Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Hundreds of people have been killed and 2.5 million need help. Houses, roads and bridges have been ripped apart and agricultural land is completely submerged. More than 600 people are confirmed dead and 400,000 have lost their homes.
The UN says this may be the worst weather-related disaster ever recorded in the southern hemisphere.
toll from Cyclone Idai climbs to more than 600. As the floodwaters from Cyclone Idai have started to recede, the death toll has risen to more than 600 across southeastern Africa and is expected to continue rising. The storm hit Mozambique,Malawi and Zimbabwe on March 14, causing extensive damage.
DEC members are working closely with national partners to support the relief effort, delivering emergency shelter kits, food, water purification tablets and urgent health assistance.
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|AIWA! NO!|Nations on Saturday inched towards a deal to implement the Paris climate goals, after all-night negotiations to hammer out a plan to limit global temperature rises exposed a range of conflicts.
A senior negotiator told AFP at the COP24 summit in Poland that delegates from nearly 200 nations had reached a “landing zone” of agreement.
But sources close to the talks said differences remained stark on the issues of ambition, how the climate fight is funded and how best to measure and ensure the fairness of each nation’s efforts to reduce emissions.
Delegates at the UN summit, held this year in the Polish mining city of Katowice, must agree on a common rule book to put the pledges nations made in the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord into practice.
This means all countries, rich and poor alike, must agree to action that will cap global temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and stave off the worst effects of planetary warming, and to a safer cap of 1.5C if possible.
The final draft decision text has been repeatedly delayed as negotiators seek to form guidelines that are effective in slashing emissions while protecting the economies of rich and poor nations alike.
“I think we have a landing zone. It is a compromise,” Gebru Jember Endalew, chair of the Least Developed Countries negotiating group, told AFP.
“It is a bit difficult to compromise when there are 190-plus countries.”
At the heart of the matter is how each nation funds action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as how those actions are reported.
Developing nations want more clarity from richer ones over how the future climate fight will be funded and have been pushing for so-called “loss and damage” measures.
This would see richer countries giving money now to help deal with the effects of climate change many vulnerable states are already experiencing.
Another contentious issue concerns the integrity of carbon markets, looking ahead to the day when the patchwork of distinct exchanges — in China, the Europe Union, parts of the United States — may be joined up in a global system.
“To tap that potential, you have to get the rules right,” said Alex Hanafi, lead counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund in the United States. “One of those key rules — which is the bedrock of carbon markets — is no double counting of emissions reductions.”
The Paris Agreement calls for setting up a mechanism to guard against practices that could undermine such a market, but finding a solution has proved so problematic that the debate may get kicked down the road to next year.
Some observers cast Brazil as the villain, with several sources accusing it of seeking to muddy the date by which the provisions should enter into force.
“There are still a range of possible outcomes and Brazil continues to work constructively with other parties to find a workable pathway forward,” Brazil’s chief negotiator J. Antonio Marcondes told AFP.
‘A deal within reach’
Another stumbling block could be how ambitious countries are in their renewed pledges ahead of a 2020 stock-take of the Paris deal’s progress.
Most nations wanted the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to form a key part of future planning. It highlighted the need for greenhouse gas emissions to be slashed to nearly half by 2030 in order to hit the 1.5C target.
But the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected, leading to watered down wording.
The European Union’s climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete on Saturday morning tweeted a photo of himself poring over the draft decision text from the talks — which were meant to wrap up Friday — submitted by host Poland.
“A deal to make the #ParisAgreement operational is within reach,” he said.
More than three million displaced in Yemen – joint UN agency report
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|SAUDI ARABIA faces international condemnation and censure for the apparent murder of its citizen at a Turkish Consulate in Istanbul in October; and its ongoing war in Yemen.
The United Kingdom and the US are working towards a joint resolution, and consequently a joint communique ending four-year conflict that has claimed millions of lives and made even more millions of peopled internally displaced.
Yemeni families are on the brink of famine. On top of forced displacement, hunger now looms across Yemen, leaving the lives of millions of children, women, and men at risk. UNHCR is working hard to provide displaced families with vital support like food, shelter and healthcare in their time of greatest need. But we cannot do it without you.
This is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and it deserves critical attention. Your donation could help to provide displaced families with the essentials they need to survive: shelter, blankets, medical care and emergency assistance. UNHCR can make your gift reach the people most in need – fast. We are on the ground within 72 hours from an emergency helping families forced to flee. It is our job to protect and safeguard refugees’ rights and help rebuild their lives.
