Tag Archives: Humanitarian

A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Deadly rocket attacks straining Afghanistan-Pakistan relations

By Heath Druzin

KABUL — A rain of rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister summoned Pakistan’s ambassador Sunday after shelling killed four civilians and injured several others in Kunar province Friday night.

A provincial official is warning of an “uprising” if the attacks continue. The Foreign Ministry warned that continued shelling “could have significant negative impact” on relations between the two countries.

Continue reading A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

President Zardari pardon Indian Spy Gopal Das

Indian spy Gopal Das returns to India

LAHORE: Indian spy Gopal Das, held in Pakistan for 27 years was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border on Thursday. Das was released on presidential orders.

The spy was transferred from the Kot Lakhpat jail to Wagah Border in a special vehicle. The notification by President Asif Ali Zardari to remit the remainder of the spy’s prison sentence was issued on March 27.

President Zardari issued the notice on humanitarian grounds following an appeal from India’s Supreme Court.

Das — who told reporters he was 26 when he was arrested — was sentenced to life in prison in June 1987 and had been due for release by the end of this year.

Pakistan’s presidency did not say why he was convicted, but Das himself confirmed reports that he had been jailed for spying.

“Yes… I went to Pakistan on a spying mission and I was arrested for espionage,” said Das, who was clearly angered by what he saw as his abandonment by the Indian authorities.

“Indian intelligence never bothered to get me released from jail in Pakistan,” he said.

“I carry a grudge against the Indian leadership because it does not bother about Indian prisoners still rotting in Pakistan prisons for many years,” he added.

He made a point of thanking the president and prime minister of Pakistan for his early release.

Read more » The Express Tribune

UN Security Council condemns Ashura attacks in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif reminded “States” to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council Press Statement on Afghanistan- SC/10474- Afg/380

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Vitaly Churkin ( Russian Federation):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the abhorrent terrorist attacks on 6 December in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif causing numerous death and injuries.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of these heinous acts and to their families, and to the people and Government of Afghanistan.

The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Afghanistan to bring those responsible to justice.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.

The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the people and the Government of Afghanistan.

Courtesy » http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10474.doc.htm

350 deaths, 700,000 in Refuge camps, 1.5 million homes destroyed, 2.4 millions are severely affected by food insecurity in Sindh

– Pakistanis at risk over world inaction on floods: WFP

byAFP

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations warned on Monday that the international community had failed to respond to the latest flooding crisis in Pakistan, leaving three million people in urgent need of food handouts.

The nuclear-armed Muslim state has suffered two consecutive years of floods but has been at increasing risk of international isolation since US troops found and killed Osama bin Laden near the capital in May.

“Somehow the present flooding and the humanitarian impact of the present flooding has not yet picked the interest, the focus of the world,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

“If we have no resources, we have no response,” he told a news conference in Islamabad after visiting the flood-hit southern province of Sindh.

On September 18, the United Nations led an appeal for dollar 357 million in emergency funding to shore up rescue and relief efforts for millions of people suffering after floods swept away homes and farm land in southern Pakistan.

“The funding is not coming as swiftly and as fast at the levels it came to the response of the floods of last year,” said Lopes da Silva.

“Donors are being challenged by the level of resources required to address similar needs of humanitarian situations across the world,” he added.

Last month, the United Nations said only the Japanese government had pledged dollar 10 million in response to the appeal. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

SINDH: MONSOON RAINS AFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, UN LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

– PAKISTAN: MONSOON RAINS AFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, UN LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

Press release – (Islamabad/Geneva/New York: 10 September 2011): Torrential monsoon rains have pounded southern Pakistan, triggering serious flooding affecting more than 5 million people, among them communities still recovering from last year’s extraordinary floods. The disaster has reportedly taken the lives of 199 people, and destroyed or damaged nearly one million houses, and flooded 4.2 million acres of land, prompting the Government of Pakistan to call for support from the United Nations.

The situation for those impacted by recent monsoons and subsequent floods is critical, with thousands of people in need of life-saving assistance due to the lack of food and safe drinking water and the loss of livelihoods and homes. In response the United Nations and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) undertook a joint field mission to see first hand the devastation and damage caused by fresh flooding. The NDMA Chairman and UN Humanitarian Coordinator held discussions with the Sindh Governor and Chief Minister. The joint mission team visited Thatta, Badin, T.M. Khan and Hyderabad districts, where they met with district officials and families displaced by floods. During the visit the Chairman and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator gained first hand information about the impact of the floods, which has made possible a rapid launch of the relief effort by the United Nations and other humanitarian partners to support the ongoing national relief efforts.

Continue reading SINDH: MONSOON RAINS AFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, UN LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

Rain disaster in Sindh

– Pakistan floods leave hundreds of thousands without shelter

Pakistan has appealed to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for international humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of flood victims in the south of the country. At least 130 people have been killed as mud houses in remote rural areas collapsed in the heavy rain. Among the worst affected areas in the south’s Sindh Province are Badin and Nawabshah. Rains have damaged about 80% of the region’s crops.

