Category Archives: News

06Oct/19

EU allocates €300,000 to provide emergency relief to earthquake victims in Pakistan

Source: European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Pakistan

The funding will address the most pressing needs of about 3,000 vulnerable people affected by the earthquake that struck the country’s eastern region in September.

UNIQUE ID: 191004_3

Islamabad, 4 October 2019 – The European Union is allocating € 300,000 (PKR 51.4 Million) to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to families affected by the earthquake that struck Pakistan’s eastern region in late September. The funding will address the most pressing needs of around 3,000 vulnerable people in some of the hardest-hit areas.

“We are acting fast to channel emergency aid to those most affected in Pakistan,” said the Head of the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Office in Islamabad, Bernard Jaspers-Faijer. “Our funding will assist the most vulnerable and help provide shelter to those who have lost their homes and belongings in the aftermath of the strong tremor. Our thoughts are with all the victims and first responders working around the clock to save lives.”

The assistance will also ensure access to clean water for the communities in the affected areas. Special attention will be paid to those most in need, including people with limited sources of income.

The EU funding is made available via the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) through its Small Scale Response mechanism.

Nearly 40 people were killed and more than 700 others injured when a strong, 5.3-magnitude, earthquake struck eastern parts of Pakistan in the afternoon of 24 September. The earthquake, which was followed by a number of aftershocks, caused extensive damage to houses and infrastructure. According to government data, more than 8,600 houses, as well as a number of roads and bridges, sustained severe structural damage. Mirpur, the largest city in the Pakistan-administered territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is the most affected area with the epicentre located only one kilometre from the city. The tremor was also felt in several neighbouring provinces, including Islamabad, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. An estimated 100,000 people have been severely affected by the disaster.

Background

The European Union and its Member States are the largest donors of humanitarian aid in the world. The assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need. The goal of the assistance is to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by disasters caused by natural phenomena and man-made crises. The European Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), assists more than 120 million people affected by conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit the DG ECHO website.

ECHO’s Small Scale Response fund is a global mechanism which allows for rapid funding for up to € 300 000 for humanitarian aid in countries affected by natural and man-made disasters.

Contact

Peter Biro, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): Peter.Biro@echofield.eu(link sends e-mail)

06Oct/19

The Democratic Republic of Congo celebrates its 1000th Ebola survivor

Source: World Health Organization, World Food Programme, UN Children’s Fund, Save the Children
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Recent studies show that new treatments can save over 90 percent of people who come early during their illness while a highly effective vaccine has protected over 226,000 people.

As the 1000th Ebola survivor returns home, United Nations agencies working to stop the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today commended the strong leadership of the DRC health authorities and the tireless efforts of thousands of local health workers and partners that have led to 1000 people surviving the disease.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres handed Kavira her Ebola survivor certificate in early September. “I never thought I would make it at first but now that I am cured, I want to go back to my community and tell them to seek treatment early if they are affected because you can actually survive,” said Kavira.

The outbreak, declared on 1 August, 2018, started in North Kivu and has since spread to parts of Ituri and South Kivu provinces. Currently, active transmission is confined to Ituri, in several hotspots – Mambasa and Mandima – but the epidemic is evolving in an extremely complex environment, marked by poor health infrastructure, political instability, insecurity, community mistrust and resistance, and ongoing conflict involving scores of armed groups.

Through an integrated UN system-wide approach, the United Nations scaled-up its efforts in May in support of the DRC government-led response in the areas of public health, assistance to Ebola-affected communities, political engagement, security and strengthened financial management.

“Every survivor gives us reason and motivation to continue to enhance our fight against Ebola, but every survivor is also a reminder that there are lives we were not able to save”, David Gressly, Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator, said. “We have to continue gaining access through improved security for health workers and populations alike, along with continuous efforts to engage communities to be empowered with the response. We cannot win the battle against this outbreak without the full support of the Congolese people. We have seen how the acceptance of the people of towns like Rwangoma or Mabolio have led to a rapid reduction of Ebola cases there,” he added.

Although this is the largest and longest running Ebola outbreak the DRC has experienced, new tools are now available to help stop the virus and save lives. A highly effective vaccine (shown to have 97.5% efficacy) has protected over 226,000 people. New treatments, that recent study results show can save over 90 percent of people who come early during their illness, improve survival rates of people infected with Ebola.

“We have the tools, vaccines and treatments, but we still need to find and support every person who has been in contact with someone infected with Ebola,” Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, said. WHO is the UN Agency leading the public health response. “Surviving this disease is all about trusting the responders – contact tracers, decontamination teams, burial teams, vaccinators, Ebola Treatment Centre staff – who are working tirelessly to protect people from this virus”.

Seven Ebola treatment centres, and numbers of transit centres have provided care for people in the many areas affected by Ebola, making it possible for those who seek treatment to survive. During this outbreak the type and level of care has been revolutionized by innovative approaches such as ALIMA’s ‘Ebola cube’, and inclusion of survivors as ‘garde-malades’ caring for others sick with Ebola. The partners managing Ebola Treatment and Transit Centres include: ALIMA, International Medical Corps and Medair among others.

