Yemens humanitarian crisis could threaten political gains warns UN relief official

“There will be no political transition if we don’t deal with the humanitarian situation,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, told a news conference in Geneva.Yemen has been undergoing a democratic transition led by President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, who came to power in a February 2012 election. A major milestone was achieved in March of this year with the opening of the national dialogue conference that will feed into a constitution-making process and pave the way for general elections in 2014. While the political transition is on track, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned that this process could “collapse” unless the “dramatic” humanitarian situation is addressed.According to the Humanitarian Coordinator, 10 million people in Yemen are in need of food aid, of which about 5 million were faced with acute food shortage; 6 million people do not have access to health care; and 1 million children are facing malnutrition, with some 150,000 of them facing the risk of death due to acute malnutrition. The country is also grappling with over 340,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), most of them uprooted from their homes due to fighting in the north and south of the country, he said. In addition, some 25,000 migrants – mainly from Ethiopia – are also facing various hardships, with a large number falling victim to violence and other inhuman treatment by human traffickers. Other problems include gender-based violence and the recruitment of children by armed groups. The international humanitarian community has sought $716 million for the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan to provide emergency and early recovery assistance to 7.7 million of the country’s most vulnerable. However, the plan is so far only 28 per cent funded. “We are still in need of major assistance if we would like to deal with this situation, which as I said, in my view, is quite dramatic,” said Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed. Humanitarian agencies would like to provide water and sanitation for 3 million people inside Yemen; food for over 7 million; and health care services for 4.2 million. The state of malnutrition is “extremely grave,” he stressed, adding that UN agencies are targeting 700,000 children this year for nutrition interventions. In addition, agencies are aiming to assist 622,000 children to receive education and provide services for 1.4 million people in terms of protection services, including 500,000 children. read more

Deep coal mining ends in the UK – a world leader brought

first_imgBritain’s last deep coal mine, Kellingley in Yorkshire, worked its last shift underground yesterday. Kellingley began production in April 1965 and up to 900 t/h of coal could be raised to the surface through one of two 800 m deep shafts. It was mining the ‘Beeston’ coal seam and its closure leaves  further accessible reserves in the ‘Silkstone’ coal seam. It brings to an end a history of British deep coal mining covering many centuries.As Wikipedia explains, the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the 18th century, and later spread to continental Europe, North America, and Japan, was based on the availability of coal to power steam engines. International trade expanded exponentially when coal-fed steam engines were built for the railways and steamships during the Victorian era. Coal was cheaper and much more efficient than wood fuel in most steam engines.In 1905, only the US mined more coal than the UK, producing almost 351 Mt that year, compared with Britain’s 236 Mt. The UK was a world leader and this generated a coal mining equipment industry that also lead the world. There had been more than 1,000 coal mines in the UK during the first half of the 20th century, but by 1984 there were only 173 still operating. And, as of today, there are no deep mines operating. The equipment companies largely failed to move with the times and most disappeared or were sold to US or German companies and competitors.last_img read more