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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    11/20/2012 02:28 GMT

    NAIROBI, Nov 20, 2012 (AFP) - One side surges forward only to retreat under a hail of stones then the opposing side advances and comes in for a flurry of stones -- in Eastleigh, a quarter of Nairobi that was the scene of a deadly attack, youths of Somali origin Monday battled Kenyans from other communities.

    "Those Somalis are terrorists," say the youths on one side, lumping together the Somali refugees and Kenyans of Somali extraction who together make up the majority of Eastleigh's inhabitants.

    "They have money and they are bankrolling the Shebab," say several members of the group that calls itself the "Kenyans", referring to Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists.

    For the "Kenyans" the Somalis are to blame for a blast Sunday in a bus in Eastleigh that killed nine people.

    But for many Somalis in Eastleigh the bus bombing is a mere pretext for non- Somali youths from the slums on the other side of Juja Road to come and steal.

    "Since the blast they've seized the chance to come and loot. These are not local kids. They've come especially to steal from us," said Mohamed Noor Ismail, a 36-year-old trader who is patrolling an Eastleigh street, a whip in his hand.

    On First Avenue stones are still flying as the rival sides charge forward and retreat. In their ranks are children looking barely 10 years old.

    A young woman in tight jeans and a low-cut pink top runs forward clutching a stone in one hand and her shoes in the other.

    Rioters try to tip over a bus whose windows have been broken.

    Thirty minutes go by before the paramilitary police GSU unit, which has been patrolling the district, actually intervenes. The opposing sides are separated with teargas.

    The mere sight of the GSU has any group of young people taking to their heels. Somalis are also patrolling their district, armed with machetes, clubs or iron bars.

    Down a dirt road one of their victims, a young man of about 20, kneels in the dust moaning for help, blood streaming from a large machete gash to the back of his skull.

    "He's a street kid. They found him stealing," said a voice among the bystanders, some of them lost as to what to do about the boy, others looking on with a degree of satisfaction.

    Earlier the looters seem to have had a field day. Once the pitched battle is over Gain Wamuyu can only survey the damage.

    "They've taken everything," she sighed in resignation in front of the stall where she sold cigarettes, sweets, biros and phone cards, now reduced to some empty shelves and a broken pane of glass.

    Calm returned slowly to the area. Parents grasp firmly by the hand the children they have collected from school, pulling them along as quickly as their legs will go.

    The riots in Eastleigh left six people seriously wounded, according to the Kenyan Red Cross, which also counted "a large number" of people with less serious injuries.

    The police will be deployed "until the situation returns to normal", Nairobi police chief Moses Nyakwama Ombati said.

    By mid-afternoon a semblance of calm had returned. Cars and minibuses again started venturing out and traders reopened their premises even as the acrid smell of teargas remained.

    But some protestors still felt frustrated. On the "Kenyan" side of Juja Road youths accused the police of having sided with the Somalis.

    And tensions remained.

    "Take your veil off!" a group of "Kenyan" protestors shouted at a Muslim woman, before chanting at another groups of Somali women: "We're in Kenya here!"

    ayv/aud/hv/bm

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen

    Food Security and Malnutrition

    A large part of the country is facing food insecurity, malnutrition, lack of safe water, inadequate health services and displacement of civilians. A significant number of humanitarian partners are on the ground, but they need resources to sustain ongoing operations and expand to other areas of need.

    Displacement and Conflict

    More than half a million people have been displaced by fighting between Government forces and militants in the north and south of the country. Many of the displaced have been forced to seek refuge with local host communities, further straining the coping mechanisms of an already vulnerable population. Yemen also hosts a large number of refugees and migrants, mainly from the Horn of Africa, which adds pressure on the country’s limited social and public services.

    Dramatic rise in humanitarian needs beyond the conflict areas

    Humanitarian needs in Yemen have continued to grow despite recent political gains, prompting humanitarian agencies to scale up their response requirements. More than half of Yemen's population do not have access to safe water or adequate food, and about 1 million children under age 5 are acutely malnourished.

    Note: Map in 3 pages


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    Source: European Union
    Country: Mali

    COSEIL DE L'UNION EUROPÉEE

    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.FR 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

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

    10. 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.

    11. 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: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Human Rights Watch, UN Children's Fund, Save the Children, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Georgia, India, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines (the), Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan (the), Syrian Arab Republic (the), Thailand, Uganda, World, Yemen, South Sudan (Republic of)

    Keep Soldiers Out of Schools and Universities

    Military Use Risks Students Lives, Safety, Education

    (New York, November 20, 2012) – The use of schools and other education institutions for military purposes by armed forces and non-state armed groups during wartime endangers students and their education around the world, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in a study released today.

    The 77-page study, “Lessons In War: Military Use of Schools and Other Education Institutions during Conflict”, examines the use of schools and other education institutions for military purposes by government armed forces and opposition or pro-government armed groups during times of armed conflict or insecurity. Schools are used for barracks, logistics bases, operational headquarters, weapons and ammunition caches, detention and interrogation centers, firing and observation positions, and recruitment grounds.

    “The moment troops establish a base inside a school, they can turn it into a target for attack,” said Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. “When soldiers use schools and universities they are often putting their own convenience over the safety and education of students.”

    Countries around the world should adopt policies and laws to restrict military forces and armed groups from using schools and other education institutions during times of armed conflict, the coalition said.

    Between January 2005 and October 2012, the study found, armed forces and armed groups used education institutions in at least 24 countries, a substantial majority of the countries with armed conflicts during this period. The list included countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.

    Sometimes soldiers take over a school entirely, but often they use just a part of the school or university – some classrooms, an entire floor, the playground – and in doing so expose students to attack and other violence. In the worst cases, children have been injured and killed and schools damaged or destroyed as belligerent forces attack schools because military forces had been using them.

    Students’ safety may also be jeopardized by the misconduct of poorly trained or undisciplined soldiers within their school or university. The risks include sexual abuse and harassment and the accidental or misdirected firing of weapons or explosion of ordnance.

    “When countries go to war, education facilities usually end up on the battlefield,” Nijhowne said. “Governments need to send a clear message that even during times of armed conflict, access to a safe education should be a priority, and armed forces need to respect students’ right to education.

