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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: World, Afghanistan, Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan (the), Yemen

    The Desert Locust situation remained serious during October as second-generation hoppers formed bands in Niger and Chad, and adults formed small swarms in Chad. A similar situation is likely in northern Mali but could not be confirmed due to insecurity.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia (the), Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo

    The ECOWAS Commission has launched an "ambitious programme" to promote food self-sufficiency and reduce food import into the region by 40 percent over the next three years, Vice-President of the Commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh has said.

    He told visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of German, Dr. Guido Westerwelle in Abuja on Friday 2nd November 2012, that the region is determined to pursue this programme during the tenure of the present management at the Commission which came to office early this year "even if we have to concentrate on our staple foods.”

    The vice-president paid tribute to the German Government for its support to ECOWAS in the areas of peace and security as well as capacity building to better equip the organisation discharge its mandate of promoting the socio-economic development of its 15 Member States.

    He canvassed the country's support for the region’s food self-sufficiency initiative and regional infrastructure improvement, to serve as catalyst for development through addressing gaps in West Africa's section of the Trans-African Highway along the coast.

    Dr. McIntosh also applauded Germany’s pledge of 1 million Euros to support people displaced by the crisis in Mali.

    Dr. Westerwelle, who was at the Commission as part of a West African tour that took his six-member delegation to Senegal, Mali and Nigeria, praised the "strong and sustainable" relations with ECOWAS since 2006.” He also commended the role played by ECOWAS in the international arena and it's commitment to economic growth and development, describing it as a "sign of the growing self-confidence of the region.”

    Also at the meeting were the ECOWAS Commissioners for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Sulaiman and her counterpart for Human Development and Gender, Dr Adrienne Diop.

    Both Commissioners briefed the minister on the recent developments in Guinea Bissau and Mali, illicit drug trafficking and humanitarian situation in the region, particularly related to the crisis in Mali.


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    Somaliland is situated in the north-west of Somalia, with administrative capital in Hargeysa. It has remained relatively stable since its unilateral declaration of independence in 1991 with functionong institutions and a peaceful transfer of power through democratic elections in 2010. It has a longstanding border dispute with Puntland over the eastern side of Sool and Sanaag regions. While access to these areas is challenging, most of Somaliland is readily accessible to aid agencies. Prolonged drought is the major cause of displacement in recent years, especially in Sool, Sanaag, and Togdheer regions.

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

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    Rainfall Performance (30th Oct. to 4th Nov. 2012)

    • Wet conditions were maintained in the southern parts of the country with light to moderate rains being recorded in some areas over the period in review. The northern parts remained dry in the same period.

    • Currently observed river levels along the lower reaches of Shabelle River are at bank full level and there has been reports of flooding in these areas in the last few days.

    • However, observed river levels along the Juba are stable with no risk of flooding.

    Rainfall Forecast (5th to 11th Nov. 2012)

    • The three days cumulative rainfall forecast (Map 1) indicates maintenance of wet conditions in the southern parts of the country with little or no rains in the central and northern regions. The rains are however expected to spread further to the north during the second half of the week as seen on the seven day rainfall forecast map (Map 2).
    Country: Somalia
    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization

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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Niger (the), Senegal, United States of America (the)

    KEY DEVELOPMENTS

    · Nearly one year since the onset of the food insecurity and nutrition crisis in the Sahel, food security conditions have stabilized and are expected to improve to No Acute Food Insecurity—Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) 1—in most areas by November due in part to positive agricultural production forecasts, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). Nonetheless, FEWS NET notes that recent flooding and increasing numbers of desert locusts remain significant threats and could reduce this year’s agricultural output in some areas. Ongoing insecurity in Mali and related displacement could also result in continuing above-average humanitarian assistance needs in parts of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger through late 2012.

    · The rate at which Malians are fleeing to neighboring countries recently slowed, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In August, the number of new arrivals in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger declined by 61 percent compared to the preceding month, decreasing from an estimated 60,000 people per month to approximately 23,500 people per month.

    · In mid-September, the Mali Protection Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian protection activities in the country—revised the estimated number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mali from 174,000 to 118,795, reflecting a decrease of 32 percent. Due to access challenges in the north, the new estimates may not represent the full number of IDPs in Mali, and the cluster continues working to obtain a more comprehensive count of IDPs.

    · USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) recently provided nearly $20 million to partners in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal, primarily to support temporary employment and training opportunities that enable beneficiaries to generate income while improving community assets. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) also contributed $4 million to increase access to community health care and support the operation of local water systems for conflict-affected populations in northern Mali.

    · In FY 2012, the U.S. Government (USG) provided approximately $400 million in humanitarian assistance to benefit more than 3 million people in the Sahel. USG support included food aid, cash transfers, agricultural and livelihoods activities, protection and other assistance for displaced people, and humanitarian coordination and logistical support.


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Chad, Central African Republic (the), Sudan (the)

    The activities proposed hereafter are still subject to the adoption of the financing decision ECHO/WWD/ BUD/2013/01000

    1 . CONTEXT

    Chad is a large but sparsely populated land-locked country, with a population of 11,506,000, bordered by Sudan, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun and the Central African Republic (CAR). Roughly 60% of the national territory is desert, 25% falls in the semi-arid Sahel belt, while the remaining 15% approaches sub-tropical conditions but is subject to flooding.

