Global effort to strengthen early warning systems expands

Source: World Meteorological Organization
Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Fiji, France, Germany, Haiti, India, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, Togo, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, World

The Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, which has invested $42 million in projects in the most vulnerable countries, has received a new contribution of 10 million euros from Germany.
Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States benefit from better weather and climate information

A global initiative to strengthen early warning systems and climate resilience in the most vulnerable countries continues to gain momentum with a new injection of Euro 10 million contribution from Germany.

The Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, set up in 2015, has invested USD 42 million in projects in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States and has mobilized an additional USD 130 million from public funds of other development partners.

Thus, Fiji now has an early warning system for flash floods. Advisories are issued for sand storms in Burkina Faso, which is also now generating seasonal forecasts and informing small scale farmers through local radio stations on when to plant their crops. Papua New Guinea issued its first seasonal forecast this year thanks to cooperation with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The latest counties that benefit from CREWS support are Afghanistan, Chad and Togo, with projects under preparation for Haiti, as well as additional financing planned for the Pacific and West Africa.

Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, said: “We must move from talk to action. The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is higher than it has ever been. Climate change is already happening. And those suffering the most are the developing countries who, to crown it all, are the ones that have contributed the least to this situation. That is why it is important that affected countries get proper weather forecasts, so they are not caught totally unprepared when droughts or floods occur. If they know, for example, that a storm is on its way, with heavy rainfall, they have a much better chance of being able to prepare for it and can perhaps also receive timely assistance.”

The Minister said that good weather forecasts not only make it possible to respond better to crises at short notice, they also allow more long-term climate analyses to be made. If it is clear that a lengthy drought is coming, then the planning of food supplies can be better organised.

Therefore, the Minister said, “weather forecasts are the first building block in creating a foundation that countries can use to make whatever adjustments are needed to cope with a changing climate. Germany will help them, because the knowledge is already there.”

Carole Dieschbourg Minister for the Environment, Climate and Sustainability of Luxembourg, said the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather means that early warnings to protect lives and property are now more necessary than ever.

She said it was vital to close the capacity gap and ensure that weather forecasts and climate information from powerful supercomputers are made available to vulnerable countries and communities.

“We have made progress but we really have to do more,” she told a side event at the UN Climate Change Conference on 11 December.

Ingrid Hoven of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development highlighted the role early warnings play in building resilience to climate change. She stressed the high return from such investments, whilst and encouraging comprehensive approaches to climate risk promoted through the InsuResilience initiative, that include early warnings and insurance schemes.

Germany announced an Euro 10 million contribution to the CREWS Trust Fund, in addition to the initial Euro 3 million contributed in 2016.

In support of these efforts, a new Alliance for Hydromet Development, announced on 10 December, will align international efforts to close the capacity gap on early warnings and climate information by 2030. It brings together 12 international organizations providing assistance to developing countries, including the World Bank and World Meteorological Organization.

CREWS was launched by the French Government and four other countries at COP21 in Paris to ensure that Least Developed Countries and small island developing State are able to benefit. Two additional countries have since joined, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

“CREWS is increasingly relevant because of the growing impact of climate change especially on the most vulnerable,” said France’s Ambassador for Climate Change Brigitte Collet. “It is clear we are in a race against the clock,” she said.

She said that an assessment of CREWS showed that more than 44 countries benefit, out of a target of 76 priority LDCs and SIDS. “France will remain committed.”

CREWS allows LDCs and SIDS to draw on the expertise of three partners: the World Bank and its Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery, the World Meteorological Organization, that also hosts the CREWS Secretariat, and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In all these countries, WMO has successful identified the most adapted and best available technical advice that is often found in more advanced meteorological agencies to address the needs.

“CREWS is really a success story and is taking real action on the ground,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. Half of national meteorological and hydrological services worldwide still lack proper multi-hazard early warning systems and impact-based forecasts, he said.

For instance, Tropical Cyclone Idai caused massive loss of life in Mozambique earlier this year because, whilst the storm was accurately forecast, there were insufficient advance warnings about the impacts of the Category 5 winds, huge storm surge and devastating flooding, said Mr Taalas.

