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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Cameroon

    DOUALA, CAMEROON — Cameroon is often touted as a nation endowed with enormous agricultural potential. It boasts abundant rainfall and fertile lands allowing the cultivation of diverse crops.

    However, the middle-income oil producer is home to 44 percent of all undernourished children in the six-member Economic Community of Central African States, CEMAC. UNICEF says malnutrition afflicts three out of ten of Cameroonian children.

    Experts blame the high number on poverty, ignorance, political neglect and epidemics.

    The situation, illustrated by growing numbers of stunted and emaciated children, has alarmed child health advocates.

    Ines Lezama, a nutrition expert with UNICEF Cameroon, says the country "has been in the red-list (danger zone) for a long time. We have evidence from our latest surveys in 2011 that the rate of stunting or acute malnutrition is going up."

    Malnutrition rates vary according to region – ranging from mild prevalence in the fertile south to more severe in the Sahelian and drought-prone northern regions on the fringes of the Sahara desert.

    The poverty-stricken area is home to one-third of the country’s over nine million kids. They face various hardships including difficult access to safe drinking water and sanitation, recurring floods, cholera outbursts and frequent crop failures.

    However, the main market in Garoua, chief town of the North Region some 1,200km from the capital, Yaoundé, flourishes with imported – but expensive -- foodstuffs.

    Vegetable vendor, Mohamadou Yakubu says abundant harvests in the country’s south guarantee supplies for about three months of the year.

    "During the rainy season," he explains, "we ensure adequate stocks of cabbages, carrots, lettuce, avocadoes and potatoes from the country’s south. My customers are mostly salaried workers as the vegetables are too expensive for the poor masses. Costly transportation and exorbitant taxes result in the high prices."

    He says during the dry season, supplies thin out and become more expensive. Ordinary people are often restricted to a small number of traditional foods, including a starchy type of couscous made from maize, millet, or sorghum.

    He says the result is endemic malnutrition sustained by a lack of foods containing vitamins, minerals and energy.

    Within walking distance from the market is the Garoua Regional Hospital. Its pediatric ward includes a center established in 2009 with UNICEF support that provides free therapy for malnourished children.

    Amadou Alouk, one of the hospital's two nurses, says thanks to the center, malnutrition-related deaths have dropped from an average of six per month for every thirty registered patients.

    "Unfortunately in June, we recorded six deaths,":he says. "Most are children of the poor who cannot afford proper medication and rely on traditional medicines or come for treatment too late.

    Alouk’s account is suddenly interrupted by a cluster of wailing women. One of them, Tchinakoui Rebecca, a 34-year-old mother of four, has just lost a baby.

    "I don’t know what killed him," she says. "All I know is that he had stomach pains."

    Medics say the two-week-old died of diarrhea, a leading cause of malnutrition in the region where open defecation is the norm.

    Meantime, victims of malnutrition suffer a number of issues, including impaired intellectual development, visual impairment, and susceptibility to infections.

    Experts add that malnutrition drains household incomes and significantly slashes human productivity.

    Cameroon’s budget does not allocate funding for nutrition.

    However, UNICEF recommends investing US$31.3 [15,650 FCFA] per child per year to significantly curtail the scourge.

    The UN agency has been partnering with several organizations in the hardest-hit zones. They provide free supplementary and fortified foods, promote exclusive breastfeeding, and train volunteers to conduct early screening for malnutrition.

    However, efforts to improve nutrition remain challenging. An estimated 20,000 agents are needed to provide nationwide coverage. Support is also needed for deworming campaigns, nutrition courses in schools and the increased distribution of therapeutic foods.

    In March, the government joined a global crusade called SUN, aimed at Scaling Up Nutrition. But observers warn that until the political will is translated into concrete action, malnutrition will continue to endanger the wellbeing of millions of Cameroonian children.

    Listen to report on malnutrition in Cameroon


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Senegal
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    Au Sénégal, le riz, le mil, le sorgho et le maïs constituent la base de l’alimentation des ménages. L’arachide représente aussi bien une source importante de protéine et communément une culture de rente. Le riz importé est consommé quotidiennement par la grande majorité des ménages, particulièrement dans les centres urbains de Dakar et Touba. Le riz produit localement dans la vallée du fleuve Sénégal y est consommé.

