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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/17/2012 15:43 GMT

    Par Serge DANIEL

    BAMAKO, 17 nov 2012 (AFP) - La situation restait tendue samedi dans la région de Gao, (nord-est du Mali), au lendemain de violents combats entre islamistes et rebelles touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA) qui a subi une défaite, ce dont il se défend, et qui pourrait reprendre l'offensive.

    En prévision d'une possible reprise des combats, Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) a envoyé de Tombouctou, à 300 kilomètres plus à l'ouest, des renforts aux islamistes du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao), selon des témoins interrogés par l'AFP.

    Vendredi, de violents combats ont opposé dans la région de Gao les islamistes du Mujao à des rebelles touareg du MNLA qui, selon des sources sécuritaires régionales, ont subi "une lourde défaite", perdant "au moins une dizaine" de combattants et du matériel.

    Selon deux sources sécuritaires au Mali et au Burkina Faso voisin, le colonel Mechkanine, chef adjoint des forces armées du MNLA, a été blessé dans ces combats.

    Dans un communiqué reçu samedi par l'AFP, le MNLA parle de "plus de 20 morts" et "plusieurs dizaines de blessés" dans les rangs du Majao, et de "neuf blessés" dans les siens. Il "se réjouit de ce premier succès" dans l'offensive qu'il affirme mener pour chasser les islamistes du nord du Mali.

    Le porte-parole du Mujao, Walid Abu Sahraoui, a affirmé de son côté que, "dans tout l'Azawad, nous allons poursuivre le MNLA, partout où ils sont encore, nous allons les poursuivre. Nous maîtrisons la situation".

    Samedi matin, la situation était calme dans la région de Gao mais la tension perceptible, selon des témoins, car le MNLA pourrait tenter de reprendre l'offensive.

    Le 27 juin, à l'issue de précédents combats qui avaient fait au moins 35 morts, le Mujao, appuyé par Aqmi, avait évincé le MNLA de Gao où la rébellion touareg, laïque et favorable à l'autodétermination du nord du Mali, avait établi son quartier général.

    La terreur règne dans le Nord

    Depuis, le MNLA, allié au départ aux islamistes lorsqu'il avait lancé l'offensive dans le nord du Mali en janvier, ne contrôle plus aucune ville de cette vaste région aride qui occupe les deux-tiers du territoire malien.

    Elle est totalement occupée par les jihadistes surtout étrangers d'Aqmi et du Mujao (groupe très impliqué dans le trafic de drogue) et les islamistes d'Ansar Dine (Défenseurs de l'islam), mouvement principalement composé de Touareg maliens.

    Ils y imposent la charia (loi islamique) avec rigueur - lapidations, amputations de pieds et de mains de prétendus voleurs, coups de fouets aux buveurs d'alcool et aux fumeurs - détruisent des monuments religieux, et se rendent coupables d'atteintes aux droits de l'Homme contre les habitants.

    Jeudi et vendredi à Tombouctou, des jihadistes d'Aqmi sont entrés dans des maisons pour y arrêter des dizaines de femmes accusées de ne pas porter le voile islamique, qui ont été ensuite emprisonnées dans les locaux d'une ancienne banque.

    Alors que la terreur continue de régner dans le nord du Mali, des négociations ont lieu depuis deux semaines à Ouagadougou sous l'égide du président burkinabé Blaise Compaoré, médiateur de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) dans la crise malienne.

    Ces négociations ont lieu avec le MNLA et Ansar Dine dans le but de les rapprocher et surtout d'amener Ansar Dine à se dissocier d'Aqmi et du Mujao.

    C'est chose faite sur le papier, les représentants à Ouagadougou de ce groupe armé, dirigé par un ex-rebelle touareg des années 1990, Iyad Ag Ghaly, ayant annoncé qu'il renoncait à imposer la charia dans tout le Mali, sauf dans son fief de Kidal (nord-est). Ils se sont aussi dit prêts à aider à "débarrasser" le nord du Mali du "terrorisme" et des "mouvements étrangers".

    Reçues pour la première fois ensemble par M. Compaoré vendredi, des délégations d'Ansar Dine et du MNLA ont en outre exprimé "leur disponibilité à s'engager résolument dans un processus de dialogue politique".

    Ces négociations ont notamment pour objectif de faciliter sur le terrain une intervention de 3.300 soldats africains, soutenus par des pays occidentaux, avec l'accord de l'ONU, qui devrait, d'ici quelques mois, tenter de chasser Aqmi et le Mujao du nord du Mali.

    sd-stb/mrb/jpc

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/17/2012 13:47 GMT

    BAMAKO, Nov 17, 2012 (AFP) - Al-Qaeda-linked fighters gathered reinforcements in the tense Gao region of northeastern Mali on Saturday and waited to see if the Tuareg rebels that launched a failed offensive a day earlier would regroup for a fresh assault.