By contrast, a major tropical cyclone which hit the Indian coastline in Odisha this year killed 38 people, compared to the 10,000 lives lost in a similar storm in the same location 20 years ago, said UN Disaster Risk Reduction chief Mami Mizutori. Better weather forecasts – and in particular better communication and education - were decisive, she said.

Pacific islands are among CREWS beneficiaries. Four out of the lowest-lying islands in the world are in the Pacific.

“The highest point in the Marshall islands is the landfill,” said Kosi Latu, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

“This puts the scale of the challenge into context. The CREWS project is so important because we are talking about the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. CREWS funding has helped local meteorological services provide weather forecasts and early warnings in simple ways which can be easily understood by local communities.

“The CREWS project enables us to raise the level of consciousness. It has helped to increase the level of understanding of early warning systems in the context of the Pacific,” said Mr Latu.

CREWS has a special gender-sensitive focus because women are often impacted differently than men by climate-related risks and are at the forefront of having action at the local level.


UNHCR head appeals to South Sudan parties to ensure long-lasting peace

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: South Sudan

Despite the signing of the peace agreement last year, the situation remains critical, with millions of South Sudanese displaced and in need of safety and humanitarian assistance.
Six years after the outbreak of violence in South Sudan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is calling on all parties to boost efforts to form an inclusive national unity government in order to achieve permanent peace.

Despite the signing of the peace agreement last year, the situation remains critical, with millions of South Sudanese displaced and in need of safety and humanitarian assistance.

“South Sudanese people long for lasting peace,” said High Commissioner Grandi. “Only a political solution can end the crisis and bring relief to those who have been displaced over and over again.”

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, is Africa’s largest humanitarian and refugee crisis with over two million of its people seeking safety in neighboring countries and an equal number displaced inside the country.

For those already forced to flee their homes disrupting their daily lives, climate change has become an additional challenge. Recent flooding resulted in the loss of life, homes, and livelihood. South Sudan also remains one of the most dangerous countries for humanitarians to deliver aid.

“The momentum towards the implementation of the peace agreement must be sustained in order to ensure the safety of civilians and guarantee solutions for those affected. It is their only ray of hope,” said Grandi.

UNHCR is also urging parties to continue to include South Sudanese refugees and IDPs in discussions on the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

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South Sudan: US$1.5 billion needed to address the humanitarian needs of 5.6 million people in 2020

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: South Sudan, Sudan

Some 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance or protection and 3.7 million are displaced inside or outside of the country.
Response Plan Overview

The cumulative effects of years of prolonged conflict, chronic vulnerabilities and weak essential services have left 7.5 million people – more than two thirds of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 4 million people remain displaced:

