News in the Humanosphere: U.N. launches largest humanitarian appeal ever

(UN Photo)

The number and scale of global humanitarian emergencies are breaking all sorts of records.  “The United Nations appealed Monday for $16.4 billion to pay for global humanitarian needs in 2015, saying the number of people affected by conflicts and natural disasters around the world has reached record levels. More than 40 percent of the appeal — $7.2 billion — would go to help 18.2 million people suffering from the war in Syria. A year ago, the U.N. asked for $12.9 billion to assist 52 million people, but during 2014, the number of people in need has nearly doubled to a record 102 million, U.N. Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos said. As a result, the U.N. raised its appeal to $17.9 billion for 31 countries, but donors only provided $9.4 billion, Amos said. That has left $8.5 billion in unmet needs, many of which have been rolled over into the 2015 appeal to help 57.5 million of the world’s most vulnerable people. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G7L72K)

Good news about the future of global warming … Recent pledges by China, the United States and the European Union to limit greenhouse gas emissions will slow the rate of global warming this century, a study by climate scientists showed on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6vaXi)

A bad year for kids … UNICEF declared 2014 a devastating year for children on Monday with as many as 15 million caught in conflicts in Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and the Palestinian territories. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qmo8Nu)

Mines, palm oil plantations, large farms and mining projects are contributing to an alarming pace of forest destruction, a new report has found, hampering efforts to curb global warming. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6veqh)

Ebola

As health officials struggle to contain the world’s biggest-ever Ebola outbreak, their efforts are being complicated by another problem: bad data. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G7LaM6)

Junior doctors in Sierra Leone went on strike Monday to demand better treatment for health workers infected with Ebola, a health official said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G7LLNQ)

Liberia’s Supreme Court lifted a government order suspending campaigning in and around the capital for next week’s Senate election imposed on the grounds that electioneering risks spreading the Ebola virus. (Reuters http://bit.ly/12FGFJF)

For months, Liberia was the country worst-hit by the Ebola outbreak. But the wards in Liberia’s Ebola treatment units now stand virtually empty. The number of newly reported cases fell from almost 300 cases a week in mid-September to fewer than 100 by mid-October. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to take it easy. In fact, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has just announced a new campaign, Ebola Must Go, which focuses on the role of the community. (NPR http://n.pr/1G7PFpN)

Africa

Young combatants who handed over their guns to the Nigerian government in 2009 say oil-soaked corruption and inequality are pushing the next generation back toward bloodshed. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1w6upxv)

Africa and Asia are the most dangerous regions in the world to be a member of parliament, according to human rights abuses of MPs recorded by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in 2014. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1w6vsgU)

Congolese President Joseph Kabila has named a new government, including members of the opposition, fulfilling a promise made a year ago during talks on how to end years of violence in the country’s east. (AP http://yhoo.it/1w6uvFq)

South African power utility Eskom said on Monday that producing electricity below cost was financially unsustainable and partly to blame for the power outages engulfing the country. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1G7MOgz)

MENA

Syrian refugees who had their food aid cut when a U.N. agency ran out of money last week say that without it they will be unable to feed themselves, educate their children or warm their tents in the freezing winter. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6uLnW)

The government in Yemen, a U.S. ally, was kept informed about a South African aid group’s efforts to negotiate the release of a South African hostage before he died in a U.S. raid on al-Qaida militants, the head of the aid group said Monday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G7JVME)

Spanish rescue teams said they had called off their search for more than 20 migrants who fell off their boat into the Mediterranean on Friday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6tj51)

Rich countries should agree to take at least 5 percent of all Syrian refugees by the end of 2015, aid agencies said as pressure mounts ahead of a major conference on the crisis. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1w6v5Tw)

Qatar has halted its bid to broker the release of Lebanese soldiers and policemen captured by Islamist militants during a raid on a Lebanese border town in August, saying its efforts had failed after one of the captives was killed. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6v5D2)

The United Nations peace envoy to Syria is holding talks with the Syrian opposition in Turkey to promote a cease-fire proposal for the northern city of Aleppo, opposition sources said on Monday. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1G7PU4b)

Asia

At least 21 people were reported dead, many of them drowned as flood waters rose in Borongan, the main town in Eastern Samar, where typhoon Hagupit made first landfall, the Philippine National Red Cross said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6sxFb)

U.S. online ride-hailing service Uber has been banned from operating in the Indian capital after a female passenger accused one of its drivers of rape, a case that has reignited a debate about the safety of women in the South Asian nation. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6srNz)

Opium production in Myanmar fell for the first time in nearly a decade in 2014, the United Nations said Monday. The drop was due to lower crop yields, though, as the total area under cultivation was roughly the same as last year. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G7JodR)

In less than a decade, methamphetamine use has skyrocketed in Iran to the point where now about 345,000 Iranians are considered addicts, according to official statistics. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1w6shG9)

Ten years after a tsunami hit Banda Aceh, Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, killing 167,000 people, roads and bridges have been rebuilt, there are houses on the beach, trees have grown back, and the millions of tons of debris that covered the island are gone. But for a first-time visitor, reminders of the disaster seem to be everywhere. (AP http://yhoo.it/1G7Ls5E)

The Americas

In primary and secondary schools in the Honduran capital, “hallway” is not just another word for corridor but slang for a gantlet of gangsters who hit up instructors for money on the way to the classroom. Teachers who don’t pay, don’t teach. (AP http://yhoo.it/1w6uJfJ)

Bolivia’s worst floods in 60 years submerged villages, ruined crops and destroyed homes. Some indigenous communities in the jungle are adapting to a more resilient way of living; others are forced out to the cities. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1G7PIBZ)

Heat-trapping pollution released into the atmosphere from rising exports of U.S. gasoline and diesel dwarfs the cuts made from fuel efficiency standards and other efforts to reduce global warming in the United States, according to a new Associated Press investigation. (AP http://yhoo.it/12FGMEQ)

Opinion/Blogs

A conversation with War Child founder Samantha Nutt and her experiences in conflict and post-conflict zones. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1u9LVfU )

If Wes Anderson made a charity campaign video… (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1G7Ur6R)

Does the aid bill really show the U.K.’s commitment to development? (Guardian http://bit.ly/1G7Mkap)

#DeconstructingFerguson and lessons for black South Africa in black America (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1G7UDmy)

Kiribati: The world’s next Atlantis? (CNN http://cnn.it/12Zrw71)

Addressing climate change requires real solutions, not blind faith in the magic of markets (IPS http://bit.ly/1G7IWw7)

Mexican drug murders get less attention in U.S. than Middle East violence (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1G7Majg)

From Haiyan to Hagupit – what changed? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1w6vOnL)

Ebola diary: Tackling the virus in Sierra Leone day-by-day (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1w6zk1C)

Has Child Rights’ Convention liberated Tanzanian kids? (Daily News http://bit.ly/12FI6Ys)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.