Respone to Syrian Crisis – Update
Following the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission’s decision to set aside £650,000 of its 2015 budget to support the Syrian Refugee Crisis, a meeting was held yesterday in London with five of the Commission’s main agencies responding to the crisis.
British Red Cross, GOAL, Oxfam, Save the Children and UNICEF each provided presentations on their individual response and how they were co-ordinating with each other in-country, in the region and on the migrant route. The Commission was fortunate to welcome to the meeting regional officers representing all of the main key MENA (Middle East North Africa) regions involved in the crisis.
It was clear that the level of acute humanitarian need, as well as the need to help people earn a living or continue in education throughout this protracted crisis, is vast. The situation is changing daily and agencies have to continually adapt. There is no “quick fix”. Rather, the agencies made clear that needs are so great and varied that establishing priorities for funding and action is extremely difficult.
There are overwhelming humanitarian needs in country and in the region, particularly with winter approaching. Yet work is also needed now to prepare for the longer term – enabling people to support themselves and their families for as long as the crisis lasts and removing incentives, where possible, for making the hugely dangerous crossing to Europe.
Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chair of Jersey Overseas Aid Commission said:-
“It is clear that the situation is changing daily and that the agencies have been adapting to the worsening crisis over past 5 years and they are continually having to adapt. Needs are so great it is hard to balance where the greatest need is, but it is going to require interventions on many levels to help the suffering. By supporting communities at the heart of this crisis and giving hope, meant less people would feel forced to migrate and therefore would not need to face further challenges encountered in Europe. In the absence of diplomatic political leadership, agencies felt their role was to try to manage the crisis. They continue to work with local governments to capacity build and help influence change, the local authorities are aware they need to lobby other governments to engage. Agencies felt greater coordination was crucial for governments to be able to play their part in responding to key challenges.”
Deputy Carolyn Labey went on to say, “The overriding message encountered by the agencies is that the Refugees just want to go home to Syria, they want access to basic services, they simply want normality.”
She said; “Jersey Overseas Aid Commission was grateful for the input of all those who attended and will be considering the information and reports from the NGO’s and how it will make a sustainable contribution this week.”
UNICEF advised that the humanitarian response inside Syria and the surrounding region is being coordinated through cluster approach. Clusters are groups of humanitarian organisations (UN and non-UN) working in the main sectors of humanitarian action such as shelter and health. Clusters provide a core coordinating role for responding humanitarian agencies and offer a clear point of contact for sector activities. They are accountable for adequate, targeted and appropriate humanitarian assistance. For example UNICEF is the lead agency for nutrition and water, sanitation and health (WASH) co-leading on education with Save the Children whilst GOAL, hosts the food security and livelihoods cluster.
The British Red Cross is supporting the day-to-day operations of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) who is the primary provider of humanitarian services in Syria. Together with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, SARC has delivered relief to 80% of high priority areas reaching 3.5million people on average each month. SARC holds a unique position in Syria, having unparalleled access to large areas of the country and its network enables them to respond quickly and effectively. SARC co-ordinates closely with the (United Nations) UN.
Save the Children advised the most vulnerable children were those who remain inside Syria, who risk death, illness, abuse and exploitation on a daily basis. The humanitarian needs in Syria are incalculable and providing the essential life-saving services to Syrian children and their families remains a priority.
Oxfam advised that the Syrian Crisis was no longer having a short-term humanitarian impact on Jordan, but rather was leading to profound long-term social and economic implications. A recent UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) report said that two out of three refugee households in Jordan continue to live below the absolute poverty line. At the same time vulnerable Jordanians also cannot access water or find jobs. Those agencies working in Jordan are now looking beyond immediate aid to longer term programmes so that both Syrians and Jordanians could find work, make a living and repair the economy. This would also enable improvements to urban infrastructure.
With over 1.2 million registered Syrian refugees and another 400,000 thought to be unregistered, Lebanon has the highest concentration of refugees per capita in the world. There are no refugee camps to meet this incredible need; rather refugees are housed in informal settlements, collective shelters and flats scattered among Lebanese communities. The Syrian crisis is having an overwhelming affect on the Lebanese economy, the needs of the local population combined with the great number of refugees has put an incredible stain on infrastructure, health services, education and jobs. Oxfam is increasingly looking to address the needs of the Lebanese host communities alongside refugees and is coordinating with other actors including UNICEF to map the most vulnerable communities. The response is that agencies are also focussing on more long term solutions here for refugees.
