Alerts

Photo credit: http://www.nydailynews.com

A 7.3 magnitude quake that struck the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday (November 12th) has killed more than 300 people and left an estimated 2,530 or more injured. As aftershocks continued till this morning and as rescuers sped up their operation, Iran’s state news agency IRNA confirmed the death toll, saying at least 382 of the injured remain in hospital.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.3 magnitude tremor was centered 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran. Most of the victims are believed to be in the Iranian town of Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province.

In Iraq, officials said the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured around 150. “Four people were killed by the earthquake” in Darbandikhan, the town’s mayor Nasseh Moulla Hassan told AFP. Another two people were killed in Kalar, according to the director of the hospital in the town about 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Darbandikhan.

The electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, and fears of aftershocks sent thousands of people in both countries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.

Iranian rescue teams are rushing to try to find survivors but their efforts have been hampered by landslides which have cut off many rural areas. Officials expect the casualty toll to rise when search and rescue teams reach remote areas of Iran.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service Asia’s disaster response team is in contact with local partners in Iran and are compiling information on damages and losses incurred due to the earthquake. Community World Service Asia’s team is on standby and will act as the need to respond  arises.

Contacts:

Emmeline Managbang
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: mae.manags@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +93 78 635 0703 / +63 908 102 1016                                                                             

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tele: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:

www.samaa.tv
www.telegraph.co.uk
www.aljazeera.com

Photo credit: www.thenews.com.pk

Monsoon rains continue to lash the city of Karachi and other districts in southern and central parts of the province. So far thirteen people have been reportedly dead, mostly due to electrocution. Rain water is rolling into most of the city like gushing streams. Most residential areas and houses are partly submerged in water and drainage canals and tributaries are overflowing. Side-roads on the main Karachi highway have also been washed away and are completely under-water.

Moreover, a 150-feed breach in the Thado dam, in Karachi, has resulted in thousands of cusecs of water pouring out and flooding nearby areas and towns, housing more than 6000 residents.

This rain water has inundated many urban and semi urban towns of Hyderabad, Sanghar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin, Thatta and other districts, in ankle-deep water.

The Deputy Director of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) released a statement indicating that there may be high chances of urban flooding in most parts of Karachi due to the city’s poor drainage system. Heavy downpour has wreaked havoc in the city, leading to most roads being submerged in water and the civic infrastructure crumpled.

The PMD has predicted more rains on Friday and Saturday, which may lead to the situation further deteriorated.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service Asia is monitoring the situation and is in contact with the local authorities on updated information. The emergency response team of Community World Service Asia is on standby and will be deputed immediately if the need to respond to the crisis arises.

Contacts:
Dennis Joseph
Associate Director – Disaster Management Program
Email: dennis.joseph@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 300 855 7414

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tel: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.samaa.tv
www.tribune.com.pk
www.express.tv
www.Dunya.tv
www.geo.tv

Every year on 12 August, the world celebrates International Youth Day. The annual occasion – spearheaded by the UN – celebrates young people and raises awareness about issues that affect them. There is a growing recognition that as agents of change, young people are critical actors in conflict prevention and sustaining peace. Young people like Ghulam Ali Asghar, are contributing their efforts to make social justice and sustainable peace popular.

Ghulam Ali Asghar Bhutto is a twenty-three year old student of the Department of International Relations at the University of Sindh in Jamshoro.  Social change in his view is a need which must become a reality now. According to Ali Asghar, the youth are the most affected by ground level social issues in a society.

“Social change has become a dire need for us. The youth’s role is important in reshaping the society as their future depends on it. Essential modifications are required in increasing liberal values and towards lowering the levels of religious extremism. We should mend the wrong doings which are occurring in the society today and correct ourselves where we were taught wrong.”

“Discrimination separates people on the basis of ethics, religion, race or even gender in many cases,”

added Ali certainly.

“Though existing in our society for so long, discrimination cannot be justifiable. It has always created negative differences amongst people and have been a cause of many fights in history. I want to admit here that I was wrong in many instances when I discriminated against my classmates on the basis of religion.  Being more aware of the teachings of other religions and of democratic and human rights, I have realized that I was wrong in doing so as people of faiths other than Islam have as much a right of living a free life as anyone else, anywhere,”

expressed Ali positively.

