Conflict and drought displace 300,000 people in Somalia so far this year

Source: Norwegian Refugee Council
Country: Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen

Insecurity is making it virtually impossible for humanitarians to provide aid in rural areas resulting in vulnerable people moving to overcrowded camps in urban areas for assistance.
Over 300,000 people have been displaced due to drought and conflict in Somalia so far this year. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said insecurity is making it virtually impossible for humanitarians to provide aid in rural areas and is resulting in vulnerable people moving to overcrowded camps in urban areas for assistance.

"The crushing effect of drought has stripped rural communities of their crops, livestock and water sources, while armed conflict closes in on their homes. We are now likely to see 2.1 million Somali people suffering from hunger by December and into 2020," said Victor Moses, Country Director for NRC. "This population needs aid. But when insecurity restricts us from delivering it, many people are forced to leave conflict-hit areas to seek it out."

A total of 302,000 people were displaced between January and September this year according to the UNHCR and NRC-led Protection Return and Monitoring Network (PRMN). Conflict and insecurity accounted for more than half of all displacements (158,000) while drought (126,000) caused extreme hardship for many. 'Flooding' and 'other factors' were cited as drivers of displacement for more than 20,000 others.

The lethal combination of conflict and drought has resulted in displaced mothers like Faduma Abdinor Mohamed (39) struggling to feed their families.

"There's no harvest from the farms. My children lost their father because of conflict, and we don't have a farm or any livestock. The children lack education and food. I'm a woman, I have no opportunity to help my children. I have no job opportunities," she said.

The PRMN recorded the highest number of displacements in July with almost 52,000 people arriving at overcrowded camps and settlements looking for food (39 per cent), livelihoods (19 per cent) and shelter (18 per cent). The period coincided with the end of a very poor harvest season and steep increase in the price of staple cereal grains. According to the UN, the southern Gu season harvests were the worst recorded since 1995.

Furthermore, Somalia is home to some 35,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers mainly from Ethiopia and war-torn Yemen, and an additional 38,000 Somali refugees that have returned from Yemen since March 2015.

"Somali people that fled the country for protection elsewhere are now coming back to find themselves in a desperate situation. Armed conflict restricts opportunities, the impact of drought is severely affecting livelihoods and more often than not, people end up relying on aid to survive," Moses added.

This year's UN humanitarian aid appeal for Somalia has requested $1.08 billion for humanitarian programmes in 2019, marking it one of the largest crises in the world. Only 62 per cent of the appeal is funded and is unlikely to meet the target by the end of the year. NRC is urging donors and governments to increase emergency aid for the Somalia crisis, reiterating that an already disastrous humanitarian situation risks deteriorating even further if needs aren't met.

Note to editors:

Latest data from the UNHCR and NRC-led Protection and Returns Monitoring Network can be found here.

Imagery of displaced Somalis and their environs along with b-roll featuring interviews (translated scripts available) are available for free use on the below links:

https://nrc.smugmug.com/Press/Somalia-PR/n-nRfV9J/

https://www.dropbox.com/s/g5dc3xzj32blx63/Somalia%20B-roll.mp4?dl=0

For more information or interviews please contact NRC's media team at:

info@nrc.no, +47 905 62 329.


Lack of funding leaves millions of children in conflict and disaster zones at risk

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World

To date, UNICEF has only received about half of the US$4.16 billion needed to meet the basic health, education, nutrition and protection needs of 41 million children this year.
$4 billion humanitarian appeal nearly 50 per cent unfunded heading into final quarter of 2019

NEW YORK, 22 October 2019 – Millions of children living in areas affected by conflict and disaster are at risk because of substantial shortages in funding for lifesaving humanitarian programmes, UNICEF said today.

To date, UNICEF has only received 54 per cent of the US$4.16 billion needed to meet the basic health, education, nutrition and protection needs of 41 million children in 59 countries this year. Heading into the final quarter of 2019, the funding gap stands at 46 per cent.

“Millions of vulnerable children around the world are suffering the grievous consequences of increasingly complex humanitarian crises,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Without additional resources, these children will not go to school, be vaccinated, receive adequate nutrition, or be protected from violence and abuse. While we continue to appeal for an end to conflicts and better readiness to emergencies, we need additional donor support to help us meet children’s most basic needs.”

Emergencies with the largest funding gaps include Pakistan (83 per cent), Cameroon (80 per cent), Burkina Faso (76 per cent) and Venezuela (73 per cent). Large-scale emergencies in Syria and neighboring countries, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bangladesh also remain significantly underfunded.

