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ACTIVE Emergencies ECHO DAILY Flash

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 ECHO Daily Flash of 29 May 2015

I. International

Syria – Conflict (ECHO, UN)

  • In her latest briefing to the UN Security Council (UN SC) on 27 May, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said that the situation in Syria is extremely grave and deteriorating by the day with continuous fighting and attacks against civilians throughout the country. Amos noted that humanitarian access to people in need in Syria remains extremely difficult with parties to the conflict practically ignoring the UN SC resolutions calling for an end to the violence and the facilitation of humanitarian access. In the past months, indiscriminate attacks on schools and hospitals have taken place and the use of chlorine continued to be reported.
  • Amos highlighted that approximately 422 000 people live under siege in Syria; almost twice the number as when the UN SC resolution 2139 was adopted in February 2014 and that the 12.2 million in need of humanitarian assistance represented an increase of about one-third during the same period. Moreover, additional 540 000 persons have been internally displaced since January 2015, adding to the 7.63 million who were displaced across the country by late 2014.
  • According to OCHA, the governorates of Idleb, Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, Al-Hassakeh and Dar’a in the south of the country have been mostly affected by population displacement this year as a result of persistent violence and conflict. In Idleb, where armed groups continue advancing, more than 152 150 people have been displaced since March. On 28 May, Jabhat al-Nusra and other armed groups seized the town of Ariha, a government stronghold south of Idleb city. Growing concerns exist as to the potential for more population displacement in and across the governorate and the conditions in the besieged towns of Kafayra and Fu’ah where a majority of Shi’a families reside.

Libya – Humanitarian situation (ECHO, UN, NGOs)

  • Insecurity and fighting in Libya continue unabated. Violence against civilian communities and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation are overarching concerns. The Libya Body Count has documented 757 violent deaths in Libya this year; while 2 825 deaths were recorded in 2014. In the eastern coastal city of Benghazi the violence is having considerable impact on the population. In the past week, at least 13 children were killed during rocket attacks, shelling and fighting in the city.  Moreover, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that parties to the conflict are not allowing the passage of families who want to leave the insecurity, food shortages, electricity cuts, and the lack of medical care that is affecting Benghazi. Until late 2014, the Libyan Red Crescent Society had coordinated with forces loyal to the Libyan Army and opposing groups the safe passage of civilians out of the city. However, according to HRW, since early this year such facilitation attempts have failed due to disagreements between the parties.
  • The UN Support Mission in Libya has also condemned the indiscriminate violence against civilians who, in several parts of the country, are facing repeated spates of suicide bombings, violent attacks, as well as abductions and hostage-taking on account of their actual or perceived origin, family and political affiliation. In addition, the extreme living conditions in detention centres for more than 4 800 women, children and men, are of serious concern. About 65% of the persons in the detention centres have been either rescued at sea or intercepted by Libyan migration authorities while trying to reach Europe.
  • In parallel, humanitarian organizations face serious difficulties to reach communities and vulnerable internally displaced families affected by the ongoing violence in several parts of Libya. The World Food Programme (WFP) recently resumed food assistance to support about 51 000 vulnerable and displaced families in western Libya; but access restrictions remain a major obstacle for scaling up assistance in a timely manner.

Burundi – Refugee Crisis and Cholera Situation (ECHO, UNHCR)

  • The number of Burundian refugees in Rwanda has slightly increased to 28 409 people, whilst the number of new influx has diminished during the last two days (107 new refugees per day on average). A vaccination campaign against measles and polio was launched in the Mahama camp for all children under 15.
  • Tanzania is hosting 47 929 refugees according to the latest statistics. The Kagunga transit site was closed and the last refugees were evacuated by boat on 26 May. In total, almost 35 000 people were transported Kagunga. A sharp decrease in cholera cases has been registered; no new cases have been identified during the last two days, thanks to an effective combination of prevention and identification measures of suspected cases.
  • The number of new Burundian asylum seekers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has reached 9 798 people on 25 May.  A UNICEF intervention (under the RRMP mechanism – Reponse Rapide aux Mouvements de Population) is planned to start on 29 May and will provide support to health centres and organize measles and polio vaccination campaigns. ECHO is one of the main donors of this intervention. UNHCR announced that an early relocation of refugees to the Lusenda site (Fizi territory) will begin on 1 June.
  • The number of cholera cases has increased in Burundi, most of them seems to originate from Kagunga, the Tanzanian village where refugees were hosted. According to the Health Ministry, on 28 May, cumulated cases reached 22 in Kabonga (Burundi village, closed to Kagunga), 34 in Bukeye and 4 In Gihofi (new cases, Province of Rutana).