    The desert area of Gao has been a focus of Islamist and Tuareg activity since the once-allied fighters seized the region, along with much of Mali's arid north, following a coup and military collapse in Bamako March.

    Though the dusty town of Gao and its surroundings were initially under the control of Tuaregs, who are fighting to establish an independent state, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) ousted them at the end of June.

    On Friday, Tuaregs with the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) attacked the Islamist fighters but suffered a heavy defeat that saw about a dozen of their men killed, regional security sources said.

    To prepare for a possible new offensive, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is linked to MUJAO, sent about 300 reinforcements from Timbuktu, about 300 kilometres (185 miles) west of Gao, witnesses told AFP.

    By Saturday morning an uneasy calm had settled over the region as locals waited to see if the MNLA would again try their luck, witnesses said.

    According to Moussa Salem, an MNLA fighter, "our goal remains to retake Azawad from the hands of AQIM and its allies. We can fall back, but it's only to be able to better push forwards after."

    Azawad is the Tuareg name for all of northern Mali.

    MUJAO spokesman Walid Abu Sahraoui said his group would continue to pursue the MNLA across the entire region.

    "We are in control of the situation," he said.

    Since their defeat at the hands of the radical Islamists on June 27, the more secular Tuaregs have no longer controlled any town in this massive desert region that spans two-thirds of Mali's territory.

    In the regions under their control, Islamist groups have implemented sharia law and carried out brutal punishments of transgressors, including the stoning to death of an unmarried couple and the amputations of hands and feet from accused thieves.

    sd-stb/wat/boc

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic (the), Chad, 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, Philippines (the), Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan (the), Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic (the), Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)

    Gaza has been under attack since Wednesday, when Israel launched a military offensive with the declared goal of deterring fighters in the Palestinian enclave from launching rockets into its territory. 84 Palestinians have reportedly been killed. Violence erupted in the eastern provinces of DRC, following a months-long calm, with the rebel group M23 advancing on the regional capital of Goma. Heavy fighting between rebels and the military continues to rage nationwide in Syria, primarily in Idlib, Deir al-Zor, Damascus and Aleppo governorates.

    A new outbreak of Ebola has been reported in Central Uganda, with four cases of which three fatal. In Sudan, Central and South Darfur regions are suffering from a yellow fever outbreak with 374 suspected cases and a case fatality rate of 29%.

    Global Emergency Overview web interface


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    Source: Government of Ethiopia
    Country: Ethiopia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)

    The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has said the UK will continue its support to help Ethiopia continue its development and expand access to basic services. The Head of DFID in Ethiopia, Melanie Robinson, said that the UK's development program in Ethiopia was its largest in the world, and the overall UK aid program in Ethiopia was currently running at 300 million pounds, six times larger than it was in 2005. She said UK has been undertaking various development activities to support Ethiopia's efforts towards lifting citizens from poverty, with an outlay of US$1.3 billion. The UK’s priority areas are helping to expand access to basic services such as health, education, water and agriculture, and last year alone, the UK supported nearly four million people through the Productive Safety Net Program. Ms. Robinson said the UK's development assistance to Ethiopia was based on the country's commitment to end poverty, and over the next couple of years she expected 800,000 people to be lifted out of poverty through the development activities assisted by the UK. This support would also enable two million school children to stay in schools and 500,000 mothers to give birth safely in health institutions. She also said nearly nine million more people would benefit from health and safe water facilities during the reported period.


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    Source: European Union
    Country: Mali

    3199ème session du Conseil AFFAIRES ETRAGERES

    Bruxelles, 19 novembre 2012

    Le Conseil a adopté les conclusions suivantes:

    1. "L'Union européenne (UE) rappelle que la crise politique et sécuritaire au Mali exige une approche cohérente et globale afin d’assurer une solution durable, dans laquelle l’appropriation africaine est primordiale.

    2. L’UE salue la mobilisation régionale et internationale pour appuyer le Mali ainsi que la planification d'une opération africaine dans le cadre des résolutions 2056 et 2071 du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies (CSNU). Elle rappelle à cet égard son engagement à soutenir le Mali et la CEDEAO en réponse à leurs demandes respectives.

    3. L'UE renouvelle son appel aux autorités maliennes pour qu'elles présentent dans les plus brefs délais une feuille de route crédible et consensuelle pour le rétablissement de l'ordre constitutionnel et démocratique, y compris le contrôle civil des forces armées. Elle souligne que les actions dans le domaine de la sécurité doivent appuyer des objectifs politiques et venir en complément du processus politique malien.