    The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2011 Human Development Index places Chad 183rd out of 187 countries. The Gross national income (GNI) per capita is USD 1,105 per person. Life expectancy at birth is 49.6 years, while the 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births is 1,200, the second highest worldwide. One in every five children is born with low birth weight and exclusive breastfeeding is practiced by only 3.3% of Chadian women. The European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) has assigned a Vulnerability and Crisis Index score of 3/3, its most severe ranking.

    Chad suffers from chronically poor governance and is emerging from a long period of civil conflict. Following the normalization of relations with Sudan in 2010, ending several years of proxy war during which each country supported each other’s rebel groups, parliamentary, presidential and local elections were held in 2011 and 2012.

    Chad relies on oil revenues (20% of GDP), foreign assistance and foreign capital for most public and private sector investment projects. Oil exports started in 2004, and the peak production capacity of known oil fields has already been reached. Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic provide the bulk of Chad's non-oil export earnings.

    Officially, at least 80% of Chad's population relies on subsistence farming and raising livestock for its livelihood. Although difficult to quantify, remittances are also an important source of income. Inflows of remittances to Chad's impoverished Sahel regions from Libya have dried up since the conflict there in 2011, and this continues to affect an already fragile livelihood base.

    In 2012, 3.6 million people nationwide were affected by a food and nutrition crisis linked to poor harvests and high market prices for basic commodities. This situation was compounded by trade restrictions due to regional instability in Libya, Nigeria and to a lesser extent, Sudan. A massive food-aid, cash and voucher response has stabilized the situation by maintaining the food security status of vulnerable segments of the population, but this has done little to improve overall conditions.

    Eight of the nine regions of Chad's Sahel belt present Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rates above emergency thresholds, with five hovering around 20% (Batha, Kanem, Hadjer Lamis, Bahr El Ghazal, Wadi Fira). The capital city N’djamena and the region of Guera are considered critical, while Salamat, known as the bread-basket of Chad, records a GAM rate of 16%. This not only points to a difficult food security situation, but to the complex nature of malnutrition in Chad, where land access and access to basic health care, clean water, hygiene and appropriate infant feeding practices are a major challenge.

    Coverage of SAM and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) treatment by DG ECHO partners increased significantly in 2012, both in terms of children treated (up to 150,000 expected) and the number of health districts supported (roughly 45% of functional health centers provide nutritional services, although the degree of outreach is dependent on the presence of an NGO partner). This scale-up is encouraging, although less than 50% of children have access to appropriate treatment, while effective prevention strategies are lacking and the involvement of government and development partners remains extremely weak.

    Recurrent drought (2009/2010, 2011/2012), floods (2010) and epidemics (measles, meningitis, cholera) pose additional risks for a population with limited coping strategies. State services are largely ineffective with only partial coverage and insufficient human resources, particularly in the health sector. Chad's recent history is characterized by widespread internal conflict resulting in displacement (98,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and 83,000 returnees) and compounded by competition for limited resources, as well as the spill-over from conflicts in neighbouring Darfur (288,000 refugees), Central African Republic (56,000 refugees) and Libya (over 90,000 registered returns), the sum total of which contributes to the ongoing complex emergency in Chad affecting half a million conflict-related displaced persons, refugees and returnees.


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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: World, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritania, Senegal, United States of America (the), Yemen

    SECTOR OVERVIEW

    USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is at the forefront of the humanitarian community’s efforts to prevent and treat acute malnutrition. USAID/OFDA-supported programs are community-based, linked to local health systems, and use evidence-based approaches that decrease morbidity and mortality resulting from malnutrition. In addition to supporting infant and young child feeding programs, USAID/OFDA funds nutrition education, initiatives aimed at improving nutrition systems, and operational research to advance best practices and build local capacity to treat acute malnutrition. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $67 million to support nutrition activities, including nearly $65 million for nutrition interventions in 16 countries and more than $2 million for global and regional nutrition initiatives. The majority of USAID/OFDA’s programs were based in the Horn of Africa and western Africa’s Sahel region—two areas where drought severely impacted communities’ abilities to produce and purchase sufficient quantities of diverse foods, thereby increasing the risk of spikes in acute malnutrition levels among vulnerable populations.


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    Source: Concern Worldwide
    Country: Kenya

    Posted by Rachel Faulkner

    Concern Worldwide has been helping people to come together and solve problems in their local communities. We’ve been using an approach called community conversation. It shows how to solve issues as a group.

    Coming together

    It gives people a chance to share ideas on how to make changes. One community we’ve worked with in Migori County have been able to solve problems they’ve had for years. By meeting up and talking they discovered that a high number of teenage girls were dropping out of school because of a lack of sanitation. Once they realised, they were able to ask members of the community to help.

    Training

    This led to more openness; they started to talk about other issues such as the violence affecting women and girls. We have since begun to train schools in how to protect their pupils from further abuse.

