Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘emergency’

Super Typhoon Haiyan

Super Typhoon Haiyan

I’m writing you from the Philippines where I’m managing CARE’s ongoing response to Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Relief Efforts Continue After Typhoon Haiyan's DestructionThe situation we’re dealing with on the ground is unlike any I’ve ever experienced in my 20 plus years as an emergency response specialist.

My team of seasoned veterans and I delivered life-saving aid after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Haiti earthquake of 2010, and the drought-stricken Horn of Africa in 2011.

haiyan-e4-debrisBut none of those disastrous events were as challenging as this one. The remoteness, flooding and debris everywhere in the affected areas means that simple journeys can take days. The widespread magnitude of the damage means limited to no access by land or air and no lines of communication or electricity up and running.

There are pictures below, but they don’t truly capture the experience on the ground: the smell, the complete destruction in every direction you look, the heavy rain, the continuous exhaustion because there is nowhere for anyone to sleep, debris everywhere. And – worst of all – the desperate look in the eyes of survivors.

They’re hungry and they’ve been hungry for days. The food is just gone, picked clean.

It’s truly awful. We need your help. You can help us put food, shelter, and necessities in the hands of Filipinos and others in need.

Within the next 48 hours, we’ll be distributing food to thousands of families outside of Ormac City. Frankly, it’s frustrating that we can’t get supplies to more survivors more quickly. We plan to help an initial 150,000 storm survivors with the support of donors like you. Food and shelter are our current priorities.

Coordinating the response to Super Typhoon Haiyan has been so much more challenging than Haiti. It’s not even that the weather is horrible or that today’s office/sleeping space lost its roof and flooded out.

Communication during emergency response is critical, but here the electricity is down, the phone lines aren’t working, there is no internet. Thank goodness for our satellite phones.

In Haiti, communication was back up very quickly. And the earthquake was in a small area, so once the rubble was cleared, it was easy to drive and deliver aid. We could get everywhere affected in two or three hours. The airport was up and functioning quickly, so supplies could be brought by air, or road from the Dominican Republic.

Here in the Philippines, the disaster is spread over several islands. It takes days to get to places – not only for relief items, but for staff. You have to take a boat, and then a car, and the road hasn’t been cleared. The government and international community are working to clear the roads and open the airport, but it is taking time.

Once it does, we know what we need to do to help. I only hope you’ll be there during this critical time to support our response. Donate to CARE right away to help with disaster relief efforts in the Philippines and other places impacted by crisis and poverty.

Sincerely,

David Gazashvili
CARE Emergency Team Leader

One of Largest Typhoons Ever

One of Largest Typhoons Ever

Residents rush to safety past a fallen tree during strong winds brought by Typhoon Haiyan that hit Cebu cityLess than 3 days ago, one of the largest typhoons ever recorded ripped through the Philippines.

Sustained winds measured 195 mph, gusts as high as 235 mph. Initial images show trees uprooted like toothpicks. Buildings demolished. Homes washed away by a torrential storm surge.

A child stands little chance against this kind of storm. There are reports of 1,000 deaths in a single coastal town. Up to 1.7 million children are believed to be living in the areas that were hit.

UNICEF is rushing staff, relief and resources to the region. “…We know how vital it is to reach children quickly,” says UNICEF’s Philippines representative Tomoo Hozumi.

You can help this effort by donating to UNICEF’s EMERGENCY response. Every donation will go directly to relief efforts there.

Just three weeks ago, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the islands in the very same region. Tens of thousands of children were left homeless and living out in the open in make-shift tents.

Super Typhoon Haiyan couldn’t have come at a worse moment.

For children who have survived, clean water is a matter of life and death. Safe drinking water can be impossible to find after such a massive natural disaster. And without it, a child will drink whatever water she can find, no matter how dirty or diseased. That drink can quickly lead to diarrhea, disease and death.

UNICEF’s first priorities are to make sure every child has access to clean drinking water, essential medicines and emergency nutritional supplements. Even without a full assessment, we know tens of thousands of children are in grave danger.

Every moment matters for these children.

Please donate to UNICEF’s EMERGENCY response in the Philippines. Any donation will make a huge difference. Right now, UNICEF’s resources are stretched thin by three major crises in the country in just two months.

The last few months have been heartbreaking for children in Syria and now the Philippines. You’ve done so much already, but this is urgent and children’s lives are on the line, so I’m asking for your support again.

Thank you for your compassion, your selflessness, your generosity in the face of such a heartbreaking crisis.

