Photo: The Domeez refugee camp in Iraq, where MSF has been treating Syrian refugees since this past May. Iraq 2012 © Fayçal Touiz/MSF

Humanitarian Response Still Insufficient For Syrians In and Out of the Country

The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to worsen as the war escalates and attacks against health facilities continue. Access to large parts of the country remains extremely difficult due to insecurity and heavy fighting, and more than two million people have been displaced. The number of Syrians seeking refuge in neighboring countries is increasing, but the humanitarian response in Lebanon and Iraq has so far been unable to meet their needs. The arrival of winter is exacerbating the difficult living conditions of Syrian refugees and the population remaining in the country

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) currently works in three field hospitals in the north of Syria. Since June, 10,000 patients have received medical attention for reasons including violence-related injuries such as gunshot wounds, shrapnel wounds, open fractures, and injuries due to explosions. More than 900 surgical procedures have been carried out. Admissions are irregular, depending on shifting frontlines and whether it is possible to refer the wounded. MSF is also providing training in mass casualty management, triage, and emergency care to Syrian health personnel who need support in the management of war-wounded patients. Specific assistance is also being provided to medical facilities, such as helping set up an emergency room and a blood bank in Aleppo area.

Several other health facilities have been set up by Syrian doctors and other medical organizations to treat the wounded in the northern region. However, general access to health services remains limited for the population, particularly for people suffering from chronic illnesses. A significant number of MSF’s patients need treatment for chronic disease or accidental trauma, or assistance during childbirth. Further support needs to be developed to meet these needs.

Enough. Enough.

After more than two years of conflict and more than 70,000 deaths, including thousands of children. … After more than five million people have been forced to leave their homes, including over a million refugees living in severely stressed neighboring countries … After so many families torn apart and communities razed, schools and hospitals wrecked and water systems ruined … After all this, there still seems to be an insufficient sense of urgency among the governments and parties that could put a stop to the cruelty and carnage in Syria.

We, leaders of U.N. agencies charged with dealing with the human costs of this tragedy, appeal to political leaders involved to meet their responsibility to the people of Syria and to the future of the region.
(…)

— 

Valerie Amos, Ertharin Cousin, Antonio Guterres, Anthony Lake and Margaret Chan

NYT "A U.N. Appeal to Save Syria"

HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT - HEALTH

Happy World Health Day from Peacebuilding Solutions!

Happy World Health Day from Peacebuilding Solutions!

As part of Peacebuilding Solutions’ sustainable alternative to current practices in refugee aid, we want to recognize and reinforce the humanity and the dignity of all people, including refugees. Just like non-refugees, displaced persons live holistic lives: one cannot thrive on clean water alone, for example, but needs food, shelter, physical…

View On WordPress

Ukrainian authorities finally made a decision. Open war against Ukrainian citizens was announced.

After almost three months of constant protests in Ukraine’s major cities, President Yanukovych’s government declared de facto martial law in the country. Violent clashes have spread beyond the capital.

#Euromaidan Protests Spread Throughout Ukraine After Explosion of Violence

I wanted to share another report that may be of interest to those following issues about urban food security and emergencies/ humanitarian aid, and detail some of the most interesting points.

"Learning from the City” is a recently released study by the British Red Cross, that aims to be a building block for the better understanding of the challenges posed by humanitarian action in urban areas. It has focused principally on evidence from five British Red Cross operational contexts in Haiti (Port-au-Prince), Uganda (Kampala and other cities), Djibouti (Djibouti-ville), Mongolia (Ulaanbataar) and Nepal (Kathmandu).

The study “looks at the evolving nature of risk and vulnerability in urban settings and assesses the operational implications of these trends and challenges”  and highlight five ways forward (for the British Red Cross): (i) Sharpening context analysis and assessments; (ii) Understanding cash and markets better; (iii) Engaging and communicating with complex communities; (iv) Adapting to the challenges of land and the built environment; and (v) Engaging with urban systems and partnering with local groups and institutions.