    An end to stigma

    HIV is another issue which has been brought up in community conversations. Jane is HIV positive and the stigma around her illness made it hard to get medical treatment for her son who was malnourished. Talking about the myths around HIV with each other made her community aware of discrimination as a problem. Jane’s life has changed dramatically:

    As a result of these conversations, I was referred to a health clinic, who gave me advice about what I need to do to keep my children as healthy as possible. My baby was put on treatment and given extra food and since then he has gained weight and is a healthy child.

    Positive futures

    This approach to solving problems can make a big difference to how communities live. For members of the community, like John Okore, there is now a better way forward. In his words:

    Now we know how to catch fish for our own.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/06/2012 02:21 GMT

    OUAGADOUGOU, Nov 6, 2012 (AFP) - Representatives of Ansar Dine, one of the armed Islamist groups in northern Mali, are to meet lead mediator Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore Tuesday, as plans for military action take shape.

    Mediators are trying to get Ansar Dine to break ties with its jihadist allies -- Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), long seen as an AQIM splinter group.

    The groups took over a large swathe of northern Mali in the wake of a March coup attempt in the country's capital Bamako.

    The 16-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has demanded that Ansar Dine end "terror and organised crime" in the region, abandon its allies and engage in a dialogue to re-establish a unified Mali.

    Burkinabe mediators on Monday pursued their talks with Ansar Dine for two hours, ahead of the meeting between the group's delegates and Compaore, the lead mediator in Mali's ongoing crisis, at 4:00 pm (1600 GMT).

    "We made good progress," Burkinabe Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole said after the latest round of talks in Burkina Faso's capital.

    The Islamists will now have to open a dialogue with the Malian government and continue consultations with the secular Tuareg group called the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and communities in northern Mali to create an "inclusive process", Bassole added.

    So far the Ansar Dine delegates insist their group -- made up mainly of Malian Tuareg like its chief, Iyad Ag Ghaly -- is independent from the two other groups, has not committed "any act of terrorism" and favours a negotiated settlement to the crisis.

    -- Non-African troops could play a role --

    Experts finalising details for a military intervention said Monday that non-African troops could play a role in ousting the Islamic radicals from northern Mali, if African leaders agree to such a plan.

    "If African heads of state agree, there will be non-African troops on the ground to help Mali win back its territory," an African official taking part in a meeting of international experts in Bamako told AFP on the last day of the conference.

    The official who spoke on condition of anonymity did not elaborate on where the troops would come from.

    He said that the number of troops sent into Mali by ECOWAS "could reach 4,000 instead of the planned 3,000" and would be spread throughout the country.

    He said delegates from Algeria had agreed not to give up the struggle against the armed Islamists, who are backed by AQIM.

    Algeria, with its superior military, counter-terrorism and intelligence capabilities, is seen as key to any military operation but has been hesitant to get involved.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the north African heavyweight last week to lobby for support in ousting the extremists, who Western powers fear may turn the vast desert zone into a haven for terrorists.

    They have already implemented a strict version of Islamic law, stoning and whipping transgressors, and have destroyed "idolatrous" ancient cultural treasures.

    The Bamako conference was attended by experts from ECOWAS, the European Union, the African Union, the United Nations and Algeria, who are helping Mali draw up a plan to be presented to the UN on November 26.

    Another delegate told AFP that the UN was expected to finance the bulk of the military operation.

    West African leaders will meet in Abuja, Nigeria, on an as yet undecided date to approve the plan.

    roh/gk/sst

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: Kenya

    SUMMARY

    The Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project (KHCP), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is transforming the lives of smallholder farmers through enhanced productivity, crop diversification, and improved market access. This month’s highlights include:

    • French beans for export increases farmers’ income

    • Innovative commercial ag-nutrition model completed

    • 300,000 consumers targeted in the community-based distribution approach of nutritious products

    • The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) certifies passion fruit nurseries

    • New potato investment in Rift Valley paying off


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    Source: UN Women
    Country: Mali

    “This occupation is the cruelest one that the Malian people have had to undergo, nowadays women are deprived of all liberties and even the choice of a husband is dictated to them by the occupying forces,” says a displaced woman* living in Bamako and originally from Timbuktu – a city occupied by armed groups today. “Even worse, the woman is married to several men against her will. Nowadays our children can no longer go to school,” she added.

    Mali is currently experiencing an unprecedented security, political and humanitarian crisis, threatened by armed conflict in the north of the country which is having a direct impact on the population, and especially on women and children. The country has had to face radical armed groups such as Ansar Dine, Mali’s northern rebel MUJAO and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – groups that have taken control over the northern part of the country where they enforce a strict interpretation of the sharia as well as restrictions, especially targeting women.

    “The city of Gao has recorded the worst cases of gang rape or rape by an individual and such crimes are still being perpetrated. How to help these innocent victims on whom the occupation has taken a heavy toll? Nowadays in Gao everything belongs to these people who lay down the law and wreak havoc uninhibited,” says another woman from Gao, a city located in the north-east of the country, now residing in Bamako. She deplored the “cruelty” of the armed groups targeting women in particular.

    “As for the populations who have remained in the occupied areas, their daily existence has become a nightmare: enforcement of the sharia with no tangible proof; stoning and amputations are performed. At present, young girls and boys are forcibly enrolled in the armed groups or are indoctrinated to become jihadists,” she explained.

