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  • 10/22/12--17:39: A short back and sides
  • Source:  Save the Children
    Country:  Somalia

    by Mark Kaye

    My head has never really suited a buzz cut. Having my hair cut too short only draws attention to the fact that my head is what nice people would call small and the less kind ‘pea-shaped’.

    In a country where short hair is universal for men, it was with some trepidation that I sat in the barber’s seat.

    “Just use the scissors please. A bit off the sides and top, but not too much,” I say to Khadar Haishe, the owner of the barbershop.

    Khadar smiles at me and nods before turning around and reaching into a draw. ZZZZZZZ is the sound the clippers make as his hand remerges.

    “On second thoughts,” I say as I jump out of the chair, “maybe it’s best you cut his hair instead,” gesturing enthusiastically to the customer who came in shortly after me.

    “It will make it easier for us to talk,” I tell Khadar. He just smiles again and waves the new customer towards the seat. To be honest, I don’t think he is fooled in the slightest.

    New in town

    Khadar Haishe’s barber shop has been in business for just four months now.

    Like thousands of others, his family live in one of the two refugee camps in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa.

    In fact he is just one of over 90,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in Somaliland who are invariably some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the country.

    With no welfare system to support them, many families, just like Khadar’s, are left extremely vulnerable to the harsh realities that living in an IDP camp entails.

    Four months ago, Khadar worked for someone else. His income wasn’t enough to support his whole family and they would often go without food.

    Everyday his wife would leave the youngest children alone and go searching for work.

    When times got really tough his children would walk the streets to look for money, doing odd jobs like cleaning cars and washing clothes. None of them went to school.

    For the first time

    Four months on and life has changed for Khadar and his family.

    He was given the start-up costs to initiate a new business as part of Save the Children’s SCORE Project. By improving the economy of his family, it’s hoped that his children will have a better quality of life and be able to escape some of the challenges that growing up in a camp involves.

    “This money has changed all of our lives.” Khadar tells me. “Now I own all of this (he gestures to show off the inside of his barber shop). My children no longer have to work and my wife is able to stay and look after the younger ones. For the first time in their lives I am making enough money to send my children to school and feed them well.”

    As I get up to leave, Khadar stops cutting his customers hair, “Come again tomorrow and I’ll cut your hair,” he tells me. “Sounds great Khadar, I’ll see you then,” I reply.

    He smiles at me one last time and I know he isn’t fooled for a second.


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    Source:  Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country:  Senegal

    The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.

    Rice, millet, sorghum, and maize are the primary staple foods in Senegal. Groundnuts are both an important source of protein and a commonly grown cash crop. Imported rice is consumed daily by the vast majority of households in Senegal particularly in Dakar and Touba urban centers. Local rice is produced and consumed in the Senegal River Valley. St. Louis is a major market for the Senegal River Valley. Millet is consumed in central regions where Kaolack is the most important regional market. Maize is produced and consumed in areas around Kaolack, Tambacounda, and the Senegal River Valley. Some maize is also imported mainly from the international market. High demand for all commodities exists in and around Touba and Dakar. They are also important centers for stocking and storage during the lean season. The harvests of grains and groundnuts begin at the end of the marketing year in October; and stocks of locally produced grains are drawn down throughout the marketing year. Senegal depends more on imports from the international market for rice than from cross border trade which mainly includes cattle from Mali and Mauritania that supply Dakar and surrounding markets.


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  • 10/22/12--18:29: When the rains don't come
  • Source:  SOS Children's Villages International
    Country:  Niger (the)

    By Paul Hahn

    22/10/2012 - Niger comes second from the bottom of all the countries in the world. Living conditions are hard in this country plagued by droughts, floods and invasions of insects which struggles with a chronic food crisis. Paul Hahn reports on malnutrition and ignorance, but also on strategies to combat hunger and on resourceful women.

    Ibrahim is two years old. He weighs exactly 7,200 grams. Nurse Yahanatu Manan Issa (25) puts a measuring tape round the weak little boy's arm. The measurement shows what was plain from the start: red alert, serious malnutrition. In Germany a child of Ibrahim's age weighs double this. Nurse Issa carefully pulls down one of the child’s lower eyelids. The mucous membrane is as white as snow: with a proper blood supply it would be pink. The boy is suffering from anaemia, and she has also diagnosed a hunger oedema on his foot. This is serious. Mothers with their babies stand silently with worried expressions around the table where Nurse Issa now puts a red tape round little Ibrahim's foot, a sign that he needs to be admitted immediately to the special diet programme.

    A good harvest is not enough

    In the health centre in Takorka in the Madaoua Department in Western Niger the young nurse has examined at least 50 children who are so dangerously underweight over the past month. Along with a second nurse, a nursing auxiliary and a pharmacist, she is responsible for 19 villages with around 42,000 people. Together they perform a heroic task in a country beset by a severe hunger crisis and where around eight million people have far too little to eat. In some areas there has been no proper harvest for years due to the continuing drought, floods and swarms of locusts. And now millet, the most important staple in Niger, is so expensive that many people can barely support themselves any longer.

    Hamissou Karaou, Director of SOS Children's Villages Niger, describes the current situation as desperate: "Many people have now got into so much debt that, despite a good harvest, they cannot escape the hunger crisis." This alone is a good enough reason to continue the SOS Emergency Relief Programme which began in Niger in 2010. Aid programmes like this were also started in Mali and Chad this year. "Our food supplies have reached 7,200 people so far, with over half going to children. And we will continue to expand this aid", Hamissou Karaou stresses. But the emergency relief programme, from which the clinic in Takorka also benefits, also includes drugs, special therapeutic foods such as peanut butter and cereal bars for malnourished children and clothes.

