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Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien Remarks to the Press, Juba, South Sudan, 25 July 2015

                                                                      

reliefweb.int - UN OCHA - REMARKS TO THE PRESS - [as delivered]

Juba, South Sudan, 25 July 2015

Today I conclude my four-day visit to South Sudan where I had the opportunity to see for myself the impact of the devastating crisis. This is my first visit to South Sudan since I began my role as the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator that was almost two months ago. But I have been here few times before. My last visit to South Sudan was in April 2012 to assess the humanitarian situation then, in my capacity as an Under-Secretary of State for International Development in the United Kingdom.

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'The Worst Atrocity You’ve Never Heard Of'

The ethnic cleansing unfolding in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan doesn’t get much coverage. But once you’ve witnessed it, says Nicholas Kristof, it will haunt you. By Adam B. Ellick on Publish Date July 13, 2015. Photo by Nicholas Kristof/The New York Times.

nytimes.com - By ADAM B. ELLICK and NICHOLAS KRISTOF - July 13, 2015

You’ve heard of Darfur, and you know about the slaughter underway in Syria. But the worst ethnic cleansing you’ve never heard of is unfolding in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, where the government is bombing villages, schools and hospitals and trying to keep out food and medicine.

It doesn’t get much coverage, partly because it’s difficult to get access to. But when you’ve seen these atrocities, they haunt you. So we slipped into the Nuba Mountains through rebel lines to try to document the killings. This video is the result.

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World's Displaced Hits Record High of 60 Million, Half of Them Children - UN

reuters.com - by Joseph D'Urso - June 18, 2015

Almost 60 million people worldwide were forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution at the end of last year, the highest ever recorded number, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday, warning that the situation could deteriorate further. . .

. . . "I believe things will get worse before they eventually start to get better," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said at a news conference in Istanbul.

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Police fire tear gas on crowd during Sierra Leone Ebola lockdown

REUTERS by Josephus Olu-Mammah and Umaru Fofana                                                              March 28, 2015
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone --Police fired tear gas at an angry crowd in Sierra Leone on Saturday after they threw stones at officials during a three-day national lockdown that the government hopes will accelerate the end of the Ebola epidemic, residents said.

Sierra Leone has reported nearly 12,000 Ebola cases and more than 3,000 deaths since the worst epidemic in history was detected in neighbouring Guinea a year ago. New cases have fallen sharply since a peak of more than 500 a week in December but the government says the lockdown, its second, is necessary to identify the last cases and to buck a worrying trend towards complacency.

Officials have ordered the six million residents to stay inside on pain of arrest as hundreds of health official go door-to-door looking for hidden patients and educating residents about the haemorrhagic fever.

Hundreds of people left their homes in the Devil Hole neighbourhood outside the capital to gather at a food collection point. Some residents complained they had not received food and fighting broke out until police arrived to scatter the crowd.

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Violence against women rises in Ebola-hit nations: ministers

REUTERS  By Maria Caspani                                       March 18, 2015

 UNITED NATIONS - The Ebola epidemic in West Africa exacerbated violence against women and rolled back access to reproductive healthcare in the region, ministers from Guinea and Liberia said on Wednesday.

In Guinea, data indicates a 4.5 percent increase in cases of gender-based violence since before the epidemic including twice as many rapes, Sanaba Kaba, the country's minister of social action, women and children, said on a panel at the United Nations 59th Commission on the Status of Women.

Liberia also saw more cases of gender-based violence as a result of the outbreak, said Julia Duncan Cassell, minister of gender and development in that country.

She said some men were not respecting the recovery protocol that Ebola survivors should observe and were infecting their spouses and female partners through unprotected sex.

Sierra Leone also has seen an increase in violence against women, said panel moderator Awa Ndiaye Seck, Liberian country representative for UN Women, the agency responsible for gender equality and women's empowerment.

