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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: NATO Civil-Military Fusion Centre
    Country: Sudan (the), Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, South Sudan (Republic of), Tunisia

    This document provides an overview of developments in the Mediterranean Basin and other regions of interest from 23 October—05 November, with hyperlinks to source material highlighted and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to the region, please contact the members of the Med Basin Team, or visit our website at

    Inside this issue

    • The Tunnel Economy in Gaza After the Attack in Sinai (pg 1)
    • North Africa (pg 2-3)
    • Northeast Africa (pg 4-5)
    • Horn of Africa (pg 6-7)

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/10/2012 16:54 GMT

    PARIS, 10 nov 2012 (AFP) - La rébellion touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA) veut être associée à une éventuelle intervention militaire dans le Nord du Mali pour en chasser les groupes islamistes sinon cette opération sera un échec, ont prévenu samedi deux de ses responsables.

    "Toute intervention militaire sous régionale ou internationale qui ne s'appuierait pas sur le MNLA est vouée à l'échec, quels que soient par ailleurs les moyens déployés", estiment Hamma Ag Mahmoud et Moussa Ag Assarid, en charge des relations extérieures et de la communication du MNLA dans une lettre ouverte aux responsables des Nations unies, de l'Union européenne, de l'Union africaine et de la Communauté économique des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao).

    "Le MNLA maîtrise parfaitement bien les réalités sociologiques et les règles de la guerre en zone désertique, tout en jouissant d'une bonne connaissance du terrain et du soutien des populations", soulignent-ils, assurant que le mouvement est toujours présent dans le nord du Mali.

    Evoquant l'intervention armée en préparation, ils ajoutent: "Ce n'est pas tant que nous cherchions à y être associés, mais c'est tout simplement la voie du réalisme et de l'efficacité".

    "Le scénario idéal reste, cependant, celui qui consiste à parvenir à la stabilisation du pouvoir à Bamako afin de créer les conditions minimales d'une négociation entre le Mali et le MNLA et, in fine, d'aboutir à un accord de paix sur la base duquel sera défini rapidement le schéma de l'éradication de la menace narco-terroriste", écrivent-ils encore.

    Le MNLA, qui avait lancé une offensive armée dans le Nord du Mali en janvier, s'était ensuite allié aux différents groupes islamistes armés pour prendre les principales villes du Nord, avant d'en être évincé par Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) et ses alliés.

    Les préparatifs en vue d'une intervention militaire dans le nord du Mali s'accélèrent, les chefs d'Etat ouest-africains devant se réunir dimanche à Abuja pour en approuver les modalités, qui seront transmises la semaine prochaine à l'ONU pour un feu vert définitif.

    Le MNLA attire aussi l'attention de la communauté internationale sur la situation inquiétante dans les camps de réfugiés "où de nombreuses personnes, dont des milliers de femmes et d'enfants, errent sans espoir".

    Les deux responsables, qui signent leur texte au nom du "Conseil transitoire de l'Etat de l'Azawad", ont par ailleurs indiqué qu'ils tiendraient une conférence de presse à Paris mercredi.

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    Source: Counterpart International
    Country: Cameroon

    By Jennifer Brookland

    For kids in the impoverished and largely inaccessible region of Bui in North West Cameroon, hunger pains used to easily drown out the voices of schoolteachers. With no food available at school, students would spend breaks between classes foraging in neighboring farms or in the bush for wild fruits like guava or oranges. Most never returned to school after the long search, especially if they remained empty handed, and empty bellied.

    Hungry and tired, students who could not find food often returned home to wait for their mothers to come back from the fields to cook dinner. Exhausted from the daily struggle, malnourished and unable to concentrate, some of these students never returned to school at all. Those who did often performed poorly in class, and on tests.

    For the first time in their history, two schools in Bui were honored in 2010 with an Award of Academic Excellence, after 100 percent of their students passed the national examinations. The schools were project sites for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded Food for Education Program (FFE), implemented bythe nonprofit Counterpart International.

    The schools’ head teachers and parent-teacher association president credited the schools’ star performance to the FFE program in remarks they made after the awards were announced.

    Counterpart began implementing the program in 50 villages in 2009, working with parent-teacher associations, farmers and local leaders, as well as the Ministry of Education to ensure communities were involved in the program and in their children’s health and education.

    The goal extended beyond providing food to increasing school enrollment, attendance and nutritional status of children— particularly girls.

    During the four-year program, Counterpart expanded the program to 92 villages, providing nearly 34,000 children and families with more than 8.7 million meals and take-home rations.

    It also developed a health and nutrition curriculum to teach pupils how to stay healthy, and worked with parent-teacher associations to build latrines, kitchens and storage areas.

    The results were self-evident: Average attendance rates in project schools increased from 93.5 percent at the start of the project to 99.6 percent in the 2011-12 school year.

    Kids who had stopped going to school came back in order to get the hot lunches, and some schools in the program saw enrollment jump more than 20 percent.

    Up from the original two honorees, 85 percent of project schools had 100 percent pass rates on the national primary school exams for the 2011-2012 academic year—a remarkable achievement when less than 15 percent of schools in Cameroon send all of their students onward to secondary school.

    To ensure these innovative and integrated initiatives to keep kids healthy and in school would continue after the program finished, Counterpart worked with school communities to plant gardens and small farms so that schools would have supplemental food as well as income.

    Teachers, students and parents received seeds and farm tools, and information on appropriate planting densities, use of organic manure, field and pest management and post-harvest storage.

    "Our potato yields in the past hardly exceeded ten tons per hectare, but this year we recorded an amazing 20 tons per hectare," said Mr. Ndze Wilfred, head teacher of Meluf Catholic School. "We are very grateful to the Food for Education project for training us on modern cropping techniques, supporting us with improved seeds, farm tools and other inputs."

    Counterpart involved 4,260 community members by teaching them about food preparation and storage, post-harvest management and developing school action plans.

    Today, vegetables, beans, cocoyam, potatoes, maize and soybean are grown in each of the 92 project schools in Bui. Some schools are able to provide several meals per week to students from food harvested exclusively in the gardens, or bought with proceeds from their homegrown produce.

    "We started our school feeding with produce from our gardens before we received commodities from USDA,” said Saka Angelina Yah, a member of one of the parent-teacher associations. “Now, we are quite certain that we will be able to continue providing food for the children in the schools even after the project ends, thanks to this school garden."

    And engaging the whole community in learning allowed nearby farmers to increase the productivity and revenue of their own farms and gardens.

    The participatory approach and clear successes led some traditional leaders to donate land for school gardens, and several government councils have committed budgetary allocations for school feeding programs. Many other schools in the region indicated their interest in bringing Counterpart’s health and nutrition curriculum into their own programs.

    Counterpart has encouraged the Government of Cameroon to prioritize school feeding in the basic education sector, and it seems inclined to do so.

    “Your experience shall be replicated in other regions of the country,” said Alica Montheu, director of school canteens at the Ministry of Basic Education, after a project visit. “Other countries should visit your program because it is a satisfying inspiration for schools. We shall return to Yaoundé quite satisfied.”

