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UN: 1.4m need food aid in Central America, sparking migration



Five years of poor harvests in several Central American countries have left 1.4 million people struggling to feed themselves, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

This now make some families see migration as their only remaining option.

In Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, long dry spells and excessive rains have been destroying maize and bean crops, the UN agency reported on Friday in Geneva.

Maize and Bean are the main staple of subsistence farmers in the region, the UN agency said.

In a survey conducted by the WFP and government agencies in the affected countries, eight per cent of families indicated that they would leave their homes and search for more stable livelihoods within their country or abroad.

“Migration, though, is not a solution,’’ WFP spokesman, Herve Verhoosel, said, pointing out that the people, who stay behind will continue to suffer.

The WFP appealed for 72 million dollars from donor countries to help the region fund food aid.

Those donations would cover 700,000 people.

In addition, longer-term resilience programmes are needed so that farming communities can withstand prolonged poor harvests, Verhoosel said.

The weather and harvest situation in the so-called Dry Corridor that runs from southern Mexico to Panama was very much linked to climate change, the spokesman said.(dpa/NAN)



FG, ECOWAS commission pledge to provide basic amenities in Northeast



The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, says the commission in collaboration with Nigerian Government will provide boreholes, rehabilitate damaged schools and health facilities in communities affected by insurgency in the Northeast.

The president, who was represented by Dr Siga Jagne, Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS, said this in Abuja on Monday at the symposium organised to commemorate the World Humanitarian Day.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the 2019 World Humanitarian Day has the theme: “Celebrating #Women Humanitarians”.

Brou said that the United Nations has rightly chosen the 2019 humanitarian day to honour women, who have acted as first responders to the darkest hour of crisis.

According to him, this year’s campaign on women humanitarians support the recognition that women deserves a part in strengthening of global humanitarian response as well as in protection efforts under the international law.

” This world humanitarian day continues to recognise the suffering of millions of civilians caught in conflict, particularly women and children.

“People in cities and towns struggle to find food, water and safe shelter while fighting drives millions from their homes; schools are destroyed and children are recruited and forced to fight.

” Women are abused and used as tools of war.

“As humanitarian workers deliver aid and medical workers help the wounded and sick, they are directly targeted, treated as threats and prevented from bringing relief and care to those in desperate need”.

He said that the commission would work with all partners to sensitise the public during peace and conflict times of the need not to see humanitarians, especially women humanitarians as targets.

He added that humanitarian workers must be respected and protected.

According to him, the need for humanitarian services is on the increase worldwide and the challenges of delivering them are also increasing in a world that is conflict saturated.

Brou stressed the need to create enabling environment for these important humanitarian professionals to carry out their tasks.

He reiterated the commission’s commitment to continue to work with Member States and partners to promote the protection of humanitarian workers through policy orientation and advocacy.

He disclosed that the commission has since 2013 been providing assistant to the affected population in the Northeast.

The Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Mustapha Maihaja, said the day provides the opportunity to reflect on the risk associated with the provision of humanitarian services in the country.

Maihaj, who was represented by Mr Vicent Owan, Director, Disaster Risk Reduction, NEMA, said it was also designated to honour the heroism, who defy obvious dangers to offer hope and succor in dire situations.

He disclosed that the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 set aside 19th of August every year as the World Humanitarian Day.

He said this was to commemorate the 2003 terrorists attack in Bagdad, Iraq where 22 people lost their lives including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Representative of the Secretary General to Iraq, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello.

“Sadly, attacks on humanitarian workers have been on the increase.

“For instance, in 2015 four NEMA staff survived an attack on a camp of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Yola where they were providing humanitarian supports.

“But another staff, John Iliya was not so lucky as he was killed by Boko Haram insurgents on 8th August 2018 in the line of duty while providing supports in Borno State.

“In April 2019, four staff of the Agency on humanitarian service in community affected by flood in Rivers State were kidnapped and spent more than 7 days in captivity.

“Recently, the emergency rescue equipment of the agency in Central Business Area, Abuja, were razed down in another attack targeted at NEMA personnel and facilities”, he said.