    Nurse Yahanatu cannot do much for Ibrahim in her clinic with its limited facilities. She refers the little patient on which hunger has left such deep marks to the district hospital 30 kilometres away in Madaoua. Then comes the next shock for Ibrahim's grandmother who has brought him here: "How am I going to pay the fare to get there?" "Families have almost nothing, the mothers themselves are often malnourished, have too little milk and can barely afford the fare to the clinic in Takorka", the young nurse says, explaining why children are often only brought to the health centre when they are already severely malnourished.

    A lack of knowledge about proper child nutrition

    "Many mothers also have no understanding of the connection between nutrition and their baby's health and tend to believe that the child is suffering from some disease or other", the nurse explains. Mothers therefore go to the marabou, an Islamic holy man, instead of to the clinic. Or they go to a traditional healer who attempts to stop the progressive weakness by reciting a charm. Aboubarkar Zenabou (25) is trying to combat this superstition. She is employed as a nutritional advisor as part of the SOS Emergency Relief Programme in the Madaoua region.

    Today she is outside the small clinic in Rezi, a good hour by car from Takorka on a bumpy track. The young woman is surrounded by at least 200 mothers with their babies tied to their backs. "After breast-feeding, the mothers often give their babies the same food that the adults eat straight away because they don't know any better. Too salty, too hot and spicy and often much too greasy from the cooking oil. And they believe that the child has had a good meal. Instead of which diarrhoea sets in and the baby loses weight", explains Aboubarkar. Today she is showing the women how to cook a very nutritious vitamin-rich baby food using maize meal, peanut butter, sugar and milk. "Can you use millet meal, because we don't have any maize meal?" one woman in the crowd asks. "Yes, that works as well, but you need to roast it a bit first", Aboubarkar explains, pushing another bit of firewood under the sooty black pot. As part of this cooking class she also gives small tips on hygiene: "You can feed this porridge to your babies all day, but put a lid on the pot to keep off the flies." Then she explains that the flies might have come from a pile of excrement and would contaminate the baby food with dangerous intestinal bacteria.

    Grain banks help through the worst times

    While outside the clinic the cookery course continues under a scorching sun, inside, in the examination room of nursing auxiliary Alou Saley (42), little Aischa Garba (8) lies with a high fever and violent shivering fits on the worn bed. "Malaria is currently the most widespread disease", the orderly explains, preparing a drip with a glucose solution for energy and a malaria drug for little Aischa. "There are far too many mosquitoes in the rainy season", he complains. Yet despite this, the people await the rains more eagerly than anything else. "Everything depends on the rains!" stresses Moussa Moudi (61), Hakimi (local chief) in Maiwatan, a village where over 3,500 people live in traditional mud houses. It is now only three weeks to the millet harvest which could turn out well again at last "if it rains in the coming weeks", the Hakimi says hopefully.

    The previous year there was no harvest at all in Maiwatan. "We have gone through a bad time. We had to take our goats and cows to the cattle market. And then buy grain which is currently in short supply in the whole of West Africa and can only be had for premium prices. Without the money from villagers who work as migrant labourers in neighbouring countries such as Nigeria we would have died", the Hakimi explains. However, the village now has additional support. Mahamadou Ibrahima – who coordinates the SOS Emergency Relief Programme in Niger – and his team bring maize and millet to 100 of the worst affected families including around 400 children. "This is the time when help is most urgently needed", explains the emergency relief coordinator. "Many families' grain stores are now empty and they cannot afford to buy millet." The average family in Niger has seven children and can live for just under three weeks on a 100 kilo sack of millet which currently costs 50 Euro.

    The significance of this price can be understood by a glance at the statistics. These show that Niger ranks 186, just above the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the second poorest country in the world with an annual average income per capita of only 280 Euro. In order to reduce the large fluctuations in the price of grain, with the difficulties this creates for the villagers, grain banks will be created after the harvest. As part of the SOS Emergency Relief Programme, grain will be bought at a low price straight after harvest and stored in the banks. If prices rise and famine returns, the villagers can get grain and seeds from these banks at the low purchase price.

    The fate of Mamou Younouss (51) also depends on a bank. Over 600 kilometres west of Maiwatan she sits at the side of a dusty road in Bobiel, a district of Niamey, the capital of Niger. She is carefully stirring a pot with boiling oil. Hungry customers stand beside her, waiting until her fari massa, traditional fritters, slowly turn golden yellow. Mamou is one of 107 widows who have been given a small interest-free loan as part of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) which guarantees the loan. No bank would have given a poor woman like Mamou a loan without any security. She has now received her third loan from the SOS programme. She was able to repay the two previous small loans promptly within the designated time period of six months.

    Every day of the week she bakes and sells her fari massa. However, she particularly looks forward to Thursday afternoon. This is when the widows who are in receipt of small loans meet in a yellow-painted room in the FSP project building. Mamou stands in front of a large slate and starts to add up a line of numbers. "My neighbours said that I'm wasting my time when I admitted that I am now learning to read, write and do sums", Mamou relates. She has not found it easy, learning all this at her time in life. "Now I'm really happy because I'm getting the hang of it."

    Aichatou Iro, one of the FSP team who looks after the business women, is also proud of Mamou. When asked what the women find hardest when trying to build up a lasting business and so become credit-worthy themselves, Aichatou replies immediately: "Having money and not spending it on food when business is not going so well. You need to be very strong in that situation!" Which these women obviously are, because out of 107 borrowers, only 28 have had problems in repaying their loan within the six months. This is actually a good number when you consider that over 20 percent of creditworthy customers who owe money to the Deutsche Bundesbank cannot pay their loans back on time.


