Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Highlights

  • MYANMAR: 3 million people targeted for humanitarian assistance
  • PHILIPPINES: Taal Volcano under alert level 3 following eruption on 1 July
  • AFGHANISTAN: UNHCR warns of imminent humanitarian crisis
  • INDONESIA: Surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant of concern
  • PAKISTAN: Launch of the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan to assist 4.3 million people, including refugees
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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Key Figures

18.4M
People in Need in Afghanistan (2021)
11M
People in Need in Pakistan (2021)
1.3M
People in Rohingya Joint Response Plan

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Contacts

Pierre Peron

Regional Public Information Officer, OCHA ROAP

Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
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Myanmar: Humanitarian Snapshot (July 2021)

Myanmar Humanitarian Snapshot July 2021

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Afghanistan — Forecast

UNHCR warns of imminent humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 13 July 2021.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is warning of a looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as the escalating conflict brings increased human suffering and civilian displacement.

An estimated 270,000 Afghans have been newly displaced inside the country since January 2021 – primarily due to insecurity and violence – bringing the total uprooted population to over 3.5 million.

Families forced to flee their homes in recent weeks cite the worsening security situation as the predominant reason for their flight.

In addition to ongoing fighting, displaced civilians have told UNHCR and partners of incidents of extortion by non-state armed groups and the presence of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on major roads. Many have reported interruptions to social services and a loss of income due to rising insecurity.

The number of civilian casualties has risen 29 per cent during the first quarter of this year compared to 2020, according to UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. An increasing proportion of women and children were among those targeted.

The needs of those who have had to flee suddenly are acute. UNHCR and partners, as part of a coordinated response, are assisting newly displaced Afghans with emergency shelter, food, health, water and sanitation support and cash assistance, despite challenges in accessing vulnerable groups.

The resilience of the Afghan people has been pushed to the limit by prolonged conflict, high levels of displacement, the impact of COVID-19, recurrent natural disasters, including drought, and deepening poverty. Some 65 per cent of the Afghan population – in and outside of Afghanistan – are children and young people.

A failure to reach a peace agreement in Afghanistan and stem the current violence will lead to further displacement within the country, as well as to neighbouring countries and beyond.

Iran and Pakistan host nearly 90 per cent of displaced Afghans - more than two million registered Afghan refugees in total. Both countries have granted access to territory and protection to Afghan refugees, along with health and educational services through national systems. Their hospitality and inclusive policies, spanning decades and generations, must not be taken for granted.

UNHCR welcomes the respective governments’ commitment to provide access to asylum amidst the global health and socio-economic challenges of COVID-19. We stand ready to bolster humanitarian support to all host countries in the case of additional arrivals.

We urge the international community to step up support to the Government and people of Afghanistan and its neighbours at this critical moment, in a spirit of solidarity and burden-sharing.

Humanitarian resources are currently falling dramatically short. UNHCR’s financial appeal for the Afghanistan situation (including operations for Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran) remains acutely underfunded, at only 43 per cent of a total US$ 337 million required.

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Situation Report
Afghanistan — Emergency Response
Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Weekly Humanitarian Update (5 – 11 July 2021)

South: 11,200 people in Kandahar displaced by conflict according to initial reports

Fighting, including airstrikes, that started on 10 July between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and a Non-State Armed Group (NSAG) continued in Police District 6, 7, 8 and 13 in Kandahar City. An NSAG has reportedly warned residents, including humanitarian organizations in Police District 7 and its vicinity to leave the area due to anticipated violence. The Kandahar-Hirat highway remained closed due to ongoing conflict, checkpoints and the presence of improvised explosive devices. Civilians, including humanitarian workers, are unable to use main roads and are using alternative routes.

According to local authorities, some 11,200 people in contested areas have fled to safer parts of Kandahar city. To address immediate needs, provincial authorities provided internally displaced persons (IDPs) with temporary shelter, but the allotted spaces are insufficient for the number of people who need shelter. Some IDPs are staying with relatives and others are renting accommodations. Interagency teams have deployed to affected areas to assess needs. Local authorities and traders have been providing some cooked food to IDPs. Based on initial reports, food, water, relief items, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance are the most urgent needs.

Overall, four out of five provinces in the south witnessed a spike in conflict during the reporting period as an NSAG continued to expand their control of districts and the outskirts of provincial capitals; and ANSF clearing operation supported by airstrikes continued in Nahr-e-Saraj (Hilmand province), and the outskirts of Kandahar, Lashkargah and Qalat cities. Civilian casualties were reported in Panjwayi, Zheray, Spin Boldak and surrounding areas of provincial capitals, particularly in Kandahar City.

The intermittent closure of both primary and secondary roads to/from districts and provinces continued to hinder the movement of civilians, and the transportation of basic food items and humanitarian/medical supplies. Intermittent outages of mobile service caused some delays in information sharing among humanitarian partners.

Humanitarian partners are urgently working to assess needs and provide aid to displaced people in Kandahar City despite ongoing conflict and other challenges. Between 4 and 6 July, interagency teams provided 759 IDPs in Zabul and Nimroz provinces with food, emergency shelter, relief items, water, sanitation, hygiene and hygiene education, physiotherapy services and cash aid.

North-east: Over 17,000 people affected by conflict provided with aid

An NSAG expanded their territorial control to 58 out of 69 districts (where an estimated 82 per cent of the total population in the north-east live) and provincial capitals are reportedly surrounded. There are reports of NSAG members taxing crops and businesses and allegedly demanding residents provide fighters with food in Takhar and Badakhshan provinces.

Due to ongoing fighting and movement restrictions, humanitarian assistance is currently limited to Government controlled areas and provincial capitals reaching 17,346 people affected by conflict. Ongoing needs assessments identified an additional 11,088 people to receive assistance in the next few days.

East: health facillities closed due to fighting and damage to buildings

The security situation remained volatile as fighting continued and a bridge was reportedly destroyed by a party to the conflict. According to local authorities, health services resumed in Alishang and Dawlatshah districts, Laghman province; and the road between Mehtarlam and Dawlatshah opened for civilian movements.

Between 4 and 5 July, two health facilities in Kunar and Laghman provinces were closed due to fighting that damaged the two buildings. Some civilian homes were reportedly burned. The Protection Cluster in the east is monitoring the protection environment and mobilising partners to address emerging protection issues.

Out of 12,411 people assessed this week, 5,992 IDPs were recommended to receive immediate humanitarian assistance. Interagency teams continued needs assessments in Nangarhar, Nuristan, Laghman and Kunar provinces. During the reporting period, 4,172 people received humanitarian assistance: 4,116 newly displaced IDPs and 56 undocumented returnees who received post arrival assistance at the Torkham Transit Centre.

This week, 11 mobile health teams provided nutritional aid to IDPs and vulnerable people among host communities in Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar provinces. A total of 1,590 children under five were screened, among whom 48 suffered from Severe Acute Malnutrition and 100 suffered from Moderate Acute Malnutrition. The severe cases were admitted into therapeutic feeding centres for treatment. In addition, 266 children were provided with vitamin A and 817 pregnant and lactating women received counseling services, and information on breast feeding and COVID-19.

West: Deteriorating security situation and fighting causes sporadic displacement and civilians casualties

The security situation continued to deteriorate in the west as insecurity and armed clashes are putting civilians and humanitarian workers at risk. Due to the unpredictable security situation along the Hirat-Islam Qala road and border, humanitarian partners working at the crossing point temporarily suspended their activities in the area.

Armed clashed are ongoing in all four provinces in the west, causing sporadic displacement towards provincial capitals in Hirat and Ghor as well as across both provinces. All districts in Badghis are currently under the control of an NSAG with fighting reportedly ongoing in the capital, Qala-e-Naw City. According to local authorities, 71 civilians were injured and three others killed due to the recent fighting in the capital.

Needs assessment teams were mobilized and the response to people in need is ongoing although ongoing fighting is hindering the work of the teams in Badghis province. In Hirat, Ghor and Farah provinces, assessment teams have identified at least 3,500 IDPs in the past week, and response to people in need is ongoing.

Centre: Increasing insecurity and violence affecting civilians

The security situation has become increasingly unstable and unpredictable with reports of increased NSAG activities and violence against civilians in Kabul, Logar, Wardak, Parwan, Kapisa, Khost, Ghazni, Paktya, Paktika, Daykundi and Bamyan provinces. On 3 July, in the Qala-e-Kholkhak area in Ghazni province, four civilians were reportedly killed and two others wounded during ANSF ground operations. During the reporting period, 2,114 internally displaced people received humanitarian assistance in Panjsher and Khost provinces, while 12,021 IDPs have been identified to be in need of aid in Kabul, Paktya, Khost, Parwan and Paktika provinces. Joint interagency needs assessments are ongoing for 14,350 IDPs in Bamyan, Daykundi and Lal Wa Sarjangal in Ghor provinces; and 161 people affected by recent natural disasters received humanitarian assistance in Panjsher province.

North: Almost 10,000 people displaced by conflict receive aid

The security situation remained volatile in the north while the situation in Mazar-e-Sharif city remained relatively calm. Joint inter-agency teams identified 8,617 people displaced by conflict as eligible for humanitarian assistance. Aid agencies based in the north distributed humanitarian aid including food, hygiene kits and relief items to 9,828 IDPs in Balkh, Faryab, Samangan provinces.

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Situation Report
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Philippines: Taal Volcano Alert Level 3 Snapshot

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Taal Volcano continues to spew high levels of sulfur dioxide and steam rich plumes, including volcanic earthquakes, in the past days. While alert level 3 remains over the volcano, volcanologists warn that an eruption is imminent but may not be as explosive as the 2020 event.

Local authorities have started identifying more evacuation sites to ensure adherence to health and safety protocols. Plans are also underway for the transfer of COVID-19 patients under quarantine to temporary facilities in other areas, while vaccination sites will also be moved outside of the danger zones to ensure continued services.

The latest report of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shows that at least 7,000 people are displaced across Batangas province of which 3,690 are in 22 evacuation centers while the rest are in home-based settings.