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    Source: Action Against Hunger
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    By Elisabeth Anderson Rapport
    Communications Officer

    Huyen Tran, Action Against Hunger’s Country Program Coordinator in Kenya, participated this week in a groundbreaking nutrition symposium. In a Q&A with me, she reveals how the results of the gathering will impact the country’s humanitarian interventions for years to come.

    Elisabeth Rapport (ER): The first-ever Kenya Nutrition Symposium was held this week. Describe the significance of this event for the humanitarian community in Kenya, and for Action Against Hunger specifically.

    Huyen Tran (HT): This event has huge implications for the humanitarian community in Kenya, and especially for Action Against Hunger who has always been on the frontline of the fight against malnutrition. The symposium marked the launch of the international Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement and the Kenya Nutrition Action Plan for 2012-2017. From a “silent emergency, silent problem,” malnutrition has been now officially recognized by all stakeholders as the key obstacle to a healthy nation and its development. The government has committed to spend 6 billion Kenyan shillings [more than $70 million USD] in the next five years to scale up nutrition in the country. Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo said that reducing malnutrition in Kenya is not just a health priority but also a political choice that calls for multiple partners and political goodwill, adding that communities will be empowered to claim their right to good nutrition and guided to play their role towards realizing this right.

    To the humanitarian community, this doesn’t only mean more resources will be available to fight malnutrition, but it also means many parties will need to work together, and many angles and approaches will need to be utilized, in that fight. This will change the way humanitarian and development partners plan and work.

    It’s great to note that we at Action Against Hunger are very well-positioned and well-placed in this movement, with our integrated approach of addressing malnutrition as well as its underlying causes, and our principle of working with communities. As such, we can take full advantage of the enormous opportunity offered by the country’s recognition of nutrition’s importance to enhance its role as one of the key nutrition players in Kenya.

    ER: Why was this a key time to host the symposium?

    HT: Kenya has high stunting rates of 35%, high malnutrition rates (Global Acute Malnutrition [GAM] rates up to 37%) in its arid lands and is currently experiencing a rise in diet-related non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney and liver complications that are attributed to the consumption of foods low in fiber and high in fats and sugars. On the other hand, Kenya has made significant important steps in the long road against malnutrition, including the adoption of high impact nutrition interventions across the country, a Food and Nutrition Policy endorsed last month, mandatory food fortification as of this month and more. The government is committed to ensuring the country will be a middle income earner as captured in its Vision 2030 plan. With nutrition rapidly gaining recognition as a key area of national focus, it is clear to the government that this vision cannot be achieved with an unhealthy population.

    Moreover, considering the coming decentralization of power to the county level in early 2013, the commitment to nutrition cannot be timelier, so it can be rolled out in the new government system and ensure action is taken at the grassroots level.

    ER: What key elements of Action Against Hunger programming did you have the chance to highlight at this high-level event?

    HT: We participated with a booth featuring our Mother Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) programming, with display of our collaboration in Dadaab’s refugee camp with Kenya Red Cross. In Dadaab, the world’s biggest refugees camp, Action Against Hunger has been supporting all health and nutrition partners to strengthen MIYCN. This intervention will be scaled up this year for Action Against Hunger to take the key role at national level for MIYCN. Naturally we would have liked to showcase more activities but the space was very limited and we can feel lucky enough to be one of the five or so NGOs (amongst around 40 present in Kenya) picked by the Organizing Committee to have a place in the exhibition. It’s surely thanks to our active participation in the nutrition sector’s coordination in general and in the Organizing Committee in particular.

    ER: What main takeaways and conclusions do you draw from the event? What impact does it have on the way Action Against Hunger’s Kenya mission approaches its work?

    HT: Let me quote again Minister Beth Mugo. In the keynote to the symposium, she said “The scope of interventions has to shift from targeting emergencies to focusing on addressing poor nutrition practices.” Throughout the symposium, the two key messages were to focus on prevention and to work across sectors to address all underlying causes of malnutrition.

    Now you will see better my point that Action Against Hunger is well-placed in this national movement. Adding to the MIYCN intervention at Dadaab and national level featured in the symposium, which is focused squarely on nutrition practices, this year we also started a project on building national capacity and systems on integrated nutrition survey and surveillance. This is about information, early warning, and taking early actions for prevention. This is to say that we are mainly on the right track. We would evidently need to strengthen our integrated approach and integration of different departments for our Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) efforts to contribute further to nutrition outcomes.

    ER: What are you, as a mission, inspired to go do – what action are you compelled to take – as a result of the symposium?

    HT: The key words that we took home from the symposium are prevention, multi-sector, coordination, and community. Therefore, at the national level, we will continue our strong presence in coordination. A lot more will be happening there after the symposium, and we have a lot to contribute in terms of advocacy, and development of guidelines and policies. We need to focus on our new national role regarding MIYCN and integrated survey and surveillance, which requires us to link up with global initiatives and be on top of information and new technologies and methods. Secondly, at the district level, where we have most of our interventions, a lot more effort will have to go into enhancing integration among Nutrition, WASH and FSL to have stronger integrated programs and better nutrition outcomes. Lastly at the community level, we will need to work more rigorously for community inputs at all stages of project design and implementation. A systematic community feedback system is being built for all our field bases to this effect.

    The coming 2013 elections in Kenya will create many challenges to our agenda, with unavoidable emergencies, but as long as we have clear long-term strategies and a road map, Action Against Hunger Kenya is convinced that we will stay always at the frontline of the fight against malnutrition.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/11/2012 17:00 GMT

    ABUJA, 11 nov 2012 (AFP) - Des dirigeants africains réunis dimanche à Abuja pour valider un plan de reconquête militaire du nord du Mali occupé par les islamistes armés ont souligné l'urgence d'une intervention, sans pour autant renoncer à chercher une "solution politique négociée".

    Le président nigérian Goodluck Jonathan a résolument plaidé, à l'ouverture du sommet extraordinaire, pour l'option militaire. "Cette intervention s'appuiera sur une résolution de l'ONU (...) pour chasser les rebelles et les anarchistes qui ont transformé de vastes parties du nord du pays en une zone de non-droit. Nous devons le faire pour éviter des conséquences dommageables, non seulement pour le Mali mais pour l'ensemble de l'Afrique de l'Ouest et l'Afrique tout entière", a-t-il déclaré.

    Des dirigeants des quinze pays de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) et d'autres pays africains - dont la Mauritanie et l'Algérie - étaient réunis, en urgence et à huis clos, pour entériner ce projet d'intervention, qui doit être transmis, avant la fin novembre, au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU, via l'Union africaine.

    Le plan prévoit le déploiement d'une force de 5.500 soldats qui proviendraient en majeure partie de pays membres de la Cédéao mais également d'autres pays africains, selon une source au sein de l'organisation.

    "mieux identifier les cibles"

    Le président ivoirien Alassane Ouattara, président en exercice de la Cédéao, a invité à "accélérer la résolution de la crise au Mali et au Sahel". "La marche vers une solution politique négociée nous permettra de conduire une intervention militaire apaisée et de mieux identifier les cibles et les terroristes à combattre", a ajouté M. Ouattara.