    St. Louis est le principal marché dans la vallée du fleuve Sénégal. Le mil est consommé dans les régions centrales où Kaolack représente le marché régional le plus important. Le maïs est produit et consommé dans les zones autour de Kaolack, Tambacounda et dans la vallée du fleuve Sénégal. Du maïs est aussi importé, principalement du marché international. Il existe une forte demande pour tous les produits à Touba et à Dakar. La récolte des céréales et celle de l’arachide débutent en Octobre et les stocks de céréales locales baissent de niveau tout au long de l’année de commercialisation qui s’achève en Octobre. Le Sénégal dépend plus des importations à partir du marché international, surtout le riz, que du commerce transfrontalier qui concerne essentiellement le bétail provenant du Mali et de la Mauritanie pour approvisionner Dakar et les marchés environnants.


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Mali

    15 août 2013 – Le Secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Ban Ki-moon a félicité jeudi Ibrahim Boubacar Keїta pour son élection à la Présidence de la République du Mali, et a salué les autorités et la population maliennes pour le bon déroulement de l'élection présidentielle les 28 juillet et 11 août 2013.

    « Le Secrétaire général prend note des résultats préliminaires de l'élection annoncés aujourd'hui par le Gouvernement du Mali. Au moment où le Mali attend la confirmation des résultats par la Cour constitutionnelle, le Secrétaire général félicite M. Ibrahim Boubacar Keїta pour son élection à la Présidence de la République du Mali », indique le porte-parole de M. Ban dans un communiqué de presse.

    « Le Secrétaire général prend également note de l'acceptation du résultat par M. Soumaїla Cissé, le candidat arrivé second à l'élection présidentielle. Il salue son attachement aux principes démocratiques », ajoute-t-il.

    Le Secrétaire général a réitéré l'engagement des Nations Unies à accompagner le Mali dans la prochaine phase du processus de stabilisation et de consolidation de la paix, y compris en appuyant le dialogue inclusif et la réconciliation et l'organisation des élections législatives.

    Les Nations Unies sont également prêtes à soutenir la restauration de l'autorité de l'État au nord du Mali, la protection des droits de l'homme et la mise en œuvre des réformes nécessaires à l'instauration d'une paix durable, de la stabilité et du développement au bénéfice de tous les Maliens.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger
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    Le mil, le maïs, le niébé et le riz importé sont les produits alimentaires les plus importants consommés au Niger. Le mil est consommé aussi bien par les ménages ruraux que les ménages pauvres urbains dans l’ensemble du pays. Le maïs et le riz importé sont plus importants pour les ménages urbains, tandis que le niébé est principalement consommé par les ménages pauvres des régions rurales et urbaines en tant que source de protéine. Niamey est le marché national le plus important et un centre du commerce international ; elle approvisionne en outre les ménages urbains. Tillaberi est aussi un centre urbain approvisionnant les localités environnantes. Le marché de Gaya est le principal marché urbain pour le maïs avec des liens transfrontaliers. Maradi, Tounfafi et Diffa sont des marchés de regroupement régionaux et des marchés transfrontaliers pour le Niger et d’autres pays de la région. C'est dans ces marchés que vont régulièrement acheter leur nourriture les ménages et les éleveurs des régions déficitaires en céréales du nord.
    Agadez et Zinder sont également d’importants marchés nationaux et régionaux. Nguigmi et Abalak se trouvent dans des zones pastorales, où la population dépend largement des marchés céréaliers pour leur approvisionnement alimentaire. Ces deux marchés sont particulièrement importants pendant la saison des pluies, lorsque les éleveurs sont confinés dans la zone pastorale.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso
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    Le mil, le maïs et le sorgho sont les produits alimentaires les plus importants pour la consommation ménagère. Le mil est le produit de base des ménages les plus vulnérables, tandis que le maïs et le sorgho contribuent aussi au panier alimentaire de la majorité des autres ménages.
    Le marché de Sankaryare est le plus vaste et le plus important d’Ouagadougou; il approvisionne d’autres marchés du pays et dans la région. Koudougou se trouve dans l'une des régions les plus peuplées du pays, où une majorité des ménages dépend du marché pour son ravitaillement alimentaire. Djibo se situe dans la zone sahélienne, hautement vulnérable. Pouytenga est un marché de regroupement pour les produits du Nigeria, du Ghana, du Bénin et du Togo. Solenzo est un marché rural situé au milieu d’une zone de production excédentaire. Bobo Dioulasso est un important centre tant pour la consommation que pour la production : elle fait office de capitale économique du Burkina-Faso et se trouve dans une importante zone de production céréalière.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad
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    Le sorgho, le mil, le maïs blanc et le riz local et d’importation sont les produits alimentaires les plus importants. La consommation de mil est la plus forte dans les régions est et nord du pays. Le riz local est un autre produit alimentaire de base, en particulier pour les ménages plus pauvres. Le riz importé et le maïs blanc sont le plus couramment consommés dans la capitale et ses environs. Le marché d'Atrone à N’Djamena, la capitale, est le marché le plus important pour les céréales. Moundou est un important centre de consommation pour le sorgho et le deuxième marché en importance après la capitale. Le marché d’Abéché est situé dans une zone de production au nord. Le marché de Sarh est à la fois un marché de détail local et un marché transfrontalier.