Response to Syrian Crisis
The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission has set aside £650,000 of its 2015 budget to support the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
This will bring Jersey’s contribution to £1 million. The Commission on behalf of the Island had already provided support to the Syrian crisis in 2013 when it funded a series of emergency grants focussed at supporting those internally displaced at camps set up in surrounding countries. That amount totalled just under £350,000 which was distributed to key approved UK based agencies following receipt of specific funding applications which had highlighted key areas and focus of support. The Commission additionally supported transportation costs for the distribution of 12,432 winter jackets donated by Headway Jersey. These had been couriered at the request of the Commission on behalf of Headway Jersey to the Syrian IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps by Oxfam GB in 2014.
It continues to consult directly with its UK based agencies responding to the crisis as to the most appropriate way the aid can be delivered to maximise the benefit to those in greatest need.
The Commission will be meeting with the key agencies in London next week. Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chair of the Commission said “It is crucial that the Island responds in a coordinated way with others involved. The aid agencies we are working with are British Red Cross, UNICEF, Save the Children, Oxfam and Goal who are working on the ground and are best placed to identify the areas where support is needed. They have experience of dealing with crisis situations and are able to network with one another to maximise the benefit of the relief to those who need it most.”
U P D A T E – RESPONSE TO NEPAL EARTHQUAKE
Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal, over 5,000 people have died and over 7,000 have been injured. The number of casualties is still expected to increase significantly as search and rescue operations continue. The earthquake, the worst to have hit in 81 years, measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale and struck the Kathmandu Valley at 6am on 25 April. More than 70 aftershocks have been felt and are still continuing, with further damage still a threat. The World Health Organisation estimate that 5 million people have been affected and 1.8 million displaced.
The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission set aside £90,000 in emergency aid for this disaster and has now allocated £30,000 to each of the following agencies in support of their response to this emergency:
The British Red Cross (BRC) has been working with Nepal Red Crescent Society (NRCS) since 1996 and most recently on a three year earthquake preparedness programme. Together with NRCS they have been helping communities prepare for what to do in the immediate aftermath of earthquakes. Aid supplies have been prepositioned in warehouses. An emergency blood bank, able to operate without mains power, was just opened and is supporting the health services in this response. In addition to existing BRC staff on the ground, additional BRC staff have been deployed to support the response in Nepal through communications, coordination between actors and logistics. BRC will be providing household kits, hygiene kits, jerry cans, kitchen sets, medium-thermal blankets, mosquito nets, tarpaulins, warehouse tents and shelter toolkits.
“The impact of this powerful earthquake has been devastating. People are now sleeping out in the open, too scared to return home while the aftershocks go on. Some have no home to return to. Search and rescue efforts are continuing, but some roads, especially in areas near the epicentre, have been damaged or blocked by landslides or rubble. We are extremely worried about these communities.”
Alexander Matheou, British Red Cross Director of Programmes
Oxfam has been working in Nepal for over 30 years, ensuring that people are better prepared for disasters. 45% of its programme work in Nepal was Disaster Risk Reduction which is a systemic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. Oxfam had contingency emergency equipment based in Kathmandu and has set up seismic resistant water supplies in preparation for an earthquake. This has been invaluable for responding to the current crisis. Oxfam’s contingency planning aims to reach tens of thousands of people. Oxfam’s team in Nepal is based in Kathmandu and, whilst all are safe and accounted for, many have been personally affected. Nevertheless they are doing everything they can to make a difference, working around the clock and refusing to rest until people are safe. It is widely acknowledged that Oxfam is the leading humanitarian agency on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and funding from Jersey will be supporting this together with the provision of emergency food supplies.
“Oxfam has invested a lot of time, effort and resources over the years in working with partner groups in Nepal on what we call “disaster risk reduction” programs. All of this work that we have done together will be severely tested over the coming days and weeks and months. I know many of these groups as knowledgeable, networked and committed from having working alongside them.‟
Shaheen Chughtai, Oxfam Deputy Head of Humanitarian Policy.
Save the Children (SCF) has been working in Nepal since 1976, and has been responding to natural disasters like these for over 90 years. Their experienced teams are doing whatever it takes to reach those affected to provide them with desperately-needed assistance. Initially SCF plan to help families with shelter support such as tarpaulins, rope and essential household items. SCF also plan to help families stay clean and healthy in such difficult conditions, by supplying hygiene kits and jerry cans for storing and transporting clean water.
