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Strike Aviation Group

 

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DAMASCUS/GENEVA: January 14, 2016. This week the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) began delivering food, medical items and blankets to 60,000 people trapped in Madaya in rural Damascus, and Foua and Kefraya near Syria’s north western city of Idleb.

"The operation has started. It is likely to last a few days. This is a very positive development. But it must not be just a one-off distribution. To relieve the suffering of these tens of thousands of people, there has to be regular access to these areas," said the head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, Marianne Gasser (pictured below talking to residents).

ICRC Madaya Syria“The suffering is intense. Aid agencies must be given safe and unimpeded access to all these people to provide them with the aid they need, especially now in the midst of winter," added Ms. Gasser.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that as a result of a war that will shortly enter its sixth year, 13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance, 4.3 million have fled the country and 6.6 million people have been displaced by violence.

“Today, almost 400,000 people are besieged in Syria – roughly half in areas controlled by Da'esh, 180,000 in areas controlled by the Syrian government and its allies, and some 12,000 in areas controlled by opposition armed groups,” said UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

“This is utterly unconscionable,” he added. “Let me be clear: the use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime.”

Elsewhere in the country, more than four million people live in hard-to-reach areas with only sporadic access to humanitarian supplies. The WHO says siege and the denial of humanitarian access to civilians continue to be used as a tactic of war in violation of international humanitarian law.

unhcr 3GENEVA: December 18, 2015. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says 2015 is likely to exceed all previous records for forced displacement. Over 60 million people worldwide are now refugees or migrants because of conflict and persecution.

In the past 12 months the global refugee total has risen to 20.2 million – the first time since 1992 – while the number of internally displaced people has risen two million to an estimated 34 million.

With almost a million people having crossed the Mediterranean this year, UN high commissioner for Refugees António Guterres commented: "Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times. It touches the lives of millions of our fellow human beings – both those forced to flee and those who provide them with shelter and protection. Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion and solidarity with people who have lost everything."

The UN says Syria's war remains the single biggest generator worldwide of both new refugees and continuing mass internal and external displacement. One result is increasing pressure on host countries and the danger of resentment and "politicization" of refugees, says the agency.

Despite this risk, the UN notes 2015 was also marked by "extraordinary" generosity: Turkey remains the world's largest host country with nearly two million refugees as of June 30; Lebanon is home to more refugees for the size of its population than any other country; and Ethiopia pays the most per refugee in relation to its GDP. Other countries will major refugee populations include Pakistan (1.5 million), Iran (980,000+), Jordan (664,000+) and Kenya (550,000+).

With 159,000 by mid-year, Germany topped the list of new asylum claims followed by the Russian Federation with 100,000 - due mainly to people fleeing the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

BASEL, Switzerland: November 27, 2015. A chartered MD-11 freighter donated by Panalpina has just delivered 70 tons of medical aid on behalf of UNICEF to Bujumbura, Burundi.

The aircraft's arrival coincided with a warning by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein that the land-locked Central African country could relapse into a fully-fledged civil war.

Panalpina unicef 2015Burundi has been in the middle of a political crisis since president Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term earlier this year. Since then more than 280,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring countries or have been internally displaced.

Al Hussein said the security situation had been made worse by the recent government suspension of 10 NGOs operating in the country and was a further threat to stability after decades of strife between rival Hutus and Tutsis.

The current crisis has also led to an acute shortage of medication and hospital equipment in Burundi – particularly for children where one in 10 die before the age of five.

The UNICEF shipment included antibiotics, analgesics, infusion sets and hospital equipment and will be distributed to the country's health centers that are the first place to go to for medical assistance. "These relief goods can save the lives of thousands of children," said Elsbeth Mueller, executive director of the Swiss committee for UNICEF. "On behalf of UNICEF I deeply thank Panalpina for their help."

