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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Christian Science Monitor
    Country: Mali

    The French drove out Islamist rebels in northern Mali. But can France and its African allies translate those victories into regional stability and peace?

    On paper, the French bid to oust Islamist rebels from northern Mali has been nearly perfect: locally popular, internationally approved, well executed.

    Read the full report on the Christian Science Monitor

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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Mali


    • Seven children associated with armed groups that were detained during combat operations in northern Mali were released and handed over to UNICEF and the Malian government agency in charge of Child Protection (DNPEF). The children were taken to a temporary shelter where they are being assisted and protected.

    • Some schools have begun to reopen in the regions of Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu. UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Education to help facilitate the return of government educational authorities (including teachers) to these conflict-affected areas.

    • Sexual violence and the threat of forced marriage are among the causes for Malian women to flee their homes. UNICEF is providing training on the prevention of gender-based violence. So far 51 people – crisis committee members, local authorities and NGO workers – have been trained.

    • A measles outbreak in northern Mali continues to affect people in Gao and Kidal. Preliminary data suggests that most of those infected are over 5 years of age.

    • Additional WASH actors are needed in the run-up to the cholera season, expected to start in June. A recent mapping exercise shows an absence of operational partners in large parts of the country that are at risk of cholera outbreaks.

    • In Bamako, Ségou and Koulikoro UNICEF and government partners organized three workshops on the SMART nutrition survey conducted in the past two years, with the aim of disseminating information on the methods and results of the SMART.

    • To respond to critical humanitarian needs in Mali, UNICEF requires US $81.9 million. Only 20 per cent of funding has been received, which means an additional $68.5 million is needed to provide life-saving assistance, education support and other aid to the people of Mali.

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    Source: BioMed Central
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    Polonsky et al. Conflict and Health 2013, 7:1

    Jonathan A Polonsky, Axelle Ronsse1, Iza Ciglenecki, Monica Rull and Klaudia Porten


    Background: Following a rapid influx of over 200,000 displaced Somalis into the Dadaab refugee camp complex in Kenya, Médecins Sans Frontières conducted a mortality and nutrition survey of the population living in Bulo Bacte, a self-settled area surrounding Dagahaley camp (part of this complex).

    Methods: The survey was conducted between 31st July and 10th August 2011. We exhaustively interviewed representatives from all households in Bulo Bacte, collecting information on deaths, births, and population movements during the recall period (15th February 2011 to survey date), in order to provide estimates of retrospective death rates. We recorded the mid-upper arm circumference and presence or absence of bipedal oedema of all children of height 67-<110 cm to provide estimates of global and severe acute malnutrition.

    Results: The surveyed population included 26,583 individuals, of whom 6,488 (24.4%) were children aged under 5 years. There were 360 deaths reported during the 177 days of the recall period, of which 186 (52%) were among children aged under 5 years. The crude death rate for the entire recall period was 0.8 per 10,000 person-days. The under-5 death rate was 1.8 per 10,000 person-days. More than two-thirds of all deaths were reported to have been associated with diarrhoea (25%), cough or other breathing difficulties (24%), or with fever (19%). Measles accounted for a reported 17% of all deaths; this was due to a measles outbreak that occurred between June and October 2011.
    Global acute malnutrition was observed in 13.4%, and severe acute malnutrition in 3.0%, of children measuring 67-<110 cm. Among children measuring 110-< 140 cm, 9.8% met the admission criteria for entry into the nutritional programme. Trends of decreasing death rates and malnutrition prevalence with length of stay in Bulo Bacte were observed.

    Conclusions: We report high death rates and prevalence of malnutrition among this population, reflecting at least a partial failure of the various humanitarian and governmental actors to adequately safeguard the welfare of this population. An outbreak of measles and long delays before registration should not have occurred. The recommendations for measles vaccination among crisis-affected populations should be revised to take into account the epidemiologic context. Organisations must be sensitive and reactive to changes in the health status of the populations they assist.

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    Source: Reuters - AlertNet
    Country: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Niger, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia

    Tue, 9 Apr 2013 21:10 GMT

    • UN says weapons from Libya flow to more than 12 countries

    • Arms embargo imposed on Libya at start of 2011 uprising

    By Michelle Nichols

    UNITED NATIONS, April 9 (Reuters) - Weapons are spreading from Libya at an "alarming rate," fueling conflicts in Mali, Syria and elsewhere and boosting the arsenals of extremists and criminals in the region, according to a U.N. report published on Tuesday.

    Read the full article on AlertNet

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    Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Niger

    NIAMEY , Apr 10 2013 (IPS) - About 20 communities in Tillabéri, west Niger, have been declared open defecation-free zones as across the country, very few people have access to proper sanitation.

    The communities were part of a Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) project, launched in September 2010 in 32 villages in the region by the local office of the NGO Plan International.

    Souley Hachimou, a sanitation technician in Niamey, the Niger capital, told IPS: “Open air defecation is a widespread hazard in Niger, especially in rural areas where people do not see the need for latrines, as they have the bush nearby to relieve themselves.”

    But, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 90 percent of the population in rural areas still practice open defecation.

    Part of the reason could be Niger’s rapid population growth since 1990.

    According to a study on sanitation in the five African countries of Niger, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda, published on Feb. 20 by the international NGO WaterAid, “between 1990 and 2013, Niger’s population increased by 7.7 million people, but only one million people had access to sanitation during the same period.”

