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    Source: Mercy Corps
    Country: Mali

    Fatoumata Aboubacar and the rest of her gardening association in Ansongo, Mali are awaiting the arrival of four tons of potatoes.

    The group recently planted more than 2,000 pounds of potato seeds that they received through a Mercy Corps program helping fight hunger in rural Mali. Through the program, we’re providing farmers like Fatoumata with supplies and training to make their agricultural livelihoods — and their food sources — more reliable.

    Like most of her community, 55-year-old Fatoumata depends solely on gardening to feed and support her family. But lately, it hasn’t been easy.

    Ansongo is a small, pastoral community in eastern Mali, in the Sahel region of Africa. More than 80 percent of its residents rely on agriculture to survive, eating what they need and selling the rest in the markets for income. When political conflict erupted in 2012, many of these families’ livelihoods were completely dismantled — land was abandoned, farming infrastructure was wiped out, and seeds and tools were nearly impossible to find.

    And the situation remains precarious as they try to recover. Farmers in the region also face environmental barriers — unpredictable rains, extended periods of drought and a high risk of flooding — that make it difficult for them to establish consistent production and earnings.

    In these vulnerable areas, community members often farm together in gardening associations, which give them access to more land and resources like higher-quality seeds and trainings. Members of the group share the responsibility of making the garden successful and lend one another encouragement in the effort.

    But in such harsh conditions, even the additional support of a group is sometimes not enough.

    Last year, Fatoumata’s gardening association was forced to leave half of their community garden empty because there were not enough seeds available — the small amount of tomatoes and cabbage they planted earned the group only $80.

    Without dependable sources of food and income, families like Fatoumata’s are increasingly at risk of going hungry. Currently, as many as 90 percent of the people in Ansongo don’t have access to the food they need.

    That’s why we’re focused on helping families in the area overcome hunger and improve their lives by increasing the productivity of the gardens they depend on to sustain themselves.

    Through our Irtoun program, we supplied emergency food vouchers in exchange for work doing agricultural improvement projects like building irrigation systems and drainage canals, and repairing garden landscaping.

    We’ve also been distributing vouchers for farmers to buy the tools and seeds they need to recover their gardening and market activities. Now, farmers and gardening groups in Ansongo have access to seeds for crops that will fare well in the markets and help improve their household nutrition. So far, the groups have purchased 25 tons of potato seeds, as well as okra, chili pepper, onion and tomato seeds.

    And we provide seed recipients with hands-on training and demonstrations that teach them proper land preparation, planting and production techniques for their new crops. Fatoumata’s gardening association is one of 50 groups that we work with.

    “We learned how to compost, how to section off land and create spaces for the potato,” said Fatoumata. “And how to better plant potato, shallots and tomato.”

    “Mercy Corps has made our lives easier,” she said. “Now we are using better practices and seeing the gardening going much better. This will improve our living conditions and those of our children, and generate income.”

    And the benefits of farmer trainings don’t stop at the participants. The knowledge circulates from farmer to farmer and eventually throughout the entire community.

    Fatoumata even used the tips she learned to help a neighbor with her field.

    “The results were amazing,” she told us.

    Through the Irtoun program we also work with area herders to improve the health and longevity of their livestock. And we provide economic support by establishing village savings and loan programs, and supplying training and microfinance for small business owners.

    With the seeds they received through Irtoun, Fatoumata’s gardening group was able to plant throughout their entire garden this year. The harvest — estimated to be several tons of produce — will give Fatoumata opportunities she hasn’t had since her family’s agricultural activities were destroyed several years ago by the conflict.

    “I’m truly moved because I hope to make a real income once we share our harvest,” she said. “And we’re sure the harvest will be a good one thanks to the support of Mercy Corps. I intend to use all the income made from my garden to invest in my family.”


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Chad, Nigeria

    BY SUZANNE BEUKES

    Dar es Salaam Camp, Baga Sola, Chad: It is 4:00 in the afternoon, on a day in March. That means it is time for football. As the debilitating heat of the desert sun starts to ease, boys of all ages gather to lose themselves in the intoxication of the beautiful game. For a couple of hours, all is almost forgotten, as the black and white ball jolts around in a small cloud of dust through the cooling sand.

    Momentarily, the weighing reality that these boys are here because they have been chased, hunted from their homes in Nigeria by the armed group Boko Haram, is lifted from their shoulders. For many, family members and friends have been killed before their eyes; some have lost their parents in the chaos and are now here at this refugee camp all alone.

    The UNICEF-supported child friendly space is where I meet Peter, a 15-year-old boy, small for his age, but big on personality. “They call me Neymar,” he says, grinning, and then he points to the boy next to him and says happily, “And this is my friend Mohammed – they call him Messi”. It must be true, for he is wearing what is surely Africa’s most popular t-shirt: a maroon and blue Barcelona football shirt with ‘Messi’ imprinted on the back.

    Mohammed and Peter are more than firm friends; they are like brothers – inseparable. They stay in the same tent, walk to school together, fetch water together, cook together and, importantly, play football together. They are also both here without their families. In the chaos of the Boko Haram attacks in their villages, both were separated from their parents and siblings. There are 126 other separated and unaccompanied children at the camp.

    Peter retells his horrific journey from Nigeria with unease and in an almost disconnected manner: In January, he was out fishing with a family friend while the rest of his family was in the town of Maiduguri. At around 4:00 a.m., he was awakened by gunshots and fled along with his neighbours, as Boko Haram chased them. They ran to Baga hoping for safety, but only found themselves running again with Boko Haram pursuing them. From Baga, they fled to Doro, where they got into a boat that ultimately took them to Ngouboua – which, a few weeks later, would become the scene of the first attack by Boko Haram on Chadian soil.