    According to the UN, instability and insecurity have driven more than 250,000 Malians to flee to neighbouring countries – not to mention the 174,000 other displaced persons within the country itself. Given this alarming state of affairs, the women have made a list of their demands, entitled “Appeal from the women of Mali.”

    On 20 October, Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, visited the country and met with female leaders supported by UN Women and the UN system in Mali in order to hear their proposals and demands aimed at helping to resolve the conflict.

    Assembled in Bamako, the capital of Mali, approximately 40 female leaders together with officials from the Forum of Malian civil society organizations participated in the discussions.

    “Though they are the main victims of the various crises that Mali is experiencing, women are still not very much involved in the various bodies managing the transition,” stressed Mrs. Diakité

    Saran Keita Diakité, President of the Women’s Peace and Security Network for ECOWAS countries (REPSFECO/Mali), read out the recommendations to the UN Deputy Secretary-General.

    The concrete recommendations made by the women at the meeting were strong. “We, the women from civil society in Mali (…), demand the following at the decision-making level: at least 30 per cent female representation in all bodies for crisis management and post-crisis management; participation in political and institutional governance, security and the electoral process; capacity-building in terms of mediation, negotiation, prevention, conflict-management and peace-consolidation; advocacy by the UN Secretary-General in favour of reparation for the harm suffered by rape victims as well as their care; and immediate implementation of a support fund for the self-empowerment of the women of Mali.”

    A copy of the appeal was handed over to the Deputy Secretary-General, who assured that the message from the women of Mali would be carried to the highest level and that he would follow the situation closely.

    UN Women is also setting up a psycho-social and economic assistance programme for displaced women and young girls affected by the conflict.

    *The names of the women have been withheld for their safety and security.


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    Source: UN Women
    Country: Mali

    « Aujourd’hui les femmes sont privées de toutes libertés et même le choix de son conjoint est dicté par les occupants. Et pire, la femme se marie à plusieurs hommes contre sa volonté. Aujourd’hui nos enfants ne peuvent plus aller à l’école », dit une femme* déplacée vivant à Bamako originaire de Tombouctou, une ville occupée par les groupes armés. « Cette occupation est la plus cruelle que le peuple malien puisse vivre ».

    Le Mali traverse actuellement une crise sécuritaire, politique et humanitaire sans précédent menacé par un conflit armé au nord du pays qui affecte directement les populations en premier lieux les enfants et les femmes. Le pays doit faire face à des groupes armés radicaux tels que Ansar Dine, Mouvement pour l’unité du djihad en Afrique occidentale (MUJAO) et Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (AQMI) qui ont pris le contrôle de la partie nord du pays, où ils appliquent une interprétation extrême de la charia, ainsi que des restrictions prenant en particulier les femmes pour cible.

    « La ville de Gao a connu les pires cas de viols collectifs et individuels qui continuent encore. Comment assister ces victimes innocentes qui payent le plus lourd tribut de l’occupation? Aujourd’hui, à Gao tout appartient à ces gens-là qui dictent leur loi et sévissent sans retenu », dit une autre femme originaire de Gao, une ville située au nord-est du pays, qui vit désormais à Bamako. Elle déplore également la « cruauté » des groupes armés ciblant spécifiquement les femmes.

    « Parmi les populations restées dans les régions occupées, leur vie au quotidien est devenue un calvaire: application de la charia et sans preuve tangible ; il y a des lapidations et des amputations. Actuellement, les jeunes filles et garçons sont enrôlés de force dans les groupes armés ou endoctrinés comme djihadistes », explique-t-elle. Selon l’ONU, l’instabilité et l’insécurité ont poussé plus de 250.000 Maliens à fuir dans les pays voisins, sans compter les 174.000 autres déplacés internes. Au cours de la rencontre, les femmes ont également fait part des difficultés extrêmes auxquelles font face les familles de déplacées qui peinent à subvenir à leurs besoins et ceux de leurs enfants.

    Le Vice-Secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Jan Eliasson, était en visite dans le pays le 20 octobre afin de rencontrer des femmes leaders soutenues par ONU Femmes et la Coordination du Système des Nations Unies au Mali et d’écouter leurs propositions et leurs revendications pour contribuer à la résolution du conflit. Réunis à Bamako, la capitale du pays, près d’une quarantaine de femmes leaders et de responsables du Forum des organisations de la société civile du Mali ont pris part aux discussions.

    La Présidente du Réseau Paix et Sécurité des Femmes de l’espace CEDEAO (REPSFECO/Mali), Saran Keita Diakité, a saisi l’occasion de cette réunion pour lire ce texte et interpeller le Vice-Secrétaire général des Nations Unies.

    « Bien qu’étant les principales victimes des différentes crises que le Mali traverse, les femmes restent très peu impliquées dans les organes de gestion de la transition », a souligné Mme Diakité.