According to Ali, leadership roles allow youth the opportunity to be in positions of influence and develop skills.

“Youth leadership opportunities are often overlooked, either knowingly or unknowingly, but the results are the same; a lost opportunity for young people to take the lead. I believe that youth leadership is pivotal as tomorrow we will be the ones in positions of power, such as politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers or parliamentarians, having a direct effect on our society.”

Ali conducted introductory sessions on “Youth and Social Change” in various departments of his university. He disseminated handouts among his fellow school mates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Good Governance, Democracy and Peace.

“All the students were amazed to know about the rights they have been granted nationally and internationally. The professors at the university appreciated our initiative and encouraged other students to share such information they believe is beneficial for all.”

Ali, along with some of his friends, conducted a seminar on Youth’s Role in Social Change in a church hall in Hyderabad on the 18th of May.

“As it was a church, all the communities, namely Christian, Hindu and Muslims from different sects helped in the preparation process. All of us organizers were divided into different groups; including the facilitation group, which gave presentations on Discrimination, Human Rights and Youth Leadership, while the theatre group performed a play highlighting the flaws in the society and how to combat them together. People from the various communities and students from different institutions attended the event and appreciated our efforts for organizing such an impactful event which delivered strong messages of peace and interfaith harmony.”

Ali, with his peers, Irteza Jamil, Tanveer Ahmed and Mohammad Adeel, conducted additional sessions on Human Rights, Youth Leadership and Good Governance at the Askari English Learning Centre and Mehran Academy in Karachi. He disseminated the handouts at these sessions as well.

Young people’s inclusion is key to sustaining and building peace in societies and civilizations. The youth is leading change, and International Youth Day celebrates their ability, skill, motivation and recognition in continuing to do so.

Photo credit: www.dawn.com

The ongoing monsoon rains in Pakistan have claimed at least fifty-one human lives so far, with fifty-eight people reportedly injured and sixty-seven houses partially or completely destroyed.

Baluchistan province has been the most affected in terms of human loss where seventeen people have been killed since the start of monsoon rains, followed by Punjab, where 14 people have died so far.

Province
Deaths
Injured
Houses Damaged
Punjab
14
32
1
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
9
4
12
Sindh
6
17
5
Baluchistan
17
0
20
Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK)
1
1
29
Gilgit Baltistan)
4
4
0
Total
51
58
67

A series of rains and thunderstorms are expected to hit isolated areas of Sindh, Islamabad, eastern Baluchistan, upper Punjab, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Bahawalpur, D.G. Khan divisions, Kashmir, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan during the day today.

Response by Community World Service Asia: Community World Service Asia is gathering information from different sources including Government departments and local partners in the affected areas and will devise its response plan accordingly.

Contacts:

Contacts:
Dennis Joseph
Associate Director – Disaster Management Program
Email: dennis.joseph@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 300 855 7414

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: Palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tel: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.ndma.gov.pk
www.dawn.com
www.samaa.tv

photo credit: https://www.samaa.tv

Monsoon rains have made its onset in Pakistan started Monday, June 26, 2017 and since then different parts of the country have received precipitation with intervals. Karachi and Hub are the most affected areas where flooding and electrocution has claimed seventeen human lives. Five persons were electrocuted in different parts of Karachi city and two children drowned in a pond, while nine people including two children died due to heavy rains in Hub and Lasbela areas of Baluchistan. Flash floods have also swept away several houses in Hub, Baluchistan.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Gilgit Baltistan intermittent rain was witnessed in various regions, out of which Chitral, Lower Dir, Bajaur, Shangla and Upper Dir saw minimal rain while Attar Pak saw received the heaviest spell. One boy lost his life in Chitral in rain related incidents.