    Le sommet, qui s'était interrompu peu après 15H00 GMT pour une heure de pause déjeuner, se poursuivait par l'examen et l'adoption du communiqué final, avant la cérémonie de clôture et une conférence de presse.

    L'Algérie, acteur régional clé et traditionnellement hostile à toute intervention, est représentée à cette réunion par Abdelkader Messahel, ministre délégué chargé des Affaires maghrébines et africaines.

    La Mauritanie, autre voisin du Mali qui a pour le moment refusé de participer à une intervention, a envoyé son ministre des Affaires étrangères, Hamady Ould Hamady, tout comme le Maroc, représenté par Youssef El Amrani.

    La Libye est aussi représentée, selon un porte-parole de la Cédéao.

    "Il faut maintenir la pression au maximum avec une montée en puissance du plan d'intervention militaire. Tout le monde souhaite que l'intervention ne vise que les terroristes ( ...) notre option préférée reste le dialogue", a déclaré à l'AFP, avant le sommet, le représentant spécial de l'ONU pour l'Afrique de l'Ouest, Saïd Djinit.

    De leur côté, les Européens soutiennent les initiatives régionales africaines, mais ont jusqu'à présent affirmé qu'ils n'enverraient pas de troupes destinées à combattre sur le sol malien, que l'option militaire ne devait être envisagée qu'en "dernier ressort", mais qu'ils étaient prêts à un soutien logistique et d'encadrement.

    Le président français François Hollande a réaffirmé dimanche que la France n'interviendrait pas directement au Mali mais aurait "le devoir" d'être aux côtés des Africains s'ils décidaient d'une opération militaire.

    Les ministres de la Défense et des Affaires étrangères de cinq pays européens -- France, Allemagne, Italie, Pologne et Espagne -- doivent se réunir jeudi à Paris pour discuter de la mise sur pied d'une mission européenne d'entraînement qui compterait au moins 200 soldats.

    Les groupes armés alliés à Al-Qaïda ont profité du coup d'Etat militaire qui a renversé en mars le régime d'Amadou Toumani Touré pour prendre progressivement le contrôle de tout le nord du Mali. Ils en ont évincé leurs anciens alliés de la rébellion touareg qui avaient lancé l'offensive en janvier.

    Les islamistes y imposent désormais l'application de la charia (loi islamique) avec rigueur - lapidations de couples non mariés, amputations de présumés voleurs, coups de fouets au buveurs d'alcool et aux fumeurs - et y commettent de nombreuses exactions.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/11/2012 19:33 GMT

    by Cecile de Comarmond and Ola Awoniyi

    ABUJA, Nov 11, 2012 (AFP) - West African leaders at an emergency summit on Sunday agreed on a 3,300-strong force to wrest control of northern Mali from Islamist extremists as fears grow over risks they pose to the region and beyond.

    The summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja was aimed at setting out a blueprint for military force in Mali's north that would be transferred to the UN Security Council via the African Union.

    Leaders from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States stressed that dialogue remained the preferred route to resolve the crisis in Mali's north, but said force might be necessary given the extremist threat there.

    African nations and the international community have expressed growing concern over a continued occupation of Mali's north since it could provide a safe haven to Al Qaeda-linked extremist groups and criminal gangs.

    "We foresee 3,300 soldiers for a timeframe of one year," Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, the current ECOWAS chairman, told journalists after the summit.

    The troops would come primarily from ECOWAS, but possibly from countries outside the bloc as well, he said.

    Discussions also covered the possibility of training of 5,000 Malian troops, according to Ouattara.

    Ouattara said he hoped UN Security Council approval could come in late November or early December, allowing the force to be put in place days afterward.

    "We have countries that are offering battalions, others companies," he said.

    ECOWAS countries he named were Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Togo.

    From outside of ECOWAS, "Chad could also participate. We have had contacts with other countries -- Mauritania, South Africa."

    The summit's final communique stressed that dialogue remained "the preferred option in the resolution of the political crisis in Mali."

    "However, regarding the security situation, recourse to force may be indispensable in order to dismantle terrorist and transnational criminal networks that pose a threat to international peace and security," it said.

    An ECOWAS source had said earlier that regional military chiefs were proposing a total of 5,500 troops, with some 3,200 from the West African bloc and the rest from elsewhere.

    It was not clear whether heads of state had rejected the proposal or if the bloc would continue efforts to reach that level.

    Algeria, seen as important to any military operation, has been hesitant to get involved, preferring a negotiated solution.

    While not a member of ECOWAS, Algeria is viewed as key due to its superior military capabilities, intelligence services and experience battling Islamist extremism, along with the long border it shares with Mali.

    Representatives from countries outside ECOWAS were invited to Sunday's summit, including from Mauritania and Algeria, as well as South Africa and Morocco, which currently hold seats on the UN Security Council. Chad was also represented.

    The ECOWAS military strategy was drawn up with the help of experts from the European Union, the African Union, United Nations and the region, which is also seeking logistical support from elsewhere.

    Foreign and defence ministers from five European countries -- France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain -- are expected to meet next Thursday to discuss a European mission to train Malian troops.

    Mali rapidly imploded after a coup in Bamako in March allowed Tuareg desert nomads, who had relaunched a decades-old rebellion for independence, to seize the main towns in the north with the help of Islamist allies.

    The secular separatists were quickly sidelined by the Islamists, who had little interest in their aspirations for an independent homeland and set about implementing their version of strict sharia law, meting out punishments including stonings and destroying World Heritage shrines.

    Sunday's summit also saw the leaders review the situation in chronically unstable Guinea-Bissau, where a 638-strong west African force has deployed.

    It replaced a contingent of Angolan troops whose presence in the country was strongly opposed by the military, prompting an army junta to overthrow the government of Carlos Gomes Junior on April 12.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Save the Children
    Country: Ethiopia

    What makes me most proud”, says Marifa, “is knowing that I am saving lives.”

    Two years ago, a policy introduced by the Ethiopian government enabled Marifa and her fellow Health Extension Workers (HEWs), Rosa and Tamar, to provide treatment for common childhood illnesses and malnutrition for the first time

    Before this, the women already played an important role in preventing illnesses and promoting healthy behaviours.

    But they found it frustrating when a sick child was brought to their health post in Bededo, a village outside Dessie (a rapidly growing town in the Amhara district of Ethiopia), and they couldn’t treat them.

    By the time the child was taken to the health facility and seen by a professional health worker, it might be too late.

    Now children can be diagnosed quickly and treated closer to home – and lives are being saved as a result.

    Bringing healthcare to the community

    Like in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the main causes of illness and death among children under five in Ethiopia are pneumonia and diarrhoea.

    The greatest disease burden falls on the poorest children in remote and rural areas. By contrast most doctors, nurses and midwives prefer to work in urban areas where living standards and career opportunities are better.

    Ethiopia’s Health Extension Programme, launched in 2003, sought to address this problem by training 34,000 frontline community health workers such as Marifa to deliver preventive and basic curative high-impact interventions to those in greatest need in the places where they live.

    It’s a model that has enabled Ethiopia to make considerable progress in reducing child deaths and the lessons learned are helping to shape policies in other countries too.