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    Source:  Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country:  United Republic of Tanzania (the)

    FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

    • Planting of the 2012 “vuli” season crops is underway in bi-modal areas

    • High maize and rice prices in most markets

    • Tighter food security situation following the start of the lean season together with higher food prices

    Planting of 2012 “vuli” season crops is underway

    In northern bi-modal rainfall areas, the 2012 “vuli” rainy season started on-time in September and planting of crops is underway. In general, rains have been erratic so far, with some crops, especially beans, requiring some re-planting. Rainfall forecasts, however, indicate above average amounts along the season, with likely favourable effects on crop yields and pasture conditions. At the same time, in central and southern uni-modal rainfall areas land is being prepared for planting “msimu” crops from November when seasonal rains are expected to start.

    Aggregate cereal production for 2012 (including an average forecast of the 2012 “vuli” production in bi-modal rainfall areas for harvest early next year) is tentatively set at 6.5 million tonnes, about 3 percent above the previous five years average. Import requirements for 2012/13 (July/June) are estimated at 820 000 tonnes, including 650 000 tonnes of wheat, 100 000 tonnes of rice and 70 000 tonnes of maize.


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    Source:  UN News Service
    Country:  World, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Sudan (the), Timor-Leste

    22 October 2012 – Le Secrétaire général adjoint aux opérations de maintien de la paix a souligné lundi la nécessité d'une souplesse et d'une coordination accrues entre acteurs internationaux pour permettre aux missions de répondre aux besoins des pays hôtes, alors que pèsent sur elles des contraintes financières de plus en plus sévères.

    « Nous sommes le fruit d'un partenariat mondial. Afin de nous acquitter de nos mandats, nous avons besoin d'un soutien et d'une coopération renforcés entre le Conseil de sécurité, les États membres et le Secrétariat, de manière à trouver ensemble les moyens de répondre aux besoins des pays hôtes », a déclaré Hervé Ladsous lors d'une conférence de presse donnée au Siège des Nations Unies à New York.

    « Cela suppose de nous montrer de plus en plus flexibles et réactifs, en particulier dans un contexte de contraintes budgétaires », a-t-il ajouté.

    Actuellement, le Département des opérations de maintien de la paix (DOMP), que M. Ladsous dirige, supervise 16 missions déployées dans le monde. Conformément à la Charte des Nations Unies, chaque État membre est juridiquement contraint de financer ces opérations sur la base d'un barème de quotes-parts. Ce sont également les États membres qui fournissent, sur une base volontaire, les contingents de Casques bleus.

    Le budget des opérations de maintien de la paix pour l'année fiscale allant du 1er juillet 2012 au 30 juin 2013 est d'environ 7,23 milliards de dollars – soit moins de 0,5% des dépenses militaires mondiales en 2010, selon le DOMP.

    Lors de sa conférence de presse, le Secrétaire général adjoint a noté que les Nations Unies étaient en train de reconfigurer plusieurs missions « afin de veiller à s'adapter aux besoins sur le terrain ».

    Les missions concernées sont la Mission de stabilisation des Nations Unies en Haïti (MINUSTAH), l'Opération hybride Union africaine-Nations Unies au Darfour (MINUAD), la Mission des Nations Unies au Libéria (MINUL) et la Mission intégrée des Nations Unies au Timor-Leste (MINUT), cette dernière devant être retirée à la fin 2012.

    « Tout bien considéré, nous voyons une réduction globale modeste qui nous offre l'opportunité stratégique de nous concentrer sur la qualité et les capacités de maintien de la paix », a estimé M. Ladsous, ajoutant que les contraintes actuelles exigeaient des missions de se montrer créatives et pleines de ressources dans la mise en œuvre des mandats que leur confie le Conseil de sécurité.

    Hervé Ladsous n'a pas manqué d'évoquer la situation au Mali, où, a-t-il dit, les deux priorités demeurent le rétablissement de l'ordre constitutionnel et la reconquête, par ce pays, de sa souveraineté.

    Actuellement dirigé par le Président par intérim, Dioncounda Traoré, le Mali fait face à une série de défis sur les fronts sécuritaire, politique et humanitaire depuis le début de l'année. Des combats entre forces gouvernementales et rebelles touaregs ont éclaté dans le pays au mois de janvier. Depuis, des islamistes radicaux ont pris le contrôle de la partie nord du pays, où ils appliquent une interprétation extrême de la charia, ainsi que des restrictions prenant en particulier les femmes pour cible.

    Au cours d'une réunion qui s'est tenue la semaine dernière à Bamako, la capitale malienne, un consensus est ressorti entre les Nations Unies, les autorités maliennes, l'Union africaine et la Communauté économique des États d'Afrique de l'Ouest (CEDEAO) sur la nécessité de réaliser les deux priorités évoquées ci-dessus au travers de solutions politiques.

    « Les Nations Unies se tiennent prêtes à assister les autorités maliennes dans le cadre d'un processus politique crédible qui réponde aux causes sous-jacentes de la crise afin de trouver une solution durable », a déclaré M. Ladsous, précisant que la possibilité d'une solution militaire à un moment donné n'était toutefois pas exclue.

    Le DOMP, a-t-il souligné, a commencé de planifier avec les autorités maliennes, la CEDEAO et l'UA la mise au point d'une force d'intervention internationale qui serait en dernière instance nécessaire pour la reconquête du nord du Mali. Il a annoncé la tenue, dans la semaine, d'une autre réunion à Bamako pour réfléchir au concept d'opération avec toutes les parties prenantes concernées.

    « Alors que les options pour une force militaire internationale sont à l'étude, une solution politique de long terme est la seule approche holistique possible de la situation », a-t-il ajouté.

    Le 12 octobre, le Conseil de sécurité a adopté une résolution ouvrant la voie au déploiement possible d'une force militaire internationale pour restaurer l'unité territoriale du Mali.

