SUVA, Fiji, Nov 8 2017 (IPS) - In the Pacific, climate change is an ever-present threat, undermining human rights, livelihoods, and security. Pacific Islanders are working with courage and resolve to build the resilience of their communities and to catalyse international actions towards ending global carbon pollution.
On Monday 16 October 2017 the Council adopted the EU Annual Report on Human Rights And Democracy in the World in 2016.
2016 was a challenging year for human rights and democracy, with a shrinking space for civil society and complex humanitarian and political crises emerging. In this context, the European Union showed leadership and remained strongly committed to promote and protect human rights and democracy across the world.
Over the past several weeks, extreme drought was reported in eight atolls across the Marshall Islands including Wotje and Utirik. As of 20 April, the drought has affected an estimated 6,400 people. On 24 April, the Government declared a State of Emergency for 31 days in the affected areas. The Emergency Operations Centre was activated and is coordinating the response with local governments and national clusters. Authorities are liaising with bilateral partners to support the in-country response.
6,400 people affected
At least 11 countries across Asia-Pacific experienced severe weather conditions due to El Niño.
In February, Tropical Cyclone Winston, the strongest cyclone recorded in the South Pacific, devastated Fiji.
In DPR Korea, 18million people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance – 2016 response plan severely underfunded.
Tropical Storm Roanu triggers worst flooding in Sri Lanka in 25 years; preparedness actions mitigated loss of life in Bangladesh.
What is El Niño?
El Niño is the warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific, which occurs roughly every two to seven years, lasting from six to 24 months.
Climate change is now recognised as a factor driving the movement of people around the world.
Internationally, migration, displacement and human mobility are recognized in the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, and further reinforced through the Paris Agreement in 2015. As Pacific Island countries increasingly experience the effects of climate change, more Pacific governments will need to consider options for dealing with human mobility.
Beginning on 4 April, heavy rain from two tropical disturbances continues to fall on communities affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston where thousands of people are still reliant on transitional shelter. Low-lying villages were evacuated. In the north and west of the country, roads were cut and schools closed. The Cyclone Winston response is moving into the early recovery phase. Priorities include providing permanent shelter and water and sanitation for 350,000 people. Some 800,000 planting materials were distributed
A month after Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji, the Government-led response has delivered life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of people. The first round of emergency food distributions reached more than 370,000 people and access to safe drinking water has been restored for 150,000 people. An additional 100,000 people still need water assistance.
Temporary learning spaces have enabled classes to resume in 95 schools. A State of Natural Disaster was extended for another month.
The 2015-2016 El Niño has passed its peak but it remains strong and will continue to influence the global climate. It is expected to weaken in the coming months and fade away during the second quarter of 2016. The World Meteorological Organization states that models indicate a return to an El Niño neutral state during the second quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, strong El Niño conditions are quite likely through March-April. It is too early to predict if there will then be a swing to La Niña (the opposite of El Niño).
On 4 March, the Government of Fiji and humanitarian partners jointly launched a Flash Appeal seeking US$38.6 million to respond to the life-saving and protection needs of 350,000 people affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston. To enable partners to provide urgent humanitarian assistance, US$8 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund was allocated for the Fiji response. Nearly 18,500 houses have been damaged or destroyed by the cyclone and more than 18,000 people remain in evacuation centres.
Clashes between Government forces and lawless elements displaced more than 17,000 people in Maguindanao province. Two separate incidents occurred on 5 and 10 Feb, leaving five civilians injured (three men, one boy and one girl).
17,000 people displaced
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
60 million PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED BY EL NIÑO IN THE FOUR MOST AFFECTED REGIONS
2.8 million PEOPLE REQUIRE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN GUATEMALA AND HONDURAS
10.2 million PEOPLE IN NEED OF EMERGENCY FOOD IN ETHIOPIA
14 million FOOD INSECURE PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA – EXCLUDING SOUTH AFRICA
El Niño status
Each year natural and climate change induced disasters displace tens of millions of people across the globe, mostly within their own country but there have been circumstances when people displaced by disasters have had to seek shelter by crossing international borders. Human mobility and cross-border displacement is recognised as a keyhumanitarian issue in this day in age.
Floods and landslides affected over 1.3 million people, including 297,000 households displaced in Jul and Aug, according to Government reports. At least 106 people are confirmed dead. The Government, supported by local organisations, UN and INGOs, continues to lead the response, including clean-up, search and rescue and provision of relief assistance.
1.3 million people affected
OUR KEY MESSAGES
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has four key messages for effective action on the topic of human mobility in the context of environmental and climatic changes:
1 Environmental and climate-induced migration is a multicausal and multidimensional phenomenon.
The Central Emergency response Fund (CERF) had another record year in 2013, as donors contributed US$477 million to support emergency response efforts in 45 countries.
Whether in high-profile natural disasters or forgotten emergencies, the humanitarian community once again relied on rapid and strategic CERF funding to kick-start the response and to keep life-saving programmes running.