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Afghanistan: Humanitarian Access Snapshot

afg humanitarian access snapshot jun 20210714

KEY ISSUES

During the reporting period covering June 2021, the HAG recorded 259 access impediments, compared to 168 incidents recorded during May. The Taliban continued to author most incidents (211), followed by community members, ACG and ANSF-perpetrated incidents. Movement restrictions accounted for 47 per cent of all access constraints, with 121 incidents recorded compared to 61 in May*. Military Operations and Kinetic Activity accounted for 31 per cent, while Violence/Threats Against Humanitarian Personnel/Assets/Facilities accounted for nine per cent of all access constraints. In May and June, the HAG observed a significant reduction in levy requests interferences in the implementation of humanitarian activities and Violence/Threats Against Humanitarian Personnel/Assets/Facilities, which could be linked to a reduced humanitarian footprint in the field due to ongoing fighting and the Covid-19 pandemic. June 2021 was one of the deadliest months for the humanitarian community, with 12 humanitarians killed, 28 injured and one detained.

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Indonesia — Emergency Response

Situation Update: Response to COVID-19 in Indonesia

As of 4 July 2021, the Indonesian Government has announced 2,284,084 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all 34 provinces of Indonesia, with 295,228 active cases, 60,582 deaths, and 1,928,274 people that have recovered from the illness. The government has also reported 135,120 suspected cases.

The currently ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia appears to be driven by the Delta variant of concern, which is more rapidly transmitted, can cause re-infection and deaths of patients in all age groups, as indicated by WHO and the Ministry of Health. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the steep increase in the number of cases in a very short time, despite the efforts to install additional facilities such as emergency tents in the hospitals, as well as additional isolation facilities. The media, including Kompas and Antaranews, has reported a number of deaths before patients were able to receive treatment, sometimes due to the disruption of oxygen supply to hospitals, and sometimes when patients were self-isolating.

On 29 June, the Ministry of Industry indicated that the country’s average utility of the oxygen gas industry is about 700 million kg/year, while its total production capacity is 866 million kg/year. Currently, the production and distribution of oxygen gas has been prioritized for medical needs, rather than industrial purposes. Around 70-80 percent of hospitals in Java have Oxygen Regasification Installation facilities. Meanwhile, there are around 1.5-1.8 million oxygen cylinders in Indonesia, and 104 tube industries with KBLI 25120 (industries of tanks, water reservoirs and metal containers) capable of producing oxygen cylinders; these are recorded in the National Industrial Information System (SIINas).1 Despite this sufficient production capacity, the major challenge with oxygen availability relates to supply chain management to hospitals.

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Fiji — Media
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© UNICEFPacific/2021/Stephen

Over 30,000 cyclone affected Fijian children and their families to receive support under new UNICEF - Government of New Zealand partnership

SUVA, FIJI 25 June 2021 – Today, UNICEF and the Government of New Zealand announce a new NZ$3,030,000 partnership to support the Government of Fiji to respond to the recovery needs of about 90,000 Fijians, including over 30,000 children, affected by Tropical Cyclones Harold, Yasa and Ana. This continues the strong partnership New Zealand has with UNICEF to improve the lives of all children living in Fiji and throughout the Pacific.

“The Government of New Zealand is delighted to partner with UNICEF to provide WASH, education and nutrition services to cyclone affected areas. This support works closely with the Government of Fiji and local community partners to improve hygiene practices and childhood nutrition. This support will help reduce the rates of water borne diseases and child malnutrition and, improve community resilience to future natural disasters. Supporting and enabling good hygiene is a key public health measure in the fight against COVID-19, which makes this support timely and relevant,” said New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E. Mr Jonathan Curr.

These tropical cyclones caused the destruction of essential water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to families, schools and health care facilities, exposing people to the risk of getting sick from unsafe drinking water, open defecation and from not being able to regularly wash their hands with soap and water.

In addition, the combination of the tropical cyclones and ongoing risks related to COVID-19 have created hurdles in ensuring learning continuity and safe school operations. Livelihoods have been damaged leading to rising nutrition issues including concerns on infant and young child feeding practices.

This partnership will support children and families to recover from the impacts of these recent tropical cyclones, and help them to benefit from quality, inclusive, WASH, education and nutrition services. The partnership will also include the roll out of a campaign to promote the full participation of communities in the services available.

“Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, are amongst the most at risk to natural disasters. We thank the Government of New Zealand for this support, and together with the Government of Fiji, partners and communities, we will ensure that the most vulnerable, especially children, have access to good health, nutrition and education,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “This is crucial, especially with the challenges faced in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters and the ongoing pandemic.”

This three-year partnership plays a key part in supporting the ongoing recovery. It will strengthen the national capacity and focus on sustainable solutions for recovery and resilience of families and communities to cope with any future disasters and climate risks.

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Notes to Editors:

About New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

New Zealand works to advance sustainable development through aid, trade, environment, diplomatic, and security cooperation. New Zealand also provides humanitarian support to save lives and alleviate suffering. The NZ Aid Programme delivers New Zealand’s official support for developing countries, with a particular focus on the Pacific Islands region. The purpose of New Zealand’s aid is to develop shared prosperity and stability in the Pacific and beyond, drawing on the best of New Zealand’s knowledge and skills.

New Zealand support’s sustainable development in developing countries to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world. New Zealand follow’s the principles of understanding, friendship, mutual benefit and collective ambition in designing and delivering the aid programme.

For more information, please contact:

Monika Mala, New Zealand High Commission Suva, Tel: +679 7790805, Monika.Mala@mfat.net Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org

Media contacts

Zubnah Khan Communication Officer UNICEF Pacific Tel: +679 330 0439 Ext. 175 Tel: 9988137 Email: zukhan@unicef.org

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Situation Report
Nepal — Emergency Response
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Nepal: COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Report (As of 2 July 2021)

This report is produced by Office of the Resident Coordinator in collaboration with partners.

HIGHLIGHTS

• On 21 June, the Government of Nepal decided to resume more flights with full compliance of public health standards. The Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation has asked Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to resume international flights from 1 July onwards without exceeding 50 percent of total international flights.

• The monsoon rainfall continues to have a localized impact in some areas. According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology the monsoon is currently close to the southern part of the country, and more rainfall is predicted for next week.

• Frontline workers continue to be infected by COVID-19, leading to disruptions in essential humanitarian service delivery.

• On 1 July continuous rainfall affected communities across Bagmati, Gandaki and Province Two, temporarily displacing over 300 households, killing two and damaging 160 houses.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Monsoon rainfall continues to have a localized impact. Local, provincial, and federal governments are engaged in the response. Search and rescue works are predominantly being carried out by federal government agencies. Total monsoon impacts across the country include: 783 displaced families sheltering in various public buildings, significantly increasing COVID-19 transmission risks, 25 deaths, 22 people missing and 1,153 affected families according to Ministry of Home Affairs and Initial Rapid Assessments.

As a part of COVID-19 containment, the government continues prohibitory orders in most of the districts. In Kathmandu valley, the prohibitory orders have been extended until 28 June, and some of the restrictions on the mobility and opening of markets have been revised. Odd-even number plate road access has been introduced on both private and public vehicles and allowed shops and businesses to open on alternative days and times.

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Situation Report
Sri Lanka — Emergency Response
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Photo provided by the Sri Lankan Navy shows the sinking of the MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo port (Photo: Sri Lanka Navy)

UN-EU experts deploy to support Sri Lanka address the environmental impact of MV X-press Pearl disaster

Team to work with the Marine Environment Protection Authority and other government agencies

Colombo, 19th June 2021: A UN team of oil spill and chemical experts, provided by the European Union (EU), is working with the Sri Lankan Government to assess the impact on the environment caused by the MV X-press Pearl disaster. The team from the UN, France and Italy is a collaboration between the humanitarian arm of the European Union (EU ECHO/ERCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit. An independent UN report on the incident will be produced with key findings and recommendations on short-term response measures and longer-term recovery planning and submitted to the Government.

The three experts are Dr. Stephane Le Floch from the France National Oil Response and Research Centre (CEDRE) who is a specialist in oil spill response and contingency planning, Dr. Camille La Croix also from CEDRE specializing in marine litter pollution and Mr. Luigi Alcaro from the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA, Environment Ministry) who specializes in environmental impact assessment of oil and hazardous noxious substances spills in the marine environment. The team is led by Mr. Hassan Partow from UNEPs Resilience to Disasters and Conflicts Global Support Branch (Ecosystems Division).

The team is providing technical advisory support to the Sri Lankan experts on oil spill contingency planning, clean-up operations and environmental impact assessment, drawing on international best practice and lessons learned from similar incidents. They will work closely with Sri Lankan counterparts from Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), Ministry of Environment, Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) and a host of other government agencies.

“The UN is coordinating international efforts and mobilizing partners to support Sri Lanka in addressing the disaster of the MV X-press Pearl, based on a request by the Government. An environmental emergency of this nature causes significant damage to the planet by the release of hazardous substances into the ecosystem, this in turn threatens lives and livelihoods of the population in the coastal areas. Our efforts are intended to support assessment of the damage, recovery efforts and ensure prevention of such disasters in the future," UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer-Hamdy said.

“The EU’s civil protection policy is one of the very practical facets of EU solidarity. It underscores the increasing importance of a collaborative and integrated approach to disaster management. Therefore, I’m pleased to announce that the EU, in collaboration with the UN, is able to deploy environmental emergency experts to support Sri Lanka in addressing, and more importantly limiting, the impact of the MV X-press Pearl disaster,” Thorsten Bargfrede, Chargé d’affaires at the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) / Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit is the global mechanism for responding to environmental emergencies. Established in 1994, the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit has been involved in responding to over 150 environmental catastrophes over the past 25 years. A significant number of these disasters have involved oil spill incidents including most recently in the Bahamas and Solomon Islands in 2019. The UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit draws on a large pool of partner institutions to deploy experts, and in the case of Sri Lanka is grateful for the generous support mobilized by the European Union.

The European Union (EU) Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) acts as a coordination hub with the 27 Member States of the EU. It was activated on request of the Sri Lankan Government to mobilize support in addressing the MV X-press Pearl incident. In addition, satellite images were provided through the European Union Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to detect potential oil spills. A donation of EUR 200,000 will also be provided by the humanitarian arm of the European Union (EU ECHO) for protective equipment used in cleaning operations and to assist fishermen who have lost their livelihoods.

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Situation Report
Pakistan — Media
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2021 Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan Jointly Launched by the Government of Pakistan and the United Nations

(Islamabad, 9 June 2021) The 2021 Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was launched today at a joint event hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations in Pakistan. The Plan seeks to highlight the main humanitarian needs, share the efforts and steps taken by the Government of Pakistan to handle these challenges in collaboration with the UN and other partners, and set out a well-coordinated and inclusive plan of action to respond to the needs of the people. The HRP is holistic, with a multi-sectoral approach covering the themes of health, education, protection, food security, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and refugees.