    Le Conseil appelle dans cette résolution le Secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon à soutenir le processus politique au Mali et de « mettre des spécialistes de la planification militaire et des questions de sécurité à disposition de la CEDEAO et de l'Union africaine pour mener à bien la planification conjointe qui permettrait à cette force internationale de voir le jour ». Les deux organisations régionales ont 45 jours pour faire connaître les modalités d'une telle opération.

    Évoquant ensuite la crise persistante dans l'est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), le Secrétaire général adjoint a affirmé que la Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation dans ce pays (MONUSCO) remplissait son rôle de protection de la population civile aux côtés des forces armées gouvernementales. Il a toutefois souligné qu'« une action politique plus forte » était décisive pour trouver une solution durable.

    « Les Casques bleus n'hésitent pas à utiliser les moyens à leur disposition, notamment les hélicoptères d'assaut, pour empêcher des actes indescriptibles d'être commis contre des civils », a-t-il expliqué.

    Les provinces des Kivu sont le théâtre de combats entre les forces congolaises et le groupe rebelle armé du Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), formé de mutins. Plus de 300.000 personnes ont été déplacées par ces affrontements, qui se poursuivent depuis le mois d'avril.

    « Il est déterminant que cesse tout soutien extérieur au M23 cesse et qu'un dialogue régional soit entamé », a indiqué M. Ladsous.

    Rendant hommage à l'ensemble des Casques bleus présents sur le terrain, il a rappelé que jusqu'à présent cette année, 73 d'entre eux avaient perdu la vie au service de la paix.


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    Source:  Oxfam
    Country:  Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal

    Author: Gabriel Pons Cortès, Intermón Oxfam; Itzíar Gómez Carrasco, Intermón Oxfam

    Acute food crises continue to reverse positive development trends in sub-Saharan Africa. As the international community attempts to address the challenges of food security, the focus has largely been on two issues: the devastating effects of food price volatility on the most vulnerable populations, and recurrence of acute food crises. Food reserves have potential to be a first line of defence against food insecurity, but there is a lack of analysis focusing specifically on how food reserves can be used at different levels and in a range of ways.

    Oxfam’s report aims to fill that gap by analyzing recent experiences with local food reserves in the Sahel region, reviewing the factors that determine their failure or success, and assessing innovative instruments (such as linking local food reserves to national reserves; index insurance and stabilization funds) that could contribute to their improvement.


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    Source:  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country:  Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger (the)

    A high-level humanitarian partnership delegation hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and OCHA concluded its mission to the Sahel region of West Africa in Burkina Faso on Sunday with a call for strengthened resilience and a collective response to the food and nutrition crisis.

    Read full story on the OCHA website.


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    Source:  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country:  Somalia

    MAIN DEVELOPMENTS IN SEPTEMBER

    Political events during September and military operations in the South continued to cause security concerns. However, generally the situation in Somalia proved calmer than previously expected.

    Presidential Elections were held on 10 September, resulting in the appointment of Professor Hassan Sheik Mohamoud as the new President of Somalia. The country's main international partners have welcomed the outcome of the elections, espe-cially as diplomatic relations will continue mainly as before. The elections took place without incident although an attempted attack on the new president by Al Shabaab (AS) on 12 September mired the initial days of his presidency.

    Throughout the whole month civilians fled the area of Kismayo, with numbers reaching 10,000 by 21 September. In response to the military offensive on Kismayo by the allied forces on 29 Sept, AS reportedly left the town, and providing relatively little resistance.

    The end of September saw a tragic wave of journalist killings in Mogadishu – in total, seven media personnel were killed in this period.


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    Source:  Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
    Country:  Mali, Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    Roland Marchal

    Executive summary

    No clear settlement of the crisis in Mali seems possible in the short term, despite a UN Security Council resolution on October 12th paving the way for a military intervention by ECOWAS countries. The crisis is fed by various dynamics that need to be reconciled for peace to prevail. Firstly, the transition in Bamako is going nowhere, and further divisions in the government and the resurgence of the coup makers undermine the fragile progress witnessed in July. Unable to agree on a solution in Bamako, most political actors have developed a militaristic approach to any solution for the north. Secondly, Islamist and jihadist movements were able to gain control of northern Mali (two-thirds of the country) in a few months and have enforced new rules inspired by their understanding of Islam. Although protests erupted in several cities, the militants deepened their control over the region and its local and transnational economy and may have a constituency among the population.

    ECOWAS, supported by France, is willing to intervene militarily, but the fragmentation of the Malian army is a key weakness. Moreover, ECOWAS has not spelled out the actual aims of its intervention: mere territorial gains without addressing local and national grievances may mean the return of the status quo ante, which would be unacceptable to most people in northern Mali. As usual, the long-term political dimensions of the ECOWAS intervention are dismissed in favour of an immediate military victory that would be very fragile as a result.


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    Source:  Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country:  Mali, Algeria, Chad, France, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the), United States of America (the)

    FAO warns of impending threat

    23 October 2012, Rome - FAO has alerted Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco to prepare for the likely arrival of Desert Locust swarms from the Sahel in West Africa in the coming weeks.

    The four countries are being urged to stand by to mobilize their field teams to detect the arrival of the swarms and control them.

    Swarms of adult locusts are currently forming in Chad and are about to form in Mali and Niger following good summer rains that provided favourable conditions for two generations of breeding and which triggered a 250-fold increase in locust populations in those countries.

    Prevailing winds and historical precedents make it likely the swarms, once formed, will fly to Algeria, Libya, southern Morocco and northwestern Mauritania," said Keith Cressman, FAO Senior Locust Forecasting Officer. "Once there, they could damage pastures and subsistence rain-fed crops. They could also pose a threat to harvests in Chad, Mali and Niger."

    After becoming airborne, swarms of tens of millions of locusts can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind. Female locusts can lay 300 eggs within their lifetime while a Desert Locust adult can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day -- about two grams every day. A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35 000 people.