    4. Dans ce contexte, l'UE rappelle la nécessité d’organiser, dès que possible, des élections libres et transparentes et rappelle sa disponibilité à appuyer celles-ci par un soutien financier et par une mission d’observation électorale de l’UE dès l'annonce du calendrier électoral.

    5. A cet égard, l'UE sera attentive à ce que le rétablissement de l'autorité de l’État malien sur l'ensemble de son territoire se fasse dans le respect de l’état de droit et dans le cadre d'un processus de réconciliation crédible et pérenne. Elle demande la mise en place dans les meilleurs délais d’un cadre de dialogue national ouvert à l’ensemble des Maliens, y compris les groupes armés non impliqués dans des activités terroristes, qui reconnaissent l’intégrité du territoire malien.

    6. L’UE se félicite des travaux de planification menés dans le cadre de la CEDEAO et de l’Union africaine qui ont conduit à l’adoption d’un concept stratégique et d’un concept d’opération. Sur cette base, l’UE espère qu’une opération africaine, dont la planification aura été agréée, pourra être rapidement autorisée par le CSNU.

    7. Dans ce contexte, l'UE souligne l'importance d'un soutien financier adéquat à l'opération africaine au Mali par les États et les organisations de la région ainsi que les autres partenaires internationaux clés. Elle rappelle sa volonté d’apporter son soutien financier et le Conseil demande à cet égard à la Commission de prévoir la mobilisation de la Facilité de Paix Africaine.

    Afin de garantir l’appui prévisible et durable de l'UE à des opérations africaines de maintien de la paix, y compris la mission au Mali, le Conseil invite la Commission à identifier les crédits additionnels du 10ème FED qui pourraient être mobilisés.

    8. Le Conseil remercie la Haute représentante pour la présentation du projet de concept de gestion de crise en vue d’une mission militaire de PSDC visant à appuyer la réorganisation et l'entrainement des forces armées maliennes. Il accueille favorablement la présentation de ce document et demande aux groupes compétents de procéder de manière urgente à son examen pour permettre son approbation par le Conseil en décembre. Il se félicite également des annonces des Etats membres sur de possibles contributions à cette mission.

    9. L’UE condamne toutes les violations des droits de l’Homme. Elle rappelle notamment la situation des enfants et des femmes exposés à des nombreuses violations des droits de l’Homme dans le nord du pays et demande aux autorités maliennes de faire toute la lumière sur l’ensemble des exactions commises depuis le début de la crise, au nord comme au sud du pays, notamment sur les faits survenus à Diabali les 8 septembre et 24 octobre 2012.

    10. L’UE rappelle l’obligation de garantir à tous les acteurs humanitaires l’accès libre et sans entraves au nord du pays.

    11. L'UE rappelle son souhait de reprendre graduellement sa coopération dès l’adoption d’une feuille de route crédible et en fonction des progrès de celle-ci. Elle souligne son engagement à contribuer à des mesures de stabilisation et de consolidation en vue d'une sortie durable de la crise. A cet égard, le programme européen de coopération au développement au Mali sera révisé en tenant compte des besoins de la population malienne.

    12. Enfin, l’UE soutient l’organisation de réunions régulières du Groupe de Soutien et de Suivi de la situation au Mali, afin d’assurer la coordination continue des efforts maliens, régionaux et internationaux, en étroite liaison avec l’Envoyé Spécial du Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies."


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/19/2012 20:10 GMT

    by Serge Daniel

    BAMAKO, Nov 19, 2012 (AFP) - An Islamist group backed by Al-Qaeda's North African wing drove Tuareg rebels from a north Malian town Monday, as EU foreign ministers agreed in principle to send a training mission to support a military intervention.

    In a blow to international efforts to try to resolve the crisis in the West African nation, fighters from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) "have just taken control of the locality of Menaka after a small clash with" ethnic Tuareg fighters of the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), a regional source said.

    Both sides confirmed the information, adding that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) rebels had fought alongside MUJAO in the clashes.

    The fighting came after regional leaders agreed on a plan to reclaim the country's vast desert north through a military intervention and dialogue with two of the rebel groups active in the region.

    European Union foreign ministers agreed in principle Monday to send a military training mission to Mali to support regional efforts to wrest back control of the Islamist-held north.

    Under the plan, some 250 European officers would be sent to train Malian combat units and help restructure the country's weakened army, in a mission that could start as early as January and last through the year.

    The officers would support a plan agreed to a week ago by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to send 3,300 troops into Mali to reclaim the north. The plan must go before the UN Security Council by the end of the month.

