With the international (press) spotlights on Gaza, one would forget these -ongoing- humanitarian hotspots:
The Red Cross appealed to both the Tamil Tigers and the government to allow what they estimated at 250,000 people trapped in the northern war zone to flee to safety.
"People are being caught in the crossfire, hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling and several aid workers have been injured while evacuating the wounded," according to the ICRC.
"It's high time to take decisive action and stop further bloodshed," he said, warning there could be "countless victims" if nothing is done.
The government has called on civilians to gather in a small "safe zone" on the edge of rebel territory, but a health official said at least 300 civilians were wounded and scores feared killed by army artillery shells fired into the zone. (Full)
The United Nations will be forced to end food distribution in Somalia unless armed groups stop attacking U.N. staff, the World Food Programme (WFP) said.
Humanitarian workers have been targeted during a two-year-old rebellion by Islamist insurgents that has killed more than 16,000 civilians and uprooted one million others. Four WFP staff have been killed since August last year. (Full)
Kenya and Horn of Africa:
Large areas of Kenya and the Horn of Africa are facing "an exceptional humanitarian crisis" that requires "urgent food assistance and other interventions to combat high malnutrition levels", according to the IFRC's appeal.
The combination of high world food prices and a crippling drought is endangering as many as 20 million people in both rural and urban communities. (Full)
Clashes in Southern Sudan's Warrap state have left 41 people dead and displaced hundreds of others from their homes in the past two months. (Full)
Sudan's government accused Darfur rebels of planning to launch attacks if President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is indicted for war crimes and said that would bring a new round of bloodshed. (Full)
Flooding in some parts of Mindanao has exacerbated the humanitarian situation on the island after nearly five months of deadly fighting between government troops and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Floods affected 40,000 people. More than 300,000 people remain displaced in the conflict-affected areas, many of them living in shelters or with relatives outside government-designated evacuation sites. (Full)
News discovered via AidNews
Picture courtesy Finbarr O'Reilly (Reuters)