    Hazardous security

    FAO has been able to monitor the situation in Niger and Chad, but conflict in Mali has made it very difficult to track the situation there. Control operations, with spraying by ground teams, started in Chad in early October. Similar interventions are beginning now in Niger, though teams must be accompanied by military escorts to ensure their safety.

    The hazardous security situation plus difficult access to some locust breeding grounds are constraining control efforts, Cressman said. This makes it unlikely that all locust infestations will be found and treated on the ground - especially in Mali.

    FAO has brokered agreements with countries that have available appropriate pesticide stocks - Algeria, Morocco and Senegal - to donate them to Mali, Niger and Chad. This will avoid increasing stockpiles of hazardous chemicals in the region. The supplies are being airlifted with the support of the World Food Programme.

    FAO appeal

    Last June, FAO appealed for $10 million to maintain and expand operations. So far, $4.1 million has been received, allowing field operations to continue throughout the summer in Mali, Niger and Chad, thanks to the support from the governments of France, United Kingdom and United States, as well as bilateral assistance to Niger.

    A regional meeting organized last month by the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region (CLCPRO) and the World Bank confirmed that the full appeal is sufficient to cover the costs of the control campaign in the region until December. Efforts are currently underway to obtain the remaining funds.

    Frontline countries in the Sahel such as Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad have trained locust survey and control teams but they need external assistance, especially vehicles, equipment and pesticides, to respond effectively to a full-scale emergency. Mali is particularly short of equipment after more than 30 pickup trucks were looted in the northern part of the country.


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    Source:  Guardian
    Country:  Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    Anti-slavery activists are fighting to stop former masters using the crisis to recapture Malians whom they see as their property

    For the estimated 800,000 people of "slave descent" in Mali, life is precarious at the best of times. In the most extreme cases, people descended from slaves are treated as objects and their children do not belong to them but to their "masters".

    Read the full article in the Guardian.


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    Source:  Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country:  Mali, Algeria, Chad, France, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the), United States of America (the)

    La FAO lance l’alerte

    23 October 2012, Rome - La FAO a mis en alerte l'Algérie, la Libye, la Mauritanie et le Maroc face à l'arrivée probable d'essaims de criquets pèlerins du Sahel en Afrique de l'Ouest au cours des prochaines semaines.

    Les quatre pays sont invités à mobiliser d'urgence leurs équipes de terrain pour les opérations de prospection et de lutte antiacridiennes.

    Des essaims de jeunes adultes sont présents au Tchad et sur le point de se former au Mali et au Niger, suite aux précipitations abondantes de l'été qui ont favorisé deux générations de reproduction et déclenché la multiplication par 250 des populations acridiennes dans ces pays. Les vents et les précédents historiques laissent supposer que les essaims, une fois formés, se dirigeront vers l'Algérie, la Libye, le sud du Maroc et le nord-ouest de la Mauritanie", a précisé Keith Cressman, responsable des prévisions acridiennes à la FAO. "Et là, ils pourraient provoquer des dégâts aux pâturages et aux cultures de subsistance pluviales et menacer aussi les récoltes au Tchad, au Mali et au Niger".

    Les essaims regroupant des dizaines de millions d'ailés peuvent parcourir 150 km par jour en profitant des courants. Les femelles peuvent pondre 300 œufs durant leur existence, et un criquet pèlerin adulte peut consommer son propre poids en nourriture fraîche par jour - soit environ deux grammes. Un essaim de toutes petites dimensions mange plus ou moins la même quantité de nourriture en un jour que 35 000 personnes réunies.

    Situation d'insécurité

    La FAO a pu surveiller de près la situation au Niger et au Tchad, mais beaucoup moins au Mali, compte tenu des conflits en cours. Les opérations de lutte ont démarré au Tchad début octobre avec des équipes de pulvérisation terrestres. Des interventions similaires sont en train de démarrer maintenant au Niger, où les équipes doivent être accompagnées d'escortes militaires pour assurer leur sécurité.

    La situation d'insécurité et l'accès difficile à certaines aires de reproduction entravent les efforts de lutte, a souligné M. Cressman, ce qui rendent peu probables la détection et le traitement de toutes les infestations acridiennes au sol- en particulier au Mali.

    La FAO a conclu des accords avec l'Algérie, le Maroc et le Sénégal, pays disposant de stocks de pesticides appropriés, pour les transférer au Mali, au Niger et au Tchad et éviter ainsi l'accumulation de stocks de produits chimiques dangereux dans la région. Les pesticides seront expédiés par voie aérienne avec le concours du Programme alimentaire mondial.

    Appel de la FAO

    En juin dernier, la FAO a lancé un appel pour 10 millions de dollars destinés au maintien et à l'expansion des opérations. A ce jour, 4,1 millions de dollars ont été reçus, ce qui a permis de poursuivre les opérations sur le terrain durant tout l'été au Mali, au Niger et au Tchad, grâce au soutien des gouvernements de la France, du Royaume-Uni et des Etats-Unis, ainsi que l'aide bilatérale au Niger.

    Une réunion régionale organisée le mois dernier par la Commission de la FAO pour la lutte contre le criquet pèlerin dans la région occidentale (CLCPRO) et la Banque mondiale a confirmé que l'appel de fonds suffira à couvrir les coûts de la campagne de lutte jusqu'en décembre. Des initiatives sont en cours pour mobiliser le reste des fonds.

    Les pays du Sahel en première ligne comme la Mauritanie, le Mali, le Niger et le Tchad disposent d'équipes de prospection et de lutte antiacridienne mais ont besoin d'une assistance externe, en particulier sous forme de véhicules, de matériel et de pesticides, pour affronter de plein fouet l'urgence. Le manque de matériel se fait particulièrement sentir au Mali, après le pillage de plus de 30 camionnettes dans le nord du pays.