    The international community has become increasingly concerned by the conflict in Mali's north, where the Islamists have been imposing harsh Islamic law, stoning people to death and amputating hands and feet from suspected thieves.

    Western officials have expressed fears that northern Mali could become a haven for radicals and a base for attacks on Europe.

    The homegrown Malian Islamist group Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) and the MNLA had announced on Friday they were ready for talks with Mali's government, with the latter group also trying to dislodge its Islamist rivals from the north in recent weeks.

    The MNLA's setback Monday thus appears likely to hamper the negotiation efforts under way.

    "MUJAO came with many AQIM fighters. They launched an attack, we resisted and later we left," said Moussa Salem, a fleeing MNLA fighter.

    MNLA spokesman Moussa Ag Assarid, based in Paris, added that around 30 MUJAO and AQIM vehicles drove into Menaka before the attack.

    MUJAO spokesman Abu Walid Sahraoui said his group "controls everything", adding it had received "reinforcement from its Muslim brothers" AQIM.

    "We've taken prisoners and there were many deaths on the MNLA side," he said from Menaka, without elaborating.

    A local resident said earlier that MUJAO fighters had "taken the military camp and are shouting Allah Akbar (God is great)".

    The Tuaregs initially allied themselves with Islamist groups including MUJAO in their bid to seize northern Mali in the chaotic aftermath of a military coup in March.

    But the alliance fell apart in June, and the Islamists have since chased the Tuaregs from territories they once held.

    In recent weeks, the Tuaregs launched an offensive to reconquer these areas, and were planning to turn Menaka -- a town close to the Niger border and east of major northern town Gao -- into their base.

    On Friday, MNLA rebels attacked the Islamist fighters but suffered a heavy defeat that saw about a dozen of their men killed, regional security sources said.

    In a statement sent to AFP, the MNLA denied having suffered any losses but acknowledged that nine of its fighters had been wounded.

    The MNLA also claimed the Islamists had fled having lost 55 of their fighters, with around 100 more wounded.

    And on Sunday, MUJAO said it had repelled the Tuaregs from Gao.

    Ansar Dine has said it is prepared to make some concessions and has agreed to talks with the interim Malian government set up to try to return the rule of law after the overthrow of president Amadou Toumani Toure's government on March 22.

    bur-stb/wat/jhb

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/19/2012 13:33 GMT

    BAMAKO, 19 nov 2012 (AFP) - Les islamistes du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao), ont chassé lundi matin des rebelles touareg de la ville de Ménaka (nord-est du Mali), où ils s'étaient à nouveau installés depuis peu, a appris l'AFP de sources concordantes.

    "Les combattants du Mujao viennent de prendre le contrôle de la localité de Ménaka après un petit accrochage avec quelques éléments du MNLA", le Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad, a affirmé une source sécuritaire régionale, ce qu'a confirmé un habitant de Ménaka.

    "Les combattants du Mujao ont chassé le MNLA", a dit cet habitant, en précisant qu'ils "ont pris le camp militaire et sont en train de crier Allah Akbar!" (Dieu est grand).

    Abu Walid Sahraoui, porte-parole du Mujao, a déclaré à l'AFP, depuis Ménaka, que son mouvement "contrôle tout".

    "Nous avons des prisonniers et il y a eu beaucoup de morts du côté du MNLA", a-t-il affirmé sans donner de chiffres. Il a indiqué que son mouvement avait "reçu du renfort de (ses) frères musulmans" d'Al Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi).

    Moussa Salem, combattant du MNLA en fuite, a indiqué que son mouvement avait "quitté Ménaka". "Le Mujao est venu avec beaucoup de combattants d'Aqmi. Ils ont attaqué, nous avons résisté et après nous sommes partis".

    Moussa Ag Assarid, porte-parole du MNLA à Paris, a indiqué à l'AFP que des "combats autour de Ménaka" s'étaient déroulés entre son mouvement et le "Mujao soutenu par Aqmi".

    Selon lui, "une trentaine de véhicules du Mujao, soutenus par des éléments d'Aqmi ont quitté Gao dimanche" et "ont attaqué Ménaka ce matin (lundi).

    La ville de Ménaka avait été l'une des premières prises par le MNLA, lorsqu'il avait lancé son offensive dans le Nord en janvier avec les groupes islamistes, auxquels il était alors allié.

    Les rebelles touareg en avaient été une première fois chassés en juin par le Mujao qui, estimant qu'il ne s'agissait pas d'une ville importante, l'avait par la suite abandonnée.

