Statement – Update on COVID-19: The pandemic paradox: hope and hardship, in equal measure

Statement by Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe Copenhagen, 28 January 2021 Good morning, Today, we face a pandemic paradox. Vaccines, on the one hand, offer remarkable hope. On the other hand, newly emerging variants of concern are presenting greater uncertainty and risk. A total of 35 countries in the European Region have begun vaccinations, administering 25 million doses. These vaccines have shown the efficacy and safety we all hoped they would, and we should pause to acknowledge where science and determination have got us, since…

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USAID/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance: Development & Disaster Risk Reduction, West Africa – Fiscal Year (FY) 2020

Many countries across West Africa face complex emergencies, frequent food security crises, and recurrent climate shocks, such as floods. In FY 2020, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) supported programs to address the root causes of chronic food insecurity; improve emergency preparedness and response capacity at local, national, and regional levels; and support communities to build assets, livelihoods, and resilience to future disasters. • USAID/BHA provided more than $76 million in FY 2020 to support development efforts and disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities across West Africa. • In FY 2020,…

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Election-Related Displacement Tops 200,000 in Central African Republic

GENEVA – Violence which erupted ahead of the Central African Republic’s general election at the end of December has forced more than 200,000 people to flee their homes in search of safety, the U.N. refugee agency says. The agency reports around 100,000 people are displaced inside C.A.R., with another 92,000 refugees crossing into the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the rest going to Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Congo. UNHCR spokesman Boris Cheshirkov says conditions are particularly dire for the tens of thousands of refugees in the DRC, who…

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African Union Launches Platform to Track Threats Against African Journalists

JOHANNESBURG – Threats to African journalists are nothing new, but the African Union is launching a website to track and monitor threats against them, in a bid to improve protections for media workers and support the right to freedom of the expression. Six African journalists were killed in 2020, according to the International Federation of Journalists. Countless more were threatened, arrested, harassed, and censored, according to several media freedom and human rights groups. That, the African Union is now saying, has to stop. And to do that, they’re making use…

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Feature: Restore Africa’s degraded land – Climate Adaptation Summit

Land is one of Africa’s most abundant resources, but it has become degraded across large swathes of the continent. Restoring the productivity of land will form a vital part of Africa’s sustainable adaptation to climate change – the Climate Adaptation Summit heard this week. CDKN’s Mairi Dupar reports. “Land restoration has a positive impact on the economy, on business, on biodiversity and is a carbon sink, so you have multiple opportunities that can be achieved through land restoration,” Ibrahaim Thiaw told the Climate Adaptation Summit this week. Speaking at a…

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As a fragile peace takes hold, some South Sudanese refugees head home

By Aoife McDonnell and Linda Muriuki in Bentiu, South Sudan | 29 January 2021 When Mary Nyekuola first returned to South Sudan after fleeing conflict four years ago, she wept. The land she left behind had been occupied and her husband had died while a refugee in Khartoum after a long illness. She had to start from scratch, but still, it felt good to be back. “I had mixed feelings. It was painful but at the same time I was happy to be home,” she said as she spread a…

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Global Snapshot of Contraceptive Services across Crisis-Affected Settings

Introduction Access to contraceptive services is both a fundamental human right and a lifesaving public health intervention. However, the Inter-agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG) 2012-2014 Global Evaluation found that the provision of contraceptive services, especially long-acting and permanent methods and emergency contraception, continues to be a gap in humanitarian health funding and programming. For example, contraceptive services made up just 14.9% of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programming in humanitarian health appeals submitted between 2009 and 2013. In terms of absolute funds received for all SRH…

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Northern Mozambique: ‘Too hungry to think past tomorrow’

Escalating violence in northern Mozambique is pushing hundreds of thousands of people into food insecurity, according to Lola Castro, the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Regional Director for Southern Africa. “The situation is dire,” she says. “The food assistance WFP is providing every month is not enough for people to survive. ” Without a cash injection of US$132.4 million to sustain operations for a year, rations may be cut and food distribution may stop altogether — the operation needs US$10.5 million for the next month. According to the Government, in the…

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