The HRP focuses on supporting the needs of around 4.3 million people in Pakistan including refugees, facing a series of overlapping emergencies, including extreme weather events and the COVID-19 pandemic. Geographically, the Humanitarian Response Plan focuses on 81 prioritized districts. The lifesaving response activities called for in this Plan amount to US$ 332 million including food security and livelihood assistance, nutrition programmes, primary health services, including water and sanitation, women’s health, and education support, as well as shelter for displaced people.

Pakistan is a country with both the capacity and experience in responding to humanitarian emergencies and has made major strides in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the same time, Pakistan is faced with the challenge of dealing with the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic. Moreover, whilst Pakistan remains one of the low carbon emitters, it is faced with climate induced risks and disasters, not of its making.

The HRP also highlights the generosity and compassion shown by Pakistan in hosting more than 3 million Afghan nationals including 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees holding a Proof of Registration card, 0.84 million Afghan Citizenship cardholders, and an estimated 400,000 – 600,000 undocumented Afghans, providing them protection, health, education and livelihoods.

The targeted humanitarian action put forth in this Plan represents the commitment of the UN and humanitarian partners in Pakistan to support and complement national efforts. It garners international support and commitment to assist Pakistan in responding to the humanitarian challenges, as part of the principle of responsibility and burden sharing.

Delivering the keynote, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the “Policies of the Government are guided by two important principles: ‘inclusivity’ and ‘sustainability’. Our efforts must take into consideration the aspects of efficient and effective response to humanitarian situations, followed by inclusive recovery and sustainable rehabilitation. This Response Plan is intended to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in the prevention, preparedness and response to disasters including through the provision of relief services by building cross-institutional and stakeholder linkages”.

Federal Minister for SAFRON Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan, in his remarks, said that “during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic period, we have efficiently provided relief to Afghan Refugees and other Afghans. Replicating the Government’s Ehsaas Program, the Ministry of SAFRON with generous support of UNHCR has provided Rs.12,000 to over 75,000 Afghan refugee families.”

The Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz highlighted the policies and measures taken by the Government of Pakistan regarding disaster-risk reduction, mitigation and adaptation.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Filippo Grandi said: “In the face of grave implications of the pandemic, Pakistan also continues to make sure no one is left behind and includes Afghan refugees in its COVID-19 response including the government vaccination programme.”

UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Julien Harneis said: ‘The people in Pakistan have to cope with the humanitarian consequences of extreme weather events and conflicts in Afghanistan. The causes of these humanitarian needs are in part global and regional, and so although the Pakistani state and society have significant capacity to respond to these needs, it is appropriate that the international community share this burden. In launching the HRP, we are laying out the roadmap of how the UN and humanitarian partners aim to support and complement the response of the Government of Pakistan.”

The Government and the UN have worked tirelessly on joint efforts to contain COVID-19 and mitigate the pandemic’s socio-economic and health impacts and humanitarian consequences, while remaining inclusive of both Pakistan and non-Pakistani citizens such as refugees and migrants. COVID-19 response activities have been mainstreamed in this Humanitarian Response Plan, which aim to complement other relevant frameworks including the UN COVID-19 Country Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP), COVID-19 Pakistan Preparedness and Response Plan (PPRP), and the UN Socio-Economic Response Framework to COVID-19 (SERF).

The launch event was well attended by the Diplomatic Corps, heads of UN agencies in Pakistan, representatives of international organizations, IFIs, civil society and media.

END

The Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan can be downloaded here.

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Afghanistan — Emergency Response

Afghanistan: Flash Update on displacement due to fighting in eastern Afghanistan

As of 13 June 2021

Key Highlights

• Fighting continues to cause displacement across Laghman and Nangarhar provinces. Sporadic clashes have also been reported in Nuristan and Kunar provinces.

• Assessment teams are working to confirm the humanitarian impact of the situation. To date, 23,000 IDPs have been assessed in Laghman and 19,000 have been verified as needing humanitarian assistance. A total of 12,000 IDPs have been assessed in Nangarhar province with 5,000 verified as needing assistance.

• Partners have mobilised 10 inter-agency assessment and response teams in Laghman and Nangarhar provinces. Distributions of food, NFIs, psychosocial support, health and WASH assistance are underway, reaching some 10,000 people so far.

Situation Overview

Heavy fighting continues across Laghman and Nangarhar provinces, including the use of airstrikes. As of 12 June, sporadic fighting is still ongoing near and within the Nurgaram District Administrative Centre in Nuristan province, Bad Pakh and Alishing districts in Laghman province, Hisarak district in Nangarhar province, and Ghaziabad in Kunar province. Military operations are ongoing across Nangarhar province with a focus on Pachiragam, Achin, Dehbala and Surkhrod districts.

Humanitarian Impact

In Laghman, most of the newly displaced people are reportedly coming from Alingar, Alishang and Dawlatshah districts and are now staying in Mehtalam city and surrounding villages. New IDPs are scattered across the city, some staying in public buildings (such as schools) and others with host communities. These IDPs are accessible to humanitarian assessment and response teams. According to reports, in Nangarhar province, most of the newly displaced people are coming from Achin, Pachieagam, Dehbala and Surkhrod districts and are now primarily staying in Jalalabad, Behsud, Mommand Dara, Khogyani and Surhrod districts.

Five inter-agency assessment and response teams have been deployed across Laghman since 24 May, 2021. Five inter-agency assessment teams have also been deployed across Nangarhar province since 5 June. Based on assessment findings, food, NFIs, WASH and health needs are the most urgent. Assessments continue and will further inform the humanitarian response over the coming days.

Since 22 May, the Duab District Hospital in Nuristan province has remained closed due to insecurity in the area, depriving some 26,000 people of referral for essential health services from around the area.

Coordination and Response

The Eastern Region Humanitarian Regional Team (HRT) met on 25 May to discuss the ongoing assessments and identify gaps in the humanitarian response. Since then, Operational Coordination Team (OCT) meetings have also been held in both Laghman and Nangarhar. Humanitarian partners have since mobilised more resources to meet needs identified through the ongoing assessments.

On Wednesday 9 June, OCHA led a joint mission with WFP and UNICEF to Laghman province. Key objectives of the mission were to assess the rapidly evolving security and humanitarian situation, monitor the ongoing humanitarian response and discuss emerging needs, priorities, response capacity, gaps and challenges with provincial Governor.

As of 10 June, inter-agency teams have assessed some 23,000 IDPs in Laghman province with 19,000 IDPs verified as being in need of assistance. Some 7,000 IDPs across the province have received a double-ration of food assistance. Four mobile health teams have assisted 1,800 IDPs with basic health and nutrition care. Four psychosocial support (PSS) teams have been deployed to Mehtarlam district of Laghman province and have provided PSS to more than 1,300 IDPs. Partners have also distributed some 400 NFI kits and 400 hygiene kits to IDPs as well as more than 181,000 litres of clean water through trucking.

In Nangarhar province, inter-agency teams have also assessed over 12,000 IDPs across four districts of which 5,000 IDPs have been verified as being in need of assistance as of 10 June. Partners have so reached 800 IDPs with NFI kits and some 1,800 people with food assistance in Achin district. Assistance is yet to begin in the other three assessed districts.

The next flash update will be provided if there is a significant change in the situation.

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Afghanistan — Media

Afghanistan: Statement by Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov, United Nations DSRSG, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator

Kabul, 9 June 2021: I strongly condemn the heinous attack on the Halo Trust NGO yesterday in Baghlan Province in northern Afghanistan which reportedly killed at least 10 people and injured 16 others. It is repugnant that an organization that works to clear landmines and other explosives and better the lives of vulnerable people could be targeted.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes for a speedy and full recovery to the injured.

Aid workers and humanitarian organisations are protected under International Humanitarian Law. We call for a full investigation to ensure that those responsible for any violations are held accountable and brought to justice.

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Myanmar — Media

Myanmar: Statement by the United Nations in Myanmar on the Humanitarian Situation in the South-East

(Yangon, 8 June 2021) : The United Nations in Myanmar is concerned about the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Kayah State and other areas in southeastern Myanmar.

Recent violence in Kayah State, including indiscriminate attacks by security forces against civilian areas, has led to the internal displacement of an estimated 100,000 men, women and children. Many of them are currently seeking safety in host communities and forests across Kayah and southern parts of neighboring Shan state. This crisis could push people across international borders seeking safety, as already seen in other parts of the country.

The United Nations reiterates its earlier calls for all parties to urgently take the necessary measures and precautions to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly protected objects such as medical units and personnel, and to adhere to the fundamental principles of distinction, necessity, proportionality and protection.

People fleeing and those remaining in locations affected by ongoing hostilities are in urgent need of food, water, shelter, fuel and access to healthcare. The United Nations and its partners have humanitarian supplies, including food, shelter materials and other basic relief items ready to be deployed to complement the local response, which has been immediate, but insufficient to address all needs, particularly for those persons in remote locations. Ongoing insecurity, travel restrictions imposed by security forces, and poor road conditions, however, are delaying the delivery of these supplies. The United Nations calls on the security forces to allow safe passage of humanitarian supplies and personnel and to facilitate the direct provision of relief assistance by the UN and its partners to all those in need in Kayah, as well as other states and regions across the country where there are urgent humanitarian needs.

The United Nations reiterates the Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire made in March 2020 and to join forces to respond to the growing risk of another outbreak of COVID-19 and other humanitarian and health challenges.

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Media
photo 3 - east aceh
Indonesian authorities conducted COVID-19 screenings and provided vaccines to all 81 people rescued by Acehnese fishermen on Friday after their vessel, which left Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, bound for Malaysia in February, encountered engine trouble. © IOM

IOM Provides Food, Water to Latest Group of Rohingya Rescued in East Aceh, Indonesia

Jakarta/East Aceh, 8 June 2021 – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is continuing to provide food, drinking water and medical support as part of coordinated efforts to help 81 Rohingya, mostly women and children, rescued by local fishermen in East Aceh on Friday (04/06) after a perilous journey.

A spokesperson from the group told IOM that they set off from Kutupalong and Falong Khali camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in the first week of February 2021, headed for Malaysia.

Three days after they set sail, the boat’s engine broke down and they were left floating at sea. Four days later, they were located and rescued by the Indian Navy in the Andaman Islands.

"Nine people died due to sickness before being rescued by the Indian Navy," said the spokesperson.