This is the third time that Panalpina has partnered with UNICEF in response to a humanitarian crisis in Africa. Last year the company flew life-saving aid to Sierra Leone to help fight the Ebola outbreak and in 2013 it flew desperately needed goods to the Central African Republic.

The idea for the Panalpina relief flights was prompted by a discussion about the company's traditional Christmas gifts for customers and employees. It was decided that a charitable donation in the form of an aircraft charter for UNICEF would be of more value.

LONDON: Marks & Spencer (M&S) has launched a UK surplus food redistribution scheme that will connect all its stores with local food charities in a bid to reduce food waste 20 percent by 2020. M&S says it will be the first major retailer to provide live updates on the number of tonnes of surplus food redistributed.

According to a report by the Britain's Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the world produces about four billion tonnes of food per annum. Yet due to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as market and consumer wastage, it estimates that 1.2–2 billion tonnes of all food produced never reaches a human stomach.

In the initial launch phase, 150 of M&S's biggest stores will be ready to redistribute surplus food by December 2015, followed by all M&S's owned stores by the following Spring.

Neighbourly 1Redistributed food will include products nearing their expiry date including fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes and groceries. Any surplus left over will go to anaerobic digestion that turns food waste into electricity – some of which is bought back to power M&S stores – with nothing going to landfill.

M&S is working in partnership with the social network Neighbourly (right) to provide a simple process for food charities to register and receive food from a local M&S store. The company said managing the scheme through a single platform removes some of the logistical barriers to redistribution, including ensuring that all those registered have the correct charity and food hygiene credentials in place.

The Neighbourly site will also enable M&S to centrally monitor what products are surplus and how they can be reduced.

Commenting on the launch Louise Nicholls, head of Responsible Sourcing, Packaging & Plan A at M&S said: "Our key priority is to reduce food waste whilst ensuring that, where there is food surplus, we put it to the best possible use. This is the first nationwide redistribution scheme to provide an innovative, practical solution to surplus food redistribution by building local connections, enabling all our stores to link with local food projects and help support their communities."

Nick Davies, founder of Neighbourly added: "Putting food resources to the best possible use is a huge aspect of creating a sustainable planet. At Neighbourly we are proud to work with pioneering businesses like M&S to make that a reality. Whether it means being smarter about how much we produce or order, how we share any surplus, or if necessary how we productively recycle any waste, Neighbourly is committed to help businesses find the best possible solution."

KATHMANDU: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has appealed for US$415 million to help survivors of Nepal 's worst earthquake in 80 years.

The disaster has so far claimed the lives of over 6,200 people, injured nearly than 14,000, affected eight million and made homeless over 2.8 million. Some 3.5 million need food. The country's government says US$2 billion will be required for reconstruction based on initial estimates of the damage.

The international response has been so massive that Kathmandu airport is becoming congested according to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP).

SAR dog UKIndia has already flown in search and rescue teams (SAR), a field hospital and a UAV, while 40 trucks and 90 buses have delivered food, medical supplies and drinking water. Part of the UK contribution includes 18 Gurkha military engineers to operate water purification equipment while the German Red Cross has delivered 60 tons of aid included two water treatment units and a mobile laboratory.

Following five 747 freighter flights of aid from Dubai, on April 30 the UAE Red Crescent dispatched a truck convoy carrying a further 1,200 tons from India to Nepal as Israel, Pakistan and Qatar airlifted mobile hospitals to Kathmandu.

Several countries including China, Sweden and the UK have flown in SAR dog teams (right). Other countries contributing SAR experts include Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and Russia.

The UPS Foundation says it has committed US$500,000 in cash and kind to aid recovery efforts and provide support to the WFP logistics cluster that also includes Agility, Maersk and TNT.

The WFP says Kathmandu airport is already showing signs of possible delays due to the processing of cargo imports and aircraft slot limitations. As a result, a maximum total landing weight of 190 tonnes (aircraft and cargo included) has been imposed.