    Salmou Yacouba, a 62-year-old resident of Saga-Gorou, a village close to Niamey, told IPS that this was because many in the rural areas were not used to toilets. “The construction of latrines, even traditional ones, requires money to buy cement and steel reinforcements for the slab, never mind the labour. We are not used to toilets – they are for towns where there are no open spaces for people to relieve themselves,” she said.

    Boulkassoum Hamadou, an inhabitant of Tillabéri, told IPS that it was difficult to maintain the deep pits needed for latrines in rural areas.

    “They have to be emptied once they are full, otherwise the stench around the village is intolerable. Everyone needs to help maintain latrines, which is difficult enough in a household, never mind a village.

    “This is why people continue to defecate outside.”

    But Marietou Boubacar, a 31-year-old small-scale farmer in Saga-Gorou, conceded that open defecation was unhealthy. “When you learn that contagious diseases, especially cholera, are caused by a lack of sanitation and hygiene, you start to adopt good practices, and you stop defecating in the open because health is precious,” she told IPS.

    The WaterAid report pointed out that “out of 15.5 million Nigeriens, 14.1 million do not currently have access to proper toilets; only six percent use latrines, while 79 percent resort to open air defecation.” The report, titled, “Keeping promises: Why African Leaders Need Now to Deliver on Past Water and Sanitation Commitments” attributes this to the government’s failure to honour previous financial commitments in the sanitation sector.

    In all five countries covered by the study, the current levels of access to sanitation compared to the targets set out in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, eight development goals adopted by U.N. member states in 2000, leave much to be desired. The current overall level of access to sanitation in Niger is nine percent, though in rural areas it is only four percent.

    Niger has also failed to meet the commitments of the African Union’s “eThekwini Declaration” signed in South Africa in 2008, where governments agreed to commit at least 0.5 percent of their GDP to sanitation.

    According to the WaterAid report, 0.89 percent of GDP (39.4 million dollars) has been spent on water and sanitation combined between 2007 and 2010.

    “There is no clear separation of budget items dedicated to water and sanitation to help make more accurate assessments of the efforts made by each government department, but investments are probably less in water and hygiene,” Hachimou said.

    Soumaïla Hima, a health worker in Niamey, said that “a lack of access to sanitation and hygiene is the cause of the most recurrent diseases in our country, such as parasitic and diarrhoeal illnesses.”

    “The cholera epidemic which spread across the whole country last year, causing several thousand infections, including 300 deaths, is mainly the result of this,” he told IPS.

    The WaterAid report cites a World Bank calculation that “the lack of access to sanitation costs Niger the equivalent of 2.4 percent of its GDP, about 143.6 dollars per year (to treat diseases), which is two and a half times the annual amount spent on access to water and sanitation.”

    In addition to the cost incurred for medical visits, hospitalisation and the purchase of medicines, Nigeriens also waste a huge amount of time looking for a place to relieve themselves — about 2.2 billion hours per year, Hamani Oumarou, the head of WaterAid in Niamey, told IPS.

    Development partners are supporting the Niger government achieve its target to increase the number of people with access to sanitation from six percent in 2009 to 25 percent per year by 2015, according to the Nigerien Minister of Water and Environment.

    Togota Sogoba, the head of water and sanitation at UNICEF in Niamey, told IPS that the organisation was also undertaking “projects along the lines of CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation) in 225 villages, among which 140 have completely stopped open air defecation.”

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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria

    WFP says 2012's good harvest in Sahel not enough to alleviate deep-rooted poverty, as millions more face hunger this year

    Celeste Hicks

    Aid agencies are gearing up for a second year of emergency response in the Sahel where an estimated 10.3 million people could be affected by food shortages, according to the UN. Despite rains in 2012 leading to a good harvest in October-November, deficits incurred during last year's food crisis means the poorest families have not been able to replenish their stocks and pay off debts.

    Read the full report on the Guardian

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, South Sudan (Republic of)

    The Central African Republic

    Situation highlights

    The protracted armed conflict in the Central African Republic has intensified since December, with the Séléka armed coalition overtaking the capital Bangui and culminating in a coup d’état on 24 March. Due to the insecurity since Séléka took control ofthe capital, healthcare delivery to the general population of Bangui is heavily affected.

    Wounded patients cannot access health services. There have been reports of widespread looting of healthcare facilities, warehouses and offices (UN Agencies, including WHO; andNGOs).
    An assessment earlier in February reported that, over 1.1 million people were affected by the conflict and estimatesthat over 173 000 were internally displaced and there were over 25 000 refugees.

    Health needs are critical, as emergency care, mainly in Bangui, is hampered by non‐ functional health facilities according to the initial assessments by health partners(NGOs).
    WHO has internally classified the situation in the Central African Republic as a Grade 2 emergency due to the consequences ofthe civil unrest.

    The precarioussecurity situation is characterized by:

    • Limited access to essential healthcare as health workers fleeing violence have left health facilities unable to provide health care

    • Lack ofmedicines,medicalsupplies and emergencymedical assistance equipment.

    • A poor disease surveillance system in a context of poor living conditions and a high prevalence of communicable diseases. Scarcity of drinking water, electricity and basic sanitation isincreasing the risk of outbreaks of water‐borne diseases.

