Tag : Alicia

UN calls on Myanmar to facilitate aid delivery to cyclone victims

7 May 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the top United Nations humanitarian official today urged Myanmar authorities to facilitate the delivery of aid in the wake of the deadly cyclone that wreaked death and destruction in the country several days ago. The Government in Myanmar has confirmed that over 22,000 people have died, and more than 41,000 people are missing, following Cyclone Nargis which struck the South-East Asian nation from 2 to 3 May. Initial estimates suggest that up to 1 million people are currently homeless, and many more require assistance. “The Secretary-General believes that this is a critical moment for the people of Myanmar, and emphasizes the importance of providing as much assistance as possible in the vital first few days following the cyclone’s impact,” according to a statement issued today by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. He welcomed today’s news that some UN aid officials will be allowed into Myanmar tomorrow, which will assist assessment and prioritization efforts. “Given the magnitude of this disaster, the Secretary-General urges the Government of Myanmar to respond to the outpouring of international support and solidarity by facilitating the arrival of aid workers, and the clearance of relief supplies in every way possible,” the statement added. “This can significantly aid the Government in responding to this tragedy.” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes echoed Mr. Ban’s call, stressing that “any delays are going to be potentially critical” in the face of such a disaster.Members of a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team will be flying to Myanmar tomorrow to coordinate relief efforts together with the national authorities. Mr. Holmes, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, stated that while assistance has started to arrive, the effort is clearly not adequate given the enormity of the situation. “We are faced here with a major catastrophe,” he told journalists at UN Headquarters. The UN has been “intensely” discussing access for aid workers, visas and the easing of custom regulations with the Government since the tragedy struck. “The cooperation is reasonable and I think heading in the right direction,” Mr. Holmes noted. The Under-Secretary-General added that the UN will allocate at least $10 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the aid effort. In addition, over two dozen countries have indicated their willingness to contribute to relief efforts, in the amount of $30 million. The UN is working with the Government to prepare a flash appeal to donors to be launched on Friday.Cyclone Nargis, which made landfall in the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) delta region and then moved across the country’s largest city, Yangon, caused widespread destruction, including destroying homes, tearing down trees and power lines and damaging communications.Myanmar authorities have declared five regions – Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago, Mon and Kayin – disaster areas. The combined total population of the disaster areas is around 24 million. Mr. Holmes said the process of aid beginning to arrive has started. Humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are distributing food, water purification tables, plastic sheeting and health kits – just some of the most urgent needs. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) today sent four aircraft loaded with critically needed food aid, including 45 metric tons of high energy biscuits, and other relief items.“Time is of the essence and we are already reaching storm victims with food. We are mobilising all possible resources to save lives given the massive disruption in food, water, and shelter caused by this storm,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, speaking from Washington D.C.The WFP-chartered aircraft are expected to arrive at Yangon airport early Thursday morning – the first UN flights to arrive in the city. read more

City council opts for regulation over ban of Regina massage parlours

After extensive debate city council has opted for regulating Regina’s approximately 20 massage parlours through a licensing program and Zoning Bylaw changes.A motion brought forward by Ward 4 Coun. Lori Bresciani during a special city council meeting Monday night to ban them outright was defeated, with five councillors in support of a ban — including Mayor Michael Fougere — and six in favour of regulating.Regulations will focus on protecting workers and the integrity of neighbourhoods, according to administration, who will come back with a fleshed-out regulatory framework in March of 2020 that takes into account comments and concerns voiced by city council during Monday night’s meeting.  In addition to a licensing program, administration is proposing a one-block separation distance from schools, churches, daycares and other massage parlours, similar to the regulations applied to cannabis retail outlets.Changes to the Zoning Bylaw are also being recommended to distinguish between massage parlours and therapeutic massage by using the term “body rub establishments.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Currently, the Zoning Bylaw allows massage parlours as a discretionary use in industrial zones, although none of the approximately 20 massage parlours currently operating in Regina are complying with the bylaw.Administration is recommending they also be allowed as a discretionary use in major arterial zones (where most massage parlours currently operate), such as Victoria Avenue and Albert Street.After hearing calls for some amendments to the proposed Zoning Bylaw changes, including also requiring a one-block separation distance from residential zones, administration will also come back with refined zoning recommendations at a Priorities and Planning Committee sometime before the spring.Residents had a chance to voice their concerns at an executive committee meeting in June.Consistent with public consultations that occurred in March, the majority of delegations who shared their views advocated for a complete ban on massage parlours instead of licensing, arguing regulation would increase the demand for sexual services and human trafficking.Thirteen delegations spoke at Monday night’s meeting to councillors and administration, many who continued calls for an outright ban.jackerman@postmedia.com read more