Archive for August, 2010

Offering Choices to Unheard Voices: Hunger in Niger

Posted on Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 8:47 am
Aminatou Nomao (12), had many tough questions for Concern on how we choose the villages that receive seeds and cash for our emergency response program.

Aminatou Nomao (12), had many tough questions for Concern on how we choose the villages that receive seeds and cash for our emergency response program.

Niall Tierney, Country Director, Niger

The rains failed in Niger last year:  for the members of the aid community who live and work here, that meant more than just hot, dry weather. We shared the sickening knowledge that failed rains in 2009 meant that families in Niger would face the deadly threat of extreme hunger in 2010.

Concern Worldwide began tracking the first signs of this massive food crisis in October and has been in emergency mode since then. We knew we had to act early.  We knew that the logistics of delivering traditional food aid in Niger would be costly and difficult. This crisis demanded innovative—and rapid—response. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haitians Embark on Path to Settlement

Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2010 at 9:05 am

One of the first houses completed at Concern site, Tabarre Issa in Haiti. Photo: Ed Kenney, Concern Worldwide

Since I arrived in Haiti three days after the January 12th earthquake, I have spent nearly four months on the ground there.  Part of my time was spent working in my normal capacity as a Communications Officer, shooting video, writing reports and case studies, and liaising with journalists and photographers.

I also spent two months on the front lines of Concern’s emergency response as part of the distribution team, bringing tents, essential relief supplies and supplementary nutrition rations to communities throughout Port-au-Prince, as well as our rural operation areas, Saut d’Eau and La Gonave.

I recently returned to Haiti for a week to report on the progress of Concern’s work.  It was extremely satisfying to see Concern’s country program shifting much of its energy and resources from the initial emergency response phase to the next crucial stage of Haiti’s recovery – transitional shelter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Women Can’t Wait: Empowering Women Farmers

Posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2010 at 10:07 am

By Allyson Brown,
Acting Operations Director
for Concern Worldwide US

The Summit on the UN Millennium Development Goals is fast approaching. If we are serious about beating global poverty, the empowerment of women farmers must be high on the agenda. Why?

Did you know that women produce more than half of the world’s food but earn only 10% of the world’s income?  And although women produce up to 80% of food in the developing world, they often are not able to grow enough to feed themselves and their families.

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Delayed Funding Exacts its Cost on Pakistan

Posted on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 at 10:30 am

A man marooned by flood waters, alongside his livestock, waves towards an Army helicopter for relief handouts in the Rajanpur district of Pakistan's Punjab province.

Dorothy Blane, Country Director, Pakistan, Concern Worldwide

The world is only now waking up to the alarm that the humanitarian community has been sounding for more than three weeks about the scale of the emergency here in Pakistan.

It’s difficult and rather pointless for those of us in-country to spend too much time wondering why the response, especially in terms of funding, has been so slow to kick in. There is just too much work to do on the ground here, and we have no time for hand-wringing. Read the rest of this entry »

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WE MUST ALL BE HUMANITARIAN WORKERS

Posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 11:43 am
Concern’s Emergency Response Coordinator Ros O’Sullivan assessing damage in Bangladesh in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Sidr, which affected 8 million people and killed an estimated 10,000.

Concern’s Emergency Response Coordinator Ros O’Sullivan assessing damage in Bangladesh in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Sidr, which affected 8 million people and killed an estimated 10,000.

Ros O’Sullivan, Emergency Response Coordinator, Concern Worldwide

For the past 20 years, I have been a humanitarian aid worker on the frontlines of some of the world’s worst crises.  Today, in solidarity with the United Nations, I join humanitarian workers around the world in celebrating World Humanitarian Day and honoring personnel who have lost their lives to assist people in crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Front Lines can be Behind the Scenes: World Humanitarian Day 2010

Posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 11:43 am

Anne O’Mahony is Country Director for Concern Worldwide in Kenya.

Anne O’Mahony is Country Director for Concern Worldwide in Kenya.

Anne O’Mahony, Country Director, Kenya, Concern Worldwide

This morning in Nairobi, Kenya, Concern Worldwide marked the second commemoration of  World Humanitarian Day with colleagues from  NGOs, Red Cross Societies, the UN, government representatives from both Kenya and Somalia, and other humanitarian actors.

It was uplifting—and hugely important to recognize the contribution and sacrifices that humanitarian workers make in this troubled world of ours.  Here in Kenya, this day could have gone very differently. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Right to Live with Dignity: World Humanitarian Day 2010

Posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 11:41 am
Concern works with 10,000 displaced families in Masisi Province in eastern DRC. Photo: Michael MacSweeney, Masisi, DRC for Concern Worldwide

Concern works with 10,000 displaced families in Masisi Province in eastern DRC. Photo: Michael MacSweeney, Masisi, DRC for Concern Worldwide

I have been a humanitarian worker for more than 14 years in some very tough environments, including Angola and Zimbabwe. But working as Concern Worldwide’s Country Director in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the past two years has definitely been one of the greatest challenges of my career—and one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

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Pakistan floods: pulling people back from the brink

Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2010 at 12:40 pm
Flood affected children in Charsadda district. Photo: Anya Raza/Concern Worldwide

Flood affected children in Charsadda district. Photo: Anya Raza/Concern Worldwide

Good news is rare as Pakistan’s greatest natural disaster continues to unfold before our eyes. But after nearly two weeks of trying, we have finally reached desperate flood victims in two remote districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Province, Kohistan and Shangla. These were among the worst hit in the disaster but the rains and flooded roads held us back, and even the government couldn’t get there at first.  The good news is now that we are there we can began to bring in food and relief items that will literally save lives – these people are on the brink. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan floods: a disaster of epic proportions

Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2010 at 12:25 pm
A boy holds his sibling as flood victims wait on roadside for food handout from motorists in Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district in Punjab province August 11, 2010. Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif, courtesy www.alertnet.org

A boy holds his sibling as flood victims wait on roadside for food handout from motorists in Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district in Punjab province August 11, 2010. Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif, courtesy www.alertnet.org

I arrived in Pakistan the beginning of week two of this massive emergency. There is an adjustment to be made as you step off the plane and take in the enormity of the damage and human suffering. Here the adjustment is colored with a sense of incomprehension as to why—so many days after the floods began—there is not a sense of greater urgency outside of Pakistan.

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Pakistan: Is Enormous Suffering Being Overlooked?

Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 8:51 am

It is monsoon season in Pakistan: rain is not unusual this time of year. But starting on Friday of last week, the Concern team and I watched with literal horror as unprecedented levels of extremely heavy, sustained rain poured down in the mountainous areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK) and other areas—triggering the worst floods ever recorded in Pakistan.

Rivers burst their banks and flooded crops, homes, and roads with frightening speed, in many areas entirely communities. Roads and bridges have been cut off—and many villages in KPK are unreachable, particularly in Swat and Charsadda Districts.

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