    Military use of education institutions can cause damage to already-fragile education infrastructures and systems, the coalition said. The educational consequences of military use of schools and other education institutions include high dropout rates, reduced enrollment, lower rates of transition to higher education levels, overcrowding, and loss of instructional hours. Girls are particularly negatively affected.

    Access to safe learning facilities provides important protection for students during times of armed conflict, the coalition said. Safe schools and universities provide lifesaving information, mitigate the psychosocial impact of war, and protect children from trafficking and recruitment by armed groups. In the long term, a quality education promotes peace and post-conflict reconstruction and helps young people develop the skills and qualifications they need to build lives for themselves and prosperity for their communities.

    While international humanitarian law contains no general ban on the use of school buildings for military purposes, it does prohibit armed forces and armed groups using them at the same time as they are being used by students and teachers for education purposes. Under international law military use of an education institution can convert it into a legitimate military target, placing students and teachers at risk of attack by opposing forces. Even when there is no physical attack, the deterioration in access to schools and universities, quality of teaching, and opportunities to learn can lead to violations of the right to education under international human rights law.

    The study highlights examples of good practice, in which governments have adopted policies that explicitly ban or restrict militaries from using education facilities. For example, Ireland and the Philippines have domestic legislation banning military forces from using schools. In India and Colombia, courts have ordered troops out of schools they were occupying. The Philippines and Colombia have adopted military policies that prohibit military forces using schools. And the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations has just released a new Infantry Battalion Manual that requires peacekeeping troops to not use schools in their operations.

    The study also calls upon states, local organizations, and relevant international agencies to rigorously monitor military use of education institutions to devise effective, coordinated responses, including preventative interventions, rapid response, and both legal and non-legal accountability measures for those individuals or groups who contravene existing laws, judicial orders, or military orders.

    “Governments that have learned from their own experiences of war that they can pursue military operations without endangering schools should encourage other countries to follow their lead,” Nijhowne said. “Schools and universities should be places of learning and safety, not soldiering and fear.”

    The countries with reported military use of education institutions between 2005 and October 2012 are: Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territory, Libya, Mali, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Uganda, and Yemen.

    The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is an alliance of United Nations agencies and organizations from the fields of education in emergencies, higher education, international human rights, and international humanitarian law, dedicated to addressing the problem of attacks on students, teachers, schools, and universities during armed conflict. GCPEA is governed by a steering committee made up of Education Above All, Human Rights Watch, Save the Children International, Scholar Rescue Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Lessons In War: Military Use of Schools and Other Education Institutions during Conflict” is the result of an independent external study commissioned by GCPEA. It is independent of the individual member organizations of the Steering Committee of GCPEA and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Steering Committee member organizations.

    High-resolution photos available: http://gcpea.picturepush.com/album/239056/p-Lessons-in-War.html


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/20/2012 12:52 GMT

    BAMAKO, 20 nov 2012 (AFP) - Les combats entre des islamistes et des rebelles touareg dans la région de Gao (nord-est du Mali), ont fait des dizaines de morts depuis vendredi, a appris mardi l'AFP de sources concordantes.

    "C'est un véritable carnage, il y a eu des dizaines de morts", a affirmé une source sécuritaire malienne, information confirmée par des témoins sur place et par les groupes armés qui se sont combattus, Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao) et rébellion touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA).

    Les combats se sont concentrés dans la zone d'Ansongo puis de Ménaka, villes situées au sud-est de Gao, près de la frontière avec le Niger.

    "Des gens désarmés ont été froidement abattus, il faut une véritable enquête internationale pour savoir ce qui s'est passé à Ménaka", a déclaré la source sécuritaire malienne, en affirmant que des corps "étaient toujours visibles dans la ville".

    Bajan Ag Hamatou, député de la localité de Ménaka, a indiqué que des membres de sa tribu (Touareg) "qui défendaient la ville contre le Mujao, ont été tués", dont Alwabégat Ag Salakatou, président d'un conseil d'élus et de notables de la ville et six de ses compagnons.

    Selon le député, ces notables tués avaient "l'étiquette MNLA, mais en réalité, ils étaient des patriotes locaux qui voulaient défendre leur ville" contre les islamistes.

    Une source sécuritaire nigérienne, interrogée depuis Bamako, a déclaré que "quatre combattants du MNLA gravement blessés ont été évacués vers Niamey".

    Dans plusieurs communiqués diffusés depuis vendredi, le MNLA a donné un bilan global de 65 morts et de plus d'une centaine de blessés dans les rangs du Mujao et d'Al-QaIda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), venu en renfort, et de un mort et treize blessés dans les siens.

    De son côté, le porte-parole du Mujao Abu, Walid Sahraoui, a affirmé que son mouvement avait "tué plus de cent éléments du MNLA" et fait vingt prisonniers.

    Les combats avaient débuté vendredi entre des éléments du Mujao et du MNLA. Ils s'étaient poursuivis lundi, après l'envoi de renforts d'Aqmi au Mujao.

    Des sources sécuritaires régionales et des témoins interrogés par l'AFP ont affirmé que le MNLA avait subi une défaite et que ses combattants avaient été "chassés" de Ménaka, ce que la rébellion touareg a démenti.

    Mardi, une source sécuritaire régionale a affirmé les islamistes du Mujao contrôlaient en grande partie Ménaka où la situation restait tendue.

    Ménaka avait été l'une des premières villes 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.

    Le MNLA voulait en faire 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.

    sd-stb/sba

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/20/2012 20:59 GMT

    by Serge Daniel

    BAMAKO, Nov 20, 2012 (AFP) - Dozens of people -- some of them unarmed -- were killed in a remote part of northern Mali as Islamist fighters backed by Al-Qaeda's north African branch routed Tuareg rebels, a security source said Tuesday.

    The Malian security source called the killings "a real massacre" and said the bodies of some of those slain in violence that began Friday still dotted the arid village of Menaka, in northeastern Mali's Gao region, just above the Niger border.

    "Unarmed people were shot in cold blood," the source said. "There needs to be a genuine international investigation to find out what happened at Menaka."

