Archive for April 12th, 2015

12/04/2015

Besieged, Besieged … Besieged Everywhere

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations agency concerned with the well-being of Palestinian refugees is undertaking an urgent mission to Syria on 11 April 2015, prompted by deepening concerns for the safety and protection of thousands Palestinian and Syrian civilians at Yarmouk refugee camp overrun in recent days by militants.

A mother and child in Yarmouk, Syria. Photo: UNRWA/Taghrid Mohammad

Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is visiting Yarmouk to get a sense of the situation in the camp, hear from refugees affected by the crisis, and consult with leaders on how to get aid to people in need.

Since 1 April, Yarmouk has been the scene of intense fighting between a number of armed groups, reportedly including elements of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), rendering it virtually impossible for civilians to leave.

Among Yarmouk’s 18,000 besieged residents are also 3,500 children, who have been reliant on UNRWA’s intermittent distributions of food and other assistance for over a year.

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12/04/2015

Urgent Action Needed to Avoid Irreversible Groundwater Depletion

Human Wrongs Watch

Daegu/Rome/Washington, D.C.FAO, UNESCO, the World Bank, GEF and the International Association of Hydrogeologists have on 10 April 2015 called for action by the global community to manage the increasingly urgent depletion and degradation of limited groundwater resources.

A Senegalese farmer transfers well water into a holding container. | Source: FAO

A Senegalese farmer transfers well water into a holding container. | Source: FAO

Ahead of the 7th World Water Forum in South Korea (12-17 April), the five organizations have proposed a set of principles governments can use for better groundwater management.*

The 2030 Vision and Global Framework for Action represent a bold call for collective, responsible action by governments and the global community to ensure sustainable use of groundwater.

For too long, groundwater governance has been an area of policy neglect, resulting in the degradation and depletion of this critical resource.
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Global groundwater withdrawals have tripled over the past half century — more than a fourth of current withdrawals are non-sustainable.
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Widespread groundwater pollution is threatening humans and the environment.
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Most urban aquifers suffer from sanitation issues while coastal aquifers are exposed to saline water intrusion. Industrial pollution, pesticides and fertilizers also find their way into reservoirs.
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