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    Source: Tearfund
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Like most people in the Burkina Faso village of Pissila, Samuel and his family rely on the land for their food.

    Droughts are always dreaded but Samuel and his fellow villagers have a back-up when the rains fail - the community grain bank.

    Last year Samuel was able to buy millet from the grain bank, which is supported by Tearfund partner CREDO, at a reduced rate compared to market prices and help his family through a lean patch when food was in short supply.

    ‘The bank has been helpful because when there isn’t enough rain, there are a lot of problems,’ said the 60-year-old.

    David is a local pastor who is a member of the committee that runs the grain bank and he explained how it operates: ‘In the years when crop production is low, we can buy food in advance so people don’t have to leave to find work or find food. If someone is running out of food they can come and ask for help and buy food on credit.’

    Changing rains

    Another villager who relied on the grain bank last year was Joseph, who bought sorghum seeds on credit and paid them back when he could. Without the bank’s presence, he says, his family would have faced ‘serious difficulties’.

    Pissila’s grain bank has been operating for around 25 years and looks to be increasingly important.

    Mark, 55, who is in charge of it, said, ‘If there were no bank, we would be in the same situation as Burkina was 60 years ago. Then there was a famine – farmers had very low yields even though they worked hard.’

    All the men agree that the rain patterns have changed over the last ten to 20 years.

    Pastor David said, ‘Twenty years ago the rains started in June. Today, in June, we don’t know how much rain there will be. Sometimes the rain might start well but then end early.’


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger
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    Millet, maize, cowpea, and imported rice are the most important food commodities. Millet is consumed by both rural and poor urban households throughout the country. Maize and imported rice are most important for urban households, while cowpea is mainly consumed by poor households in rural and urban areas as a protein source. Niamey is the most important national market and an international trade center, and also supplies urban households. Tillaberi is also an urban center that supplies the surrounding area. Gaya market represents a main urban market for maize with cross-border connections. Maradi, Tounfafi, and Diffa are regional assembly and cross-border markets for Niger and other countries in the region. These are markets where households and herders coming from the northern cereal deficit areas regularly buy their food. Agadez and Zinder are also important national and regional markets. Nguigmi and Abalak are located in pastoral areas, where people are heavily dependent on cereal markets for their food supply. They are particularly important during the rainy season, when herders are confined to the pastoral zone.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso
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    Millet, maize, and sorghum are the most important food commodities for household consumption. Millet is the staple of the most vulnerable households, while maize and sorghum also contribute to the food basket of a majority of all households. Sankaryare market is the largest and most important market in Ouagadougou and supplies other markets within the country and region. Koudougou is located in one of the most populated areas in the country, where a majority of households depend on the market for their food needs. Djibo is in the highly vulnerable Sahelian zone. Pouytenga is an assembly market for products from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Solenzo is a rural market located in the middle of a surplus production zone. Bobo Dioulasso is important center for both consumption and production – it functions as both the economic capital of Burkina Faso and is located in an important cereal production zone.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad
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    Sorghum, millet, white maize, and local and imported rice are the most important food commodities. Millet is most heavily consumed in the eastern and northern regions of the country. Local rice is another basic food commodity, especially for poorer households. Imported rice and white maize are most commonly consumed in and around the capital. The Marché d'Atrone in N’Djamena, the capital city, is the largest market for cereals. Moundou is an important consumer center for sorghum and the second largest market after the capital. The Abéché market is located in a northern production area. The Sarh market is both a local retail market and a cross-border market.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali, Mauritania, Senegal
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    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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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Mali

    IOM, in collaboration with UNICEF, IRC and local NGO Samu Social has conducted a training for 22 Malian officials on child protection in emergencies.