    Other witnesses and fighters confirmed that dozens had been killed.

    The latest violence in northern Mali, in the hands of Islamist rebels since shortly after a March coup in Bamako, comes amid growing international momentum to reclaim the sparsely populated desert land.

    A hodgepodge of Islamist and Tuareg groups, some homegrown, others foreign, have seen alliances rise and falter in the months of chaos.

    Starting Friday, local Tuareg rebels who want to establish an independent homeland called Azawad battled with the Islamist group the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), which is backed by Al-Qaeda's north African wing, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

    The fighting was focused in Ansongo, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of Menaka, and in Menaka itself, where the Tuareg rebels had hoped to establish a base from which to launch counter-offensives against the Islamists.

    A lawmaker for the Menaka district, Bajan Ag Hamato, said some of his fellow Tuareg had been killed "defending the town against MUJAO", including local political leader Alwabegat Ag Salakatou and six of his entourage.

    He said that although they had been labelled as members of the Tuareg rebels' Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), "in reality they were local patriots who wanted to defend their town".

    It was not immediately possible to confirm who had been killed in the violence. A security source from Niger said four seriously injured MNLA fighters had been evacuated to Niger's capital Niamey.

    The MNLA had previously claimed its fighters killed 65 MUJAO and AQIM members, suffering just one death and 13 injuries on its side, but MUJAO said it killed more than 100 MNLA fighters and took 20 prisoners.

    The fighting picked up again Monday as the Islamist groups were bolstered by reinforcements, witnesses told AFP, saying the MNLA were chased from the town.

    A regional security source on Tuesday said the Islamists controlled most of Menaka.

    -- Nigeria offers 600 troops --

    The MNLA initially fought alongside the Islamist groups now controlling northern Mali, but the more secular Tuareg fighters were soon sidelined.

    The Islamists have imposed sharia law across the north, destroying ancient World Heritage Sites in Timbuktu, stoning a young unmarried couple to death, flogging drinkers and smokers and forcing women under the veil.

    Mali was once considered one of west Africa's most stable democracies but the international community has become increasingly concerned by the conflict.

    European Union foreign ministers on Monday agreed in principle to support a plan agreed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to send 3,300 troops into Mali to reconquer north.

    And Nigeria, west Africa's regional powerhouse, pledged Tuesday to send about 600 troops to join the force.

    The plan must go before the UN Security Council by the end of the month.

    But while calling for a political solution to the crisis, UN special envoy for the Sahel region Romano Prodi said experts thought it could take until September 2013 for troops to be ready for deployment.

    "It is necessary to prepare for military action to be credible. My mission is to do everything to ensure peace and avoid war," the former Italian premier said.

    Facing the spectre of military action, two local groups, the MNLA and Ansar Dine, have said they are ready for talks with the Malian government to help resolve the crisis. But the Tuaregs' weakened position could hamper any bid for a peaceful resolution.

    French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday said he opposed talks with groups "linked to terrorism" in Mali's north, but did not specify to which groups he was referring.

    Hollande was speaking after meeting Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the president of Mauritania, Mali's northwestern neighbour. He added there had been "progress thanks to pressure from Africans themselves regarding the prospect of a military intervention".

    Also Tuesday, one person was killed and three others injured as a rocket-propelled grenade they were carrying accidentally exploded in the courtyard of Iyad Ag Ghaly, the leader of Ansar Dine, according to an elected official from the Kidal region north of Gao.

    sd-stb/wat/gk

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Senegal

    DAKAR, 20 November 2012 (IRIN) - Health workers currently immunizing thousands of children and young adults against Meningitis A in Benin are currently doing so without having to spend days preparing ice packs and sourcing generators and fridges to load on trucks because the vaccine has now won approval for being kept at up to 40 degrees Celsius for as long as four days.

    Before, like almost all vaccines, the Meningitis A vaccine (marketed in Africa as MenAfricVac) was only licensed for use if kept at temperatures of 2-8 degrees Celsius.

    The breakthrough follows years of rigorous testing of the effect of heat on the vaccine by the regulator Drugs Controller General of India, Health Canada, [ http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/index-eng.php ] and the World Health Organization (WHO) Vaccines pre-qualification programme. [ http://apps.who.int/prequal/ ]

    As a result, very remote populations will access the vaccine more easily, the logistics of vaccine campaigns will be simpler, and vaccine campaign costs will drop both for partners and for national governments, said Michel Zaffran, coordinator of WHO's Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), [ http://www.who.int/immunization_delivery/en/ ] and Marie-Pierre Preziosi, director of the meningitis Vaccine Project, a partnership between international NGO PATH [ http://www.path.org/ ] and WHO.

    Costs will not drop significantly immediately, but will diminish as more vaccines are relicensed, says WHO. Cost implication studies are under way in northern Benin and Chad.

    While cold chain limitations do not tend to limit coverage, they do overburden health workers, says WHO.

    Even industrialized country vaccine campaigns have trouble sticking to the cold chain, and each year thousands of vaccines are thrown away due to cold chain failure, even if the vaccine might still have been unaffected, according to WHO.

    "This is a breakthrough," said Zaffran. "It is the first vaccination ever to be licensed for use in a developing country with the flexibility to take us out of the rigid temperature structure. It is a great simplification of logistics. And it opens the door for other manufacturers to follow suit."

    Why so long?

    But the vaccine is nothing new - merely the license has changed following analysis of years of data on the vaccine's stability - that is, how well it can withstand temperature rises and other conditions.

    "The potential for some vaccines to remain safely outside the cold chain for short periods of time has been widely known for over 20 years," said Zaffran in a recent communiqué. "But this is the first time a vaccine intended for use in Africa has been tested and submitted to regulatory review and approved for this type of use."

    It took decades to get here because agencies got stuck in a mindset, said Zaffran. The EPI was set up in the 1970s to immunize as many children against diseases as quickly as possible, and put in place simple rigid rules to avoid risk: one of which was to keep vaccines cold. "It was quite difficult to move away from this mentality," said Zaffran.

    Regulators and manufacturers are "very conservative in order to protect the population," said Preziosi. "It took a while for all the documentation to be gathered to convince them to go ahead."