    Il y a environ trois semaines, des rebelles du MNLA étaient revenus dans la zone de Ménaka, ville proche de la frontière avec le Niger et située à l'est de Gao, grande ville du nord-est du Mali occupée par le Mujao.

    Le MNLA voulait faire de Ménaka la base de sa contre-offensive "générale" pour reconquérir le nord du Mali entièrement occupé depuis fin juin par les groupes islamistes armés, Mujao, Aqmi et Ansar Dine (Défenseurs de l'islam).

    Ils y imposent la charia (loi islamique) avec rigueur - lapidations, amputations de pieds et de mains de prétendus voleurs, coups de fouets aux buveurs d'alcool et aux fumeurs - détruisent des monuments religieux, et se rendent coupables d'atteintes aux droits de l'Homme contre les habitants.

    Vendredi, de violents combats avaient déjà opposé dans la région de Gao les islamistes du Mujao aux rebelles touaregs du MNLA qui, selon des sources sécuritaires régionales, avait subi "une lourde défaite", perdant "au moins une dizaine" de combattants et du matériel.

    Dans plusieurs communiqués, le MNLA avait démenti avoir subi une défaite, parlant au contraire de "premier succès" dans son offensive en vue de reconquérir le nord du Mali.

    Il avait affirmé que les islamistes du Mujao avaient "pris la fuite avec leurs blessés" et fait état de "55 morts et plus d'une centaine de blessés" dans leurs rangs, et de seulement "neuf blessés" dans les siens.

    bur-stb/jpc

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Mali

    With military intervention almost certain to begin early next year, Islamic militants seek cover in populated areas.

    Read the full report on the Guardian.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Malawi

    Maize, rice, and cassava are the most important food commodities.
    Markets selected represent the entire geographic length of the country: two markets in each of the north, center, and south. In the north, Karonga is one of the most active markets in maize and rice and is influenced by informal cross-border trade with Tanzania. Mzimba is a major maize producing area in the northern region. Salima, in the center along the lake, is an important market where some of the fishing populations are almost entirely dependent on the market for staple cereals. Mitundu is a very busy peri-urban market in Lilongwe. In the south, the Lunzu market is the main supplier of food commodities such as maize and rice for Blantyre. The Bangula market in Nsanje district was chosen to represent the Lower Shire area, covering Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali

    Millet, rice, and sorghum constitute the basic staple foods for the majority of the Malian population. Millet has traditionally been the most widely consumed, but since 2005 rice has become a popular substitute in urban households. Sorghum is generally more important for rural than urban households. Markets included are indicative of local conditions within their respective regions. Ségou is one of the most important markets for both the country and region because it is located in a very large grain production area.

    Bamako, the capital and largest urban center in the country, functions as an assembly market. It receives cereals from Koulikoro, Ségou, and Sikasso for consumption and also acts as an assembly market for trade with the northern regions of the country (Kayes and Koulikoro) and Mauritania. Markets in the deficit areas of the country (Timbuktu and Gao) receive their supplies of millet and rice from Mopti, Ségou and Sikasso.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Nigeria

    Sorghum, maize, millet, cowpea, gari (fermented cassava starch), and rice are all found in Nigerian markets. Sorghum, millet and maize are widely consumed by most households, but especially in the north, and are used by various industries. Maize is mainly used by the poultry industry as a raw material for feed while sorghum is used by breweries for producing beverages. Sorghum and millet are important for households in the north, particularly the border markets where millet is also heavily traded with Niger. Gari is widely consumed by households in the south and some in the north. Rice is produced and consumed throughout the country. The north is a major production and consumption area for cowpea which flows to the south for use by households and food processing industries. Ilela, Maidua, and Damasak are all critical cross-border markets with Niger. Saminaka,
    Giwa, Dandume, and Kaura are important grain markets in the north, which are interconnected with the Dawanu market in Kano, the largest wholesale market in West Africa, and some southern markets such as Bodija in Ibadan. Millet, sorghum, maize, and cowpea are among the most important cereals traded at Dawanu, while cassava and some cereals are traded with Bodija.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Somalia, Yemen

    KHARAZ REFUGEE CAMP, Yemen, 19 November (UNHCR) – Five years after fleeing to Yemen to escape tribal fighting that killed her mother in Somaliland, Faduma finally feels she has a proper, secure home, giving her renewed hope for the future of her three children.

    The family recently moved into one of 300 new brick and timber shelters built by UNHCR in the Kharaz Refugee Camp. The new homes, constructed with funding received from the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) are now providing permanent shelter for some 1,260 refugees, in particular the elderly and disabled, some of whom had been living in tents for six years.