    From Ngouboua, Peter, along with around 4,404 refugees, was taken to the Dar es Salaam camp near Baga Sola.

    “Many of the children who arrive here show symptoms of trauma because of the violence they have witnessed. They don’t eat or sleep, and some can’t talk about it all,” says Dr. Claude Ngabu, Chief of the UNICEF Baga Sola Field Office.

    Through the child friendly space, community workers start to counsel the children and provide them with a safe space to talk about their experiences. They play boardgames and sports like football and volleyball. The community workers help reunite children with their families.

    Through this programme, Peter’s family was traced to Maiduguri, in north-east Nigeria. “I called them. They are very happy that I am here in Dar es Salaam – that they [Boko Haram] didn’t kill me.”

    Peter speaks regularly to his family now, and the hope is that soon he will be reunified with them. “I miss them, and right now I’m not happy,” he says. “By the grace of God, I will go back and see them.” But ongoing violence and insecurity in the Lake region means that this reunion will have to wait.

    In the meantime, Peter is attending the newly opened temporary learning space at the camp. He is one of the few students who has had some sort of a formal education, albeit a sporadic five years of schooling. Most of the learners have either only been to Koranic school or have never entered a school classroom. Schools and health clinics in the Lake Chad region are few and far between, and roads are almost non-existent. Even at the age of 15, Peter is very candid about his life options and explains to me that, while he wants to go and see his family, he also wants to finish school here – at home it will not be easy because of the violence and poverty.

    As the sun begins to set, Peter and Mohammed start preparing their evening meal. “I know how to cook,” he says proudly, while showing each of the ingredients that he will mix together in a pot over a small fire outside: rice, flour, a few slivers of a red onion, some oil and one Maggie stock cube make up the meal. “After we eat, we go to sleep, then we wake up and go to school, ” says Peter. “That is it.”

    For this aspiring football star who has defied the odds and made it to safety through a most violent experience, a boy whose childhood is forever gone, but who still wakes up and goes to school ferociously absorbing every bit of information he can – it is hard to believe that “that is it” and that his remarkable journey will end here. So I choose not to believe it.

    Suzanne Beukes is a Communication Officer with UNICEF.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Chad

    Chad ranks 73rd out of 78 countries on the Global Hunger Index which measures the global fight against hunger, and ranks 184th out of 187 countries on the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index, which looks at overall human development.

    87 percent of the rural population lives below the poverty line.

    In 2015, more than 2.4 million rural Chadians have become food insecure, of which 428,000 people are classified as severely food insecure.

    In the Lac, Barh El Gazal and Kanem regions, farmers will face an unusually longer and leaner season this year - Instead of the traditional June through September period, it is expected last from February to September.

    Highly unpredictable rains, periodic droughts, locust infestations and unsustainable farming practices negatively affect cereal production across the country.

    To combat malnutrition, WFP is using a two-part approach that focuses on prevention during the first 1000 days window of opportunity by providing treatment to 200,000 children under five and to 20,000 pregnant and nursing women, who are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.

    360,000 Sudanese refugees, 100,000 Central African Republic returnees and refugees, and 20,000 Nigerian refugees have fled their homes to Chad.

    Lack of infrastructure and limited human resources, as well as, aggravated by structural food insecurity has hampered access to basic education in a country where only one third of the adults are literate and two thirds of school age children are enrolled.

    With a budget of 28 million dollars USD, 580.000 recipients will receive food assistance through food vouchers in 2015

    With four aircrafts and 17 destinations, UNHAS’ operations in Chad are essential: from January – December 2014, it transported 45,600 humanitarian workers, and carried out numerous medical evacuations.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad


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


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    Source: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    SWP Comments 2015/C 21, April 2015, 4 Pages

    The wave of violence unleashed in north-eastern Nigeria by the militant terror group Boko Haram and the regionalization of terrorism have spurred neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger into action. Since March 2015, they have been conducting military operations in the border regions, sometimes on Nigerian territory, in an effort to push back the terrorists. Nigeria and its neighbors have officially agreed a multilateral military operation with the aim of neutralizing Boko Haram. However, for domestic political reasons, Nigeria is blocking regional cooperation, while a UN Security Council mandate for the force is in the making. International support for the planned military operation will be futile unless Abuja changes course. It remains to be seen, if the newly elected President Muhammadu Buhari will bring change.


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    Source: Pulitzer Center
    Country: Mali

    There’s no runway, just a patch of loose gravel where the white World Food Programme plane touches down in rebel-controlled northern Mali.

    Several waiting pickups mounted with heavy machine guns take position around the aircraft; U.N. soldiers in green camouflage and blue helmets fan out into dry, leafless, trees, scanning for a possible ambush.

    While much of the north has been subdued, and peace talks with the rebels are ongoing, this area is outside of government control.

    Read the full article on the Pulitzer Center.


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

    Foreword

    In 2014, WHO and humanitarian health partners responded to an unprecedented number of concurrent major humanitarian crises. Fuelled by conflict, the crises in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan and Syrian Arab Republic have threatened the health of tens of millions of people and pushed health services to the limit, in some cases to the point of collapse. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines left millions of people without access to basic services and health care in just a few hours. WHO, using the grading system adopted in 2013, declared these emergencies Grade 3, requiring a global response by the Organization.

    WHO and health partners have stepped in to fill these widening health care gaps to ensure life-saving and routine care for millions, including displaced persons and host communities. This includes routine immunization programmes against measles, polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases, delivering medical and health services ranging from surgical care to treatment for non-communicable diseases (such as cancers, diabetes, heart and lung diseases), and providing primary health care support to remote and besieged communities.

