Saturday, March 15, 2008

Humanitarian action in emergencies

16-year old Ekleema waits to deliver her first baby after being in labour for 24 hours. She knows that childbearing is a risky business in Afghanistan, a country facing dearth of trained medical professionals due to escalating conflict.

For, Tilak Magar, a seventh-grade student who escaped his native village in eastern Nepal following an armed conflict, the yearning desire is to become a teacher and return to his village. He now runs a club in one of the country’s town working for children’s rights.

Through these stories, UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action Report 2008 highlights plight of women and children who continue to bear the brunt of conflict, displacement and deteriorating living conditions.

In 2007, several natural disasters and man-made emergencies affected millions of lives across the globe. Floods, cyclones, ethnic strives have threatened lives in every continent. Efforts need to be stepped up to address such grave humanitarian concerns.

The report outlines UNICEF’s appeal for 39 emergencies around the world.

In context of South Asia, children face myriad challenges arising from poverty, access to quality social services, bonded labour, trafficking etc. Protracted conflict in Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka and natural disasters in Bangladesh and India have created a large number of internally displaced persons.

A major finding is that timely and flexible funding enables international actors to respond effectively in collaboration with their national counterparts. Adequate resources and adaptable financial and administrative procedures are essential for an effective response to emergencies.

For instance, in the aftermath of Tsunami disaster in 2004, global funding mechanism and full organisational support to address emergencies was activated.

The report focuses upon the importance of expanding partnerships with governments, NGOs and private sector.

Improving coordination between all the humanitarian actors is vital for quick assistance in emergencies. It also helps in strengthening disaster preparedness and response skills of the actors.

As part of the broader humanitarian reform agenda, the report emphasises on greater predictability, accountability and leadership in humanitarian action.

Another important conclusion of the report is that children and communities should be equipped with necessary skills needed to identify warning signals and cope with disasters.

Source: http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/158645/1/6721



Read the Report Here: http://www.unicef.org/har08/files/HAR_2008_FULL_Report_English.pdf


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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