    Kharaz, located in the desert in southern Yemen, is home to almost 20,000 Somali refugees who fled their homeland and made the dangerous sea crossing of the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. In the camp, UNHCR and its partners provide people like Faduma and her children with food, shelter, medical care and education.

    Faduma, now 35-years-old, was three months pregnant when she set off with her children to Yemen and was beaten by smugglers during their crossing of the Gulf of Aden. She suffered a miscarriage and a severely damaged kidney which left her in need of hospitalization for several months. Upon recovery, she moved to Kharaz with UNHCR's help.

    She felt safe in Kharaz and happy that her children were able to go to school despite having to live in a tent for four years under scorching and humid temperatures. This harsh environment aggravated her medical condition and placed a great strain on the wellbeing and development of her children. Faduma's new home, though spartan with a room and a latrine, is a vast improvement on what she had to endure before.

    Lack of sufficient shelter has been a problem in Kharaz camp, compounded by limited space and a substantial increase in the camp population. Since the beginning of 2011 the camp population has increased by 28 percent and now has nearly 20,000 residents, 96 percent of them Somali. Many urban refugees have also moved there over the past year because of difficult economic and security conditions.

    UNHCR, with the support of ECHO, has also constructed two communal blocks of latrines and a drainage system for the health centre. In addition, it has improved the camp water supply system with three electrical submersible pumps. The UN refugee agency has also been working closely with the government on an expansion plan for the camp. Considerable challenges remain, not least for 3,000 refugees still living in tents and makeshift shelters.

    Yemen hosts some 223,000 Somali refugees who have fled drought, conflict, political instability and human rights violations in their homeland. New refugees from the Horn of Africa continue to arrive in Yemen and many have settled in Kharaz camp.

    "UNHCR remains committed to do whatever is possible to continue to improve the living conditions in the camp," staid Naveed Hussain, UNHCR's representative in Yemen.

    For Faduma and her children the results are now tangible. After moving into their new house Faduma observed: "Living in a tent caused me pain in my kidneys and it was difficult for my children. Now I can live and believe that life can improve for my children."

    Teddy Leposky in Kharaz Refugee Camp


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: United Republic of Tanzania (the)

    Maize is the main staple crop in Tanzania. Rice and beans are also very important, the latter constituting the main source of protein for most low- and middle-income households. Dar es Salaam is the main consumer market in the country. Arusha is another important market and is linked with Kenya in the north. Dodoma represents the central region of the country, a semi-arid, deficit area. Kigoma is an important cross-border market with connections to both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Mtwara sits in a south coastal deficit area while Songea and Mbeya represent the southern highlands. Tanga is also a coastal town in the north, with trade connections with Kenya


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    Source: Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat
    Country: Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan (the), Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), Yemen, South Sudan (Republic of)

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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger (the), Senegal

    Jennifer Lazuta November 19, 2012

    DAKAR, SENEGAL — Severe food shortages have hit 18 million people across nine countries this year in Africa's Sahel region, following unpredictable and insufficient rains. The region bordering the Sahara Desert has had three severe food crises in four years, and international aid agencies say it is time to break the cycle of food insecurity in the Sahel.

    As this year's emergency winds down, the question on aid workers' minds is, "How can the Sahel break from its recurring cycle of food crises?"

    U.N. Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, David Gressly, said now is the time to end chronic food insecurity.

    “If we do not seize the opportunity in 2013, there is a good chance that this whole issue will be forgotten until the next drought and we will be asking ourselves the same set of questions. So we need to take this opportunity in 2013,” Gressly said.

    Survival mode creates vulnerabilities

    During a crisis, Gressly said hungry families are forced to eat one or two meals a day, take their children out of school, sell off livestock and go into debt. These coping mechanisms make them more vulnerable to future crises.

    That is what has happened in the Sahel. Many of the affected families this year had not yet recovered from previous crises.

    Aid agencies sent in food and emergency assistance. They handed out drought-resistant seeds and improved fertilizers, supplied medicine for livestock, and worked to improve irrigation and grain storage facilities.

    Gressly said these measures dealt with the short-term needs, but the work should not stop when the crisis abates.

    “And I think now there is an understanding that a very targeted program looking at these 18 million people affected this year, working with them to find ways so they do not have to make the kinds of decisions to survive in a crisis of a drought, for example, that compromises their long-term future,” he said.

    Creating awareness

    Aid agencies say they are working to build the "resilience" of the most vulnerable communities, but more needs to be done.

    Gressly said this means reducing chronic child malnutrition, improving irrigation and drainage systems, diversifying food sources, finding better ways to preserve food stocks, and addressing potentially harmful cultural practices.

