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International Aid Update

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Every few months my website will carry news items concerned with International Aid compiled by my staff. I hope you find the items useful and interesting.


Collaborating to Improve Disaster Response

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has joined up with companies such as UPS and TNT Express to improve the logistics of disaster relief. Together they will conduct a pilot ‘Logistics Capacity Assessment’ in Nigeria to build a full profile of the country’s infrastructure and other relevant logistical components, such as quarantine procedures. The assessment will also review previous disaster strategies and outcomes in the hope that ‘lessons learned from these scenarios could be life-saving in the case of a disaster or pandemic’. They hope that similar collaborative assessments will be rolled out to other countries.


The same team are members of the ‘Logistics Emergency Teams’ a cross-company partnership  that provides the logistical support needed to get aid into countries affected by natural disasters. Most recently, they have been working in the Horn of Africa, where the rains have failed for two consecutive years. They provided vital equipment and expertise by airlifting supplies quickly to those areas that need it most. Assessments such as the one being piloted in Nigeria will aim to improve disaster response as ‘emergency responders will be better able to assess and manage the flow of goods to those in need’ quickly and accurately.


For more information visit: www.wfp.org


Rebuilding Afghanistan

The UK and Afghanistan signed an ‘Enduring Strategic Partnership’ in January which pledged the UK government’s commitment to building a ‘secure, stable and prosperous’ Afghanistan after the withdrawal of British troops. The ‘long-term relationship’ will focus on diplomacy, aid and investment.


Help is needed to modernise Afghanistan to build faith in democratically elected governance. Three decades of war, civil unrest and recurring natural disasters have prevented development. Consequently the country remains one of the poorest countries in the world and more than half the population live below the poverty line.  According to the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) conducted in 2007-2008 7.4 million people (a third of the population) are unable to get enough food to live active, healthy lives.


Combating Tropical Diseases

13 pharmaceutical companies, the US, UK and UAE governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and other global health organisations have united in an effort to combat ten tropical diseases by 2020. This they hope will benefit around 1.4 billion people worldwide.


The project aims to end diseases that needlessly disable, blind and kill millions of people. Combating diseases is vital if developing countries are to escape the poverty cycle. When parents are healthy, they can work and their children can stay in education. Britain has increased aid five-fold to help develop, manufacture and distribute the drugs needed to prevent and treat diseases.


For further information visit:



Child Malnutrition

A report issued by Save the Children aims to raise awareness of child malnutrition, which kills millions of children around the world every year. One in four of the world’s children are stunted, which means that their body and brain have failed to develop properly because of malnutrition. A further 2.6 million, a third of all child deaths in the world, die because of malnutrition. The problem is particularly concentrated in a handful of countries such as India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Bangladesh - 48% of children in India are affected.


Stunted growth affects survivors into adulthood. Adults who were malnourished as children earn at least 20% less than those who were not. Moreover, the problem of malnutrition is also predicted to worsen as a result of climate change, volatile food prices, economic uncertainty and demographic shifts. If current trends continue, the lives of more than 450 million children globally will be affected in the next 15 years.


The report makes several suggestions. Direct Interventions such as vitamin supplements, iodised salt and the promotion of healthy behaviour (i.e. hand washing and exclusive breastfeeding) are given as potential solutions. It is estimated that this alone could save the lives of 2 million children under five and prevent a significant amount of illness. Other recommendations include improving global food distribution, educating communities on agriculture and nutrition and social protection schemes that give vulnerable families food parcels and cash transfers to help them through hard times.


For the full report visit:



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