General strike over jobs hits Tunisia city

Tunisians wave their national flag as they take part in a general strike against marginalization and to demand development and employment on Tuesday, in Tataouine, south of Tunisia. (AFP)
Updated 12 April 2017

General strike over jobs hits Tunisia city

TATAOUINE, Tunisia: More than a thousand people demonstrated Tuesday in the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine during a general strike to denounce marginalization and demand development and jobs, an AFP correspondent said.
The city some 500 km south of Tunis on the edge of the desert has been the scene of several protests over the past fortnight.
The general strike went ahead despite measures announced Monday by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed after meeting ministers, industry and union leaders and regional representatives.
A ministerial delegation had visited Tataouine on April 4 but with no tangible effect.
On Tuesday, cafes, shops and public buildings closed, although pharmacies, bakeries and hospitals remained open.
Demonstrators chanted slogans including “Employment is a right, not a favor” and “No to the decline of our rights.”
“I am famished. I eat dry bread. I am needy. I can’t take it anymore. I’m fed up. We no longer have any alternative,” Fathi Azlouk, an unemployed man in his 50s, told AFP.
The measures announced by Chahed on Monday include opening up of petroleum companies’ representations in the region, asphalting roads and a Cabinet meeting in Tataouine next month.
Six years after Tunisia’s revolution sparked the Arab Spring, the country has yet to resolve problems such as poverty, unemployment and corruption that led to the ouster of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.


UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

Updated 22 August 2019

UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

  • Donors have pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis
  • But UN humanitarian chief Lise Grande says less than half the amount has been received so far
UNITED NATIONS: The UN humanitarian chief in Yemen warned Wednesday that unless significant new funding is received in the coming weeks, food rations for 12 million people in the war-torn country will be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut off from life-saving services.
Lise Grande said the UN was forced to suspend most vaccination campaigns in May, and without new money a “staggering” 22 life-saving programs in Yemen will close in the next two months.
At a UN pledging conference in February, donors pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis, but Grande said that to date, less than half the amount has been received.
“When money doesn’t come, people die,” she said in a statement Wednesday.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by Iran-backed Houthi Shiite rebels who control much of the country’s north. A Saudi-led coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates allied with Yemen’s internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has left thousands of civilians and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and pushing the country to the brink of famine.
UN deputy humanitarian chief Ursula Mueller told the Security Council on Tuesday that 12 million Yemenis have been assisted every month, “but much of this is about to stop” because only 34% of the UN’s $4.2 billion appeal for 2019 has been funded.
At this time last year, she said, 65% of the appeal was funded, including generous contributions from Yemen’s neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The UN humanitarian office in New York said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and the UAE each pledged $750 million to its Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019.
Grande said the UN is grateful to donors who have lived up to their promises, and in half the districts where people were facing famine “conditions have improved to the point where families are no longer at risk of starvation.”
But she said of the 34 major UN humanitarian programs in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year. Several have been forced to close in recent weeks, Grande said, and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families have been unable to start.
Without new funds in the coming weeks, she said, 19 million people will also lose access to health care, including 1 million women who depend on the UN for reproductive health services. In addition, Grande said, clean water programs for 5 million people will have to shut down at the end of October and tens of thousands of displaced families may find themselves homeless.
“Millions of people in Yemen, who through no fault of their own are the victims of this conflict, depend on us to survive,” she said. “All of us are ashamed by the situation. It’s heart-breaking to look a family in the eye and say we have no money to help.”