    In responding to five Grade 3 crises, including the Ebola crisis, as well as delivering humanitarian health operations in 26 other countries, WHO has demonstrated the Organization’s ability to respond to major health emergencies. But the huge stresses posed by these simultaneous and protracted crises have demonstrated the extent to which the capacity of the humanitarian system is stretched.

    Furthermore, the scale of the crises in 2014 has put a significant strain on financial resources within the humanitarian community. Out of a total funding requirements of US$18 billion in 2014, only 59% of funding was received. The health sector received only 49% of its requirements, and WHO only 40%.

    As Health Cluster lead, WHO plays a central role in leading, coordinating, and supporting the health sector response in these countries. The Emergency Response Framework, published in 2013, has resulted in more predictable and effective WHO action in areas such as rapid assessments, coordination mechanisms, reporting, disease surveillance and response systems and health action plans.

    WHO continues to find ways to become more effective and efficient. Experience from the response to the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, for example, has led to better coordination of the foreign medical teams that arrive in the aftermath of a sudden-onset disaster. WHO has strengthened its collaboration with members of the Health Cluster and has also engaged a number of stand by partners (CANADEM, iMMAP, Norwegian Refugee Council and RedR Australia) to increase the global surge capacity.

    The pressure of delivering in multiple emergency situations has also led to the use of new implementation modalities. In the Central African Republic, WHO facilitated the payment of the salaries of healthcare workers so that they could return to work, and in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, WHO has found ways to deliver medicines and health services in the middle of intense conflict through local NGOs.

    Through its in-country presence, technical authority and global leadership, WHO remains well-placed to lead the delivery of health assistance in emergencies. However, to continue to do so effectively, increased international support is necessary. There has never been a time when we are more dependent on the commitment of the international community to assist those most in need of humanitarian health support around the world.

    In 2015 WHO and health partners are responding to protracted emergencies in 32 countries. The total number of people targeted for health assistance as of March 2015 is 74.9 million. Funding requirements for health partners appealing through the strategic response plans coordinated by OCHA stand at US$ 18 billion, out of which WHO requires US$ 499 million. These funding requirements will increase over the year as additional strategic response plans are published.

    This document provides an overview of health priorities and WHO projects in the strategic response plans that have been developed to meet humanitarian needs in protracted emergencies in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia) Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen in 2015. It also includes support to refugees from the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic who have fled to neighbouring countries. The Central African Republic refugees in Cameroon, Chad, Congo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; South Sudan refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda; and the Syrian Arab Republic refugees in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (CAR)
    BANGUI AIRPORT IDP SITE TO BE SHUT
    The transitional government has announced that it intends to close the Mpoko airport IDP site in the coming months. The site hosts some 18,300 IDPs, nearly 80 percent of whom are from Bangui’s Third District. The decision follows a recent study by the Danish Refugee Council on the intention of return/relocation where it was noted that many IDPs are prepared to return. Particular attention will be given to reintegration in areas of return. Insecurity in certain neighbourhoods remains a major challenge especially for IDPs who want to return to the Third District.

    LIBERIA
    0 CASES SINCE 27 MARCH
    No new confirmed cases were recorded over the reporting week. As of 12 April Liberia had gone for 17 days without any confirmed case. The last patient infected with the virus died on 27 March. Only two people in the whole country are currently being monitored. Meanwhile, on 8 April the health ministry validated an “Investment Plan for Resilient Health Services” as well as transition plan for the next six months in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.

    NIGER
    CHICKEN FARM ISOLATED OVER BIRD FLU FEARS
    Authorities have isolated a chicken farm in the southern Maradi town due to suspected bird flu outbreak. Maradi is near the border with Nigeria, which has confirmed cases of the virus in several states in the north. The decision follows the death of more than 2,000 chickens in the farm. Samples have been sent to Italy for testing. Importation of chickens from the town has been banned.

    NIGERIA
    800,000 CHILDREN DISPLACED BY INSURGENCY
    An estimated 800,000 children have been driven from their homes by Boko Haram violence, UNICEF said in a report published on 13 April. The “Missing Childhoods” report was released on the eve of the anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok. The majority of the schoolgirls remain in the hands of the militants, whose insurgency has also uprooted 1.2 million people in north-eastern Nigeria.

    REGIONAL / EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE (EVD)
    30 CASES RECORDED, LOWEST SINCE MAY 2014
    In the week that ended on 5 April, a total of 30 cases were reported in Guinea (21) and Sierra Leone (9). These were the lowest figures in almost one year. No infections were reported in Liberia, where the last EVD patient died on 27 March. Overall, 25,515 suspected, confirmed and probable cases and 10,572 deaths have occurred in the three countries.

    WEST AFRICA
    4.7 MILLION FACING CRISIS-LEVEL FOOD INSECURITY
    From March - May 4.7 million people will be in crisis phase (IPC 3) in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone and Chad due to significant decrease in harvests, according to the Harmonized Framework. The number could rise to 7.3 million people - including Burkina Faso, Senegal and Liberia - during the June-August lean season due to food price increases and the declining purchasing power of poor households.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    RÉPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE (RCA)
    FERMETURE DU SITE DE DÉPLACÉS DE L’AÉROPORT DE BANGUI
    Le gouvernement de transition a annoncé que le site de déplacés de l'aéroport Mpoko sera fermé dans un proche avenir. Le site accueille quelque 18 300 personnes déplacées, près de 80 pour cent d'entre elles sont du troisième district de Bangui. La décision fait suite à une récente étude par le Conseil Danois pour les Réfugiés sur l'intention de retour/réinstallation où il a été noté que la majorité des déplacés était disposé au retour. Une attention particulière sera accordée à la réinsertion dans les zones de retour. L'insécurité dans certains quartiers reste un défi majeur, en particulier pour les personnes déplacées qui veulent retourner au troisième district.

