June 26, 2019  

Two new flags will be flying high at the Olympic Games in Rio.

For the first time, South Sudan and Kosovo have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Kosovo, which was a province of the former Yugoslavia, will have 8 athletes competing; and a good shot for a medal in women's judo: Majlinda Kelmendi is considered a favorite. She's ranked first in the world in her weight class.

(South Sudan's James Chiengjiek, Yiech Biel & coach Joe Domongole, © AFP) South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, will have three runners competing in the country's first Olympic Games.

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus


(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)



Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler



CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au)


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Entries in OCHA (9)


UN Calls for More Funds to Save Lives Across Horn of Africa (REPORT) 

According to the United Nations more than 12 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti are currently in need of humanitarian aid and that number is expected to rise. 

"If we are to avoid this crisis becoming an even bigger catastrophe, we must act now" said Valarie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which issued yesterday's appeal. 

The emergency is expected to persist for at least three to four months, and the number of people needing humanitarian assistance could increase by as much as 25 per cent, OCHA said, putting strain on the work of UN agencies.

An OCHA spokesperson said in Geneva that the request for funds lifts the Horn of Africa appeal to a total of $2.4 billion, of which $1 billion has been received so far.

OCHA reports that, driven by the worst drought in 60 years, some 1,300 new Somali refugees arrive daily in Kenya, several hundred more flee to Ethiopia and at least 1,000 others crowd into the capital, Mogadishu, fleeing not only drought but continued fighting between Government forces and rebels.

“Women and children are forced to walk weeks under gruelling conditions to reach safety, and are arriving in refugee camps in appalling health, overwhelming the already stretched capacity to respond,” the agency said.

The agency also said that outright famine, declared recently in two areas of southern Somalia, “could spread throughout the rest of the south within one or two months, if the humanitarian response did not increase in line with rising needs.”

Drought conditions in Kenya’s northern and north-eastern districts have deteriorated further after the poor March-June rains. The food crisis is expected to peak in August and September.

In Ethiopia, La Niña weather conditions have diminished two consecutive rainy seasons, resulting in rapidly deteriorating food security in lowlands of southern and south-eastern areas, as well as in parts of the central highlands. In Djibouti, the drought has forced growing numbers of pastoralists and people in rural areas to migrate to urban areas, where food insecurity is rising.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that its emergency airlifts were flying tons of specialized nutritional food for malnourished children in Mogadishu and other food supplies in southern Somalia, and it was continuing to feed more than 1.6 million people in Kenya.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said six flights and two ships have delivered more than 653 tons of corn soya blend, and about 230 tons of therapeutic food to treat severely malnourished children. It is also building up its food pipeline which already supports 500 nutrition centres in southern Somalia.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was working to accommodate some 3,000 people who since Monday settled spontaneously on the edge of Dadaab refugee complex, already the world’s largest refugee camp.

A spokesperson said the refugee agency is “very concerned about the protection of civilians” in Mogadishu amid renewed fighting between pro- and anti-Government forces. An offensive by pro-Government forces has increased the risk to the capital’s citizens as well as the estimated 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had recently fled drought and famine in neighbouring regions.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, today welcomed the Somali parliament’s approval of a new Cabinet and said the new Government must “immediately” tackle the problems facing the country.

Augustine P. Mahiga said the formation of the Cabinet “sends a strong, constructive signal and represents a positive start for the new Somali administration.”

“The new Government must immediately tackle the most critical tasks with the objective of creating a national vision based on a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and a focus on the delivery of services,” he said.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WFP today issued a joint statement calling for a longer view of the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa.

“Beyond the emergency, it will be necessary to put into place the long-term solutions needed to guarantee food security in the Horn of Africa. There will be no sustainable solution to the crisis without measures that enable the countries of the region to become food self-sufficient, develop food crop production and support pastoralism and massively reinvest in agriculture and livestock-raising in the region,” it said.

- UN News Center 


Horn of Africa Famine Declared (REPORT)

Key Facts:

  • 10.7 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance
  • Extremely high levels of child malnutrition are being reported in multiple locations
  • Relief operations need to be scaled up, as access to worst-affected areas of Somalia becomes a possibility
  • Total humanitarian requirements are $1.87bn: about $1bn is still needed


A severely malnourished baby lies in the paediatric unit at a hospital in the Rift Valley Province. CREDIT: UNICEF(HN, July 20, 2011) - Famine exists in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. Across the country, nearly half of the Somali population – 3.7 million people – are now in crisis, of whom an estimated 2.8 million people are in the south.

