#Syria; #UNOCHA; #HumanitarianAid;
Syria, Jun 28 (Canadian-Media): 1. A generation of Syrian children have only known hardship and destruction.
The conflict in Syria, which began in 2011, has lasted almost as long as the First and Second World Wars combined. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in hostilities. The tragedy is that no one knows exactly how many.
2. Across Syria at least 11 million people need aid and protection.
This is more than the population of countries such as Greece, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. Some 9.3 million people in Syria are food insecure. This is an increase of 1.4 million in the last six months alone and the highest number ever recorded. Basic food items are now a staggering 209 per cent higher on average than in June 2019. The poverty rate is 90 per cent.
3. More than 12 million people are displaced or are refugees in the region.
This is half of the country's pre-conflict population. The prospect of returning home is uncertain for 6.7 million internally displaced people and 5.5 million refugees. There are limited job opportunities and, in some areas, ongoing hostilities.
4. The UN has raised about US$2 billion every year for the humanitarian response inside Syria.
This has alleviated some of the most shocking consequences of the crisis and supported local communities. So far this year, the UN and its partners have delivered assistance to an average of 6.2 million people each month, including life-saving food for 4.5 million people across all 14 governates.
5. Funding is still desperately needed for the humanitarian response.
This year, the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan needs $3.8 billion, including $380 million for the COVID-19 response. It is currently only 27 per cent funded. For funding updates visit: https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/924/summary
UN humanitarian chief: Yemen will ‘fall off the cliff’ without adequate support for the humanitarian and COVID-19 response
#Yemen; #UNOCHA; #UNHumanitarian; #Lockdown; #Starvation; #Famine
Yemen, Jun 28(Canadian-Media): The humanitarian situation in Yemen could be kept stable with the necessary funding to humanitarian organizations, which would also help with the country’s political process amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN humanitarian chief told the Security Council today in a closed virtual briefing, OCHA reports said.
Children at Al Rebat camp for internally displaced people, in Lahij District, Yemen, 2018. Credit: OCHA/Giles Clarke
“Humanitarian agencies can still, with adequate funding, keep the humanitarian situation stable. That’s what we all want to do. That will also help with the political process,” said the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock.
“So … there is a stark choice before the world today: support the humanitarian response in Yemen and help to create the space for a sustainable political solution. Or watch Yemen fall off the cliff,” he added.
Briefing the Security Council on five priority issues – protection of civilians, humanitarian access, funding, the economy and progress towards peace – Mr. Lowcock emphasized that none of the issues is moving in the right direction.
He also noted that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country. About 25 per cent of Yemenis confirmed to have the disease have died – a figure that is five times the global average.
With Yemen’s health system in collapse, many more coronavirus cases and deaths are going unrecorded, and burial prices in some areas have increased by seven times compared with a few months ago.
“COVID-19 is adding one more layer of misery upon many others. As the Prime Minister of Yemen said earlier in the month, a macabre humanitarian tragedy is imminent,” Mr. Lowcock stressed.
The UN humanitarian chief underscored that a situation where a severe domestic economic crisis overlaps with a sharp drop in remittances and major cuts to donor support for humanitarian aid – all amid a “devastating” pandemic – has never before been seen in Yemen.
“At a minimum, we can expect many more people to starve to death and to succumb to COVID-19 and to die of cholera and to watch their children die because they are not immunized for killer diseases. So I call urgently on all Yemen’s donors to provide predictable foreign exchange injections to avoid total economic collapse. This must be in addition to humanitarian funding, which I again urge donors to disburse immediately and to consider increasing,” Mr. Lowcock said.
The UN humanitarian chief also spoke this past week with Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East editor of BBC News, about the situation in Yemen.
In an interview with Sky News, as part of a report by Middle East correspondent Mark Stone, Mr. Lowcock said that while he has seen many bad moments in Yemen, the current situation is the “darkest moment” he has ever seen.
In a CBS News interview with reporter Pamela Falk, Mr. Lowcock discussed the consequences of the civil war in Yemen, along with the country’s poor infrastructure, famine and lack of health services, on top of COVID-19 now.
