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UNICEF Providing Assistance In South Sudan

Jan 25 2014

UNICEF says it is growing more concerned about the safety of South Sudanese women and children as violence continues in the country and children are at high risk.

According to said Iyorlumun Uhaa of UNICEF South Sudan, roughly 194,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes and most of those people are women and children. Mr. Uhaa says that because the situation is so fluid the real number of people who have fled is probably much higher.

He added that the most vulnerable in any conflict are always the children many of whom lack shelter from the intense heat of the sun and are forced to sleep out in the open during the cold nights.

There are two UN compounds in South Sudan with the compound in Juba sheltering an estimated 25,000 people and despite intense fighting posing difficulties in reaching civilians seeking in Bor, humanitarian aid is reaching the Juba compound

UNICEF and other agencies are delivering sanitation food and water supplies into various towns around the country. The agencies are building toilets as they seek to bring hygiene and reduce the risk of disease. Emergency health care is being provided at the compounds and UNICEF is providing high energy biscuits for children aged between six months to five years that give the children much need nutrients.

UNICEF and its partners are delivering clean water supplies to camps and setting up tents. The agencies are registering families who have fled and helping reunite parents who have become separated from their children.

“UNICEF and the United Nations are committed to protecting civilians in South Sudan, regardless of their ethnic group, but it is really the leaders of this, the world’s youngest nation, who have the responsibility to protect their citizens and particularly their children. We urge all of the country’s leaders to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict and avoid further escalation.” Mr. Uhaa said.

Image Courtesy of UNICEF

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World Vision Joins “No Lost Generation” Initiative For Syria

Jan 8 2014
Syrian Refugee Families Vulnerable As Winter Storm Hits Lebanon

A number of aid agencies which includes World Vision have combined to lend their voice to a call for governments, NGO’s and the general public to champion Syrian children by backing the “No Lost Generation” initiative.

The agencies are so worried about the crisis facing millions of children in Syria that they have all united behind the call for public support and donations to fund vital protection and education programmes designed to alleviate the problems of mental and emotional distress for Syrian children.

Conny Lennenberg World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe says millions of children in Syria are in serious need, no longer in school and living in extreme vulnerability so it is important to try to support them.

Ms. Lennenberg added that all actors around the world should to do more to avoid the loss of a generation of children. The strategy is being called the “No Lost Generation” and will be formally rolled out to the public just ahead of a major conference in Kuwait that is designed to raise money.

You can find out more information about the plight of children in Syria on social media with the hashtag #childernofsyria. Alternatively there is a website where you can find information and learn about how children are being affected by the conflict.

World Vision Brussels and EU Representation Director of Advocacy and Justice for Children, Deirdre deBurca says World Vision is very pleased that the European Commission’s Humanitarian Office has chosen to support the website.

Ms. deBurca says that the EU is the single largest donor to the region and this means they must continue to support these efforts without which the children of Syria may well never end up recovering.

To get a sense of the unfolding crisis, nearly one million Syrian refugees are children with approximately half that number aged under five and there are three million displaced children in Syria itself who face an even more dire situation.

The “No Lost Generation” strategy has roped in a number of aid agencies and nongovernmental organisations that operate throughout the region. The strategy will funnel as much as $1 billion into prragammes that will provide protection from exploitation and deliver safe education. The programmes will also seek to prevent abuse and violence as well as offer psychological care and support.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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Violence Against Women and Girls A Big Problem

Dec 20 2013

World Vision says a one major problem that remains prevalent around the world is violence against women and girls, which is a particular problem either during an emergency or immediately in its aftermath.

“As the aid response to the Philippines disaster intensifies, and horrors continue to emerge from the war in Syria, the prevention of violence against women and children must be at the front of everyone’s minds. We know from experience working in emergencies for more than 60 years, that sadly, in emergencies children are at their most vulnerable. Studies show violence increases and it is often women and girls who suffer the most. And yet, protecting them is the most consistently under-funded aspect of emergency responses, receiving on average less than a third of what is needed.” said David Thomson, head of policy and programmes for child-focused aid agency World Vision.