    « Nous, femmes de la société civile du Mali … au niveau décisionnel réclamons : une représentation d’au moins 30 pourcent dans tous les organes de gestion de la crise et post crise, de la participation à la gouvernance politique et institutionnelle, sécuritaire et au processus électoral; le renforcement des capacités en médiation, négociation, prévention, gestion des conflits et consolidation de la paix ; un plaidoyer du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies pour la réparation des préjudices subis par les victimes de viols et la prise en charge de toutes les victimes de violation de droits humains ; et la mise en place immédiate d’un fonds d’appui pour l’autonomisation des femmes du Mali ».

    Une copie de cet appel fut ensuite remit au Vice-Secrétaire général de l’ONU qui a, pour sa part, assuré que le message des femmes du Mali sera porté au plus haut niveau et qu’il suivrait la situation de près.

    ONU Femmes met également en œuvre un programme d’assistance psychosociale et économique aux femmes et filles déplacées et affectées par le conflit.

    *Les noms des femmes ont été retirés pour leur protection et sécurité.


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    Source: US Department of State
    Country: Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan (Republic of)

    POSTED BY ANNE C. RICHARD / NOVEMBER 01, 2012

    Anne C. Richard serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

    It is hard to be a refugee, but I think it must be even more difficult to be a refugee child, trying to learn and grow and enjoy childhood despite living in some of the most challenging circumstances on earth. On a trip to Kenya, I visited with refugee children in two very different locations: in the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya and in a safe house in Nairobi for girls who are victims of violence.

    In the large (103,000 inhabitants and growing) Kakuma Camp that shelters refugees from Somalia, South Sudan and other nearby countries, aid workers grapple with a big problem: there is little respect for the rights of children. Many children are forced to work, others are neglected or expected to raise little siblings and some suffer from other forms of exploitation. Too many have been orphaned or separated from their parents. Nearly all the children live precarious lives.

    In the camp hospital, we saw a baby whose feet and lower legs were badly burned by falling into a cooking fire -- an unfortunately common occurrence. A child from the local Turkana community that surrounds the camp was malnourished and getting emergency feeding. Nearby, a beautiful but listless girl lay in her mother's arms, stricken with a severe case of malaria.

    There are 15 primary schools in the camp, but only about one-third of children attend school. Many of the students in primary school are older children, desperate to get an education. Some parents are reluctant to send girls to school because they know they will come in contact with boys. Positive steps are being taken, though. For instance, Angelina Jolie has endowed a boarding school for girls that ensures a number of refugees will get an education.

    There are non-governmental organizations in the camp that support children and other vulnerable populations. FilmAid, a non-governmental organization supported by the U.S. Department of State, uses the medium of film to convey important public service messages such as awareness-raising on the needs of children and to provide some entertainment to camp residents. We visited FilmAid as they were running a session for women and girls on standing up against SGBV. There are also child rights' clubs and youth centers in the camp.

    Children are also victims of sexual and gender-based violence, which aid workers refer to as "SGBV." According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), 25 percent of SGBV cases involve children. About half are girls and half boys who are abused, raped or otherwise harmed by adults.

    The U.S. Government is responding to the needs of all refugees in Kakuma, including these vulnerable children. In Kenya, PRM provided over $53 million in humanitarian assistance in the last fiscal year and we will be continuing aid in FY2013. This enables our international and non-governmental organization partners to provide a range of services in Kakuma and elsewhere in Kenya, including health care, information and education, child protection, psycho-social assistance, prevention of and response to SGBV, and reception and registration for new arrivals.

    In Kenya's capital of Nairobi, I met refugee girls who were victims of SGBV. They live at a safe house called Heshima Kenya, which is supported by the U.S. government. The adolescents, several of whom had children, will stay in the safe house until foster families can be found.

    They also learn basic literacy and math and receive training in tailoring so that they have a marketable skill. I was particularly impressed by the dedication of the Kenyan staff members who demonstrated obvious affection for these refugee youth.

    Many of these children were first traumatized in their home countries and forced to flee violence or persecution. Here in Kenya, they have a chance to recover from the horrors that prompted them to become refugees in the first place. Aid from the United States and other donor countries is essential, however, to keep them out of harm's way and safe from further danger and exploitation. In each place I visited where boys and girls were helped -- from the camp hospital, to a FilmAid discussion group, to Heshima Kenya's safe house -- I felt a great pride in my country for doing so much to rescue these vulnerable children.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: World, Afghanistan, Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan (the), Yemen

    La situation relative au Criquet pèlerin est restée préoccupante en octobre avec la formation de bandes larvaires de deuxieme génération au Niger et au Tchad et celles de petits essaims au Tchad. La situation est probablement similare dans le nord du Mali mais cela n'a pas pu etre confirmé en raison de l'insécurié. Bien que les opérations de lutte effectuées au Niger et au Tchad aient réduit les effectifs acridiens, il subsiste un risque élevé que davantage de groupes d'ilés et de petits essaims se forment en novembre et se déplacent vers l'Afrique du nord-ouest et le nord-ouest de la Mauritanie. Une diminution de signalisations d'essaims au Tchad fin octobre semble indiquer que les migrations ont déjà commencé sur quelques sites. Une reproduction locale a entraîné une augmentation des effectifs acridiens dans l'ouest de la Mauritanie, où de petits groupes de larves et d'ailés ont été traités. Dans la Région centrale, des opérations de lutte ont été réalisées contre de bandes larvaires dans le centre du Soudan. La reproduction hivernale débutera probablement sur une échelle limitée le long des deux rives de la mer Rouge pendant la période de prévision.