Rain-thundershowers with gusty winds may occur at scattered places of Hyderabad, Karachi, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Shaheed Benazirabad division, and at isolated places of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Malakand, Hazara, Kohat, Bannu, D I Khan, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

There is risk of landslides in hilly areas of upper Khyber-Pakhtukhwa, Malakand, Hazara, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service Asia will monitor the situation and will try to get updated information from different stakeholders. Its emergency response teams are ready and will be deputed immediately if the need to respond to the crisis arise.

Contacts:

Dennis Joseph
Associate Director – Disaster Management Program
Email: dennis.joseph@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 300 855 7414

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tel: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.samaa.tv
www.tribune.com.pk
www.dawn.com

Photo credit: www.bbc.com

Food insecurity, scarcity of water, drought and malnutrition remains a continuous threat for the lives and livelihoods of the people of Tharparkar district. Precious human lives have been lost and livelihoods stolen. The impact of these adversities may further escalate if timely action is not taken to control the situation.

According to  the local health department, eleven more children have died in Thar’s hospitals, during the past four days due to an outbreak of waterborne diseases and malnutrition. Since January this year over 172 infants have died in the district.

Dozens of unwell children were brought to six health facilities of the Thar district on Wednesday. Their parents complained of a lack of facilities in the hospitals to timely treat their children and unavailability of healthcare units in their remote villages.

They alleged that most of the dispensaries and basic health units in their villages  remained closed. Despite repeated attempts, no health official representing these health facilities were available to share their version of the story.

Since Justice Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan, has taken suo moto notice of the increasing number of infant deaths reported at the Civil Hospital in Mithi this April, the district health officials have stopped sharing details of the deaths of infants with the media.

Health and nutrition experts and rights’ activists working in the desert area of Thar have raised a dire need of nutritional provision and safe drinking water in the region to prevent further deaths.

They stated that the situation in the rain-dependent region have assumed alarming proportions due to increasing temperatures and delayed monsoon rainfall.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service is in contact with local partners in Tharparkar for information on the ground and will plan a response accordingly.

Contacts:

Dennis Joseph
Associate Director – Disaster Management Program
Email: dennis.joseph@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 300 855 7414

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources: www.dawn.com

Photo credit: http://www.aljazeera.com

Widespread flooding and devastating mudslides brought on by Cyclone Mora and monsoon rains across southwestern portion of Sri Lanka have affected 15 districts, killed at least 203 people and left more than 600,000 people temporarily homeless.

The death toll is expected to rise as authorities’ battle to rescue those still stranded and warn of the possibility of crocodile attacks. The UN warned that with an increasing number of displaced people and a lack of space in temporary shelters, many people were at risk of disease.

Sri Lanka has seen a significant increase in mosquito-borne dengue fever this year, with more than 125 deaths.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kalutara city, said residents were still without access to water and electricity and heavily reliant on voluntary services.

Foreign Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, met foreign envoys in Sri Lanka and appealed for assistance. He said 24 countries have already extended help.

The UN, India, Australia, Japan and Pakistan are among those that have donated supplies, including water purification tablets and tents. The United States and China also pledged relief. “In the capital, shops and supermarkets are running out of supplies as people are coming in and hoovering up items,” he said.

“While waters are receding in some areas, there are still some parts that are 10 to 12 feet under water.”

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said 16 countries had sent medicines and relief supplies to assist those driven from their homes.The Sri Lankan military is also doing all it can. Search-and-rescue operations are still ongoing. But residents are saying if it wasn’t for private organizations and people coming forward, the government and military would be finding it even harder to deal with this crisis

Mudslides have become common during Sri Lanka’s summer monsoon season as forests across the tropical nation have been cleared for export crops such as tea and rubber.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service is in contact with the partners in Sri Lanka on getting the updated information on the latest situation. It is closely monitoring the crisis and will devise a response plan accordingly.

Contacts:

Karen Janjua
Senior Program Advisor
Regional Programs and Resource Mobilization
Email: karen.janjua@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 51 230 7484

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.aljazeera.com
www.cnn.com
www.cbc.ca

Photo credit: http://www.aljazeera.com

An estimated 3,700 people were still trapped in Marawi, a municipality of 201,785 people in Lanao del Sur Province in Mindanao, on Thursday as clashes between government forces and members of the Abu Sayyaf and Maute group continued in the Islamic city, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is working to ensure their safe evacuation.

