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World Humanitarian Day 2014
Published 08/18/2014 by Global Communities
World Humanitarian Day 2014
World Humanitarian Day is held annually in August in honor of aid workers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Global Communities commemorates their sacrifice and reaffirms our commitment to the lifesaving work that humanitarians carry out around the world every day, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances, where others cannot or do not want to go. Global Communities is working with communities around the world helping them address their unique humanitarian challenges in locally appropriate and innovative ways.
Gaza: Providing Aid to Vulnerable People During Conflict
The conflict in Gaza this summer caused a drastic deterioration of humanitarian conditions there. Between July 7 and August 13, more than 1,415 civilians in Gaza were killed, and 370,000 people were displaced due to damage to their homes or through fleeing the bombing. There is a rapidly growing health care crisis, with the wounded and traumatized unable to get the help they need. Global Communities is responding, as we did before in the 2008-09 and 2012 conflicts, to the needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. Global Communities is providing food assistance to internally displaced and vulnerable families, household and personal hygiene kits as well as other essential non-food items, shelter kits for homeless families, and psychosocial support for some of the 373,000 traumatized children in Gaza. To date, Global Communities has provided emergency relief supplies and meals to more than 60,000 individuals with funding from USAID. Additionally, through our partnership with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), we resumed our regular July-August food distribution cycle, targeting 85,000 people.
Global Communities has worked continuously in Gaza for 20 years. Today we provide assistance to many of the 60% of the population that is food insecure, through the WFP, and in recent years have developed kitchen gardens, undertaken home repairs for vulnerable families, provided shelters, as well as running a microfinance program that supports home owners and entrepreneurs. Global Communities knows the communities well, and we work within all legal parameters, directly identifying and vetting beneficiaries to ensure that the most vulnerable receive the assistance they need. This current crisis comes atop a protracted humanitarian crisis. Of the 1.7 million people in the densely packed Gaza Strip, 57% are under the age of 18. Prior to the current conflict, 39% were unemployed and lived below the poverty line. Farming and fishing are heavily restricted, sewage is untreated and flows directly into the fishing grounds, and the whole strip has lived under a heavy blockade since 2007, restricting movement of people and goods.
Liberia: Global Communities Conducts Community Outreach to Combat Spread of Ebola
The Global Communities Liberia team is leading important interventions to prevent and control the Ebola virus. Global Communities’ USAID-funded Improved Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program (IWASH), which promotes healthy hygiene and safe water practices, is holding a series of 15 Community Meeting and Dialogue Sessions in Voinjama District, Lofa County to empower people with critical information on the history, signs and symptoms, transmission mode, and devastating impact of the Ebola outbreak. The sessions are designed to counter high levels of Ebola denial, contacts with sick people, and secret burials of dead bodies – many of which have been reported in the District – that have been identified as the cause of high rates of infection and transmission.
Global Communities plans to extend the activity to other districts in Lofa and eventually all of the IWASH counties in Liberia.
Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Response
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, causing widespread destruction, damaging more than 1 million homes and affecting 14 million people. In the aftermath of the disaster, Global Communities conducted an assessment in some of the hardest hit areas of northern Cebu, eastern Samar and Leyte. In addition to the destruction of infrastructure and homes, the assessment team found that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also suffered substantial damages. SMEs are the economic engine of these hard-hit communities and the recovery of these SMEs can influence the recovery of the entire community. At the same time, the artisanal craft sector is a significant source of employment in the region and was subject to widespread loss of assets during the storm.
Global Communities’ program focused on restoring basic shelter and livelihoods in the weeks and months directly following the typhoon. Global Communities distributed household shelter kits to artisans who work from home and whose houses were severely damaged during the storm. In addition to providing households with shelters kits to assist with reconstruction, we distributed working materials that the artisans need to resume production. The shelter kits included galvanized iron sheeting, fastening materials and the tools needed to repair and mount roofs.
Syria: Helping Syrian Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan
The conflict in Syria continues with ever worse impacts on communities within Syria and among refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. Global Communities is an organization deeply invested in the Middle East, with around 1,000 staff in the region. Our people are seeing the devastation and instability caused by the conflict, and the humanitarian crisis unfolding every day.
Global Communities has been providing assistance to communities affected by the conflict in Syria since August, 2012. In Syria, through local partners, we have implemented in Aleppo and Damascus a host family assistance project, providing 250 families with emergency kits (including items such as blankets, kitchen equipment and hygiene materials). In Lebanon, where shelter is the single greatest need, we have been directly implementing an emergency shelter program focused on families hosting refugees in Wadi Khaled and Aarsal, the two areas hosting the largest number of refugees. We aim to scale up these interventions to meet the growing needs of the vulnerable in and around Syria.
South Sudan: Helping Returnees Resettle and Reintegrate
The disputed region of Abyei straddles the border of Sudan and newly independent South Sudan and is claimed by both nations. The ongoing conflict and unrest has led to the displacement of thousands of residents. As residents return to the region they face numerous challenges including food insecurity, limited economic opportunities, and the lack of infrastructure and services including water, sanitation, housing, healthcare and other necessities.
With funding from USAID/OFDA, Global Communities is implementing the Returnee Reintegration and Rehabilitation Program to assist returnees, internally displaced people and host communities in the face of these economic, infrastructure and food security challenges. The program focuses on the provision of shelter as a catalyst to recovery and resilience. Safe shelter reduces the risks associated with living in unhealthy and hazardous living conditions. The program is also helping to establish sustainable livelihoods sources for returning populations and IDPs while providing host communities with increased income-earning potential.