    • Lack of accessfor humanitarian service providers

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    Source: Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement
    Country: Bangladesh, China, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, United States of America, World


    This report, The Year of Recurring Disasters: A Review of Natural Disasters in 2012, examines four topics: disasters in 2012, with a focus on recurring disasters (Chapter 1); the role of regional organizations in disaster risk management (Chapter 2); wildfires (Chapter 3); and the important role of women in disaster risk management (Chapter 4). Here are some of the highlights from this year’s review:

    The year of recurring disasters. We refer to 2012 as the ‘year of recurring disasters’ as several of the year’s disasters that had the most of fatalities, economic damages and/or number of people affected were similar to those occurring the previous year (Typhoons Bopha and Washi in the Philippines, Hurricanes Sandy and Irene in the Caribbean/US, and three years of widespread flooding in Pakistan). In the absence of a generally accepted definition, this report defines a recurring disaster as “the recurrence of a single natural hazard in the same geographic region within a one-year period.” This report seeks to draw some lessons for humanitarian actors and policy makers from recurring disasters in 2011 and 2012.

    What we learn from recurring disasters. Recurring disasters have severe negative effects on human development by undermining the resilience of affected individuals and communities. Resolving livelihood issues as well as finding durable solutions for those displaced by disasters are core components of successful disaster recovery. The devastation caused by recurring disasters in 2012 also highlights the need for increased commitment and investment in disaster risk reduction. The implementation of sound disaster (and displacement) laws and policies can play an important role in mitigating the negative effects of recurring disasters and can contribute to the development of more resilient societies.

    Statistically, 2012 was an ‘average’ year. There were no mega-disasters during the year that caused massive loss of life as in 2010 (Haiti earthquake) and 2011 (Great Japan earthquake and tsunami). In comparison with the annual averages over the past decade, fatalities in 2012 were far below average and the amount of economic losses was close to the ten-year average. Data on the number of disasters is mixed, with disaster databases showing both above and below average numbers for 2012. The deadliest disaster of 2012 was Typhoon Bopha/Pablo in the Philippines; the most expensive disaster was Hurricane Sandy in the US and Caribbean; and the disaster affecting the most people was the drought/food crisis in the Sahel region.

    While overall humanitarian funding in 2012 was stable, funding for natural disasters dropped. After several years of mega-disasters and consequent high funding for disaster response, international humanitarian disaster funding dipped to the relatively low level witnessed in 2009. Meanwhile, overall humanitarian funding was fairly stable due to ongoing conflicts and complex emergencies. The disaster responses receiving the most humanitarian disaster funding in 2012 were the response to the drought/food crisis in the Sahel and the flood response and post-flood early recovery activities in Pakistan.

    Regional organizations play an increasing and diverse role in disaster risk management. The landscape of regional organizations is complex and diverse, reflecting differences among and within regions. In most regions, governments and other actors see value in working together to prevent disasters and, to a lesser extent, to respond to disasters occurring in the region. In several important cases, international organizations have supported the development of strong regional initiatives. While there are few binding regional instruments in disaster risk management, regional organizations have worked out different mechanisms for encouraging collaboration, including frameworks for disaster risk reduction, regional military protocols, joint training exercises and regional insurance schemes.

    Wildfires are more often hazards than disasters. While globally there are hundreds of thousands of wildfires each year, most of them are not considered “disasters” as they do not threaten human health, lives or livelihoods. There were 156 wildfire disasters reported over the 2000-2011 period, making up only 3.39 percent of all natural disasters recorded during that period. The 780 fatalities from wildfires recorded by the international disaster database make up 0.07 percent of global disaster fatalities during the period.

    The growth of urban sprawl and climate change are major factors in changing wildfire risks. Because of an array of factors more and more people are living in areas where residential housing borders undeveloped wildland vegetation, called the wildland-urban interface. In the US, for example, this has led to a massive increase in the number of houses destroyed every year by wildfires as well as a massive rise in fire suppression costs.

    A hotter and drier climate in many parts of the world, fuelled by global warming, will lead to more favorable conditions for wildfires, while increased precipitation or desertification in other regions might actually decrease wildfire risk. On the other side of the equation, forests and wildlands absorb and store major quantities of carbon dioxide. Loss of forest and forest degradation – in which wildfires play an important role – contributes as much as 17 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions each year, a quantity higher than emissions from global transport. Burning forests are thus major drivers of climate change.

    A gender-sensitive approach to disaster risk management is a smart approach. The gender dimensions of natural disasters have gained increasing recognition at the international level since the 1990s. It is now generally recognized that women are typically at greater risk from natural hazards than men, particularly in low-income countries and among the poor, and that they often also face particular protection risks in the period following a disaster. Indeed, natural disasters and climate change often exacerbate existing inequalities and discrimination, including those that are gender-based, and can lead to new forms of discrimination. However, it is also important to recognize that women play significant roles in all stages of disaster and climate risk management; they are often at the frontline as responders and bring valuable resources to risk reduction and recovery efforts. Yet, in practice, disaster risk management policies and processes throughout the world largely exclude the important work already being done by women. We argue that the effective and meaningful participation of women in policy-making, programming and implementation is crucial to increasing the success of disaster risk management in all phases. This participation, combined with timely and adequate attention to the gendered aspects of disasters and climate change, can in turn lead to greater gender equality and strengthen the resilience of entire communities.

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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Senegal

    Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

    The national nutritional survey with SMART methods carried out in June 2012 enabled UNICEF to revise the estimated target caseload of severe cases of malnutrition from 20,000 - estimated based on the 2011 survey - to 22,336 for 2012, and the moderate cases estimated from 100,000 to 138,428 children. Based on the new data, in addition to the identified hotspots using 2011 data (Diourbel, Matam, Saint Louis, Thies and Louga), six new at-need Regions emerged: Fatick, Kaffrine, Kedougou, Kolda, Sedhiou and Tambacounda.