With gratitude,

Caryl M. Stern
President & CEO
U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Summer Of Hunger

Summer Of Hunger

August-Match-3-Mali-COBv3Survivors of last summer’s drought in Mali are facing another summer of desperate hunger – and a food crisis that targets the most vulnerable.

Instead of saving seeds for this year’s harvest, farmers cooked and ate them last year. Selling the family’s only ox raised money to buy a little food then – but left them without a way to plow the fields and grow more food this year. In a vicious cycle, last year’s drought means fewer crops this year – and hunger spread like wildfire.

In communities reliant on their crops for food, this is the worst time of year for hunger. In a few weeks, the harvest will come in and there will be more food to go around – but 4.3 million people in Mali need humanitarian assistance right now. They can’t wait a few weeks.

Your gift today will help CARE send supplies where they are needed most and fight the root causes of hunger. And thanks to our limited-time match, anything you can give will be doubled to have twice the impact.

The food crisis is affecting some of the most vulnerable: Pregnant women. Breastfeeding mothers. Very young children too hungry to do anything but cry. Disease and hunger are rampant and the situation is desperate – but we know how to step in and make a difference.

CARE has already distributed 10,748 tons of food in Mali, including rice, sorghum, corn, and cowpea, as well as fertilizer to help farmers boost their crop yields. But since the beginning of the year, the number of people who need immediate assistance has doubled.

Things in Mali are bad – but you can help change all that, and it takes less than you might imagine. It only costs $7 to provide a week’s supply of food for someone in crisis – and with our match, every dollar you donate will stretch twice as far. Will you step up to help those who are suffering in this emergency?

Please donate today to make a difference in the lives of children and families in crisis. With our match, your gift will go twice as far.

Thank you for all that you do to improve the lives of those in need.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

Hanging by a Thread

Dear Friends,

Most people didn’t know who the Rwandans were until it was too late, and 800,000 of them were dead. Right now, the fate of Burma’s Rohingya people is hanging by a thread. Racist thugs have distributed leaflets threatening to wipe out this small Burmese minority. Already children have been hacked to death and unspeakable murders committed. All signs are pointing to a coming horror, unless we act.

5601_4740_rohingya1_1_459x230_3_200x100

Genocides happen because we don’t get concerned enough until the crime is committed. The Rohingya are a peaceful and very poor people. They’re hated because their skin is darker and the majority fear they’re ‘taking jobs away’. There are 800,000 of them, and they could be gone if we don’t act. We’ve failed too many peoples, let’s not fail the Rohingya.

Burmese President Thein Sein has the power, personnel and resources to protect the Rohingya, all he has to do is give the word to make it happen. In days, he’ll arrive in Europe to sell his country’s new openness to trade. If EU leaders greet him with a strong request to protect the Rohingya, he’s likely to do it. Let’s get 1 million voices and plaster images of what’s happening in Burma outside his meetings with key EU heads of state:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/we_said_never_again_en/?bMPbqab&v=26526

Torture, gang rape, execution style killings — human rights groups are using the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe the brutality in Burma. Already more than 120,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee, many to makeshift camps near the border, while others have fled in boats only to drown, starve, or be shot at by coastguards from neighboring countries. Reports show that violence is escalating — earlier this year President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency after another round of deadly attacks, and it’s just a matter of time until there is a large scale massacre.

Genocides don’t happen when governments oppose them, but the Burmese regime has been leaning the wrong way. Recently, a government spokesperson admitted that authorities were enforcing a rule that limits the Rohingya population to having only two children and forces couples seeking to get married to obtain special permission. And experts report that government authorities have stood by or even participated in acts of “ethnic cleansing.” President Sein has finally been forced to acknowledge what’s happening to the Rohingya, but he has so far refused to implement plans to stop the violence and protect those at risk.

Until he does, the risk of genocide hovers like a dark cloud over not just Burma, but the world. Through their trade relations, UK PM Cameron and French President Hollande have massive leverage with Sein — if they press him to act when he meets with them this month, it could save lives. Let’s make sure they do. We’ve failed too many peoples, let’s not fail the Rohingya. Join the call now and share this with everyone:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/we_said_never_again_en/?bMPbqab&v=26526

Time and again, the Avaaz community has stood with the people of Burma in their fight for democracy. When the regime brutally cracked down on Buddhist monks in 2007, Avaazers donated hundreds of thousands of dollars/euros/pounds to provide technical support and training to activists to fight a communications blackout. In 2008, when a devastating cyclone killed at least 100,000 Burmese, but the venal military regime stopped all official international aid from coming in, our community donated millions directly to monks on the front line of the aid effort.