    The training included tracing and family reunification in emergency situations, psychosocial first aid, communication with children in the aftermath of violence, data protection and confidentiality.

    Participants were drawn from the Bamako district field staff of the Direction Nationale du Développement Social (DNDS) and the Direction Nationale de la Promotion de l’Enfant et de la Femme (DNPEF).

    As part of the training, participants were briefed on IOM’s child protection activities in response to the complex crisis in Mali and introduced to a newly established child protection referral system led by IOM in Bamako district, implemented in close cooperation with Samu Social and UNICEF.

    IOM, as regional lead for the Inter-Agency Child Protection Info Management System in Bamako, is working on a daily basis with DNDS, DNPEF, Samu Social and UNICEF to identify, document, refer, assist and follow-up on the most vulnerable children affected by the Malian crisis.

    They include unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), the internally displaced, former UASC who have been reunified with their families, and some vulnerable former UASC who recently reached 18.

    Many children who fled the conflict in the North are now living in harsh conditions in the capital, often in the care of relatives or community members or religious teachers (Marabouts.) Others are living on their own. Far from their homes, without the support of their families and with no resources, many of them are at risk of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

    To date, IOM has identified and documented 84 vulnerable children, including 48 girls. The identification process, which is conducted in cooperation with the Malian authorities and social partners, is on-going.

    Following the outbreak of the Malian crisis in 2012, IOM’s protection unit developed several interventions throughout the country. These include psychosocial activities for vulnerable internally displaced people, rapid evaluations, emergency referrals and direct assistance for the most vulnerable.

    IOM’s protection work in Mali is supported through funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance (AECID).

    For more information, please contact Agnès Tillinac at IOM Bamako, Tel: +223 90 50 00 06, Email: atillinac@iom.int.


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Senegal
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    Period covered by this Final report: 28 December 2011 to 30 April 2013.

    Appeal target (current): CHF 1,603,923

    Appeal coverage: 75%;

    Appeal history:

    · CHF 166,428 was initially allocated from the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 28 December, 2011 to support the Senegalese Red Cross Society (SRCS) in delivering assistance to some 1,000 households.

    · An Emergency Appeal was launched on 20 April 2012 for CHF 3,765,905 to enable the Senegalese Red Cross Society assist 258,000 beneficiaries over a period of 12 months.

    · An Operations Update n° 1 for the period 20 April to 31 May, 2012 was issued on 31 May 2012.

    · A Revised Emergency Appeal was issued on 30 November 2012 seeking CHF 1,603,923 in cash, kind, or services to support the Senegalese Red Cross Society (SRCS) to provide assistance to 62,500 beneficiaries (8,929 families) over a period of 12 months, to be completed 30 April 2013.

    Summary: The Emergency Appeal outcome was originally to cover the immediate needs of 258,000 beneficiaries in 9 regions through food and cash transfer distributions. Due to lack of funding and changes in priorities, the appeal was revised in November 2012 with a reduced budget and beneficiary target of 62,500 people (8,929 families) in 8 regions. Sufficient funding arrived on time to start on the cash transfer programme, the procurement and the distribution of improved seeds, fertilizer and tools for the main planting season between June to August 2012. The combined distributions of cash and seeds aimed at reducing the impact of the food shortages of agro-pastoralist households faced with the consequences of the limited 2011 harvest and the high price of food went hand in hand with the twin-track approach of providing emergency assistance, livelihood protection and recovery activities to contribute to building the resilience of households.