The declaraton was made at a press conference in Nairobi today by the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden.

In the last few months, tens of thousands of Somalis have died as a result of causes related to malnutrition, the majority of whom were children. Affected by consecutive droughts and ongoing conflict, malnutrition rates are currently the highest in the world, with peaks of 50 per cent in certain areas of southern Somalia.  Famine is declared when acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30 per cent; more than 2 people per 10,000 die per day; and people are not able to access food and other basic necessities.

“If we don’t act now, famine will spread to all eight regions of southern Somalia within two months, due to poor harvests and infectious disease outbreaks,” stressed HC Bowden. Noting that the lack of resources is alarming, Bowden continued, “Every day of delay in assistance is literally a matter of life or death for children and their families in the famine affected areas”.

While UN humanitarian agencies have welcomed the recent statement by Al Shabaab requesting international assistance in southern Somalia, the inability of food agencies to work in the region since early 2010 has prevented the UN from reaching the very hungry – especially children – and has contributed to the current crisis.

Despite challenges, humanitarian agencies are working hard to respond. In an effort to reach more children with life-saving interventions, the UN and its partners have scaled up emergency nutrition, water and sanitation, and immunization efforts to combat malnutrition and reduce disease. To expedite the delivery of supplies into the worst-affected areas, the UN has started airlifting urgently needed medical, nutrition and water supplies.

The most affected areas of Somalia are in the south, particularly the region of Lower Shabelle, Middle and Lower Juba, Bay, Bakool, Benadir, Gedo and Hiraan, which host an estimated 310,000 acutely malnourished children. In southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle today, acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 per cent, with under-five deaths exceeding 6 per 10,000 per day in some areas.

Nearly half of the population in Somalia is facing a humanitarian crisis and is in urgent need of assistance. The number of people in crisis has increased by over one million in the last six months. Over 166,000 Somalis have fled the country to seek assistance and refuge in neighbouring countries since the start of the year, with over 100,000 of those fleeing since May. So far in July alone, almost 40,000 new Somali arrivals have been registered in refugee camps in the region.

“More than ever, Somali people need and deserve our full attention. At this time of crisis, we must make exceptional efforts to support Somalis wherever they are in need and expect that all parties will do the same” said Bowden.



Global Humanitarian Community Not Tooled to Handle Emerging Technologies, Volunteers - Report

New technology and volunteers could help victims of earthquakes - like this father and daughter in Pakistan - to receive assistance faster. CREDIT: Michael Bociurkiw/HUMNEWS(HN, March 28, 2011) - If there was one thing that the Haiti earthquake of 2010 demonstrated, it is that traditional humanitarian aid agencies have a difficult time interfacing with the emerging volunteer and tecnical communities.

This was one of the findings of a new report released today by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation.

The report concludes that increasing dialogue and partnership is required for a more effective response to emergencies.

"Humanitarian organization have amassed deep wisdom and experience from decades of work in the field. Yet new voices are opening the possibility of future interactions with communities affected by the disasters. And new partners are offering faster, more effective means of analyzing an ever-increasing volume and velocity of data.

"The challenge ahead is how to create an effective interface between these resources and create an ecosystem where each actor understands its role."

The report examinines how technology is reshaping the information landscape in which aid groups respond to sudden onset emergencies. The report, Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies, analyzes how the humanitarian community and the emerging volunteer and technical communities worked together in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and recommends ways to improve coordination between them in future emergencies.

“The challenge is to improve coordination between the structured humanitarian system and the relatively loosely organized volunteer and technical communities. This report illustrates a potential way forward,” said Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.  “Without direct collaboration with humanitarian organisations, volunteer and technical communities run the risk of mapping needs without being able to make sure that these needs can be met,” she stressed.

One of the most potentially controverial recommendations is that, during disasters, a team composed of members of the volunteer and technical communities be deployed to the field with a mandate to "deploy best available tools and practices."

Another recommendation calls for a netraul forum to "surface areas of agreement and conflict between international humanitarian systems and the voulnteer and technical communities."