If these funding gaps persist through the end of the year, the consequences for children will be dire:

  • In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, US$ 61 million is urgently required to provide essential services for communities in areas that have long suffered from humanitarian and security crises, and at the same time to create an environment conducive to an effective Ebola response.
  • In Ethiopia, UNICEF needs more than US$43 million to provide children and families affected by drought and displacement with access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.
  • In Haiti, UNICEF requires nearly US$ 2 million to provide nutritional support to over 19,000 children in need of urgent nutrition assistance and US$ 2 million to support family reunification and care services for unaccompanied and separated children.
  • In Libya, without US$ 540,000 in urgent funding, UNICEF will be unable to provide mine risk education for 50,000 children.
  • In northeast Nigeria, nearly US$ 7 million in funding is urgently needed to sustain lifesaving nutrition programmes, including US$ 3.5 million to prevent a break in the supply pipeline of ready-to-use-therapeutic food for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in children.
  • In South Sudan, UNICEF child protection programmes are only 20 per cent funded while water, sanitation and hygiene programmes are 26 per cent funded.
  • In Sudan, UNICEF needs US$ 12 million to continue lifesaving treatment for more than 61,000 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
  • In Syria, where the funding gap is at US$ 30 million, 2.1 million children could miss out on critical formal and non-formal education activities.
  • In Syria’s neighbouring countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt), home to 2.5 million Syrian refugees, a funding gap of US$ 249 million means that 460,000 children could also miss out on education activities.
  • In Venezuela, UNICEF requires at least US$ 6 million to help 60,000 children enroll and stay in school, through the provision of school feeding programmes. UNICEF also needs at least US$ 3 million to help vaccinate nearly 400,000 children against preventable diseases over the next three months.
  • In West and Central Africa, UNICEF humanitarian assistance to support education for children in countries affected by emergencies are 72 per cent unfunded.

“During my time on the ground in countries under crisis – countries like DRC, Mozambique, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen – I’ve seen firsthand the power of humanitarian funding to change the lives of vulnerable children for the better,” said Fore. “With increased support, together we can reach even more of the children who need us most.”

Note to editors:

UNICEF launched its 2019 global humanitarian appeal in January, asking for US$3.9 billion. Since then, and because of emerging or worsening crises in countries like Burkina Faso, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, UNICEF’s humanitarian funding needs have climbed to US$4.16 billion. For more information, visit Humanitarian Action for Children 2019.

Media Contacts

Christopher Tidey

UNICEF New York

Tel: +1 917 340 3017

Email: ctidey@unicef.org


Suecia brinda asistencia humanitaria vital para migrantes de Venezuela

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

La contribución total anual de US$1,56 millones a UNICEF apoyará a más de 165.000 menores y a sus familias, así como a las comunidades de acogida en América Latina y el Caribe.
CIUDAD DE PANAMÁ/ESTOCOLMO, 21 de octubre 2019 - La Agencia Sueca de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (Asdi) anunció una contribución total anual de SEK15.2 millones (US$1,56 millones) para ayudar a UNICEF a proporcionar ayuda vital a más de 165.000 niños y niñas migrantes que salieron de Venezuela y a sus familias, así como las comunidades de acogida en América Latina y el Caribe.

En siete países de la región que han acogido familias de migrantes y refugiados venezolanos, entre ellos Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Brasil, Panamá, Guyana y Trinidad y Tobago, UNICEF ha recibido fondos de Asdi para proteger los derechos de los niños a través de transferencias en efectivo, el fortalecimiento del acceso a la protección infantil, educación, agua y saneamiento, así como ayuda humanitaria que se distribuye en los puntos de migración fronterizos.

En Colombia, la respuesta de UNICEF en 2019 ha llevado a más de 114.000 niños a beneficiarse de programas para prevenir la violencia, el abuso y la explotación, incluida la violencia de género. Mientras tanto, en la frontera norte de Perú, UNICEF ha apoyado a más de 34.000 niños migrantes mediante la operación de espacios amigables para los niños al informar sobre la prevención de la violencia y a través de la distribución de kits de protección. En Brasil, el financiamiento de Asdi ha sido fundamental para desarrollar una intervención en efectivo que beneficie a más de 6.000 personas ubicadas en refugios, a través de recursos en efectivo que les permiten acceder a artículos de higiene esenciales en negocios locales, así como en Ecuador, donde las transferencias en efectivo de UNICEF para el tránsito y asentamiento han beneficiado a más de 1.100 niños, adolescentes y familias vulnerables.

