[ Archives ]
[ Subscribe ]
[ Search by date ]
April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Blog - ECHO in the field

Tajikistan villagers: “No one can solve our problems better than we can”

April 15th, 2014
Photo credit: Save the Children

Photo credit: Save the Children

A small village in Tajikistan has shown how resilient communities can protect themselves from natural disasters. When unexpected rains threatened this remote community living deep in the mountains, its members were quick to take charge. They saved their lives and properties from a potentially disastrous mud flow, as explained by the head of the village council. Read the full entry

South Sudan’s displaced face increasing traumas and violence

April 4th, 2014
South Sudan’s displaced face increasing traumas and violence ©EU/ECHO/Malini Morzaria

South Sudan’s displaced face increasing traumas and violence ©EU/ECHO/Malini Morzaria

 Ayak, her sister and children had just reached Lakes State and were living under a makeshift plastic sheet.  They had arrived in Awerial County a few days earlier, fleeing the violence in neighbouring Jonglei State. Amer, Ayak’s seven year old niece lay unmoving with her arm over her eyes.

“We were hiding in the bush for some time and there, she [Amer] got sick – it is swamp and there are many mosquitos so we treated her for malaria in Bor town before we came here.  This is her second bout” Said Ayak, Amer’s aunt. Read the full entry

Clearing routes of landmines in South Sudan

April 4th, 2014
UNMAS Roller created safe corridor along roads suspected of being mined - Photo credit: UNMAS

UNMAS Roller created safe corridor along roads suspected of being mined – Photo credit: UNMAS

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), through its partner the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), has been working to clear routes of landmines and unexploded ordnance since 2012.

On 15 December 2013, fighting broke out in Juba between different fractions of the army. Conflict and insecurity very quickly spread throughout many parts of the country and was accompanied by large-scale ethnic targeting. Since then, South Sudan has descended into an armed conflict with forces opposing the government holding large areas (mainly in three States: Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile). Hundreds of thousands have become displaced in areas potentially contaminated with the detritus of war. Read the full entry

Ebola epidemic: Interview with a health expert on the ground

April 3rd, 2014
Ebola can be stopped by isolating patients and protecting those who have direct contact with them - © Kjell Gunnar Beraas

Ebola can be stopped by isolating patients and protecting those who have direct contact with them – © Kjell Gunnar Beraas

For the first time in West Africa, a case of Ebola was confirmed on 21 March, three weeks after the first alert of a possible viral haemorrhagic fever emerged from Guinea’s Forest region. Animals such as fruit bats, rodents and monkeys, abundant in the adjacent rain forest, are believed to have served as ‘reservoir’ for the virus. However, once it passed from an infected animal to a human-being, the virus is now ready for human-to-human transmission. Though frightening and very lethal, relatively simple precautions can break the cycle of transmission and stop the epidemic from spreading. Dr Jean-Louis Mosser, health expert from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), is in the Guinean capital, Conakry, where he has been participating in crisis meetings and guiding ECHO’s response. He gives us a state of affairs.
Read the full entry

A devastating foretaste of South Sudan’s upcoming rainy season

April 2nd, 2014

Floods in TompingA race is on to reach displaced communities with humanitarian support before it’s too late

08/03/2014 – The storm came with such speed and ferocity that no one was prepared, twenty year-old Thot told me the following morning, as families around us struggled to find places out of the water and mud to dry their mattresses and clothing. “I was sitting with my five brothers and sisters in the tent, playing a game, and then . . . boom, the rains came down so hard it was like the sky was angry with the people below,” he said. “The floor quickly filled with water and all of our clothes, food, supplies, everything was soaked. The little ones were scared, but what could we do? We just sat there, wet, until the rain passed.”

Read the full entry

The day I performed at the Nyaragusu refugee camp in Tanzania

April 1st, 2014
Jerry Julian performed a concert in Nyaragusu refugee camp

Jerry Julian performed a concert in Nyaragusu refugee camp

01/04/2014 – Earlier this year, musician Jerry Julian performed a concert in Nyaragusu refugee camp, Tanzania. WFP organised the event to highlight the support given to the refugees by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

In 2008, I had a life-changing experience when I played music at Beldangi camp in Nepal which held more than 100 000 refugees from neighbouring Bhutan. The concert was organised by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and was my very first time to perform for refugees.