“We did not have enough drinking water supply, so we had to drink the seawater. Unfortunately, some of us got sick after drinking it.”

The group – consisting of 45 women, 17 men and 19 children – remained on one of the Andaman Islands for almost four months before continuing their journey in mid-May following the first cyclone of the season.

They experienced engine problems again near East Aceh last week. Local fishermen discovered their vessel and brought them to safety on Friday. Upon disembarkation, the local government of Aceh immediately conducted rapid COVID-19 tests and COVID-19 vaccinations for all arrivals.

“Thanks are due again to local community members and authorities in Indonesia for assisting the disembarkation, which – in a humanitarian spirit – has clearly been a life-saving intervention,” said Louis Hoffmann, IOM Chief of Mission in Indonesia.

"We are pleased to be working with partners including the Government of Indonesia, the Geutanyoe Foundation and our donors to ensure a coordinated response to the health and safety of this group at their initial landing site in East Aceh.”

Hoffmann added that important next steps are now underway to help assess and stabilize this group in a more sustainable location in close coordination with UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency –, and other partners.

This latest rescue comes almost exactly 12 months after 99 Rohingya, mostly women and children, were rescued by local Acehnese fishermen after being stranded at sea for more than 120 days. 

"With the experience of last year’s arrivals, we have been able to move quickly to assess initial health and nutritional needs, and – with the leadership of the Government – put in place pandemic health protocols to ensure the protection of this group and local community members,” Hoffman said.

Roughly 1,400 Rohingya found themselves stranded at sea during the 2020 sailing season, which typically ends with the arrival of the monsoon in early June. At least 130 are reported to have died.

“Once again, as the monsoon season gets underway, the dangers facing any vessel at sea increase by the day and we therefore reiterate that a coordinated response to this situation, inclusive of search and rescue operations and safe disembarkation, is urgently needed,” said Dr Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

“Even as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in this region, we must work collectively to avoid a repeat of the 2015 crisis when thousands of men, women and children faced tremendous challenges in accessing life-saving care and support and many lost their lives at sea.”

IOM’s emergency response to assist the Rohingya disembarkation in Aceh is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

For further information, please contact Ariani Hasanah Soejoeti at IOM Indonesia, email: asoejoeti@iom.int , tel: +628122726308 or Itayi Viriri at IOM´s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 917 890 8785, Email: iviriri@iom.int

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Bangladesh — Coordination
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Cash distribution to flood-affected people in Kurigram, Bagladesh, during floods in July 2020. Photo: WFP/ Sayed Asif Mahmud)

Anticipatory Action Framework: Bangladesh Monsoon Floods

Endorsed by the Resident Coordinator on 30 May 2021 Pre-approved by the Emergency Relief Coordinator on 3 June 2021

Executive Summary

This document presents the pilot framework for collective anticipatory action to monsoon floods in Bangladesh, including the forecasting trigger (the model), the pre-agreed action plans (the delivery) and the pre-arranged financing (the money). In addition to the 3 core elements, an investment in documenting evidence and learning is part of the pilot (the learning).

The objective of this pilot is to further scale-up the quality and quantity of collective anticipatory humanitarian action to people at risk of predicted severe monsoon flooding of the Jamuna River in Bangladesh. The pilot will cover five highly vulnerable districts (Bogura (Bogra); Gaibandha; Kurigram; Jamalpur; and Sirajganj) with the aim to reach 410,000-440,000 people ahead of flood peak with multi-sectoral interventions carried out by the United Nations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent in close collaboration with NGOs and the Government through CERF funding. A further ca. 130,000 people will be reached with additional financing and about one million people are to benefit from joint early warning messages.

The model makes use of available forecasts with a two-step trigger system to predict severe monsoon floods:

  • Stage I: Readiness trigger is reached when the water discharge at the Bahadurabad gauging station over a period of three consecutive days is forecasted by the GloFAS model with a maximum 15-day lead time to be more than 50% likely to cross the 1-in-5-year return period.

  • Stage II: Action trigger is reached when the water level at Bahadurabad is forecasted by the FFWC 5-day lead time model to cross the government-defined “Danger Level” + 0.85 meters, and probabilistic forecasts with longer lead times (GloFAS/RIMES) show a sustained or increasing trend of the water discharge at the Bahadurabad gauging station for at least three consecutive days beginning from the day when the danger level is forecast to be crossed.

The delivery of anticipatory action is time critical. Agencies have agreed to develop a common beneficiary database enabling the joint targeting of households so these may benefit from a comprehensive intervention. In addition, all agencies agree to work jointly on distribution and content of targeted early warning messages.

Given the short lead times, unconditional cash is a major component of the pilot. Bringing together the reach of WFP and BDRCS, some 78,000 vulnerable households will receive 4,500 Taka (~US$53) each ahead of severe peak flooding either through mobile transfers (bKash) or the post office.

In addition to cash, FAO will support 25,000 households with (1) animal feed at evacuation points and (2) with floodproof storage of agricultural and productive assets (e.g. tools, seeds).

UNICEF is complementing the anticipatory intervention with the provision of safe drinking water and early warning and hygiene promotion messaging to some 110,000 people through the distribution of jerrycans, water purification tablets and a communication campaign. Also, through the deployment of ten mobile water treatment units at evacuation points, some 20,000 people will be able to access safe drinking water.

UNFPA-led interventions will reach more than 16,300 people: 9,688 women, adolescent girls and third gender/transgender will receive dignity and menstrual hygiene management kits. Some 3,800 pregnant women will have access to safe deliveries. 20 newly trained midwives will support some 100 safe births. An additional health center will be equipped with the capacity for clinical management of over 50 rape cases and some 1,600 couples will benefit from receiving emergency family planning supplies.

In addition to cash, BDRCS through a sub-agreement with WFP, will provide additional evacuation support based on need, last mile early warning dissemination for 100,000 households and first aid support based on need of the people and households during the operations. Save the Children, using its own financing, will provide direct cash and WASH support to some 31,500 people in Sirajgoni and 12,000 people in Gaibanda.

The money for the pilot comes from different sources, including from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) of up to $7.5 million. CERF financing will be released as automatically as possible immediately once the defined triggers are reached. The pre-arranged financing agreement with CERF is in place for one severe flooding event over a two-year pilot period from the moment this framework document is pre-endorsed and pre-agreed.

WFP, UNFPA, BDRCS and Save the Children have additional financing available as part of the same trigger mechanism for additional anticipatory actions in line with applicable agency-specific protocols.

The learning and documentation of evidence from the pilot will be coordinated through an ad-hoc committee which will ensure a common approach to agency-specific monitoring and evaluation; as well as identifying opportunities for an independent evaluation. The impact of the pilot shall be assessed against the premise of anticipatory actions leading to a faster, more efficient, and more dignified humanitarian response, which also may protect development gains. Learning from pilots should be achieved at the highest possible standards and rigor.

Key improvements have been made to this iteration of the Bangladesh anticipatory action pilot compared to the 2020 experience. Many lessons learned have been incorporated at the agency level. At the collective level, the main improvements have been on scale and quality of the pilot. Notably the common beneficiary database and common approach to early warning, as well as improved coordination around learning and activation should help to provide better anticipatory actions.

As a commitment to learning and continuous improvement of anticipatory action challenges, and ways to overcome these in the future, are identified throughout the document. For instance, the COVID pandemic continues to constrain operational capacity. Short time frames in building the pilot, limited time between trigger events and peak floods, as well as the availability of resources means the pilot must be very focused, prioritized and targeted to concrete and achievable outcomes. The biggest impediment to a further scale-up has been the absence of financing for “start-up costs,” i.e. the necessary investments to entities to build the pilot and prepare for collective action.

The framework has been facilitated by OCHA and the RCO and was jointly developed by FAO, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, Red Cross/Red Crescent, BDRCS, and the Start Network. Save the Children also contributed.

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Situation Report
Timor-Leste — Media
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Government of Timor-Leste and partners appeal for US$32 million to assist flood victims and early recovery

Following the devastation caused by the floods in April that affected many families in the country, today the Government and humanitarian partners, including the United Nations, are launching a joint Appeal for US $32m to respond to residual humanitarian needs and assist with early the recovery process to December 2021.

Dili, TIMOR-LESTE, 01 JUNE 2021: The Government, together with humanitarian partners, officially launched a Joint Appeal to address the residual humanitarian needs for the most vulnerable affected people and assist with early-recovery efforts in Timor-Leste. The appeal requests US$32.7 million (US $8.8m for immediate needs and US$23.9 for short-term requirements) that will directly assist 65,000 people and indirectly benefit all flood-affected population. A multi-sectoral response, the appeal identifies priority activities to address critical gaps across 9 sectors: Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and Emergency Shelter; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); Gender and Protection; Food Security; Nutrition; Health; Education; Early Recovery and Livelihoods; and, Emergency Logistics.

The Government has allocated US$65.2 million through the Contingency Fund while the humanitarian partners including the United Nations, have so far committed US$10.7 million to support the response efforts. However, following the rapid assessments that have been completed, critical funding gaps still remain to meet the priority needs of the flood-affected communities and to kick-start the recovery process.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, H.E. Ms. Adaljiza Magno in her opening remarks stated that despite the significant efforts from the Government side to deliver the emergency needs to flood affected populations as well as increasing the contingency fund to implement short and long term programs to recover from the calamity, there are still considerable funding gap need to be filled. Therefore, H.E. Minister, on behalf of the government, calling upon for a voluntary contribution in order to help Timor-Leste to scale-up measures to recover from the catastrophic disaster.

The 2021 Timor-Leste Floods Response Plan will facilitate a coordinated by the Government and the humanitarian partners focusing on the next 7 months from end-May to end-December 2021 with the aim of supporting a sustainable recovery and helping lay the foundations for ‘Building Back Better’.

The plan was jointly developed by the Government of Timor-Leste with support from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and all humanitarian partners. A copy of the detailed Joint Appeal is available here.

Under the Government leadership, more than 86 organisations – 9 UN agencies, 63 humanitarian partners, and 14 Ministries/Departments – will participate in the 7-month Joint Response Plan ending in December 2021.

The latest official figures, show that 33,835 households have been affected by the floods across all 13 municipalities, with 44 reported fatalities. Extensive damages have been reported to houses, buildings (including health facilities and COVID-19 quarantine and isolation centres), public infrastructure and agricultural land. A total of 2,163 hectares of agricultural land have been affected, negatively impacting food security in the coming days.