“The response from the People of Jersey has been truly amazing. The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission has received many telephone calls from the public offering their support to those who have been affected by the earthquake in Nepal, it has been quite overwhelming. The Commission is receiving regular updates from the agencies with who we work and also has been in discussions with the Jersey Branch of the Ghurka Welfare Trust. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Islanders who are responding to this call for help in such a generous way. The Commission is still able to have direct contact with the communities it has worked with and has assisted the families of the Islanders who were caught up in the disaster. Due to the Commissions structure we are able to respond very quickly to emergencies”
Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chairman
“The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission agreed to support applications submitted by British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children as all these agencies were already present and actively working with communities in Nepal. By providing funding to these designated agencies the Commission is able to maintain contact as to exactly how money from Jersey will be allocated and ultimately will receive reports back on how successful each emergency response was implemented.”
Kathryn Filipponi, Executive Officer
1st May 2015
Jersey Disaster Appeal – Nepal Earthquake
Islanders are being encouraged to help victims of the earthquake in Nepal which has devastated large parts of the country and left thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands without homes, food, clean water and medicine.
The Jersey Disaster Appeal, following the Nepal earthquake, is being launched today by the Bailiff, Mr William Bailhache in response to the humanitarian disaster in Nepal and the huge public interest in delivering aid to victims of the earthquake which hit the community last Saturday 25th April 2015.
The Appeal has been established by the Bailiff to enable members of the public to make a donation to the immediate intensive emergency efforts being made to relieve the human suffering caused by the devestating earthquake which has prompted support from communities accross the world. Donations will be targeted to provide relief through the supply of clean water, sanitation, food, hygiene and medicines in Nepal and coordinated with the response of the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission which has already pledged £90,000.00.
Announcing the creation of the Appeal, the Bailiff has said-
“What has happened in Nepal is clearly a human tragedy on a massive scale and I am sure that Jersey will be keen to show its support to those who so desperately need emergency supplies, be it in the form of essential medicine, clean drinking water, food or shelter.
Our thoughts are with the people of Nepal, those around the world who are desperately waiting news of lost loved ones, and those who are providing the front line emergency services operating in such difficult circumstances. It is of course, some relief to know that the two Jersey women in Nepal are believed to be safe and well.
It is also extremely welcome news that the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission has responded rapidly to this crisis by allocating £90,000.00 in emergency aid, and I am sure that many Islanders will also be donating to appeals which will help the people of Nepal rebuild their homes and their lives.
I hope that by establishing a public disaster appeal in this way, Islanders feel better able to make their contribution count in the knowledge that the funds raised will collectively be put to work to achieve the highest possible benefit for the people of Nepal in their hour of need.”
How to Donate to the Jersey Disaster Appeal –
By cash, cheque (payable “Jersey Disaster Appeal”) or credit/debit card or bank transfer :
Sort Code: 40-25-34
Account Number: 91663933
Donations can be made over the counter at the States Treasury Cashiers located on the ground floor of Cyril Le Marquand House, The Parade, St Helier which is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pmMonday to Friday.
Donations can also be made at any of the Island’s Parish Halls.
Response to Earthquake in Nepal
A massive earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck in Nepal on Saturday. As it ripped through large parts of Nepal it toppled office blocks and towers in Kathmandu and triggered a deadly avalanche that hit Everest base camp. By Sunday evening almost 2,500 people had been reported dead, making it the worst earthquake in the country in more than 80 years. In addition, at least 2,000 people have been injured. The worst affected areas are Kathmandu centre and valley, Makwanpur, Baglung, Parbat, and Myagdi. Kathmandu airport is closed. Rural areas are likely to have suffered extensive damage and vulnerable people, particularly children, will be the most affected. Hospitals are overwhelmed, with many patients being treated in the streets. Whilst rescue efforts are still underway it is feared that the death toll will rise further as rescuers dig through the rubble. Significant aftershocks continue, including one of 6.7 earlier today.
The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission anticipates allocating a minimum of £90,000 in emergency aid for this disaster and is currently awaiting details of how that funding can be allocated.