"Este apoyo financiero adicional de Suecia es muy oportuno y marca una diferencia significativa en la vida de miles de niños afectados por la migración venezolana a través del acceso a protección, educación y agua potable. Agradecemos la generosidad del gobierno sueco y esperamos contar con la solidaridad de otros donantes”, dijo Bernt Aasen, Director Regional (a.i.) de UNICEF para América Latina y el Caribe. “El flujo migratorio sin precedentes desde Venezuela ha puesto una carga desafiante en los países anfitriones de la región”.

En América Latina y el Caribe se estima que al menos 1,1 millones de niños necesitan asistencia humanitaria en 2019, ahora que el número de refugiados y migrantes de Venezuela ha superado los 4,5 millones.

Este año, el Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia necesita cerca de 70 millones de dólares para proporcionar protección, educación, nutrición y acceso a agua potable a 371.000 niños afectados por la crisis migratoria de Venezuela en la región. Hasta ahora, se ha recibido menos del 40 por ciento de la financiación requerida.

Contactos de prensa

Alfonso Fernández Reca
Especialista Regional de Comunicación
UNICEF América Latina y el Caribe
Teléfono: +507 301-7373
Teléfono: +507 6941-2277
Correo electrónico:
afernandezreca@unicef.org


Seasonal rain causes floods in riverine areas in Somalia

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Somalia

Latest reports indicate nearly 40 per cent of Belet Weyne town has been affected by flooding with an estimated 72,000 people having moved to Ceel Jaale highlands and surrounding areas.
Situation Overview

The Deyr rains (September-December) started in September in some parts of Somalia and moderate to heavy rains have continued in many parts of the country and within the Ethiopian highlands over the last three weeks, according to the FAO-Managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM). As a result, in Belet Weyne and Jowhar riverine areas, the Shabelle river levels have surpassed the high risk level of flooding and are just a few centimeters to bank full capacity. By 21 October, the Shabelle river level was at 7.72 meters in Belet Weyne, less than half a meter below the bank full level of 8.30 meters with flooding reported in the town. In response, some residents have already begun relocating to higher ground. In Jowhar, river levels are near bank full, while two major breakages at Maandheere and Dhamasame (Jowhar) have reportedly resulted in flooding. Reports from neighboring areas in Ethiopia indicate overbank flows from the Shabelle with the flood water expected to reach Somalia in a day or two, thus increasing the risk of flooding in the region. The river levels are very high in Bulo Burto, Mahadey Weyne and all downstream reaches, and a similar trend is expected from upstream. Moderate to heavy rains are projected in the Ethiopian highlands that feed the river this week, and the Shabelle River is expected to rise further, leading to overbank spillage.

Along the Juba River basin, water levels are also high, with flooding reported in Doolow, Luuq, and Bardheere. On 21 October, SWALIM issued another alert on possible floods along the Juba river advising communities in these areas, to move to higher grounds. In light of the forecast, flash flooding is also expected in built-up and low lying areas of Bay, Bakool and central regions.

Humanitarian impact and needs

Latest reports received in the evening of 21 October indicate that nearly 40 per cent of Belet Weyne town has been affected by flooding with an estimated 72,000 people having moved to Ceel Jaale highlands and surrounding areas. All villages in the north of Belet Weyne town have been affected and humanitarian partners are yet to establish the number of people displaced in these areas. The situation is further compounded by flooding from an outburst of minor tributaries in Belet Weyne, which has caused damage to farmland in villages such as Hawo Taako. Significant portions of crop land were also flooded in Bardheere in Gedo region, (where the river is already at bank full) and Bualle. Riverine communities have been asked to vacate their homes to higher ground with immediate effect. The rains will continue in the next seven days and river levels will continue to rise, further worsening the flood situation. Local authorities working with humanitarian partners are closely monitoring the situation. During the 2018 Gu’ season, Belet Weyne town and surrounding areas were the worst affected by riverine flooding with an estimated 186,000 people displaced to several locations.

Humanitarian coordination and response

To strengthen flood preparedness and ensure a coordinated response, a Hiraan flood taskforce was activated in Belet Weyne under the leadership of the Governor. The task force is made up of local authorities and humanitarian partners. An initial assessment conducted by the task force in Ceel Jaale—where displaced communities are being relocated to—identified Shelter/ NFIs, food, WASH, emergency latrines and security as priorities. Dissemination of early warning information to flood prone-areas, including SWALIM flood alert SMS’ to the vulnerable communities along the rivers is curtailing the loss of assets and life. The provision of clean drinking water to 12,000 families is ongoing. Partners have pre-positioned emergency supplies ready for deployment. These include hygiene kits for 8,500 families, water treatment chemicals and four boats for rescue operation. Food for 4,000 families is expected to arrive in Belet Weyne shortly.