This disaster comes when the country has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent months. The temporary displacement of people poses an increased threat to the further spread of COVID-19 and outbreak of other diseases.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Roy Trivedy emphasised that “it is imperative to speed up the delivery of assistance to Timor-Leste at this critical stage to prevent further loss of lives, additional damage to essential public services and infrastructure, and to stop the spread of diseases.” He also highlighted the fact that “this tragedy has hit at a time when the country is already struggling with the dangerous situation caused by COVID19.”

This Response Plan aims to directly target the humanitarian and early recovery needs of approximately 65,000 flood-affected people living with existing vulnerabilities. All flood-affected populations are expected to benefit directly and indirectly from the response, including rehabilitation of critical public infrastructure and restoration of essential services. In line with the Secretariat of State for Civil Protection’s Flood Response Strategy, the plan will prioritise support to those who remain in the evacuation centres, support the safe return and early recovery of those who were temporarily displaced and since returned to their communities.

-END

BACKGROUND NOTE FOR EDITOR

On 23 April, the National Parliament approved the amendment to the 2021 General State Budget to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and the flooding, which the President subsequently promulgated on 4 May. The allocation to the COVID-19 Fund increased from USD 31 million to USD 287.6 million, while the Contingency Fund allocation increased from USD 23.8 million to USD 65.2 million.

Many humanitarian partners and donors have supported the flood response through humanitarian funding and/or repurposing existing resources. In solidarity with the affected people of Timor-Leste, more donors, including the private sector, have been mobilising resources in support of the flood-affected people. Over USD 10.73 million of additional humanitarian funding has been mobilised by donors, UN agencies, humanitarian partners and the private sector.

The second phase of the humanitarian response, namely support to livelihoods and early recovery has started, including emergency cash-for-work initiatives, inputs schemes, and infrastructure rehabilitation and reconstruction. At the request of the Government, partners are preparing to support the Government with longer-term recovery planning through a Household and Building Damage Assessment (HBDA), a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PNDA), and a Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM). These assessments aim to provide more comprehensive country-wide information to inform longer-term recovery and reconstruction of flood-affected households, communities, and agricultural lands.

During the Emergency Development Partners’ Meeting called by the Government on 13 April, the Government and the humanitarian partners agreed on the need for a strongly coordinated floods response, under the leadership of the Government. The 2021 Timor-Leste Flood Response Plan, therefore, is positioned as a tool to facilitate a coordinated floods response by the Government and the humanitarian partners (incl. donors), focusing on the initial 9 months to address the immediate humanitarian and early recovery needs of the most vulnerable affected people. Once the findings of a more comprehensive assessment of damages and losses become available, the Government and partners may consider developing a medium-term recovery plan in line with the Government’s commitment to Build Back Better.

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Interactive

Humanitarian Data Portal for COVID-19 in Asia Pacific

This humanitarian data portal developed by OCHA puts together regional-level information on the COVID-19 Crisis in Asia and the Pacific: all in one place, interactive, and searchable.

It presents data on the impact of COVID-19 on people and humanitarian operations, as well as providing insight on how the international community is working collectively to respond to the crisis. It includes an overview of the various health and multi-sector response plans, with funds required and people targeted by each plan.

The portal also has baseline data and indicators that are useful for understanding potential and underlying vulnerabilities.

Click here or on the image below to access the COVID-19 Humanitarian Data Portal. For further information or questions, please send an email to: Pierre Peron, peronp@un.org

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Nepal — Media
CPRP-SocialMediaCards-round1-03

United Nations and Partners in Nepal Launch Emergency Covid-19 Plan and Call for International Solidarity to Bring Life-Saving Aid to Nepal’s Most Vulnerable People and Communities

KATHMANDU, 21 May 2021- As Nepal faces breaking point amidst its worst COVID-19 outbreak, the United Nations and partners are today launching the Nepal Covid-19 Response Plan calling for US$ 83.7 million to mobilize an emergency response over the next three months to assist 750,000 of the most vulnerable people affected by the pandemic. The plan was endorsed by the Nepal Humanitarian Country Team and the Government of Nepal’s COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre and lays out critical areas of support required to complement the Government of Nepal’s response efforts.

UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Sara Beysolow Nyanti said: “The current outbreak is having a devastating impact not just on health but across all sectors, hitting the poorest and most marginalized people in Nepali society the hardest. The COVID-19 Response Plan that we are launching today calls for swift action and international solidarity that is desperately needed to save lives and prevent unnecessary suffering today, tomorrow, and in the difficult weeks to come. We have no time to lose.”

After several months of relatively low daily cases in Nepal, cases began to increase rapidly in mid-April, rising from 150 cases per day in early April to over 8,000 cases per day since 5 May. Over 44% of COVID-19 tests nationally are coming back positive, suggesting that case numbers are much higher than reported. Despite the surge beginning almost three weeks after India’s, Nepal is experiencing roughly the same number of daily cases per capita as India, but with a health system whose capacity is much more limited.

Dr. Rajesh Sambhajirao Pandav, WHO Representative to Nepal, said: “The recent surge in cases has resulted in an unprecedented need for medical supplies including oxygen, medicines, ventilators, diagnostic kits and vaccines. While WHO and partners are supporting the Nepal Government’s endeavors in mounting a robust response, fighting the pandemic necessitates international solidarity. I appeal to friends of Nepal from around the world to come forward and help with fulfilling the needs of the hour.”

Millions of people in Nepal are struggling not just with the direct health impact of COVID-19, but also with hunger, malnutrition, devastating economic losses, and other health needs that are being overlooked. The Nepal COVID-19 Response Plan brings together the priority response activities as set out by the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP) to address both the health and humanitarian consequences of COVID-19. The Government of Nepal is leading the response, but capacities are stretched to breaking point and international solidarity is urgently needed to assist the most vulnerable people with life-saving response activities in health, food security, education, nutrition, shelter, protection and water and sanitation.

Ms. Elke Wisch, UNICEF Representative for Nepal, said: “Nepal is experiencing an alarming new COVID-19 surge, with a steep rise in cases that has overwhelmed Nepal’s fragile health system. As we respond to the immediate health crisis to help save lives, we cannot forget the devastating broader impact the current COVID-19 surge has on children and young people in Nepal. They are being cut off from vital support networks, losing parents and caregivers, and witnessing scenes no child should ever see. We must come together, nationally and internationally, if we are to prevent interrupted childhoods in Nepal from being lost for good.”

The Nepal COVID-19 Response Plan can be downloaded here

For further information, please contact:

RCO Nepal - Ram Babu Shah, shah2@un.org , +977 9801002004

UNICEF Nepal –Tania Dhakhwa, tdhakhwa@unicef.org +977 9801244524

WHO Nepal –Tsering Dolkar Gurung, gurungt@who.int , +977 9801054040

OCHA Asia Pacific - Pierre Peron, peronp@un.org , +66 614200390

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Afghanistan — Emergency Response

Afghanistan: Flash Update – Displacement due to fighting in North Eastern Afghanistan (30 May 2021)

Key Highlights:

  • Heavy fighting continues in Baghlan Province, displacing families into Pul-e-Khumri city.

  • Authorities report more than 21,000 people have been displaced due to armed conflict in Baghlan Province.

  • Ten inter-agency assessment teams have been mobilised and deployed to the area to confirm numbers and needs. Further assessment scale-up is needed.

  • Food, non-food items, hygiene kits and cash assistance are the most urgent needs for the affected people. Distributions of humanitarian assistance are underway, reaching 2,500 people so far.

Situation overview:

Heavy fighting and armed clashes have continued throughout the month of May in Baghlan Province. According to reports from authorities more than 21,000 people have been displaced since the fighting began during the first week of May. Houses as well as public infrastructure, such as health facilities and schools, have been damaged due to the use of heavy artillery. Affected families also report losing their livestock and indicate heightened risk of unexploded ordinance on agricultural land.

The main road connecting Pul-e-Khumri to Kunduz and Mazar-e-Sharif remains contested and has been damaged along different sections. Illegal check points have reportedly been installed, creating additional challenges for partners transporting humanitarian commodities from Mazar-e-Sharif to Baghlan.

Humanitarian Impact:

Most of the newly displaced people are coming from Nahrin, Jilga, Guzargah-Noor, Burka, Baghlan-Jadid and Dahne-Ghori districts and have fled to locations in and around Pul-e-Khumri city. Affected families have taken shelter with host families, are renting accommodation or are staying in open areas. Based on initial assessment findings food, NFIs, hygiene kits and cash assistance are the most urgent needs.

Coordination and Response:

10 inter-agency assessment teams have been mobilised and deployed to the area. However, existing humanitarian capacity on the ground is insufficient to conduct timely needs assessment for the large number of IDPs. OCHA is liaising with partners at regional and national level to mobilise surge support to accelerate assessments.

Since the beginning of May, 9,520 people in Pul-e-Khumri city have been assessed, of whom approximately 5,159 people have been identified as needing humanitarian assistance. Two additional assessment teams will be deployed this week to confirm the needs of IDPs located outside of Pul-e-Khumri city. However, partners are not yet able to deploy assessment teams to Nahrin, Jilga, Burka and Guzargah Noor districts where active fighting continues.

As assessments continue, humanitarian partners have started delivering cash assistance for 2,500 displaced people. Additional stocks, including food commodities, are needed in Baghlan to respond to anticipated needs and fill current resource gaps within the region.

The next flash update will be provided if there is a significant change in the situation.

(see other updates from OCHA Afghanistan)

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Afghanistan — Emergency Response

Afghanistan: Flash Update on displacement due to fighting in eastern Afghanistan (25 May 2021)

Key Highlights:

  • Heavy fighting continues in Laghman province, including in Mehtalam city – the provincial capital.

  • Assessment teams are working to confirm the humanitarian impact of the situation. To date, between 11,000 and 14,000 people are reported to have been displaced. 

  • Partners mobilised six inter-agency assessment and response teams in early May 2021 when fighting intensified.

  • Health assistance (through mobile health teams (MHTs), food distribution and water trucking are underway, while preparations are being made to provide sanitation and hygiene support.

Situation Overview:

Heavy fighting has been reported in Laghman province in May 2021. Since 23 May, the fighting escalated into and around Mehtalam City, the provincial capital. Reports indicate there has been significant displacement and that most shops and businesses in the city were temporarily closed.