    Save the Children is supporting these efforts by training Health Extension Workers on integrated community case management (ICCM) of neonatal and childhood illness in 25 districts in the Amhara region.

    To date, more than 17,500 children with common childhood illness and malnutrition have been treated.

    Transferring knowledge and skills

    Marifa, Rosa and Tamar spend most of their time doing home visits – travelling up to 15km per day to reach the most remote families – to provide health education and identify pregnant women and children who would benefit from health services.

    They also provide practical advice on how to make home improvements that will have a positive impact on the health of the family.

    To reduce their growing workload, HEWs train volunteers (usually mothers) on healthy behaviours, how to spot children with common illnesses, and how to seek appropriate health services.

    Each volunteer then shares this knowledge with five more families, creating what the government calls a ‘health development army’.

    Rosa says that this has resulted in increased demand for services such as immunisation and family planning.

    They’ve also noticed that more women are choosing to deliver in facilities and are having fewer children.

    Both of these measures mean that maternal mortality rates are reducing.

    Unwavering commitment

    Marifa and her colleagues are proud that their ICCM training is saving lives and feel that there’s even more they can do to serve their local community.

    “I became a Health Extension Worker,” she says, “to be nearer to children and mothers who wouldn’t access health services otherwise. I would like to receive further training and upgrade my skills so that I can help more people.”

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    Source: Save the Children
    Country: Niger (the), Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania

    “You’re going to Niger – hoping you can be there in a few days.”

    My year started with my manager’s announcement that I’d be flying out to Niger – a little-known country in west Africa, where the early warning systems were signalling an impending food crisis.

    Ten months later and we’ve achieved incredible results against a backdrop of scarce funds and ever-increasing needs.

    I arrived in Niger in January to boiling temperatures and dusty Harmattan winds. I didn’t know what to expect but I could instantly see how hard it would be to survive and thrive in such an unforgiving, arid landscape.

    Save the Children teams were already carrying out rapid assessments in the hardest-hit areas and preparing our response plan for the coming months – we knew the earlier we responded the more lives we could save and the cheaper it would be in the long run.

    With the first generous donations from the general public, we started to deliver cash grants to the poorest families – supporting them to buy the essential food and items to stave off the worst of the crisis.

    A spreading crisis

    After the initial first few months, it was increasingly clear that the food crisis was not going to be contained to Niger but spread across the entire Sahel region.

    Save the Children has been on the ground in the region for over 25 years and we knew we could use this foundation to respond in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

    My next mission was clear – I was moving to Mali, where over 4.6 million people were affected.

    A short flight later and a thorough briefing over the phone from our security experts, I arrived in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. I quickly learnt that our teams were in the midst of delivering seeds to 160,000 people, which would allow families to grow their own crops and feed their children.

    It was clear that our work not only treating the symptoms of hunger, but was also preventing future crises. Reports came in that the first rains were falling as the farmers were planting their seeds – we were just in time.

    Working non-stop

    As we continued to deliver life-saving assistance to the worst-affected, I found it inspiring to think that this was being mirrored across the region.

    Over the border in Burkina Faso we were training over 4,600 people on the best agricultural practices – not only to ensure they got the most out of this year’s harvest but also to build families’ ability to stave off future food crises.

    In Mauritania, we were delivering education supplies to thousands of children – helping them to carry on going to school amid poverty and hunger.

    As the food crisis started to reach its peak, our teams in Niger had already treated thousands of malnourished children at the same time as delivering cash grants to over 170,000 people and distributing over 600 tonnes of seeds to over 200 villages – building livelihoods and resilience.

    For all our teams on the ground in the hardest hit areas, it was non-stop. Now, after ten months of dedication and long hours, Save the Children has reached over 1.2 million people across the region.

    The generous support we received from the general public saved the lives of the most vulnerable children and built families’ ability to support themselves – preventing future crises. Thank you.

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    Source: Government of Eritrea
    Country: Eritrea

    Assab, 10 November 2012 – Potable water supply facility has been put in place in Debaisima Administrative area, Southern Denkalia sub-zone.

    Mr. Kibrom Nir’ayo, head of administration and finance in the Southern Red Sea regional Administration, said that the availability of such facility attests to the government’s commitment to promote rural development, and called on the inhabitants to practice prudent utilization of the facility. Mr. Zerai Berhe, Administrator of Southern Denkalia sub-zone, equally called on the inhabitants to adhere to sanitary approaches of water handling.

    Among the inhabitants, Mr. Abdalla Ahmed, Ms. Kuhla Ibrahim, Mr. Ali Ahmed and Ms. Momina Budi voiced satisfaction with the facility, and said that they would utilize it judiciously.

    Debaisima village is located some 57 Km. south of the port city of Assab.

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Chad, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger (the), Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the)

    ADDIS ABABA – A groundbreaking meeting in the Ethiopian capital this week has strengthened efforts to scale up nutrition initiatives under the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Undernutrition initiative, known as REACH.

    It has been the largest-scale gathering of the REACH partnership since the initiative was established in 2008. It brought together technical experts and officials from four UN agencies in all 12 countries where the REACH approach is being followed, as well as from the host country, Ethiopia.

    The REACH partnership is about joint, coordinated UN support of national governments to expand and link several interventions into one global approach in the fight against malnutrition. The Addis Ababa meeting provided an unprecedented opportunity for partners who are battling undernutrition to learn from each other and build on the work they are doing in different parts of the globe.

    “This is the first time we’ve gotten together on this scale to learn the lessons from 13 countries in Africa and Asia about how to scale up nutrition in practice,” said Nancy Walters, the REACH Global Coordinator. “Addressing undernutrition is a first and basic precondition for development and growth to take root. UN agencies, governments, NGOs and the private sector are joining efforts to reduce mother and child undernutrition.”

    The meeting heard how Ethiopia has successfully cut stunting rates from 57 percent to 44 percent in 10 years. Delegates from the UN in Sierra Leone outlined how they built a national multi-sector nutrition strategy. UN delegates from Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda explained how public awareness helped improve nutrition, and how district-level actions helped to translate policies into action on the ground. Participants also shared case studies from other countries, such as Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Ghana, Rwanda, Niger, Chad and Bangladesh.

    The meeting included representatives from WHO, FAO, UNICEF and WFP as well as technical experts in nutrition, health, agriculture and food security – all of which are critical to tackling nutrition problems in the critical first thousand days of a child’s life.

    Undernourished children suffer irreversible damage to their physical and cognitive development, which affects their health and ability to learn and ultimately the growth of a nation.

    REACH was initially established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) as a way to support achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and the initiative now includes many other UN agencies and partners on the ground.

    For more information please contact (email address:
    Nancy Walters, REACH Coordinator, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 340 9665345
    Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2321, Mob. +39 346 7600 521

    The week-long workshop was organized by REACH and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which is the largest donor to REACH and which has made significant investments to scale up nutrition actions in low-income countries. REACH is funded by CIDA in eight countries and has received funding from USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Union in the other four.