All of Nepal's domestic airports have limited operations says the WFP with landing permission at Pokhara, Biratnagar and Nepalgunj restricted to a C17 freighter and its equivalent. The agency adds that while access to Kathmandu valley areas by truck is possible, the status of many roads remains unclear and "air assets may be required to support access to rural areas".

NEW YORK: Justine Greening, UK secretary of State for International Development (DFID), former U.S. president Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation, and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, have launched Transform – a partnership to create jobs, increase incomes, and improve the health and well-being of 100 million people in developing countries by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the adoption of a new set of U.N. Sustainable Development Goals aimed at eradicating extreme poverty, fighting justice and inequality - and taking urgent action on climate change.

Transform is the first initiative to be launched since Unilever and DFID committed to working together in 2014 – the first of its kind between a leading international business and DFID. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) now joins the partnership to provide expertise in last-mile distribution.

chakipi acceso 2Since 2008, CGEP has been empowering communities, farmers and aspiring entrepreneurs in Latin America to help lift themselves out of poverty and create jobs for others.

"CGEP's last-mile distribution enterprise models (right) have the potential to provide work and income to countless numbers of women living in low-income communities in developing countries while providing fortified food and affordable products to hard-to-reach areas.

"By creating direct and frequent connections to their customers they are also well positioned to be effective in catalyzing positive changes in behavior in the areas of health, sanitation, and nutrition," said Frank Giustra, co-founder of CGEP and president and CEO of Fiore Financial Corporation, a private equity management firm.

According to the U.N., 17 percent of people in the developing world still live at or below US$1.25 a day and an estimated 2.4 billion are without access to adequate sanitation.

Transform will be a five-year, minimum £10 million, initiative that will initially focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, with the potential to expand to household energy. It will identify and develop social business models that serve low-income households with a focus on digital and mobile to improve health and well-being on a large scale.

Paul Polman, winner of this year's U.N. Champions of the Earth Award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, noted: "There is no business case for enduring poverty. The [U.N.] Sustainable Development Goals are a once in a lifetime opportunity to end poverty and tackle climate change. But transformational change requires transformational partnerships. Delivering the goals can happen only if business, governments and civil society work together."

Luxair Cargo Panalpina UNICEFLUXEMBOURG: Panalpina has delivered 80 tons of emergency aid on behalf of UNICEF to Freetown, Sierra Leone in support of the continuing Ebola crisis.

Cost of building up and handling the shipment at Luxembourg's Findel airport was donated by Luxair Cargo (right) and included protective equipment including masks, hoods, aprons, overalls and rubber boots; tents; antibiotics; anti-malarials; plus ready-to-use therapeutic food for recovering patients in the treatment centers and for malnourished children.

UNICEF estimates that around 9.8 million children and young people under the age of 20 are currently living in areas of West Africa affected by Ebola, of which almost one-third are in Sierra Leone.

Panalpina CEO Peter Ulber commented: "The relief flight will hopefully bring some respite to the people in the region, especially to the many affected children. It's been our privilege to contribute to the commendable aid efforts in Sierra Leone, and I thank everyone involved."

The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced it is working with the National Ebola Taskforce and Liberia Customs officials to extend the bonded area at Monrovia's Robertsfield airport to include the WFP Airport Transit Hub. This will enable the immediate offloading and safe storage of relief cargo until required for delivery to key locations throughout the country.

With 6,841 deaths and 18,464 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola by mid-December, World Health Organization assistant director-general Bruce Aylward said the failure of Sierra Leone's strategy for fighting the virus may have been due to the absence of a necessary shock - as happened in Monrovia last August: "Every new place that gets infected goes through that same terrible learning curve where a lot of people have to die ... before those behaviors start to change," Aylward explained.

GENEVA: The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says after five years of war, loss of hope and appalling living conditions are the major reasons for the numbers of Syrian refugees now seeking asylum in Europe.

Around four million Syrians are now refugees in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and the Lebanon. Turkey has taken in an estimated three million. Since 2011, almost 429,000 refugees have applied for asylum in Europe. This year, Germany expects to take 800,000.