Humanitarian Impact:

According to reports from authorities, communities and assessment teams, it is estimated that between 11,000 and 14,000 people have been displaced. Most of the newly displaced people are reportedly coming from Alingar, Alishang and Dawlatshwa districts and are now staying in Mehtalam city. New IDPs are scattered across the city, some residing in public service structures (such as schools) and others with host communities. These IDPs are accessible to humanitarian assessment and response teams.

Six inter-agency assessment and response teams have been deployed across the province since 24 May 2021. Based on initial assessment findings, food, NFIs, WASH and health needs are the most urgent. Assessments continue and will further inform the humanitarian response over the coming days.

Further reports indicate that new IDPs from Laghman province are coming into Jalalabad city. This will be confirmed by additional assessment teams which are presently in process of being deployed.

Coordination and Response:

Laghman Provincial authorities convened an ad-hoc PDMC meeting with line ministries to evaluate the ongoing situation and plan Government’s response. The Government, through ANDMA, has started distribution of food assistance.

The Eastern Region Humanitarian Regional Team (HRT) met today (25 May) to discuss the ongoing assessments and identify gaps in the humanitarian response. Humanitarian partners stand ready to deploy more resources to meet needs identified through the ongoing assessments.

So far, two MHTs have been deployed in and around Mehtalam City. As part of the health response, partners have provided trauma kits and inter-agency emergency health kits (IEHK) to the Department of Public Health (DoPH) in Laghman province. Trauma care is reaching affected people while plans are underway to kickstart psychosocial support. Water trucking is underway while partners have completed site selection for emergency latrine installation and have started work on water reservoirs. Partners plan to distribute hygiene kits.

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Afghanistan — Forecast

UN and NGOs will stay and deliver aid to millions of Afghans in need

Kabul, 24 May 2021 - Humanitarian actors in Afghanistan (the UN and national and international NGOs) are committed to staying and delivering impartial and neutral assistance to millions of people in need. Ongoing conflict, spiralling food insecurity and the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a near-doubling of people in need in the space of 12 months – up from 9.4 million in January 2020 to 18.4 million in January 2021.

While intra-Afghan negotiations present the opportunity for a lasting peace, humanitarian actors are deeply concerned by continued violence across the country characterised by high levels of civilian casualties and almost 100,000 people internally displaced just this year.

Increasing conflict and bureaucratic impediments have required humanitarian organisations to assess, mitigate and navigate the changing operational space. Despite these challenges, some 165 humanitarian organisations continued working across the country and reached nearly 12 million people with life-saving assistance in 2020. Even with significant funding and operational challenges, 3.7 million people received aid during the first three months of 2021, demonstrating a strong capacity to stay and deliver assistance and protection to people in need, including in challenging environments. In the context of growing need driven by the pandemic, food insecurity, conflict and a looming threat of drought, humanitarian organisations are mobilising to scale-up support and continue to respond wherever assistance is most needed.

In order to achieve the above, humanitarian actors in Afghanistan ask the following to parties to the conflict:

  1. Protect civilians, aid workers and civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals in compliance with International Humanitarian Law.

  2. Provide unimpeded access and ensure that aid workers and service providers can deliver assistance and services without interference, in accordance with the principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality.

To donors and the international community:

  1. Urgently release and increase funding to the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan.

     

In 2021, the UN and humanitarian partners in Afghanistan require US $1.3 billion to help 15.7 million people in need. Only $166.8 million (13 per cent) of the funding has been received so far.

Humanitarian Coordinator Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov says, “The COVID-19 crisis has already had significant consequences on the lives and livelihoods of Afghans and on humanitarian operations. At this critical time, it is more important than ever that we continue to work together to uphold the rights of all people in Afghanistan, including their right to life-saving aid.”

For further information, please contact: Linda Tom, Public Information Officer, OCHA Afghanistan (toml@un.org / +93 (0)793 001 110) Lisa Piper, Director, ACBAR (director@acbar.org)

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Situation Report
Bangladesh — Feature
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Aid agencies in Bangladesh urge international community to step up support for the Rohingya refugee crisis, now in its fourth year

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Tuesday 18 May 2021) – Aid agencies are making a united call on the international community to step up support to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, which has now entered its fourth year. The 2021 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis was launched today by the Government of Bangladesh, along with the humanitarian community. The JRP is seeking USD 943 million to meet the needs of over 880,000 Rohingya refugees and 472,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas in Cox’s Bazar district. In total, the JRP aims to protect and assist 1.4 Million people this year. More than half of this population are women and children. Some USD 340 million has been committed towards the 2021 JRP by the international community so far, amounting to more than 35 percent of the total requirements.

The JRP brings together the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh, and 134 UN agencies and NGO partners. More than half of these partners are Bangladeshi NGOs. The appeal focuses on strengthening the protection of Rohingya refugees, delivering quality lifesaving assistance to those in need, fostering the well-being of the communities surrounding the camps, and helping Rohingya refugees build their skills and capacities towards sustainable return and reintegration in Myanmar, on a voluntary basis, when conditions allow them to do so, in safety and in dignity.

The most commonly reported needs among the host communities include access to food as well as cash, along with essential health services, reflecting the impact of the COVID- 19 outbreak and associated measures needed to mitigate the spread of the virus on food security and livelihoods among the people of Bangladesh. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded vulnerabilities for them as well as Rohingya refugees. “We came to live in the camp after suffering a lot in Myanmar. But this place is very congested, and we need a lot of health support,” says 30-year old Hosne Ara, a Rohingya refugee living in one of the camps in Cox’s Bazar. “It is a great struggle to manage food, clothes, medicines, and essentials for my children” she adds.

“More than 40 per cent of this year’s financial appeal focuses on two of the most basic and critical human needs, food security and health,” says Nicole Epting, the Senior Coordinator for the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). “In addition, the priorities for this year include water, sanitation and hygiene, wider health needs including sexual and reproductive health with a focus on women and girls, education and addressing the protection concerns of the Rohingya refugee population in the camps.”.

The leadership of the Government of Bangladesh and the support of the international community over the years has been crucial in delivering lifesaving protection and assistance and effectively responding to the needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Up to USD 2.32 billion in funds have been committed to successive JRPs since the outset of the crisis in 2017. This amounts to 69% of total the financial requirements needed to protect and assist the Rohingya refugee population and host communities in the last four years.

Rohingya refugees have expressed their desire to return to Myanmar when conditions are conducive and safe to do so. Until they are able to return voluntarily, sustainably and under safe and dignified conditions, the humanitarian community is calling for a show of compassion and solidarity with the Rohingya refugee population and is urging the international community to continue supporting the Government and the people of Bangladesh.

END/ For more information, please contact: Md. Syed Tafhim, ISCG, communications2@iscgcxb.org , +88(0)1915523773 Sulakshani Perera, ISCG, ext.rel@iscgcxb.org +88(0)1847326504

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Myanmar — Media

Statement by the United Nations in Myanmar on the situation in Mindat, Chin State

(Yangon, 21 May 2021): The United Nations in Myanmar is alarmed by the humanitarian impact of ongoing violence in the town of Mindat in Chin State in western Myanmar, following reports of indiscriminate attacks by the security forces against civilians and resulting population displacement and civilian casualties.

Local sources indicated that close to 4,000 people have been internally displaced since the hostilities escalated in the town of Mindat on 12 May, with an unconfirmed number, believed to be in thousands, hiding in nearby forests and mountains in search of safety and protection. A higher number of civilians remain in Mindat as they were reportedly not allowed to leave during the height of the hostilities.

There are reports of houses and other civilian property damaged, destroyed or occupied by security forces. An unconfirmed number of men, women, and children have lost their lives or sustained injuries because of the violence. The United Nations is also concerned by reports about the security forces using civilians as human shields and incidents of sexual assault perpetrated against women and girls.

People who have already fled and others who remain are in urgent need of food, water, shelter, access to healthcare and gender-based violence and psychological support. The United Nations and humanitarian partners are making efforts to assess and address these needs; however, humanitarian access challenges, including due to insecurity and road blockages, are complicating these efforts.

The United Nations calls on security forces to urgently take all necessary measures and precautions to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to adhere to the fundamental principles of distinction, necessity, proportionality and protection.

We also call upon security forces to allow civilians who choose to leave areas of danger to do so without obstruction or delay, securing their safety, and to ensure that those who are injured are transferred to a medical facility situated in a safe area.

We urge everyone involved to facilitate the delivery of relief by the United Nations and all humanitarian partners to people fleeing the violence, those trapped in their homes and everyone affected, by ensuring safe and unhindered humanitarian access.

The United Nations reiterates its strong commitment to continue making all efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and protection services to people in need wherever they may be, guided by the internationally recognized principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.

Media contacts:

Valijon Ranoev Public Information Officer Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs +95970007815, ranoev@un.org

David Swanson Regional Public Information Officer UN Development Coordination Office, +66 6 5982 5682, swanson@un.org

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Afghanistan: Humanitarian Response Plan Summary 2021

Afghanistan: Humanitarian Response Plan Summary 2021

Forty years of war, recurrent natural disasters, chronic poverty and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be a deadly combination for people in Afghanistan. Nearly half of the population (18.4m people) is in need of humanitarian and protection assistance in 2021. Needs are being further compounded by emerging threats such as the potential drought, escalation of conflict and high risk of flash floods over spring. Already, more than one third of the country is facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and nearly half of all children under-five are expected to face acute malnutrition in 2021. Protection and safety risks to civilians, particularly women, children and people with a disability, are also one the rise. Demand for assistance is soaring at the same time that humanitarians are facing increased attacks and interference in their work. Humanitarian partners have prioritised 15.7 million people to receive multi-sectoral assistance in 2021, for which US$1.3 billion is required. More than four months into the year, however, the HRP remains only 12 per cent funded. Using these limited funds and some carryover from 2020 humanitarian partners have managed to reach 3.66m people with some form of support in the first quarter of 2021. However the community’s capacity to stay and deliver life-saving assistance during the remainder of the year is dependent on both additional funds being received and assurances of aid worker safety.

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Asia Pacific Regional Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Timor-Leste — Emergency Response
Timor Leste Floods

Timor-Leste Floods - Situation Report No. 8 (As of 6 May 2021)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Since the declaration of a state of calamity in Dili on 8 April, the Government continues to lead the flood response. On 4 May, the President promulgated the amendment of the 2021 General State Budget, with an increased allocation to the Contingency Fund from USD 23.8 million to USD 65.2 million.

  • In solidarity with the Government, the humanitarian partners have provided relief assistance worth over USD 10.7 million to-date.