    Shortly after the presidential elections that were held in March 2012, the new government officially asked for international assistance to help its population most affected by a food crisis which triggered off the launch of the emergency appeal. The SRCS soon negotiated a partnership with WFP with a local field agreement to deliver food assistance to 679,000 beneficiaries living in 7 targeted vulnerable regions of Ségou, Tambacounda, Kédougou, Louga, Matam, Thiès and Saint-Louis. Some 500,000 beneficiaries received direct food distributions covering four months rations in rice, oil, salt and beans. The other 179,000 beneficiaries received conditional cash vouchers to cover three months’ worth of food rations of rice, maize, millet, sugar, oil and salt. This partnership covered all and beyond the original food assistance objectives of the Emergency Appeal, except for some 500 household who benefited from food parcels of corn, millet and beans in the localities of Matam, Kanel, Ranérou and Dagana in the Saint Louis region during the emergency phase and through DREF contributions, and 857 additional food parcels that were distributed in two villages, Leboul and Ferlou in the Tambacounda region during the recovery period.

    Between the launch of DREF and the revised emergency appeal there have been variations in the number of people who compose a household. DREF activities were formulated on the basis of 7.6 beneficiaries per household when in fact many households can contain closer to 10 or more household members depending on the rural region. The revised appeal focused on the needs of households composed 7 people.

    Although reports on the 2012 harvest are rather good in the Sahel region in general and in most regions of Senegal as well, food insecurity will continue to persist among many vulnerable and poor households that have depleted their livelihoods with no means to restore them and very little purchasing power. The price of food remains high versus the same period last year, and most poor families only eat one meal a day. Contingency plans and discussions are ongoing among the local authorities, SRCS and other humanitarian organizations in order to continue to provide assistance and be ready and able to scale up support should food security fall back into a crisis situation.

    Financial summary:

    The low coverage of the appeal necessitated a revision of the original appeal budget from CHF 3,765,905 to CHF 1,603,923 as well as a reduction in the number of beneficiaries from 258,000 beneficiaries earlier targeted to 62,500 beneficiaries. The distribution and monitoring costs were under-budgeted as it did not take into account the numerous monitoring visits and distribution needs that were required by the volunteers.

    This Emergency Appeal was closed with a positive balance of CHF 40,570. This positive balance was mainly caused by the delay in the completion of seed banks which were initiated late in the appeal timeframe. The balance will be transferred to the Sahel Regional Representation Disaster Management budget and will be used to complete and follow up seed banks and other resilience activities in the areas targeted by this appeal.

    Lessons learned:

    · This food insecurity operation was the first of its kind in which the Senegalese Red Cross was involved and operational right from the onset, when the crisis was identified late 2011 in certain regions of Senegal.

    · In its role as an auxiliary of the authorities, SRCS was selected as one of the main partners of WFP for the delivery of emergency food, financial and humanitarian assistance in seven regions. With a contribution of some CHF 3.4 million given by the authorities to WFP to assure food distribution to over 500,000 beneficiaries living in the vulnerable targeted regions.

    · The National Society headquarters has worked very effectively with its Red Cross branches and with the local authorities and the beneficiaries; through its humanitarian service delivery SRCS has been very well perceived by the population and has been praised on the national media.

    · SRCS Beneficiary selection procedures were improved providing a more community based and inclusive approach.

    · The operations in Senegal focused more on emergency assistance than on longer term livelihood projects, contributing to building the resilience of the targeted beneficiaries. During an exit meeting, future plans were discussed and the National Society leadership and management agreed this was an objective they would consider engaging in more in depth any future food security programming.

    · As resilience building requires longer-term follow-up, the SRCS will in the future consider planning resilience building initiatives earlier in the appeal process.

    · The beneficiary to household count in the Emergency Appeal for Senegal was based on a seven persons per family. Into the operations, however, it was revealed that the reality particularly in rural areas where a family size can reach up to 30 people. In those cases a double ration was delivered to these big households.

    · The experience of the cash transfer or direct cash assistance has proved to be a valuable support process for many communities in need. SRCs taking on increased measures to build its capacity in this activity, and has been chosen as one of the leading National Societies that will carry forward the process after all the necessary training. The International Federation selected four pilot countries (Viet Nam, Philippines, Chile and Senegal) to support their National Societies with training and coaching, ensuring cash transfers and market assessment are embedded into their existing preparedness measures and Contingency Planning (CP) so that when a disaster occurs, an operation with a scalable cash transfer components will come rapidly into being. On 14 February 2013, with the financial support of ECHO and British Red Cross, the pilot project with the Senegalese Red Cross Society (SRCS) was launched. It is expected that the case studies and lessons learned from this pilot project will allow reaching other countries in the future.