With regard to food security issues, there are some interesting obsevations:

  • "Many evaluations of urban responses have highlighted the importance of recognising the role of cash in urban areas, as people depend more on goods and services, than on producing their own food or fetching water, for example."  However as they explain, there are challenges with the identification and targeting of the most vulnerable  in peri-urban slums in Djibouti (p.8)
  • The limitations of the Households Economic Security (HES) approach, as it involved identifying (geographical) livelihoods zones for analysis, which is unrealistic for urban contexts with multiple livelihoods.
  • A number of characteristics of urban areas that often give rise to humanitarian needs are detailed, among which "dependency on food produced outside cities - an on cash for food, rent, water and other services - can trigger crises for the most vulnerable groups when food and fuel prices are volatile, or if a conflict or disaster cuts off physical access between a city and rural areas."
  • Research by ACF in Guinea, Zimbabwe and Guatemala, for example, found that the links and interdependencies between rural and urban communities were an important part of people’s ability to weather food insecurity in times of shock or stress (Vaitla, 2012).”
  • On urban violence and food, the report mentions food price riots as an ocurrence that poses significant challenges to the humanitarian community.

Personally what I found most interesting was the calls for a change in coordination (very different to the current system) and the integrated neighbourhood apporach they adopted in Haiti (as well as its limitations). As the report states: "Some authors have called for a new, area-based method of coordination in urban settings. Such an approach is appealing given the general absence of many potential partners, such as the private sector, from the cluster system convened by the UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Lastly Appendix 2 “Tools for humanitarian action in urban areas” contains some useful links among which mention is made to FAO’s Participatory Urban Food Security and Nutrition Security Assessment Process.

Watch on unfpa.tumblr.com

Safe birth. Even here. SHARE the good news of safe deliveries, even in the most difficult humanitarian crises environments!

SO DONE WITH WRITING THESE MODEL UN SPEECHES I JUST WANNA TRY OUT AND BE DONE WITH IT FOREVER BUT STILL TO DO:

"Humanitarian Intervention - Responsibility to Protect" - halfway done

"Sustainable Development Goals - Health and Population Dynamics" - 0% done

((if anyone happens to be an expert in any of the two hmu!!!)

In April 2014, the worst flooding in memory tore through the Solomon Islands.
Jennifer Tandavale’s gardens were destroyed: “There was no food there. We had only what we received from Oxfam – rice and tuna. Then we waited until more supplies came. Then we could start doing work. “From Oxfam I got a hoe, spade, knife, file. These helped me very much. Very much. And I thank Oxfam for the financial management training. After that, myself and my husband finally had the knowledge of doing the budgeting. And the money we received from selling the fruits from the trees (cocoa and copra) and the vegetables from the garden – we were able to open a little canteen. Thank you for every good donation that has helped me. And for the food when we needed it, and for the tools so we could dig new gardens.” #SolomonIslands #Honiara #Guadalcanal #Solomons #flooding #floods #emergency #humanitarian #Response #aid #evacuation #shelter #livelihoods #Oxfam #Pacific

UK Prime Minister Warned Air Strikes In Syria Illegal

David Cameron has been warned that UK air strikes against Isis in Syria could be illegal under international law. Officials in the House of Commons Library have cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s view that Isis targets could be bombed in Syria as well as Iraq on the grounds that the Assad regime in Syria is “illegitimate.” In a briefing paper for MPs, officials said: “Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request. “The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.” http://goo.gl/UXXW6H

Refugee Livelihoods in Urban Areas: Identifying Program Opportunities

I wanted to highlight a publication just released by Feinstein International Center - "a global desk review of livelihoods programming for refugees in urban settings together with a review of low- income urban development prorgams that could be relevant for refugees."