    LIBÉRIA
    0 CAS DEPUIS LE 27 MARS
    Aucun nouveau cas confirmé n’a été enregistré au cours de la semaine de rapport. Au 12 Avril, le Libéria comptait 17 jours sans aucun cas confirmé. Le dernier patient infecté par le virus est décédé le 27 Mars. Seules deux personnes dans l'ensemble du pays sont surveillées. Par ailleurs, le 8 Avril, le Ministère de la Santé a validé un «plan d'investissement pour des services de santé résilients» ainsi qu’un plan de transition pour les six prochains mois suite à l'épidémie d'Ebola.

    NIGER
    CONFINEMENT D’UNE FERME SUITE À DES CRAINTES DE GRIPPE AVIAIRE
    Les autorités ont isolé un élevage de poulets dans la ville de Maradi, au sud, en raison de suspicions d'un foyer de grippe aviaire. Maradi est près de la frontière avec le Nigéria, qui a confirmé des cas de virus dans plusieurs États du nord. La décision fait suite à la mort de plus de 2000 poulets dans la ferme. Des échantillons ont été envoyés en Italie pour des tests. L’importation de poulets venant de la ville a été interdite.

    NIGÉRIA
    800 000 ENFANTS DÉPLACÉS PAR L’INSURRECTION
    Dans un rapport publié le 13 avril, l’UNICEF estime que 800 000 enfants ont été chassés de leurs foyers par les violences de Boko Haram. Le rapport «Enfances disparues» a été publié à la veille de l'anniversaire de l'enlèvement de 276 écolières de la ville reculée de Chibok. La majorité des écolières reste entre les mains des militants, dont l'insurrection a également déraciné 1,2 millions de personnes du nord-est du Nigéria.

    RÉGIONAL / MALADIE À VIRUS EBOLA (MVE)
    30 CAS ENREGISTRÉS, LE PLUS BAS DEPUIS MAI 2014
    Dans la semaine qui a pris fin le 5 Avril, un total de 30 cas a été signalé en Guinée (21) et en Sierra Leone (9). Ce sont les chiffres les plus bas en près d'un an. Aucune infection n'a été signalée au Libéria, où le dernier patient MVE est décédé le 27 Mars. Dans l'ensemble, 25 515 cas suspects, confirmés et probables dont 10 572 décès ont eu lieu dans les trois pays.

    AFRIQUE DE L'OUEST
    4,7 MILLIONS DE PERSONNES EN PHASE DE CRISE ALIMENTAIRE
    Selon le Cadre Harmonisé, de Mars à Mai, 4,7 millions de personnes seront en phase de crise (IPC 3) au Cap-Vert, Guinée-Bissau, Mauritanie, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone et au Tchad en raison d’une diminution significative des récoltes. Le nombre pourrait s’élever à 7,3 millions de personnes – avec le Burkina Faso, le Sénégal et le Libéria - pendant la période de soudure de Juin-Août en raison de la hausse des prix alimentaires et la baisse du pouvoir d'achat des ménages pauvres.


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    Source: UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
    Country: Mali

    Today at 11:30, while attempting to enter, a suicide car exploded at the entrance of the MINUSMA camp in Ansongo, Gao region.

    In the attack nine peacekeepers were injured of which two seriously.

    Furthermore, at least three civilians were killed in the explosion and seven were wounded. Medical evacuations are underway.

    The Special Representative and Head of MINUSMA Mr. Mongi Hamdi, condemns this attack in the strongest terms "cowardly and heinous. I am shocked that valiant peacekeepers as well as innocent civilians were targeted in an attack once again. This attack will not deter MINUSMA in its mission to restore peace and security in Mali. "

    On behalf of the Mission M. Hamdi extends its condolences to the bereaved families and to the people and Government of Mali and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded.


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    Source: UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
    Country: Mali

    Aujourd’hui vers 11h30, un véhicule suicide a explosé à l’entrée du camp de la MINUSMA à Ansongo, dans la région de Gao, alors qu’il tentait d’y pénétrer.

    Cette attaque a fait neuf blessés, dont deux sérieusement, parmi les Casques bleus du contingent du Niger.

    En outre, l’explosion a provoqué la mort d’au moins trois civils. Sept ont également été blessés. Les évacuations médicales sont actuellement en cours.

    Le Représentant Spécial et Chef de la MINUSMA, M. Mongi Hamdi, condamne dans les termes les plus fermes cette attaque « lâche et odieuse. Je suis choqué que de valeureux soldats de la paix soient à nouveau pris pour cible, ainsi que des civils innocents. Cet attentat ne détournera pas la MINUSMA de sa mission de rétablissement de la paix et de la sécurité au Mali ».

    M. Hamdi présente au nom de la Mission ses condoléances aux familles endeuillées, ainsi qu’au peuple et au Gouvernement du Mali, tout en souhaitant un prompt rétablissement aux Casques bleus et civils blessés.


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, World

    14 April 2015 – Sexual violence is being used as a “tactic of terror” to target religious and ethnic minorities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, according to Zainab Hawa Bangura, the United Nations official dealing with the issue.

    This is among the findings of the latest report by Ms. Bangura, who is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. In an interview with the UN News Centre, the envoy previewed the findings of the report, which also highlights the crimes committed by non-State actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Boko Haram and Al-Shaabab, including abducting, raping, and selling into slavery women and girls. These groups are also using sexual violence as a method to forcefully displace large numbers of people in order to exploit resource-rich land or use it to grow narcotics.

