Posts tagged humanitarian aid
Posts tagged humanitarian aid
In A Change, Turkey Tightens Its Border With Syria
The spring sun is warming the fields and orchards along the Turkey-Syria border, and new refugee camps are sprouting as well.
Smugglers who have long worked these mountain border trails are now busy moving civilians out of Syria to the safety of Turkish camps. They’re also moving medical and communications equipment and people into opposition-held neighborhoods in Syria. But recently, some say that’s getting harder.
A smuggler known as Abu Ayham says Turkish guards, who used to permit nonlethal aid to pass freely, have suddenly grown much tougher on the smugglers.
“The situation is very hard now,” Ayham says. “On the Turkish side, if the guards catch you and you have nothing but a mobile phone, they will take it and they might jail you. The other day a group was stopped carrying only small tents for people hiding in the mountains. The guards said, ‘This is military equipment,’ and seized it.”
Activists say it could be the whim of a local Turkish commander, and smugglers working different routes say they haven’t encountered similar problems.
On the other hand, analysts say Turkey recently caught 14 supporters of the separatist PKK Kurdish movement trying to cross into Turkey from Syria.
Turkey is worried that Syrian President Bashar Assad might revive Syria’s support for the Kurdish separatists seeking a homeland in southeastern Turkey, as his father, Hafez, did in the 1990s.
When asked about international assistance pledged for Syria, the smugglers say they haven’t seen it. But that may be because aid officials are worried about maintaining neutrality.
Pictured: Turkish army personnel patrol near the border with Syria in Kilis earlier this month. Activists and smugglers say it’s getting harder to get medical and communications equipment into Syria across the Turkish border.
UN says Haiti quake victims at risk over donor deficit
The United Nations in Haiti has warned that hundreds of thousands of quake victims are at risk due to an aid shortfall.
The UN humanitarian coordinator, Nigel Fisher, says the lack of money has led to reduced services in camps for those displaced by the earthquake in 2010.
Mr Fisher said donors had provided half the aid requested by Haiti last year.
He said this underfunding threatened the victims’ “very existence” and could reverse steps taken to combat cholera.
In a statement, Mr Fisher said Haiti had received only about half of the $382m in aid demanded last year.
He said international donors had so far provided less than 10% of the $231m called for this year.
Mr Fisher said the underfunding “threatens to reverse gains achieved in the fight against cholera through the promotion of sanitary and hygiene practices”.
“It threatens the very existence of hundreds of thousands of [displaced people] living in camps.”
“Almost half a million people still live in camps, exposed to cholera outbreaks and risks of flooding that will be exacerbated by the upcoming rainy and hurricane season from May to November,” he said.
Pictured: Many earthquake survivors are still living in tents
Red Crescent blocked from Homs district
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that it was unable to enter the Homs district of Bab Amro on Friday, where it had hoped to bring in aid and evacuate the sick and wounded.
“The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society [SARC] were not allowed to enter the Bab Amr district of Homs today,” Jakob Kellenberger, ICRC president, said in a statement issued in Geneva on Friday.
“It is unacceptable that people who have been in need of emergency assistance for weeks have still not received any help. We are staying in Homs tonight in the hope of entering Bab Amr in the very near future. In addition, many families have fled Bab Amr, and we will help them as soon as we possibly can.”
Syrian authorities had given the independent agency a “green light” on Thursday to enter on Friday, the statement said without providing further details on what had prevented their humanitarian operation to start.
Later on Friday, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, demanded that the Syrian government unconditionally allow humanitarian aid into areas in need.
“The Syrian authorities must open without any preconditions to humanitarian communities,” Ban told a press briefing at UN headquarters in New York.
Speaking as reports emerged of Red Crescent convoys being denied entry into Bab Amr, Ban said the images coming out of Syria were “atrocious”.
“It is totally unacceptable and intolerable. How, as a human being, can you bear with this situation,” he said.
Ban also said that the government was “afraid” to allow Valeria Amos, the UN emergency aid chief, to enter the country. Just days ago, authorities had denied Amos an entry visa that she had requested to monitor humanitarian conditions in Syria.
After the famine: Somalia’s refugees ponder their future
Confidence is slowly returning to the capital, Mogadishu, but aid is still scarce and al-Shabaab reign over much of the country
A few hours in Mogadishu is all it takes to make you understand, with a jolt, just how little space the human body needs to survive.
Across a narrow seafront road, a camp for people fleeing drought and fighting has unfurled in the sandy nothingness. From a distance, it looks like rows of colourful eggs decorated by children.
But these tiny domed huts – smaller than some Wendy houses – are strictly functional. They are made of cloth, plastic, cardboard, old sacks or canvas moulded around frames of spindly sticks. To say they are crammed together would be an understatement.
Pictured: Somali children queue for food in a Mogadishu displaced persons camp. There are at least 185,000 homeless people in the capital, a city of about 2 million. Photograph: Clar Ni Chonghaile for the Guardian
Volunteers who organized their activities through Twitter, collected an estimated 60 tons of food aid for Mexico’s Raramuri Indians. The Raramuri made global headlines last week, after rumors emerged that they had been killing themselves to avoid death from starvation. (Photo: Manuel Rueda)
Donovan Gutierrez, a Mexico City taxi driver, was having a relaxing breakfast on Sunday, shortly after coming home from a sleepless Saturday night shift. But when he saw a tweet on his phone, his plans for the day suddenly changed.
“I saw the tuitazo that said they needed us to come help and load things (on a truck), so I took a shower and came here with some friends,” said Gutierrez, who spent much of Sunday loading boxes of powdered milk, water and canned foods onto a 40 foot long truck in downtown Mexico City.