Devex Newswire: NGOs in Gaza turn to emergency response

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As Israel agrees to suspend its assault on Gaza, hundreds of people have died in 11 days of fighting – and aid organizations are struggling to maintain supplies.

While Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday evening, the fighting continued this week, and the implications for humanitarian and development work in the Gaza Strip are still unclear, reports Amy.

• All development work has come to a standstill in Gaza, as UNRWA and other relief organizations and NGOs turn to emergency response.

• “We are heading towards a critical point where there is not enough food in Gaza and humanitarian supplies are running out,” Matthias Schmale, UNRWA director in Gaza, said this week. He spoke from a UN compound in Gaza, amid the constant background noise of airstrikes nearby.

• Several primary health centers in Gaza, including the one run by Médecins Sans Frontières, are no longer functioning due to damage from the airstrikes and persistent security risks – and the lack of a secure humanitarian corridor means continuous shipments fuel, food and medical supplies will soon become another area of ​​concern.

Lily: Humanitarian aid in Gaza reaches ‘tipping point’, says UN official

Abuse investigation

A new independent investigation shows the Mercy Corps did not respond correctly when Tania Culver Humphrey, the daughter of the organization’s deceased co-founder, first accused her father Ellsworth Culver of sexual abuse in the early 1990s.

• Culver Humphrey says she is “sad and angry” that the investigative process has taken so long, but also feels “hopeful” about the action taken by the organization, reports Adva Saldinger.

• “We take responsibility for our past while looking ahead as we continue the ongoing work to strengthen our safeguard, governance and accountability systems,” said Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, CEO of Mercy Corps.

Lily: Report denounces Mercy Corps response to abuse allegations

Square one

African countries are grappling with the prospect of not having a second dose of AstraZeneca vaccines to complement the immunization of citizens, reports Sara Jerving. The shortage – in part caused by India’s vaccine export restrictions, brought on by the country’s current COVID-19 crisis – is a stark demonstration of India’s importance to the chain of global pharmaceutical supply.

Africa CDC’s Dr John Nkengasong says this could mean that people who have received a dose have to start the vaccination process all over again. With at least 20 million doses of AstraZeneca needed by the end of June, Nkengasong says people should get Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine if “it’s clear people won’t get their second dose.”

Meanwhile, the European Commission and G-20 President Italy are hosting the Global Health Summit in Rome today. While details on “donations to COVAX” are still vague, the EU is expected to unveil plans to help develop regional manufacturing centers in Africa and increase vaccine production capacity.

What’s next for global health financing trends? Hear tips on health plans, trends and more, as Raquel Alcega and two experts explore the data in this Devex Pro Live exclusive.

Human cost

FCDO decision-makers may forget that there are real people behind the numbers, but I will never reduce women to numbers in a spreadsheet.

– Bukola Onyishi, national director of the NGO Women for Women, on the effect of cuts in British aid

Onyishi writes for Devex about her experience running a training program for women in Nigeria – and the cut in the mid-term subsidy agreed to by cuts in UK aid.

Lily: Opinion: UK funding cuts take hope of women in Nigeria

Meanwhile, the UK’s public watchdog for development policy, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, released a scathing report on how the UK government carried out its first round of aid cuts in 2020. It discusses aid budget cuts made as the UK economy contracted amid the pandemic, reducing the value of the aid spending target then by 0.7%.

• The report finds that the government cut more aid than needed and made decisions based on outdated information.

• The rapid pace at which decisions to cut programs – which take months, sometimes years, of preparatory work – is compared to “running the handbrake with an oil tanker” by an official interviewed by the ICAI.

Read Will’s full review.

ICYMI: Keep up to date with any outages with Devex UK Aid Tracking.

In other news

The US Senate passes a unanimous resolution calling on Eritrean soldiers to leave Ethiopia’s Tigray region. [CNN]

Three-quarters of the Mongolian population have received at least one injection of the COVID-19 vaccine after the country reached agreements with Russia and China for its vaccinations. [New York Times]

After a photo of a Spanish volunteer hugging a Senegalese who had just arrived in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta went viral, the volunteer says she was inundated with racist abuse from the ‘far right. [The Guardian]

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