Our community didn’t exist when genocide was committed in Rwanda, 20 years ago. Would we have done enough to stop it? Let’s show the Rohingya our answer to that question.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Jeremy, Aldine, Oliver, Marie, Jooyea and the whole Avaaz team

Boston’s First Responders

Gabriel —

My thoughts and prayers over the past week have been with the people of Boston.

As I’ve watched everything happening there, I’ve been completely awestruck by the first responders — the police, firefighters, and EMTs who ran toward danger without hesitation to help those in peril.

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Their courage and compassion is amazing to witness, and I’m grateful to live in a country where so many fine men and women commit their lives to protect and serve their fellow citizens.

After all they’ve done, I want them to know what it’s meant to Americans like me. So I’m writing these first responders a simple note to say thanks — and I’d like to invite you to join me.

Add your name to the note for Boston’s first responders here.

Whether you want to say thanks, share a story about how the past week’s events have affected you, or just let these public servants know that you’ve been thinking about them, I know they’d appreciate hearing from you.

We’ll collect every note we get and deliver them to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino so they can pass along your sentiments.

Join me, and say thanks to Boston’s first responders:

http://my.democrats.org/Boston

Thanks,

Debbie

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair
Democratic National Committee

1.1 Million Suffering

From CARE.org

UPDATE:

Today, 18.7 million people are affected by the crisis, more than 1.1 million people are suffering from severe malnutrition and an additional 3 million have moderate malnutrition.

CARE is on the ground in Chad, Mali and Niger, where millions of people are and in dire need of assistance, relief and long-term planning. Women and children are particularly vulnerable, especially those under the age of 2. CARE’s emergency response and recovery program has reached more than 750,000 people with emergency assistance by providing access to food via cash transfer and direct distribution, and improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene. At the same time CARE’s long-term development programs such as women-led savings groups and cereal banks help people build and protect assets. In CARE’s experience, empowering women strengthens community resilience during crises.

However the humanitarian situation is dire:

Floods in Niger: The monsoon season and above-normal temperatires triggered heavy downpours and flash floods during this year’s rainy season, displacing hundreds of thousands families more and devastating some farms already hit by a severe drought and acute food shortages. Rainfall was more than 150 percent above normal from late July to late August. As of September 12, 2012, the flood had displaced 527,471 people and killed 81 others. Most of homeless families ware located into school classrooms while some were leaving with their relatives. These conditions are still precarious as class will reopen early in October and at the same time rain continues in some of the affected areas.

Conflict in Mali: Exacerbating the situation is fighting in northern Mali which has prompted massive population movements within Mali and from Mali to Niger. Right now, more than 440,000 people are displaced. Some have stayed within the country borders, while many have fled to neighboring countries seeking refuge. Almost 70,000 Malians fled to neighboring Niger, putting more stress on the already vulnerable population. Out of the 4.6 million people affected by the food security and nutrition crisis in Mali, approximately 1.6 million live in northern Mali, where access is limited.

Locusts infestation threatens 50 million people; breeding under way: Desert locust infestation remains dangerous as more egg-laying and hatching are expected in the coming weeks. Agricultural crop production, food and nutrition security, and the livelihood of some 50 million people in Chad, Mali and Niger are currently at risk, according to the FAO. This threat is the most serious since 2005.

National action plans for desert locust operations have been developed in Mali, Niger and Chad in accordance with national contingency plans but additional funding is required to carry out these programs before harvests are completely wiped out.

Cholera outbreak: The advent of the rainy reason has increased the risk of waterborne diseases, including cholera. The situation is particularly worrying in Niger, where an epidemic in four districts along the Niger River has caused 71 deaths out of 3,423 cases reported since the beginning of the year. The region of Tillabéri, the most affected, has so far recorded 3,403 cases of cholera and 66 deaths. As of early July, no cholera cases had been reported in the refugee camps and sites hosting refugees from Mali throughout the country. To contain the epidemic, available water points are being treated and awareness campaigns being carried out using community volunteers and local radio stations. In Mali, a cholera outbreak was declared on July 2 in Wabaria district located by the River Niger (in Gao). As of August 10, 140 cases of cholera, including 11 deaths, have been reported in the Gao and Ansongo districts of northern Mali. CARE will continue to monitor the situation and work with our partners to respond as needed.