Shoaib Hasan reports from Sindh.

Courtesy: → BBC

Turkish warships to escort any Gaza aid vessels: Erdogan

CAIRO: Turkey said on Thursday it would escort aid ships to Gaza and would not allow a repetition of last year’s Israeli raid that killed nine Turks, setting the stage for a potential naval confrontation with its former ally.

Raising the stakes in Turkey’s row with Israel over its refusal to apologise for the killings, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Al Jazeera television that Turkey had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources in the Mediterranean.

“Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorised to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Erdogan said in the interview, broadcast by Al Jazeera with an Arabic translation.

“From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla,” Erdogan said.

Referring to Erdogan’s comments, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “This is a statement well-worth not commenting on.”

Relations between Turkey and Israel, two close US allies in the region, have soured since Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010.

Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean in the escalating row. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Indian prisoner freed by President Asif Zardari

Indian prisoner freed after 27 years

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday remitted the jail sentence of Gopal Das, an Indian prisoner who had been languishing in a jail in Lahore for the past 27 years.

The president’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar confirmed the remission of the remaining sentence was taken on humanitarian grounds …

Read more : ZemNews

Malnutrition levels in Sindh reached 21% to 23%, according to the WFP. That is above African standards. The emergency standard is 15%

Pakistan ‘crop shortage’ warning

By M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

Lowering wheat prices would create food shortages in Pakistan and encourage smuggling, officials say, responding to criticism from the UN.

On Wednesday the UN’s food relief agency said the government set prices too high and malnutrition was rising.

But an official at Pakistan’s food ministry told the BBC farmers would simply switch to more lucrative crops if wheat prices went down.

Devastating floods across Pakistan in 2010 damaged acres of arable land.

Although crop yields in 2011 are projected to be healthy, prices are too high for an impoverished population, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme told journalists on the sidelines of humanitarian meetings in Geneva on Wednesday.

“The crop outlook is not bad but the food security situation remains difficult because prices remain so high,” Wolfgang Herbinger said.

Smuggling risk

Malnutrition levels in the southern province of Sindh had reached 21% to 23%, according to the WFP.

“That is well above African standards. The emergency standard is 15%,” Mr Herbinger said. …

Read more : BBC

Obama Gives Gadhafi the Ultimatum

Obama Gives Gadhafi the Ultimatum: Stop Violence or Face International Military Action

U.S. President Stressed that Europe, Arab States Would Lead Military Action Against Libya, if Needed

By JAKE TAPPER, HUMA KHAN and MARTHA RADDATZ

President Obama today gave an ultimatum to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he must immediately implement a ceasefire in all parts of Libya and allow international humanitarian assistance or risk military action against his regime.

“Moammar Gadhafi has a choice. The [U.N.] resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a ceasefire must be implemented immediately. That means all attacks against civilians must stop,” the president said today. “Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.”

“These terms are not subject to negotiation,” he added. “If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences and the resolution will be enforced through military action.”

Obama’s speech indicated that coalition forces are giving Gadhafi time to change course, but are also gearing up for an attack if their demands are not met. …

Read more : ABC News

International Pressure on Qaddafi Intensifies

Qaddafi’s Army and Jets Strike at Rebels

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

BENGHAZI, Libya — Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back on three fronts on Monday, using fighter jets, special forces units and regular army troops in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya closer to civil war.

The attacks by the colonel’s troops on an oil refinery in central Libya and on cities on either side of the country unsettled rebel leaders — who earlier had claimed they were close to liberating the country — and showed that despite defections by the military, the government still possessed powerful assets, including fighter pilots willing to bomb Libyan cities.

But the ease with which at least one assault, on the western city of Zawiyah, was repelled by anti-government forces raised questions about the ability of the government to muster a serious challenge to the rebels’ growing power.

An international campaign to force Colonel Qaddafi from power gathered pace on Monday as the Obama administration announced it had seized $30 billion in Libyan assets and the European Union adopted an arms embargo and other sanctions. As the Pentagon began repositioning Navy warships to support a possible humanitarian or military intervention, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly told the Libyan leader to surrender power “now, without further violence or delay.” …

Read more : The New York Times

Let’s give Sindh a helping hand

Gulf News Editorial: Humanitarian bodies must ensure food and medical aid reach those affected by floods

Time has stopped for the hapless survivors in Sindh whose lives were turned upside down by the severe floods that hit the Pakistani province last year.

Surveys carried out in the wake of that disaster have revealed the extent of acute malnutrition in the region. The issue has been highlighted only recently due to prevailing social conditions and the lack of contact between the people and medical experts. Poverty levels have been at an all-time high for decades as a result of which the lives of thousands of children are also at risk.