    The international community does not yet have the tools to deal with these non-State actors, Ms. Bangura says, emphasizing the need for the Security Council to work closely with all Member States to figure out how to form the most effective response to deal with the growing threat. For countries where sexual violence is perpetrated, political commitment is key in tackling the scourge. To that end, she notes that progress has been made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, Colombia and Côte d'Ivoire. The following interview has been edited for content and clarity.

    UN News Centre: Can you tell us how you pulled together elements of this new report that you will be presenting to the Security Council on Wednesday?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: The report comes through with information from peacekeeping, political missions, and United Nations country teams. It’s an elaborate process, very intense, and scrutinized because we also include information from Member States and sometimes from non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The information we collect needs to be verified because it’s very difficult and very delicate to be able to specifically state that sexual violence has taken place in a certain country. So the information we collect is a combination of UN peacekeeping and political missions, Member States and the UN’s NGO colleagues.

    UN News Centre: And what are some of the trends you found this year? What’s new in the findings?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: The first and most important and difficult trend that we have experienced is that sexual violence is being used as a tactic of terror and this is because of the rise of extremists and terrorist groups. They move across countries, and are transnational and trans-regional in nature. This is very challenging for us to address. We’ve seen it in Mali. We’ve seen it in Nigeria with Boko Haram. We’ve seen it Somalia with Al-Shabaab and now in Yemen, Syria, and of course in Iraq.

    The second trend we found is that religious and ethnic minorities are being targeted, as well as members of the LGBT communities, and these crimes are increasing. The third trend, which seems to come in a much clearer way, is that sexual violence in conflict is being used to forcefully displace people. People are forced out of their communities and off their land because the land is rich in natural resources or because groups want to use it to grow narcotics as is the case in Colombia. Some groups forcefully drive people off their land because they just want to occupy it as in the case with ISIL.

    UN News Centre: As you have mentioned, this recent upsurge of non-State actors involved in sexual violence – Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and ISIL – makes it difficult to hold someone accountable for the crimes. What can the United Nations do to help victims?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: I think the biggest challenge we have is a lack of understanding about the strategies that these people use and I think that has made it extremely difficult to access them, to engage them, to understand what is driving them and what they do. The most important thing is to make sure we have more community engagement, make sure that communities who are involved in this crime, as well as community and religious leaders give us a better understanding of the extent of the crime, the people who have been targeted and to respond in terms of services for the victims. It’s the biggest challenge we have but that’s what we’re hoping to engage and it’s one of those things that I’m hoping to do.

    UN News Centre: What can Member States do on the ground to alieve the situation?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: We have seen an increase in commitment from Member States, a better understanding, the acceptance that sexual violence is a crime, and a reduction in the culture of denial and silence. So what Member States need to do now is actually increase their engagement and support in terms of resources, in terms of taking the necessary action and ensuring commitment.

    But it’s also important for other Member States to be able to put in the resources. It’s not easy to deal with sexual violence because it requires capacity-building, providing technical assistance and support, changing laws, working with the judiciary to make sure that this crime is investigated and that the perpetrators are prosecuted. Survivors must be provided with the necessary services, including psychosocial, medical, and legal support and livelihood support.

    So I think the countries where these crimes are being committed have to make sure they have the political will and commitment. The donors who are supporting them need to make sure they provide the resources to support these countries so that they take the necessary action.

    UN News Centre: We hear the stories, ISIL in the Middle East, Boko Haram in Africa, they kidnap, rape and sell into slavery girls and women, and most of the time, if not all of the time, they do it with impunity. They discount international treaties and norms. Does the international community have the tools to deal with these non-State actors?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: The last couple of years the Security Council and United Nations have engaged on this issue, it has been with States and Governments. We know them; we have been working with them for so long; we understand their strategies; we know their command structures. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. The non-State actors we are used to working with at the UN are local militia, so it is easier to fight them. For example, in the DRC we call them negative forces, and a special response was developed by the Security Council to deal with these forces.

    But these new non-State actors are different. They are very sophisticated; they are well-organized; they have developed structures; they are controlling [massive amounts of] land; and they are not just in one country. They communicate with each other and they are using modern technology tools to actually implement a medieval mentality against women. So we don’t have the tools and that’s why we are working very closely with the Security Council to be able to better understand who they are, where they come from and how we can respond. So to answer your question, we don’t have the tools and we need to develop better ones to engage them. It’s a lesson we are all learning together.

    UN News Centre: There is some good news. Your report says that some countries have made strides in tackling sexual violence in conflict and have also provided support to survivors. In which area has the most progress been made?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: The biggest gains have been made in the area of increasing political commitment, ownership and national leadership by countries where these crimes are being committed. The most progress has been made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Colombia, and Côte d'Ivoire. And that is because leaders in those countries have decided and agreed that sexual violence in conflict is a crime that is happening and that we must take the leadership to deal with these crimes. In such cases, progress has been really moving forward.

    UN News Centre: You travel to these affected countries and meet with a lot of survivors of sexual violence and you hear their heart-wrenching stories. How do you stay inspired and encouraged?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: What astounds me is the resilience of the survivors and the victims I meet with. I think my visiting all of these countries provides hope by me trying to understand the crime. And I think lots of the time the women just want somebody to understand. I visited Colombia about a month ago and I sat around the table and had lunch with some survivors, after telling me all the stories, and listening to them and talking to them, literally each one of them started crying and they said you know, you are the first person who has taken time to listen to us, now we know we can fight. And they are prepared to get up and move on with their lives. So for me that is what is important.

    We cannot stop the crime taking place as long as there is conflict so we need to end the conflict but in the meanwhile we also need to give hope to these women. I have seen them getting on, picking up the pieces of their lives, going into business. I’ve even seen in my country, Sierra Leone, survivors hiring the people who have committed crimes against them. So these are for me the stories that really move and give me the inspiration to continue doing the job.

