F24 Resilience News Digest – August Edition

Welcome to the F24 Resilience News Digest for August 2023. With every issue, we present you with the latest noteworthy news and updates on events spanning the globe. Stay informed about the latest insights and and catch up on the latest news in the world.

Escalating Crisis in Haiti: Violence Forces Thousands to Flee

Haiti faces a multifaceted crisis of violence, displacement, political turmoil, and weak governance, with international efforts underway to find solutions. Haiti’s crisis deepens as more than 3,000 people flee violence in Port-au-Prince. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates nearly 200,000 displaced across Haiti, primarily in the capital. Gang violence disrupts daily life, impacting healthcare, education, and food access in affected areas.

Political instability worsens the situation, with Prime Minister Ariel Henry struggling for legitimacy. International responses include calls for a specialized armed force, but some Haitian leaders remain cautious about foreign intervention. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres suggests using force in targeted police operations to address the crisis, in response to a Security Council resolution.

Hungary´s prime minister Victor Orban highlights crisis management successes

Prime Minister Viktor Orban praised Hungary’s crisis-handling abilities, citing successes in managing issues like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, COVID-19, economic challenges, and migration since 2010. He noted Hungary’s efficient response to recent Danube River flooding.

Orban highlighted Hungary’s experience in managing crises, including past incidents like the 2013 Danube flood and the 2010 industrial disaster. He also mentioned the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Hungary, affecting security and energy due to EU sanctions.

The Prime Minister celebrated Hungary’s effective COVID-19 response, emphasizing timely measures and vaccine procurement. He mentioned Hungary’s commitment to border security despite EU opposition amid increased migration. Lastly, Orban mentioned tackling the 2008 economic crisis by involving banks and corporations to alleviate foreign currency debt burdens on Hungarian families.

China’s economic “crisis of confidence” has severely eroded the trust of foreign investors.

Jens Eskelund, the new head of the European business association in China, warns that China’s economic confidence among foreign investors is at a critical low due to a “perfect storm” of challenges. He calls for decisive action to rebuild trust. To restore investor confidence, Eskelund urges China to enhance its business environment by improving transparency, data reliability, and reducing policy ambiguity and market restrictions for foreign companies.

Without these changes, foreign investors may remain cautious about China, which could have global repercussions. Eskelund points out that there is a current “crisis of confidence” in China’s economy, affecting business sentiment and foreign direct investment. To address this, he calls on China to quickly improve policy transparency, access to information, and market access to restore faith in its market and reassure foreign investors about its predictability and efficiency.

How does the EU response hub work?

The European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism has been increasingly active due to a rise in crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and natural disasters like wildfires and floods. The mechanism allows member states to request assistance and resources during emergencies. Other EU countries can then offer help, with the EU coordinating and financing deployments. It includes strategic stockpiles of medical gear, field hospitals, helicopters, firefighting planes, tents, and energy generators.

However, the mechanism is voluntary, and EU member states are not obligated to provide assistance. The EU does not have legal powers to make disaster response decisions or purchase emergency supplies without member states’ consent. There have been calls to reconsider the mechanism’s setup and potentially grant the EU more decision-making capacity in disaster response through treaty changes.

Climate change has significantly heightened the danger of the destructive fires in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s devastating fires, including the deadly Lahaina blaze, were worsened by several factors, including the climate crisis. Higher global temperatures and drought have made parts of Hawaii more susceptible to severe fires. Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist at the Nature Conservancy, emphasized that while climate change doesn’t directly ignite fires, it does intensify them, making them more dangerous. About a fifth of Maui, where the fires occurred, is facing severe drought conditions. Wildfires in Hawaii now burn four times the area compared to past decades, partly due to the spread of flammable non-native grasses and rising temperatures. Reduced rainfall, with almost 90% less in some areas compared to a century ago, has also made Hawaii drier. Additionally, strong winds from Hurricane Dora unexpectedly exacerbated the Lahaina fires, highlighting the increased influence of powerful cyclones in the central Pacific due to the climate crisis.

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