    The IFRC on behalf of the the Senegalese Red Cross Society would like to extend thanks to all these partners including the Finnish, Canadian, Danish, British, Monaco and Japanese Red Cross Societies for their generous contributions to this appeal.

    All operations-related appeals, reports, updates and information are available on the Appeals, plans and updates section of the web site: http://www.ifrc.org/en/publications-and-reports/appeals/


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    Source: Plan
    Country: Mali, Myanmar

    Posted by Jimmy Tuhaise, Plan Emergency Response Manager

    Jimmy Tuhaise Ahead of World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, Emergency Response Manager Jimmy Tuhaise blogs about the impact of Plan’s work with children in conflict-hit Myanmar and Mali.

    I’ve been doing this job for over 10 years. I like humanitarian work because it saves lives. What you do for a child within the first few weeks of an emergency or disaster makes a difference to the rest of their life.

    For example, if Plan moves in quickly and sets up a school for a child to continue his or her education instead of waiting for the long term government project to come in, that child will catch up with other students and there will be less impact on his or her education in the long run.

    For children who have witnessed dead bodies and shootings, or have seen their mothers raped during the conflicts, the trauma stays with them psychologically; they can grow up thinking that killing is normal and that seeing people dying is normal. Our psycho-social work is so important to help children grow up naturally as children.

    Reaching children in Myanmar

    I’ve just been deployed for 3 months to Myanmar. Plan has opened a new office here; I am deployed wherever the emergency team needs capacity to design programmes in countries that are struggling.

    We have no sponsorship at all as yet in Myanmar, and there’s been war and conflict here for so many years - so you have community conflict as well as political unrest. We’re looking at about 140,000 people in the refugee camps in Rakhine State and because of the conflict, you have about another 100,000 internally displaced people – among them about 50,000 children.

    These children can’t go to school because they don’t have access to quality education. Then you have land mines; lack of access to quality health services and people living between government-controlled areas and rebel-controlled areas where they can’t cross over. It’s a desperate situation.

    I do believe Plan International can really make an impact on children’s lives here with our work.

    Mali conflict response

    Earlier this year I was deployed to Mali for 5 months. Again, the country was struggling to respond to the political emergency and I had to scale up Plan’s programmes to support around 40,000 distressed children.

    The problem was that almost the whole region of Timbuktu was occupied by Islamist insurgents. During the period of Sharia law that was imposed, girls were not allowed to go to school; they were forced into marriage and there were many cases of rape and premature pregnancy.

    The whole system collapsed because the region was occupied by rebels, nobody could go to school for a year, there were no health services, no food support, almost 3 quarters of the population were displaced.

    Plan, again, went in as one of the first agencies at that time with a programme based around child protection, education and water, sanitation and hygiene in schools.

    Smiling again

    We constructed temporary schools, distributed school kits and teaching materials, and trained teachers. We also promoted hygiene, providing drinking water for children and running child-friendly spaces.

    When you move to an area where children are really traumatised, they have nothing to do; no playing materials and nowhere to go. If you set up a child-friendly space, somewhere for them to play, it makes a difference in their lives psychologically. Those children who have dropped out of school have a smile on their faces when they start school again. You can see the impact on the children’s lives straight away, it doesn’t take years.

    Some children attempt to go to school without any school supplies; no pencils, no copy books, no bags. So Plan comes in and distributes supplies to school kids - say, a bag, books, a pencil and a pen - and they can go to school again and be happy.

    I guess the most important thing about this type of humanitarian work is that you do your job, and you make a difference to somebody’s life. I help someone every day, and I am proud of that.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal
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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Malawi

    MZIMBA, 16 August 2013 (IRIN) - The phrase on the lips of many Malawians these days, particularly in the north of the country is: “There will be hunger this year.”

    In Karonga District, prolonged hot, dry spells caused maize crops in the southern part of the district to wilt. The dry spell was followed by heavy rains, which not only knocked down the wilting maize but also brought down several houses, affecting scores of people. In the northern part of the district, flooding filled rice paddies with sand, virtually burying the crop.

    Rumphi and Mzimba districts - the hub of maize production in Malawi’s northern region - were also hit by dry spells starting from February.

    As a result of the weather conditions, most farmers in the region harvested little maize. In fact, an annual food security forecast by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) - composed of the government, UN agencies and NGOs - predicted that 21 of the country’s 28 districts will face varying degrees of food insecurity until the next harvest in March 2014, with the northern region most severely affected.