However, lack of shelter and emergency latrines is a major concern. If the river continues to rise and surpass the highrisk level, motorized boats will be required to reach people in isolated locations. There are currently four boats in the area, but more will be required. The local authorities have issued appeal for urgent humanitarian assistance with the situation expected to deteriorate.

Development Solutions

The two perennial rivers in Somalia, the Shabelle, which runs through Hirshabelle and South West states and the Juba, which extends the length of Jubaland, require constant maintenance and upkeep, which has been lacking for several decades. An estimated 10 centimeters of silt accumulates on the riverbeds, resulting in a loss of volume retained within the embankments, which are themselves in disrepair. Dredging of the rivers to remove silt and refuse and reinforcement of the embankments are required to prevent flooding, which has become an almost annual event due to the state of disrepair of the two rivers.


Burkina Faso’s unprecedented humanitarian crisis calls for stronger international support

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Burkina Faso

Almost 700,000 people are severely food insecure. FAO and WFP have developed a joint response plan requiring USD 50 million to address the immediate needs of 500 000 crisis-affected people.
Increased insecurity in Burkina Faso has resulted in a deepening and unprecedented humanitarian situation, forcing nearly half a million people from their homes. The number of internally displaced people has been growing exponentially since the beginning of the year. From 80 000 people in January 2019, the current caseload is up by 120 percent compared with July 2019 and this figure has well surpassed the total projection for 2019.

The Emergency Directors of 11 United Nations agencies and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) urged to quickly scale up the response to the deteriorating situation following their joint mission to Burkina Faso on 1–4 October 2019, during which they travelled in the Centre-North region. There, they met with displaced people and host communities, as well as civil society organizations, local NGOs, and national and regional authorities with whom they discussed how to improve the humanitarian response. “Given the situation, we must change the paradigm of intervention for an effective, proactive, relevant and inclusive response, as stronger support is fundamental to protect the significant development gains achieved in the country”, says Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Resilience Division.

About 687 460 people are severely food insecure according to the latest Cadre Harmonisé (April 2019) and 587 000 children are at risk of malnutrition. Vulnerable people, mainly in the Centre-North, East, North and Sahel regions, are struggling to produce and access food. Reduced planting, cultivated areas and livestock production have significantly affected food availability and staple food prices, leading to higher levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.

As 80 percent of people in Burkina Faso rely on pastoral and agropastoral activities as their main source of food and income, providing livelihood assistance is crucial to allow them to produce their own food. Together with the World Food Programme (WFP), the two agencies have developed a joint FAO/WFP response plan requiring USD 50 million to address the immediate needs of 500 000 crisis-affected people. Both displaced and host communities are to engage in cash-for-work activities and receive agricultural production support during the dry season - an opportunity to not only allow for the establishment of food stocks, but also to prepare for the next rainy season.


Webinar brings humanitarian logistics community together to discuss protection challenges

On 3rd July, the much-anticipated webinar titled Exploring protection challenges in humanitarian logistics jointly organised by HLA and the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP) took place. The well-attended event hosted from Geneva brought together professionals in the humanitarian logistics community and other areas of humanitarian practice who are based in some dozens of countries.

This webinar was a timely event that helped clarify some key questions humanitarian logisticians have about ensuring and safeguarding protection during response. PHAP Executive Director Angharad Laing co-hosted the webinar with HLA Chief Executive George Fenton, which was streamed via the PHAP webinar platform, with many others also listening in via YouTube.

The idea that the issue of protection in humanitarian logistics is underexplored across the sector, set off the discussions with George asking the ultimate question if the proliferation of humanitarian responses in recent years have in fact led to enhanced safety and security for the communities at risk. He noted that protection in logistics practice should indeed reflect the right capacity and a common understanding between humanitarian response actors and of course the affected communities, and that enhancing protection requires engagement between these communities. George further noted that the tools to aid these protection mechanisms require critical and continuous development, and as such the humanitarian logistics community therefore has a duty to recognise these challenges and address them accordingly.

Survey results

Findings from the pre-event survey of which 172 responses were received from across 45 countries were presented by Angharad prior to the open discussion and revealed that most respondents had in fact witnessed some sort of protection issue during the course of their work. The most common were issues related to logisticians not being sufficiently prepared to handle protection issues they were confronted with, which more than a majority of respondents revealed that they had in fact witnessed in the field. There were also various levels of reports of abuse with the procurement, recruitment, transportation, distribution of aid, and sexual exploitation and abuse.  Some respondents cited lack of awareness of principles and guidelines as a cause for the lack of capacity to deal with the observed protection issues.