    At the Addis meeting, REACH has launched a newly designed website to highlight the initiative’s country-level work. The site,, contains a dynamic set of resources and information on the REACH approach to tackle undernutrition.

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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Niger (the), Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Mali
    • La Banque mondiale sollicite la contribution des citoyens du Niger pour identifier les grandes lignes de sa nouvelle stratégie de partenariat avec leur pays.
    • Le Niger connaît des difficultés sur plusieurs fronts : l’éducation, l’emploi des jeunes, l’agriculture et la sécurité.
    • La stratégie de partenariat viendra étayer le plan de développement national (PDES) pour la période 2012-2015.

    NIAMEY, 7 novembre 2012 — Des représentants du gouvernement, de la presse, du secteur privé et de la société civile du Niger se sont réunis récemment pour une série de discussions autour de la proposition de stratégie de développement élaborée par la Banque mondiale pour ce pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest.

    Organisées dans quatre régions – Dosso, Tillabery, Tahoua et Maradi – ces consultations ont porté sur la stratégie de partenariat de la Banque mondiale avec le Niger, véritable feuille de route pour son engagement auprès du pays dans les quatre prochaines années. Pour les organisateurs, il s’agissait de solliciter l’opinion des citoyens sur les meilleures solutions d’appui au programme de développement national, afin d’enclencher une croissance plus soutenue, plus pérenne et plus solidaire, conformément au Plan de développement économique et sociale 2012-2015 (PDES) élaboré par le gouvernement.

    Une fois approuvée, la stratégie de partenariat avec le Niger couvrira la période 2012-2015.

    Solliciter l’opinion des parties prenantes

    Le responsable pays pour la Banque mondiale, Nestor Coffi, a présidé les débats, partageant les enseignements de la précédente stratégie de partenariat qui couvrait la période 2008-2011.

    M. Coffi a souligné la réussite des projets mis en œuvre par la Banque mondiale, en dépit de l’instabilité politique et de la crise sécuritaire dans la région. Il a aussi rappelé l’augmentation des moyens mobilisés (540 millions de dollars au lieu des 365 millions initialement alloués) ainsi que la nécessité d’opter pour une approche plus équilibrée des interventions à court et long termes.

    M. Coffi a posé une série de questions aux personnes présentes, afin d’obtenir leur avis :

    • quelles sont les priorités propres à votre région en matière de développement ?
    • dans quels domaines aimeriez-vous que la Banque mondiale renforce sa présence ?
    • quels sont les principaux freins aux initiatives de développement dans votre région ?

    Des domaines prioritaires vitaux pour le Niger

    Lors des quatre consultations, les participants ont identifié et discuté des domaines dans lesquels, selon eux, la Banque mondiale devrait intervenir davantage. Parmi les secteurs qu’ils jugent prioritaires, l’éducation, les communications, l’agriculture et la sécurité.

    Les jeunes et l’éducation

    Avec une croissance démographique parmi les plus rapides du monde (3,3 % par an) et une population très jeune (47 % des habitants ont moins de 15 ans), le Niger se heurte à la question du développement d’un système d’éducation de qualité – au niveau du primaire comme dans le secondaire et le supérieur. Il doit aussi s’atteler aux problèmes du renforcement des capacités des enseignants, de la scolarisation accrue des filles et de la création d’emplois supplémentaires pour les jeunes.


    Le Niger est aussi confronté à des pénuries alimentaires chroniques, sachant que le pays est particulièrement vulnérable au changement climatique. La population nigérienne étant rurale à 80 %, les participants étaient surtout intéressés par des solutions pour optimiser les techniques de culture et d’élevage. Ils ont voulu savoir :

    • comment la Banque mondiale pouvait les aider à industrialiser l’agriculture et l’élevage ;
    • comment le Niger pouvait développer une industrie de transformation agroalimentaire ;
    • si la Banque mondiale pouvait les aider moderniser l’élevage ;
    • à renforcer les capacités et la formation, afin de sensibiliser les agriculteurs aux nouvelles technologies ;
    • et si la Banque mondiale pouvait tenir compte du poids de la tradition dès lors que les projets concernent les femmes en milieu rural.


    En matière de sécurité, les autorités nigériennes ont pris les devants pour préserver la paix et atténuer les retombées éventuelles de la crise qui touche leur voisin, le Mali. Les participants ont voulu savoir :

    • quelle était la contribution de la Banque mondiale sur le front de la paix et de la sécurité ;
    • et comment l’institution pouvait aider les populations rapatriées de Côte d’Ivoire, de Libye et du Mali.

    Ils ont aussi demandé à la Banque mondiale de reconnaître la contribution des femmes dans le maintien de la paix.


    Le portefeuille de la Banque mondiale au Niger comprend plus de 14 projets actifs dans sept régions. Les participants ont regretté le manque de visibilité de ses projets par rapport à d’autres intervenants dans le pays. Ils ont demandé à la Banque mondiale d’intégrer deux des langues les plus parlées au Niger (le haoussa et le zarma) dans sa stratégie de communication et indiqué que les médias devaient être parmi les premiers à être informés des projets de l’institution.

    Prochaines étapes

    Les opinions recueillies pendant les consultations serviront, avec les résultats d’une enquête pays en cours, à définir le cap de la nouvelle stratégie de partenariat avec le Niger. Ce texte, en préparation, devrait être soumis au Conseil des Administrateurs de la Banque mondiale d’ici la fin avril 2013.

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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali, Guinea-Bissau

    N°: 310/2012

    12 November 2012 [Abuja - Nigeria]

    ECOWAS leaders on Sunday 11th November 2012 in Abuja adopted a harmonized Concept of Operations for the deployment an African-led international force in Mali and requested the African Union Peace and Security Council to endorse same for onward transmission to the UN within the 45-day deadline of the UN Security Council Resolution 2071.

    In a Communiqué at the end of their one-day Extra-ordinary summit on Mali, the regional leaders urged the UN Security Council to examine the Concept with a view to authorizing the deployment of the international military force in Mali in conformity with Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

    The concept was developed by military experts from ECOWAS, the African Union, the European Union, the UN and other partners during a meeting in Bamako and subsequently reviewed by the regional Chiefs of Defence Staff at their meeting held also in Mali before the ministers of the mediation and security council considered it during a one day meeting in Abuja on Friday. 9th November 2012.

    Heads of State and Government reiterated their instruction to the ECOWAS Commission to maintain the ECOWAS Stand-by Force “in a high state of readiness for imminent deployment, and urges Member States to concretize their commitments to provide military and logistical contributions to the ECOWAS military efforts.”

    The summit acknowledged the lead role of Mali in the military and diplomatic efforts to restore constitutional order, as well as the unity and territorial integrity of the country, stressing the leadership role of ECOWAS in the deployment of the African-led international force, particularly in relation to the command of the force and resource mobilization in close cooperation with the African Union and the UN.

    It also took note of the statement by the Interim President of Mali that “the transitional roadmap will be unveiled within the next few days,” and urged the Government to expedite action in this regard towards ensuring the restoration of full state control throughout the territory, and the holding of free fair and transparent elections in the course of the transition.

    The regional leaders reiterated their decision that the Interim President, Prime Minister and other members of the Transitional Government shall not be eligible to contest the next presidential election in Mali.