Canadian red crossTo provide temporary help for the sudden arrival of so many people, the Canadian, American and German Red Cross organizations have coordinated the delivery of thousands of camp beds weighing a total 120 tonnes via Lufthansa and Cargojet.

"I have just returned from visiting several refugee camps in Germany where I saw first hand the resources urgently needed to support the large influx of refugees in recent days and those that will continue in the coming months," said Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "These items will provide thousands of families with comfort and warmth, however the situation is intensifying and more aid is desperately needed."

Amin Awad, director of the UNHCR bureau for the Middle East and North Africa, said the reason for Europe's sudden refugee crisis is horrible living conditions and no work in Syria's four neighboring countries: "When people don't have proper shelter and are living on 45 cents a day of course they want to move. Refugees are having to adopt negative survival strategies – like child labor, dropping out of school, begging and survival sex," said Awad, who is also the regional UNHCR refugee coordinator for the country.

Many refugees in Jordan have told the UNHCR that cuts in World Food Programme food aid last winter were the last straw in their decision to leave the country. Shrinking humanitarian aid, including support for child education, is cited by refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt as a cause of desperation and driver of onward movement.

"Syria is burning; towns are destroyed and that's why people are on the move, that's why we have an avalanche, a tsunami of people on the move towards Europe... As long as there's no resolution in Syria and no improved conditions in neighboring countries, people will move," Awad added.

WASHINGTON, DC: The World Bank says half the working population of Liberia has become unemployed since the Ebola crisis began. As of November 22, a total of 15,145 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of the virus have been reported in eight countries. There have been 5,470 reported deaths.

According to a survey by the Gallup Organization in conjunction with the Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, the self-employed in Liberia have been the hardest hit, in large part due to the closure of markets where they operate. Before the crisis, over 30 percent of working household heads were self-employed - now it is just above 10 percent.

russia field hospital to guineaOverall, only about 36 percent of previously self-employed workers outside of agriculture and about half of those originally engaged in wage labor are still working since the crisis unfolded. After an initial downturn, the agricultural sector is showing the most resilience says the World Bank.

"Even those living in the most remote communities in Liberia, where Ebola has not been detected, are suffering the economic side effects of this terrible disease," said Ana Revenga, senior director of the Poverty Global Practice at the World Bank Group. "Relief efforts must focus not only on those directly affected by the virus, but also on those in the poorest communities for whom market access, mobility, and food security continue to get worse."

According to Russia's official news agency TASS, on November 16 two AN-124s from the country's Defense Ministry flew 150 tonnes of medical equipment, including a complete field hospital (right), from Sochi to Conakry, Guinea. The hospital includes three disinfection shower cabins, a distillation station, blood testers, four mobile generators, specialized field kitchens, a mechanized laundry plus medical supplies and infusion solutions.

Russia Defense Ministry spokesman major general Igor Konashenkov said the hospital could isolate and treat 200 people simultaneously during an entire quarantine period.

Karl Doorman 2Meanwhile the U.S. Air Force reports the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Contingency Response Group has successfully completed its Ebola mission after processing more than 188 flights and 750 tons of relief supplies for delivery to Liberia.

The cargo that first arrived in Senegal on chartered B747s,  Air Force C-17s and KC-10 Extenders, included tents, latex gloves, human blood, stretchers, electric generators, and food and water. The National Guard then transshipped everything to military C-130s for final delivery in Liberia. The U.S. Department of Defense has deployed nearly 4,000 personnel to build multiple Ebola treatment facilities in Liberia, staff medical laboratories and train local health-care workers.

The U.N. Ebola mission says an additional 370 tonnes were flown on 14 flights over one week in November (including five from from Accra) carrying vehicles and humanitarian supplies while by mid-November its flight program had carried over 2,300 passengers from 59 aid organizations.