    “One example of that is the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding. There is a practice in many communities across the Sahel to provide water to young infants under the age of six months because of the heat," he said. "But unfortunately the same water that is given, in addition to breast milk, is often contaminated and makes the children sick. It starts a cycle, a downward spiral really, towards severe malnutrition. So simply by changing that behavior is a good way to prevent.”

    Gressly said in Chad, aid agencies have been constructing dams to store water during rainy season that can later be used for irrigation.

    The regional food security advocacy coordinator for British aid group Oxfam, Al Hassan Cisse, said better grain storage and programs like universal health insurance are other keys to resilience.

    “Building the resilience of poor people means investing in food reserves because one of the aggregating factors of food crisis over the past year is the high food price," said Cisse. "Having food reserves and having social protection that target poor people and combining those two measures will help people build their resilience and be able to address future food crises.”

    Cost-efficient measures crucial

    Aid agencies also say that prevention is cheaper than treatment.

    According to one recent estimate by U.N. agencies and NGO's, it costs just one dollar to keep a child from slipping into malnutrition, whereas it costs $80 to treat that child once malnutrition has set in.

    Experts say there is a growing political will to respond quickly to emergencies, but also to address their underlying causes.

    Countries like Niger were quick to react to this year's food crisis and call for international assistance.

    But Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Grassroots Development representative Saliou Sarr said communities must also be involved in finding solutions.

    He said it is often government officials and intellectuals, not those at the crisis site, who are diagnosing the problems. Sarr said it is fundamental that local residents be included at the beginning, during, and after a crisis. He said governments must work with farmers and aid agencies to modernize farming equipment and methods to reverse environmental degradation and improve harvests.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Kenya

    Maize and beans are the most important commodities consumed, with maize availability considered synonymous with food security. Beans are very often consumed with maize. The Nairobi market is indicative for urban consumers. Eldoret is a producing area and located in the “grain basket zone.” Kisumu is a large market located in a deficit area with marginal agricultural productivity. Kitui is prone to droughts and is a marginal producing area. Lodwar market is located in Turkana, a highly food insecure pastoral district which is poorly integrated with other markets. Mandera is a food insecure area and cross border market with inadequate trade infrastructure. Marsabit is a conflict affected area that is highly food insecure and poorly integrated with other markets.


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    Source: Direct Relief
    Country: Somalia

    Written by Andrew MacCalla, Emergency Response Manager on November 19, 2012

    Earlier this month, Direct Relief provided a $50,000 grant to support essential obstetric fistula repair surgeries for women who are living with this devastating and debilitating condition in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

    Direct Relief again partnered with the Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA), an international nonprofit organization committed to improving maternal and neonatal health in disadvantaged communities throughout Africa, to help carry out the goals of the grant on the ground in Somalia, where only 1/3 of all births are attended by skilled personnel.

    WAHA aims to improve maternity care to reduce the extremely high rates of maternal mortality and provide fistula repair services for women in the capital city of Mogadishu by training local health providers; establishing an ambulance service; upgrading the quality of equipment within the biggest child and maternity hospital in Somalia, Benadir Hospital; creating a midwifery school; and creating a 60-bed facility dedicated to fistula repair.

    To fulfill this three-year project, WAHA is also working closely with Somali Ministry of Health, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and The Fistula Foundation.

    These quality maternal and neonatal health services, including obstetric fistula treatment, are essential for host and internally displaced populations in Mogadishu. Since 2007, more than 2.2 million people have been displaced from their homes as a result of a raging insurgency combined with extreme food shortages because of an extensive drought and high rates of inflation.

    The $50,000 grant from Direct Relief will help enable WAHA to carry out this vital work and will be used for the following essential interventions:

    • $22,000—train nine Somali fistula care staff to fully take over the fistula repair operations at Benadir Hospital. This includes: two obstetrician-gynecologists, two anesthetist technicians, one operating theater nurse, two nurses, two social support/reintegration officers

    • $18,000—perform 24 fistula repair operations for women who would otherwise be unable to pay for the procedure

    • $10,000—repair and refurbishment of the 60 bed fistula treatment department including fixing holes in the roof, replacing electrical circuits and plumbing, rebuilding the sanitation facilities

    Obstetric fistula is caused by prolonged and obstructed labor and creates a hole in the birth canal that, if left untreated, can cause chronic incontinence and bodily fluid leakage. Often the baby is lost and the hole that is created in the birth canal creates a severely debilitating and tragically ostracizing condition for each woman with the condition.

    Roughly two million women in the developing world women suffer with this devastating – but fixable – problem and an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 cases develop each year, far surpassing the global capacity for treatment. The condition primarily results from a lack of quality maternity care services.