    However, actual Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) caseload in 2012 more than doubled expectations with more than 13,000 SAM cases reported by Matam and Diourbel medical authorities, versus less than 5,000 SAM cases estimated based on projections from the 2012 survey. A revised methodology used by UNICEF across the Sahel region has allowed to adjust estimates for 2013 based on a higher correction factor. Thus that the SAM burden is now estimated at 63,323 under-five children – with a targeted coverage of 38,968 cases given estimated coverage (62%1) – and a MAM estimated caseload of 255,675 cases.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    MBERA CAMP, Mauritania, April 10 (UNHCR) – Ahmadou sometimes feels as though Mbera Refugee Camp has become a second home, but he's not happy about it. He spent five years here in the 1990s and now he's back, forced from his home by the conflict in neighbouring Mali and wondering how long he will be in Mbera this time.

    The Malian government regained control of his home region earlier this year with French military help, but many refugees remain concerned about the situation there and are not willing to return, especially ethnic Tuareg who fear retribution. UNHCR is among those helping the refugees as they wait to see how the situation evolves in Mali.

    "I first fled my country in 1991 and I returned home in 1996, convinced that I had nothing more to fear and that I could live there in complete safety," he told UNHCR. "In 2012, history repeats itself and I find myself in the same situation, if not worse off."

    Tall, with piercing but kindly eyes, Ahmadou is an ethnic Tuareg community leader in the central Mali town of Léré, located about 60 kilometres east of the border with Mauritania. He heads a family of 17 people in Mbera, where he also represents the refugees in one sector of the big camp.

    He's a natural leader, used to dealing with problems and solving them. But strong as Ahmadou is, he was powerless to stop the conflict from coming to his home area and disrupting the lives of those who look up to and rely on him. And in the end he and his kin also had to flee into exile for a second time.

    Ahmadou still remembers vividly the first time he was forced to flee to Mbera, which is located about 60 kms inside Mauritania. Tuareg separatists in northern Mali rose up against the government in 1990, citing years of discrimination. In the forced displacement that followed, thousands of civilians fled to Mauritania and other neighbouring countries.

    "There was a massacre in Léré, when people were killed because of their origin," Ahmadou recalled. "The day I discovered the bodies of men and women piled up in a common grave, I packed my belongings and headed to the Mauritanian border."

    Ahmadou arrived in Mauritania in May 1991 and it was five long years before he was able to return to Léré with UNHCR's help. He then had to start from scratch and rebuild his life. "We had lost everything: our home, our animals, our access to water, everything."

    With the help of humanitarian aid organizations, returnees rebuilt water distribution systems and returned to their old life. Ahmadou became involved in agriculture and construction. But early last year, conflict returned to Mali when Tuareg rebels in the north launched an offensive, capturing towns in north and central Mali including Timbuktu and nearby Léré.

    "We fled, fearing reprisals [because Tuaregs were identified with the rebels]. The army was not making any distinction between civilians and combattants and we were caught in the middle," Ahmadou explained, adding that the uprising came as no surprise to many because the government had failed to honour pledges to develop infrastructure and basic services in the north of the country.

    On his arrival in Mauritania, Ahmadou soon found his feet in the familiar surroundings of Mbera Camp. He also found many old friends who had arrived with him in 1991 and stayed in the Mbera area. And, after a year here, he has no plans to return either.

    "People continue to arrive every day in Mauritania and I'm sure they will continue to arrive for many more months," he predicted. "The security situation is bad and the desire for vengeance is still very strong. We can't go back in this atmosphere. I need to think hard about when to return this time; I don't want to become a refugee for the third time."

    Ahmadou added: "Nobody wants to become a refugee. If I possible I would not spend a single night here, but I will only return when the security conditions are right and my rights as a citizen are respected."

    Since the beginning of the French-backed military intervention in Mali last January, Mauritania has received 21,600 arrivals from Mali, the majority of whom are women and children. In late March, Mbera refugee camp was hosting more than 75,000 Malian refugees. Mauritania shelters more refugees from Mali than any other country.

    By Dalia Al Aichi in Mbera Refugee Camp, Mauritania

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    Source: British Broadcasting Corporation
    Country: Somalia

    A combination of fighting and famine has left 1.1 million people displaced. In Mogadishu alone there are more than 500 camps where families eke out a meagre living under scraps of tarpaulin and cloth supported on stick frames.

    Read the full report on the BBC.

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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Mali

    Wed 10th Apr 2013 | Latest News, Africa,

    Watch the video here

    The ICRC deputy head of operations Régis Savioz announced today in the Malian capital Bamako that his organization is launching a 40 million Swiss Francs public appeal to respond to the acute humanitarian situation still prevailing in northern Mali.

    The ICRC intends to distribute food to around 420,000 people, including displaced persons, host communities and other vulnerable groups.

    Sporadic fighting in city centres is still deterring many people from returning to their homes (see loglist – rare footage of combatants fighting in Gao).

    Says Savioz: "The Malian people have enormous needs. We've just launched a budget extension for nearly 40 million Swiss Francs, around 30 million Euros, in order to help extremely vulnerable people get food, get water, and above all, who need to have access to public services which haven't been able to function very well during the successive crisis which have affected northern Mali."

    The budget extension will enable the ICRC to increase its presence in and around Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao, where living conditions remain precarious. The extension will cover basic needs such as food and clean water, as well as decent access to health services badly affected in terms of staffing levels and medical supplies. At the height of the conflict, the ICRC was able to provide basic support to health services but more is needed now.