Overall, corruption in procurement was highlighted, with the case of kickbacks in South Sudan cited by a respondent, and in Somalia collusion between logisticians and suppliers that divert aid elsewhere than the intended targets.  Recipients at risk from robberies by armed gangs following distribution and militia attacks during distribution itself were also cited. In the area of recruitment, child labour was mentioned as an observed problem, especially from sub-contracts. The area of safety for logistics staff themselves also came up and may require a separate webinar to effectively interrogate. Finally, the gap in existing guidance to deal with protection issues as a result of not being implemented, and not being localised enough to deal with contextual nuances was also highlighted.

Summary of discussions

The esteemed panel of facilitators who shared valuable insights from their considerable collective experience and perspectives with the audience consisted of Will Holden, Managing Director of the Emergency Logistics Team, HLA’s Africa Regional Representative Tikhwi Muyundo, Supply Chain and Communications Consultant Valerie Craigie, and former Head of the Protection Division of ICRC Pierre Gentile.

According to Will, there was a sea change in recent years regarding the interactions between the programs and support (logistics) functions of most humanitarian responses which is causing gaps in adequately dealing with protection issues as a result of the perceived separation. He noted further that sufficient duty of care must be in place for staff of humanitarian logistics organisations during the planning and implementation of the distribution, and also for the affected communities in particular the most vulnerable (i.e. women and children). In terms of the capacity of humanitarian logistician staff, Will called for more training to give logistics staff, at minimum, some basic understanding of what the protection concerns are and how to deal with them, and said this was a clear gap as their role is so key and fundamental to any humanitarian response.

Tikhwi, on the other hand, sharing first-hand experience from countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan, was of the view that most organizations would have mechanisms in place to identify and of course address the most predictable of protection challenges. She gave a whole range of such issues including harm from sub-contractors who are transporting or distributing on the ground. She also mentioned improper management of distribution centers, poor commodity management and certification, cultural insensitivities, as well as staff misconduct and the deployment of untrained staff, as factors that can result in affected communities suffering harm.

A specific practical example shared was of extreme protection implications where violence and demonstrations occur in opposition to unwanted goods making their way into certain communities where they are prohibited resulting from unsolicited donations.

Valerie shared some insights on gender-based violence (GBV) from interviews and interactions with humanitarian logisticians from camps in Liberia, Sudan and Greece in particular.  She tackled the issue of making these spaces safe for all, especially the vulnerable, and called for the immediate needs of these communities to be factored in during the response. She noted that while the guidelines call for communications, multisectoral approach, and shared learning in avoiding or dealing with these issues, it just does not happen in practice, leading to the observed protection challenges. She provided a good practice case study from Ethiopia where a logistician had a key role to play in planning the structure of the camp that made it more liveable and safer for residents.

Pierre on his part, gave valuable insights from both the field and head office (Geneva) experience. He identified three categories of note – the need for and adherence to organizational code of conducts, the attention to the principle of do no harm, and the capacity and ability to address directly or refer the abuse that is witnessed. He (as well as most of the other facilitators) noted the availability of a variety of guidance and guidelines to aid in the address of these incidents of protection challenges, though there are certainly issues with how they are utilized or implemented.

Key highlights

  • Guidelines need to be tailored in order to take into consideration local norms and cultures.
  • Too many strategies for addressing different issues targeted at the different groups of humanitarian actors (logisticians for example) can present problems for understanding and adherence. As such, an integrated approach is more useful.
  • There should be consistent identification and awareness of the particular types of protections issues that are prevalent in each area in order to plan for and address them effectively.
  • As humanitarian logisticians are not expected to be protection experts, there should be clear referral mechanisms in place for them to direct concerns to the appropriate channels to be addressed.
  • Some good practices are for staff to know the procedures and follow them, for example vetting suppliers, and for aid agencies to have an integrated approach to train and retrain staff which includes community leaders and involves security forces.
  • There is a need to draw from lessons learned in the past and apply those to mitigate these preventable risks to affected communities.
  • Have a code of conduct in place, which is well understood by all staff, both direct and sub-contractors (suppliers), and to have sanctions in place for misconduct.
  • Future efforts regarding this conversation should note that while a lot of guidance is already available, they may not necessarily be understood or followed by field logistician staff, who are often sub-contractors.

In conclusion, there was the agreement that the logistics function is at the heart of humanitarian response, and while this webinar’s discussion is a useful first step, the conversation does not end here and must be taken forward. As such, HLA and PHAP is looking forward to further collaboration that take these recommendations and takeaways forward through further discussions.

 “HLA should be commended for raising this vital issue and I look forward to future collaborations that explore this further.” Angharad Laing