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The White House - Memorandum -- Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria
Office of the Press Secretary - November 13, 2015


SUBJECT: Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2249a(b)(1)(B) of title 10, United States Code, I hereby:

Determine that section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, would impede the distribution of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Syria to alleviate the current refugee crisis, as well as other United States Government objectives in the Middle East for stability and humanitarian relief; and

Waive the prohibition in section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, for humanitarian reasons and to the extent necessary to allow the Department of Defense to carry out the purposes of section 2561 of title 10, United States Code, for the distribution of humanitarian assistance into Syria.

You are authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.


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Puerto Vallarta Spared by Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia was forecasted to bring catastrophic damage to Mexico’s coast and put the popular tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta on high alert.

Friday afternoon forecasters said that Hurricane Patricia was the strongest hurricane ever recorded packing winds of over 200 MPH, many referring to the storm as a Category 6 storm on a scale 1-5.

For two days Hurricane Patricia was expected to bring 3-5 meter storm surges, 10 inches of rain, and hurricane force winds to Puerto Vallarta when it made landfall between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta late Friday afternoon.

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Combining Indigenous Knowledge with Scientific Expertise Can help Mitigate Disaster Risks

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse


PAHO/WHO calls for more collaboration between governments and indigenous communities in preparing for emergencies and disasters

Washington, D.C., 6 October 2015 (PAHO/WHO) -- Involving indigenous communities in disaster risk reduction activities can save lives during catastrophes, experts with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) said on the eve of the International Day for Disaster Reduction 2015.

Building on a growing recognition that mainstream methods of disaster preparedness and mitigation have left indigenous people and their deep knowledge on the sidelines, PAHO/WHO is calling for new disaster risk reduction models based on close collaboration with the communities often most affected by catastrophes, both natural and man-made.



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Humanitarian UAV (“Drone”) Experts Meet at MIT

submitted by Andrew Schroeder

  - by Andrew Schroeder - October 14, 2015

Early Fall mornings in Cambridge, MA have the feeling practically of American myth. The sun rises over the mist that hangs like a blanket on the Charles River, lighting the water with a pale glow that filters through multi-colored leaves and glints off the steel and glass fronts of the buildings which line the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I’m hurrying down Massachusetts Ave towards Technology Square, wind in my face and coffee in hand, to arrive for the start of the second annual Humanitarian UAV (drone) Experts Meeting happening at MIT Lincoln Labs’ Beaver Works. The meeting is hosted by UAViators (Humanitarian UAV Network), a brainchild of my friend and colleague Patrick Meier.


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Earthquake - Chile - Tsunami Impacts

This earthquake can have a medium humanitarian impact based on the Magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.

    Earthquake Magnitude 8.3M, Depth:25km
    on 16 Sep 2015 22:54 UTC
    140385 people within 100km
    inserted at 17 Sep 2015 00:48:18 UTC

CLICK HERE - GDACS - Earthquake Summary

CLICK HERE - GDACS - Tsunami Impacts

CLICK HERE - NOAA - National Tsunami Warning Center - Event Observations and Forecasts

CLICK HERE - NOAA - United States - Tsunami Advisory

CLICK HERE - USGS - Earthquake Summary

CLICK HERE - Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC)

CLICK HERE - PTWC - Tsunami Threat Message

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Flooded Mines Cause Toxic Sludge in Vietnam


The Mong Duong coal mine in Vietnam's Quang Ninh province has flooded, spilling toxic sludge that contaminated land, rivers and coastline  Photo: Luu Quy Doan/Vnexpress

CLICK HERE - SITUATION REPORTS - United Nations - Vietnam

United Nations - - by Vu Duy - August 7, 2015

HANOI, 7 August 2015 (IRIN) - Toxic sludge that spilled out of open pit coal mines during 10 days of heavy rains may have seriously contaminated farmland, rivers and coastal areas in northern Vietnam.

Flooding has killed 30 people, wiped out roads and damaged thousands of homes, the United Nations said in a situation report on Wednesday. The UN also warned of potential risks to the environment, health and water sanitation after coal mines in Quang Ninh province flooded, spilling thick streams of dark sludge into the countryside.


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Panel Calls W.H.O. Unfit to Handle a Crisis Like Ebola

                                         - by SOMINI SENGUPTA - July 7, 2015

UNITED NATIONS — More than a year after the Ebola epidemic began tearing through three of the world’s most fragile countries, the World Health Organization remains unfit to handle a public health emergency, an independent panel concluded in a blistering report issued Tuesday.

“W.H.O. does not currently possess the capacity or organizational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response,” the panel said in its report.

While the agency itself has acknowledged the need for change, the panel added, “it will need to be held accountable to ensure that this transformation is achieved.”


CLICK HERE - WHO - Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel

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Meager Post-Ebola Harvests Worsen Food Insecurity in West Africa


Villagers harvest rice in Sierra Leone. Harvesting is often a communal affair in West African nations, but the Ebola crisis interfered with group activities and disrupted many other aspects of agricultural production in the region. Photo credit: ©FAO/Peter DiCampo. - by Lois Parshley - June 25, 2015

Pedelers Salee Craig used to grow vegetables. Near his home in Monrovia, Liberia, he planted peppers and bitter balls, potatoes and okra. A sturdy 39 year-old man with cheeks etched from former smiles, Craig is passionate and generally optimistic. 

But he's not smiling when he talks about the situation in Liberia now. Typically, farmers work to gather crops communally, harvesting together until the season is over. But in 2014, the Ebola crisis restricted travel. 

"Everyone was afraid of each other," Craig said. Mandatory government quarantines trapped people within their homes. As the disease spread, fields went unharvested and soon lay fallow. 

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International Ebola Recovery Conference Ending Ebola: “Get to Zero, Stay at Zero and Rebuild”

Congo Town, Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP

Image: Congo Town, Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP - May 9th, 2015

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host an International Ebola Recovery Conference in July to ensure that the affected countries receive the resources and support they need to overcome the wider socio-economic consequences of the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

The conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 10 July 2015 will take place in cooperation with the Governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, together with other partners. 

With numbers of Ebola cases have dropped, the affected countries still need the support of the international community to get to zero cases, stay there, and to move forward on the road to recovery.


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