    More than 185,000 farmers will receive seeds and around 35,000 breeders should benefit from a large vaccination campaign for 2 million livestock and the distribution of 510 tons of fodder.

    As well, the budget extension will help ICRC visit people deprived of their freedom in connection with the conflict.

    The total ICRC budget for Mali and Niger in 2013 will amount to 75 million Swiss Francs, making this operation the second largest for the organization worldwide. In addition to the recent conflict, Mali continues to endure dramatic climatic conditions severely affecting food security and pushing communities to compete for water and grazing lands.

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    Source: Int'l Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
    Country: Senegal

    Dakar, Senegal (9 April 2013) – A stronger and more dynamic regional and international research-for-development partnership in agriculture is the way forward for advancing food security and poverty reduction in the drylands.

    “Our agriculture must be able to feed our people, and at the same time provide solutions to the problem of unemployment in our country. Agricultural development and food security is a priority of our government, and we need your support on this more than ever,” said Prime Minister of Senegal, Abdoul Mbaye.

    “We want to use science-based solutions for agricultural growth to create opportunities for employment, as well as to cope with the changing climate conditions. Your work with our national institutes on cereals and legumes has contributed much in increasing and diversifying sources of incomes for our people,” added the Prime Minister.

    Highlighting the importance of research partnership in view of current agricultural challenges, Senegal’s Minister of Agriculture, Abdoulaye Baldé, said: “We are about to modernize our agriculture. We need a more effective system of research and dissemination of agricultural technologies. This is a priority for the government of Senegal and we are committed to work together with ICRISAT towards achieving this goal.”

    Senegal Prime Minister Mbaye and Agriculture Minister Baldé both expressed commitment to a stronger and more dynamic research-for-development partnership during a courtesy visit by the Governing Board members and officials of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) on 9 April.

    The ICRISAT delegation led by Dr Nigel Poole, ICRISAT Governing Board Chair, together with Dr William Dar, Director General; Dr S Ayyapan, Vice-Chair of the Board; and Dr. Farid Waliyar, Regional Director for West and Central Africa (WCA), met with the Senegalese officials as part of the week-long activities related to ICRISAT’s 68th Governing Board meeting being held in Dakar, Senegal from 6 to 10 April.

    "The organization of ICRISAT’s Governing Board meeting here in Dakar is a strong sign of the vitality of relationship between ICRISAT and Senegal, particularly through the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (ISRA),” noted Dr Poole.

    “We are at a stage of elevating our partnerships in the region through the implementation of the CGIAR Research Programs, in which ISRA will play a significant role,” said Dr Dar. A long-time partner of ICRISAT, ISRA will be actively involved in the implementation of the ICRISAT-led CGIAR Research Programs on GrainLegumes and on DrylandCereals. ICRISAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.

    A discussion on south-south cooperation between India and Africa and other new partnership opportunities for agricultural development was also discussed during the visit.

    "There are similarities between Indian and African climates where a major part of the population consumes cereals such as millet and sorghum, and grain legumes such as groundnuts. Working with ICRISAT to develop varieties adapted to both Indian and African conditions is the key,” noted Dr Ayyapan, who is also Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

    The visit was capped with Prime Minister Mbaye’s expression of full support to the new, emerging partnerships to tackle food security and poverty reduction in the region, particularly to the revitalized ICRISAT-Senegal collaboration and the new partnership dynamics under the CGIAR Research Programs.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    CAMP DE MBERA, Mauritanie, 10 avril (HCR)– Ahmadou ressent parfois que le camp de réfugiés de Mbéra est devenu sa seconde maison, mais cela ne le réjouit pas. Il y avait passé cinq ans dans les années 1990 et désormais il y est de retour, récemment forcé à fuir sa maison à cause du conflit au Mali voisin. Il se demande combien de temps il va devoir rester à Mbéra, cette fois.

    Le Gouvernement malien a repris le contrôle sur la région d'origine d'Ahmadou en début de cette année avec l'aide des militaires français. Mais de nombreux réfugiés demeurent préoccupés par la situation sur place et ils ne souhaitent pas rentrer, tout spécialement les Touaregs qui craignent des représailles. Le HCR, ainsi que d'autres organisations, vient en aide aux réfugiés qui regardent de près l'évolution de la situation au Mali.

    Quand il est rentré chez lui au Mali en 1996, Ahmadou ne pensait pas se retrouver un jour dans la même situation 16 ans plus tard. Réfugié en 1991 et réfugié en 2012, il connaît très bien le camp de Mbéra en Mauritanie, à environ 60 kilomètres de la frontière malienne.

    « J'ai déjà fui mon pays en 1991 et j'y étais retourné en 1996, convaincu que je n'avais plus rien à craindre et que je pouvais y vivre en toute sécurité. En 2012, l'histoire se renouvelle et on se retrouve dans la même impasse, si ce n'est pire ».

    Elancé, le regard pénétrant et bienveillant, Ahmadou a tout d'un grand chef. Leader communautaire à Léré, chef d'une famille de 17 personnes et chef de secteur dans le camp de réfugiés de Mbéra, il est habitué à gérer les situations, même les plus difficiles. Il est un repère et une personne de confiance pour beaucoup. Mais rien ne l'avait préparé à être forcé à quitter son pays à deux reprises pour pouvoir vivre en sécurité et en paix.

    La première fois, c'était au début des années 1990. Une rébellion avait éclaté dans le nord, plus particulièrement autour de la ville de Gao. Des milliers de Maliens avaient trouvé refuge dans les pays limitrophes, notamment en Mauritanie, ainsi qu'en Algérie, au Niger et au Burkina Faso.