    UN News Centre: Sexual violence in conflict doesn’t just affect women. Your report warns about the dangers of underreporting sexual violence against men. Why do you think there is still such stigma attached to that?

    Zainab Hawa Bangura: Sexual violence generally is a stigmatized crime and the victim is left to bear the brunt of the stigma. Sometimes they are ostracized, abandoned by their own community. So for men, for women, for boys, and girls, it is a crime that is stigmatized. However, because we have worked so closely with dealing with sexual violence against women we haven’t paid a lot of attention to sexual violence against men.

    But it has always been there. In the Bosnian war, I met a victim who was raped and forced to rape his own son. Sexual violence against men is usually done in prison, in detention facilities, and men have been reluctant to come out and talk about it. We have found out that when you talk about men being targeted in prison, it is sexual violence but we have always looked at it as torture.

    The one thing I can say for sure, for men or women, victims of sexual violence in combat have become much younger. I have met a three-month-old and a six-month-old victim. But I have also met 70- and 80-year-old women survivors. So we are hoping that because it’s coming out in our report, our response will be better coordinated.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    Overview

    Violent attacks by Boko Haram in villages in Carmeroon have increased during the last months. Those who fled report of lootings, killings, mass executions and kidnappings including of children which resulted in large scale displacement.

    Unless otherwise indicated the data in this document summarizes the results of an assessment conducted by UNHCR Protection staff. It provides a first snapshot of protection and other needs collected end of March 2015 through key informant interviews. The full report is available upon request from UNHCR.


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

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Malnutrition: Serious situation in some parts of the region of Gao

    • Community support for the re-opening of schools in the region of Kidal

    • 15% of the total population affected by food insecurity

    • Gender-based violence: 3/4 of cases are not reported

    • One humanitarian worker killed in an attack

    New malnutrition data on Gao and Kidal regions

    Retrospective nutrition and mortality SMART1 surveys were conducted in the regions of Kidal and Gao in November and December 2014, respectively. The surveys’ data revealed a worrisome situation in Gao region where the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) reaches 11.3 per cent (i.e. "serious" malnutrition situation in the WHO classification)2. The results of the survey indicate that malnutrition is more severe in urban areas than in rural areas, further analysis would be necessary to explain this trend.
    The districts of Gao and Bourem, where severe3 acute malnutrition rates exceed 2 per cent, were identified as priority response areas.

    The situation is of less concern in the region of Kidal where the survey revealed a rather stable trend of global malnutrition since 20114, below the threshold of 10 per cent. The consumption of milk by children (until they reach 24-36 months), which is part of people’s nutritional habits, seems to help prevent nutrition crisis in addition to the availability of various commodities imported from Algeria.

    However, the survey revealed a high number of severe acute malnutrition cases in 2014 in the region of Kidal and recommended further investigations to determine the causes of this trend.


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

    FAITS SAILLANTS

    • Malnutrition : situation sérieuse par endroits dans la région de Gao

    • Appui communautaire pour la réouverture des écoles dans la région de Kidal

    • 15 % de la population totale touchés par l'insécurité alimentaire

    • Violences basées sur le genre : 3/4 des cas ne sont pas rapportés

    • Mort d’un travailleur humanitaire dans une attaque

    Nouvelles données sur la malnutrition à Gao et Kidal

    Des enquêtes sur la nutrition et la mortalité rétrospective basées sur la méthodologie SMART1 ont été menées dans les régions de Kidal et Gao, respectivement en novembre et décembre 2014. L’analyse des données révèle que la situation est particulièrement préoccupante dans la région de Gao où la prévalence de la malnutrition aigüe globale (MAG) est de 11,3 pour cent2 (situation nutritionnelle « sérieuse » selon la classification de l’OMS.) Selon le rapport de l’enquête, la situation est plus grave dans les zones urbaines que celles rurales, des analyses supplémentaires seraient nécessaires pour expliquer cette tendance. L’enquête a permis d’identifier les cercles de Gao et Bourem – où les taux de malnutrition aiguë sévère3 dépassent 2 pour cent- comme zones prioritaires d’intervention.

    La situation est moins préoccupante dans la région de Kidal. Selon l’enquête, la malnutrition globale y est restée relativement stable depuis 20114, audessous du seuil de 10 pour cent. La consommation de lait par les enfants (jusqu’à 24-36 mois) qui rentre dans les habitudes alimentaires des populations, semble les prévenir des crises nutritionnelles. A cela s’ajoute l’accès à divers produits importés de l’Algérie.
    Cependant, l’enquête a révélé un nombre élevé de cas d’admissions en malnutrition aigüe sévère en 2014 dans la région et recommande des investigations ultérieures afin de déterminer les causes de cette tendance.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    HUMAN RESOURCES: SCALING UP OF UNICEF PRESENCE IN THE FIELD

    • One UNICEF focal point in Diffa since 2013, in charge of monitoring UNICEF emergency response at sub-national level.

    • HR support from Maradi Zonal Office and Niamey Office in Health, Nutrition, Protection, WASH, Education, Communication.

    • Child Protection support from the Child Protection Rapid Response Team to coordinate the Child Protection sub Cluster.

    • Support of the Swiss Development Cooperation for deployment of WASH expert in Diffa. • Ongoing recruitment for Education, Protection, Health/Nutrition experts for Diffa team.

    • Regular joint missions from UNICEF Maradi and Niamey


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    Depuis les premières attaques du 6 février 2015 perpétrées par Boko Haram à Diffa, les entrées tout comme les sorties dans cette région du sud-est du Niger font l’objet d’un contrôle strict.