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    Source:  ICRC
    Country:  Niger (the), Mali

    Geneva / Niamey (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, has begun a visit to Niger and Mali in order to assess and be in a position to report to the international community on the situation from a humanitarian viewpoint in those two countries.

    Mr Maurer, who arrived yesterday, will visit Niamey and Agadez in Niger before continuing on to Mopti and Bamako in Mali. He will conclude his visit on 24 October.

    Mr Maurer will meet with senior government officials in both countries and with leaders of the two countries' Red Cross Societies. The primary topics will be the consequences in humanitarian terms of the Malian conflict and the ICRC's operations to meet the immense needs of the people affected.

    "The ICRC is very concerned about the conflict's effects on the people living in northern Mali," said Mr Maurer upon his arrival. "The crisis is also affecting other countries in the Sahel, such as Niger." Thousands of people had fled the fighting, he said, either to safer parts of Mali itself or across the border into Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. His visit was intended to attract international attention to the plight of people exhausted and weakened by a succession of food shortages and by the conflict in northern Mali.

    The ICRC has been distributing food in northern Mali since July and plans to reach 420,000 people by the end of the year. It continues furnishing medicines and other essential items for the hospital in the city of Gao, as well as for community health-care facilities throughout the north.

    President Maurer's visit follows the appeal for further funds (25 million Swiss francs, or over 20 million euros) launched by the ICRC in September for its work in Mali and the broader region. "The funds currently available, said Mr Maurer, are unfortunately not enough for the humanitarian aid needed".

    ICRC staff are hard at work in Niamey and Agadez, in Niger, and in Bamako, Gao and Mopti, in Mali. The organization also has personnel based in Kidal and Timbuktu.

    For further information, please contact:
    Germain Mwehu, ICRC Niamey, tel: +227 97 45 43 82 or +223 76 99 63 75
    Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel:+41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26
    Jean-Yves Clemenzo, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17


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    Source:  GOAL
    Country:  Ethiopia, Somalia, United States of America (the)

    GOAL has received a $1.5 million grant from the US Government for its nutrition programmes at refugee camps in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

    The funding from the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM) will help fund the organisation’s work at Dollo Ado camps, where thousands of Somali refugees are located.

    This is the first time that BPRM, an agency of the US State Department, has partnered GOAL.

    Commenting on the grant, GOAL’s acting Chief Operations Officer, Jonathan Edgar, said:

    “We are delighted that BPRM had made such a substantial grant to our work at the Dollo Ado camps. This funding will help GOAL save lives and deliver comfort to the many thousands of refugees who have been forced to leave their homes in Somalia.

    “GOAL has been at Dollo Ado since 2011, responding to the effects of the Horn of Africa drought crisis. Currently, we are providing nutrition services in Buramino camp, where approximately 30,000 refugees are located. We are treating more than 11,000 children, pregnant and lactating women in our feeding programmes, and have reached in excess of 15,500 people to date.”

    Dollo Ado is one of a number of refugee camps in the Horn of Africa which cater to the needs of people fleeing conflict and an on-going drought crisis in Somalia. Upwards of nine million people are affected across the region.

    Ends

    For further comment, please contact GOAL Chief Operations Officer, Jonathan Edgar at 01-2809 779.

    David Williams GOAL Media & PR Officer

    Tel: 00 353 (0)1 280 9779 Mob: 00 353 (0)87 419 7140 Email: dwilliams@goal.ie Skype: david.williams761

    GOAL is an international humanitarian organisation

    GOAL PO Box 19, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin Ireland www.goal.ie


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    The 7-day cumulative satellite rainfall estimate (RFE) image (Map – 1) indicates heavy to moderate rains were received within the Juba and Shabelle basins both in Somalia and within the Ethiopian highlands.
    The rainfall forecast for the coming week (Map – 2) is pointing towards continued rainfall activities of moderate to heavy rains (up to 50mm) within the Shabelle and Juba basins both in Ethiopia and Somalia.
    Following the increased rainfall activities and current high river levels in the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle river, there is a moderate risk of flooding towards the end of this week and early next week. The areas likely to flood are the lower reaches of the river in Lower Shabelle region where the river levels are currently at bank full level. The situation could be worsened by artificial breakages of river banks in the area. There is however minimal risk of flooding during the coming week along the Juba River

    Country:  Somalia
    Source:  Food and Agriculture Organization

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    Source:  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
    Country:  Burkina Faso, Mali

    (Ouagadougou/Dakar, 23 October 2012): A high-level humanitarian partnership mission to the Sahel region of West Africa, led jointly by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), ended its visit in Burkina Faso on Sunday, after spending time in Mali and Niger.

    Burkina Faso is facing a new humanitarian emergency, after being hit by a series of food and nutrition crises since 2005. Some 3 million people have been affected by hunger this year, including 100,000 children who are at risk of Severe Acute Malnutrition. The situation has been exacerbated by the arrival of some 35,000 refugees fleeing insecurity in northern Mali. They have found refuge in host communities whose resources are already stretched.

    “Thanks to the Government, and with the support of the humanitarian community, we have so far been able to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Burkina Faso,” said Ambassador Yehia Lawal,
    Director of the African Department of the OIC. Ambassador Lawal jointly led the mission with Pascal Karorero, Humanitarian Coordinator in Burkina Faso.

    “However, we should not underestimate the severity of the crisis in this country, and in the Sahel region, which calls for a collective response,” he added. “No single country or organisation acting alone can stop the vicious cycle of hunger, which costs hundreds of thousands of lives even when there is no acute crisis.”

    In Burkina Faso, the delegation met members of the Government and the humanitarian community and visited Mentao North camp, which hosts Malian refugees. Delegation members held talks with the regional authorities and met refugees, who expressed gratitude to Burkina Faso for its solidarity and protection. They also expressed their hopes of returning to Mali, saying that they not only need food and water, but also the opportunity to go home to a peaceful country.