Mrs Ngozi Azodoh, Director, Special Projects Dept. And National Coordinator, Health Sector Response Programme to Humanitarian Crisis in Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Health said every woman in conflict was a humanitarian worker.

She said that the ministry started its humanitarian response with the Northeast as a result of its urgency.

Azodoh said that the ministry has developed a health and children emergency response in the Northeast.

“In providing health services we are mindful of the critical components, which is gender base violence.

“Women are at risk when they are in humanitarian needs and also at risk when they are humanitarian health workers.

“Women are at risk mentally, they are at risk physically they are at risk sexual and they are at risk in any way you look at it.

“So we need to provide health support that is targeted for the female in humanitarian crisis and for the female health care workers in Humanitarian crisis,” she said

According to her, the ministry has presented to the world the names of the people who have died while working as humanitarians between 2013 to 2018.

“We have a pictorial of all the humanitarians, who have died in the course of the work. We do not want it to be just data, we want to let the world know that this people are human being and not just data”, she said.

Ms Lois Auta, Person Living with Disability and Founder of CEDAR SEED foundation, said that in Nigeria there are over 27million Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD).

She said that the crisis in the country has continued to increase the numbers of PLWD daily, adding that PLWD suffer triple jeopardy in the face of conflict.

” We suffer, first as persons, secondly the discrimination from the society and lastly the barriers that is stopping us from exercising our rights,” she said.

Edited by Felix Ajide


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Syrian Kurds hand over 4 Islamic State children to Germany





This is the first time Germany has taken back Islamic State children. France and Norway have already taken some.

The children were handed over to employees of the German consulate in Iraq’s Erbil at the border with Syria, a spokeswoman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry said.

The four children are three orphans, two girls, a boy and a 6-month-old baby girl who is very sick.

Abdel Karim Umer, head of foreign relations in the Kurdish administration, said the baby has a tumour in her head and needs immediate treatment.

The Kurdish official said there were negotiations to take one more person but gave no further details.

The children were living in north-eastern Syria’s al-Hol camp, home to nearly 74,000 people.

According to dpa sources, the four children will fly from Erbil to Germany and be accompanied by their grandparents.

The mother of the 6-month-old continues to live in the refugee camp with her other children.

The matter of returning children of Islamic State fighters has long been controversial in Germany.

The government has in the past pointed to the lack of diplomatic representation in Syria as a reason not to get involved.

A Berlin court, in July disagreed, saying Germany’s Foreign Ministry must provide support for relatives of Islamic State fighters who are German citizens to be brought back.

The children were among Islamic State families who had surrendered to the U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during battles against the extremist group in eastern Syria.

According to the Rojava Information Centre, an estimated 117 children with German citizenship are in north-eastern Syria, as well as dozens of German women and 66 men, more than 40 of whom are accused of war crimes.

The German government has in the past estimated 68 women and more than 120 children in the region.

The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel-Rahman, said foreigners being held by the SDF included just 13 German men and 21 women, along with 48 children whose parents are German nationals.

In March, SDF announced the defeat of Islamic State and seized the militant group’s last stronghold in eastern Syria after months of fighting.

The fate of foreign Islamic State fighters and their families has become a pressing issue for the SDF.

The SDF have been calling on the United Nations to establish an international court to try foreign jihadists.

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U.S. provides $8bn humanitarian aids in 2018 — Pompeo



Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

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India vows to eradicate manual scavenging




Mumbai, Aug. 19, 2019 (Xinhua) The Indian government on Monday said it was committed to eradicating manual scavenging as it has laid increasing emphasis on mechanical cleaning and preventing human entry into sewer and septic tanks through use of modern technologies.

This is contained in a statement issued by its bureau after a national Workshop Cum Exhibition on Sustainable Sanitation organised by the Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs.

According to Hardeep Puri, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs, the ministry has consistently made efforts to devise efficient systems, processes and technologies for mechanical cleaning of sewer and septic tanks.

The national body of manual scavengers said at least one worker died while cleaning sewerage or septic tanks every five days, since the beginning of 2017, while another 1,850 people died in last decade while cleaning sewers.


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Protect humanitarian workers, 5 die every week — UN Chief



Edited by Kayode Olaitan

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