    De Zinder à Diffa, les barrages ont été renforcés et les contrôles d’identité sont systématiques et rigoureux. A chaque barrage, il faut présenter sa carte d’identité ou son passeport. Certaines pièces admises auparavant ne font plus l’unanimité, tel que le permis de conduire. Pour les passagers qui ne peuvent s’acquitter de l’amende de 1 500 Francs CFA (environ US$3), le voyage s’arrête là.

    A l’entrée de Diffa, ce sont des véhicules gros porteurs et une longue barricade gardée par des hommes armés qui me souhaitent la bienvenue. Depuis le 6 février, les camions n’entrent plus en ville. « C’est parce qu’on a découvert que certains de ces véhicules sont piégés, » m’explique un riverain.

    Une ville sous haute surveillance

    Depuis qu’un état d’urgence de trois mois a été décrété par les autorités nigériennes, le pouvoir de l’armée a été étendu et de nouvelles habitudes ont vu le jour, comme le port systématique d’armes.

    Cependant, loin d’effrayer les habitants de Diffa, ces mesures récentes leur procurent un sentiment de sécurité : « En les voyant comme ça, je me dis qu’ils contrôlent la situation. C’est aussi une preuve qu’ils sont prêts à maitriser tout ce qui peut surgir et cela va dissuader les personnes mal intentionnées, » me confie un jeune de Diffa, sous condition d’anonymat.

    Garés dans les concessions ou sous les hangars, les engins à deux roues sont désormais des objets de décoration : l’armée a interdit leur circulation depuis les premières attaques, les membres de Boko Haram utilisant principalement des motos pour mener leurs attaques meurtrières.

    Une telle décision n’est pas sans conséquences pour l’économie de la région : un grand nombre de jeunes déscolarisés et sans emploi avaient créé des activités de taxi-motos, appelées Kabou Kabou, et plus de 1 500 circulaient auparavant en ville, apportant une aide économique précieuse à de nombreux habitants de la région, l’une des plus pauvres du pays. « C’est un problème pour tous ces Kabou-kabous qui subviennent aux besoins de leurs familles grâce à ce métier, » confirme Abakar, Point Focal du Cadre de Concertation des Associations de Jeunesse du Niger.

    La région de Diffa compte environ 666 000 habitants, la moitié de moins de 15 ans. L’accès et l’utilisation des services sociaux de base est faible : 64% des enfants de 5 à 17 ans sont privés d’au moins trois droits fondamentaux sur six : éducation, information, logement, assainissement, accès à l’eau, et protection contre les violences.

    En 2011-2012, la région de Diffa était déjà celle qui avait le plus faible taux de scolarisation brute au primaire (63%) du pays. Le taux brut de scolarisation au secondaire était de 16.2% pour les garçons et de 15% pour les filles.

    Sayam Forage, un refuge pour 1 500 personnes

    Après avoir transité par Diffa, la plus grande ville de la région, je me suis rendu au camp de réfugiés de Sayam Forage, situé à 40 kilomètres au nord-est de Diffa. Il faut une heure de route pour atteindre le camp. Accompagné par l’ONG Italienne COOPI, partenaire de l’UNICEF, nous avons d’abord salué le chef de la sécurité, passage obligatoire avant de rencontrer le Comité des refugiés.

    Malgré le fait qu’ils aient tout perdu, j’ai pu lire la jovialité et l’espoir sur le visage de ces hommes et femmes qui m’ont accueilli si chaleureusement. Deux langues prédominent, le Kanouri et le Hausa. Je suis hausaphone, et cela va constituer mon « passeport » auprès de ces populations.

    Installées dans des tentes individuelles, chaque famille a son histoire. Toutes sont terriblement émouvantes. Comme celle de Zahra Mohamed, 35 ans et mère de trois enfants en bas âge. Elle me reçoit dans son hijab bleu, assise derrière sa tente en compagnie de l’un de ses enfants. Elle a déjà trouvé une petite activité génératrice de revenus : elle remplit des sachets de piment sec pour ensuite les revendre.

    Elle me raconte son histoire, tout en travaillant. Originaire de Damasak, elle a été enlevée par Boko Haram et retenue prisonnière en compagnie de plus de 500 autres femmes. Zahra a pu s’enfuir et retrouver sa famille.

    Le DIAP, une alternative en attendant la création d’écoles au camp

    Pendant que je discute avec Zahra, j’entends des chansons d’enfants : j’apprends que tous les matins, les enfants du camp se donnent rendez-vous sous la tente de COOPI pour les activités du « Dispositif Itinérant d’Appui Psychosocial » (DIAP) mis en place avec l’appui de l’UNICEF.

    Grâce à la valise d’outils mise à leur disposition, les enfants jouent, chantent et dansent, font des puzzles ou dessinent… Une occasion pour eux d’oublier ce qu’ils ont vécu. Cela permet aussi aux travailleurs psychosociaux de détecter les enfants nécessitant un suivi psychosocial, car certains ont des moments de violence ou se mettent à l’écart.

    Pendant quelques instants, je me mets à l’écart pour les observer : c’est tout un autre monde, un monde où ces enfants ne pensent qu’à jouer et à rire, où ils sont en confiance.

    Face à la vulnérabilité accrue de la région de Diffa, la communauté humanitaire, dont l’UNICEF, met actuellement en place un programme ambitieux d’aide en matière de protection et d’éducation des enfants. L’organisation instaure également des mécanismes de surveillance pour la protection de l’enfant, afin de recueillir des données sur les éventuelles violations, d’y apporter une réponse appropriée et de participer plus activement à la compréhension des mécanismes de recrutement et d’utilisation des enfants dans les conflits armés.