“The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission will be responding to this emergency. The Commission has received several enquiries over the weekend including one from the Disasters Emergency Committee who the Commission anticipates will be launching an appeal shortly. As with all emergency responses it can take a period of time to assess needs in order that priorities can be addressed. Whilst communication at present in the affected areas is very difficult, it is crucial that agencies work in a controlled and coordinated way to ensure that the most pressing of needs are met as soon as possible. Further information on the grants awarded will be released once the Commission has considered all applications submitted. It does anticipate however announcing its decisions shortly.” Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chairman
26th April 2015
Five years after the Earthquake, the road to recovery for Haiti’s children is long.
UNICEF BELIEVES THAT EVERY CHILD COUNTS. JOINING HANDS TO REBUILD THE LIVES OF THE HARDEST TO REACH CHILDREN, WE ENSURE THAT EVERY CHILD WILL NOT ONLY
RECOVER, BUT THRIVE.
The new year did not bring hope and promise for the children of Haiti in 2010, but fear and loss. On 12th January, a massive earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale hit the Caribbean nation, devastating the lives of 1.5 million children, killing more than 220,000 people and injuring hundreds of thousands of people. This was the single largest catastrophe to hit the country in centuries. Today, Haiti has made significant progress to rebuild and recover, though it is proving a long road to full recovery.
Before the disaster hit, Haiti was the most densely populated and least developed country in the western hemisphere. More than half the population were living below the poverty line on less than £1.20 a day. Children were adversely affected by these conditions, with 58% malnourished and only half of primary-school aged children attending school. The 2010 earthquake brought what little development had been made to a halt, causing the demolition of schools, government buildings and basic infrastructure.
Five years on, there is clear evidence that meaningful progress has been made to restore what was lost. In many cases, children are now living in better conditions than before the earthquake. Today, we can see the positive impact Unicef has made collaboratively with the Haitian government, resulting in more children accessing education, health care, nutritious foods, safe water and protection than ever before.
UNICEF’S RESPONSE—THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Unicef led life-saving response and recovery efforts for education, child protection and water, sanitation and hygiene. As a result of the generosity of our supporters, Unicef was able to quickly mobilise and provide aid to children and their families who were in serious need.
Unicef worked with partners, including the Haitian government, partner organisations and communities, first to meet immediate humanitarian needs, and then to create long-term sustainable development. Unicef’s key responses and achievements for children to date are outlined below.
- 750,000 children now have access to education
- 225 classrooms have been rebuilt and 193 semi-permanent schools constructed
- More than 15,000 teachers in 2,500 schools received learning materials as part of the government’s initiative for free education
- 1,497,900 children in 5,760 schools received hygiene promotion supplies, including soap for protection against cholera
- More than 15,000 children under-5 years old were treated for acute malnutrition in 2011
- Acute malnutrition among children under-5 has been reduced by half since the earthquake
- 500,000 mothers were provided with nutrition and breastfeeding counselling in 198 Baby- Friendly Corners and 40 Infant and Young Child Feeding committees
- Haiti joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, an intervention approach enabling children to grow up healthy
Infant mortality rates have steadily declined as:
- Almost 3 million children have been protected against vaccine preventable diseases
- Over 2,000 pregnant women with HIV were placed on antiretroviral treatment and Unicef has provided medicine, equipment and technical support to emergency obstetric clinics
- Unicef has established 149 Cholera Treatment Units and 1,270 Oral Rehydration Points,treating over 139,000 cases
- 4,358 Community Health and Sanitation Agents and 1,453 health providers were trained on cholera prevention
- Improved water supplies and safe sanitation reached over 600,000 people in camps and earthquake affected communities
- 62% of households nationally now have a place to wash their hands
- More than 2 out of 3 households have been supplied with access to safe drinking water
- 8 out of 10 children are now registered with the state and 73% have a birth certificate
- 520 Child Friendly Spaces have been established, benefitting over 120,000 children
- 780 separated children have been registered and over 2,770 reunited with their families
A LONG AND CHALLENGING ROAD TO RECOVERY
Despite progress in the last five years, the road to recovery has been long and the children and families of Haiti continue to face many challenges.
The Haitian government has made landmark progress with developing and ratifying laws and policies which protect and enforce the rights of children. Five years on, as funds for Haiti have gradually decreased, and the world’s attention refocuses on other political and natural catastrophes, we must remember the children of Haiti. Rebuilding a country takes time and resource. Ensuring it is resistant to, and prepared for future emergencies, saves lives.