Led by UNICEF with the support of international partners, thousands of Congolese responders and associations from the affected communities are engaging with community and religious leaders, mass media, and Ebola survivors to bring crucial knowledge of symptoms, prevention and treatment to the households and communities most at risk. Children are among the most vulnerable in the communities, as they are not only at risk of contracting the virus but are also affected if they lose their parents or schools are closed. Save the Children and other organizations are reaching out to children on how to prevent contracting Ebola, through child-friendly awareness campaigns in schools and youth groups. An important part of this work is listening and responding to their pressing concerns, particularly in the areas where Ebola is often not perceived as a priority.

“When survivors tell communities the reason they are alive is because they sought treatment early, people believe them and are getting the help they need sooner. Survivors have become a crucial element in gaining the community trust and acceptance required to defeat this epidemic”, Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF representative in the DRC, said. “At the same time, having experienced the disease, they are able to offer a level of support and compassion to patients and their family members that is especially meaningful.”

As part of the emergency response, the World Food Programme is providing food to Ebola survivors and people potentially carrying the virus, so they won’t have to leave their homes to buy food and can therefore easily be monitored in case they develop symptoms. WFP also provides critical logistical services and operational support to partners of the medical response teams, enabling responders to reach new or remote outbreak areas quickly. In a country facing the world’s second worst food crisis after Yemen, this support is crucial.

“It is surely a celebration when cured patients go home after surviving Ebola; they feel reborn. I can’t begin to explain how grateful they are for the support, even more so when they learn that food assistance will accompany them for a year to get back on their feet,” Susana Rico, WFP Emergency coordinator in Goma, said. “This celebration must also serve as our motivation to continue the fight against Ebola and save many more by encouraging communities to alert about potential cases, so that they can seek treatment in time to be saved. Those are our priorities.”

  • Link to photos (please credit: UNEERO/Martine Perret):

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5libr2o6hln5xmk/AAB16OTX34JY4y5wsFR4FJ3ca?dl=0

  • Link to WFP videos:

https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/BG5OaeyOTS

  • For interviews and further information please contact:

Gaëlle Sundelin / Vincenzo Pugliese, EERC/Public Information Officers
gaelle.sundelin@un.org /pugliesev@un.org
+243 997 068 658 / +243 997 068 784

Margaret Harris, WHO/Communications Officer
harrism@who.int
+ 243 846 902 970
+ 41 79 290 66 88

Helen Vesperini, WFP/Kinshasa
helen.vesperini@wfp.org
+243 821 223 325
Gerald Bourke, WFP/Johannesburg
Gerald.bourke@wfp.org
+27 82 908 1417

Brittany Heyer, Save the Children/Information & Communications Coordinator
Brittany.heyer@savethechildren.org
+243 082 830 0612

Jean-Jacques Simon, UNICEF/Head of Communications
jsimon@unicef.org
+243 826 541 004

06Oct/19

ASG Mueller seeks support for Djibouti as it battles the effects of climate change

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Djibouti

“Djibouti has made virtually no contribution to the global climate emergency, but its population is suffering the consequences on a daily basis,” said Ms. Mueller.

(Djibouti, 4 October 2019): At the end of a three-day mission to Djibouti, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller today called on the international community to take immediate action to confront the climate crisis that is heavily affecting the country and the whole Horn of Africa and sustain the support to the humanitarian response. Throughout the region, recurrent droughts, water scarcity and other climate shocks have been drivers of high levels of malnutrition, disease outbreaks, food
insecurity and displacement, triggering an increase in humanitarian needs.

“Climate change is real, and I could see it here. I saw the widespread drought and I met
communities that can barely access safe water. They explained to me how this situation is
impacting their lives. Djibouti has [made] virtually no contribution to the global climate emergency,
but its population is suffering the consequences on a daily basis,” said Ms. Mueller.

Large areas of Djibouti are exposed to extreme weather conditions, affecting water availability
and hygiene conditions, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks. Coupled with high levels of
poverty and unemployment, this has left more than 280,000 people – one in three Djiboutians –
in chronic levels of food insecurity. “Severe acute malnutrition rates are alarming and considered
an emergency according to global standards. In Bondara village, women told me how they were
doing whatever it takes to put food on the table for the family, but the frequent droughts are
preventing them from doing so,” said Ms. Mueller.