    « Il y a eu le massacre à Léré, les gens étaient tués sur la base de leur couleur de peau, la peau rouge. Ce jour-là, j'ai plié bagage et je me suis dirigé vers la frontière mauritanienne », déclare Ahmadou.

    Ahmadou est arrivé en Mauritanie en mai 1991. Il y est resté cinq ans. Malgré la signature du Pacte national en 1992 au Mali, les hostilités et les actes de violence ont continué jusqu'en 1995. Ahmadou a profité du programme du HCR de retour volontaire et de réinsertion dans le pays d'origine et il est rentré chez lui en mars 1996. « Quand on est rentrés chez nous, tout était à refaire, on avait tout perdu, notre foyer, nos animaux, l'accès à l'eau, tout », explique-t-il.

    Les organisations internationales les ont aidés en construisant des forages et en réhabilitant les systèmes d'approvisionnement d'eau. Ahmadou travaillait dans l'agriculture et il était entrepreneur dans le bâtiment et les travaux publics. Malheureusement, la paix n'a pas résisté plus de 15 ans, les anciennes velléités et les tensions ont rejailli début 2012.

    « On a fui par crainte des représailles. L'armée ne faisait pas de différences entre civils et combattants et nous étions au milieu. Il était prévisible que les rébellions allaient se manifester à nouveau tant que notre gouvernement n'ait pas tenu ses engagements prévus dans le Pacte National vis-à-vis de la région du Nord, à savoir le développement du réseau routier, l'amélioration de l'accès à l'eau, aux services de santé et à l'éducation et l'intégration des populations vivant dans le Nord dans les fonctions publiques de l'Etat malien », ajoute-t-il.

    A son arrivée en Mauritanie à la fin février 2012, Ahmadou retrouve très vite ses repères et il retrouve également de vieilles amitiés qui n'étaient pas rentrées au Mali depuis 1991. Aujourd'hui, cela va faire un an qu'Ahmadou vit avec sa famille au camp de réfugiés de Mbéra et il n'envisage pas de rentrer de sitôt.

    « Les gens continuent d'arriver tous les jours en Mauritanie et je suis sûr qu'ils continueront encore d'arriver pendant quelques mois. La sécurité dans notre pays est instable et le désir de vengeance est encore très vif. On ne peut pas rentrer dans cette ambiance. Je vais devoir mieux penser ma décision de rentrer cette fois-ci, je ne veux pas être réfugié pour la troisième fois », déclare Ahmadou.

    Il ajoute : « Personne ne veut être réfugié. Si je le pouvais, je ne resterai pas une nuit ici, mais je ne retournerai que si les conditions de sécurité sont réunies et que mes droits en tant que citoyen sont respectés, dans la paix et la dignité. »

    Depuis le début de l'opération militaire appuyée par les Français au Mali en janvier dernier, la Mauritanie a reçu 21 600 arrivants depuis le Mali, en majorité des femmes et des enfants. A la fin mars, le camp de réfugiés de Mbéra accueillait plus de 75 000 réfugiés maliens. La Mauritanie accueille davantage de réfugiés du Mali que tout autre pays.

    Par Dalia Al Achi au camp de réfugiés de Mbéra, Mauritanie

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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal

    10 April 2013 – Dozens of women from the Sahel have met with the United Nations envoy to the region and the world organization’s top official for women’s issues, at a conference to recommend ways to boost economic recovery, political stability and conflict prevention in the troubled African region.

    “Ultimately, the women of the Sahel will be instrumental in putting the region on a path to stability,” the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, told the Conference on Women’s Leadership in Sahel in Brussels on 9 April.

    “I want to tap into the potential of women to accelerate progress in the Sahel. The discussions that took place today and the recommendations by the participants will help us in seeking sustainable solutions for the Sahel.”

    The participating group included some 40 women from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, as well as representatives from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

    They presented their recommendations to Mr. Prodi, as well as the Acting Head of UN Women Lakshmi Puri, and Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.

    Today’s discussions helped shape a common vision on how to empower women to help political stability and economic prosperity in the Sahel ahead of the High-Level Donor’s Conference on Development in Mali to be held on 15 May in Brussels, speakers said.

    “It is well established that for peace to be sustainable – a peace that extends beyond the simple act of signing a peace agreement – it needs to be rooted in justice and inclusion,” said Acting Head of UN Women and Assistant Secretary-General Lakshmi Puri.

    “There can be no comprehensive strategy to address the sustained and systemic crisis without women’s full participation,” Ms. Puri reiterated, noting that numerous UN resolutions and the international community have stressed this idea.

    “We hope this Conference will usher in concrete efforts to increase the participation of women and gender experts in conflict resolution and in the transition to peace, economic recovery, democracy and stability,” she added.

    The Sahel region – which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea – suffers from extreme poverty, with human development levels among the lowest in the world, porous borders that present security challenges, as well as significant human rights problems.

    The recommendations of the Conference include ensuring that at least 30 per cent of participants in decision-making and politics are women, including through the adoption of pro-active measures.

    Participants also agreed on the need for national governments, regional organizations and the international community to support an increased participation of women in conflict-resolution initiatives and to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and access to services, according to UN Women. The participants also called for sustained and predictable financing for initiatives dedicated to gender equality.