More than three million displaced in Yemen – joint UN agency report
A joint report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found that the conflict in Yemen has resulted in the displacement of some 3,154,572 people, of which 2,205,102 remain displaced across the country and some 949,470 have attempted to return home.
“The crisis is forcing more and more people to leave their homes in search of safety,” Ita Schuette, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Yemen said in a news release on Friday, announcing the report.
The news release added that due to the escalating conflict and worsening humanitarian conditions, displacement across the country has seen an increase of about seven per cent since April, with 152,009 individuals fleeing from violence during this period.
The report, prepared by the Task Force on Population Movement, a technical working group led by the two agencies as part of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen, also said that a significant number of those displaced are attempting to return home, a 24 per cent increase of some 184,491 individuals. However, it cautioned that movements remained fluid and correlated to moments of lulls or perceived improvements in the conflict.
“IDP returnees are considered to remain within the displacement cycle as long as they have not achieved a sustainable reintegration and their needs remain high, as is also the case for the non-displaced host community,” said Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission to Yemen.
|AIWA! NO!|BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Yemen has become “a living hell for children” with about 30,000 children dying each year from malnutrition and easily preventable diseases, said Geert Cappelaere, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Cappelaere spoke during a news conference in Amman, on Sunday, after visiting Yemen that “Yemen is today a living hell — not for 50 to 60% of the children — it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen.”
According to UNICEF, 1.8 million Yemeni children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and each day 400,000 from severe acute malnutrition.
Cappelaere also said that “30,000 children die of malnutrition each year in Yemen,” adding “while a child dies every 10 minutes from easily preventable diseases.”
Upon Cappelaere’s visit to al-Thawra hospital, the only remaining referral hospital in al-Hudayda, he noted that “half of Yemen’s under-age-five children are chronically malnourished and more than a million pregnant or lactating women are anemic.”
“When giving birth, these women know that their children will be of low birth weight, starting that cycle of malnutrition and leading to chronic malnutrition and all the health consequences for these boys and girls.”
He stressed the figures were “a reminder for all of us to realize how dire the situation has become.”
Cappelaere called on the warring parties to join proposed peace talks later this month and agree to a ceasefire and a road to peace for Yemen, which “is incredibly needed.”
Despite growing international pressure to end a conflict that has left Yemen on the brink of famine, fighting has intensified in the rebel-held Red Sea port city of Hodeida, which is the entry point of more than 70% of imports into Yemen, leading to the appeal for peace talks.
Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called for an urgent and lasting ceasefire to the Yemen conflict, and advocated for vitally-needed support for Yemeni refugees globally. Jolie stressed “As an international community we have been shamefully slow to act to end the crisis in Yemen.”
She added “We have watched the situation deteriorate to the point that Yemen is now on the brink of man-made famine and facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world in decades.”
The so-called Universal Periodic Review, a compulsory four-yearly process, will also focus on Riyadh’s role in Yemen’s civil war.
Meanwhile, British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he will lobby the UN Security Council to try and find a political solution to four years of hostilities in Yemen.
At least 10,000 have been killed in the conflict between a Saudi-backed coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and half the nation faces imminent starvation.
Hunt’s announcement came after Washington, which has long backed the Saudis, called for Riyadh to end its airstrikes in the country. UN diplomats, speaking anonymously, told Reuters news agency Britain and the US were working on a joint resolution to stop the fighting in Yemen.
The half-day public debate will see a Saudi delegation, headed by the country’s Human Rights Commission chief Bandar Al Aiban, grilled by other nations over its human rights record.
Activists have urged countries to hold Saudi Arabia to account.
“UN member states must end their deafening silence on Saudi Arabia and do their duty of scrutinizing the cruelty in the kingdom in order to prevent further outrageous human rights violations in the country and in Yemen,” Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns, said in a statement.
“The Saudi government’s long-standing repression of critics, exemplified by the extrajudicial execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, has until recently been willfully ignored by UN member states,” she added.
According to publicly submitted questions, Britain, Austria and Switzerland will directly ask about the Khashoggi case. Sweden will ask how it plans to improve respect for the freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.
The US will ask whether Riyadh plans to modify its counterterrorism law to ensure the definition of “terrorism” does “not include acts of expression, association, or peaceful assembly.”
Ahead of the review, the UN rights office published a list of concerns about human rights in Saudi Arabia, including discrimination against women, continued use of the death penalty, and “extremely broad” definitions of terrorism which enables “the criminalization of some acts of peaceful expression.”