The report does not make direct mention to food security, nevertheless the program opportunities identified are very relevant.  As they state, "despite a growing body of research about the livelihood problems of refugees in urban areas in countries of first asylum, there is little evidence about which humanitarian programs work, what livelihoods initiatives refugees undertake themselves, and where opportunities for programming interventions lie. This study addresses this knowledge gap by analysing the urban livelihood context, and identifying programming opportunities and examples of promising program initiatives. The study’s key objective was to support livelihoods programming for refugees by generating new ideas from related fields of inquiry, such as low-income urban development and youth unemployment, and adapting these ideas to make them relevant for refugees."

For the purposes of the study they defined livelihoods programming “as that which directly supports household income generation by promoting wage employment or self-employment through skills and vocational training, microfinance, business development and legal services, job replacement, apprenticeships, mentoring and so forth.”

 

————————————————————————

The Feinstein International Center is pleased to announce new publications on Refugee Livelihoods:

Refugee Livelihoods in Urban Areas:  Identifying Program Opportunities

Recommendations for programming and advocacy

Refugees in urban areas face a specific set of livelihoods problems, and in recent years many aid agencies have begun to try to address these problems by supporting refugees through vocational training, microcredit and other services. So far, however, there has been little evidence about which humanitarian programs work, and where opportunities for programming interventions lie. This study, funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, addresses this knowledge gap.  Through case studies in Cairo, Tel Aviv and Quito, we analyzed the urban livelihoods context for refugees and identified programming opportunities and promising program initiatives. In each city, we sought to generate new ideas from related fields of inquiry, such as low-income urban development and youth employment that could be adapted for refugees in countries of first asylum.

Our three case studies represent contrasting refugee policy contexts and livelihoods experience, and offer lessons for other host settings.  Each case study begins with a review of existing livelihood programs in the country. This includes a mapping of commercial, humanitarian and governmental organizations that provide programming, advocacy or other resources that support the livelihoods of refugees, migrants and low-income citizens. We then interviewed asylum seekers and key informants to deepen our understanding of the livelihoods context in each country.  Our main program recommendations, based on all three cases, are included as a stand-alone document.

 

Read the reports at website, http://fic.tufts.edu.

UK Prime Minister Warned Air Strikes In Syria Illegal

David Cameron has been warned that UK air strikes against Isis in Syria could be illegal under international law. Officials in the House of Commons Library have cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s view that Isis targets could be bombed in Syria as well as Iraq on the grounds that the Assad regime in Syria is “illegitimate.” In a briefing paper for MPs, officials said: “Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request. “The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.” http://goo.gl/UXXW6H

Dave Ramsey is back! Dave resident USGS guru for all things GIS (and my boss) was in DC as the interim head of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program under OFDA, the office of US foreign disaster assistance. We spent the whole morning catching up and I listened to stories about disaster relief and response to humanitarian and natural crisis around the world. So often I feel disheartened by the state of affairs- hearing about how hard these people work and how much energy, resources, and man power is mobilized daily to help people who are displaced and the most vulnerable felt really inspiring. I wish we heard more about these people and the important work they do. It helps me keep perspective #USAID #USGS

An emergency-response team director for the aid group International Medical Corps, Sean Casey, center, travels dirt roads between Liberia’s capital and the dense jungle of Bong County four hours away to help coordinate the construction of an Ebola treatment center.

Source: International Medical Corps staff, Mali via Bloomberg (x)

Tomorrow, 17 October, is the launch of the World Disaster Report 2013 “Focus on Technology and the Future of Humanitarian Action.”

———————————————————————————-

The World Disaster Report (WDR) 2013 examines the profound impact of technological innovations on humanitarian action, how humanitarians employ technology in new and creative ways, and what risks and opportunities may emerge as a result of technological innovations. The responsible use of technology offers concrete ways to make humanitarian assistance more effective, efficient and accountable and can, in turn, directly reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience.

Finding ways to leverage advances in technology to serve the most vulnerable is a moral imperative; a responsibility, not a choice.

Published annually since 1993, the World Disasters Report brings together the latest trends, facts and analysis of contemporary catastrophes and their effect on vulnerable populations worldwide. Initiated by the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, it convenes eminent researchers, authors and development and humanitarian aid practitioners to highlight contemporary issues on a yearly basis.

