translate arrow


DFW International Airport


WASHINGTON, DC: With Brussels Airlines one of the few airlines still providing services to Monrovia, Liberia, a World Bank economic impact report says the cost to the three countries worst-affected by the Ebola virus that has already killed 3,800 people will reach US$815 million next year.

Noting that Nigeria and Senegal have successfully stopped the spread of the virus so far, the bank warns that if the outbreak is not contained by the end of the year and spreads to neighboring countries, the economic cost to the region could reach US$32.6 billion by the end of 2015.

US military Ebola responseAccording to its latest analysis, the economic impact of Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone could become catastrophic under a slow-containment, "High Ebola" scenario. The bank says this could be avoided if immediate action alleviates the "aversion behavior" that is causing neighboring countries to close their borders and airlines to suspend flights to the three worst-affected countries.

The bank adds that a similar reaction was responsible for as much as 80 or 90 percent of the total economic impact of the SARS epidemic of 2002-2004 and the H1N1 flu epidemic of 2009.

"With Ebola's potential to inflict massive economic costs on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and the rest of their neighbors in West Africa, the international community must find ways to get past logistical roadblocks and bring in more doctors and trained medical staff, more hospital beds, and more health and development support to help stop Ebola in its tracks," said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group.

The bank has provided US$400 million in assistance while the U.S. says it has already committed US$350 million, including more than US$111 million in humanitarian aid, as it begins flights to Roberts International airport, Monrovia (right) as part of a US$1 billion Ebola logistics response effort.

ADANA, TURKEY: According to Valerie Amos, U.N. under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, 20 million people across Iraq have been affected since the first wave of displacement took place in January this year. As winter approaches, she says this vast number requires shelter, basic humanitarian assistance and protection in over 1,500 sites nationwide.

In response to an U.N. appeal, US$712 million has been donated so far – including US$500 million from Saudi Arabia.

The U.N. says more than 45 charter flights in support of various agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP), have already delivered 6,700 tonnes of tents, mattresses, hygiene and household kits, water bottles and water disaster response kits to Erbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

UNHCR began another airlift in late September in support of refugees fleeing from ISIS advances in northern Syria as more than 150,000 Syrians, 80 percent women and children, crossed the border into Turkey in less than a week.

Royal JordanianA Royal Jordanian A310 freighter (right) began the first of eight flights on September 25 carrying relief supplies to the southern Turkish city of Adana. Further aid is on its way by truck from Copenhagen and via sea from Dubai to Mersin, Turkey, and is expected to arrive on October 11.

"This sudden and massive influx of traumatized people into Turkey comes at a time when this country is already generously hosting well over a million Syrians. It is absolutely critical that the international community supports Turkey to respond to spiraling needs of so many refugees now as they will soon be facing winter," said U.N. high commissioner for refugees António Guterres.

Despite continued threats from ISIS terrorists, UNICEF has delivered aid to 439,000 internally displaced Iraqis while the World Heath Organisation has provided medicines and medical supplies for almost 950,000 in the last few months. In addition the UNHCR refugee agency has helped some 300,000 with tents, mattresses and other emergency items while the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has supported a further 149,000 Iraqis with the distribution of 25,000 family kits that include blankets, mattresses, storage bins, kitchen cookware, cutlery, cooking stove, laundry and toiletry items.

A new U.N. report says the four years of conflict in Syria has created a protracted refugee emergency in the Middle East that has overflowed into Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Over 2.9 million Syrians are now registered as refugees. As the situation inside the country continues to deteriorate, the U.N. says its humanitarian partners expect the number to be 3.5 million by the end of this year.

Official U.N. estimates say the number of Syrians in need has risen from 9.3 million in December last year to 10.8 million now - with 6.5 million men, women and children displaced inside the country and an additional 2.9 million fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt.

LUXEMBOURG: Cargolux has operated a second 747 freighter flight on behalf of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from Luxembourg to Monrovia carrying 71 tonnes of sanitation supplies - including several tonnes of chlorine and over 9,000 protection kits for families affected by the Ebola outbreak.

The flight follows the declaration by the U.N. Security Council that the spread of the virus is a "threat to international peace and security". Earlier the U.S. announced it would be sending 3,000 military personnel to provide logistics support and training for the region's overwhelmed local authorities.

CV Ebola"Here's the hard truth. In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It's spiraling out of control," said U.S. president Barack Obama. "If the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us."

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, America has already committed US$100 million to combat the spread of the virus.

U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said US$1 billion is needed to halt the virus that threatens the lives of 22 million people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. He called on corporations to provide medicines, transport and communication resources.

Cargolux CEO & president Dirk Reich resonded saying: "Providing humanitarian airlift is a crucial element in the effective fight against Ebola. It is our responsibility to make sure that the affected countries are not sealed off from vital medical supplies."

Briefing the Secuirty Council in New York, Margaret Chan, director-general of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) added: "None of us experienced in containing outbreaks has ever seen, in our lifetimes, an emergency on this scale, with this degree of suffering and with this magnitude of cascading consequences."

Dr Chan noted that current reports showing more than 5,500 people have been infected and more than 2,500 killed in West Africa are "vast underestimates."

The U.N. response follows earlier comments from MSF International president Joanne Liu who said despite sending more than 420 tonnes of supplies to the affected countries to support 2,000 staff managing 530 beds in five different Ebola care centres, the NGO is overwhelmed: "We are honestly at a loss as to how a single, private NGO is providing the bulk of isolation units and beds."

MSF has confirmed that one of its international staff members in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola and will be transferred to a specialised treatment center in France.

OAKLAND, CA: According to the Sustainability think tank Global Footprint Network (GFN), humanity has used up its natural resources budget for 2014 and is now "overdrawn".

GFN tracks humanity's demand on the planet against its ability to replenish the natural resources and absorb waste, including CO2.

In 1961, humans used about 75 percent of the Earth's available ecological resources for food, fiber, timber, fish stock and greenhouse gas-sequestration capacity. By the early 1970s, global economic and demographic growth had increased humanity's footprint beyond what the planet could renewably produce. The organisation describes this as "overshoot".

OCHA"Global overshoot is becoming a defining challenge of the 21st century," said Mathis Wackernagel, GFN president. "Each individual country's availability of, and dependence on, natural capital will affect its economy and define how it can weather this global storm."

GFN notes 86 percent of the world's population live in countries that demand more from nature than their own ecosystems can renew. At the same time it says population, energy and food projections will require the capacity of three Earths well before the middle of this century.

"Economist Thomas Piketty has shown that the current market economy drives inequalities," explained Wackernagel. "As increasing natural capital constraints affect our ability to grow our economies, addressing inequality becomes even more challenging," he added.

GFN says the mounting ecological debt forces humanity to "pay interest" in the form of deforestation, fresh-water scarcity, soil erosion, biodiversity loss and the build-up of atmospheric CO2. The result, it adds, is a human and economic cost that transcend borders: "Even high-income countries need to realize that a long-term solution requires addressing biocapacity deficit before it turns into a significant economic stress," said Wackernagel.

The GFN data coincides with the release of a UN report that says 2014 has seen a major surge in humanitarian crises around the world. UN response plans now target more than 76 million people in 31 countries compared to 52 million in December 2013.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says 102 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance compared to 81 million in December 2013.

As a result, the money needed has risen from US$12.9 billion in 2013 to US$17.3 billion now – the highest figure ever recorded. Like the current Ebola crisis, OCHA notes that more and more events are going beyond local borders to other countries that are already vulnerable.

TEHRAN: Valerie Amos, the U.N. under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs, says Iran can help aid organisations gain better access to displaced people in Syria, Iraq and Gaza.

Amos described the situation in Syria, where almost 11 million people are in need, as "unprecedented".

She said people in Iraq are facing an "unravelling" crisis that has already caused one of the largest internal population displacements in the world. "Attacks, systematic persecution and grave human rights abuses against civilians by the so-called Islamic State and other armed groups are outrageous," she declared.

Meanwhile in Gaza the U.N. says 1,975 Palestinians, including 1,417 civilians, and 67 Israelis were killed during the conflict. An estimated 10,000 people have been injured, including 3,000 children and 3,000 women. Hospitals, schools and shelters will take months to rebuild.

USAID WFPIn Syria, the World Food Programme (WFP) has enabled the delivery of food to 3.7 million people while the World Health Organization (WHO) has distributed medicines and supplies for more than half a million. In Iraq and Gaza, the U.N. says it is delivering food, water, medicines, fuel and household goods.

"My job and that of our humanitarian partners is to be as effective as possible in our aid delivery and ensure that we can reach more people, more quickly," she added.

Amos's comments coincide with news that the UK's biggest companies have almost doubled their donations to charities in five years. A new report by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) says members of the FTSE 100 Index gave £2.5 billion to good causes in 2012, a rise of £1.2 billion since 2007 – despite the economic downturn.

The survey also discovered the average donation by a FTSE 100 company has trebled since 2007 from £1 million to £3 million, and donations to charity by the leading group are increasing at a faster pace than their pre-tax profits.

CAF says 73 percent of survey respondents think companies should be more open and transparent about their corporate responsibility; 61 percent say corporate responsibility is just a PR exercise; 69 percent think that businesses have an obligation to support the local community in which they operate; and 44 percent think that businesses have an obligation to donate to charitable causes.

John Low, Charities Aid Foundation CEO commented: "We've seen a growing number of brands putting their ethical aims and values at the heart of their businesses, and many have been hugely successful, particularly among a younger age group.

"We now need all companies to be more transparent and vocal about the great work they're already doing for charities across the country. Why not shout louder about the remarkable growth in corporate charitable giving in spite of difficult economic conditions."

CAF says philanthropy is a powerful tool for driving sustainability as it enables businesses to have a "meaningful dialogue" with employees, customers, investors and wider society in order to achieve positive change. The charity works with over 7,000 companies internationally to provide integrated solutions for their corporate responsibility and philanthropic requirements via offices in Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, India, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, UK and the U.S.

GAZA: As the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas continues, for the first time since 2007 the World Food Programme (WFP) has managed to cross from Egypt into the Gaza Strip with a convoy carrying enough food to feed 150,000 people for five days.

The 18 trucks carried an initial consignment of 15,600 food parcels of canned meat and beans, tea and dates from Alexandria across the Sinai Peninsula in seven hours.

Gaza crossing WFPA second convoy with 9,400 parcels is expected to enter Gaza via the Rafah border point (picture courtesy of WFP/Eyad al Baba) in the next few days with help from the Egyptian Red Crescent.

"It is extremely important that we have access to the Gaza Strip from different routes including the Rafah crossing to ensure a constant flow of humanitarian supplies to meet the growing needs of the people affected by the recent violence. We are grateful to the government of Egypt for opening the Rafah crossing and allowing WFP to procure food in Egypt," said Mohamed Diab, the WFP regional director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and East Europe.

Since the start of the conflict at the beginning of July, WFP has provided daily emergency food rations for 350,000 displaced people in Gaza. "The opening of the Rafah crossing for humanitarian aid provides a major opportunity to scale up aid delivery to Gaza and needs to be sustained," added WFP country director Pablo Recalde.

The donation-supported WFP says it needs US$70 million in the next three months to do so.

In a related move, UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, says Gaza has received nearly 3.5 tonnes of essential medicines and vaccines to restock hospitals and health facilities that have been damaged in the conflict. The delivery is part of a record 1,000 tonnes shipped in August in response to various crises in Africa and the Middle East.

GENEVA: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it is scaling up logistics arrangements in readiness for the delivery of aid to eastern Ukraine.

Laurent Corbaz, ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia, called on Russia and the Ukraine to reach a quick agreement as distributing the aid "will take some time due to the complex logistics and security challenges involved".

The ICRC says Ukraine and Russia have asked it to distribute aid from their respective convoys sent to the area.

UNHCR"As and when agreement is reached, we plan to deliver this humanitarian aid to people affected by conflict in eastern Ukraine, health facilities and other welfare organizations," said Corbaz. "People are struggling to cope with limited access to basic services such as water and electricity, so speed is of the essence."

A five-person ICRC team is already in the vicinity of the Russian convoy, currently parked in the Rostov region, and 15 more staff are on the way. Another ICRC team has deployed to Starobilsk, where a Ukrainian aid convoy of around 50 trucks arrived on August 15.