    Fifty-six humanitarian organisations are currently working in Burkina Faso. More than 800,000 people have received food aid and 200,000 have received nutrition assistance from the United Nations and its partners. Some 600,000 people have benefitted from agricultural aid. However, even when there is no crisis, one million Burkinabe are vulnerable to chronic food insecurity.

    “This mission comes at a crucial time,” said Humanitarian Coordinator Pascal Karorero. “We need to find a new paradigm to reinforce the capacity of the most vulnerable households to absorb recurrent shocks. This is the only way to make a sustainable change in the life of millions in the Sahel region, and particularly in Burkina Faso.”


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    Source:  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
    Country:  Burkina Faso, Mali

    (Ouagadougou/Dakar, 23 octobre 2012): Une mission humanitaire de haut niveau dans la région sahélienne de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, menée conjointement par l’Organisation de coopération islamique (OCI) et le Bureau de la coordination des affaires humanitaires des Nations Unies (UNOCHA), a terminé sa visite au Burkina Faso dimanche, après avoir passé du temps au Mali et au Niger.

    Eprouvé par une série de crises alimentaire et nutritionnelle depuis 2005, le Burkina Faso connaît une fois encore une urgence humanitaire. En effet, près de trois millions de personnes ont souffert de la faim cette année, dont 100 000 enfants qui se trouvent confrontés à des risques de malnutrition aiguë sévère.

    La situation a été exacerbée par l’afflux de près de 35.000 réfugiés maliens fuyant l’insécurité dans le nord du Mali et qui ont trouvé refuge dans des communautés d’accueil déjà éprouvées.

    « Il ne fait pas de doute que l’action du gouvernement, appuyé par la communauté humanitaire a permis d’éviter une catastrophe humanitaire au Burkina Faso », a déclaré l’Ambassadeur Yehia Lawal, Directeur du Département Afrique de l’OCI. Celui-ci conduisait conjointement la mission aux côté de Pascal Karorero, Coordonnateur Humanitaire et Coordonnateur Résident du Système des Nations Unies au Burkina Faso. « Toutefois, nous ne pouvons pas sous-estimer la gravité de cette crise dans ce pays ainsi que dans l’ensemble de la région du Sahel qui exige que nous travaillions ensemble, Aucun pays ou organisation, a-t-il dit, ne pourra vaincre seul le cycle infernal de la faim qui coûte des centaines de milliers de vie même en situation hors crise».

    Après avoir rencontré les membres du gouvernement ainsi que ceux de la communauté humanitaire, la mission s’est rendue dans le camp de Mentao Nord abritant des réfugiés maliens qui ont fui l’insécurité au Nord de leur pays. Elle s’est entretenue avec les autorités régionales et les réfugiés qui ont exprimé leur gratitude au Burkina Faso pour l’élan de solidarité à leur égard et le sentiment de se sentir protégés. Ils ont exprimé aussi l’espoir de pouvoir rentrer dans leur foyer, précisant que ce dont ils avaient le plus besoin de la part de la communauté internationale ce ne sont pas uniquement des vivres ou de l’eau mais aussi la possibilité de retourner dans un pays pacifié.

    A l’heure actuelle, 56 organisations humanitaires sont présentes au Burkina Faso. Les agences des Nations Unies et leurs partenaires ont fourni une aide nutritionnelle à plus de 200 000 personnes. Plus de 800 000 personnes ont également bénéficié d’une aide alimentaire et près de 600 000 personnes ont reçu une aide à l’agriculture. Toutefois, même lorsque les récoltes sont bonnes, un million de Burkinabés ne mangent pas à leur faim.

    «Cette mission intervient à un moment crucial où la nécessité de trouver un nouveau paradigme permettant de renforcer la capacité des populations les plus vulnérables à absorber les chocs successifs s’impose.», a déclaré à son tour Pascal Karorero. « Ce n’est que de cette manière que nous ferons une différence durable dans la vie de millions de personnes dans le Sahel et au Burkina Faso en particulier», a –t-il conclu.


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    Source:  Famine Early Warning System Network, US Geological Survey
    Country:  Somalia

    Deyr rains continue in the many parts of southern, central, and northeastern Somalia

    Moderate to heavy rains were received from October 11 to 20 in most parts of the South and parts of the central and northeastern regions. However, most parts of the Northwest, including Sool, Sanaag, Toghdeer, Awdal, and Woqooyi Galbeed Regions, were generally dry during this period (Figure 1).

    In the Northeast, near average rains were reported in the most of the Hawd and Addun pastoral livelihood zones as well as in parts of Sool-Sanag plateau pastoral and Karkaar-Dharor pastoral livelihood zones. Field reports indicate light showers also fell in patches of East Golis pastoral livelihood zone, contrary to satellite rainfall estimates. However, pasture and water conditions are below average in most zones of Bari Region due to the effects dry Hagaa season.

    Improvements would require substantial rains over the coming month or two. In the Northwest, most areas have continued to experience little or no rains for all of October. However, pasture, browse, and rangeland conditions are near average following July to September Karan rains in most livelihood zones. Field reports also indicate opportunistic, but normal livestock migration to areas with better pasture and browse condition. Crop establishment in the agropastoral areas is average, and the harvest appears to be on schedule for November.

    In the cowpea belt (central regions agropastoral livelihood zone), coastal Deeh of the cental region, and Addun pastoral livelihood zone, light to moderate rains were received, but some parts received above normal rain (Figure 2). Also, the Hawd of Dhusamareb District received moderate rains. Of particular concern is the Hawd of Abduwak and Adado Districts, which had limited or no rain from October 11 to 20. The rain gauge network from the central regions collected 62.3 millimeters (mm), 149 mm, and 95 mm of rainfall at the stations in Eldher, Harardher, and Wisil in the cowpea belt in Hobyo District, respectively. Recent rains resulted in average water and pasture condition in areas that received rains.

