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‘Situation of children in Somalia is devastating’ – UN Special Representative

New York, April 1 2020 – Children in Somalia have endured among the highest levels of violence of all countries on the Children and Armed Conflict agenda, with number of cases of recruitment and use, abduction and sexual violence exceeding those verified in other country situations, highlighted the fifth report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in Somalia. A total of 14,856 grave violations against children have been verified during the reporting period, between August 2016 and September 2019. “The situation of boys and girls in Somalia is devastating,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba. “The correlation between violations is particularly distressing, with abductions of children often leading to their recruitment and use or sexual violence; even once released, their ordeal is not yet over as boys and girls are often detained for their association with armed elements, perpetuating an infernal ..

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More than 15 million children and their families in Yemen, Syria and Gaza set to face COVID-19

Save the Children calls for an easing of restrictions on aid for hard to reach areas Fewer than 730 ventilators and 950 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds are available for more than 15 million children and their families in areas that are hard for aid agencies to reach in Yemen, northern Syria and Gaza – meaning they are critically underequipped to respond to an outbreak of COVID-19, Save the Children is warning. The Gaza Strip has been under blockade for 13 years, Syria has just entered its tenth year of conflict – with the Northern front currently the most active – and Yemen is in its sixth year of war. Healthcare systems across all three areas have been decimated, in some cases to the point of paralysis, and have minimal do not have nearly enough medical resources to respond to ongoing needs, let alone a global pandemic. As of March 29, Syria had confirmed 9 COVID-19 cases and one death, Gaza 9 cases, and Yemen is yet to declare any. In North West Syria, there are a total of 153 ven..

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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 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.[contfnewc] 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 b..

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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 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...

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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 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 pro..

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IOM Steps Up Humanitarian Response on Turkeys Land and Sea Borders

Edirne- As the situation on the Turkey/EU border enters its second week IOM, with its partners, continues to provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of vulnerable migrants who have been sleeping in rough conditions, without proper access to food, shelter or sanitary facilities. Since Friday 28th February migrants have been moving towards the Turkey EU/border in the province of Edirne. Many remain there, after walking long distances carrying their belongings, children, and babies on their backs. IOM Turkey has committed over USD 100,000 on food, clothing and hygienic items and other items with funds donated by the US Government. Teams on the ground have been actively distributing food and relief items on the border for days and are now significantly picking up operations. Additional staff have been deployed to border areas. Aid was distributed today at Pazarkule crossing point with more distributions planned tonight at two other points along the border. IOM response teams are also ..

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Shipwreck off coast of Libya pushes migrant deaths on the Mediterranean past 20,000 mark

Berlin – A tragic shipwreck off the coast of Libya last month and more than a dozen other recent fatalities elsewhere have pushed the death toll in the Mediterranean Sea to 20,014 since 2014, according to IOMs Missing Migrants Project. “The disappearance and presumed drowning of at least 91 people reported missing aboard a dingy north of Garabulli, Libya, on February 9 is the latest in a series of so-called ghost boats that have vanished en-route to Europe, claiming hundreds of lives,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre. “Two-thirds of the fatalities we have recorded are people lost at sea without a trace. The fact that we have reached this grim new milestone reinforces IOMs position that there is an urgent need for increased, comprehensive SAR capacity in the Mediterranean.” Ghost boats, also called invisible shipwrecks, are usually reported by NGOs such as Alarm Phone and Caminando Fronteras, which receive calls from migrants in distress at s..

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Brutal cold intensifies desperation for rising numbers of displaced in north-west Syria

Geneva – Sub-zero temperatures and increased snowfall are further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in northwest Syria where more than a quarter of a million people have been displaced in the past four days. Over 830,000 people have been displaced in the region in the last two months and more than 1.2 million since April 2019, according to the United Nations. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is extremely concerned about this rapid and ongoing rise in displacement which continues to rise in the tens of thousands every day, particularly as conflict spreads northward to highly populated urban areas. “Over 80,000 people forced to flee violence in the last few months are sleeping under trees or in open areas in the snow,” said Joseph Ashmore, IOMs Global Shelter Coordinator. “Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering and many more may die as extreme winter conditions take hold, provoking one of the most severe shelter crises the humanitarian system has faced in t..

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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) 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,..

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DRC: inter-ethnic violence in Ituri may constitute “crimes against humanity” – UN report

KINSHASA/GENEVA (10 January 2020) — Killings, rapes and other forms of violence targeting the Hema community in the Democratic Republic of Congo province of Ituri may amount to crimes against humanity, a UN report released on Friday said. An investigation conducted by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO)* in the DRC established that at least 701 people have been killed and 168 injured during inter-ethnic tensions between the Hema and Lendu communities, in the territories of Djugu and Mahagi, from December 2017 to September 2019. In addition, at least 142 people have been subjected to acts of sexual violence, the report said. Most of the victims are members of the Hema community. Since September 2018, Lendu armed groups have increasingly become more organized in carrying out attacks against the Hema and members of other ethnic groups such as the Alur, the investigators said. Among their objectives is to take control of the land of the Hema communities and their associ..

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