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    This bulletin provides summary of 10 days (Dekadal) observed rainfall in Somalia

    During the third dekad of October, (21st – 30th October 2012), wet conditions persisted in some areas with moderate to heavy rains being received in the south and central parts of the country. There was general reduction of rainfall activities in the northern parts of the country. Figure (1) shows the rainfall observational network and monthly rainfall distribution for selected stations across the country. The table below is a brief summary of the rainfall situation by region for this dekad. This update will be issued every 10-days throughout the rainy season.

    Country: Somalia
    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/06/2012 11:46 GMT

    Par Serge DANIEL

    BAMAKO, 06 nov 2012 (AFP) - Des chefs d'état-major ouest-africains étaient réunis mardi à Bamako pour étudier le plan d'opération de la force composée de milliers de soldats de leurs armées qui devra reconquérir le nord du Mali occupé par des islamistes armés, élaboré par des experts internationaux.

    Cette réunion, qui doit détailler les plans de la reprise du Nord occupé depuis plus de sept mois par des islamistes liés à Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), a lieu au moment où des négociations se tiennent à Ouagadougou et Alger avec certains d'entre eux, afin qu'ils se distancent d'Aqmi.

    Les chefs d'état-major de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) doivent se prononcer sur le "concept stratégique" de la reconquête du nord du Mali, mis au point pendant une semaine à Bamako par des experts internationaux, africains et occidentaux.

    Une fois approuvé par eux, ce concept, qui doit préciser la composition de la force, le niveau de participation des pays de la Cédéao qui en constitueront le noyau, le financement et les moyens militaires dont elle devrait disposer, devra ensuite l'être par les dirigeants politiques africains.

    Il sera alors transmis, avant le 26 novembre, au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU qui, le 12 octobre, avait voté une résolution donnant à la Cédéao 45 jours pour préciser ses plans de reconquête du nord du Mali.

    "Il s'agit de s'entendre sur un concept d'opération pour aider rapidement le Mali à récupérer le Nord", a déclaré à l'ouverture de la réunion le général Soumaïla Bakayoko, chef d'état-major de l'armée malienne. "Je peux vous affirmer que nous sommes prêts à jouer notre rôle", a-t-il dit.

    "Le concept stratégique soumis aujourd'hui est la fois flexible, innovant et consensuel. Il est flexible, parce que notre champ de divergences s'est progressivement réduit pour aller vers un consensus", a-t-il ajouté.

    Le général guinéen Sékouba Konaté, chef de la Force africaine en attente (FAA), chargé par l'Union africaine (UA) de superviser la préparation de la force de la Cédéao au Mali, assiste à la réunion.

    Force de 4.000 hommes

    "Je voudrais saluer déjà le travail qui a abouti à l'élaboration du concept. Les crises auxquelles le Mali est confronté sont préjudiciables à la paix dans la sous-région", a-t-il déclaré.

    Des troupes non africaines pourraient participer à la reconquête du Nord si les chefs d'Etat africains donnent leur accord, avaient indiqué lundi des experts à l'issue de leur réunion.

    Jusqu'à présent, l'envoi de troupes non africaines a toujours été écarté par la France et les Etats-Unis, prêts à un appui logistique. Mais des responsables ouest-africains espèrent une intervention de leur aviation, qui pourrait s'avérer décisive pour chasser les groupes islamistes.

    Un responsable africain avait également indiqué que "le nombre de militaires" de la force de la Cédéao, "pourrait atteindre les 4.000 au lieu des 3.000 initialement prévus" et qu'ils seraient répartis "un peu partout" au Mali.

    Parallèlement à la préparation de la force armée à Bamako, la médiation burkinabè poursuit à Ouagadougou ses discussions avec Ansar Dine (Défenseurs de l'islam), l'un des groupes islamistes contrôlant le nord du Mali avec Aqmi et le Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao).

    Une délégation d'Ansar Dine doit rencontrer mardi après-midi le président Blaise Compaoré, médiateur au nom de la Cédéao, après plusieurs entretiens avec son ministre des Affaires étrangères, Djibrill Bassolé.

    M. Compaoré veut convaincre Ansar Dine - surtout composé de Touareg maliens comme son chef Iyad Ag Ghaly - de rompre avec ses alliés jihadistes d'Aqmi et du Mujao, d'opérer un éventuel rapprochement avec les rebelles touareg laïcs du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA).

    Le MNLA prône l'autodétermation du nord du Mali et y avait lancé l'offensive en janvier avec les groupes islamistes armés, avant d'en être évincé par eux.

    Les jihadistes y imposent depuis la charia (loi islamique) de manière très rigoriste (lapidations de couples non mariés, amputations de présumés voleurs) et y commettent de nombreuses exactions dont des viols et pillages, selon de nombreux témoignages.

