South Sudan amid intensifying crisis UN and European Union mobilize 275 million

The pledges were made during a high-level conference in Geneva organised by the European Union (EU) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the humanitarian situation in the world’s youngest country.According to OCHA, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan has deteriorated relentlessly since violence broke out at the end of 2013. More than 2 million people have been internally displaced and are vulnerable to attack, gender-based violence and forced recruitment to armed groups. An estimated 4.6 million people are facing severe food insecurity and the start of the rainy season is increasing people’s risk of water-borne diseases and malaria.“We must fund the aid effort adequately and enable humanitarian workers to provide basic services – food, water, shelter and healthcare – to people in the most difficult-to-reach locations,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien. “It is vital to send a message of solidarity and hope to South Sudan.”The conflict has triggered the flight of more than half a million refugees into neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. More than 17,000 children have crossed borders, being separated from their families.In remarks ahead of the event, Mr. O’Brien, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that over the past month, the fighting has intensified [in the country] and there have been “completely unacceptable” attacks on UN bases where more than 140,000 people are sheltering.Moreover, he said that eyewitness accounts and satellite images show that the parties to the conflict are “destroying” communities in parts of Greater Upper Nile state, he reported. Civilians have been terrorized and forced to flee for their lives. Villages have been razed; health facilities have been destroyed; livestock has been stolen; food has been taken and burned.“We now have more new South Sudanese refugees than when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed after decades of civil war,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “The neighbouring countries are severely impacted by this massive outflow, and humanitarian agencies lack the resources to address the enormous and growing needs. With a refugee population that is comprised of 70 per cent children, there is an even more urgent need to step up funding and address the most basic requirements for their protection,” he explained.For his part, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides said the pledges at today’s conference show that the world has not forgotten the people of South Sudan. We are committed to alleviating their suffering. “I witnessed this unfolding disaster first-hand just a few weeks ago. I also saw the admirable work done by humanitarian workers,” he said, adding: “Our first priority is to save lives; but this is a man-made crisis which cannot be solved by humanitarian aid alone. A political solution is urgently needed. I call on those fighting to stop the plight imposed on their people and give full protection and access to humanitarian workers.” read more

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Honda launches the low emissions Civic Hybrid

Honda has today (28 March) launched the new Civic Hybrid 1.4 IMA in London.The new Civic combines super-low CO2 emissions of 109 g/km with excellent fuel economy of 61.4 mpg. The four door saloon uses Honda’s petrol-electric hybrid system, Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) . The integrated electric motor assists the engine by giving it a boost during acceleration to improve fuel economy. It also runs the car when idle to reduce emissions, so when a driver stops in traffic the engine falls silent, and uses no petrol. The battery that powers the electric motor charges itself up with regenerative energy from deceleration and braking, meaning it never needs to be recharged from an external power supply. Honda has already sold 130,000 hybrid vehicles worldwide. In Europe it has sold over 2,000 hybrid vehicles – the majority of those in the UK.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

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