000 were evacuated from the dire situation where ash is a metre deep and gives the island an apocalyptic appearance. The ash has been carried as far as India, and there has been extensive damage to agriculture, homes and the island's tourism industry. Long-term humanitarian relief will be huge; on 20 April the UN launched an appeal for $29.2 million for basic needs, clean water, food and shelter, and help to initiate recovery. Pray for the team of experts assessing clean up needs and safe disposal of ash to have wisdom from heaven. There is still uncertainty as eruptions continue. Pray for the safety of those cleaning up the ash. Hurricane season starts soon and is forecast to be very active. Pray for the islanders’ fear to be replaced with peace and hope for the future.

Published in Worldwide

The UN chief called on the world to step up “financial, humanitarian and political commitments”, to help end nearly a decade of brutal conflict and suffering across Syria, in a video message delivered to the fourth Brussels Donor Conference on Tuesday.

“After nearly a decade of war and economic hardship, the scale of suffering remains shocking”, said Secretary-General António Guterres.

The conference received pledges of $5.5 billion in funding, to support humanitarian, resilience and development activities in 2020, and $2.2 billion for crisis response in 2021 and beyond.  In addition, multilateral development banks and bilateral donors pledged up to $6.7 billion in loans.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed; half the pre-war population, or over 12 million Syrians, are displaced, including 5.6 million who fled the country; millions are going hungry or are malnourished; and 90 per cent of the population lives in poverty. 

And all of this is being further compounded by the coronavirus

UN in solidarity 

Currently over 11 million Syrians need emergency assistance just to survive, many of whom rely solely on the UN and its humanitarian partners.  “We provide life-saving food, healthcare, sanitation facilities, education and protection services, to millions of Syrians every month”, the UN chief said. “We help to address their trauma and provide legal advice so they can start to rebuild their lives” – all of which depends on “generous” donor support. 

Since only “a political solution can end the suffering in Syria”, he urged “all those with influence” to help Syrians find common ground.  

Downward spiral

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock noted that the Syrian crisis is “approaching the length of the combination” of the two World Wars, as it wreaks havoc and acute economic strain across the region.

He painted a gloomy picture of the Syrian economy in “a dramatic downturn” with prices of essential food, medicines and fuel “soaring” as the Syrian pound “fell to a record low against the US dollar this month”. 

The UN official cited estimates from the World Food Programme (WFP) in revealing that an “unprecedented level” of 9.3 million people there are food insecure and almost half a million children suffer from stunting, a consequence of malnutrition.

“And now we have COVOID-19, which has the potential to cause much more suffering and loss, with preparations to tackle it inside Syria wholly inadequate in the light of the degrading of the health system through the years of crisis”, added the humanitarian coordinator. 

Mr. Lowcock elaborated on how the UN was supporting the situation on the ground, including by providing food assistance to more than 3.2 million people; nutrition support for half a million children; critical water and sanitation for 1.3 million people; and four million medical procedures.

“The humanitarian assistance we provide across Syria and in the region depends on the generous support of the States and constituencies represented here”, he flagged.

Stolen educations

Noting that “one of the most tragic consequences of the horror story of the last decade has been the robbing of millions of children of their right to a decent education”, he foresaw major long-term consequences, “for more than fifty years”. 

“One of the major challenges is funding”, Mr. Lowcock said and asked donors to prioritize pledges to the education of these children, saying it is “in your own interests, but most importantly in theirs”.  

‘Unlocking’ a political process

Syrian Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen reiterated his call for “a nationwide ceasefire”, along with the need to be vigilant about COVID-19, the importance of resolution 2254, which calls for a ceasefire and political settlement,  and the challenges posed by groups listed as terrorists by the Security Council. 

Moreover, he again appealed for the Syrian Government and other parties to “carry out large-scale, unilateral releases of detainees and abductees, and meaningful actions on the missing persons”.   Mr. Pedersen expressed his hope that the Syrian-led, Syrian-owned Constitutional Committee facilitated by the UN in Geneva “will be able to meet on a regular basis throughout the rest of the year”. 

Acknowledging that a constitutional discussion would not address the full range of dire realities Syrians grapple with, he maintained that the Committee’s work can be “a door-opener to unlock a broader political process”

Pray: For a negotiated ceasefire and a political settlement.
Pray: With thanks for the pledges of loans and donations to support the humanitarian aid, education and covid-19 relief efforts.  May further funds be released to scale up all of these initiatives.
Pray: for the organisations delivering the aid and medical assistance, for protection, good health and free access to those who need their help.
Pray: For the many people who have been displaced by this war, that they will find safe refuge amidst the challenges and hardships.
Pray: for the UN and countries with influence, that they will bring about lasting peace to Syria and the region.