    Une délégation d'Ansar Dine se trouve également à Alger: l'Algérie, puissance militaire régionale incontournable, privilégie le dialogue, sans exclure la force contre les groupes "terroristes" et sécessionnistes.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/06/2012 12:26 GMT -

    by Serge Daniel

    BAMAKO, Nov 06, 2012 (AFP) - West African army chiefs met Tuesday to study a proposal drafted by international experts on how their troops could expel Islamic extremists who have occupied northern Mali for months.

    The meeting comes seven months after radicals linked to the north African Al-Qaeda branch took over the vast arid north, triggering fears in the region and among Western powers that the zone could become a new haven for terrorists.

    Diplomatic efforts for a military solution have intensified, but negotiations are also under way to get the main Islamist group Ansar Dine to cut ties with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, with talks in Algiers and Ouagadougou.

    Military bosses from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) need to approve the details for an eventual military operation which were decided during a week-long meeting of international experts in Bamako.

    "It is about coming to a rapid agreement on an operational concept to help Mali quickly reconquer its north," said Mali's army chief General Soumaila Bakayoko.

    "I can confirm that we are ready to play our role."

    The plan will then be passed to regional heads of state for approval before being presented to the UN Security Council on November 26.

    The United Nations wants clarification on the makeup of a regional force, the level of participation from various west African states, and the financing and military means available.

    Guinea's former transition leader General Sekouba Konate, who was charged by the African Union with leading the standby force, also attended the meeting.

    "I want to pay tribute to the work which has led to the development of the plan. The crises which Mali is facing are detrimental to peace in the sub-region," Konate said.

    "Mali can count on its friends, its partners from the standby force, to respect its territorial integrity."

    Mali, once one of the region's most stable democracies, has rapidly imploded since a Tuareg rebellion for independence began in January and rapidly overwhelmed the state's poorly equipped army.

    Angry over the government's handling of the crisis, soldiers staged a coup in March, which only made it easier for the rebels to seize a string of desert towns such as Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.

    The secular separatists were quickly sidelined by Islamists fighting on their flanks who had little interest in their aspirations for an independent homeland and set about implementing strict sharia law.

    Ansar Dine ("Defenders of Faith" in Arabic) and AQIM splinter group the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have stoned people to death, whipped them, amputated limbs and forced women to cover up.

    However in talks in Ougadougou Ansar Dine delegates insist their group -- made up mainly of Malian Tuareg like its chief, Iyad Ag Ghaly -- has not committed "any act of terrorism" and favours a negotiated settlement to the crisis.

    Their team in Burkina Faso will on Tuesday meet the country's President Blaise Compaore, who is the lead ECOWAS mediator.

    The 16-nation west African bloc has demanded that Ansar Dine end "terror and organised crime" in the region, abandon its allies and engage in a dialogue to re-establish a unified Mali.

    This will involve further negotiations with Bamako -- where a fragile interim government has struggled to assert itself -- as well as the Tuareg rebel group the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).

    Another Ansar Dine delegation is in Algeria for talks.

    Algeria, with its superior military, counter-terrorism and intelligence capabilities, is seen as key to any military operation but has been hesitant to get involved, preferring a negotiated solution.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the north African heavyweight last week to lobby for support in ousting the extremists.

    It is expected that up to 4,000 African troops could be sent to Mali, regional experts have said, without ruling out the possibility of non-African troops taking part in the military operation.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger (the)

    OUAGADOUGOU/DAKAR, 6 November 2012 (IRIN) - Aid agencies have stepped up security measures in Burkina Faso and Niger as the threat of kidnappings by Islamist groups mounts.

    Security specialists fear Islamist groups currently in control of northern Mali will increasingly abduct foreign nationals to raise money to prepare for conflict, given the likelihood of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) military intervention predicted to take place early next year. Some say hostages could also be used as human shields.

    As a result, UN agencies are using armed escorts for travel into rural areas of Niger and much of Burkina Faso, international staff have been withdrawn from many areas, and NGOs travel to at-risk zones only in convoy.

    Five Nigerien aid workers were freed on 4 November, while a sixth aid worker - a Chadian national - died after having been shot by hostage-takers in southeastern Niger on 14 October. The freed hostages said they were mistakenly kidnapped by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) which had been "looking for a white person".

    Western workers are the principal target, though regional African staff may also be pursued once ECOWAS member states firmly commit to contributing troops or support to the military intervention mission, say security specialists in Niger and Burkina Faso.

    Areas deemed most at-risk include northern Burkina Faso near the Mali border - where most of the 35,000 Malian refugees are currently sheltering - and rural areas outside major towns throughout Niger.

    Simmering popular discontent over the lack of development in Burkina Faso, high youth unemployment and the regime's failure to raise living standards also provides fertile ground for Islamist groups to boost their influence, say analysts.

    Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaoré is playing a prominent mediation role in the Mali crisis while also supporting the call for international intervention; while Niger has been at the forefront of states neighbouring Mali to call for military intervention in the north.

    Porous borders mean "there is a lot of movement of Islamist groups" across Burkina Faso and Niger, including suspected Boko Haram members in southern Niger on the border with Nigeria, according to Germain Mwehu, spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Niger and Mali.