Whilst governments and UN agencies debate how to prevent violence against women and girls during emergencies World Vision says efforts should focus on prevention and improving what it calls “survivor led accountability”

Mr. Thompson said the agency will know it is doing a good job when victims say so. Violence often worsens in response to lack of shelter, cramped conditions and a general lack of privacy. In many cases victims are simply too afraid to report violence or they do not know how. For this reason raising awareness and focusing on prevention is key.

As the world has been reminded with the impact of the typhoon in the Philippines and the continuing violence in Syria focusing on root causes will help prevent child abuse.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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Eight Out Of Ten Kids Now Survive Cancer

Dec 7 2013

Some good news from Cancer Research UK, apparently the number of kids with cancer who survive has increased to over 8 out of 10 compared with just 3 out of 10 in the 1960’s/

In the last ten years the number of kids with cancer who survive five years or more has risen to 82 per cent from 79 per cent, which is a clear improvement.

The reason for the success is improved treatment which now combines a number of different chemotherapy drugs. The role of Cancer Research has been critical in providing clinical trials that has proven the fact that combined treatments can be successful.

The data suggests that children with all types of cancer have increased life expectancy those with bone and liver cancer have made particularly good progress of late. Over the last ten years survival rates for child patients with liver tumours leapt from 67 per cent to 82 per cent whilst patients with bone cancer saw a survival rate increase from 61 per cent to 68 per cent.

Still A Long Way To Go

Whilst more children are surviving for longer as a result of the research there is still a long way to go and it is important to discover kinder and better treatments for this terrible disease.

For many kinds the simple fact of surviving does not mean they are free of the disease. Even after three decades of diagnosis as many as 40 per cent of patients were at risk of sever or life threatening conditions or had died. There is still a need to find better treatments that comes with fewer side effects.

For many children, surviving does not mean that they are completely free of illness. Even 30 years after their diagnosis, 40 per cent of survivors were affected by severe or life-threatening conditions, or had died due to a chronic health condition3. There is still an urgent need to discover better treatments with fewer side effects.

“Cancer Research UK has been at the forefront of research into new treatments for childhood cancers. Although more than eight in 10 children with cancer now survive their disease for more than five years more work is needed to discover better treatments. As more and more children survive cancer, it is especially important that we concentrate on improving the quality of life after cancer.” Professor Pam Kearns, director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trial’s Unit in Birmingham, said

Image Courtesy of Cancer Research UK

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World Vision Responds to Typhoon Haiyan In Vietnam and Laos

Nov 27 2013

World Vision is making preparations to provide emergency assistance to Vietnam which also bore some of the brunt from Typhoon Haiyan.

After killing over 4000 people and causing mass destruction in the Philippines the Typhoon headed on to Vietnam causing the Vietnamese government to evacuate nearly 100,000 people from Danag and Quang Nai provinces in the centre of the country.

World Vision stands ready to provide emergency assistance with Super Typhoon Haiyan expected to make landfall in Vietnam on Sunday morning.

Both Vietnam and Laos are still recovering from a series of tropical storms which hit both countries in recent months and Haiyan has worsened the situation particularly since both countries are in the middle of the annual rice harvest.

Vietnam and Laos are already reeling from a series of tropical storms in recent months, and Typhoon Haiyan may worsen the situation, especially as both countries are in the midst of their annual rice harvest.

“We are working closely with government counterparts and communities to prepare for the storm, including the reinforcement of homes and to stockpile food and water supplies,” says Mr. Le Van Duong, World Vision Vietnam’s National Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Coordinator

Laos has also borne the brunt of a number of storms during the rainy season which has resulted in landslides and floods across the country.

As recently as September, World Vision had to respond to a mass flood which occurred in the south of the country affecting nearly 66,000 people destroying hundreds of hectares of rice. World Vision sought to provide food and clean drinking water as well as emergency medical kits immediately following the flood and continues to support communities that were affected with livelihood recovery projects.