More: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1067482

Thursday, 04 June 2020 22:28

UN news

More than five years of conflict have left Yemenis hanging on by a thread, their economy in tatters, and their institutions facing near-collapse. The UN chief told a virtual pledging conference they needed to demonstrate solidarity with some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable in Yemen. Pray for UN workers to receive the funding to meet people’s needs in this staggering humanitarian crisis. Across the globe Covid-19 has halted economic activity and threatens social wellbeing. UNESCO says it is now coping with millions in extreme poverty. Pray for the UN to make wise decisions as it addresses the pandemic and mobilises the resources needed for a proactive recovery. In Africa it is addressing the ‘appalling impact’ of Covid-19 on minorities; the virus has a ‘disproportionate impact’ on racial and ethnic minorities, including people of African descent. Pray for human rights to be at the centre of coronavirus response.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 05 March 2020 23:18

Sudan: prayers answered in Blue Nile region

We recently prayed that the preliminary Sudan peace deal with the rebel Sudan PLM would stand and end nine years of fighting and poverty in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas. Now the EU is allocating €30 million life-saving assistance to address various humanitarian needs in these areas that have been cut off from international assistance for years. Over nine million people are in need of humanitarian assistance; nearly two million are uprooted from their homes, while the country hosts one million refugees relying on aid for their survival. The EU complements its funding with development assistance that helps communities build resilience to increase people's access to social protection in the long-term.

Published in Praise Reports

The Chinese government has introduced even tougher restrictions on religious freedom, requiring church leaders to ‘display complete devotion to the Communist Party’. The rules limit communications between churches and overseas organisations, including donations. But even before the new rules took effect on 1 February 2020, there were reports that Chinese officials were confiscating aid intended to help churches fighting coronavirus. Dr Lin, who gave early warning of the virus, was a Christian. A Chinese Christian wrote on social media, ‘Some overseas Christians shipped supplies designated to serve hospitals through local churches. Yet the supplies were confiscated and the Christian who received the shipment was invited to “have tea” with the police (a common practice to intimidate and threaten citizens).’ Despite increasing persecution, Christians in Wuhan have been handing out face masks on the street and sharing their faith with pedestrians.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 07 November 2019 22:53

Horn of Africa: flood devastation

Increased temperatures in the Indian Ocean have caused heavy rainfall and widespread flooding and destruction in different countries. In Kenya 29 people were killed in flash floods, nearly 12,000 have been displaced, and agriculture is hard hit, with 10,000+ livestock animals drowning. Caritas has appealed for food, first aid, and funds to distribute to the needy. In South Sudan, Bishop Majwok has requested the government to declare a state of national disaster as 283,000 square kilometres of his diocese are under water. Rains have devastated the country since July. Wet weather has worsened the humanitarian situation in 32 counties, where over three million people already needed assistance. In Somalia over 182,000 people are homeless due to flooding; most are from the central town of Beledweyne, where the UN reports people drowning. East Africa's rainy season, which runs from October to December, is likely to be unusually wet this year due to a process known as Indian Ocean Dipole (similar to the Pacific El Nino) by which atmospheric humidity is dumped inland as rainfall.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 31 October 2019 23:46

DRC: Justin Welby visits Ebola zone

The Archbishop of Canterbury has visited areas affected by the Ebola crisis in the DRC, which surfaced in August 2018 and has killed 2,169 people so far. Following strict anti-contamination procedures he toured hospitals transformed into Ebola treatment facilities with quarantine units, screening centres, and blood-testing tents set up to combat the disease. The archbishop flew to Ebola-affected cities with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). They fly in the most difficult places in the world, landing on the most challenging runways but with the highest safety standards. MAF said the situation is complex, with the threat of violence now increasing. Flying is a safe and trusted way to deliver blood samples, vaccines, scrubs, gloves and oxygen tanks to those working to combat the virus.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 04 April 2019 21:12

USA offers Iran help (?)

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo extended condolences to the victims of the floods in Iran, and said his country was prepared to help. But in a sign that the offer may have been less than serious, he did so in a statement blaming Iranian mismanagement for the flooding, and without explaining how assistance could be directed to Iran without violating US sanctions. Pompeo rejected a claim by Iran that the sanctions were preventing donations to its Red Crescent. He said the USA was ready to contribute to international charities which could then forward the money to the Red Crescent for relief.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 09 March 2018 09:47

Syria: update

Heavy fighting stopped another aid convoy from attending civilians in eastern Ghouta. ‘The situation is evolving on the ground, which doesn’t allow us to carry out the operation in such conditions’, said a spokeswoman for the Red Cross. Syrian government forces divided the besieged enclave in two; further squeezing rebels and tens of thousands of civilians trapped there. At least 87 civilians were killed on 7 March, and dozens were also treated for breathing difficulties, after airstrikes hit eastern Ghouta late that same day. Medics reported symptoms consistent with a toxic attack. The observatory said 60+ people were left struggling to breathe after barrel bombs hit the towns of Saqba and Hammuriyeh. Doctors at one medical facility treated at least 29 patients for chlorine exposure, and it is likely that more victims were treated at other clinics.

Published in Worldwide
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