26 January 2012 -- Our Government's to provide 350-thousand dollars to Fiji to support the response to severe flooding.
While we have sanctions on the island nation, that doesn't include aid in times of disaster.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully's in Ethiopia, but has released a statement saying the funding will be made available immediately to the Fiji Red Cross for the distribution of essential relief items to those in need.
Assessments are ongoing, Mr McCully says, and New Zealand stands ready to offer additional help if it's needed.
New Zealand is coordinating closely with authorities and relief agencies on the ground.
There are no reports of any New Zealanders in need of assistance in Fiji.
25 January 2012 -- With the effects of the past two years’ devastating floods still marring its landscape, Pakistan is taking steps to be better prepared for the next natural calamity that could hit the country.
Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority announced Jan. 25 that it plans to develop a 10-year disaster management strategy with help from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The donor agency will provide disaster management expertise to help shape the plan. It reportedly has a team currently in Pakistan to help with feasibility studies and similar activities, the Express Tribune says. It is unclear whether JICA will be providing financial assistance.
25 January 2012 -- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that half a million children in Yemen could die or suffer physical and mental damage as a result of malnutrition, unless sufficient resources are made available to alleviate the effects of conflict, chronic poverty and drought.
“Malnutrition is preventable… therefore, inaction is unconscionable,” Maria Calivis, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement yesterday after a two-day visit to Yemen.
“Conflict, poverty and drought, compounded by the unrest of the previous year, the high food and fuel prices, and the breakdown of social services, are putting children’s health at great risks and threatening their very survival,” she said.
With 58 per cent of children stunted, Yemen has the second highest rate of chronic malnutrition among children in the world after Afghanistan. Acute malnutrition affects as many as 30 per cent of children in some parts of the country, close to the levels observed in south Somalia, and twice as high as the internationally recognized emergency threshold.
Malnutrition, along with poor health services, is also to blame for most of the recent deaths of 74 children from measles, among 2,500 affected by an outbreak of the disease, according to Government figures. While most children recover from measles within two to three weeks, children with malnutrition can suffer serious complications which can lead to death.
UNICEF has appealed for nearly $50 million to fund programmes for children’s urgent humanitarian needs in Yemen this year.
The country also has one of the highest rates of death among children under the age of five in the Middle East and North African region, at 77 per 1,000 live births, which means that some 69,000 children die every year before their fifth birthday.
“Now more than ever is the time for a renewed commitment to a better, peaceful future for Yemen’s children. As the country prepares for the next phase, it is essential that children are given top priority in the political agenda. Their needs need to be met and their rights upheld,” said Ms. Calivis.
Warring factions in Yemen signed an agreement in November on a transitional settlement under which President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to hand over power to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi. A new Government of National Unity was formed and presidential elections have been scheduled for 21 February.
25 January 2012 -- Local media reports at least 60 dead or missing after landslide engulfs remote villages.
25 January 2012 --A family of four has been confirmed dead after a landslide Ba in flood-striken Fiji.
25 January, 2012 -- The authorities in Fiji are evaluating the damage in the flood-ravaged Western district of Viti Levu.
23 January 2012 -- As the world’s youngest country, IT and telecommunications infrastructure in South Sudan are still underdeveloped, posing enormous challenges for humanitarian workers. A new partnership between WFP and the Government of Luxembourg is rapidly changing this with the first-ever deployment of the revolutionary ‘emergency.lu’ solution.
JUBA - Humanitarian emergencies are becoming increasingly complex; with each disaster there are more people who need urgent assistance, spread over a larger physical area, in a more insecure operating environment. In these desperate situations effective communications to efficiently manage the operation are paramount. In many of the areas in which WFP works, however – such as South Sudan - there is no food or shelter, let alone internet connectivity.
There is currently no public telecommunications infrastructure in South Sudan,” says Arthur Sawmadal, WFP Head of IT in South Sudan. “We rely on the mobile network and this is limited to the capital cities and a few locations in the field. Satellite services by commercial providers have overstretched capacity so what connectivity we do have is not only expensive, but unreliable.”
