UN officials welcome release by Somali pirates of longestheld hostages

The mission to recover the hostages was conducted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), funded by the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia’s Trust Fund.The crew, all Thai nationals, of the FV Prantalay 12 vessel, who were taken at sea by Somali pirates on 18 April 2010, were released on Wednesday by their captors into the hands of the Somali Regional Administration in Galmudug.The FV Prantalay 12, a Taiwanese flagged fishing vessel, was used by the pirates as a ‘mother ship’ before it eventually capsized in July 2011. The remaining crew were then taken ashore. Of the original 24 crew members, six succumbed to illness at various stages of captivity, and 14 Myanmar crew members were released to the Puntland Maritime Police authorities and were repatriated by the UNODC’s Hostage Support Programme in May 2011. While this is indeed good news, many more hostages remain in the hands of Somali pirates. A further 26 hostages are currently being held, having been abducted from the FV Naham 3. The UNODC Hostage Support Programme is also supporting these victims in similar ways such as contact, proof of life and occasional medical visits funded by the Oceans Beyond Piracy. “We are extremely relieved to have obtained the release of these four Thai hostages, but let us not forget the remaining 26 Asian crewman still being held in Somalia. They need to be returned home to their families. We are striving to make that happen,” said a UNODC spokesperson. He added: “I am hugely grateful to the Galmudug state officials who conducted this mission yesterday. They put their lives at risk to bring these poor crewmen home after nearly five long years.”Nicholas Kay, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and head of the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNSOM), said: “I am grateful to see the longest held hostages released from Somalia, and thank all those involved who made it happen, especially the regional authorities in Galmudug.” read more

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Civilian needs mount in Yemen as medical supplies dwindle – UN health

“In Taiz, the ongoing crisis has led to the closure of many health facilities and access to health facilities for the injured civilians and doctors is almost becoming impossible; shortages of basic and lifesaving medicines, medical supplies, laboratory reagents in the health facilities are fast dwindling with limited access for replenishing,” said Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) Representative for Yemen.In response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Tiaz and Hodeida governorates and the rising number of civilian injuries in the southern governorates of Yemen, WHO is coordinating a rapid response to provide emergency health access to the injured, internally displaced persons and host communities.But to date, the response to the escalating needs to support life-saving health interventions has been inadequate. WHO requires $105 to cover the health needs of 10.3 million people, however the agency has only received $19 million (18 per cent) leaving a funding gap of 82 per cent. In a press release issued in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, WHO said thousands of people have been injured in Taiz since the start of March 2015 with over 350 casualties recorded in the last one week alone. “The escalating crisis in the governorate has seen a breakdown in the health system; health facilities have been damaged, close to half of the health facilities have closed down and medical supplies are quickly being depleted,” the health agency said.Over the weekend, WHO donated 2 trauma kits sufficient to conduct 1,000 surgeries, one surgical supply kit, 15 dressing kits, 40 first aid bags and anaesthesia to treat the increasing numbers of injured patients in Tiaz.And in Hodeida governorate and Tehama region, where the crisis has equally escalated, WHO has donated emergency trauma kits and other medical supplies sufficient to treat over 4,500 patients at a hospital and a renal dialysis centre to address immediate health needs. Shortly after the delivery of the supplies to the hospital, 25 major surgeries were carried out as a lifesaving intervention.“WHO is committed to ensuring that all Yemenis continue to have access to health services, including those in the hardest to access areas through the provision of emergency lifesaving medicines, trauma kits, interagency emergency health kits, diarrhoeal disease kits and blood bank supplies which currently are urgently needed,” the WHO representative said.But in the coming month, the health situation is expected to deteriorate further among the displaced people and host communities due to the continued crisis and escalating needs. read more

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