    Strict controls remain: "This is not a "green light to do anything with a vaccine - it still needs to be kept. at no more than 40 degrees, for any more than four days," stressed Zaffran.

    Hepatitis B next?

    "The momentum is there. I am quite confident that within the next year or two, we'll have one or two more re-licensed in this way," he said.

    Analysis on the heat stability of Hepatitis B and HPV [ http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/whatishpv.html ] (human papillomavirus) vaccines is under way; next on the list are yellow fever, rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.

    Even the oral polio vaccine - one of the most heat-sensitive vaccines - was shown to be stable when the cold chain broke down in a part of Chad, according to a recent study though WHO was emphatic that rather than licensing the vaccine it will gradually be phased out as progress towards eradication inches along.

    Meningitis progress

    The MenAfricVac, which costs just under 50 US cents per dose, was designed for use in the 26 countries that span the African meningitis belt, from Senegal to Ethiopia.

    Some 100 million people aged 1-29 across 10 countries have been vaccinated thus far; a further 16 countries are planned between now and 2016.

    Early results have been very positive: Burkina Faso [ http://www.irinnews.org/Report/92985/WEST-AFRICA-Meningitis-cases-dramat... ] has had the lowest level of epidemic meningitis in 15 years, and the campaign is achieving "herd immunity" - that is, those either too old or too young to have received the vaccine have also been shown to be clear of the bacteria.

    Meningitis A could be eliminated in the meningitis belt if the mass campaign continues, says Preziosi, and if governments then incorporate it in their routine immunization programmes.

    But more funding beyond the US$160 million from the GAVI Alliance, [ http://www.gavialliance.org/ ] and contributions from national governments, will be needed to complete the campaign, she warns.

    aj/cb


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    Source: Government of the Republic of Korea
    Country: Republic of Korea (the), Somalia
    1. The government of the Republic of Korea has decided to provide humanitarian assistance worth 500,000 US dollars to Somalia, where a years-long drought has incurred a chronic food crisis.

    2. The aforementioned aid will be channeled into the food supply project conducted by the UN World Food Programme in Somalia.

    Spokesperson and Deputy Minister for Public Relations of MOFAT

    • unofficial translation

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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Somalia

    NAIROBI, 20 November 2012 (IRIN) - Expanding the use of cash transfer programmes could encourage sustainable development and reduce dependency on emergency support in fragile states such as Somalia, experts say.

    For decades, Somalia has been the recipient of emergency aid for chronic crises, such as persistent food insecurity. At present, 2.12 million people in Somalia are facing an acute food security crisis, according to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU).

    Social protection programmes - including cash transfers - are seen as a way to mitigate this consistent need for emergency relief.

    "Cash transfers can give the ability and flexibility to poor households to purchase according to their own priority needs," Sara Pavanello, an independent researcher, told IRIN. They also give poor households the opportunity to save or invest, for example by sending children to school, reducing long-term vulnerability.

    The interest in cash transfers stems in part from "frustration with the limitations of humanitarian aid, which in some contexts is being used to meet chronic need instead of acute need," Paul Harvey, a partner at Humanitarian Outcomes, told IRIN.

    "The need to respond to short-term acute needs will not go away, thus the need for food, cash, or a combination. There's also a need to think about longer-term social protection, [which is] not a substitution [for] humanitarian aid," he said.

    The use of cash transfers in the Hunger Safety Net programme in Kenya and the Productive Safety Net Programme in Ethiopia have shown that longer-term social protection approaches offer an alternative to recurrent emergency relief, Harvey observed.

    An opportunity for fragile states

    Social protection measures are traditionally undertaken by governments, which administer welfare payments or otherwise maintain a social safety net.

    But such tasks are daunting for fragile states like Somalia, which lacks essential institutions and infrastructure as it emerges from decades of civil conflict.

    Save the Children and the Somali NGO ADESO have, through a pilot programme, attempted to show that international aid actors could provide social protection in Somalia - provided donors were willing to finance it.

    But "the willingness of donors to finance it in the absence of a government is up for question," Harvey said.

    According to Jesse McConnell, director of Reform Development Consulting, the participation of government is essential for implementing social protection programmes in fragile states: "A primary benefit of a cash transfer programme in a fragile state - if used in conjunction with some form of government - can be the growth of the state's legitimacy amongst its citizenry. This is especially important in the rebuilding of a collapsed state, such as Somalia, which has seen a history of fractured leadership and a virtual absence of governance."

    Social protection programmes that circumvent the role of the government could undermine the country's recovery, he continued.

    "Perhaps the most important consideration in setting up a cash-based social protection programme in Somalia. is the need to partner with some level of government authority rather than simply distributing cash from an external agency, thus perpetuating the perception of 'hand-outs'. which can also easily undermine local efforts to build governing capacity and legitimacy."

    Considerations

    In fragile states, a variety of factors can influence whether cash is an appropriate form of assistance.

    "To be appropriate, local markets should be able to supply people with what they need. The risk of inflation should be understood and not high to the point of eroding the real value of the transfer," said researcher Pavanello. "It is also important to recognize that, especially in fragile contexts. providing any type of assistance carries a high risk of diversion and corruption."

    Yet transparently administering cash transfer programmes can help to encourage accountability and strengthen governance while addressing vulnerability, according to McConell.

    In some contexts, cash may be less prone to corruption than food assistance, simply because is less visible, while in other situations, providing people with cash may expose them to violence or theft.

    "Well-suited" for Somalia

    Cash transfers are widely regarded as an important aid option in Somalia .

    "Somalia is surprisingly well-suited to large-scale cash programming," ADESCO executive director Degan Ali wrote in an opinion piece in Humanitarian Exchange Magazine. "Markets are robust and well-integrated," she said, "and the country has sophisticated, long-term market monitoring systems maintained by FEWSNET [Famine early Warning Systems Network] and FSNAU, providing data on essential commodities."

    Somalia also has a highly developed remittance system; Somalis living abroad send home at least US$1 billion each year.