    Des dessins pour dire les choses

    Sous la tente, les enfants racontent aussi en dessin ce qu’ils ont vécu avant et pendant la fuite. C’est la première fois que j’assiste à une telle expérience. Grande est ma surprise de les voir dessiner sans efforts de telles scènes de violence : des personnes décapitées, brulées ; des bébés noyés ; des armes, des balles et des flammes qui crépitent. L’horreur. J’en ai des frissons.

    A travers ces dessins, ces artistes en herbe expriment aussi ce qui leur manque depuis qu’ils sont arrivés au Niger. Ousmane, 11 ans, dessine un vêtement et son école. Il lui tarde de retourner en classe. Je me demande ce qu’il serait advenu de ces enfants sans toutes ces activités, dans ce camp coupé du monde.

    La situation précaire dans laquelle se trouve la région de Diffa exacerbe les risques de conflit et pourrait encourager les jeunes en quête d’activités plus lucratives à rejoindre les forces et groupes armés, ainsi que les mouvements illicites comme Boko Haram, qui continue de sévir dans le nord du Nigéria.

    Islamane Abdou est un blogger nigérien de 25 ans, de retour de mission avec l’UNICEF dans la région de Diffa, au sud-est du Niger. Il y a réalisé une série de reportages sur la situation de 100 000 déplacés fuyant les violences commises par le groupe terroriste Boko Haram au nord du Nigéria, et sur le travail de l’UNICEF et de ses partenaires pour soutenir ces populations traumatisées.


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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Nigeria

    Katarina Hoije

    CHIBOK, NIGERIA—When rumors began circulating in January 2014 that Boko Haram planned to attack the girls’ secondary school in Chibok, Ruhab’s parents decided their daughter should stay at home. Now instead of doing her homework, she spends her days cleaning, cooking and washing clothes for her older brother.

    “I forgot so many things that, if I have to go back to class now, if they ask me to write a paper, I cannot write now. ... I forgot many things in one year,” she said.

    Boko Haram's attack on Chibok had an impact not only on families and relatives of the abducted girls, but also the students who used to attend the secondary school for girls. Before the Islamist militants left with more than 200 of the girls' classmates, they set the school ablaze, leaving only shattered buildings and burned classrooms.

    Some parents have sent their children to schools in Maiduguri, Yola, Jos or the capital, Abuja. Many cannot afford the school fees and housing for their children.

    While her younger sister is receiving schooling in Maiduguri, the state capital, Christina, 15, has not been to school since January of last year.

    “My parents do not have the money to send me to school,” she said.

    The United Nations children’s agency said that during the past year, Boko Haram violence has forced 800,000 children in northeastern Nigeria from their homes. UNICEF said the number of children displaced and living in neighboring countries as refugees has doubled during the past 12 months. All over Borno state, schools have closed because of the insurgency.

    Long-term consequences

    Teacher Hawa Usman said she feared the lack of education would have a long-term effect on Chibok.

    “All this year, our children are staying without schooling," she said. "You know it has affected our education.”

    Some of the 57 girls who escaped the Boko Haram kidnappers are receiving schooling abroad. The nonprofit organization Education After Escape sent 11 girls to the United States. Another five of the Chibok girls are studying at the Canyonville Christian Academy in Canyonville, Oregon.

    For some girls, the opportunity to continue their studies most likely is gone, even if schools reopen.

    Rukatu, 19, escaped the rebels by jumping from the truck.

    “I have not been back to school since that day," she said. "The insurgents burned everything. There is nothing left.”

    Rukatu said she wanted to further her studies, but her father does not want her to do so, even if the school in Chibok reopens. He says it is better if she gets married. Rukatu has a two-month-old daughter. The father is in Lagos; he has not yet met the baby.

    Boys left for jobs

    While many boys have left Chibok to look for work in cities like Abuja or the country’s commercial capital, Lagos, many young girls like Ruhab have no choice but to stay behind.

    “Some of the boys go to Lagos to find work, but we girls, we cannot leave this place," she said. "Our parents would not accept us going to someone’s house and work for them. They would never accept that.”

    No one knows whether or when the school in Chibok will reopen. A British nongovernmental organization has offered to fund rebuilding and the government has accepted, but the governor of Borno state, who belongs to the opposition party, refuses help from the federal government.

    Even if the school reopens, many parents will be reluctant to send their daughters.

    “II am not afraid to stay at school," Ruhab said. "I need to have knowledge. ... I need to be knowledgeable again.”

    Her parents, however, fear that the insurgents, who oppose education, might attack the school a second time.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Chad, Nigeria

    GRANDE LIGNES

     Suite à la découverte d’explosifs et aux attaques spontanées de Boko Haram à Tchoukoutalia et ses environs le 07, 09 et 13 Avril 2015, UNDSS a renforcé les mesures de sécurité. Dorénavant au moins deux véhicules sont exigés pour l’axe Ndjamena – Bol – Bagasola pour les missions.

     La mission conjointe HCR, OIM et CNARR présente dans la Région du Lac a commencé l’exercice de profilage des retournés et IDPs. Cet exercice se déroulera dans plusieurs localités notamment Tchoukoutalia, Tetewa, Ngouboua, Kagalom, Tchoua, Kenesserom, Forkolom et Liwa pendant une durée d’environ deux semaines.

     Le 11 Avril, la distribution de NFIs aux réfugiés arrivés depuis le 02 Février 2015 a été suspendue, suite à des réactions violentes de la part de certains réfugiés.

     Au cours de la réunion de Coordination tenue le 08 Avril 2015, le Gouverneur, suite à de nombreuses plaintes de la part des réfugiés, a recommendé que les vivres prévus pour les IDPs de Bagasola soient mis à la disposition des réfugiés de Dar Es Salam.


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