UN and traditional aid agencies are know to maintain closed loops in the opening days and weeks of major disasters - making it difficult for freelancers, volunteers - even the private sector - to become integrated into the emergency response. Some aid workers have even complained about a lack of communication between UN agencies, resulting in duplicated efforts.

Written by a team of researchers led by John Crowley at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, the report is based on interviews with more than 40 technology and humanitarian experts, many of whom responded to the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  The report identifies best practice and lessons learned from the Haiti operation; makes recommendations to strengthen coordination between the humanitarian and technology communities; and proposes a draft framework for institutionalizing this collaboration. 

The report was released today at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference. In recent years, the UAE has been positioning itself to become a humanitarian hub.

- HUMNEWS staff


Second Tsunami of Floods Hits Already-Drenched Sri Lanka (Report)

(HN, February 9, 2011) - A devastating second wave of floods that has hit Sri Lanka are much worse and more serious than those that had hit the country some weeks ago, says the UN.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) official figures indicate more than 1-million people are affected by the floods, including almost 200,000 persons in 703 temporary evacuation centres in 15 districts. There has been fourteen deaths and it's estimated that more than 7,700 houses in 13 districts have been damaged or destroyed, Elisabeth Byrs of OCHA has told a media briefing in Geneva monitored by HUMNEWS.

While the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Center is doing its best, resources are becoming increasingly limited, the UN says.

Another challenge is that some measures taken by the authorities, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross in response to the first wave of floods had been almost erased, including the re-contamination of wells in the water and sanitation sector. The work is further being further complicated by flooded roads and the insufficient availability of boats and helicopters.

The $50 million Sri Lanka Floods Flash Appeal, launched in early January, is currently funded to only 15 per cent, with $7.7 million received, but would be revised upwards at the end of this month, given the current situation of unforeseeable rains which meant that the overfilled reservoirs could lead to new population displacement.

Emilia Casella of the World Food Programme (WFP) says the Rome-based agency is scaling up its food assistance to flood-affected people.

In January, the WFP provided rations to 500,000 people in five districts in response to the first wave of flooding. Now, with the second wave, WFP has dispatched food assistance for 326,000 people over the past weekend and continued to move towards 500,000 people in this ongoing emergency.

The Ministry of Agriculture says that in January 450,000 metric tons of rice paddies had already been damaged and now there was even more damage to the rice harvest, which was a particular problem for the most vulnerable people.

Initial estimations suggested that at least 87,000 farming households would be affected by the damage to the rice crops, having a knock-on effect on the wider community of people who would be receiving that harvest food.

WFP was facing a number of challenges, Casella underscored. Not only had WFP been using the stocks for its conflict returnee programmes to assist flood-affected people, its rice suppliers also faced difficulties in meeting their deadlines to deliver to the WFP as they had themselves been affected by the floods.


Battered Sri Lanka Contends With Destructive Climate Change (Report)

(HN, January 15, 2011) - Still recovering from the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami and the long-term effects of armed conflict, the island nation of Sri Lanka now finds a quarter of its territory under water.

Families wade through floodwaters triggered by heavy rains in eastern Sri Lanka, carrying clothing and possessions to higher ground. CREDIT: UNICEF

Recent catastrophic floods have decimated crops, driven tourists away at the height of the season - and caused a spike in food prices. The freak weather has even caused a plunge in temperatures. On Thursday, the capital city of Colombo hit 18.8 Celsius - the coldest day on record in more than 60 years.

Today, in its Twitter feed, the Sri Lankan Red Cross said initial estimates of damage is in the $500-million range.

The rains started December 26 and in one day alone on January 12, 300 millimeters fell, said a spokesperson for the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Elizabeth Byrs.

Already 27 people have died, and more than 1-million people have been affected - roughly a third children.

The country - a major tea and rice producer - faces loosing as much as 20 per cent of its harvest due to flood waters. The UN says about 300,000 people have been displaced; one UN official described eastern parts of the country as "a lake." The worst hit areas are Batticalao, Trincomalee and other regions in east-central Sri Lanka and the central provinces. Many roads have been rendered impassable.

More than 360,000 people are living in temporary shelters, Byrs told a media briefing in Geneva, monitored by HUMNEWS.