    Cash transfers proved critical in the country last year, when food aid was unavailable. The UN World Food Programme had been banned when the famine struck south-central Somalia. "Cash transfers were the only form of assistance that aid agencies could provide to increase access to food and other basic necessities quickly," Degan wrote.

    aw/kr/rz [END]


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    Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit
    Country: Somalia

    Highlights

    • Inflation: The October Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined in all Somali Shilling (SoSh) areas but remained steady in Somaliland Shilling (SlSh) regions. The CPI is significantly higher compared to the base period (March 2007) in SoSh areas; it is moderately elevated in SlSh areas.

    • Exchange rates between local currencies to the USD remained relatively stable with the SoSh losing slight ground while the SlSh extended signs of recovery in the last two months. Compared to the same period a year ago, SlSh depreciated against the USD, whereas SoSh gained considerable value. The appreciation of the SoSh is attributed to increased supply of dollars through humanitarian interventions, high livestock trade, increased investments and port activities (Mogadishu). The weakening of SlSh is due to increased supply and circulation of new currency notes.

    • Local grain prices were mixed; remained stable in most markets, increased slightly in Juba regions, but declined significantly in the North SoSh areas and in Banadir. Compared to a year ago, cereal prices are significantly lower in the SoSh zones due to higher supplies from a combination of sources, including domestic production, commercial imports and humanitarian food; the prices were relatively stable in the North SlSh areas in the same period of comparison.

    • Prices of most imported commodities were generally stable in most markets over the month of October 2012, but declined in the port cities and in the surrounding markets. On the contrary, wheat flour prices went up in most markets as a result of high wheat price on the international markets due to tight global supplies. Compared to the same period last year, imported commodity prices are significantly lower due to the strengthened SoSh, higher supplies through Mogadishu port.

    • Livestock prices increased in nearly all markets during October. Compared to the same month last year, livestock prices are significantly higher across all regions. The price appreciation was mainly due to improved body conditions, low supply of saleable stock and high export demand during Hajj (Muslim pilgrimage).

    • Labour wages either remained constant or increased in all regions supported by ongoing Deyr seasonal preparations in the South-Central and Gu-Karan harvests in the Northern agro-pastoral livelihoods. Labour wages are significantly higher compared to their levels a year ago in most markets.

    • Terms of Trade (ToT) between labour wage and cereals were mixed in October mostly remaining stable but significantly rising in Banadir and parts of Sorghum Belt. The purchasing power has significantly improved when compared to a year ago due to lower cereal prices, improved goat prices and higher labour wages (Table 1).


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

    (New York, 20 November 2012): Following a two-day visit to Eritrea, OCHA Operations Director John Ging has called on the international community to support the country as it strives to end hunger and enhance livelihoods resilience to severe climatic conditions.

    During his visit, Mr. Ging met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Osman Salih, the Minister of National Development, Dr. Giorgish Teeklemichael, and the Political Advisor to the President, Mr. Yemani Gebreab, as well as humanitarian partners and representatives of the donor community. He was pleased to hear of the renewed partnership between the Government and humanitarian and development actors, which will soon be finalized through a Strategic Partnership Cooperation Framework for 2013 to 2016. He highlighted that humanitarian action can help provide Eritrea with a solid foundation for development and that, working together, the Government, humanitarians and development actors can build the resilience of Eritrean communities to withstand shocks and cope with climate change.

    Mr. Ging was briefed on Eritrea’s impressive progress towards the Millennium Development Goals – most particularly reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. “We must do all that we can to support these efforts,” said Mr. Ging.

    Visiting the villages of Embeyto and Kodadu, John Ging saw first-hand the benefits of a water project implemented jointly by UNICEF, the Ministry of Land, Water and Environment, the Regional Infrastructure Department and the community. The project provides nearly 2,000 people with access to safe and adequate drinking water and is maintained by a local water and sanitation committee involving equal numbers of men and women. Mr. Ging also visited a health centre just outside Asmara City, where he met children receiving therapeutic feeding for malnutrition.

    “Malnutrition is something no child should have to experience,” said Mr. Ging. “It causes unspeakable physical pain and impairs cognitive development. I am deeply impressed by the community’s efforts to monitor this problem and to refer all those in need to centres such as the one I saw, where they receive comprehensive care from dedicated and diligent professionals. Yet, more must be done. Working together, we can build food security and enhance nutrition amongst the Eritrean population, supporting the Government in their efforts to halve the number of people in hunger by 2015.”


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger (the)

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


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan (the)

    FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

    • Favourable prospects for the 2012 main “meher” season crops

    • Prices of maize and wheat decline in most markets, while prices of sorghum and teff are still well above average

    • Estimated number of people in need of food assistance expected to decrease in the coming months

    • Number of refugees, mainly from Somalia, remains at record level of 300 000 people


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    Source: MSF
    Country: Somalia

    Years of intense violence, drought, malnutrition, and infectious disease have wrecked the Somali health system and displaced thousands of Somalis from their homes. While food security seems to have improved since 2011, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) assessment shows that malnutrition rates are still alarming in many parts of the country, including the outskirts of Mogadishu.

    According to this assessment, one in four children living in camps outside the Somali capital are malnourished. In response to this critical situation, an MSF team launched an emergency three-day intervention to provide urgent nutritional treatment and on-site medical care to children under the age of five.

    MSF medical staff visited 34 camps hosting more than 15,000 displaced people who live without sufficient access to health care. Many have suffered multiple displacements and are extremely vulnerable.

    Over three days, 1,500 children were screened for acute malnutrition and 396 were admitted to MSF’s nutritional program, 70 of them with severe acute malnutrition. The MSF team also provided emergency medical care to 162 children, referring 25 of them to the MSF pediatric hospital in Mogadishu’s Hamar Weyne District. Most were suffering from respiratory tract infections, skin diseases, and/or diarrhea. Additionally, some 380 children were immunized against measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and polio.

    The continuing insecurity in most parts of the country and restrictions of access for humanitarian workers remain major obstacles to MSF’s medical assistance in Somalia. In this challenging environment, the organization is constantly adapting its medical response. With a restricted ability to conduct proper assessments and respond to any new acute situations, MSF teams are forced to implement limited interventions, with a focus on only the most critical medical needs.