    On Guinea-Bissau, the regional leaders strongly condemned the failed coup attempt in the country on 21st October 2012 and denounced any recourse to violence and any unconstitutional means of expressing political grievances. They called on the transitional authorities to ensure respect for the rule of law and human rights in the investigations and eventual prosecutions on this matter.

    They welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme between the ECOWAS Commission and the Guinea-Bissau authorities, and urged the Commission to take necessary measures to ensure immediate commencement of its implementation.

    The summit urged the AU and other partners to actively participate in the process, and expressed appreciation to the regional troops with the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau and troop-contributing countries for their efforts.

    In his opening statement to the summit the ECOWAS current Chair and President of Cote d’Ivoire His Excellency Alassance Ouattara affirmed that “While we engage in dialogue and negotiations with some groups that control northern Mali, we will continue with preparations for military action against terrorist and criminal groups that are holding the population hostage in northern Mali.”

    He said the priority now is for the mobilization of efforts for the adoption of a UN Security Council Resolution under Chapter 7 authorizing the deployment of force for the stabilization of Mali.

    President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria in his remarks said “what has been happening in Guinea-Bissau and Mali these past several months go against our collective vision of a peaceful, stable and economically prosperous region.”

    “The long-suffering people of Guinea Bissau and Mali will be looking up to us to end their nightmares and open the door of security and prosperity to them,” he affirmed. “We must not fail them.”

    The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo briefed the regional leaders on progress of regional initiatives in conjunction with partners such the African Union, the EU, UN among others, noting that the Mali crisis constituted not only a serious challenge to the country and the region, but a great risk to international peace and security.

    He commended the presence of representatives of Algeria, Mauritania, Chad, Libya and Morocco at the summit as a demonstration of friendship, solidarity and great interest of these countries on the issue of regional of international security.

    The UN and the African Union representatives gave goodwill messages to the region leaders, pledging their respective organization’s commitment and support to the ECOWAS initiatives.

    For his part, Chadian Prime Minister His Excellency Emmanuel Nadingar, praised the regional efforts and stressed the need for the use of negotiation while military option remains the last resort in ending the crisis in Mali

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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Niger (the), Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Mali
    • The World Bank is seeking input from the citizens of Niger to guide its new country partnership strategy
    • Niger faces challenges in education, youth employment, agriculture and security
    • The Country Partnership Strategy will support Niger’s own development plan for 2012-2015

    NIAMEY, November 7, 2012—Representatives from government, media, the private sector and civil society in Niger came together recently for a series of discussions on the World Bank’s proposed development strategy for the West African nation.

    Held in four regions – Dosso, Tillabery, Tahoua and Maradi – the discussions focused on the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Niger, a roadmap for engagement with the country over the next four years. The goal, according to organizers, was to solicit the views of Niger’s citizens in how best to support the country's development agenda of faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth, as defined in the government's Economic and Social Development Plan 2012-2015 (PDES).

    Once approved, the CPS will be in place from 2012-2015.

    Seeking stakeholder input

    World Bank Country Manager for Niger Nestor Coffi chaired the discussions, sharing lessons learned from the previous Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) 2008-2011.

    Coffi spoke of the successful implementation of Bank projects despite political instability and a regional security crisis; the increase in mobilized resources ($450 million instead of the $365 million initially granted); and the necessity of a more balanced approach to short and long-term interventions.

    Coffi posed a series of questions to the audience to solicit their input:

    • What are the specific development priorities in your region?
    • In what areas should the World Bank increase its presence?
    • What are the main challenges to the development efforts in your region?

    Key priority areas for Niger

    In each region, participants identified and discussed areas in which they thought the Bank should be more active. They stressed the sectors and areas they considered to be top priority: education, communication, agriculture and security.

    Youth and Education

    With a population that is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world (3.3 percent per year) and with 47 percent of its population under the age of 15, Niger is facing questions of how to develop a quality educational system – not only focused on basic education, but also secondary and tertiary; how to build the capacity of teachers; how to enroll more young girls in secondary education; and how to create more jobs for youth.


    In addition to a challenged education system, Niger is also coping with chronic food shortages and extreme vulnerability to climate change. With 80 percent of the population living in rural areas, many of the participants’ concerns dealt with how to optimize farming and livestock farming. Participants asked:

    • How can the World Bank help in industrializing farming and livestock farming?
    • How can Niger move towards food-processing/auto-processing?
    • For help modernizing livestock farming
    • For capacity-building and training to increase farmer awareness of new technologies
    • And for the Bank to take into account the weight of tradition when it comes to women in rural areas


    In the area of security, Niger's government is taking proactive measures to maintain peace, and to mitigate spillover risks from the crisis in neighboring Mali. Questions posed:

    • What is the Bank's contribution in terms of peace and security?
    • How can the Bank help with repatriates from Cote d’Ivoire, Libya and Mali?

    Participants asked, too, that the Bank acknowledge the contribution of women peacekeepers.


    The Bank portfolio in Niger includes more than 14 active projects in seven regions. Participants questioned the lack of visibility of Bank projects compared to other stakeholders in the country. They asked that the Bank integrate two of the most spoken languages (Hausa and Zarma) into its communication strategy and said media should be among the first constituencies to be briefed about World Bank projects.

    Next Steps

    Input from the consultations, together with feedback from an ongoing country survey, will feed into the strategic directions of the new partnership strategy. The strategy, which is under preparation, is expected to be presented to the World Bank Board of Directors by the end of April 2013.

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    Source: Qatar Charity
    Country: Somalia

    Qatar Charity (QC) has entered a partnership agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Somali capital, Mogadishu with a sum of QR 3.5m.

    The agreement is regarding a project to support the voluntary return of those displaced in south Somalia. Accordingly, UNHCR would work jointly to help around 1,100 displaced Somali families return voluntarily to their home towns. UNHCR would finance the project with around QR3.4m and QC would carry out the project through its field office in Somalia.

    “This project is very important for improving the humanitarian situation in Somalia and would help greatly in stabilising the situation there. Partnership with international organisations in such projects is crucial for its success,” said Mohammed al-Ghamidi, director of QC international development department.

    QC has immense field experience in the interior areas of Somalia through its office there, which enjoys the trust of local Somalis. The project is part of QC’s initiatives on reconstruction and providing aid to poor families.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Libya, Bangladesh, Chad, Eritrea, Niger (the), Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan (the), Syrian Arab Republic (the)

    Refugees and asylum seekers

    In October, UNHCR renewed documents of 97 individuals. UNHCR also registered 885 individuals from Palestine, Eritrea, Sudan and Syria. As part of protection monitoring, a number of missions to detention centres were conducted (see overleaf) and UNHCR received reports of migrants and asylum seekers being arrested because they lacked documentation. For example, on 20 October, 102 persons from Somalia and Sudan were arrested near Kufra and were subsequently detained in the Kufra detention centre. On 23 October, 95 persons from Somalia including women were also arrested because of their irregular status.