Sahel’s lean season: The Sahel region is currently in its ‘lean’ season, which is the rainy period between planting and harvesting crops. And while it has rained in the past weeks, millions of families still need support until crops can be harvested. In fact, for many households humanitarian assistance will be the main means of survival, according to the United Nations. Throughout the region, prices of basic staples (maize, millet, sorghum) have increased significantly – even doubled in certain places. Generally speaking, food is available, but people cannot afford it.

Coping strategies affect women and girls negatively: Food crises have severe effects on families and for the most part it is women and girls who take the hit. In certain regions, food crises increase the rate of divorces (e.g. in Maradi region, Niger, half of women divorce because of food insecurity); the head of family sees it as a way of having fewer mouths to feed. In other cases, food insecurity might contribute to early marriages; families give away their daughters (earlier) so they don’t have to feed them. Husbands and young men leave to find work abroad, leaving mothers to lead the family on their own. In harvest time, some husbands lock up the grain storage and ask their wives to make do for several months. Food insecurity forces many families to take their children out of school and help at home or find work; they soon become parents; they have children who don’t attend school either, and the cycle perpetuates.

CARE is responding in Chad, Mali and Niger with immediate and long-term programs:

Providing cash-for-work to help families buy food and protect their assets

Training nurses on prevention and management of malnutrition

Improving water and sanitation and promoting hygiene

Strengthening community cereal banks so families can buy food at reasonable prices, stocking animal feed banks and reinforcing community-based early warning systems

Working with women’s savings and loans groups to develop alternative sources of food such as community vegetable gardens and to increase community resilience

Helping people from Mali who have fled across the border into Niger with essential household items and hygiene supplies

“CARE is also putting in place long-term solutions so people in the Sahel region are less vulnerable to recurring crises,” explains Barbara Jackson.

CARE has worked in Chad, Mali, and Niger for almost 40 years, where we have successfully created and promoted women-led saving groups and cereal banks. In parallel to the emergency response, CARE is continuing our long-term development projects, which make people better equipped to handle future crises on their own.

Roadmap to End Global Hunger – Helene Gayle joined members of Congress – including Learning Tours alum Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) – and leaders of the NGO community on Capitol Hill on July 24 to launch the Roadmap for Continued Leadership to End Global Hunger. CARE is playing a leading role in ensuring that the Roadmap, supported by an unprecedented coalition of 50 organizations, outlines a comprehensive strategy to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. global food security programs. For more information, click this link to a World Food Program USA story containing a quote from Helene.

Read more at CARE.org.

Syrian Children

Dear Gabriel,

By the time Syrian children have reached Jordan, they’ve seen more than any child should ever have to.

Their country has been swallowed by brutal, unspeakable violence. They arrive in the camps with fear in their hearts. Their lives have been upended and their family members killed by a violent war they can barely understand.

These children – and children just like them around the world – need our help during this time of crisis, and Gabriel, we’re depending on you and other CARE supporters to make it possible for all of these children to know comfort, safety, and hope.

We’re raising $100,000 by Friday to help children and families in Jordan and those suffering around the world. Please make your gift today.

“People are dying like flies.” Ahmad loves his beautiful homeland, but he knew he had no choice but to leave it to keep his family safe.

In the Za’atari camp, Ahmad’s family is packed in with many thousands of others, growing poorer and poorer as the refugee crisis drags on. “I have nine children and my wife. One of the children is only three months old.” It is difficult for him to continue telling us his story. “At home I could take responsibility for all of them. I was working, I earned money to support my family. Now I cannot do anything.”

If only Ahmad’s story was unusual – but it’s not. Tens of thousands of refugees have ones just like it.

Heartbreakingly, the majority of the people living in the camp in Jordan today are innocent children like Ahmad’s – children who have lived through extreme heartbreak, violence, and terror. Their families need emergency assistance just so they’ll have enough food to eat and clothes to keep them warm as winter approaches.

Once their basic needs are taken care of, these Syrian children need psychosocial support. The longer you leave kids alone with their trauma, the more it gets inside of them. CARE is ramping up our support of not only emergency financial assistance, but aid and comfort for children and other vulnerable groups who have already endured too much.

None of the work we do for families living in crisis or squalid poverty is possible without the support of people like you. We desperately need your help today.

We’re raising $100,000 for families living with hunger and poverty in Jordan and around the world by Friday. Please, will you help us meet our goal?

Families are depending on us, and I know we won’t let them down. Thank you so much for everything you do.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

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