#Nepal; #UN; #OCHA; #IOM; #IFAD
Nepal, Jun 28 (Canadian-Media): Nepal is one most remittance-dependent countries in the world, with many Nepalese sending home around $8.79 billion from abroad. However, since the economic slowdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, work for many of them has dried up. The UN is supporting efforts to manage the large-scale influx of returnee workers, UN reports said.
Two workers on a construction site in Pokhara, Nepal. Image credit: ILO/Marcel Crozet
A project run by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, which was already in place before the pandemic, developing enterprises in rural areas of Nepal, is now providing a range of services for migrants, forced to return home.
These include repatriation for workers stranded overseas, matching job-seekers with available jobs within the country, helping them to find other income-generating activities, and providing technical and vocational training.
In addition, IFAD, working with the UN migration agency IOM, and other partners, is assisting local government as they design policies to reintegrate returning migrants into the local workforce, and programmes that ensure easy access to start-up funds.
Find out more about IFAD’s work in Nepal here.
#UN; #UNHCR; #IOM; #PalestineRefugees; #UNRWA
New York, Jun 23 (Canadian-Media): Some 75 countries and non-governmental organizations have pledged $130 million in financial commitments to the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, UNRWA, following a virtual conference on Tuesday, UN reports said.
In Dera’a camp in Syria, young Palestinian refugees continue to study despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Image credit: © UNRWA
The meeting was held to bridge a $400 million funding gap so that UNRWA can continue providing health, education and social services to more than five million people in three countries and the occupied Palestinian territory.
“Every day, UNRWA is contributing to human development and stability in an increasingly volatile and challenging context,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking from New York.
Not only does the agency provide a lifeline for millions of Palestine refugees, he continued, it is also critical for regional stability.
‘Unpredictable and unstable environment’
UNRWA -- officially the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East -- was established following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.
It has operations in Gaza and the West Bank, but also in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, funded almost entirely by contributions from UN Member States.
New chief Philippe Lazzarini took charge on 18 March, or just one week after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
He said the crisis has come as the Middle East enters “a period of renewed uncertainty”, with Israel threatening to annex parts of the West Bank and Lebanon facing economic chaos, while the “seemingly endless” Syrian conflict rages on.
“In an unpredictable and unstable environment, we need, more than ever, a predictable and stable UNRWA,” Mr. Lazzarini told the conference, which was co-organized by Jordan and Sweden.
“But our greatest challenge is our financial stability. We are operating at full capacity with inadequate resources.”
Nowhere left to cutback
Over the past five years, UNRWA has battled deep budget cuts, which has led to $500 million in savings. But Mr. Lazzarini said there is nowhere left to trim without affecting the quality of its services.
“Year after year, month after month, UNRWA is on the edge of a financial collapse. This cannot continue,” he stressed, urging countries to take steps, including raising their annual contributions.
Jordan hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees, and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi pledged to continue working alongside partners.
“Any reduction in UNRWA’s services will only cause more suffering for a people that have suffered for more than any people should have to endure,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Sweden has contributed some $55 million to the agency this year so far, the Minister for International Development Cooperation reported.
Peter Eriksson said until there is a solution to the situation of Palestinian refugees, “we have a shared responsibility to support UNRWA.”
#US; #USCIS; #Aliens; #AsylumSeekers; #EnhanceBorderSecurity
Washnington, Jun 22 (Canadian-Media): A regulatory change was announced June 22 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to discourage aliens from illegally entering the United States, media reports said.
USCIS. Image credit: Twitter handle
Besides, deterring the aliens to illegally enter the US, the regulatory change also discourages filing fraudulent, or non-meritorious claims for asylum to obtain an employment authorization document.
Originating from the April 29, 2019, Presidential Memorandum on Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore Integrity to Our Immigration System, this rule would be effective on Aug 25 and does not in any way alter asylum eligibility criteria.
Emphasizing as the policy of the United States to manage humanitatian immigration programs in a safe and orderly manner, this rule promptly denies benefits to unqualified persons.
“Safeguarding the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system from those who seek to exploit or abuse it is key to the USCIS mission,” said Joseph Edlow, the USCIS Deputy Director for Policy. “The reforms in this rule are designed to restore integrity to the asylum system and to reduce any incen