Editorial The month’s Highlights begins with an overview of the three main current emergencies: the health consequences of the humanitarian crises in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya and of the earthquake and tsunami that affected Japan in early March. It also gives a brief outline of the situation in Yemen. It then updates on a new agreement between Spain and WHO which establishes a humanitarian assistance fund. It continues with a brief update on the latest news from the Global Health Cluster, providing a copy of the Annual activity report for 2010. The Highlights conclude with the most recent interagency issues, including an update on the Ninth Coordination Meeting on International Migration.
Activities in countries
Côte d’Ivoire: stepping up the response to the humanitarian crisis The unsolved political stalemate, the armed clashes in Abidjan and the western regions and the resulting economic paralysis have had a severe impact on the country’s health system. Before the recent upsurge in fighting, WHO had estimated it needed US$ 1.9 million to support the provision of essential care and provide medicines and supplies. Following the rise in violence in Abidjan, a new assessment will be carried out to determine what are the new needs.
Japan: monitoring and providing guidance All levels of WHO have been mobilized to provide support following the 11 March and tsunami that devastated the coastal areas of Tohoku and southern Hokkaido. The compounded effects of the earthquake and the tsunami inflicted serious damage to nuclear power plants, particularly the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. WHO is in close contact with its global network of health experts specialized in nuclear-related disasters.
Yemen: supporting health authorities to respond to the consequences of clashes Demonstrations in Yemen have resulted in many deaths and injuries in Sa’ana , Al-Jawaf and Sada’a. As a result, referral hospitals in the affected cities are overwhelmed and health workers are delivering the services with limited resources. The Health Cluster task force, which includes WHO, the ICRC, the Yemeni Red Crescent society, MSF-France and MSF-Spain are supporting health authorities in responding to the needs.
Spain and WHO establish humanitarian assistance fund The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) and WHO signed an agreement establishing a humanitarian fund to provide timely and effective humanitarian assistance to populations affected by humanitarian crises.
GHC meeting of partners, Geneva, 21–23 March 2011 The meeting brought together representatives from 28 partner organizations, five health cluster coordinators from countries in crisis, as well as WHO regional and headquarters technical staff to review recommendations from the field, build a common understanding among partners on issues and challenges related to the Global Cluster and establish priority areas of work for 2011.