    While urging vigilance, the security threat should not be exaggerated, said one aid worker. "We tend to scare ourselves." Thus far the situation in northern Mali has had just an "indirect" impact on security in Niger and Burkina Faso, according to security specialists, including head of the UN Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS) in Niger, Jean-Gabrielle Baba. But this could change as military intervention approaches.

    Nationalization and armed escorts

    Following the mid-October abduction, all non-essential expatriate staff in Niger were shifted to urban hubs such as Zinder, Maradi and Niamey; while national and regional staff continue to run operations. International staff have been similarly restricted in northern Burkina Faso.

    But aid agencies' policy to "Africanize" positions in at-risk areas should perhaps be reconsidered with the aim of using nationals-only, said a security specialist with an international NGO who asked to remain unnamed, given the possibility that ECOWAS nationals could be targeted.

    "It would not be good to be Ivoirian or Senegalese or Burkinabe in Niger close to areas with northern Mali at the moment," he commented.

    In Burkina Faso, UN staff are using armed escorts for travel beyond Djibo (in Soum) and Dori (in Seno) in the Sahel region, and in Niger for most travel outside of major towns, according to Franck Kwonu, spokesperson with the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niger.

    While UN agencies are using armed escorts, most NGOs choose not to, fearing it militarizes aid. One aid worker, who preferred anonymity, told IRIN: "In places like northern Mali, working with armed escorts would prevent us working on other things. If we don't stand on our core values [of impartiality and neutrality], then we're lying, and that is the message we bring."

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is reportedly setting up a secure zone for UN agencies, protected by gendarmes or military, in Douri, in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso. It also plans to relocate refugee camps such as Ferrerio which are less than 50km from the Mali border, in line with international standards.

    Some 1,500 refugees already left Ferrerio of their own accord to shelter in Goutebo camp further inland, as they felt it to be more secure, according to NGO Terre Des Hommes (TDH), which helps set up schools in refugee camps.

    Programmes affected

    While security restrictions have not significantly slowed down operations in Niger, said OCHA's Kwonu, and ICRC spokesperson for Niger and Burkina Faso, Germain Mwehu, there has been an impact, at least in Burkina Faso.

    Travel reductions mean Oxfam staff can spend less time consulting with refugees, said humanitarian manager Sosthene Konaté. Arianna Brindelli, programme officer with TDH, says the organization has scaled back its education operations in camps.

    Transferring full responsibility for running programmes to national staff takes time and can slow down operations, aid workers told IRIN.

    A 2011 OCHA report, To Stay and Deliver, outlined some of the creative ways aid agencies were finding to continue programming in highly insecure environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than defining strict aid cut-off thresholds.

    Representatives from ECOWAS, the African Union, the European Union, the UN and Algeria are today closing up a five-day meeting in Bamako where they have been discussing next steps for intervention in northern Mali. At the same time, President Compaoré, representing ECOWAS, is meeting with Islamist group Ansar Dine to try to persuade them to break away from MUJAO; while the Algerian government is meeting other representatives from Ansar Dine in Algiers.

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    Source: World Food Programme, Government of Senegal
    Country: Senegal

    FAITS SAILLANTS ET PERSPECTIVES

    · Le mois de septembre boucle la campagne de commercialisation des produits agricoles 2011/2012. Les offres restent faibles malgré l’arrivée des produits de la nouvelle récolte sur le marché. Bien que les producteurs et les commerçants aient déstocké leurs réserves, celles-ci n’ont pas été suffisantes ni pour approvisionner les marchés ni pour invertir significativement la tendance haussière des prix.

    · Les prix des céréales et légumineuses locales restent supérieurs de 13 à 20 % à ceux de septembre 2011, et de 16 à 30 % par rapport aux moyennes des cinq dernières années.

    · Par rapport à août, les termes de l’échange se sont améliorés pour les %) grâce à l’approche de la Tabaski, mais aussi pour les dockers de Dakar grâce à l’important volume d’activités du port (+16 %).

    · Un repli de la production de viandes bovines (-3,1 %) et ovines (-13,9 %) en 2012 est prévu suite à la mauvaise campagne agricole 2011/2012 et donc à la moindre disponibilité en fourrage et à la cherté de l’aliment de bétail. Cette tendance serait, cependant, atténuée par la bonne production de volaille (+6,3 %) qui continue de profiter de l’interdiction des importations, mais également de la production de lait (9,5 %) et d’oeufs (+3,8 %).


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    Source: Government of Malawi
    Country: Malawi

    October , 2012 Food Security highlights…

    • The number of vulnerable population is projected to increase from 1,630,007 to 1,972,993 people, representing a 21% increase (about 342,986 people). The new total maize equivalent now stands at 84,811 MT (up from 75,394).

    • Prices are higher in the southern parts of Malawi and on average they range from MK65 to MK85 per kg followed by the central region ranging from MK60 to MK80 per kg. The northern region has the lowest average price range of MK50 to 60 per kg.

    • The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security estimates 3.6 million metric tonnes of maize production during the 2011/12 agricultural season compared to 3.89 million metric tonnes produced last year. This projection represents an overall national maize surplus of about 800,000 metric tonnes.

    • The country experienced poor rainfall pattern during the 2011/12 agricultural season resulting lower production in both rain-fed and irrigated crop.


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