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Archive for January 22nd, 2014

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC / TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO PREVENT A GENOCIDE

Posted by African Press International on January 22, 2014

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Director of Operations, Mr. John Ging, has returned from a four-day mission to the Central African Republic, where the violent clashes that broke out on 5 December 2013, have claimed the lives of over two thousand people, displaced nearly one million, and deepened the humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Ging met with communities affected by the crisis and listened to their challenges and priority needs. “In Bangui, I visited a makeshift camp, alongside the airport’s only airstrip, where some 100,000 people still live, too afraid of the violence to return to their homes. Ordinary people, no matter their creed, want the same thing. They want peace, they want to go home, they want to rebuild their lives. Their requests are modest, despite their poverty. The international community has a responsibility to help them.”

Based on an assessment recently completed by OCHA in collaboration with other aid agencies, some 2.6 million people, more than half the population of Central African Republic, need humanitarian assistance. Nearly a fifth of the population is displaced, including 500,000 people in Bangui: half of its residents. An estimated 240,000 Central Africans have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Priority needs have been identified in the areas of health, food, protection, water and sanitation and agriculture.

“In Zere I met villagers who were taking the courageous step to return home after many months of hiding in the forest”, he said. “They told me of their desire to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. They asked for seeds and tools to restore their small crops ahead of the planting season, which begins in March. Without agricultural support, an already 1.3 million food insecure people could go hungry. Too many families are already surviving on a single meal a day.”

Mr. Ging called on communities to unite for peace and applauded the efforts being made by some community and religious leaders, to bring about such unity. “There are those with weapons in their hands, from within both communities, who are committing appalling atrocities and seeking to turn communities against each other,” said Mr. Ging. “This must not be allowed to happen. This is not a war between Christians and Muslims, or between Muslims and Christians. This is not the history of the Central African Republic, nor should it be its future. People must unite against violence, and against those in their communities that commit it. People must unite for peace,” he said.

In response to the crisis, humanitarian organizations have deployed emergency staff to the Central African Republic. “The humanitarian community has given this crisis the highest priority”, said Mr. Ging. “We have mobilized a large number of experienced and expert humanitarian staff to deliver the response that is necessary, although stretched to breaking point elsewhere in the world.”

Mr. Ging called on donors to give the crisis in the Central African Republic the same level of priority. He noted that, despite the appeal by humanitarian agencies for US$254 million to cover operations in 2014, only a fraction of the required funding has been received. “We do not see the mobilization of financial resources that are needed, in particular for life-saving response,” he said. While showing appreciation for the financial support received from the European Commission, the United States, Ireland, Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands, he underscored that more funding is required, urgently. “We cannot deliver to meet the needs of this population without the mobilization of the resources that we require,” he noted.

Mr. Ging warned of the consequences of not acting on the crisis in the Central African Republic. “The stakes are extremely high. The crisis has all the elements that we have seen elsewhere in places like Rwanda and Bosnia. The seeds are there for a genocide, there is no doubt. The people are a lot more civil than the situation conveys, but they are being incited by their experience. The fear among the communities of each other is palpable.”

On Monday, 20 January, the donor community will hold a high-level meeting on the Central African Republic, with the hope of garnering the political will and the financial resources required to respond to the humanitarian needs in the country.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

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UN Backs IOM Aid to IDPs Displaced by Conflict in South Sudan

Posted by African Press International on January 22, 2014

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated USD 8 million to IOM to support the organization’s response to the growing displacement crisis in South Sudan.

UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos emphasized the urgent need for the funds. “Conditions for the South Sudanese fleeing hostilities in their country are getting worse by the day. With this CERF funding, humanitarian agencies will be better able to meet the needs of people desperately seeking shelter and safety,” she noted.

An estimated 490,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been displaced in South Sudan since the outbreak of armed conflict on 15 December. Of these, 67,800 are taking refuge on UN peacekeeping mission bases throughout the country.

Camp management and camp coordination (CCCM) mechanisms have been established at two sites in Juba, benefitting over 32,000 people. Efforts to establish similar structures in other sites are ongoing. The funding from CERF comes at a crucial time to support CCCM partners as they work to address challenges at the IDP sites, including congestion and lack of humanitarian space to effectively plan and manage response efforts.

IOM has been at the forefront of efforts to assist people displaced by the South Sudan crisis. As co-lead of the CCCM cluster, IOM is supporting the overall coordination of humanitarian services at sites for displaced people.

Specific activities undertaken by the CCCM cluster include the development of a strategy to provide services in camp-like settings, the provision of technical support on camp management, IDP registration, site planning and site setup.

IOM has also launched the Camp Management Rapid Response Grant Mechanism, a fund that enables CCCM partners to immediately assume camp management roles in priority IDP sites across the country. This mechanism will ensure that partners have the resources needed to effectively assume roles as camp managers.

The funding from CERF is the largest ever allocated for CCCM activities in the fund’s history, and will directly support the humanitarian response to some of South Sudan’s most urgent needs.

To date, IOM has registered over 50,000 IDPs across South Sudan. The data gathered during the registration process is being shared with humanitarian partners to contribute to the rapid and efficient delivery of aid. IOM is also working with partners to provide essential household items and emergency shelter materials, as well as water, hygiene and sanitation assistance to people affected by the conflict.

 

SOURCE

International Office of Migration (IOM)

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UN Envoy to Somalia on the new Cabinet

Posted by African Press International on January 22, 2014

MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, has welcomed the endorsement of the Cabinet nominated by Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed following a vote today in the Somali Federal Parliament.

“I congratulate the new Ministers, Deputy and State Ministers of Somalia. The Cabinet has a large task ahead: delivering peace and reconciliation, rule of law and good governance to the Somali people, as well as providing public services and building the economy,” SRSG Kay said. “The United Nations will continue to support the Federal Government of Somalia as it strives to make progress in all these areas in the context of the Somali Compact.”

SRSG Kay encouraged the new Cabinet to work with the Parliament and the Presidency in full respect of the Provisional Federal Constitution.

 

SOURCE

Mission of UN in Somalia

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