A panel discussion will take place on October 17 th at 9:30 a.m. EST at Harvard University and will be web streamed (audio only). To participate this session please register at: https://hsphevents.webex.com/mw0307l/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=hsphevents&service=6

The full report will be available on October 17 th . To view the report visit: www.ifrc.org/WDR2013

Panel participants include:

Patrick Vinck - Associate Faculty, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Laura Howe - Vice President or Public Relations, American Red Cross

Gary Fowlie- Head of the Liaison Office of the United Nations International Telecommunications Unit

Rebecca Curzon - Senior Program Manager, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, IBM

Matthias Schmale- Under Secretary General, National Societies and Knowledge Development, IFRC

MicroMappers: Crowdsourcing the analysis of UAV imagery for disaster response

Cross-posted from MicroMappers

UAVs are increasingly used in humanitarian response. We have thus added a new Clicker to our MicroMappers collection. The purpose of the “Aerial Clicker” is to crowdsource the tagging of aerial imagery captured by UAVs in humanitarian settings. Trying out new technologies during major disasters can pose several challenges, however. So we’re teaming up with Drone Adventures, Kuzikus Wildlife Reserve, Polytechnic of Namibia, and l’École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to try out our new Clicker using high-resolution aerial photographs of wild animals in Namibia.

As part of their wildlife protection efforts, rangers at Kuzikus want to know how many animals (and what kinds) are roaming about their wildlife reserve. So Kuzikus partnered with Drone Adventures and EPFL’s Cooperation and Development Center (CODEV) and the Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG) to launch the SAVMAP project, which stands for “Near real-time ultrahigh-resolution imaging from unmanned aerial vehicles for sustainable land management and biodiversity conservation in semi-arid savanna under regional and global change.” SAVMAP was co-funded by CODEV through LASIG. You can learn more about their UAV flights here.

Our partners are interested in experimenting with crowdsourcing to make sense of this aerial imagery and raise awareness about wildlife in Namibia. As colleagues at Kuzikus recently told us, “Rhino poaching continues to be a growing problem that threatens to extinguish some rhino species within a decade or two. Rhino monitoring is thus important for their protection. One problematic is to detect rhinos in large areas and/or dense bush areas. Using digital maps in combination with MicroMappers to trace aerial images of rhinos could greatly improve rhino monitoring efforts.”

So our pilot project serves two goals: 1) Trying out the new Aerial Clicker for future humanitarian deployments; 2) Assessing whether crowdsourcing can be used to correctly identify wild animals.

Can you spot the zebras in the aerial imagery above? If so, you’re already a digital ranger! No worries, you won’t need to know that those are actually zebras, you’ll simply outline any animals you find (using your mouse) and click on “Add my drawings.” Yes, it’s that easy : ) We’ll be running our Wildlife Challenge from September 26th-28th. To sign up for this digital expedition to Namibia, simply join the MicroMappers list-serve here. We’ll be sure to share the results of the Challenge with all volunteers who participate and with our partners in Namibia. We’ll also be creating a wildlife map based on the results so our friends know where the animals have been spotted (by you!).

Given that rhino poaching continues to be a growing problem in Namibia (and elsewhere), we will obviously not include the location of rhinos in our wildlife map. You’ll still be able to look for and trace rhinos (like those above) as well as other animals like ostriches, oryxes & giraffes, for example. Hint: shadows often reveal the presence of wild animals!

Drone Adventures hopes to carry out a second mission in Namibia early next year. So if we’re successful in finding all the animals this time around, then we’ll have the opportunity to support the Kuzikus Reserve again in their future protection efforts. Either way, we’ll be better prepared for the next humanitarian disaster thanks to this pilot. MicroMappers is developed by QCRI and is a joint project with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Any questions or suggestions? Feel free to email me at patrick@iRevolution.net or add them in the comments section below. Thank you!



Selection of Robotics News By NooTriX: http://ift.tt/1suz8Hf
September 11, 2014 at 11:03PM
Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video