As global lead of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), WFP is collaborating with the Directorate for Development Cooperation of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and telecommunications company Ericsson, to develop a cutting-edge solution to assist the entire humanitarian community operating in disaster situations.
‘emergency.lu’ is a comprehensive solution to address the challenge of rapid response capacity by filling the communications gap that often occurs at the onset of large-scale disasters, especially in remote locations. The solution consists of satellite infrastructure and capacity; communication and coordination services; satellite ground terminals for long-term and rapid deployment; and transportation of equipment to the disaster area. The solution is based on a public-private partnership between the Luxembourg Government and Luxembourg-based companies SES TechCom, HITEC and Luxembourg Air Ambulance. It is a global public good funded by the Luxembourg Government for the benefit of the humanitarian community as a whole.
The maiden deployment of emergency.lu was in Bentiu, Unity State near the border between South Sudan and Republic of the Sudan. Since independence, the population in Bentiu has swelled from 7,000 to nearly 90,000 as a result of returnees and refugees fleeing conflict. Humanitarian organizations have promptly expanded operations to cope with escalating requirements. With this new solution, aid workers in the area now have reliable internet connectivity to coordinate their essential operations. Read more
23 January 2012 -- Several roads, bridges closed in western division
The whole of Fiji group has been placed under flood watch by the Nadi Weather office. Senior meteorologist Amit Singh says flooding of low lying areas through out Fiji is possible.
Singh said the adverse weather condition is due to a tropical depression that lies slow moving over Fiji group.He said whole of Fiji group will also experience strong winds with possible thunderstorms.
"Their will be periods of rain heavy at times," Singh said.
He said strong winds will ease from tomorrow however rain will continue till Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Department of National Roads has confirmed the closure of several roads and bridges in the western division.The Natawa, Yaladro and Nabuna flats in Tavua are flooded and closed to all traffic.
Naqia Bridge in Wainibuka, Tailevu is under four metres of water and closed to all traffic. In Ba, Namosau, Rarawai, Navatu, Balevuto and Toge bridges are underwater and closed to all traffic. Nasolo village is also under water.Raiwasa, Naqoro , Drana, FSC, and Qalau flats in Rakiraki are also under water and closed to all traffic.
The Fiji Police Force has called on members of the public to exercise extra precaution and refrain from going close to flooded rivers and creeks.
23 January 2012 -- “Food security is a huge challenge. No single entity can address the issue. You have to connect all the dots. To me, that is the key, because knowledge dissemination, application on the ground, and faster delivery—all these will require all stakeholders to come together.”
A participant in the first Asia- and Pacific-wide Investment Forum on Food Security summed it up well. This book seeks to connect the dots that make up the issue of food security by providing a compilation of knowledge, good practices, innovations, and lessons. All drawn from the forum, it weaves these together to enlarge understanding of the issues involved and to share the rich output of the forum with a broader audience. Read more
16 January 2012 -- BANGKOK (IRIN) - More countries should follow international disaster law to ensure efficient delivery of international aid, say experts.
"Too often, this life-saving assistance is delayed by bureaucratic bottlenecks," Elyse Mosquini, a Geneva-based senior advocacy officer of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told IRIN.
International disaster law, the legal instruments that provide guidance on how disaster assistance should work, "is the closest thing we have to a rule book on how disaster response operations should be managed across borders", says Oliver Lacey-Hall, Asia head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).
The IFRC's International Disaster Response Laws, Rules and Principles (IDRL) programme developed the Guidelines for the Domestic Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance, introduced in 2007.
"The guidelines aim to provide guidance to governments on how to reduce red tape and strengthen accountability," adds Lacey-Hall.
But unfortunately countries do not think about needing external help until it becomes an immediate reality, experts say. Only nine countries have passed IDRL-based domestic legislation - Finland, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, the Philippines and US.
Experts say more countries need to act fast and follow their examples.
Lacey-Hall said the recent floods in the Philippines showed that strong disaster laws meant response operations proceeded smoothly.
"Sadly it seems that usually it requires a disaster to focus minds on putting such regulations into place," he told IRIN.