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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Mali

    10-04-2013 Communiqué de presse

    Genève/Bamako (CICR) – Alors que le nord du Mali est en proie à la violence armée depuis bientôt 16 mois, les conditions de vie des populations touchées par le conflit demeurent très préoccupantes et les besoins humanitaires importants.

    Pour pouvoir continuer à fournir une aide adéquate à des centaines de milliers de personnes qui subissent les effets du conflit, le CICR lance un appel à ses donateurs en vue de recueillir 40 millions de francs suisses (environ 33 millions d’euros) supplémentaires.

    « Les communautés sont durement touchées ; elles ont besoin de nourriture, d'eau et de soins de santé. Elles doivent aussi pouvoir retrouver une certaine autonomie pour pouvoir à terme subvenir à leurs propres besoins », a déclaré Régis Savioz, directeur adjoint des opérations du CICR, lors d'une conférence de presse à Bamako.

    Au terme d'une visite pendant laquelle il s'est notamment rendu dans le nord du pays, à Gao et à Mopti, M. Savioz a estimé que l’instabilité de la situation et les épisodes de violence dans les centres urbains du nord rendent encore plus difficiles les conditions de vie de la population. « Aucun retour significatif de déplacés et de réfugiés n'a été observé à ce stade », a-t-il précisé.

    Les fonds supplémentaires vont permettre au CICR de poursuivre les activités qu’il mène de longue date au Mali et au Niger, portant son budget pour ces pays à un total d'environ 75 millions de francs suisses (environ 61 millions d’euros). Cette opération devient ainsi la deuxième opération la plus importante du CICR dans le monde en termes budgétaires.

    « Chaque don permettra d'accroître notre aide là où cela est nécessaire, en priorité aux personnes les plus vulnérables. Pour pouvoir mieux comprendre et répondre aux besoins, nous comptons renforcer notre présence au Mali, notamment dans les régions de Gao, Kidal et Tombouctou. Il est urgent d’agir, et c’est maintenant qu’il faut le faire », a ajouté M. Savioz.

    L'importance des efforts déployés par la Croix-Rouge malienne pour venir en aide aux populations dans le besoin a également été relevée. « La Croix-Rouge malienne est un acteur incontournable au Mali et un partenaire primordial pour le CICR. Sans elle et sans la collaboration de ses milliers de volontaires, auxquels je veux rendre hommage, nous ne serions tout simplement pas en mesure de mener à bien nos activités d'assistance », a encore précisé M. Savioz

    Environ 420 000 personnes bénéficieront d’une assistance alimentaire tout au long de l'année. En outre, quelque 186 000 agriculteurs recevront des semences et 35 000 familles d'éleveurs pourront préserver leurs moyens de subsistance grâce à une campagne de vaccination et de traitement de deux millions d'animaux et à la distribution de 510 tonnes d'aliments pour le bétail.

    Dans le domaine de la santé, le soutien à l'hôpital régional de Gao se poursuivra ainsi que l'appui à des centres de santé communautaires. Le CICR continuera aussi de soutenir la fourniture de carburant pour les centrales électriques des principaux centres urbains du nord afin d'assurer un accès à l'eau à leurs habitants.

    Par ailleurs, les délégués du CICR poursuivront leurs visites aux personnes détenues en relation avec le conflit. Grâce à un accord signé aujourd’hui même avec le gouvernement malien, le CICR entend intensifier ses activités en faveur des personnes privées de liberté et avoir accès à tous les lieux de détention du pays.

    Voir également les nouvelles images disponibles sur le nord du Mali :

    Informations complémentaires :

    Valery Mbaoh Nana, CICR Bamako et Niamey, tél. : +223 76 99 63 75 ou +227 97 45 43 82

    Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, CICR Genève, tél. : +41 22 730 31 49 ou +41 79 244 64 05

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    End of lean season ushers in minimal food insecurity outcomes throughout the region


    • Food insecurity outcomes are Minimal (IPC Phase 1) over most parts of the region and are expected to remain so through June. Targeted humanitarian assistance is meeting household needs in food insecure areas of Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, southern Mozambique, and Lesotho.

    • A prolonged dry spell in the southern half of the region has continued for over two months in some areas, resulting in crop yield reductions and dampened harvest expectations. Though crop prospects remain good in some parts of the region, other factors that have compromised expected harvests in other parts include an erratic onset of rains, armyworm outbreaks, input distribution challenges, along with flooding and waterlogging.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia

    1) Political and Security

    South-central: The revival of Al Shabaab activity in Mogadishu and nearby regions is likely to continue. The British Foreign Office issued an advisory against travel to Somalia and in particular Mogadishu against a background of renewed reports of possible Al Shabaab threats in the capital. Risk management measures are already in place to address the existing terrorist threats and corresponding risk levels. A general advisory regarding kidnapping countrywide was also issued by NGOs. Necessary precautions are being taken.

    The Kismayo conference has passed a new constitution for the Jubaland administration. A flag for the upcoming administration was then designed and agreed upon on 4 April. 45 members of parliament from the federal government arrived in Kismayo in order to negotiate between the Kismayo interim administration and government. Even though the government has officially rejected the conference and announced the outcome as unconstitutional, the delegates and the organizers of the meeting are continuing to establish a regional administration for Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba regions.

    Somaliland: The Mayor of Hargeisa, who has been in Dubai for some time seeking treatment, recently passed away. Elections by the Hargeisa Local Council will be held to appoint a replacement. The Somaliland government is set to commence talks with the federal government of Somalia. Somaliland's approach to the talks is based on achieving diplomatic recognition for its independence. A truck carrying 20 Ethiopian immigrants overturned in Koosar neighborhood in Burao town. Two people were seriously injured and were admitted at Burao hospital. The driver and passengers were arrested.