World Vision works throughout Vietnam and supports 71,500 Vietnamese children through a sponsorship program. The organisation is also heavily involved in Laos where it supports over 40,000 kids.

“In all tropical storms and typhoons, it’s the poor and marginalised who are the worst affected. We will continue to focus on helping children and their families from vulnerable communities get through this storm and strengthen their resilience for future disasters,” says Ian Dawes, World Vision Lao PDR Operations Director.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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Donate to Oxfam Philippine Crisis Response

Nov 17 2013

Estimates suggest that nearly 4.5 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan and the body count is now over 3000 people with many more feared dead.

The coming days and weeks are going to be crucial with hundreds of thousands of people without food, water or shelter. Some families are already drinking contaminated well water and this means the threat of malnutrition and disease is high. The need for emergency aid is huge and Oxfam is urging we all act now.

According to the latest estimates, nearly 4.5 million people from 36 provinces have been affected and over 10,000 people are feared dead since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Friday 8 November.

Donate to Oxfam Phillipines appeal now

Oxfam has an experience team on the ground in the Philippines and is working with local partners who will be joined by emergency experts that have flown in from around the world.

everely hampered and this makes getting to the most remote areas extremely challenging. Oxfam’s team is doing its best to reach the worst hit areas and begin a response.

With help from your donations, Oxfam will provide clean drinking water, sanitation and shelter to half a million people that have been affected by the typhoon. The aid agency says it will provide plastic sheeting and tents which should provide basic protection from the elements as well as distributing household water filters which can purify dirty flood water making it safe for washing and cooking. Oxfam also plans to install pop up toilet facilities which are quick and easy to erect.

Oxfam has begun to send out urgently needed supplies to the Philippines from its UK warehouse including sanitation equipment, soap, hygiene kits and water. Please donate something today to help support the effort.

Image Courtesy of Oxfamr

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World Vision Says Access To Safe Education Key To Ending Child Marriage

Oct 27 2013
child marriage_250x250_scaled_cropp

Next month the British Prime Minister David Cameron will attend the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting. Many heads of state attending represent countries where child marriage is common and still a big problem. Based on current data an astonishing 142 million girls will be married over the next decade ending 2020.

“The British government has rightly been outspoken about the growing problem of violence against women in conflict. Being married before your eighteenth birthday, often to someone very much older, is another form of violence.” David Thomson, Head of Policy at World Vision UK, said

Since the world recently celebrated International Day of the Girl it is important we begin ensuring that child marriages become a thing of the past and is at the forefront of the conversation.

Child marriage is a worldwide problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. According to research from World Vision, education is important in delaying the age of marriage for children. World Vision says that in emergency environments which are fragile, parents genuinely believe early marriage is the best way to protect their daughters. The only alternative available is access to safe education.

Many families use child marriage in conflict areas to protect daughters, and children are married when those daughters no longer have safe access to education. In places such as Somaliland and Niger this is usually at the end of primary school between the ages of 10 to 15.

Early marriage is a structural from of violence because it produces low levels of education which means a reduced economic status for the girls who are the subject of this violence.

Many parents feel anxiety about the sexual security of their daughters which means that girls who are no longer in school are likely to be forced into marriages to prevent so called immoral behaviour in cultures where pre marital sex is considered shameful.

“You will be insulted as a girl if you are not in school and you are not married. People will think you have a bad character.” (16 year old girl, Niger)

In Somaliland parents and daughters alike said the threat of sexual violence and rape is heightened by food scarcity and drought. Girls who had to walk to school were at particular risk. Many families have been forced to move away from villages to better grazing grounds in response to drought. This means girls were no longer able to school accompanied by their friends and the risk of sexual violence was much higher.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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Greenpeace Urges People To Help Stop Fracking Now

Oct 17 2013

Recently the UK government said that nearly two thirds of the country could be opened up for fracking. Unsurprisingly many people got angry and there were a ton of protests that sprung up all over the country.