    In October 2011, two MSF aid workers, Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut, were abducted from the Dadaab refugee camps in northeastern Kenya while carrying out emergency assistance for the Somali population. They remain in captivity, and MSF—while still responding to acute crises—has suspended the opening of any new non-emergency projects in Somalia until their release.

    MSF has worked continuously in Somalia since 1991 and currently provides lifesaving medical care to hundreds of thousands of Somalis in ten regions of the country, as well as in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia. Over 1,400 staff provide a range of services, including free primary health care, malnutrition treatment, surgery, water, and relief supply distributions and assistance to displaced people. MSF relies solely on private charitable donations for its work in Somalia and does not accept any government funding.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Somalia

    By Susannah Price

    MOGADISHU, Somalia, 20 November 2012 – Mayeda* was displaced in 1992 and again in 2011 because of famine in southern Somalia. She has lived in Tarabunka camp for a year.

    In Somalia, photographer Kate Holt documents the lives of women and girls who have been affected by gender-based violence.

    A man broke into the shelter where Mayeda’s family was living and raped her young daughter. “It is very easy for these gangs to come to our place and do whatever they want,” she says.

    Another ordeal

    According to UNHCR, there are more than 180,000 internally displaced persons in Benadir region, which includes the capital, Mogadishu. There are makeshift settlements across the area, with most internally displaced persons reporting they have come from outside the city to escape drought or conflict.

    Young girls and women forced to leave their homes and villages face another ordeal once they arrive at the camps set up for the displaced.

    There, they are vulnerable to attacks and rape, particularly at night, or when they are out collecting firewood or during food distributions.

    Amina has come to Mogadishu to escape fighting. She, her unemployed husband and their four children have ended up in Tarabunka camp. Amina says there are cases of violence against girls and women every day.

    She has seen a teenager chased by a gang and sexually assaulted. “This happens often here in this camp – and has happened to me,” she says.

    According to Aisha, 32, who has fled Bossasso for Mogadishu, attacks on children are a common problem.

    “Every family that has a 9-year-old girl will hide them at night so that she can be safe,” says Aisha, who has nine children. “If women go out to find firewood, they are going to be raped, and they are attacked in the middle of the night by gunmen – and there is nowhere to go.”

    Treatment, support and relocation

    UNICEF has supplied post-rape treatment kits to all districts in Mogadishu through four hospitals and maternal and child health centres. Centre workers have been trained in psycho-social support and clinical management of rape.

    UNICEF is also ensuring that survivors of rape who are still at risk are relocated to safer areas and can access income-generating activities to support their families.

    In an area that includes Mogadishu, UNICEF is training teachers on basic emotional support to ensure that schools have social workers able to prevent and respond to sexual violence and abuse against children.

    In the northern areas of Puntland and Somaliland, UNICEF and partners provide technical support to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. These ministries have introduced training in psycho-social care and support into the training curricula for teachers and health professionals.

    UNICEF partners are using the new Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS) to track trends and patterns of different forms of gender-based violence against both children and adults. The GBVIMS informs UNICEF’s programmes in order to respond to and prevent gender-based violence better.

    UNICEF also supports the distribution of fuel-efficient stoves as a proactive prevention mechanism against gender-based violence. These stoves reduce the need for women and girls to go out and search for firewood.

    *Names have been changed to protect identities.


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    Source: UN Development Programme, The Global Fund
    Country: Mali

    BAMAKO/GENÈVE – Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme a conclu aujourd’hui un accord avec le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) prévoyant la reprise d’un programme complet de lutte contre le VIH, qui permettrait notamment d’offrir un traitement vital à des dizaines de milliers de Maliens.

    Au titre de cet accord, le Fonds mondial a approuvé un financement de 58 millions d’euros (75 millions de dollars) sur les trois années à venir pour le dépistage, la prévention et le traitement du VIH/sida au Mali. On compte actuellement dans le pays quelque 50 000 personnes vivant avec le VIH/sida.

    « La conclusion de cet accord associant le Fonds mondial, le PNUD et le Mali est un motif d’espoir pour beaucoup de nos ressortissants, » affirme le ministre des Affaires étrangères du Mali, M. Tiéman Coulibaly.

    Ciblant en particulier les groupes de population à haut risque, le programme vise en priorité à réduire le risque de transmission du VIH de la mère à l’enfant ainsi qu’à encourager les femmes enceintes à se soumettre volontairement, et plus systématiquement, à un test de dépistage.

    Après la découverte d’irrégularités dans ce domaine, le Fonds mondial et ses partenaires ont décidé d’agir pour rétablir la confiance dans la gestion des subventions au Mali.

    À titre de mesure provisoire et afin d’assurer la continuité du traitement antirétroviral aux 25 288 personnes qui en bénéficiaient dans le pays, la subvention du Fonds mondial fût limitée en 2011 au financement des services indispensables. Selon l’arrangement adopté, il devint également possible de commencer à traiter de nouveaux patients, de sorte que leur nombre s’élève aujourd’hui à 30 000.

    L’Instance de coordination nationale du Mali a demandé au PNUD de se charger de la gestion de la subvention pour le programme de lutte contre le VIH.

    Depuis 2011, le Fonds mondial a renforcé les mécanismes de gestion et de supervision des subventions et, de son côté, le PNUD a consolidé la protection contre la fraude et élargi l’accès du Fonds mondial aux audits internes des programmes qu’il finance.

    « Le nouveau financement, qui développe les programmes de lutte contre le VIH au Mali, constitue un grand pas en avant et souligne la volonté du Fonds mondial de soutenir les interventions vitales dans le pays, en particulier à un moment où la situation humanitaire exige une attention accrue. On compte aujourd’hui plus de 30 000 personnes dans le pays qui suivent un traitement régulier et 20 000 autres qui nécessitent des soins de qualité. Et nous pensons que ces chiffres vont augmenter », explique Mark Edington, chef de la Division de la gestion des subventions du Fonds mondial.

    Le Coordonnateur résident des Nations Unies et Représentant résident du PNUD au Mali, Aurélien A. Agbénonci, est satisfait de ce nouveau partenariat, qui d’après lui s’inscrit parfaitement dans la stratégie nationale de développement du pays.