About 200,000 acres of rice fields are reported to be under water. Emilia Casella of the World Food Programme (WFP) said the floods had come just before the harvest season in February and March - in what was expected to be a bumper crop. The Rome-based food agency is gearing up to meet the food needs of about 500,000 people over a period of six months, Casella said.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president of Sri Lanka, has warned of a major food crisis in the country and his ministers have been ordered to develop an emergency plan.

- HUMNEWS staff, UN

Donations for flood victims can be made to the Red Cross in Sri Lanka


Displaced in Haiti Drops Below One Million, A Year After Earthquake - IOM

(HN. January 11, 2011) - Close to 1-million people are still living in temporary shelters in Haiti one year after a major earthquake struck.Temporary shelter in Haiti CREDIT: IOM

However, according to the International Organization on Migration (IOM), this represents a "significant drop" in the number of Haitians living in displacement camps and is a welcome sign of progress in recovery efforts.

The UN agency said at a media briefing in Geneva today that still remaining is the massive task of finding durable housing solutions in the most challenging aspect of the humanitarian response.

An IOM country-wide assessment conducted between last November and January 2011 found 810,000 people are still living in informal sites in Port-au-Prince and provinces. This is nearly half the figure last July of an estimated 1.5 million internally displaced Haitians. It is also the first time that the camp population in Haiti has dropped to well below one million.

"While these figures seem a positive development, there is a long way to go. The displacement crisis in Haiti is the most visible and intractable issue. Getting people out of camps and into durable housing is key to long term recovery. However, there are many obstacles to doing this quickly and for Haitians, solutions can't come quickly enough," says IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

The assessment, part of IOM's work in leading and coordinating camp management efforts in post-earthquake Haiti and regularly carried out, suggests a downward trend in the camp population of about 100,000 people a month. The largest declines are being witnessed in the south of the country in rural or semi-urban areas where housing options are more easily available.

Although an estimated 200,000 people have left the camps for transitional shelters, returned to damaged or rebuilt homes or simply left to live elsewhere, issues over land tenure, rubble, the lack of land preparation for construction as well as environmental concerns and risk mapping, are blocking more significant progress in resolving the displacement crisis.

"We have to acknowledge that life in camps will continue to be a reality for hundreds of thousands of people in the near future. In the meantime, the greatest possible efforts are being made to ensure that the displaced get the continued assistance and protection they need. As more camps continue to close down, this includes helping people without homes or livelihoods into more durable accommodation and into jobs," adds Swing.

Until more permanent houses can be built, transitional shelters which can last up to five years are the best option. IOM is complementing its work to assist the displaced by building 8110 shelters in the most affected areas. To date, 3000 shelters have been completed by IOM.

Although camp management activities have been the least funded of any humanitarian response in Haiti (43%), IOM and partners are regularly monitoring 100 per cent of all spontaneous settlements to track levels of service and to raise awareness on difficulties that the displaced face. For 2011, the camp management cluster of humanitarian agencies has appealed for $93 million.

According to UNICEF, the 12 January earthquake affected 1.5 million children and 63,000 pregnant women. As of 29 December, 3,481 people had died of cholera -- including 210 children below the age of five -- and over 157,000 cases of cholera had been reported, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.

Also today, Nigel Fisher, the United Nations’ Humanitarian Coordinator, will present a UN report on 11 January in Port-au-Prince, along with the Haitian authorities. And tomorrow, various commemorative ceremonies such as the unveiling of a statue will be held in the capital in memory of the Haitians and the UN staff who had perished in the earthquake.

The UN response is still hobbled by lack of funding. According to UN-OCHA, the $1.5 billion appeal launched in 2010 has been funded to 72 per cent at the end of 2010. The $174 million cholera emergency appeal launched in late 2010, for its part, is only funded to 25 per cent.

- HUM staff, IOM


Cholera Cases in Haiti Set to Rise; Fears of Instability (NEWS BRIEF)

(HN, November 17, 2010) - The number of cholera cases in Haiti is expected to rise significantly beyond the latest figure of 11,000 as case monitoring improves and as health officials try to get ahead of an epidemic that is already causing political instability ahead of the November 28 presidential elections.

Cholera cases have now been found in every Haiti province, known as departments, as well as the capital Port-au-Prince. So far in Haiti, more than 11,000 cases have been cited and about 1000 people have died from the disease.

UN officials said as data collection improves, numbers will inevitably rise.

