Entries in Humanitarian (3)


Dirty Water Worsening Syria's Humanitarian Crisis

BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The humanitarian crisis in Syria caused by the two-year-long civil war is becoming more dire, the World Health Organization announced on Tuesday, due to outbreaks of hepatitis A and other diseases caused by poor hygiene.

The New York Times reports the problem is the result of various factors, including the failure of clean water to reach different areas of Syria besieged by the ongoing conflict, and the shuttering of a third of the nation's hospitals.  Adding to the conundrum is doctors fleeing for their own safety.

According to Elizabeth Hoff, the organization's representative in Damascus, a vaccine can be used to prevent the spread of hepatitis A, a serious and highly contagious liver disease.

Meanwhile, another United Nations organization, UNICEF, says it will begin a program to provide chlorination supplies to treat water for more than 10 million people in Syria.

News of serious diseases spreading rapidly throughout Syria is another element of the humanitarian crisis spurred by the war between President Bashar al-Assad's government and opposition forces, with more than 60,000 deaths since March 2011.

There are at least 755,000 Syrians registered by the U.N. as refugees, with the number expected to double during the year if the conflict isn't resolved.  The world organization estimates that four million Syrians still in the country urgently need assistance.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Libyans Short of Water, Medicine After Months of Clashing

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- After six months of conflict, where supply lines were disrupted and infrastructure damaged, Libya now faces a critical shortage of the basics -- food, medicine, fuel and, as the UN humanitarian coordinator for the country says is arguably the most important, water.

"Fresh, bottled water is only now being delivered and unpacked in the capital," UN humanitarian coordinator Panos Moumtzis said.

So far, the UN has brought in 11 million bottles of water.

With the fighting subsiding in many areas, international efforts are being ramped up.  Over the past week, more than have a dozen UN agencies have returned to Tripoli to help with the country's humanitarian needs.

That's welcome, but it is seen as a temporary measure until the country gets back up on its own feet again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Working to Release Up To $1.5 Billion to Libyan Rebels

Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. is now working to release $1 billion to $1.5 billion of Gadhafi’s frozen assets to the rebel Transitional National Council, the State Department said Tuesday. That’s part of over $30 billion that was frozen earlier this year, much of which was not liquid. The figure is lower than the $3 billion some officials had suggested might be released.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said Tuesday they hope to make that money available within days. The U.S. has been pushing the U.N. sanctions committee in New York to alter resolutions on Libya so that the funds can be legally transferred to the rebels.
They’ve met some legal hurdles and concerns from other countries, but U.S. officials seem confident this will happen soon.
“There's quite a bit of diplomacy, both in New York, here in Washington, out in capitals, and the secretary's been involved in this herself, of course, to get this work done in coming days,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Tuesday.
The U.S. has sought and received assurances from the TNC that the funds will be used only for humanitarian purposes. Though their top diplomat in D.C. told reporters last week that they needed weapons.
“We would not have taken this step if we didn't have confidence that the money will be used -- will get to the people who need it and will be used appropriately,” Nuland said Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio