The funds will help some 110,000 refugees, the vast majority of whom are women and children, as well as 58,000 people in the Republic of Congo’s host areas for a six-month period.Clashes broke out last October when Enyele militiamen launched deadly assaults on ethnic Munzayas over fishing and farming rights in the Dongo area of Equateur province.The tensions have enveloped most of Equateur, sending some 114,000 to the Republic of Congo, driving some 60,000 to other parts of the province, and forcing an additional 17,000 people to seek refuge in the Central African Republic (CAR).The Government and people of the ROC have once again responded generously to refugees escaping fighting in the DRC, said John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.“But they have very limited resources and a small population, over half of whom subsist on $1.25 per day,” he pointed out. “Significant support is therefore required from the international community.”The refugees are scattered across more than 100 sites – living with host families, sheltering in abandoned huts or building makeshift settlements – along a 500-kilometre stretch of the Oubangui River between Liranga district and the ROC’s border with the CAR. In most areas, they vastly outnumber the local population buy a ratio of five to one.Low river levels are also compounding difficulties, resulting in relief supplies having to be ferried or flown in.The Government, UN agencies and other groups carried out two assessment missions last November, which found that food, livelihood support, clean water, health care and education as among the top needs.Social services, if they existed in areas where refugees are now living, are completely overwhelmed, and the influx of refugees is also heavily straining local resources, such as water, wood and fish.In December, the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) – which aims to speed up relief operations for humanitarian emergencies and make funds available quickly after a disaster, when people are most at risk – allocated nearly $8 million to the crisis, with bilateral funding also having been put forward.This leaves the unmet portion of the appeal launched today at $41 million.Of the $59 million appealed for today, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is calling for $20 million to help to increase overall protection and boost logistical capacity. The funds will also be put towards providing primary education for more than 20,000 children and shelter, as well as the provision of clean water.“Our concern is that four months into exile, the refuges are still lacking basic humanitarian aid, despite our efforts,” agency spokesperson Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva. “So far, we’ve been able to cover just 30 per cent of the needs of this huge population for food, sanitation, shelter, health care and primary education.”UN entities also taking part in today’s appeal are the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). 9 March 2010The United Nations and its partners today launched an appeal for just under $60 million to help more than 100,000 refugees from the northwest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who have fled ethnic violence and are seeking refuge in neighbouring Republic of Congo (ROC).
“Sri Lanka’s principled support for Palestine remains,” the Minister said.Sri Lanka last month abstained from voting on a resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which denounced Israeli violations in and around the al-Haram al-Sharif (also known as the Temple Mount) compound in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds. The UNESCO resolution was submitted by the Palestinians supported by Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.Samaraweera however said that Sri Lanka’s decision to abstain from voting in the resolution does not mean Sri Lanka’s policy on Palestine has changed.He said that Sri Lanka feels the issue between Palestine and Israel should be resolved through negotiations and so it did not feel the resolution will be helpful. (Colombo Gazette) The Minister said that successive Governments have backed the Palestinian cause and that policy has not changed. He recalled that Sri Lanka has supported Palestine in the international fora including in the UN. The Government today asserted that there was no change to Sri Lanka’s policy towards Palestine.Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament that the relations between both countries is strong as ever.
THE PRICE OF potatoes dropped significantly in the year up to this October.The Central Statistics Office has released its annual agricultural output price index – those goods produced on Ireland’s farms – and noted a 28.8 per cent drop for potatoes year-on-year.Statistician Susan O’Connor told TheJournal.ie that the price would have been abnormally high in September of last year when supply of potatoes was down but demand still high.However, after this year’s good harvest, the supply of potatoes on the market is much higher and that’s why the price has “stabilised”.There is some fluctuation between months as the price index is based on both the early and main crop. There is an early harvest (May, June onwards) and a later one, which this year really started to show in the months of August and September. “It was a bit later alright, but the supply didn’t suffer the same as last year,” said O’Connor.Cereal prices also stabilised to a similar extent and were 28.2 per cent down in October 2013 on the September of last year.The agricultural price input index (costs of agriculture) recorded a minor drop of 1.4 per cent when October 2013 was compared with September 2013. The output index increased by half a per cent. This means that the trade index increased by 2 per cent in October 2013.Overall, on a year-on-year basis, the agricultural output price index was up 4.5 per cent in October 2013 compared with the same time last year, and the input price index was down 2.6 per cent.Milk and wool prices recorded particularly strong increases, by 20 per cent and 10.8 per cent.Payments under €125m scheme for disadvantaged farmers start today>Photos: Farmers take to Dublin to oppose possible EU cuts>The top 15 ways to eat the humble spud>