"We still need assurances from all parties to the conflict that our staff will be allowed to perform their tasks safely and with due respect for our humanitarian principles," added Corbaz.

In support of its activities in eastern Ukraine, the ICRC says it has received financial support from Finland, Switzerland, U.K., U.S. and the Red Cross Societies of Canada and Japan.

According to the U.N. World Health Organisation (WHO) the continuing conflict around Donetsk and Luhansk has affected nearly four million residents, including 156,000 internally displaced people.

A US$14 million UN humanitarian response plan aims to restore access to healthcare for the region: "We are tailoring our response activities to care for each of these communities, and to prepare in advance for the coming of winter, which will only exacerbate the health crisis people will face," said Dorit Nitzan, WHO's representative in Ukraine.

In a related move, the official Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reports Ukraine is requiring Aeroflot and Transaero to apply for permission every time the two airlines overfly the country. Read more:

SINGAPORE: The WWF has released a guide for banks to go beyond reputation and risk management to embrace "transformative change and sustainable practices".

The move follows this month's record US$16.6 billion settlement by the Bank of America with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) following claims it misled investors of its mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crash.

WWF ESG strategyThe WWF maps out how financial institutions can manage their risk exposure to unsustainable business practices and lead the trend toward green business says Jeanne Stampe, WWF Asia Finance and Commodities Specialist.

Stampe says banks can no longer ignore credit risks resulting from severe weather impacting infrastructure or agricultural production; or water stress affecting production across sectors or regulations that affect the value of carbon assets or carbon-related infrastructure.

The new guide provides financial institutions with a toolkit to develop an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy and an operational framework to integrate ESG issues into their practices.

Ben Ridley, Asia Pacific Head of Sustainability Affairs at Credit Suisse commented: "Credit Suisse is proud to sponsor this guide. It provides Asian banks with the background, knowledge and tools to develop a strategy and action plan to embed consideration of key ESG issues into their core business."

"The call to address environmental concerns has grown increasingly louder over time. Businesses, whether upstream or downstream, need to work together to do what is right and banks can play a significant role in promoting sustainability. While change will not happen overnight, the WWF guide can serve as a roadmap to provide insights on how ESG issues can be integrated into business processes to achieve this purpose," said Samuel Tsien, chairman of The Association of Banks in Singapore.

According to The Economist magazine, this year Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and other banks have paid "close to US$50 billion for supposedly misleading investors in mortgage-backed bonds. BNP Paribas is paying US$9 billion over breaches of American sanctions against Sudan and Iran. Credit Suisse, UBS, Barclays and others have settled for billions more, over various accusations".

KHAZAIR, IRAQ: The U.S has begun air drops over Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq to help an estimated 50,000 members of the Yezidi religious minority who are threatened with genocide by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

On August 07 an Air Mobility Command C-17 and two C-130 aircraft, escorted by two Marine Corps F-18s, dropped 5,300 gallons of water and 8,000 ready meals on the mountain. A second relief sortie was carried out a day later.

Iraq border crossing into KurdistanThe UK government has announced it will also provide air logistics support to help the trapped minority.

U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply appalled” by reports of attacks by Islamic State in Kirkuk and Qaraqosh, and earlier attacks in Tal Afar and Sinjar district affecting Christians, Turkomen, and Yezidis.

Meanwhile the UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it is planning to establish new transport corridors to bring food into Iraq, including a southern corridor through Kuwait. The agency says it is also trying to establish hubs in Basrah and Baghdad to facilitate food and transport arrangements.

UNHCR, WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF] are helping an estimated 200,000 people who have fled Sinjar after it was overrun by Islamic State gunmen and are heading north to Dahuk Governorate in the Kurdistan region.

Prior to the latest wave of displacement, the WFP has been supporting about 240,000 people who had fled the fighting in al-Anbar Governorate and more than 180,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria, who have also been sheltering in Iraq.

The U.N. says the Khazair checkpoint (right) between Iraq and semi-autonomous Kurdistan has seen hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people cross into the region to get away from Islamic State terrorists.

