By Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Francoise Jacob, Stefan Kohler
Are we creating the perfect conditions for a dramatic disaster to happen?
Torrential rainfall, extreme flooding and massive landslides have claimed more than 200 lives in Sri Lanka over the past few days. Property and livelihoods were destroyed or damaged, with devastating consequences for more than half a million people. Cyclone Mora formed while leaving the shores of the island.
PORT VILA: Sweet potato is a stable food for over 70 percent of the Vanuatu population, most from rural areas - where they depend on traditional agriculture to provide for their dietary needs and income. According to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, root crops such as yam, taro, manioc, sweet potato are fundamental to the diet of Ni-Vanuatu for over 2000 years.
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Under a barrage of shelling, Haider Anur and his wife fled their home last year with five children in tow. The family did not have time to take anything with them.
They were among tens of thousands of civilians displaced when Sudanese forces took over Al-Azarak, an area in the conflict-torn South Kordofan in Sudan that is so fertile it feeds an entire county.
“Some people might die of hunger,” Anur worried at the time.
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By Kevin M. Kennedy*
The United Nations and its partners stand ready to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance following the agreement reached by the US and Russia reinstating the cessation of hostilities in Syria. As we await the green light for the convoys to roll in safety to besieged and hard-to-reach locations across the country, including Aleppo city, it is timely to recall the challenges we face in executing our humanitarian mission.
By Robert Glasser and Achim Steiner
This year is already on track to be the hottest on record, beating out 2015 for this unfortunate distinction. Every year, if it’s not the mercury rising it’s the tangible impacts of climate change.
It's the single biggest contributor to child mortality in the Pacific
Just over a year ago Cyclone Pam decimated the Pacific Island of Vanuatu.
As the country continues to rebuild, it is now also dealing with the effects of drought driven by El Nino -- the dry conditions stunting the growth of crops and availability of food, leading to severe acute malnutrition amongst the islands children.
Director General, UNESCO
The Syria conflict will soon enter its sixth year. Six long years of violence and destruction have left 250,000 dead, created the world's worst humanitarian crisis, and forced some 4.6 million Syrians to leave their country. The impact resonates widely -- on neighboring countries, host to vast numbers of refugees, as well as on Europe, facing rising new demands from asylum seekers.
We thought it was going to be fighting, fighting until all of us died," recalls Mary, a widow and mother of five who lost her husband and other family members during the Second Sudanese Civil War that ended 11 years ago this week.
Jennifer L. Windsor
At the southern edge of Jabal Mukaber, a Palestinian neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, the hills form a wide, natural amphitheatre. Here olive groves adorn the gentle slopes, horses whinny, and birds flit out from the eaves to play in the evening sky. The views out towards Herod's great fortress Herodion are breathtaking. The air where I was sitting, however, was thick with concrete dust, driven up by the feet of two small children chasing one another between piles of rubble and shattered furniture.
The debate about whether or not Darfur (Sudan) was the site of genocide long ago flamed out, largely because the issue became excessively politicized and the world--in general--no longer cared about how we referred to continuing ethnically-targeted destruction in Darfur. But the facts of the past several years, particularly in North Darfur and the Jebel Marra region, compel us to ask again about the character of the atrocity crimes committed on a daily basis, if almost completely unreported.
The writers are Michele Sullivan, Director of Corporate Social Innovation at Caterpillar and President of the Caterpillar Foundation, and Radha Muthiah, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
Imagine spending hours every day cooking your family's food over an open fire, your eyes burning and lungs struggling from the constant smoke. Then imagine spending additional hours, often in the dark of dawn or dusk, searching for the fuel needed to start cooking again.
There is a public health crisis that is threatening the health and lives of men, women and children across our planet at an alarming rate, and the richest nations are affected as well as the poorest. And the sad truth is that many nations in the world have not made addressing the crisis a high enough priority to successfully combat it. We are not talking about Ebola, which has claimed the lives of some 5,000 people worldwide. Malnutrition — in the form of stunting, obesity, heart disease and early death — affects at least 2 billion people worldwide.
The clock is ticking loudly for all of us focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose established end-date is December 31, 2015. We have made absolutely phenomenal progress since the goals were set, and there is much recent good news. A record number of malaria bednets were delivered in the first half of 2014, expected to save 600,000 children's lives over the next three years and bring us closer to achieving our goal of near-zero deaths by 2015.
When the world's humanitarian leaders gathered at the World Health Organization's headquarters in December 2010 the mood was somber. The previous year had witnessed large-scale natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan, and the collective response of the major United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations had been chaotic and ineffective.
By Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide
Images of Charles Taylor being arrested and indicted in 2006 for his crimes in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war were splashed over the front pages of global news sites. When he was convicted in 2012, the spectacle was widely broadcast around the world. Elsewhere, the wheels of justice at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have been grinding away steadily since 1995. Out of 95 indictments, and some 75 convictions later, complaints continue that génocidaires are still at large.