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Emergency Management

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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Rebuilding Nepal to Survive the Next Quake


Minister for Industry has handed 60 temporary shelters to sixty families affected by the recent earthquake at Ananta Lingeshwor VDC of Bhaktapur. - by Thakur Amgai - May 26, 2015

The powerful earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 razed Anantaling, a small, ancient hill settlement 15 miles southeast of the capital, Kathmandu. Each of the 60-odd houses in Anantaling collapsed into rubble, and throughout the Bhaktapur district, 120,000 people were displaced. . . .

. . . Manabiya Astha Nepal, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) constructs temporary shelters for villagers by arching corrugated tin sheets into tunnel-like structures. . . .

. . . The design has a long history of success. . . .

. . . The cost for one of these shelters is only about $100, and the whole thing takes just two or three hours for two people to build. In addition, the materials are reusable. . . .

. . . "It is the only way to meet the needs of the masses before the monsoon arrives."


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Shaking Up the Status Quo in Nepal



Hand image - Status Quo Nepal, NYT

“Ke garne?” an old lady said to us, tears pouring down her cheeks, as we visited her earthquake-battered village in the Dhading district of Nepal last month: “What to do?” With a history of repeated crises — political, economic and natural — it has become the Nepali way to shrug one’s shoulders and hope for the best.

Sadly, people have been hoping for a long time: even before the earthquakes, Nepal was one of the poorest, most corrupt and least equal countries in the world. 

 (Read Complete Article)

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The Other Grade 3 Emergencies Apart From Ebola


Men walk past damaged buildings after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. The disaster is just one of six Grade 3 emergencies that require a massive response from the World Health Organization.
Photo by: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi / UNDP Nepal - by Jenny Lei Ravelo - May 21, 2015

There is no doubt that Ebola was 2014’s biggest health emergency, which required — and continues to command — a massive response from the World Health Organization and the wider international community.

But it was not the only emergency that demanded WHO’s attention and resources over the course of the past year.

During the special session of the executive board on Ebola in January, member states requested the health agency submit a report containing information on all Grade 3 emergencies the organization responded to as from May 2014.


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Death Toll Rising After Another Major Earthquake Centered in Nepal - by Greg Botelho and Jethro Mullen - May 12, 2015

Just over two weeks after thousands died in a mammoth earthquake, Nepal got hit hard again Tuesday -- with another powerful tremor that has left dozens more dead, more than 1,000 injured and questions about what's next for the already traumatized Asian nation.

The fact that Nepal just endured a similar horror, not to mention waves of aftershocks that followed, didn't diminish Tuesday's damage or shock. More buildings collapsed, more landslides rumbled, and more people scrambled for their lives.



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Phone and Web Companies Race to Reconnect Quake-Hit Nepal


"Beach ball" mobile antenna being inflated in Chautara, Nepal, image provided by the World Food Programme, 12 May 2015. - - by Joseph D'Urso - May 12, 2015

LONDON, May 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Buildings wrecked by Tuesday's earthquake in Nepal, already weakened by last month's huge quake which killed over 8,000, will take years to rebuild. But another type of infrastructure will bounce back much sooner: communication networks.

Enabling aid workers and civilians to access the internet, make a phone call or send a text is now seen as a vital part of any humanitarian response. The World Food Programme (WFP) has deployed some innovative kit to make this possible in Nepal.




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DHS Successfully Transitions Search and Rescue Tool That Pinpoints Buried Victims - May 7, 2015

Washington, D.C.– The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, announced today the transition of the final prototype of the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) technology to the commercial market.  FINDER is a radar technology designed to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. Two commercial partners have been licensed to manufacture the device: R4 Inc. of Eatontown, N.J. and SpecOps Group Inc. of Sarasota, Fla.

Earlier today, S&T and NASA demonstrated its newest capabilities at the Virginia Task Force One  (VA-TF1) Training Facility in Lorton, Va., finding “survivors” in a simulated disaster. This is thanks to the new locator feature, which can help pinpoint the location of the victim to within about five feet – depending on the type of rubble. This key change saves rescuers time, increasing chances for locating survivors.

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