  • Latest official figures (4 May) showed that a total of 33,177 households have been affected across all 13 municipalities. A total of 2,163 ha of agricultural area has been reportedly affected by the flooding.

  • According to the Secretariat of State for Civil Protection, 3,125 people remain temporary displaced in 17 evacuation centers across Dili.

  • The preliminary findings of the Multi-Sectoral Rapid Needs Assessment and the Household Damage and Needs Assessment suggest that more than 550 residential houses have been completely destroyed, about 900 badly damaged, and another 1,900 sustained minor damages in Dili municipality.

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SITUATION OVERVIEW

Heavy rains across the country from 29 March to 4 April have resulted in flash floods and landslides affecting all 13 municipalities in Timor-Leste to varying degrees, with the capital Dili and the surrounding low-lying areas the worst affected. A total of 41 fatalities (including 9 missing, presumed dead) have been recorded.

According to official figures, a total of 33,177 households across the country have been affected; of those, 81% - or 27,622 households – are in Dili municipality. A total of 2,163 hectares of agricultural areas have been affected by the flooding, which would negatively impact food security during the next lean season.

The latest official figures indicate a total of 17 evacuation facilities in Dili municipality, where 3,012 people – or 611 households – are temporary sheltered. This is 913 people less compared to one week ago. Majority of the temporary displaced are returning home, and there is need to support the affected people’s safe return to the communities.

Following the renewal of the State of Emergency for additional 30 days to 1 June 2021, the Government also reinstated the general home confinement in Dili municipality until 13 May, and extended the sanitary fence around Dili municipality, as well as around municipalities of Ainaro, Baucau, Covalima, Ermera, Lautem, Liquica, Manufahi and Viqueque, until 16 May. As of 6 May, there are 1,315 active cases of COVID-19. The risk of further spread of COVID-19 remains high. Under the national COVID-19 vaccination programme – launched on 7 April – a total of 28,598 doses have been administered across all municipalities to-date.

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Myanmar — Media

Myanmar: UN Reiterates Call for Health Workers and Facilities to be Protected

(Yangon, 5 May 2021) - The United Nations in Myanmar warns of the impact on public health, including the COVID-19 response, from attacks on medical personnel and facilities, and reiterates its call for health workers, health facilities and patients to be protected.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) global surveillance system, since the beginning of February there have been 158 reported attacks on health care, resulting in 11 deaths and 51 injuries. This is currently the majority of reported attacks on health care services worldwide since the beginning of 2021. Some 83 attacks impacted facilities, 21 attacks impacted ambulances, 76 attacks impacted health personnel, and 73 attacks impacted patients.

The global tracking system cumulatively lists 51 health facilities across Myanmar as having been under occupation by security forces. At least 31 of these facilities remain currently occupied and have reported a drop in the number of people seeking medical care. Meanwhile, at least 139 doctors believed to be participating in civil disobedience have reportedly been charged under Section 505 (a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code. These include highly specialized health personnel whose expertise cannot easily be replaced, which will significantly impact both the quality and quantity of health services available.

Attacks on health care pose a grave risk for the delivery of essential health services, as well as for the COVID-19 response, with potential devastating consequences for Myanmar and beyond. At a time when Myanmar needs them the most, health workers fear arrest or detention for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

“The United Nations in Myanmar stands ready to continue its support of the national COVID-19 response but this requires a return to the comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic previously underway, that the inviolable nature of health facilities and health workers and patients is respected, and the immediate release of urgently needed medical and technical personnel detained or arrested while exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Andrew Kirkwood, acting interim United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar, said.

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Afghanistan: Kabul school bombing condemned by senior UN officials

8 May 2021 - Saturday’s deadly bombing outside a high school in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, has been condemned by leading UN officials. The attack led to the deaths of at least 30 people, including several schoolchildren.

Most of the casualties are reported to be girls, who were leaving the building at the end of the school day. According to media reports, the city was full of shoppers, ahead of the Eid-al-Fitr celebrations.

Henrietta Fore, the Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, reacted in a press statement. "UNICEF strongly condemns the horrific attack earlier today near the Sayed Ul-Shuhada high school, in Kabul, Afghanistan", said Ms. Fore. "The attack claimed the lives of dozens of schoolchildren, mostly girls, and severely injured many more. Violence in or around schools is never acceptable. Schools must be havens of peace where children can play, learn and socialize safely."

The UNICEF chief added that children must never be the target of violence, and that the UN agency continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to adhere to international human rights and humanitarian law, and ensure the safety and protection of all children.

The President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, reacted with a Tweet, in which he described the blast as "an abhorrent and cowardly attack". Mr. Bozkir expressed his sadness at the "lives lost and the dozens of injuries, especially those of young students", and condemned the targeting of innocent civilians.

For the UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, the bombing was "an atrocity". The Mission tweeted its "deep revulsion" and sent a message of condolence to the victim's families, wishing a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.

The Sayed Ul-Shuhada high school is located in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in west Kabul, home to many members of the Hazari minority, who are mainly Shia Muslims. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but the area has frequently been targeted by Sunni Islamist militants.

(source: UNNews)

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Asia and the Pacific: 2021 Regional Focus Model

RFM 2021 - 20023 Page 2b

A key challenge faced by humanitarian agencies is how to ensure that limited available resources are allocated where they are most needed and are efficiently delivered in a principled manner. Decisions to allocate resources must strike a balance between meeting the immediate needs of crisis affected communities and supporting efforts to strengthen resilience and response preparedness to future emergencies.

To support humanitarian partners address some of these challenges, the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) produces the Regional Focus Model (RFM). Similar to previous analyses in 2018 and 2019, the model is based on INFORM (www.inform-index.org), a global risk index that identifies and analyzes where crises requiring international assistance may occur. It can be used to support decisions about disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness and response.

The model identifies hazard-prone countries that combine high vulnerability and low capacity to respond, and are therefore more likely to request and accept support from the international community. The model also includes a "Humanitarian" component, reflecting issues more directly related to OCHA's coordination work. This humanitarian component is combined with INFORM to produce a Focus score. The model should be a practical tool to inform and guide disaster managers, by providing an evidence base on which to base discussions and prioritization.

In 2021, the RFM covers analysis of 38 countries in the Asia-Pacific region under ROAP in Bangkok, Thailand and the Office of the Pacific (OP) in Suva, Fiji.

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Analysis
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Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination in Emergencies: Towards a Predictable Model

The Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination (CMCoord) for Asia and the Pacific is a key forum for supporting and elevating coordination, building relationships, and sharing learning to enhance and strengthen emergency response. When the RCG was formed in 2014, it was tasked with improving awareness and enhancing the predictability of CMCoord mechanisms, and their respective functions, during largescale disaster response.

As a result, the RCG initiated the development of the first version of Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination in Emergencies: Towards a Predictable Model, which focused on explaining the legislation, coordination mechanisms, approach to and leadership of disaster management in the five most disaster-prone countries in Asia: Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. The publication was launched in 2017, and soon became a key reference for the CMCoord community.

During the 4th RCG session, the publication was discussed and a revision was deemed necessary to reflect global, regional and national changes. The global context, now more than ever, demands effective and efficient provision of aid and relief to vulnerable communities, strong motivation and capability of regional organizations in disaster relief, and continuous development of holistic national disaster management systems and capacity. Coordination is a cross-cutting theme essential to achieving an effective response, and the importance of humanitarian CMCoord is growing as we enter an era of increasing complexity on all fronts and at all levels.

This revised publication was produced through collaboration between the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster response, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, the Australian Civil-Military Centre and Humanitarian Advisory Group. Expert practitioners and researchers contributed their time to ensure the information is accurate and accessible. Like the initial version, the publication will be regularly updated to reflect operational environments accurately.

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Afghanistan — Feature
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Bibi Gul with her family in fled the conflict in Ghor Province, Afghanistan. Photo: Afghanaid

Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund helps displaced families in Ghor survive the winter

Bibi Gul never planned to leave her home, but when conflict erupted five years ago, she and her husband took their children and fled. Now living in Feroz Koh in Ghor province, Bibi Gul found herself alone trying to support her family during the COVID-19 pandemic. “My husband became addicted to heroin and for months he could not work. Then he left, and we haven’t heard from him since. We don’t know if he is even alive,” she said.

Bibi Gul found work doing laundry and cleaning houses. “Everything we have comes from what I earn day-to-day. My monthly income is around 1,000-1,500 AFS (approximately US $13- $20) and it is not enough to provide for the essentials,” she said.

In addition to living in a new place with no support system, the many challenges displaced families face have been intensified by the effects of the pandemic. “For the last five months, we have been living in a make-shift shelter, but I don’t know how much longer the owner of the land will allow us to stay here,” she said.

Situated in the highlands of Afghanistan, Ghor has extreme weather and one of the harshest winter seasons in the country with heavy snow and biting winds. “My oldest daughter is 11 years old. She helps by collecting cartons and plastic from the street for the heater. The long winter season in Ghor is harsh and we have not been able to warm our room. I was afraid that my children would die or become very sick. I worried we would not make it through,” she said.

Afghanaid provided Bibi Gul urgently needed winter cash aid that enabled her to purchase a wood stove and wood to fuel their new heater. The assistance, funded by the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, means people like Bibi Gul can keep their families safe and warm. It also allows them to use their money to buy food to keep their families healthy and build up financial reserves so that they are more resilient against future shocks. “I am so grateful to Afghanaid for coming to our aid. Now my children will have a warm room and I can keep them safe from illness.”

Afghanaid is a British humanitarian and development organization whose personnel have worked with millions of deprived, excluded and vulnerable families in some of the poorest and most remote communities in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund (AHF) is one of OCHA’s country-based pooled funds (CBPFs). It was established in 2014 for swift and strategic humanitarian action in Afghanistan.