Clearly there is a lot of anxiety around the new technology which seeks to find hydrocarbons through hydraulic fracturing aka fracking. People want to tell energy companies that injecting chemical cocktails and horizontal drilling underneath their homes is not wanted and any attempt at fracking is trespass and violation of the law.

According to the Not for Shale legal block, without either a statutory provision or permission, fracking companies who drill underneath homes would be breaking the law. According to the group, common law explicitly states that homeowners rights extend to underneath the property and if you are someone who rents the same rights also apply as tenant unless the lease agreement says otherwise.

Whilst there are no specific laws which prohibit fracking underneath people’s homes, the energy industry has been lobbying hard for the government to introduce one. What the industry wants is for the government to supersede the rights of individuals so that companies need not seek permission to dill under homes.

Since the government may well end up changing the law it is crucial for people to act now. That is why the more people who join the legal block the harder it becomes for companies to drill under houses and ignore the law. Join the Not for Shale Legal Block

Image Courtesy Of Greenpeace

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Amnesty International Celebrates First Year Anniversary In India

Sep 26 2013

Amnesty International India is celebrating its one year anniversary operating in that country. The team got off to a flying start in India and it been really amazing to see the kind of progress they have had mobilizing and working with ordinary people across the country.

Just to break out some statistics, nearly 65,009 people have signed a petition and added their voices to Amnesty’s call for the abolition of the death penalty and the campaign has received some high profile coverage in the media.

The flagship campaign of the India office is the campaign for justice in Sri Lanka. The campaign has so far seen as many as 2 million people express their outrage at the government of Sri Lanka for failing to investigate alleged war atrocities during the civil war which ended just four years ago.

Amnesty has also campaigned against abuse by law enforcement offcicals in the conflict prone region of Jammu and Kashmir. The education team has fanned out across the country and is working with lots of education establishments to bring the concept of human rights into the class room.

“My school is in a slum area. So there are many parents who are uneducated. They don’t know about human rights. If we give some knowledge about human rights, so it gives some meaning to them.” Mohsina, Al-Azhar School

It’s been quite a year as we are sure you will agree, so please join us at Donation4Charity in helping Amnesty International celebrate its first year in India as part of a global family

Amnesty International, PUC! by Giovanni Hashimoto, on Flickr

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Oxfam Escalates Syrian Crisis To Category 1

Sep 6 2013
Oxfam Logo

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the there has been a dramatic escalation in the Syrian refugee crisis which is engulfing not just Syria but destabilizing other countries in the region.

There has been rapid increasing in the number of people fleeing the Syrian civil war to camps in neighboring countries. The numbers do not include those people who have fled and sought shelter at camps within the border. The UNHCR estimates that within Syria nearly 4 million people have been displaced and the scale of the crisis is enormous with no end in sight.

In response Oxfam has raised its Syria Crisis response to a Category 1 emergency. The escalation is not meant to generate publicity. What it means is that on the ground humanitarian teams which between them have decades of experience dealing with various types of emergencies have said given the scale of human suffering and the complexity of the situation, the response by Oxfam and other organizations needs to be at the highest level. Category 1 is a crisis level which means that internally Oxfam staff need to show priority to Syria related work.

To put category one in perspective, Oxfam very rarely raises disaster to that contignecy level and the last time this decade it has done so was during the Asian Tsunami in 2004. The scale of that emergency was revealed by footage which prompted the UK public to show unprecedented generosity, donating nearly £1 million per hour in the immediate aftermath of that disaster.

Other Category 1 crisis are just as important but tend to get overlooked such as the East African food crisis in 2011-2012. The reasons for that are complicated and this is the case with Syria without horrific illustrations that define the crisis and crystallize civilian situation in that country.

UN data can fill the void and help illustrate the extent of the human tragedy unfolding which goes to show the extent of the crisis which is huge. If you would like to donate to Oxfam Syria appeal just click on the link

Syria is a pool of blood and the world watches by FreedomHouse, on Flickr

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