    « Pour nous, cette intervention constitue un investissement à long terme en matière de renforcement des capacités, » souligne M. Agbénonci. « Elle vise à encourager une stratégie d’adaptation nationale moins dépendante de l’aide extérieure, et donc plus durable. »

    En tant que partenariat public-privé novateur, le Fonds mondial a joué un rôle primordial dans la riposte mondiale aux trois maladies pandémiques (sida, tuberculose et paludisme), et cela grâce à de nombreuses collaborations, dont celle avec les Nations Unies. Il représente ainsi le plus grand instrument international d’aide à la lutte contre ces maladies, qui touchent de manière disproportionnée les pays les moins avancés.

    Le PNUD fait fonction de bénéficiaire principal, avec environ un dixième du portefeuille général de subventions du Fonds mondial, principalement dans des pays en situation particulièrement difficile, tels que ceux qui sortent de crises.

    Le partenariat du PNUD avec le Fonds mondial a permis de soigner plus de 26 millions de cas de paludisme et 700 000 cas de tuberculose, dans le Soudan du Sud et la République démocratique du Congo ainsi qu’au Libéria, au Bélarus, à Haïti et au Tadjikistan.

    Depuis sa création en 2002, le Fonds mondial est devenu la principale source de financement des programmes de lutte contre le sida, contre la tuberculose et contre le paludisme, avec des subventions s’élevant à 22,9 milliards de dollars pour plus de 1 000 programmes à travers 151 pays. À ce jour, les programmes appuyés par le Fonds mondial dispensent des traitements contre le sida à 3,6 millions de personnes et des traitements contre la tuberculose à 9,3 millions de personnes; ils ont également permis de distribuer 270 millions de moustiquaires traitées à l’insecticide pour la prévention du paludisme.

    Le Fonds mondial finance des programmes au Mali depuis décembre 2003. Il a décaissé environ 90 millions de dollars pour ces programmes, afin de fournir des traitements aux ARV à 30 000 patients, de tester et traiter 17 000 tuberculeux à frottis positif et de distribuer 720 000 moustiquaires traitées au Mali. Au cours des mois à venir, le Fonds mondial prévoit de signer deux accords pour la lutte contre le paludisme et la tuberculose dans le pays.

    Il y a une décennie, quasiment aucune personne habitant un pays en développement et vivant avec le VIH n’avait accès aux traitements vitaux antirétroviraux. On en compte aujourd’hui plus de 8 millions.

    Le PNUD travaille avec plusieurs pays en vue de mieux comprendre et répondre aux dimensions développementales du VIH et des autres maladies ; il promeut l’appropriation des initiatives de réponse par les pouvoirs publics et la population, de manière à en assurer la durabilité.

    Contacts médias

    Fonds mondial

    Équipe des relations médias: Véronique Taveau, Tél. : +41 58 791 11 28

    PNUD

    Nouvelles et médias: Julie Marks, Tél. : +1 212 906 5358

    Directeur de pays du Mali: Maurice Dewulf, Tél. : +223 449 803 101


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    Source: Emergency Capacity Building Project, Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Togo

    Crisis Overview

    Violence erupted in northern Mali in mid-January when Tuareg-led rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) launched a bid to create an independent state. The affected areas include Tombouctou, Kidal, Gao, and a part of the Mopti region. The rebellion succeeded expelling Government troops from the area and led to a coup that toppled the Government in Bamako. After MNLA proclaimed the independent state of Azawad in April 2012, the Islamist groups Ansar Dine and MUJAO retook large parts of northern Mali and, with support of Islamic groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), sidelined the MNLA. Currently, various armed groups operate in the north, including religious extremists, secular rebels, secessionists, bandits and criminal enterprises trafficking drugs, people and goods. Extensive human rights abuses have been reported caused both by insecurity and a strict implementation of Sharia law imposed by Islamist rebels. Access to basic services and food is severely hampered. To date, the crisis has displaced over 400,000 people of which 200,000 have fled to neighbouring countries.

    The situation has been exacerbated by the Sahel drought which caused high food prices and affected 1.76 million people in the north. Humanitarian access to the region remains limited. Islamic groups restrict international aid, and large areas are characterised by widespread insecurity and lack of basic infrastructure. On 11 November, ECOWAS leaders agreed on deploying an African-led international force in Mali, consisting of 3,300 troops. It is, however, unlikely that this intervention will occur before mid-2013.


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Kenya

    One year after the Kenyans for Kenya Drought Initiative began, one of the areas, Walda Location in Sololo District, Moyale is already reaping the fruits of the work.

    The mid- to long-term plan for the initiative was to focus on integrated food security, water and sanitation, and health with a specific objective of ensuring resilience to the effects of drought for populations in Turkana North, East Pokot and Moyale.

    The integrated food security and livelihood project in Walda aimed to improve the food security situation of an estimated 2,100 people through irrigation projects, greenhouse farming and training of farmers. A total of four boreholes yielding 60 cubic meters per hour have been sunk. A water pan, as well as a dam for water storage, was also sunk as well to improve irrigation options.

    The project has also identified 60 acres of land which is suitable for farming, and seedbeds were established. One year later, the residents of Walda are already recording bumper harvests. The key crops that are already being harvested include tomatoes, buttercups, kale and spinach.

    The residents are all smiles as they sell their farm produces in markets that include Marsabit, Moyale and Isiolo. Cooperatives have been established to ensure that the residents who have moved from the pastoralist lifestyle into farming are able to manage their funds in a sustainable way, as well as getting their goods to market in the best possible condition.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Senegal

    The Government of Senegal has recently donated 1.5 billion CFA (3 million USD) to reach those affected by the food and nutrition crisis who are not currently receiving WFP food assistance.

    “806,000 vulnerable people have been targeted by WFP assistance through targeted food and cash vouchers distributions. To date you [WFP] have reached more than one million people in 12 out of the 14 regions in Senegal,” said President Macky Sall.

    President Macky Sall added, “My hope is that this assistance continues to support more Senegalese affected by the food crisis, especially in areas not yet reached such as the northern part of Senegal, Dakar and its suburbs, Thies and the centre of the country, and the Saloum islands.”