On her way to the drought-affected Bondara village in the south of Djibouti, Ms. Mueller came
across a group of young migrants from Ethiopia’s Oromia region making a dangerous journey
towards the Arabian Peninsula in search of opportunities. “It was heart-breaking to hear a 20-
year-old young woman mentioning that her dream is to find a job as a maid in Saudi Arabia, and
she is risking her life in search of a better opportunity,” said the deputy humanitarian chief.
Djibouti is a major route of migration with 400 to 600 migrants crossing daily, fleeing the impact
of conflict, instability and harsh climate in neighbouring countries. Djibouti is also home to some
30,000 refugees and asylum-seekers and an estimated 100,000 migrants. The deputy humanitarian chief visited one of the refugee villages, in Ali Addeh a few kilometres from the
border with Ethiopia and Somalia. During her meeting with community representatives and a
women’s group to learn more about their particular needs, some refugees highlighted the need
for long-term solutions. “The most basic needs are being met. However, there is a lack of
livelihood opportunities that would allow the refugees to become self-reliant. A woman said that
rather than receiving food, she would prefer to work to feed her family. These kinds of
opportunities have to be created,” explained Ms. Mueller.

During her meeting with Djibouti’s Prime Minister, Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed, and several
ministers, Ms. Mueller commended government initiatives to support people who are most in
need of assistance. “The effort the Government is making to support refugees here is remarkable.
I could see in Ali Addeh how the joint work from government and humanitarian organizations is
saving lives,” said the deputy humanitarian chief. “But the Government needs further support to
help communities build up resilience, to be self-sufficient so that the recurring shocks do not lead
to further suffering and more costly crises.”

At the end of the mission, the deputy humanitarian chief highlighted that urgent action is
required to address the underlying causes of vulnerabilities and get on a path to sustainable
development in Djibouti and the region.

For further information please contact:
In the field, during the mission: Saviano Abreu | Whatsapp: +254 722 513 503 | Email: deabreuisidoro@un.org
In Nairobi: Guiomar Pau Sole, +254 786633633, email: pausole@un.org
In New York: Russell Geekie, +1 917 331 0393, geekie@un.org
In Geneva: Jens Laerke, +41 79 472 9750, laerke@un.org
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int

The mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to coordinate the global emergency response
to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises. We advocate for effective and principled humanitarian action by all, for all.

06Oct/19

More than 51 million children reached in Nigerian immunization campaign

Source: World Health Organization
Country: Nigeria

The intervention, conducted in phases, from 30 July-30 August 2019, reached 51,151,924 eligible children across 36 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Abuja, 4 October, 2019 – In a bid to bolster immunity of eligible children, the Federal Government of Nigeria supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners immunized over 51 million children during the annual national immunization campaigns.

The intervention, conducted in phases, from 30 July-30 August 2019, reached 51,151,924 eligible children across 36 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The campaign was integrated with Bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) and fractional Inactivated Polio Vaccine (fIPV). While 0-59 months’ children received bOPV only in selected local Government Areas (LGA) of 15 Nigerian states, namely, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara States, a total of 12,020,045 children 14 weeks to 59 months were given both fIPV and bOPV.

“To make this campaign a success, we engaged house to house vaccination teams comprising mainly women, mobilisers and town announcers. Parents of infants from 0 to 59 months were informed well in advance of the campaign and we administered vaccines in both fixed and temporary posts,” says Alhaji Yusuf Musa, Executive Secretary, Zamfara State Primary Health Care Development Agency.

The fIPV and bOPV campaign provided an opportunity to administer routine immunization including Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) (56,816), Pentavalent 3 (78,980), Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV1) (94,929), Measles (95,891), Yellow Fever vaccine administered to children under 1 year (92,662), Meningitis A Vaccine (MenA) under 1 year (9,097) to eligible children.

Expressing her joy, Mrs Omoyemi Ojo a mother in Lagos State in the South-west said, “I am so happy my daughter was given oral polio vaccine right here in my house,” she said. “It just made life a lot easier for me, especially as a new mum.”

On 21 August 2019, Nigeria, the last country to record wild polio virus (WPV) case in Africa, marked a major milestone in the history Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) after reaching three years without reporting any case of WPV.

Speaking on the outcome of the national campaign, Dr Fiona Braka, WHO Nigeria’s Immunization Team Leader said, “The essence of this campaign was to ensure eligible children are protected from vaccine preventable diseases.”

She said, “Even though Nigeria is edging closer to being certified wild poliovirus (WPV) free, we will not relent in ensuring all children are fully protected not just against polio but other vaccine preventable diseases too.”

Despite the progress, challenges – including inaccessibility due to conflict and insecurity in some areas, variations in campaign quality, massive mobile populations and, in some instances, parental refusal – have prevented health workers from reaching all children everywhere with polio vaccines in Nigeria.

Working through the National Emergency Operations Centre, WHO and partners continue to support the Government of Nigeria to surmount these challenges to ensure all children are vaccinated against polio until the virus is eradicated everywhere in the world.

Support for immunisation to the Federal Government of Nigeria through WHO is made possible with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Department for International Development (DFID – UK), European Union, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Government of Germany through KfW Bank, Global Affairs Canada, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Rotary International and the World Bank.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Ms Charity Warigon
Tel: +234 810 221 0093
Email: warigonc@who.int