1.5 million internally and 2.2 million as refugees in neighbouring countries. Limited availability and a lack of access to health services have largely contributed to one of the highest under-five mortality rates (90.7 deaths per 1,000 live births) and maternal mortality rates (789 deaths per 100,000 live births) worldwide. The country remains in a critical period of unprecedented severe food insecurity with 6.4 million people considered food insecure, and with malnutrition rates of 16 per cent – surpassing the global emergency threshold.
Protection concerns remain significant, with affected populations expressing fear over persistent insecurity, protection threats, human rights violations and gender-based violence (GBV).
In 2020, the humanitarian operation will focus on three overarching strategic objectives (SOs) aimed at responding to the needs of 5.6 million vulnerable populations as a result of the crisis: (1) Reduce morbidity and mortality, as well as suffering from protection threats and incidents; (2) Facilitate safe, equitable and dignified access to critical cross-sectoral basic services; and (3) Enable vulnerable people to recover from crisis, seek solutions to displacement and build resilience to acute shocks and chronic stresses through targeted programming in specific geographic locations.
To fully meet these objectives, the humanitarian community will need US$1.54 billion in 2020. This Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is based on an enhanced, intersectoral analysis of needs across population groups. A rigorous prioritization approach has been applied in identifying the geographical areas and activities included in the scope of the plan. As per the previous 2019 HRP, the Humanitarian Country Team has agreed to focus on activities that can be scaled up, depending on the availability of funds.
The response approach strengthens multisectoral planning and delivery, mainstreams protection activities across the strategic objectives and focuses on strengthening accountability to affected people (AAP). A robust intersectoral mechanism has been put in place to ensure that targeted populations and beneficiaries feel informed and consulted throughout the entire humanitarian programme cycle. Through a targeted community communication and engagement plan, it aims to protect vulnerable communities in high risk areas from sexual exploitation and abuse. A focused approach to incorporating age, gender and diversity considerations will be applied in all aspects of partners’ response. This includes prioritizing vulnerable population groups such as female-headed households, providing safe spaces for children and taking into account the needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities during the response. Cash and voucher assistance (CVA) will be used by a number of sectors as a modality of response aimed at improving livelihoods of local communities and businesses and strengthening local markets.
In 2020, partners are enhancing their efforts in intersectoral collaboration and impact monitoring. The intersectoral severity analysis provided for the identification of prioritized geographic locations displaying the highest severity of need. Regular situation and response monitoring will provide the Humanitarian Country Team with timely evidence for operational decision-making.
Through consolidated humanitarian hubs, humanitarians will provide secure access to hard-to-reach locations and enable consistent delivery of quality integrated basic services to underserved and vulnerable populations. Subnational inter-agency coordination will enable operational decentralization of response activities and facilitate the involvement of affected populations.
In support of the humanitarian-development nexus, partners will aim to ensure that humanitarian activities are aligned and contribute to the shared objectives and collective outcomes of development programming through the United Nations Cooperation Framework (UNCF) (2019–2021).


Mozambique update from HLA members

We have been coordinating responses from various HLA members on the current emergency situation in Mozambique following Cyclin Idai.

Club of Mozambique - emergency update

Club of Mozambique, the online gateway to Mozambique, reported that on 18 March the first international airlift arrived in Beira, Mozambique from UNHRD in Dubai. WFP are handling the distribution of supplies. For more information, read here.

Aero Africa - capacity

Reporting on 21 March, Jamie AndersonDirector -  African Solutions, said: "Remarkably I have not seen any humanitarian aid requests freely on the market for air cargo into Mozambique as of yet. It appears that the international call to help has yet to gather pace. I spoke to a few forwarders who handle NGO’s yesterday and they said the same. There are relief convoys en route ex South Africa. Day by day the world is starting to see the big picture therefore I expect a lot more activity in the coming days."

In terms of carrier availability, he added: "We would welcome any enquiries as we are very in touch with aircraft availability along the entire eastern coastline of Africa. Astral Aviation has the 727F based in NBO. There are also ample AN26F and also a C310 in MGQ that could also be called into play, as the operators do have spare hours".

Volga-Dnepr - capacity

Reporting on 21 March, Stuart Smith, Director Global Humanitarian, said of Volga-Dnepr's capacity: "1 x VDA IL76 is now ready in Maputo and will operate flights in coming days for BEW/Beira International Airport. We may consider ops also to Chimoio/VPY inside Mozambique. We may also look to offer B737F of Atran Cargo (Volga-Dnepr Group) ex EU and UAE origins, in case of smaller loads requirement. BEW, as we understand it, is not able to download larger freighters due lack of MDL but smaller freighters (forklift/low loader etc) as yes OR ramp".

Sheltereach.org - shelter

John Vasila of Sheltereach said: “Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Minangagwa, of town Chmanimani Government wants to ensure that houses are built back with stronger materials. Sheltereach designs can be summed up with the word Simple. Simple for the end users, simple in terms of logistics and simple in procurement.

This leads to safe, affordable housing with access to services. We can also help local people to understand the building principles and materials used in our shelter/housing systems. We can partner with Government and NGOs to ensure appropriate disaster relief and reconstruction methods are used, increasing the strength by up to 30 times of  the original structure, usually without increasing the minimal budget cost".

See attached for typical shelter options and a diagram of a Disaster Cycle, in terms of shelter.