On November 19, the the Royal Netherlands Navy transport ship Karel Doorman (left) arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver a ship load of aid from Holland and several other European countries including Finland, Austria, Belgium and the UK.

The U.N. says it has received US$699 million out of a total US$1.5 billion needed for its Ebola appeal.

  • Freightweek, which first reported on the logistics industry involvement back in July when Danish shipowner J. Lauritzen announced its support for first responder Médecins Sans Frontier (MSF), will donate a net 10 percent to MSF from any new advertising booked in the December and January editions of its monthly magazine. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

FedEx Direct ReliefKATHMANDU: The UN World Food Programme (WFP), funded by voluntary contributions, says it needs US$116.6 million to provide food for 1.4 million people affected by the Nepal earthquake.

The aid organization, with support from its logistics partners, has distributed food for 300,000 people so far and is currently bringing in more helicopters and engaging multiple fleets of small trucks to get supplies to hard-hit rural areas where roads are poor or non-existent.

WFP says it is also opening a land route from India to take pressure off Kathmandu airport but currently is struggling to find money for the expanding logistics operation as its emergency operations are only four percent funded.

"The people of Nepal are resilient, but we can't expect families to be living in the rubble of their homes, with little food, no roof over their head and the monsoons coming," said Richard Ragan, who is coordinating WFP's relief operation. "We in no way want a lack of resources to force us to limit the assistance we're providing."

In addition to donations from Denmark, Liechtenstein, Canada, the UK and the European Union, the U.S. has also responded to the food request by flying in three million high-energy nutrition bars (HEB) from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Due to the weight restrictions at Kathmandu airport, the shipments will arrive on multiple flights.

Meanwhile FedEx has added its significant logistics support by delivering 178,000 lbs. of medical aid and supplies to Kathmandu via Dubai on behalf of Direct Relief (right), Heart to Heart, and Water Missions. The shipments will provide support for six hospitals in and around Katmandu and five emergency medical teams.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of May 08 the earthquake has resulted in 7,885 deaths, over 17,800 people injured, 8.1 million in need of assistance and three million urgently requiring food. OCHA says in-kind contributions from 58 organizations have shipped 1,850 tonnes valued at US$22.6 million to the devasted country although only 15 percent so far has been successfully delivered.

ACCRA, Ghana: As part of the growing international logistics response to the Ebola crisis, the German Air Force has positioned a C160 Transall aircraft (below) at Kotoka airport Accra, Ghana to ferry U.N. humanitarian supplies and equipment to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

According to the U.N. Missions for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), items include high-energy biscuits and infrastructure equipment to establish a logistics chain for future aid delivery. UNMEER has also received three Mi-8 helicopters flown on a Volga-Dnepr AN124 from Moscow to Freetown.

German Air Force Transvaal aircraft at Kotoka airport Accra Ghana Meanwhile the World Food Programme has chartered a flight to Monrovia, Liberia carrying 58 tonnes of water tanks, washing units and generators as a WFP-contracted ship left Cotonou, Benin, with 7,000 tonnes of rice en route to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Monrovia.

In the past three days the U.N.'s Humanitarian Response Depots have delivered 159 tonnes of equipment for forward logistics bases in Liberia and Guinea as part of 449 tonnes of protective gear, emergency health kits, relief items and support equipment sourced from depots in Dubai, Ghana, Italy and Spain.

A UNMEER report on October 16 said just under 9,000 people are suspected or confirmed Ebola cases of which 4,493 have died. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the U.S. have now declared the epidemic "the most serious international public health emergency in recent years".

Despite an appeal by president Alpha Conde of Guinea for retired doctors to return to work to help fight the outbreak, many health workers in the country have reportedly fled in fear of the disease. The government said 76 of the country's doctors have been infected since March and 37 have died. Meanwhile healthcare unions in Liberia have called off a strike over pay and working conditions for medical staff tackling the Ebola epidemic. The walkout, which began on October 13, had poor support and most hospitals and clinics in the country continued to operate normally.

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