    Costs to rise

    Across the region, residents have started buying and storing bags of maize to prepare for the steep price increases that normally accompany the peak of the lean season.

    “Unlike in the past, when vendors were the ones buying the maize, most of those buying the maize this time around are people who say they are just stocking it for domestic use,” said Francis Chirwa, a farmer from Chitipa District, who was selling some of his maize.

    Currently maize is selling at between 120 and 130 kwacha (between US$0.36 and $0.39) per kilogramme at points of production in rural areas. The MVAC report projects that prices will increase to 200 kwacha (about $0.60) per kilogramme by the peak lean period, which will fall between December 2013 and January 2014.

    Surplus?

    The MVAC report projected a slight increase in total maize production compared to last year, with a surplus of 194,000 metric tons beyond the national food requirement. However, the report also estimated that nearly 1.5 million people - representing 9.5 percent of the country’s total population - would need food assistance equivalent to 57,346 metric tons of maize over the coming months.

    In its July to December 2013 food security outlook, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) suggested that the maize surplus could be less than projected because of a possible over-estimate of the amount of maize produced from the irrigated farming sector, which failed to take into account the lowered water table resulting from erratic rains.

    The FEWSNET report also noted that rain-fed maize production was down by 27 per cent compared to last year in the area covered by the Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division (ADD) in the north and by 19 per cent in the central region areas covered by Kasungu ADD.

    Rethinking FISP

    Meanwhile, the MVAC report attributes the maize surplus to the government’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP), which targets more than a million poor smallholder farmers with subsidised inputs such as fertilizer and seed. However, John Paul, project manager for the Building Resilience to Climate Change project run by the NGO Total Land Care, pointed out that “the success of the FISP lies in favourable weather conditions”.

    “Most parts of the country have not received favourable rains over the past two years or so, and this period has exposed how vulnerable the FISP is,” he told IRIN. “There is a need for the implementation of the FISP to incorporate conservation agriculture technologies, such as maximum soil cover and limited tilling, as a way of fighting off the effects of dry spells.”

    Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, made similar observations after completing an 11-day mission to Malawi in July. In a strongly worded statement, De Schutter urged the government to rethink its focus on the FISP, which, with its dependence on costly fertilizer imports, was using up more than half of the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget and crowding out spending on other priorities, but failing to rid Malawi of chronic food insecurity and high levels of malnutrition.

    “From a purely agronomic point of view, inorganic fertilizers may be masking soil nutrient depletion, rather than correcting it,” said De Schutter, adding that this helped explain why the country had seen an initial increase in yields of maize and other cereals following the introduction of the FISP between 2005 and 2009, which had been followed by a levelling off starting in 2010.

    De Schutter recommended promoting the cultivation of other crops besides maize, in particular legumes, as a way of replenishing depleted soils and improving children’s diets. He also proposed a “brown revolution” which would focus on the use of organic fertilizers.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo
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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Global Food Prices are 11 points higher in 2013 as compared to 2012.

    • 48 per cent of the households in Guinea Bissau are facing a major food deficit, with enough cereal stocks to last for only one month.

    • Regional cholera rates declined in 2013 as compared to last year.

    • 1,200 refugees voted in the Malian elections.

    • Malnutrition admission trends worrying in Niger, Chad, Nigeria,
      Mali and Cameroon.

    • 22,730 children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition, including 5,461 children with acute severe cases in the Gao region (northern Mali).

    • Flood Watch: Floods in Guinea, impact over 4,000 people.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger
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    FAITS SAILLANTS

    • Les dernières inondations de Maradi mobilisent les autorités et les acteurs humanitaires

    • Près d’1/3 des villages agricoles de Tahoua sont à risque d’insécurité alimentaire cette année

    • Vigilance accrue pour parer à toute attaque acridienne, des signes d’invasion éventuelle sont perceptibles.


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    Source: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
    Country: Nigeria

    Nigeria has released two extra-early maturing maize hybrids with combined resistance/tolerance to Striga, drought, and low soil-nitrogen.

    The extra-early hybrids, originally known as IITA Hybrid EEWH-21 and IITA Hybrid EEWH-26, are now designated Ife Maizehyb-5 and Ife Maizehyb-6. They were developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and tested extensively in Nigeria in partnership with the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) through the funding support of the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project.

