Daily Archives: April 7, 2015

Children’s deaths set to rise in Yemen, UNICEF warns

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Children in Yemen. Photo: UNICEF

At least 74 children have been killed amid an intensification in the conflict in Yemen in the north and south of the country, UNICEF said Tuesday.

The UN children’s agency said that its figures are a conservative estimate of the actual number of victims killed since 26 March, when government-backed coalition forces began targeting Shia Houthi rebels.

World Health Organization meanwhile condemned the deaths of volunteer health workers in the country and warned that this could have a serious impact on providing life-saving assistance to millions of people.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Youngsters have been “killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes,” UNICEF has reported, as fighting continues between coalition forces and rebels.

Agency spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that in addition to the 74 known child victims, 44 children had been maimed in the last two weeks.

He said that the conflict had exacerbated an “already precarious” situation for youngsters in Yemen where severe acute malnutrition is widespread.

“Children continue to be killed, injured, displaced and put at increasing risk from disease; these children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict in line with international humanitarian law.”

More than 100,000 people have left their homes because of the fighting, UNICEF said, and hospitals have been overwhelmed by mass casualties.

World Health Organization meanwhile deplored the deaths of four medical staff killed since 30 March in separate incidents in the south and north-west tip of the country.

WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said it was vital that health workers, hospitals and ambulances are treated as “neutral premises” and not used for military purposes.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1’09”

Water Running Out in Yemen

Among other things, a lack of diesel fuel has caused water pumps in major urban centers to stop functioning. “According to the United Nations and humanitarian aid agencies, major urban centers, including the southern city of Aden, which has a population of about 1 million, may run out of drinking water. The fighting has displaced thousands of Yemenis, and a continuation of the unrest could produce waves of refugees reminiscent of the flight of Syrians from cities and towns engulfed in that country’s civil war, analysts and aid workers say. About 4 million people have poured out of Syria and 6 million more are internally displaced because of the fighting.” (WaPo http://wapo.st/1H0ecPG)

Happy World Health Day! The theme this year: food safety…World Health Day will be celebrated on 7 April, with WHO highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe.” “Food production has been industrialized and its trade and distribution have been globalized,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “These changes introduce multiple new opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals.” (WHO http://bit.ly/1H0eWV2 )

Ominous Quote of the Day: “The situation in Yarmouk has descended into lower levels of inhumanity.” — UNRWA Spokesperson Christopher Gunnes on the ISIS takeover of Syria’s largest Palestinian enclave. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1H0ertT)

Ominous Tweet of the Day…“4,000 people have arrived @UNPeacekeeping #UNMISS base in #Malakal in the past 48 hours; a sign that all is not well in #UpperNile state.” @TobyLanzer — a top UN official in South Sudan

Africa

Kenya is compiling a list of people suspected to have joined Somali militant group al Shabaab or been radicalised by Islamists, a government source said on Monday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1c1ep9C)

Boko Haram militants disguised as preachers killed at least 24 people and wounded several others in an attack near a mosque in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, a military source and witness said on Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GZ4b5j)

French special forces have rescued a Dutch hostage in Mali after discovering him by surprise during a dawn raid against suspected al-Qaida-linked jihadists. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1H0exSq)

Despite a decrease in deadly attacks, Cameroon said suspected Boko Haram fighters have been seizing food and livestock from farmers and cattle ranchers on its northern border with Nigeria for the past few weeks. Most of the food producers are now relocating to safer areas away from the border. (VOA http://bit.ly/1c1eoCo)

The head of a South Sudanese opposition political party was taken from his home by unidentified men two days ago and has not been seen since, members of his People’s Liberal Party said. (VOA http://bit.ly/1IDn2ky)

A rights group and an opposition lawmaker called on Monday on the government of Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the late night burial of at least 421 bodies last month. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1c1ep9w)

MENA

Fierce clashes raged Monday between rebels and loyalists in southern Yemen, leaving more than 100 dead in 24 hours. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GZ48X1)

The Red Cross said Monday that an aid plane is ready to leave for Yemen but its departure has been held back by logistics problems inside the war-torn country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GZ48GD)

A Palestinian official said Monday a delegation was heading to Damascus for talks on helping residents inside the Yarmuk refugee camp, parts of which have been overrun by the Islamic State group. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GZ49dI)

Islamic State insurgents blew up an 80-year-old church in Syria’s northeastern province of Hassaka on Easter Sunday, Syrian state news agency SANA said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1CcB08m_

Asia

Amid growing concerns that India is not doing enough to combat alarming levels of air pollution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a national air-quality index to monitor conditions in 10 major cities. The focus on air pollution came after the Indian capital surpassed Beijing in having the world’s most toxic air. (VOA http://bit.ly/1c1eoCB_

The death toll from high winds and heavy rain lashing northern Bangladesh rose to 41 after police and officials reported 17 more deaths in the past two days in storm damage, police and officials said on Monday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1CcAxDc)

The Americas

Nineteen former leaders from Latin America and Spain are pressuring Venezuela to release opposition politicians who have been detained. (AP http://yhoo.it/1CcAw27)

Rolling Stone magazine withdrew and apologised for a discredited story about a gang rape on a US college campus Sunday, publishing a review of the debacle that found “avoidable” failures in basic journalism practices. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1CcAlUo)

Opinion/Blogs

Despite its anti-corruption creativity, India is still a one man, one bribe democracy (Guardian http://bit.ly/1IDn1NJ)

Bucket List – Six Things Ellen Johson-Sirleaf Must Do Before Her Government Expires (Front Page Africa http://bit.ly/1CczUcA)

Be an Optimista, not a Randomista (when you have small samples) (Development Impact http://bit.ly/1C76my2)

“No Person Can Develop Without Access to Financial Services” (CFI Blog http://bit.ly/1F6WzhE)

The Rise of a Post-colonial University (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1F6Wzhy

Big Data and Anticorruption: A Great Fit (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1F6Wz15)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO http://bit.ly/1C768Hk)

Discussion

comments…

Yemen's humanitarian crisis worsens as aid delayed

NNA – Shia rebels fighting for the control of Yemen and forces backing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have engaged in fierce clashes in the country’s south, leaving more than 140 people dead in 24 hours, as the Red Cross faces delays to deliver vital supplies.

Monday’s clashes happened in Aden, a power base for Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia as the rebels, known as Houthis, expanded their control across the country.

Citing unnamed officials, the AFP news agency reported that 17 civilians were among more than 140 people killed in Aden, where fighting continued as rebels tried to seize a port in the city.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the death toll.

The clashes came amid reports that Hadi had sacked three of his top military officers. The officers include General Abdullah Khayran, the Chief of Staff; Deputy Chief of Staff General Zakariah al Shami and Head of Special Forces, General Abdularrazak Almrouni.

Relief workers have warned of a dire situation in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state, where a Saudi-led coalition is waging an air war on the Iran-backed rebels.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that one passenger plane carrying staff was able to land in Sanaa on Monday, but that the organisation has not yet been able to find a cargo plane operator to fly supplies into the country.

Sitara Jabeen, the ICRC’s spokesperson, told Al Jazeera that the humanitarian situation was worsening.

“The situation in Yemen remains extremely critical. The conflict … has intensified, especially in Aden. We are still trying to find a cargo plane that can carry our supplies to Sanaa,” said Jabeen, speaking from the Yemeni capital.

“We got permission from the coalition yesterday [to deliver supplies], but so far we have not been able to find a logistical solution to this problem …There are less and less airlines that are flying to Sanaa and the country’s airline itself has suspended flights until further notice.”

===============R.H.