    Puntland: Puntland Ministry of Planning, International Cooperation and Federal Affairs (MOPIC) requested the establishment of Sectoral Working Groups for all operating UN Agencies in Puntland and to conduct quarterly sectorial coordination meetings. Bilaterals with the UN agencies and MOPIC are underway (first meeting scheduled for 17 April), to map out roles and expectations for this coordination. Three radio stations have been closed down by the Puntland government (Radio Daljir, Voice of Peace and One Nation) over allegations of reproducing programs broadcasted by external media, not licensed by government. Media associations and other human rights activists have indicated that the decision contradicts the constitutional rights of the free press. Some political observers assume there could have been connection between the upcoming elections and the silencing of the most prominent radio stations in the region. Subsequently, the Ministry of Interior lifted the ban under the condition that these radio stations will stop reproducing and broadcasting programs of already banned Radios (Hirad, Ergo and Bar-kulan).

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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Mali, Niger

    10-04-2013 News Release

    Geneva/Bamako (ICRC) – Now that northern Mali has been in the grip of armed violence for almost 16 months, the living conditions of people affected by the conflict are very worrying and humanitarian needs substantial.

    To continue to provide appropriate assistance for hundreds of thousands of people caught up in the conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is asking donors for 40 million Swiss francs (around 33 million euros) in additional support.

    "Communities have been hard hit. They need food, water and health care," said Régis Savioz, the ICRC's deputy director of operations, at a press conference in Bamako. "They need to regain a certain ability to fend for themselves so that they will ultimately be able to forgo outside help."

    At the end of a visit that included a journey to Gao and Mopti, in the north of the country, Mr Savioz expressed the view that the unstable situation and the violence in northern cities are making living conditions even more difficult. "No significant return of refugees or other displaced people has so far been observed," he said.

    The additional funding, bringing the ICRC's budget for Mali and Niger to around 75 million Swiss francs (around 61 million euros), will enable the organization to press ahead with the activities it has long been carrying out in the two countries. The operation in Mali and Niger will become the ICRC's second biggest in the world in budgetary terms.

    "Every donation will enable us to increase our aid wherever necessary; priority will be given to those who need it most," said Mr Savioz. "To be able to better understand and respond to the needs, we intend to step up our work in Mali, especially in the Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu areas. The time to take action is right now."

    Mr Savioz also emphasized the importance of the efforts made by the Mali Red Cross to bring aid to needy people. "The Mali Red Cross plays an essential role in Mali, where it is a key partner of the ICRC," he declared. "Without the Mali Red Cross and the cooperation of its thousands of volunteers, to whom I would like to pay tribute, we would quite simply be unable to carry out our aid activities."

    Around 420,000 people will be given food aid throughout the year and some 186,000 farmers will be provided with seed. In addition, the vaccination and treatment of two million animals and the distribution of 510 tonnes of animal feed will enable 35,000 herding families to maintain their livelihood.

    The ICRC will continue to provide support for the regional referral hospital in Gao and for community health-care centres. It will also continue to help supply fuel for electrical power stations in the main cities in the north of the country to ensure that water is available to inhabitants.

    ICRC delegates will carry on visiting people detained in connection with the conflict. Following an agreement signed this very day with the Malian government, the ICRC expects to step up its activities for detainees and to have access to all places of detention in the country.

    To view new footage on northern Mali:

    For further information, please contact:
    Valery Mbaoh Nana, ICRC Bamako and Niamey, tel: +223 76 99 63 75 or +227 97 45 43 82
    Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 49 or +41 79 244 64 05

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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Somalia

    Appeal History:

    • The Emergency Appeal MDRSO001 was initially launched on 23 September, 2011 seeking CHF 4,158,791 or in cash, kind, or services for 12 months to assist 150,000 beneficiaries.

    • Operations updates were issued on 20 October 2011, 31 October 2011, 30 January 2012, 31 March 2012, 12 September 2012 and 21 September 2012.

    • This operations update increases the budget to CHF 4,448,696 a (7% increase) after receiving additional income to provide water resource rehabilitation and development.

    Summary: The IFRC Somalia Representation and the Somali Red Crescent (SRCS) are seeking to increase the appeal budget within the current time frame of the Appeal, to allow for the completion of water sources development and rehabilitation activities.

    The drought response operation was initiated by IFRC in January 2011 as part of the scaled up Somalia Annual Country Plan 2011 to respond to the drought situation in Somaliland and Puntland. The funds secured in early January 2011 enabled the IFRC and SRCS to respond since April 2011. However, the general food security situation in Somalia deteriorated in July 2011 which led the UN to declare famine in southern Somalia.

    The increased hardships in southern and central Somalia, coupled with increased insecurity forced many people to move northward seeking refuge in Puntland and Somaliland. The developments necessitated the scaling up of activities and responding with an Emergency Appeal in coordination with the Movement partners.

    By the end of 2012 most of the objectives of the Appeal had been achieved. This included procurement and distribution of non-food items, procurement of medical supplies, procurement of vehicles for the mobile health clinics, water sources rehabilitation, fuel subsidy to run boreholes, food rations for boarding schools and orphanages to keep children in school, livelihoods support to fishing communities and strengthening the national society response capacity. Few activities related to water sources rehabilitation and development remain and will be completed by the end of April, 2013. Following that, the IFRC Country Office will commission a final external evaluation, which will be paid off from the Emergency Appeal budget.

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