In Manila, ICRC Philippine delegation head Pascal Porchet told the Inquirer that the humanitarian aid group has been able to communicate with members and persons “close to” and “directly involved” with the Islamic State-linked fighters and the Philippine military, requesting safe passage for those still trapped in Marawi. “But the most important thing is, we are here to work hand in hand with the parties involved to ensure the safety and well-being of the people,” Porchet said. “We just hope the civilians will be able to flee safely, and will soon be rescued.”

As the violent clashes on 23rd May erupted, residents of Marawi soon evacuated in large groups to safe zones in surrounding areas, including Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental. Strict checkpoints by both Maute groups and government forces, long traffic lines and lost documentation has slowed the evacuation.

The fighting has made it difficult to reach areas where civilians had sought refuge but the ICRC said it was able to rescue 500 civilians following dialogues with those involved in the fighting, which left large patches of the city in ruins. “We are extremely concerned about the impact of the hostilities on the civilians. Our priority is to address the humanitarian needs of the affected people,” the ICRC said in a report. “We are seriously concerned about reports of civilians who were killed or deliberately targeted, or being held against their will. Civilians are not part of the fighting; they should be protected.”

Only 30,645 individuals or 6,129 families have taken shelter in evacuation centers in nearby cities such as Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and as far away as Davao City. Majority of the displaced have sought refuge in homes of relatives.

The latest information from OCHA and ARRM-Heart on 30th May indicate that estimated 90% of the population of Marawi City has been affected. Marawi residents have left the city without necessities, such as extra clothes, livelihood assets or basic hygiene items. It appears that the Christian community (who represent less than 20% in Marawi) has been particularly targeted by the Maute group.  Around 20 Christian civilians were killed when they tried to escape Marawi city at a Maute check point.

Unicef Philippines has called on involved parties in the Marawi conflict to ensure the safety and protection of children affected by the ongoing fighting there. Unicef estimates around 50,000 children have been affected by the conflict by being displaced within Marawi or to other cities in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte; unable to return to their homes; or are in dire need of basic health and sanitation facilities. “We are deeply concerned about actions that may put children’s life and safety at risk and disrupts their overall development or access to basic social services such as education and health care. The estimated tens of thousands of children who, along with their families, have been displaced in and out of Marawi, could face severe long-term impact on their psycho-social health, their physical health as well as having their education disrupted,” warned Unicef Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander.

As violence continues in Marawi City, there is uncertainty around when the displaced people will be able to return home, placing a serious strain on the resources and facilities available in evacuation centres (ECs) and on the capacity of the local government to accommodate the large influx of IDPs, particularly if the conflict intensifies further or expands.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared martial law on Mindanao Island, has approved the creation of a “peace corridor” to hasten the rescue of civilians and delivery of humanitarian aid for displaced people, said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

He said the corridor will be implemented by the government and the main separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has signed a peace agreement in exchange for Muslim autonomy in Mindanao, the southern third of the Philippines.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service is in contact with local partners in Philippines on updated information on the ongoing conflict. It is closely monitoring and will devise its response plan accordingly.

Contacts:

Emmeline Managbang
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: mae.manags@communityworldservice.asia
Ph +93 78 635 0703 / +63 908 102 1016

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/mindanao-churchgoers-hostage-marawi-siege-170524085829461.html
Start Network Alert – https://startnetwork.org
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/901709/marawi-conflict-unicef-calls-for-efforts-to-keep-children-safe-protected
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/901862/3700-still-trapped-in-marawi-city
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/06/01/1705747/civilians-seek-food-water-marawi-clash-continues

 

The Diocese Development Secretariat of Multan (MDTA), an independent organization, developed their first ever strategic plan for the years 2017-2020 after attending a four-day capacity building training on Organization Development (OD) in September 2016. The training organized by Community World Service Asia aimed at enabling participating organizations to better respond and adapt to changes and developments in the sector to achieve organizational efficiency and increase productivity.