    In the South, moderate to heavy rainfall with good coverage was reported in most livelihood zones of Middle and Lower Juba, Middle and Lower Shabelle, Bay, and Bakol, which caused localized flooding. Rains have supported seed germination and encouraged planting in both agropastoral and riverine areas. In Lower Shabelle, in-migrated livestock from neighboring regions of Hiran, Middle Shabelle, and Bay Regions returned to their usual wet season locations due to overall improving pasture and water conditions. From October 11 to 20, Bulo Burti in Hiran and Baidoa in Bay had rain gauge recordings of 71.5 mm and 66.5 mm, respectively, with three and four rainy days. In Sakow in Middle Juba and in Jamame in Lower Juba, the rain gauges recorded 39 mm and 64 mm of rainfall, with two and three rainy days, respectively. Exceptions to moderate to heavy rainfall are found in parts of Lower Shabelle including the coastal areas between Afgoye and Barawa. There were also pocket areas of low rainfall in El Barde, Rabdhure, and Wajid Districts in Bakol Region and in agropastoral areas of Sakow District in Middle Juba Region. In Gedo Region, with the exceptions of pockets of near average rains in Bardera, Garbaharey , Lugh, and Elwak, most of the region remained dry.

    The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) shows that vegetation conditions from October 11 to 20 were largely normal in the central regions and parts of the North, following earlier rains in September and October (Figure 3). However, in most of the South and the Northeast, vegetation conditions continue to be below normal, due to the cumulative effects of both poor July to September Hagaa rains and April to June Gu rains.

    The seven-day weather forecast (Figure 4) ending October 29 indicates that moderate to heavy rains are likely in most of the South and in the central regions with moderate showers between 10 and 40 mm expected in most of the North.

    However, parts of Bari and Awdal Regions are forecast to be dry.


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    Source:  Kenya Daily Nation
    Country:  Kenya, Somalia, United States of America (the)

    The head of the US State Department's bureau of refugees is due in Kenya on Wednesday to review operations of a programme that admits refugees to the United States.

    Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard will also visit the Kakuma camp - home to more than 100,000 Somali and Sudanese refugees - according to an announcement in Washington.

    Kenyan officials will likely press Ms Richard for United States to help in expediting the return of refugees to Somalia.

    Somalis who fled war and hunger account for the 630,000 registered refugees in Kenya.

    Kenyan officials have called for relocating Somalis to their homeland given that large areas of the country have been liberated from insurgents' control.

    In Kakuma and at a US resettlement support centre in Nairobi, Ms Richard will meet staff who prepare refugee applicants for admission to the United States, the State Department said.

    A total of 4911 refugees from Somalia were resettled in the United States in the 12-month period ending on September 30. That is the largest number of admitted refugees from any country in Africa.

    The President of the United States decides how many refugees worldwide are to be admitted to the United States per year as well as the share of admissions for Africa and other parts of the world.

    Another US assistant secretary of state is also scheduled to visit Kenya this week.

    Mike Hammer, the head of the department's public affairs unit, will meet with journalists, students, civil society leaders and government spokespersons to discuss support for democratic institutions and freedom of the press, the State Department said on Monday.

    Mr Hammer will also travel to Uganda and South Africa. He will "underscore the US government's commitment" to black Africa, the State Department said


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    Source:  ShelterBox
    Country:  Niger (the), Mali

    A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is currently working to deliver vital lifesaving equipment to families in need in Niamey, Niger.

    David Hatcher (UK) and Joanna Reid (UK) arrived in the African country on Monday 15 October following widespread flooding, the extent of which has left damage across all of Niger’s eight regions. The flood damage has only compounded the already overstretched resources of the country, which has received an influx of displaced families from neighbouring Mali where political instability and conflict continues.

    Upon arrival the team quickly set to work to begin distribution of 497 ShelterBoxes that were pre-positioned in country with Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED).

    It has been as a result of collaborative working that the ShelterBox Response Team has been able to help families find shelter in disaster relief tents. On Wednesday 17 October the team worked with the Fire Service to erect tents at the Abadan Goungou camp.

    ‘The site chief of Abadan Goungou was really pleased with the efforts today but most importantly we were able to help 39 families begin to rebuild their lives.

    ‘It’s been great to work with the Fire Service Team as well as workers from neighboring camps. It’s truly been a communal effort with people of all ages working together to get families moved under cover and into the ShelterBox tents’ said David Hatcher.

    Extreme weather

    On Thursday 18 October the SRT shifted their attention to help deliver further aid to families in need in the nearby Abada Camp with more tents being erected over the weekend.

    Niger is exposed to extremes in weather and the aid camps need to be able to sustain abuse from harsh sun, wind and rain. The team have encountered many badly sun burned children whilst helping families in the region which has further fuelled their efforts to establish camps.

    ‘I was absolutely devastated to see badly sun burned children. I wish we could do more which is why getting the ShelterBox message out is so important' said David Hatcher.

    The ShelterBox disaster relief tents have been custom designed and manufactured by one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers to withstand extreme temperatures, intense UV light, high winds and heavy rainfall; additionally multiple levels of ventilation allow as much airflow as possible in these incredibly hot environments. The portable nature of the ShelterBox tents also make them a great solution to the need for shelter in Niger where it is forecasted that severe rains may strike again in December causing yet further flooding. In this eventuality the ShelterBox tents can be easily moved to a new location allowing for a prolonged solution to a shelter crisis that shows no signs of easing anytime soon.

    The SRT will continue to distribute aid throughout this week to families in need across the region.


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