Unicef has found that the percentage of those hit by the problem is higher than the 15 per cent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and on par with the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It has also been noted that women form a larger part of the overall figure.

While efforts are being made to address this problem, humanitarian organisations must galvanise themselves to ensure that the thousands who have been affected can obtain food and medical relief. …

Read more : Gulfnews

Malnutrition in Sindh is worse than the famine in Ethiopia, Darfur and Chad – UN says

Pakistan flood crisis as bad as African famines, UN says

Survey shows almost a quarter of children under five are malnourished in Sindh province, six months after floods

Declan Walsh in Islamabad

A “humanitarian crisis of epic proportions” is unfolding in flood-hit areas of southern Pakistan where malnutrition rates rival those of African countries affected by famine, according to the United Nations.

In Sindh province, where some villages are still under water six months after the floods, almost one quarter of children under five are malnourished while 6% are severely underfed, a Floods Assessment Needs survey has found.

I haven’t seen malnutrition this bad since the worst of the famine in Ethiopia, Darfur and Chad. It’s shockingly bad,” said Karen Allen, deputy head of Unicef in Pakistan. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

Poorest of Poor

Drowning humanitarian aid – by Christopher Stokes
Barely hidden beneath the surface of Pakistan’s worst flooding in living memory were the geopolitical stakes shaping both the justifications for official Western assistance and how aid was delivered to victims of the disaster. The perverse result may be a further restricting of the ability of humanitarian aid workers to assist the Pakistani population in the most volatile areas of the country.  ….
…..  The people I saw in the camps in the flood-devastated region of Sindh last week are the poorest of the poor. They had very little and lost everything. Their children are now filling our malnutrition treatment centers. They deserve to be helped ….
To read full article : ForeignPolicy

SOCIAL CRISIS STALKS PAKISTAN

People fleeing rising floodwaters with what possessions they can carry.

The catastrophe is being shaped by powerful political and economic forces–and the most vulnerable have been left to fend for themselves, reports Snehal Shingavi.

IT HAS been nearly a month since the floods tore through the Swat valley in the northern part of Pakistan. The water has begun flowing into the ocean, and water levels have begun to fall in most places, but the sheer magnitude of the devastation left in its wake is overwhelming.

Read more >> NewRedIndians

Efforts by Sindhi Americans Influence USAID Flood Assistance to Provinces

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
Finally, the USAID authorities have accepted the long-standing demand of Sindhi-Americans to monitor fairness and equitability in the distribution of aid for flood victims in Pakistan and ensure that the aid reaches all provinces and is not controlled by the highly centralized federal government of Pakistan. The report gives a breakdown identifying several items by each province.
However, much more advocacy activities have to be undertaken by Sindhi-Americans for even the USAID report does not include province-by-province breakdown of large amounts and simply says “Affected Areas”.
To learn more about USAID, go to http://www.usaid.gov
USAID: http://www.usaid.gov/pakistanflooding/
The Center for International Disaster Information: http://www.cidi.org
Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at http://www.reliefweb.int

Flood IDPs Camps in Karachi

Due to violent monsoon and floods thousands of people have already migrated from Ghotki, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur and Jacobabad. In a latest development 90% of Jacobabad has been evacuated. Special trains have been mobilized for the refugees, heading towards Hyderabad and Karachi. Humanitarian Community is requested to respond accordingly. There may be some other camps but so far four camps are identified in Karachi by our civil society teams, political parties and media friends.

The mass evacuation of Jacobabad due to flood waters that are approaching fast to the city, Sindh Government has decided to move the IDPs from Jacobabad to Karachi , Hyderabad and Jamshoro. The current update is that CDGK has identified following four locations in Karachi where the IDPs will be brought in 1. Gaddap, 2. Bin Qasim Town, 3. Kiamari, 4. Toll Plaza

KARACHI: Chakra Goth, Korangi: In this camp at least 40 families, migrated from Thul, Jacobabad are living in very vulnerable conditions. To babies were born during floods and they are in a very critical health conditions.

Shah Rasool Colony, near Abdullah Shah Ghazi mazar, Saddar Town: 32 families are migrated from Kachho of Larkana, most are women and minor kids.

Mehmoodabad Graveyard: 45 families from different flood hit areas of upper Sindh are there and looking for help.

Sachal Goth: hundreds of flood survivors, displaced and now living on footpaths in a very pathetic situation. …

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 13 Augsut 2010

The real threat aboard the Freedom Flotilla

By Noam Chomsky

IN THESE TIMES

Israel’s violent attack on the Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza shocked the world. Hijacking boats in international waters and killing passengers is, of course, a serious crime.

But the crime is nothing new. For decades, Israel has been hijacking boats between Cyprus and Lebanon and killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes holding them hostage in Israeli prisons.

Israel assumes that it can commit such crimes with impunity because the United States tolerates them and Europe generally follows the U.S.’s lead.

Continue reading The real threat aboard the Freedom Flotilla