Kashif Kamran Khan, working as Head of Development and Emergency Programs since the last four years at MDTA, speaks to us about the changes and growth him and his organization experienced since learning OD concepts at the training. Kashif joined MDTA as it re-established itselfand adopted a newer and more “modern” approach to its programming. In these last four years, he has worked in various departments of the organization, from Finance, to HR, to M&E and on field project implementation. MDTA did not have a separate OD department, but as a head of development Kashif applied many OD concepts in various departments to enhance the efficiency of his team.

Without a proper OD unit, MDTA also did not have any HR, Fund raising or any other program policies developed. This led to them facing many challenges, specially when building partnerships and networking externally with partners and donors. Due to the absence of a structured OD system, there was no organogram developed either which meant there was no hierarchy to follow, leading to countless confusions for staff and other stakeholders on a daily basis.

Kashif felt that the organization development unit plays one of the most important roles in an organization. Having acquired a MPhil degree in Business Administration with a specialization in HR, Kashif had been waiting and looking for an opportunity to be trained on OD as he felt it was vital for him to do so in order to fulfill his responsibilities as Head of Development for a newly “reestablished” organization. This training was a perfect opportunity for him.

“I really looked forward to this training and for all the right reasons,” recounted Kashif. “All the knowledge and learning received in this training was very educational for me. I learnt concepts, policies and methodologies which I never got to learnt in my MPhil classes either. The facilitator for the training did a great job.”

“I learnt about different Hierarchy models which I have now applied to develop an OD model for MDTA,” acknowledged Kashif. “The facilitator’s teaching style was very interactive and participatory. He taught us theories that we did not even know existed before.”

“Taking my learnings from the training and putting them into practice, we at MDTA have recently developed our Strategic plan, introduced new program policies and have applied many new concepts into our programming and management. Now most of our employees are familiar from the OD concepts.”

According to the American Camp Association (ACA), youth development experts agree that children need a variety of experiences in their lives to help them grow into healthy adolescents and adults. Summer camps for children, under our Girls Education project supported by Act for Peace, are exclusively planned to facilitate developmental needs of school-going children through physical exercises, activities on self-definition, meaningful participation and creative self-expression.

“The mock elections at the summer camp were a great learning opportunity for all of us. I had to work really hard to win the elections. I prepared a strong, impactful speech which promised to develop an advanced and clean society. I felt very proud on winning the elections as it is the most important achievement for me up until now,”

said Kainat, a Grade 3 student at the Government Primary Sindhi Chandio School.

Kainat belongs to a village in Sujawal District and lives there with her parents and eight siblings. Attending the summer camp and interacting with other students from different schools was just the kind of opportunity Kainat had always waited for and looked forward to.

“My father has always encouraged me to go for my dreams and doesn’t want any of his children to clean cars like he does for an earning. He wants us to study and grow up to be intellectual professionals. I come to school to learn new things from my teachers and want to grow up to be a commando one day,”

voiced Kainat excitedly

“I did not know that as a citizen of Pakistan, I had certain duties to fulfill to be a good citizen. We got to know the difference between a good and a bad citizen at the camp. I specifically shared this learning with my class fellows. I also went to other classes of my school and told them about good citizenship. We have to make our country a better place and for that we have to play our role actively.”

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) trainings were also conducted as part of the summer campts at Kainat’s school. According to her teachers, Kainat has been a proactive student in conducting drill activities.

“The DRR trainings have increased our knowledge in relation to emergency situations. Our school has trained all students to take measures for various disasters which come unannounced. I have shared my learnings with my family and friends in my community. My community appreciates my knowledge and commends the school on giving such diverse opportunities aiming to equip intellectual students  with all lots of skills.”

 “People from my village are mostly uneducated. I am educating myself so that I can set an example for others, highlighting the importance of education for a progressive society. My eldest sister supports me a lot in education. She helps me in my homework and studies as well.”

Kainat is determined to bring a positive change in the unbending and recessive community that she belongs to. She aims to  free the  future generations of her village from poverty and illiteracy.