DRC - Displacement (ECHO)

  • Two Internally Displaced People (IDP) sites at the periphery of Goma closed last week, as most of the IDPs (684) decided to return to their areas of origin, while others (143) joined other IDP sites. The main objective of the humanitarian partners and authorities by facilitating these closures was to rationalize the number of IDP sites to ensure better and more cost effective provision of assistance.
  • Four IDP sites still remain in Goma and host more than 16 000 IDPs. 57 IDP sites remain in North Kivu, hosting over 202 000 people. An additional 700 000 people in North Kivu remained IDPs living within host communities as of end of May.

India - Heatwave (ECHO, Indian Government, IMD, Local Media)

  • According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the heat wave in the two most affected states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh besides Odisha (where  the highest maximum temperature of 46.5 degrees Celsius was recorded on 28 May) and West Bengal is expected to continue until 30 and 31 May 2015. 
  • The consolidated death toll due to heat wave in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is 1 700 as per media reports.
  • The heat wave is not treated so far as a natural calamity unlike cold wave in India, but an important number of  villages and settlements in the state of Maharashtra are reported to suffer from water shortage.
  • The Government has issued advisory for people to keep themselves at home during the day time and drink lot of water and fluids. Arrangements regarding provision of water has been made by the Government and hospitals instructed to be prepared to receive cases of heat strokes.
  • No major humanitarian impact is foreseen other than wage loss in the past  week for daily wage earners, which should be locally managed.

China - Severe weather UPDATE (Chinese Government, WMO, CMA, Local Media)

  • Severe weather, including heavy rainfall, winds and hail, continues affecting southern China, with 83mm of rain observed in Guangchang, Jiangxi province, in 24h over 27-28 May.
  • As of 29 May, four people were killed in Anfu county in Jiangxi due to a landslide, according to local authorities. Throughout the province, there are over 4 600 evacuees and more than 100 houses have been destroyed.
  • In Guizhou province, heavy rainfall has reportedly killed a further two people, according to local media. The Chinese Government reports 4 200 evacuees throughout the province and over 4 000 houses damaged to various degrees, as of 29 May.
  • Severe weather since mid-May has caused the death of over 40 people in south China. Several others were still missing, according to the latest report of the local authorities (22 May).
  • Heavy rainfall is still forecast for south China, including Jiangxi and south-eastern Guizhou, over the next 24h.

Japan - Volcanic eruption (JMA, Tokyo VAAC, Local Media)

  • Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabujima island, south of Kyushu island, erupted on 29 May, at 1.07 UTC. The plume rose to 9km and pyroclastic material was flowing from the south-west side of Shindake towards the north-west coast of the island.
  • As of the time of eruption, the JMA raised the level of the volcano alert to 5 (maximum level), corresponding to an evacuation order for the island, which has a population of 137 people. The pyroclastic flow is expected to reach the residential area of Kuchierabujima and further eruptions are considered possible.
  • No injuries have been reported by local media, as of 29 May, early morning (UTC).
II. Europe

Meteoalarm - as of 29 May, 6.50 UTC (EUMETNET Meteoalarm)

  • Thunderstorms in central-eastern Greece and the Cyclades - Orange Alert

Reported high discharges/floods warnings during the last 24 hours by National services (EFAS)

  • Finland: Water level in lake Pielinen in eastern Finland is unusually high and increasing. High and increasing water levels reported in rivers in the north (Lapland).
  • Croatia: Ongoing high discharges of the second highest alert level (of four) on Zupanijski kanal (decreasing) and of the second lowest alert level on Danube, Vucica and Cesma (stabile) and on Sava and Ilova (decreasing).
  • Poland: High discharges reported in the upstream parts of Wisla river. A national flood warning (second highest alert level) has been issued. The water levels are stable or decreasing.
III. Factsheets

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