    Internally displaced persons (IDPs)

    UNHCR continues to receive reports of Tawerghans being arrested and abducted. Moreover, on 15 October, the guards at the entrance of the Fellah IDP camp opened fire inside the camp damaging the school and some houses in the camp. No casualties were reported. In East Libya,
    UNHCR conducts regular monitoring visits to Tawergha IDPs in the following sites: Al Helyss, Garyounis, Deaf School, Electricity Institute, Sidi Faraj, LRC and LSFAR. Special attention is given to IDP living conditions, health care, education and other basic needs. In particular UNHCR is in the process of delivering 120 plastic sheets for Al Helyss camp to cover the pipe shelters.

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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Ethiopia, Somalia

    DOLLO ADO, 12 November 2012 (IRIN) - Ethiopians would like to continue to be good Samaritans to the hundreds of thousands seeking refuge from drought and conflict in neighbouring Somalia, but massive camps in fragile environments have sparked concern among both the government and the people sharing space with the refugees.

    "We have had a million refugees at one time," said Ayalew Awoke, Ethiopia's deputy director for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), the government's refugee agency. Ayalew helped establish ARRA more than two decades ago.

    "But the environmental damage these camps have done to our environment is irreversible - wooded areas have turned into barren land, as happened in Hartisheikh near Jijiga [in the southern Somali region], which hosted more than 200,000 Somalis at one stage."

    Massive influx

    Hundreds of thousands of Somalis arrived in Hartisheikh, located near the border with Somalia, amid the armed opposition to Siad Barre's government in 1988 and clan warfare in the early 1990s, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They congregated in what became, for a time, the world's largest refugee camp. "The first refugees arrived in appalling conditions; many died of exhaustion, hunger and lack of water," said the agency.

    "Since the influx of the Somali refugees in 1988, the areas around their camps have been severely eroded. Now, both refugees and Ethiopians have to travel miles in search of wood for fuel and shelter," UNHCR reported in 1996. "The long-term consequences are expected to be costly for the host community, which will bear the burden long after the Somalis are gone".

    The damage is still unfolding. Ethiopia's Somali region is now home to the world's second-largest refugee complex, Dollo Ado, and it saw the world's largest influx of Somali refugees this year.

    The region's fragile environment is also one of the most vulnerable to climate change, with decreasing rains and soaring temperatures putting its predominantly agro-pastoralist population at great risk, according to climate scientist Chris Funk of the US Geological Survey.

    Lasting changes

    Melkadida, a rural settlement in southern Ethiopia, about 75km from Somalia and from Dollo Ado, offers a vivid illustration of these problems. Until last year, Melkadida's 20,000-odd residents led lives largely untouched by development, with few shops and no school or clinic.

    Then drought struck the Horn of Africa in 2011, driving more than 40,000 Somali refugees into their 'kebele', or neighbourhood. Their arrival, and the subsequent attention of the international aid community, brought positive developments, including a school and medical facilities. But it also did considerable harm, destroying the environment and introducing a culture of consumerism and waste, says Ahmed Mohammed, the kebele's chair.

    His tone is devoid of malice or accusation. Rather, he acknowledges the refugees' predicament: "They have lost a lot more than we have, and in times of need, we have to share with our brothers."

    Still, the once pristine and wooded environment of the kebele has been destroyed, Mohammed said. "We have more than twice our number of people who also need wood to cook food, build houses, fences and beds - all our trees are gone within the 10km radius of our kebele."

    Trees bring rain, he reckons, and without them the rains are becoming scarce. Melkadida residents were also affected by the drought in 2011, and they fear the diminishing rains will make things even worse in the future.

    The newcomers also created a massive market that introduced plastic bags to the area; in the last two years, at least 200 cows and goats died from ingesting plastic bags. At least 600 animals, mostly goats, were also stolen, sometimes at gunpoint.

    "The Somali refugees, who are mostly pastoralists, are used to eating meat, which they are not getting, so we understand," said Mohammed. "We do not like to raise these issues - you are asking so we are telling you."

    These concerns were also recently raised by a team conducting an evaluation of the humanitarian response, funded by a variety of UN agencies and Save the Children.

    How long will the camps remain?

    Somalis continue to arrive in Dollo Ado, driven by poor rains and the threat of insurgent group Al-Shabab at home. Their numbers have fallen from the peak 2,000 per day in July 2011 to an average of 30 per day.

    Nuria Mohamed Nur spent 15 days traveling to Dollo Ado from Boden, in southwestern Somalia. She, like others IRIN spoke to, said she would have come earlier, perhaps last year, if the money had been available. "We borrowed from family, relative and friends to pay drivers," she said.

    By October this year, more than 25,000 Somalis had fled to Ethiopia - making it the largest recipient of Somali refugees in the region so far, according to UNHCR. There are five camps already full and a sixth camp is being planned.

    The host community and Ethiopian officials have begun to voice concerns over the apparent long-term nature of the Somalis' displacement. "We understand the need, and we can have the camps here for two or three years, but not more than that," said an ARRA official in Dollo Ado.

    Assistance at home

    There have been reports that Somalia might be on its way to finding peace, and efforts are underway to provide assistance to Somalis within Somalia, said Russell Geekie, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia.

    "The number of IDPs [internally displaced people] heading toward Doolow [a Somali town across the border from Dollo Ado] or crossing into Dollo Ado has dropped dramatically," he said. Even so, insecurity in Somalia remains a concern, especially in areas that were affected by famine last year.

    "Humanitarian agencies and nongovernmental organizations working in Somalia continue to explore access to areas throughout southern and central Somalia to improve the provision of services to those in need in their areas of origin," he continued. "People are better served if we can limit their need to move far from home to seek assistance - be it toward one of Somalia's borders or urban areas such as Mogadishu [the Somali capital]."

    Humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP), are providing assistance to people in need in Luuq, in Somalia's southern Gedo Region. But there is concern that aid provided in these centres could create more camps, drawing people from rural areas. Geekie said the aid agencies "are also very mindful of pull factors".

    UNHCR's environmental guidelines (as well as the 2005 version) suggest the host community should play a leading role in minimizing the environmental impact of refugee camps. "The host government's openness to enter into a technical dialogue with the donors on this, and related issues, is thus considered important," it said.

    ARRA's Awoke says he has raised the issue with donors and agencies but he is not satisfied with the response. "People and the media have already forgotten the famine in Somalia - we are still living the consequences."

    Awoke says most people do not appreciate the impact the refugees have had. "Imagine if 200,000 or 300,000 people just showed up in a European country," he said.


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    Source: Pulitzer Center
    Country: Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan (Republic of)

    Published November 10, 2012 Samuel Loewenberg

    KAKUMA, Kenya —The Kakuma refugee camp is 60 miles from Sudanese border, in the uppermost reaches of the arid Turkana region of Kenya. It was opened in 1992 to house the 16,000 “lost” girls and boys fleeing the war from Sudan. These days, the overcrowded facility is home to around 100,000 people, driven there by violence not only from Sudan but also Ethiopia, Congo, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and a handful of other nations.