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Media
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Pacific islanders are amongst those most at risk of being displaced. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Pacific governments call for urgent action on disaster displacement in light of the climate crisis

Press release by the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) and the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement

11 February

Suva/Geneva - Climate change is not a “doomsday proposition” but a living existential threat to humanity, Pacific government officials have warned. The stark warning was made at today’s Pacific Regional Consultation on Internal Displacement, co-organized by the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP)’s Technical Working Group (TWG) on Human Mobility and the Secretariat of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement. Government representatives from 10 Pacific countries reiterated strongly the need for accelerated and ambitious action to address disaster-induced displacement as part of the global fight against the climate crisis. “Every year, more of our citizens will be forced to leave their homes to escape stronger storms, rising seas, and swelling rivers brought by climate change,” said Honorable Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama in a video message. “Climate driven displacement is not a doomsday proposition; it is happening right now. In response we have to change and adapt as quickly as the climate.” The virtual event gathered government officials, UN agencies, civil societies, academia and the private sector together to exchange policy best practices on disaster displacement and review challenges ahead as the Pacific continues to grapple with extreme weather events. The outcomes of the consultation will also inform the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, an eight-member group established by the UN Secretary-General to identify concrete recommendations to better prevent, respond and achieve solutions to internal displacement. “For far too long, the idea of internal displacement may seem abstract but the issue is real and here in the Pacific,” stressed H.E. Tregor Albon Ishoda, Ambassador of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to Fiji, recalling the “devastating impacts” of Tropical Cyclone Yasa and Harold in the consultation. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), more than 50,000 people in the Pacific region are at risk of having to flee their homes each year due to extreme weather events. Pacific islanders are amongst those most at risk of being displaced, bearing the brunt of sudden and slow-onset effects of climate change with humanitarian consequences. “The breach of human rights, and scale and severity of humanitarian problem in the region requires more systematic attention be given to internally displaced persons in the Pacific,” urged Dr. Tauisi Taupo, Secretary of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu in his keynote address. Support to internally displaced persons are provided by the National Disaster Management Offices in the Pacific and collaborative efforts of local actors, NGOs and development partners. However, as the climate crisis is escalating at an alarming pace, panelists have stressed that accelerated global actions are needed to ensure the inclusion of internal displacement in national development planning, legal frameworks and guidelines. “Climate change presents more than just disaster risks. It is an existential threat that could displace entire nations,” said Nasser Judeh, Member of the High-Level Panel. “Displacement and disaster risks need to be recognized as a shared development priority.”

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Analysis
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Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition: Maternal and Child Diets at the Heart of Improving Nutrition

UN agencies warn economic impact of COVID-19 and worsening inequalities will fuel malnutrition for billions in Asia and the Pacific

Child and maternal diets particularly vulnerable

20/01/2021, Bangkok, Thailand – The economic impact of COVID-19 on the world’s most populous region is threatening to further undermine efforts to improve diets and nutrition of nearly two billion people in Asia and the Pacific who were already unable to afford healthy diets prior to the pandemic, says a new report published today by four specialized agencies of the United Nations.

The report, Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020: Maternal and Child Diets at the Heart of Improving Nutrition found that 1.9 billion people were unable to afford a healthy diet in this region, even before the COVID-19 outbreak and the damage it has since caused to economies and individual livelihoods. The report was published jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

Due to higher prices for fruits, vegetables and dairy products, it has become nearly impossible for poor people in Asia and the Pacific to achieve healthy diets, the affordability of which is critical to ensure food security and nutrition for all – and for mothers and children in particular.

Food prices and available incomes govern household decisions on food and dietary intake. But the outbreak of COVID-19 and a lack of decent work opportunities in many parts of the region, alongside significant uncertainty of food systems and markets, has led to a worsening of inequality, as poorer families with dwindling incomes further alter their diets to choose cheaper, less nutritious foods.

Making nutritious foods affordable and accessible

More than 350 million people in the Asia and the Pacific were undernourished in 2019, or roughly half of the global total. Across the region, an estimated 74.5 million children under 5 years of age were stunted (too short for their age) and 31.5 million suffered from wasting (too thin for height). The majority of these children live in Southern Asia with nearly 56 million stunted and more than 25 million wasted. At the same time, overweight and obesity has increased rapidly, especially in South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific, with an estimated 14.5 million children under 5, being overweight or obese.

Poor diets and inadequate nutritional intake is an ongoing problem. The cost of a healthy diet is significantly higher than that of a diet that provides sufficient calories but lacks in nutritional value, showing significant gaps in the food system to deliver nutritious options to all at an affordable price. These costs are even greater for women and children, given their added nutritional needs.

The report calls for a transformation of food systems in Asia and the Pacific, with an aim to increase the affordability of, and families’ access to, nutritious, safe, and sustainable diets. Nutritious and healthy diets need to be accessible to everyone, everywhere. To ensure that happens, the report recommends integrated approaches and policies are needed. These steps are vital to overcome unaffordability issues, and also to ensure healthy maternal and child diets.

Improving maternal and child diets requires strengthening vital systems

Nutrition is vitally important throughout a person’s life. The impact of a poor diet is most severe in the first 1000 days, from pregnancy to when a child reaches the age of 2. Young children, especially when they start eating their “first foods” at 6 months, have high nutritional requirements to grow well and every bite counts.

Mainstreaming nutrition-focused behaviour change campaigns throughout these systems should lead to greater knowledge uptake and sustainability of behaviours helping people to achieve healthy diets.

Education on what constitutes a healthy diet and how to create hygienic environments at home, in schools and in the community, together with investment in girl’s education and infrastructure that underlies good water, sanitation and hygiene practices, are critical.

Therefore, providing a nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable diet for all requires coordinating with partners in the Food, Water and Sanitation, Health, Social Protection and Education systems, to collectively create an enabling environment.

Greater attention is also needed to operationalize national policies and plans to improve the delivery of health services for maternal and child diets and good nutrition outcomes. Services to improve the diets of mothers and young children should be prioritized as part of the essential package of health services needed to address undernutrition, overweight and obesity and to achieve universal health coverage.

In the meantime, social protection efforts can protect and stabilize incomes and improve access to healthy diets during disasters and crises. At least nine governments in Asia and Pacific have established a targeted mother and child COVID-19 component in their social protection systems. However, more data collection and analysis are needed to document the effectiveness of social protection in improving maternal and child diets in the region.

Bringing everyone to the table

Food systems play a critical role in achieving food and nutrition security for all. A sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food system is essential to produce diverse and nutritious foods for healthy diets. Improved efficiency and productivity of value chains can reduce the costs of essential foods to make them more affordable.

These actions are needed now more than ever because the face of malnutrition is changing in Asia and the Pacific, with highly processed and inexpensive foods readily available throughout the region. These foods are often packed with sugar and unhealthy fats and lack the vitamins and minerals required for growth and development. Consumption of these foods increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Governments need to invest in nutrition and food safety in fresh and street food markets to promote healthy diets. Regulation of sales and marketing of food for consumers, especially children, is important to curb overweight, obesity and related diseases and illness.

The report also calls for action within the private sector, as it has an important role to play in supporting the transformation of the food system and its value chains for achieving healthy diets.

Leveraging these systems, in a coordinated fashion that expands the opportunities to address barriers to accessing and consuming healthy diets, will help countries and the people of Asia and the Pacific recover faster from the economic impact of COVID-19, and be better prepared for future crises.

The reportAsia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020: Maternal and Child Diets at the Heart of Improving Nutrition’ is jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.

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2020 Asia Pacific Humanitarian Response Overview

2020 Asia Pacific Humanitarian Response Overview

Over the course of the year, humanitarian needs and human vulnerabilities have grown across countries in Asia and the Pacific due to the health and economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The region was also battered by particularly harsh period of monsoon rains, tropical cyclones, floods, and landslides, resulting in a doubly difficult year for the world's most densely populated and disaster-prone region.

In the context of COVID-19, humanitarian agencies are overcoming increasingly complex challenges to reach the most vulnerable people affected by the mutually compounding socio-economic and humanitarian consequences of the pandemic, climatic disasters, and ongoing conflicts.

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2020 Asia Pacific Humanitarian Response Overview (page 2)

2020 ASIA PACIFIC HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE OVERVIEW OCHA Page 2

This year, the humanitarian community has launched response plans in 28 countries that have identified and prioritized over 97 million people who were most vulnerable and in most need of life-saving assistance in Asia and the Pacific.

Through these plans, the UN and partners have called for US$3.9 billion to fund humanitarian responses focused on the the most urgent needs of men, women, and children in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, DPR Korea, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Pacific (14 countries including Fiji, Vanuatu, and Samoa), Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam.

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Background
Report

Highlights from the Archive

Asia Pacific: Intersection of Gender and Disability in Humanitarian Responses in Asia and the Pacific

Asia Pacific: Community Insights from the Asia Pacific Region - Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Pakistan (23 September 2020) Asia Pacific: Pandemic Response in South-East Asia Must Address Rising Inequalities, Says New UN Report (31 July 2020)

Asia Pacific: Human Rights Dimensions of the COVID-19 Pandemic (22 June 2020)

Asia Pacific: FAO warns multiple impact of viruses, plagues and economic damage will fuel hunger (1 June 2020)

Asia Pacific: FAO announces new agreement to protect vulnerable family farmers and their farm animals from volcanic eruptions takes shape in the Asia-Pacific region (18 June 2020)

Asia Pacific: COVID-19 Risk Communications and Community Engagement 4W Dashboard (4 May 2020)

Asia Pacific: Combating the dual challenges of climate-related disasters and COVID-19 (4 May 2020)

Afghanistan: COVID-19 Access Impediment Report (29 April 2020)

Afghanistan: A young doctor’s fight to stem the spread of COVID-19 (4 May 2020)

Afghanistan: A safe space for children and families returning from Iran (15 May 2020)

Myanmar: "Stop the fighting, combine forces against a common enemy: COVID-19" -Humanitarian Coordinator (4 May 2020)

Myanmar: UN Launches European Union/Switzerland-Funded Humanitarian Flights (11 May 2020)

Myanmar: Humanitarians maintain life-saving support to internally displaced people as COVID-19 outbreak evolves (6 May 2020)

Nepal: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan Calls for US$108 Million (1 June 2020)

Pakistan: Fighting COVID-19 and other health emergencies (27 July 2021)

Pakistan: Humanitarian Response Plan For COVID-19 Pandemic 2020 (1 June 2020)

Papua New Guinea: Revised COVID-19 Multi-Sector Response Plan Call for US$ 105 Million (1 June 2020)

Philippines: Responding to a Triple Crisis (6 January 2021)

Philippines: Engaging Vulnerable People and Communities in the COVID-19 Pandemic Response (12 May 2020)

Philippines: Single mother in Mindanao survives domestic abuse, earthquakes, and COVID-19 (7 July 2020)

Philippines: How the Philippines is quietly implementing a more localized COVID-19 humanitarian response (Part1) (Part 2) (Part 4)

Pacific: UN and Partners Launch the Pacific Humanitarian Team COVID-19 Response Plan (7 May 2020)

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