Gaza Strip – Conflict and humanitarian assistance
- Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire under the auspices of US and UN. The truce begun at 8 A.M. today. The ceasefire is very fragile: this morning a rocket siren has sounded in a town near the Gaza border (according to Haaretz) while Israel has declared they will continue to eliminate tunnels built by Hamas.
- According to UNSG and US Secretary of State joint-statement, upon the invitation of the Government of Egypt, the Israeli and Palestinian delegations will immediately be going to Cairo for negotiations aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire.
- According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Palestinian death toll since fighting began is now 1 458, and the number of wounded has risen to over 8 200. On the Israeli side there are 61 casualties, with the inclusion of five soldiers killed last evening.
West Africa - Ebola Outbreak
- The governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia introduced a state of emergency in order to strengthen the response to Ebola. Measures will include the restriction of movements and gatherings of people, the closure of markets and schools and the ability to enforce isolation.
- Mrs Chan, the Director General of WHO, will join the Presidents of the Mano river union (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Cote D'ivoire) to discuss the response strategy and to launch € 75 million regional response strategy.
- The United States and France has advised against all non-essential travel to the affected countries.
- However, European airlines have assured the President of Liberia that they will continue flying into the region for the time being.
Syria – Conflict and humanitarian assistance
(ECHO, UN, NGOs)
- Heavy fighting and aerial offensives have resulted in more than 2 000 casualties in Syria in the month of July according to human rights organizations. In the past two weeks, civilians have been severely affected by aerial bombardment, shelling and tunnel bombs have escalated in Aleppo city and the countryside, car bomb attacks in Idlib, as well as shelling and air attacks in the peripheries of the capital of Damascus and the southern Dar’a governorate. These attacks have damaged and destroyed emergency field hospitals, schools, and markets in densely populated areas where both local communities and the internally displaced reside. In the period January-July, Human Rights Watch identified more than 650 major impact strikes in Aleppo neighbourhoods held by armed groups; while indiscriminate shelling by non-state armed groups in the Aleppo countryside has also been reported.
- On 30 July, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, stated that on-going fighting and insecurity is an important challenge to deliver assistance across the four authorized crossing points under the UN Security Council resolution 2165 approved on 14 July and called on all parties to enable the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance directly to people throughout Syria and ensure the safety and security of all staff engaged in humanitarian relief activities as required by international law.
- A first UN convoy carrying relief aid for 26 000 people crossed into Syria from Turkey through one of the four authorized crossing points on 24 July; but insecurity remains a major impediment to humanitarian access and assistance in many parts of the country. More than 700 000 civilians are estimated to be affected by blockages imposed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to humanitarian and commercial access from Ar-Raqqa into Al-Hassakeh and the eastern desert region of Deir ez-Zor on the border with Iraq. Also, centralized administrative procedures continue impacting regular delivery of aid in Syria. According to the UN, assistance reached only 49 of the 287 besieged or hard-to-reach areas in June-July.
Iraq – Humanitarian access
(ECHO, UN, NGOs)
- Humanitarian organizations in Iraq has expressed concerns over the impact that the growing violence and insecurity is having on civilians throughout the country. The United Nations has also called for immediate and safe humanitarian access to conflict-affected communities, internally displaced persons and refugees regardless of their religion, ethnicity or affiliation. Essential services for peoples’ survival, including hospitals, water supplies and power grids, have been targeted, disrupted and damaged in the past weeks thus increasing peoples’ needs and the delivery of life-saving assistance is urgent.
- Grave concerns also exist as to the conditions of local communities and IDPs who are unable to leave inaccessible areas where fighting and military offensives are on-going and the rising number of casualties in the country, particularly among civilians. According to the United Nations Mission in Iraq, at least 1 737 Iraqis were killed and another 1 978 were injured as a result of violent acts in July only; with civilians representing the majority among the dead and the injured. Al-Anbar excluded, Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate in July with 1 035 civilian casualties, followed by Salah al-Din, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Babil and Diyala. In addition, more than 500 000 people have been displaced since June, bringing the total of internally displaced to up to 1.2 million since the beginning of the year.
Lesser Antilles - Tropical Cyclone BERTHA
(GDACS, NOAA, Media)
- On 31 July a new Tropical Cyclone, BERTHA, formed over the Atlantic Ocean and started moving west, towards the Lesser Antilles. On 1 August at 6.00 UTC it was a Tropical Storm with max. sustained winds of 75 km/h and its center was located approx. 345 km east of the island of Barbados and 520 km east-southeast of St. Lucia.
- In the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving west-northwest, passing near Barbados in the afternoon of 1 August and through the central Lesser Antilles late in the evening; then on 2 August it will move over the eastern Caribbean Sea, towards Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, slightly strengthening. Heavy rains and winds may affect parts of the central and northern Lesser Antilles on 1-2 August, as well as Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic on 2-3 August.
- As of 1 August at 6.00 UTC, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominica.
Algeria - Earthquake
(GDACS, EMSC, Media)
- On 1 August at 4.11 UTC an earthquake of magnitude 5.6 M at a depth of 10 km struck very close to the coast of northern Algeria. The epicenter was located approx. 15 km north-east of the capital Algiers.
- As of early 1 August, there were no reports of serious damage in the media.
Thailand - Floods
- Heavy rains affected several areas of north-eastern Thailand over the last week, causing floods in the provinces of Sakhon Nakhon and Ubon Ratchathani.
- According to media (as of 30 July), floods affected at least 15 districts and 19 183 households in these two provinces. On 31 July media reported that the situation was improving in several districts of the province of Ubon Ratchathani.
India - Landslide - UPDATE
- The number of deaths due to the landslide that hit the village of Malin in the district of Pune (Maharashtra state, western India) is still rising. According to media (as of 1 August), at least 41 people were killed and approx. 160 were still missing. Search and rescue were still under way.
Taiwan - Gas blast
- A series of underground gas explosions have killed at least 24 people and injured 271 in Taiwan’s second-largest city.Four fire-fighters were among the dead.
- The director of the Central Disaster Emergency Operation Centre, said the leaking gas was most likely to be propene, meaning
that the resulting fires could not be extinguished by water. He said
emergency workers would have to wait until the gas is burnt away.