    Other collaborating institutions involved in the testing include the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), the University of Ilorin (UNIILORIN), the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), and the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB). The DTMA Project is executed by CIMMYT and IITA in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Both extra-early hybrids have desirable grain cooking characteristics and outstanding yield and stability across environments in Nigeria ravaged by drought, Striga, and low soil-nitrogen. The potential yield of Ife Maizehyb-5 in Nigeria is 6.0 t/ha and Ife Maizehyb-6 yields 5.5 t/ha. Local varieties yield about 1.5 t/ha.

    Hybrid development and promotion is a promising strategy to appreciably increase maize production and productivity and to revolutionize agriculture in West and Central Africa (WCA).

    “Seed companies and farmers in WCA have been asking for stress tolerant extra-early hybrids to reduce the instability of maize yields, especially in the savannas, as well as during the second season in the forest agroecological zone,” according to Dr Baffour Badu-Apraku, IITA Maize Breeder, who is also a member of the team that developed the hybrids.

    Other researchers in the team are Drs S.A. Olakojo, G. Olaoye, M. Oyekunle, M.A.B. Fakorede, B.A. Ogunbodede, and S.E. Aladele.

    This is the first report on the release of extra-early hybrids with combined resistance to Striga and with genes that confer tolerance to low soil-nitrogen and to drought stress at the most drought-sensitive stages (flowering and grain-filling periods).

    “The release of the two extra-early hybrids should contribute to a significant reduction in the instability of maize yields in Nigeria as well as in other countries of WCA,” Badu-Apraku added. The adoption and commercialization of these extra-early hybrids released in Nigeria and of others presently in the pipeline for release in Ghana, Mali, and Bénin should contribute significantly to food security and lead to improved incomes and livelihoods for farmers in WCA. ###

    For more information, please contact: Godwin Atser, g.atser@cgiar.org ; or Andrea Gros, a.gros@cgiar.org

    About IITA www.iita.org

    The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is one of the world’s leading research partners in finding solutions for hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Its award-winning research for development (R4D) approach addresses the development needs of tropical countries. IITA works with partners to enhance crop quality and productivity, reduce producer and consumer risks, and generate wealth from agriculture. IITA is a non-profit organization founded in 1967 in Nigeria and governed by a Board of Trustees. IITA works on the following crops: cowpea, soybean, banana/plantain, yam, cassava, and maize. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future.


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Mali

    SC/11096
    AFR/2681

    The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President María Cristina Perceval ( Argentina):

    The members of the Security Council take note of the provisional results of the presidential runoff elections in Mali, as announced by the transitional authorities of Mali on 15 August 2013, which declared Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta the elected President of the Republic of Mali.

    The members of the Security Council commend the Malian people for their peaceful participation in the electoral process.

    The members of the Security Council commend the transitional authorities of Mali for the successful preparation, organization and management of the elections. They also welcome the efforts of domestic and international observers and bilateral and international partners to support the electoral process. The members of the Security Council express their appreciation to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for the security and logistical support it provided during the electoral process.

    The members of the Security Council consider the holding of these elections a major step toward the restoration of democratic governance and constitutional order in Mali. The members of the Security Council stress the importance of Malian civilian control and oversight of the military.

    The members of the Security Council reiterate their call on all signatories of the Ouagadougou Agreement of 18 June 2013 to fully implement its provisions, including the launching of inclusive and credible peace talks open to all communities of the north of Mali in the time frame set out by the Agreement, with the goal of securing a durable political resolution to the crisis and long-term peace and stability throughout the country. The members of the Security Council also call for the swift holding of free, fair, transparent, and inclusive legislative elections. In this regard they stress the importance of the national dialogue and reconciliation process.

    The members of the Security Council reaffirm resolution 2100 (2013) and, in this regard, stress the importance of MINUSMA’s full operational deployment to stabilize key population centres, especially in the north of Mali, and support the re-establishment of State authority throughout the country, the continued implementation of the transitional road map, and the promotion of the rule of law and protection of human rights.

    The members of the Security Council call upon the international community to continue to support the people and authorities of Mali towards achieving lasting peace, stability and reconciliation in Mali and the development of the country.

    For information media • not an official record


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