This year, I was asked by WFP to play for refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These men, women, and children fled violence in their homeland in the early 1990s and now live in a sprawl of mud huts in Nyaragusu, north-western Tanzania.

Read the full entry

EU Children of PEACE in Somalia: Safyia goes to school

March 17th, 2014
EU Children of PEACE in Somalia: Safyia goes to school

Safyia goes to school

17/03/2014 – By the age of 14, Safyia had never attended school. She used to work for a wealthy family in Mogadishu, to support her underprivileged family. Safyia’s father is unemployed and her mother struggles to earn enough to provide for her family. One day, Safyia was accused by the “employer” family for having stolen jewellery. For that, she was first mistreated, insulted and finally severely beaten. This called the attention of Hamda, a nearby neighbour Community Case Worker (CCW) of the Cesvi organisation, who immediately intervened and provided assistance to the traumatised girl. Safyia was referred to a hospital where she was provided with emotional support during all the extensive medical treatment process.

The Cesvi CCW accompanied Safyia back home and relayed the situation to her parents. During this time, Hamda also inquired about the reasons behind sending their daughter to work, rather than to school. While Safyia’s parents were informed of the risks they were exposing their daughter to and the consequences on her mental and physical health, they were also reminded of their role in protecting their child and ensuring her rights.

Read the full entry

Food Vouchers – a new initiative to fight hunger in Chad

March 12th, 2014
Food vouchers

Food vouchers

12/03/2014 – In Chad, poverty is at the heart of food-insecurity rather than lack in the local markets. This is why, following market and vulnerability analyses, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Chad introduced in October 2013 a food-voucher pilot project, fully funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and run in partnership with international NGOs, ACTED and Intermon Oxfam. Whilst ECHO and WFP have already collaborated on such projects in many countries in the past, this was the first time such a project was carried out in Chad.

Khayar Chiguefe, a widow and mother of eight, is one of the 4 400 heads of household who were identified to receive the vouchers on behalf of their families.  “I am very satisfied with this new type of food distribution since we receive local products that are part of our regular diet” she says.

Read the full entry

Women in humanitarian crises: a tribute on International Women’s Day

March 7th, 2014
International Women's Day - 8 March Photo credit: EC/ECHO/WFP

International Women’s Day – 8 March
Photo credit: EC/ECHO/WFP

Day by day, women play an extraordinary role in prevention and response to emergencies. As today marks the International Women’s Day, we would like to pay tribute to a few of these vulnerable, yet, very powerful women, some of whom have encountered overwhelming difficulties but were still able to help their families and communities. Hyiam, Reem, Rebecca, Merlinda, Yveni, Sonawati, Pojamma and Adi live in various parts of the world. What they have in common are their bravery and determination in facing catastrophes, either receiving or delivering relief assistance. They are among the 120 million disaster and conflict victims, assisted by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) every year.

Read the full entry

Haiti four years after: the story of Yveni

February 28th, 2014
“I was talking on the phone when the earthquake hit.  At first, I thought it was a strong, strong wind.  But then I realised that it was an earthquake,” recalls Yvenie Clermont

“I was talking on the phone when the earthquake hit. At first, I thought it was a strong, strong wind. But then I realised that it was an earthquake,” recalls Yvenie Clermont

On 12 January 2010, Haiti was brought to its knees in a matter of seconds; 35 seconds, to be exact. Lives lost, homes destroyed, businesses ruined, hopes dashed, dreams shattered.  

“I was talking on the phone when the earthquake hit.  At first, I thought it was a strong, strong wind.  But then I realised that it was an earthquake,” recalls Yvenie Clermont, then a 38-year-old single mother, living in a crowded neighbourhood of the capital, Port au Prince. “When I realised what was happening, I grabbed my son, pulled him to me, covered our heads and waited for it to stop”.  

When she opened her eyes, everything had come crashing down around her, and despair set in: “Before the earthquake, I had a small business selling cosmetics.  But I lost everything.  My home, all my merchandise that was stored downtown.  I had no money and nowhere to go, so I ended up living in a camp under a tent with my son. I had no idea what I was going to do.”  Read the full entry