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Cadre Harmonisé for Identification of Areas and Populations in Food Insecurity in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

fao.org - March 2015

CLICK HERE - Cadre Harmonisé for Identification of Areas and Populations in Food Insecurity in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (5 page .PDF file)

Overview

In March 2014, the first Ebola virus disease (EVD) case was confirmed in Guinea and quickly spread to the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia. In September, the EVD outbreak was declared a global emergency by the UN assembly and national governments in the region, resulting in the implementation of measures to contain the outbreak including border and market closures, road blocks and quarantines. The measures and behaviours related to the outbreak directly disrupted many economic activities leading to major economic losses in almost all sectors.

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Exclusive: Guinea says Ebola patients sent home after botched blood tests

REUTERS    by Emma Farge                                                                                      March 2, 2015

 DAKAR - Health officials botched more than 20 Ebola blood tests in January and February which led to the release of at least four positive patients, two of whom later died, Guinea's anti-Ebola coordinator and other health officials told Reuters.

Five health officials and experts familiar with the incidents said the mistakes occurred at two different treatment centers and resulted as many as 52 botched tests, exposing many others to the virus and revealing weaknesses in Guinea's response to the crisis.

Dr Sakoba Keita, Guinea's anti-Ebola coordinator, confirmed the mistake had occurred but gave lower figures. He said in an emailed response to questions that 23 patients were affected, of whom four tested positive when they were retested and two died....

 Health officials, some of whom asked not to be named because they were worried about embarrassing the Guinean government, said the mistakes took place in Coyah, where Cuban medics are supporting a government-run center, and in Conakry, where medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres runs another center at the Donka hospital complex, when staff placed blood samples in the wrong test tubes, damaging specimens.

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Violent Protests in Ebola-Hit Guinea After Imam's Arrest

      

An imam gives information on Ebola during Friday prayers at a mosque in Conakry, Guinea, on April 11, 2014
(AFP Photo/Cellou Binani)

reliefweb.int - Conakry, Guinea - February 10, 2015

Around a dozen Guineans were wounded Monday in clashes with police after the arrest of an imam who led funeral prayers for a suspected victim of Ebola.

Demonstrators put up barricades, burned tyres and overturned rubbish bins in the capital Conakry, before using sticks and stones to attack officers who responded with tear gas and baton charges.

"They came for the third imam of our mosque because yesterday he led the funeral prayers in the mosque here for a relative who died a natural death," a protester told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"For the Guinean authorities no one can now die a natural death. All those who die have inevitably died of Ebola," he said.

A policeman told AFP that the officers wanted simply to question the imam on the cause of death and the conditions at the burial.

"It is especially important to know that he didn't have Ebola to ensure the safety of his family and neighbours, including potential contacts," he said.

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Estimating Food Consumption and Poverty Indices with Mobile Phone Data

submitted by George Hurlburt

arxiv.org - November 22, 2014
Adeline Decuyper, Alex Rutherford, Amit Wadhwa, Jean-Martin Bauer, Gautier Krings, Thoralf Gutierrez, Vincent D. Blondel, Miguel A. Luengo-Oroz
arXiv:1412.2595 [cs.CY]

Recent studies have shown the value of mobile phone data to tackle problems related to economic development and humanitarian action. In this research, we assess the suitability of indicators derived from mobile phone data as a proxy for food security indicators. We compare the measures extracted from call detail records and airtime credit purchases to the results of a nationwide household survey conducted at the same time. Results show high correlations (> .8) between mobile phone data derived indicators and several relevant food security variables such as expenditure on food or vegetable consumption. This correspondence suggests that, in the future, proxies derived from mobile phone data could be used to provide valuable up-to-date operational information on food security throughout low and middle income countries.

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Estimating Food Consumption and Poverty Indices with Mobile Phone Data

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Street Protests Loom as Shortages, Inflation and Oil Slump Hit Venezuela

       

Students block a street as they clash with national guards during a protest against the government in San Cristóbal on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters

As President Nicolás Maduro tours the world in search of financing, the most conciliatory opposition leader says the time has come to mobilise on the streets

theguardian.com - by Sibylla Brodzinski - January 16, 2015

Even Venezuela’s most conciliatory opposition leader has had enough.

Amid sky-high inflation, an absent president, snaking queues outside supermarkets, and plummeting oil prices, Henrique Capriles said this week that the time was ripe to try to force a change.

“We are in a state of emergency,” he said on Monday. “This is the time to mobilise in the streets.”

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