"We expect to have, once that data comes in, a significant increase in recorded cases. So people should not be surprised at that," said Nigel Fisher, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti.Canadian Nigel Fisher leads the UN response in Haiti

Fisher said emphasis is continuing on educating the public about the disease and making sure they have access to oral rehydration salts and tablets to chlorinate their water. Plans are also being made to increase the number of cholera treatment centers across the country. 'It is [cholera] spreading and we have to contain, if not [the] number of cases, we have to try to contain the number of deaths," he said.

Today, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said there are "acute deficiencies" in the well-established preventative actions that are essential to controlling the spread of the epidemic. It said activities such as the distribution of clean drinking water, positioning of oral rehydration points in affected communities, waste removal, and safe burial of victims of the epidemic, all remain far below the needs.

UN officials fear the outbreak may be used by some faction to increase instability: on Monday protestors directed their anger at UN peacekeeping forces - claiming UN personnel were responsible for importing cholera into the country.

Separately, health officials have confirmed the first case of cholera in Haiti's neighbour, the Dominican Republic.

In Geneva yesterday Fadéla Chaib of the World Health Organization (WHO) said there was a scientific consensus that cholera will remain an issue in Haiti for several years to come. WHO is preparing for more cases, mostly in remote areas, opening new treatment centers. Several levels of assistance are being offered to cholera-affected people, Chaib said, underscoring that mild cases are being treated at the community level and serious ones referred to cholera treatment centers. Social mobilization and education efforts are now very important, given that many Haitians were very scared and know little about cholera. 

Last week, the UN launched a new $163.8 million appeal for Haiti. Elisabeth Byrs of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it is intended for the purchase water purification tablets and rehydration salts, to increase the number of medical staff and to train medical personnel.


(REPORT) Benin suffering from the worst floods since 1963 

(Photo UN News) 

(HN, October 25, 2010) -- Nearly 700,000 people have been affected by severe flooding in the West African country of Benin and at least 60 people have been killed, according to the United Nations.

“Seasonal heavy rains have been hitting West Africa for several months and normally last until November,” said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement. “However, what has happened this year goes well beyond normal flooding for Benin.”

The deluge – the most extreme since 1963 – has had an impact on 51 out of 77 communes in the last five weeks. Along rivers and lakes, fragile huts have been submerged in up to two meters of water.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will begin airlifting supplies, including some 3000 tents, from its emergency stockpiles in Copenhagen.

Edwards said that while the UNHCR's normal work in Benin was with the refugee and asylum-seeking population of some 7,300, "we have been called upon to help with the emergency shelter needs of some of the homeless people in southern parts of the country where we have a presence.”  

Food production has also been badly hit by the floods. Elisabeth Byrs of the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said an appeal for funds and aid is being planned.
Experts had assessed needs for fresh water and purification measures, food and shelter, she added.

Earlier this month the U.N. reported that the floods affected 1.5 million people in regions in West and Central Africa with Benin being hit the worst. The floods have destroyed entire villages, killing more than 100 people in Nigeria alone. There have been 377 flood related deaths according to the report.

A cholera outbreak has added to the misery, with over 800 cases counted across Benin. In the aftermath of the flooding, Chad, Northern Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria are also facing serious cholera epidemics, according to the U.N.

The heavy floods are caused by torrential rains and high water level waters of the Niger and other rivers.

- HUM News Staff


UN Appeals for $5.3m for Flood-Ravaged Tajikistan

(HN, May 22, 2010) The United Nations is appealing for $ 5.3 million to provide relief and recovery assistance to thousands of people that had been affected by the flashfloods in Kulyab and the surrounding districts in the south of Tajikistan on 7 May.Floods have hit Tajikistan for the second year-in-a-row.

About 4,500 persons had been displaced since their houses had been destroyed, their livestock killed and crops destroyed said Elisabeth Byrs of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).

The displaced are currently staying in tent camps. Another 16,000 persons in rural areas had lost their livelihoods and their livestock. OCHA says the hard-hit needed life-sustaining support for up to six months.

Byrs said the appeal included 26 projects proposed by United Nations agencies and partners. Tajikistan was already the poorest country of the 15 former Soviet republics, she noted.

In May 2009, two major floods destroyed four villages in Tajikistan's southern Khatlon Province, displacing about 440 families.