    Together, Direct Relief and Women and Health Alliance will be able to reduce the number of women suffering from obstetric fistula in Mogadishu.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad

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


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    Source: UN Development Programme
    Country: Niger (the)

    Paris, France - In the wake of a major meeting of donors, Niger has collected $ 4.8 billion in substantial development-oriented funds with a focus on food security.

    Facing chronic food shortages and weakened by the security situation in neighbouring Mali, Niger has unveiled its new development strategy, a full-fledged roadmap for 2012-2015.

    The Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES) has five priorities: strengthening the rule of law, sustainable and inclusive development, food security, economic diversification, and social development. It aims to achieve economic growth of eight percent on average and to ensure that the general public can truly share in the benefits of growth.

    Organized by the Government of Niger in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the round-table was attended by over 300 participants and 56 delegations from major bilateral and multilateral partners including the European Union, France, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), agencies of the United Nations, and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

    UNDP has assisted the Government in developing the plan and will continue its involvement in the plan's implementation. UNDP is currently working with the Government of Niger on the establishment of a framework for expediting the attainment of the MDGs, in an effort to remove constraints that result in food and nutrition insecurity.

    Elected in March 2011, the government has laid the foundation for the N3 Initiative ("The people of Niger feed their fellow citizens") and intends to provide the Nigerien people with protection from hunger and poverty by equipping them with the wherewithal required to ensure their comprehensive participation in national agricultural production and thereby improve their incomes.

    Priority actions will focus on efforts to broaden access to seeds, fertilizers and irrigation, to improve nutrition for all, to extend social safety nets, and to strengthen the technical expertise of small farmers.

    UNDP has assisted the Government of Niger in its democratic transition by supporting the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections of 2011. Niger continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world, despite its numerous potential strengths and natural resources, in particular oil and uranium.


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay

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

    1. CONTEXT

    The Latin American region is considered one of the most disaster prone regions in the world, in terms of recurrence of hazards, their severity and scope and the significant potential for major disasters. Many Latin American countries are exposed to a wide range of hazards almost every year, such as floods, landslides, earthquakes and droughts producing human and financial losses.

    In the last five years, changes in weather patterns are being reported consistently in the Americas. Recurrent droughts have increased vulnerability in many countries in the region. Reduction of rainy days and lower volumes of rainfall result in increasing rain deficits, and changing weather patterns have a devastating impact on human food security particularly for populations living in areas such as the Chaco (covering parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay), and in the "dry corridor" in Central America (covering parts of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua).

    In recent years droughts have affected areas which are already very vulnerable due to pre-existing conditions such as weak management of resources including water, high food insecurity and presenting seasonal peaks of under nutrition, leading to a need for humanitarian assistance. The recurrence of these events further deteriorates and erodes people's livelihoods and coping mechanisms. Their resilience is, hence, low.

    In Bolivia and Paraguay, the Chaco area is facing an abnormally harsh situation linked primarily to the consequences of cumulative droughts during recent years, manifesting itself most immediately as an acute livelihoods crisis. It is a region with high levels of dependency on rain-fed subsistence farming with a high proportion of indigenous communities, whose lives and livelihoods are further undermined by each subsequent drought. From 2007 to 2010 below average rainfall produced significant food production losses resulting in a food security crisis in 2010.

    In Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, the 2009-2010 drought affected 8.5 million people, especially in the area called the "dry-corridor". This drought followed several years of below normal precipitation levels in the area and already existing high chronic malnutrition rates which reached levels of more than 50% of all children under 5 years, and more than 70% among indigenous children (in Guatemala, the LAC country with the highest rates of chronic malnutrition).

    La Niña climate phenomenon weakened during the first semester of 2012 leading to a transition to ENSO1-neutral conditions during May-July, and a subsequent likelihood of transition to El Niño at the end of 2012. Scientific institutions forecast that for 2012-2013 El Niño phenomena may trigger an aggravation of the situation and make it necessary to provide additional assistance2. Meteorological services in Central America forecast irregular rains and deficits in some areas from June to October 2012, which could affect the development of primary crops in the region. This, combined with El Niño, could jeopardize food security during 2012-2013.

    Considering the increasing predictability of drought in these areas and its impact on food security, DG ECHO decided in 2011 to fund a specific intervention aiming at building local capacities to sustainably manage droughts, to foster food and nutrition security and thereby build resilience.

    In order to complete the achievements of the 2011-2012 interventions, there is a need for a second and last phase to consolidate the achievements of the first phase, foster the transition to more resilient communities, further expand the evidence-based advocacy strategy, and to achieve handover and exit strategies.


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