    Read the Full Report

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/12/2012 12:22 GMT

    Par Romaric Ollo HIEN

    OUAGADOUGOU, 12 nov 2012 (AFP) - Les groupes islamistes armés occupant le nord du Mali, comme Ansar Dine, étaient lundi sous pression au lendemain d'un sommet africain qui a décidé d'envoyer 3.300 militaires combattre les "réseaux terroristes" dans le pays.

    La Communauté économique des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) est "prête à frapper", titre lundi en "Une" Le Patriote, quotidien d'Abidjan favorable au président ivoirien Alassane Ouattara, président en exercice de l'organisation.

    Pour Ansar Dine, mouvement surtout composé de Touareg maliens, le sommet de dirigeants africains qui s'est tenu dimanche à Abuja fait l'effet d'une douche froide, même si le mouvement islamiste attend de rencontrer la médiation conduite par le président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré pour réagir officiellement.

    "Nous avons donné sa chance à la négociation pour éviter le pire", a déclaré à l'AFP le chef de la délégation d'Ansar Dine présente à Ouagadougou, Algabass Ag Intalla, craignant que la Cédéao n'ait pas la même "volonté" de discuter.

    Ansar Dine, engagé dans des négociations avec M. Compaoré, avait donné des gages juste avant le sommet en appelant au dialogue avec les autres groupes armés et avec Bamako, et en proclamant son rejet du "terrorisme". Une façon de prendre ses distances avec ses alliés jihadistes d'Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) et du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao).

    Si, pour les participants au sommet d'Abuja, le dialogue demeure "l'option préférée", il ne doit cependant concerner que "les groupes armés non impliqués dans les activités terroristes et criminelles", qui reconnaissent l'intégrité du Mali et le caractère laïc de l'Etat.

    Jusque-là, Ansar Dine a préféré renvoyer à de futures discussions avec les autorités maliennes la délicate question de la charia (loi islamique), qu'il applique, comme Aqmi et le Mujao, de façon très stricte (exécution par lapidation d'un couple non marié, amputations de présumés voleurs, etc.).

    Commandement africain

    En revanche, le Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA) peut se sentir conforté. Favorable à l'autodétermination dans le nord du Mali après avoir renoncé à ses projets sécessionnistes, cette rébellion touareg est laïque. Mais elle a été évincée sur le terrain par les islamistes.

    Des responsables du MNLA également présents à Ouagadougou, en réunion lundi matin, devaient faire connaître plus tard leur réaction.

    Les dirigeants africains ont approuvé dimanche l'envoi d'une force militaire internationale de "3.300 soldats" pour "un an", jugeant le recours à la force "indispensable contre les réseaux terroristes et de criminalité transnationale qui menacent la paix et la sécurité internationales".

    Ce plan doit être transmis, via l'Union africaine, avant la fin novembre aux Nations unies, qui auront le dernier mot et à qui la Cédéao renvoie la charge de réunir le financement.

    Les dirigeants des 15 pays membres de la Cédéao et de quelques autres pays africains dont la Mauritanie, l'Algérie, l'Afrique du Sud, le Maroc, le Tchad et la Libye, ont insisté sur "le rôle de leadership de la Cédéao dans le déploiement de la force internationale sous conduite africaine".

    Mais ce commandement africain pourrait provoquer des grincements de dents du côté des autorités maliennes, jalouses de leur souveraineté.

    "Nous allons demander des éclaircissements", a indiqué à l'AFP à Bamako une source proche du ministère malien de la Défense, pour qui "il n'a jamais été question que ce soient d'autres (que le Mali) qui dirigent la force".

    Cette "force internationale" serait composée de soldats provenant prioritairement des pays membres de la Cédéao (Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso notamment) mais pourrait aussi bénéficier, selon M. Ouattara, de la contribution de pays non membres comme le Tchad, dont l'armée sait combattre en zone sahélienne.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: World, Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the), Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Djibouti, Dominican Republic (the), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia (the), Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger (the), Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines (the), Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan (Republic of), Sri Lanka, Sudan (the), Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic (the), United Republic of Tanzania (the), Yemen, Zimbabwe

    Both Guatemala and Myanmar were affected by earthquakes during the reporting period. On 7 November, an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude struck the pacific coast of Guatemala, affecting more than 600,000 people followed by a second quake of 6.2 magnitude on 11 November. There were no immediate reports of major infrastructural damage caused by the second earthquake. The 6.8 magnitude earthquake which struck in Myanmar on 10 November, meanwhile, damaged infrastructure but the full extent of the impact remains unclear. Fighting in Syria continues, with new waves of airstrikes by the Syrian forces and heavy fighting in Damascus, Idlib, Aleppo and Daraa. An increase in displacement has been reported, with more than 11,000 people fleeing the country in 24 hours on 9 of November. Benin is experiencing a cholera epidemic, with 49 confirmed cases in the southwest of the country. Food insecurity levels have increased in Swaziland following poor crop performance in 2011-2012.

    According to a recent vulnerability assessment, around 115,000 people are facing food deficits. Food insecurity caused by decreased crop yields has also affected Tanzania, with more than 945,000 people food insecure as of 9 November. Haiti, Cuba and Dominican Republic were hit by hurricane Sandy, which struck the region at the end of the October and affected 1.5 million, 1 million and 175,000 people respectively. In addition, the north and north eastern regions of Haiti witnessed heavy flooding on 9 November.

    Updated: 12/11/2012, Next update: 19/11/2012

    Global Emergency Overview web-interface

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan (Republic of), Sudan (the)

    Seasonal Outlook

    The latest regional outlook published by the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) reaffirms that the conditions likely to generate an El Niño phenomenon weakened in September and October 2012, with near-neutral conditions in some areas of the Pacific Ocean. As a result, FEWS NET cites increasing concern for the performance of October to December short rains, which account for up to 40 to 60 per cent of annual rainfall in some parts of the Horn of Africa. On the other hand, the outlook notes that the continued weak-to-moderate Indian Ocean Dipole could still result in normal to above-normal seasonal rains. Rainfall has intensified over much of the October-December receiving areas in the past two weeks, with localized flooding reported at the end of October, including from parts of Ethiopia’s Somali Region. Generally, the recent rains have supported the start of cropping activities in agro-pastoralist areas, and are replenishing rangeland and water resources. However, continued unseasonable, above-normal rains in western Ethiopia bring added concern for possible crop damage and post-harvest losses. For more information, contact:

    Meanwhile, the Disaster Risk Management Agriculture Task Force (DRM-ATF) has released its updated road map for post-La Niña recovery, which provides guidance on livelihoods-based interventions in pastoralist, agro-pastoralist and smallholder farming areas of the country. Noting that pastoralist and agro-pastoralist areas are recovering from the 2010-11 drought, having received good rains between October-December 2011 and April-June 2012, the road map requests partners to prioritize asset-building interventions ahead of the next dry season (January-March 2013). To combat livestock disease outbreaks, recommendations include vaccinations against contagious diseases and parasite control. Rangeland management recommendations include improved water resource management and re-seeding of communal drought grazing reserves near communities with palatable, indigenous grasses to boost milk availability for children. Other recommendations include alternative livelihoods support, development of social protection programmes and provision of basic services such as health care, education and infrastructure. For more information, contact:

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