Center for Humanitarian Health Weekly Newsletter
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The Humanitarian Health Weekly Newsletter

Week of January 16th - January 22nd, 2017

Humanitarian Emergency News

Deaths from Nigerian refugee camp air strike rises to 90, could reach 170

The death toll from an accidental Nigerian air strike on a refugee camp in the town of Rann has risen to around 90 people, and could be as high as 170. Tuesday's strike on the northeastern town in Borno state, which had Boko Haram militants as its target, has led to an investigation by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). On Thursday, Human Rights Watch said the strike had destroyed 35 structures, and hit 100 metres from what appears to be a Nigerian military compound, raising questions about why precautions were not taken to avoid harming civilans. Borno is the epicentre of Boko Haram's seven-year-long attempt to create an Islamic caliphate in the northeast. The insurgency has killed more than 15,000 people since 2009 and forced some two million to flee their homes, many of whom have moved to camps for internally displaced people.

Ex-President Yahya Jammeh leaves The Gambia after losing election
Gambia's former President Yahya Jammeh has left the country in the wake of elections that ousted him after 22 years in power. He boarded a plane to Guinea and from there will travel on to exile in Equatorial Guinea. Mr Jammeh was defeated in December's election by Adama Barrow but went on to challenge the results. Troops from several West African nations, including Senegal, had been deployed in The Gambia, threatening to drive Mr Jammeh out of office if he did not agree to go. Mr Jammeh's decision to quit came after talks with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania. The details of the arrangements made - or promises offered to persuade Mr Jammeh to give up power peacefully are not yet known, but there was the real threat of military action from regional states. Thousands had fled to neighbouring Senegal fearing violence - but large groups began to return to The Gambia on Saturday

Chile declares state of emergency due to massive wildfires

Chile declared a state of emergency on Friday as more than a dozen wildfires that have scorched nearly 50,000 hectares (123,500 acres) threatened to encroach on towns, factories and vineyards. Firefighters, forestry service personnel and members of the military are battling 18 separate blazes in the center and south of the country that have been fueled by strong winds and a heat wave. The smoke from the blazes cloaked Santiago in a thick haze. Television news images showed helicopters and planes trying to douse the out-of-control fires, apparently to little avail. The head of Chile's CONAF forestry service, Aaron Cavieres, said the fires were caused by humans, but that it could not be determined whether they were set intentionally.

Special Reports

Zambia tries new way to beat drought: solar grain mills

Across Zambia, drought that swept across the region last year, leading to widespread crop failure, has sent cereal prices soaring. The high cost of buying food has persuaded a share of small-scale farmers to hang onto their maize, rice and cassava harvests and mill them for their own household use and for their livestock, rather than selling the grain into the market. But a combination of higher fuel prices and unstable electrical supplies - both the result of lack of rainfall hitting hydropower - mean many small grain mills are charging higher prices for milling, or don't have sufficient capacity. But Zambia's government hopes it has an answer: Since 2015 it has been installing hundreds of small solar-powered mills in rural areas as a way to help hold down the price of producing food.

Crisis Updates

Life returns to Mosul neighborhoods freed from IS

The Iraqi military launched its campaign to end IS reign in Mosul on October 17, and the first troops entered the city on the east bank of the Tigris early in November. Since then, the front line has rolled through the eastern half of Mosul, exposing its inhabitants to the fighting while pushing back the insurgents. Since the start of the year, reinforcements and new tactics have quickened the pace of the offensive, and a string of neighborhoods have been liberated in quick succession. As the liberation of Mosul from the "Islamic State" group gathers pace, Iraq's second city has been coming back to life with remarkable speed. Citizens reacquaint themselves with luxuries, such as cigarettes and cell phones, but Mosul is still lacking medicine, construction materials, and power.

Southern Thailand prepares for more downpours

Provincial authorities in the South of Thailand have prepared measures to handle another round of flooding as more downpours are expected later this week.  People living near Khlong Bang Saphan have been told to notify village heads and evacuate if the river begins to overflow the embankments. Local army bases have been asked to have their vehicles ready for rescue operations as well as provide manpower to help prevent severe flooding. In Nakhon Si Thammarat, people in the low-lying areas remain vigilant as their homes are likely to be flooded again. Residents have also been warned against contracting leptospirosis following a report of one infection in Pak Phanang district. The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Director-General Chatchai Promlert revealed that six provinces are still battered by the flood including Phatthalung, Songkhla, Trang, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

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