Center for Humanitarian Health Weekly Newsletter
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The Humanitarian Health Weekly Newsletter

Week of January 30th - February 5th, 2017

Center for Humanitarian Health News
Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP) – July 10th to July 28th, 2017

Registration for the Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP) course has begun for July 10th to July 28th, 2017.  The course is offered by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in joint collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. For more than 20 years, the HELP course has offered humanitarian workers an intensive training experience in public health principles and disaster epidemiology. The course was founded based on the need for humanitarian workers to acquire a holistic understanding of the needs of refugees, internally displaced persons, and others affected by natural disasters and conflict in order more effectively manage health crises in emergency settings.

For more information please check out the course website:

Humanitarian Emergency News

Colombia: new report depicts difficult humanitarian situation in border areas

The humanitarian situation in Colombia’s border areas remains deeply challenging, according to a recent study by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Colombian Ombudsman. The report shows that despite the efforts made by national and local institutions to assist victims of the armed conflict, clear gaps remain, in particular in terms of access to State services and prevention of forced displacement, loss of property and child recruitment. The situation of Afro-descendant and indigenous communities settled in border areas is of particular concern. Although legislative changes have been made to ensure the protection and survival of ethnic groups, the Colombian government must do much more to improve the living conditions of these communities as well as their physical and cultural protection, the report says. It also calls for the defense of their territory and the strengthening of self-government.

Health needs soar as fighting flares in eastern Ukraine
A large shipment of WHO interagency emergency health kits is on its way to help meet immediate health needs in response to the recent intensification of fighting and shelling in the eastern part of Ukraine. Thousands of civilians are living in subzero temperatures and many others are injured and urgently in need of life-saving medical care. Further suffering and loss of life can be expected if preventive and emergency response measures are not taken immediately. Despite soaring health needs, emergency response measures in eastern Ukraine continue to be plagued by severe shortages of humanitarian funding. The Government of Ukraine has organized voluntary medical evacuations for children and vulnerable residents of Avdiivka, a city north of Donetsk, but thousands more in the area may need to be evacuated in the coming weeks due to continued shelling and extreme cold. Cold weather particularly threatens the health of patients, especially pregnant women and sick children, in hospitals that are cut off from electricity, water and central heating systems.

Dozens killed as heavy snow hits Afghanistan and Pakistan
Dozens of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan were killed after heavy snow and avalanches hit over the weekend. In eastern Afghanistan, at least 50 people died and dozens more were missing on Sunday after an avalanche buried a village in Nuristan. Based on information from district officials, 50 dead bodies have been recovered and the number may increase. At least five other deaths from collapsed roofs were reported elsewhere in Nuristan.  In the northern province of Badakhshan, over the past two days as many as 19 people were killed and 17 injured by avalanches, collapsed roofs and road accidents. The government was working to reach at least 12 districts in Badakhshan that had been completely cut off. In neighbouring Pakistan, at least nine people, including children, were killed by an avalanche in the northern Chitral district, with as many as 14 residents believed to still be trapped in collapsed houses. So far the rescue workers have recovered nine bodies and efforts are under way to retrieve more. The avalanche struck a village of 25 houses, but evacuation operations were delayed by the weather. There is no way to rush the injured persons to Chitral hospital because all roads in the valley have been blocked due to heavy snowfall.


Special Reports


A new digital platform designed to link Syrian refugees with potential employers worldwide was launched, according to the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), helping refugees overcome barriers such as language and lack of connections in local job markets. The platforms allow employers worldwide to advertise jobs to target Syrian refugees who can register with the platform with their resumes, and cover letter. The platforms users can also apply to jobs worldwide and compete in the recruitment process. With the Syria crisis entering its 7th year, more than 4.8 million refugees from Syria are living in neighboring countries, who have been facing challenges trying to incorporate these vast numbers into their local job market, and the refugees find integration in their new setting difficult due to language barriers, unclear labor laws and legal status.

Humanitarian Health Updates

Displacement wave expected if Mosul, Hawiga fighting intensifies

As many as 250,000 people could be driven from their homes in Mosul in the coming months, as fighting escalates in densely populated western areas of Iraq’s second largest city. Over 160,000 people have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since October 17, with some 83 percent finding safety in camps and emergency sites run by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its partners. Despite insecurity and the danger of fresh fighting, nearly 30,000 people from Mosul and surrounding areas have returned to their homes since October 2016. Now, some of them are leaving again because of lack of services and bad conditions. In some places, security and the lack of food and water is so acute that some people rely on emergency relief items, including kerosene, which they receive while staying in the camps. Elsewhere in Iraq, UNHCR reports increasing numbers fleeing Hawiga due to deteriorating living conditions. The area, 130 km south east of Mosul, is also expected to see increased military operations. Up to 114,000 individuals could be displaced from Hawiga, according to inter-agency planning estimates. So far, 82,128 people have fled since August 2016.

Thailand: Rehabilitation in process to restore flood-damaged South

Efforts to restore the flood-damaged southern region have begun, to help those hit by weeks of inundation to regain their lives. The army and governors in different provinces have begun projects to reconstruct flood-destroyed houses. Meanwhile, in Krabi, locals whose farmland and produce have been hit by the flooding received advice from the Krabi Provincial Agricultural Office on the use of chemicals to revive their land and prevent any spread of fungi brought on by a long period of inundation. The Department of Agricultural Extension has dispatched a caravan carrying supplies to help rehabilitate flood-damaged farmland in 12 southern provinces, where over 1.1 million rai of land was hit hard.

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