    In late September 2012, President Macky Sall and WFP Senegal Country Director Ingeborg Maria Breuer met for an interview joined by Minister of Economy and Finance Amadou Kane and Minister of Women, Children and Women’s Entrepreneurship Maimouna Sarr.

    "We are honored by this very special gesture which reflects the commitment of the President of the Republic to work actively for the welfare of Senegalese people. We are especially grateful for the trust placed in us to respond urgently to the needs of the most vulnerable Senegalese,” said WFP Senegal Country Director Ingeborg Maria Breuer.

    Part of the donation by the Government of Senegal will be used to reinforce WFP cash vouchers activities.

    WFP Senegal Country Director Ingeborg Maria Breuer reassured President Macky Sall on the rigor and transparency that will guide the management and implementation of the cash voucher distributions in the areas indicated by the Senegalese administrative authorities.

    Joint teams with the Government of Senegal and partners involved in the emergency response will soon carry out the targeting of people to be assisted. Distribution operations are set to beging in the next few weeks once the areas of intervention are identified.

    "We acknowledge WFP’s professionalism, the relevance of strategies implemented in the context of the response to the food and nutrition crisis in Senegal, and also the transparency in which these programs are executed,” said President Macky Sall. “WFP warned public authorities early on, which led us to react quickly when we assumed our presidency.”

    “We are actively committed to work closely with the government at both strategic and operational levels to ensure that food safety issues are permanently resolved in Senegal,” said WFP Senegal Country Director Ingeborg Maria Breuer.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: France, Gambia (the), Italy, Senegal, Spain

    DAKAR, 21 November 2012 (IRIN) - One in four Senegalese migrants returns home within five years, according to the French National Institute of Demographic Research (INED). Many are armed with new skills that could help drive development, but most receive little support to reintegrate into their families or to target their skills, representing a wasted resource, say migrant support organizations in Senegal.

    According to the most recent statistics, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates half a million Senegalese work abroad, most of them in West Africa, followed by Europe. Most Senegalese migrants go to Gambia, while 45 percent collectively travel to France, Italy and Spain.

    Within 30 years, half of these migrants will be home again estimates INED.

    “Lots of migrants don't realize the knowledge they have accumulated. Even if they were unskilled workers, they learned things like how to work in a large, formal company. They also acquired skills in sectors like construction, where trained workers are useful,” said Federico Barroeta, International Labour Organization (ILO) West Africa migration project coordinator.

    Returnees’ skills can significantly boost the local economy, noted Mame Mbargane Thiam, Senegal representative of CEPAIM, a Spanish foundation that helps migrants plan and implement their return home. He said a returnee who moved to Kaolack in central-eastern Senegal opened a salt factory which employs up to 100 people. “But they don't get the help they should from the Senegalese government or from other partners.”

    Abandoned

    Migrants agree, saying they feel abandoned by both their host and home governments. Returnee Tafsir Dia (in his 40s) works for a Spanish company in Senegal, having spent 16 years working in Spain. “It is not right that I should have lost my rights in Spain while I was helping to develop the Spanish economy,” he told IRIN, referring to having lost the right to access the money he has paid into pension, health insurance and other schemes over the past two decades.

    Upon returning to Senegal, almost all ex-migrants search for work in the informal sector where they set up small businesses. But a year later, many face severe financial difficulties, and business ventures often fail due to lack of training support, said ILO’s Barroeta.

    Jobs that may have provided security and benefits in Europe, pay poorly in Senegal: construction workers, for instance, earn just $US4-6 a day.

    Returnees from France are generally in a better position than those from Spain, as they are generally older, more educated, have spent more time there, and have had more time to plan their return, according to Barroeta.

    The recession in Spain forced one in four workers into unemployment, pushing many migrant workers to try to return home, most of them penniless. Almost half of ILO’s requests from migrants on how to return home come from jobless Senegalese in Spain.

    Forced returns

    It is difficult to estimate what proportion of returnees is forced versus voluntary, as there are no universal definitions of these terms.

    But it is harder to work with migrants who have been forced to return, usually when their asylum claim has been rejected, as they are likely to be unprepared, says IOM. Many face depression and societal rejection upon arrival home, they add.

    Several organizations or foundations run projects to give loans and grants that help migrants re-establish themselves, but they reach only a fraction of returnees, and the amounts given - while generous in terms of covering daily living expenses - are not enough to set up viable businesses, say critics.

    The Ministry of Senegalese Abroad has set up an investment fund for migrants, called FAISE, for instance, which gives US$9,540 in loans to 30 or so returnees each year. CEPAIM gives $1,907 grants to selected migrants once they have established a business plan, undergone financial training and signed a paper promising not to return to Spain within three years.

    But to make a go of it, tens of thousands of dollars are needed, money which migrants find it tough to raise in a banking climate with 8 percent interest rates and where loans require a 100 percent guarantee.

    Most migrants who do make it, do so despite the inadequate support system, not because of it. Mor Lo (39) returned briefly to Senegal from Spain in 2008 when his father died, putting a down-payment on a shop with money from his father’s will before returning to Spain for three years. When he returned to settle in Senegal in 2011 he received a further $1,900 from CEPAIM, which he used to buy up coffee and millet mills, and now he makes $190 profit each month. But he could not have done it without personal money, he says.

    Information and planning

    But just as important as money for migrants, is information and time to prepare and plan, says ILO’s Guité Diop, head of policy at the Senegal migration programme. ILO focuses on spreading awareness of job opportunities back home through migrant networks abroad.

    They also run financial training workshops for migrants and their families, as 75 percent of money currently sent home is used for everyday consumption, he said. The more knowledge imparted to migrant families, the more likely they are to understand the realities of migration and not reject returning family members, he said.

    Migrants also told IRIN that having the ability to set themselves up back home while still working abroad, would increase their chance of success.

    On that note PAISD, a project to support development initiatives in France and Senegal, has been lobbying the French authorities to issue “circulation visas” to migrants so they can travel back and forth freely while planning for the future. “Generally… the idea is to help migrants play a role in the development of their country - be it here, or while abroad,” said PAISD adviser Damien Bachau.

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