Unfortunately, 10% of children in the hardest to reach rural areas of Haiti have still not enefitted from recovery and progress. These children are exposed to more harmful conditions. For example, 51% of households in rural areas still do not have access to improved water, and 80% are living without access to appropriate sanitation systems. Now that we have moved on from providing immediate humanitarian relief, Unicef and partners have shifted focus within our current programme to reaching out to these rural communities, to truly ensure that all children will not only recover, but thrive.
Unicef continues to work through challenging situations to reach children. Subsequent emergencies have further disrupted the process of rebuilding children’s lives. A regional drought and two tropical storms in 2012 destroyed agricultural production and fisheries, plunging families into a serious food insecurity situation. Now, Haiti is experiencing a deadly epidemic of cholera, the largest in the world today, with 721,471 cases and 8,793 deaths reported since 2010.
Today, whilst 93% of people previously living in internally displaced persons camps have now left, over 85,000 people are still living in 123 camps five years after the earthquake. These camps are particularly exposed to the dire conditions that encourage the transmission of cholera, such as dirty water and a lack of latrines. However, cholera is not difficult to remedy. Up to 80% of cases can be successfully treated with simple oral rehydration salts, preventing the disease from killing within hours. Unicef is on the ground with emergency supplies, but resources are running lower and lower as time passes.
FROM EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO LONG-TERM CHANGE
Unicef’s focus in Haiti has shifted from immediate emergency response to developing a vision of sustainable long-term development. We are working to maintain the positive results we have been able to achieve for children now and in the future. To do this, we have collaborated with the Haitian government to build their aptitude for developing a society which delivers the needs of all its people, especially children.
Large-scale recovery efforts, such as infrastructure development, are becoming visible. Most importantly, Unicef has supported the Haitian government to develop a series of strategies to help the country progress. These include launching a National Sanitation Campaign in July 2014, to prevent and treat diseases such as cholera, and educate people on good sanitation practices. This will reach nearly 3.8 million people, 2,500 schools and 500 centres. Furthermore, a Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy is in operation until 2016, and a Strategic Development Plan outlines a vision up to 2030.
Unicef is committed to working alongside the Haitian government and communities to help overcome the remaining challenges and to achieve the following:
- Eliminate cholera from Haiti
- Leverage Haiti’s participation in the Scale Up Nutrition movement in the fight against malnutrition
- Close all internally displaced person camps and relocate inhabitants through viable return options and cash grants
- Advocate the government to increase budgets to enable greater availability and quality of social services, and support the delivery of these services to communities and households
- Strengthen mechanisms to monitor the delivery of services to ensure they adequately meet the needs of the society
- Create partnerships to scale up community-based interventions and develop local capacities to implement policies and programmes. This is vital to achieving sustainable development and maximum results with limited resources
THANK YOU FROM UNICEF
Thanks to the kind support of the Commission, Unicef was able to provide life-saving help to hundreds of thousands of children and their families in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
Five years on, Unicef and partners are continuing to focus on long-term sustainable development, to build the capacity of Haiti to meet all the needs of its people. Our focus is on healthcare delivery, household sanitation and to create the level of surveillance and rapid response required to finally eliminate cholera.
The meaningful progress Unicef has already made, to build back children’s lives in Haiti for the better, has only been possible as a result of your generosity. Thank you to the Jersey Overseas Aid Commis-sion for making a positive difference to children’s lives and for enabling Unicef to build a lasting future for children in Haiti.
A link to a video from our colleagues in the field that includes a special message from six year old Gloria who is now going to school, which I hope is of interest to you and the Commission:
BUILDING BACK SCHOOLS FOR THE BETTER
The earthquake forced 2.5 million children out of
school. These children, who in many cases also lost
their home, were left without a safe and happy place
to go to. Unicef’s aim was to reopen as many of these
schools as possible. Thanks to you, we did not just
bring them back. We brought them back better.
Two years later, Gloria, aged 6, had her first day at
school and she still uses Unicef materials to help her
Her teacher, Mireille Gazeau, dreams that Gloria
finishes school and makes something for herself,
choosing a career that she likes. “Gloria was shy
at first, but that has passed and now she feels
comfortable at school—her favourite subject is
Gloria’s story highlights the importance of getting
children back into school as quickly as possible
following an emergency. Today, more children
are going to school in Haiti than ever before.
Thanks to our supporters, Unicef
has been able to make the dream
of education a reality for Gloria and
many more children just like her.
“I’m happy because I can
come to class. I’m going
to have friends.”
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