ERBIL: The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) has begun an air, road and sea operation to deliver aid to 500,000 displaced people in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

The relief program began this week with chartered B747 freighter flights from Aqaba, Jordan to Erbil, Iraq followed by road convoys from Turkey and Jordan, and sea and land shipments from Dubai via Iran over the next 10 days.

The initial aid shipments include 3,300 tents, 20,000 plastic sheets, 18,500 kitchen sets and 16,500 jerry cans as part of a program to ship 2,410 tons of aid.

Some 200,000 people have fled to Iraqi Kurdistan since early August when Sinjar and the area around it were seized by terrorists from the self-styled Islamic State.

UNHCR 2"At this stage we envisage there being 12-14 sites in all with capacity for 140,000 people," said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards. The agency says the sites are likely to be boosted by additional camps set up by the International Humanitarian Partnership of Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.

"The number of displaced people flowing [from Syria] into Duhok [province] across the Peshkabour border has slowed in the past week from thousands per day to a few hundred," added Edwards. Inside Syria, UNHCR continues to help Yezidi people fleeing the Sinjar area.

To date the agency says it has provided shelter and aid to more than 210,000 people. So far an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced this year, including 600,000 people from Anbar province in January and a further 600,000 as a result of Islamic State terrorist action in and around Mosul and Sinjar.

As the aid program continues, outgoing U.N. high commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has castigated members of the U.N. Security Council for not taking responsibility for the unfolding human tragedy in Syria and Iraq.

"I firmly believe that greater responsiveness by this Council would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives," adding that the use of a veto by some members was short-sighted in a century where growing challenges face humanity as a whole. "Collective interest – clearly defined by the UN Charter – is the national interest of every state," she declared.

Noting short-term geopolitical considerations and narrow national interest had repeatedly taken precedence over "intolerable" human suffering, Pillay said inaction by the international community had allowed "massive bloodshed and devastation of infrastructure with acutely destabilizing transnational phenomena, including terrorism, the proliferation of prohibited weaponry, organized crime, and spoliation of natural resources."

Pillay added that the current situation in Iraq and parts of Syria could have been avoided if members of the Council had listened to the warnings of monitors and experts: "The laws of the UN are most needed when conflict looms, and this Council has the mandate to address crises before they escalate into threats to international peace and security," she concluded.

Video: UNHCR begins multimodal aid response


BRUSSELS: The European Commission has donated a further €14 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver aid to 1.7 million people in South Sudan.

European Union funding now totals €208.5 million including, €83.5 million from the Commission, as seven million Sudanese face famine following the outbreak of fighting in Juba last December that has spread to several states in the world's youngest nation.

Currently more than 1.1 million people have been internally displaced and over 400,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

"By signing these contracts with the WFP, our biggest partner in food aid, we will save the lives of many South Sudanese people, " said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

WFP NileWith many areas of South Sudan cut off from road access because of the fighting and the rainy season, the WFP is using aircraft and barges to deliver aid. A four-barge convoy carrying 1,200 tonnes of cereals is currently heading for the towns of Malakal and Melut in Upper Nile State. In Malakal the food will be distributed to people in areas protected by the UN while in Melut it will be given to Sudanese refugees who have sought refuge in Maban County.

Earlier this year a WFP barge convoy was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades as it was delivering food, diesel and jet fuel to Malakal. Four people were reported injured.

The WFP says the rising number of conflicts has meant a "fifty-fold" increase in the use of airfreight in the first six months of 2014. From January to June, WFP Aviation delivered 7,600 tonnes of food and 1,189 tonnes of relief supplies to humanitarian organizations in 21 countries - 56 times more than the same period last year.

"Dealing with simultaneous emergencies in three countries – the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Syria – meant calling on our deep expertise in tough places and WFP's ability to scale up swiftly to deliver life-saving supplies to people in desperate need," said Cesar Arroyo, WFP Aviation head. "Thankfully, our donors have supported this effort."

Between March and June WFP Aviation flew 236 airdrops to reach 300,000 people despite what it says is "a shortage of sufficient air assets and drastic cost variations on the charter market during emergencies, as well as bureaucratic hurdles and insufficient cargo-handling infrastructure and airports in many countries".

CSAFE Global



Rss Module (Zai)


- powered by Quickchilli.com -