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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Mali

    Lucy Lamble presents this edition of the Global development podcast, looking at how the lack of water and sanitation is affecting health centres in Mali. Just 20% of the country's health facilities provide clean water.

    Read the full article


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Niger

    Niamey, Niger | AFP | mardi 28/04/2015 - 22:26 GMT

    Quarante-six soldats nigériens et 28 civils ont été tués samedi dans l'attaque menée par les islamistes de Boko Haram contre une position de l'armée du Niger sur le lac Tchad, a annoncé mardi le ministre nigérien de l'Intérieur.

    Ces pertes sont les plus lourdes subies par le Niger depuis que le pays est entré en lutte contre le groupe armé nigérian début février.

    "Le bilan provisoire est le suivant: côté forces de défense et de sécurité, 46 morts, 9 blessés et 32 disparus" alors que "28 habitants de l'île ont été assassinés", a déclaré Hassoumi Massaoudou, de retour de l'île de Karamga, où l'assaut s'est tenu.

    Un deuil national de trois jours sera observé à partir de mercredi "sur toute l'étendue du territoire national et les drapeaux seront mis en berne", ont annoncé les autorités nigériennes.

    Le ministre de l'Intérieur, qui s'exprimait mardi soir sur la radio publique, a également fait état de "156 terroristes tués", dans le premier bilan officiel communiqué par Niamey.

    Une source sécuritaire tchadienne avait mentionné lundi 48 soldats tués et 36 portés disparus.

    Ces pertes constituent également l'un des revers les plus sanglants pour la coalition régionale composée du Tchad, du Niger, du Nigeria, du Cameroun et du Bénin et active depuis quatre mois contre Boko Haram.

    Les Etats-Unis, qui se sont dit plusieurs fois disposés à accroître leur appui matériel à l'armée du Nigeria et encouragent les pays de la région à lutter contre Boko Haram, ont condamné mardi cette attaque "barbare".

    Karamga, attaquée samedi à l'aube par des islamistes, a depuis lors été reprise par l'armée nigérienne, a affirmé M. Massaoudou.

    "Nous avons vu le désastre, le village a été totalement dévasté. Nous avons aussi vu les traces des combats, nos hommes se sont battus avec héroïsme. Nous avons pu constater la tragédie qui s'est opérée ce jour là", a raconté le ministre.

    "Le gouvernement du Niger et le peuple nigérien sont particulièrement horrifiés par cette ignominie", a-t-il ajouté.

    • 'Acte ignoble' -

    Des opérations de ratissages "avec des moyens terrestres et aériens" sont en cours pour retrouver les soldats portés disparus et "rechercher et mettre hors d'état de nuire les auteurs de cet acte ignoble dont la cruauté est sans égale", a poursuivi Hassoumi Massaoudou.

    "Il s'agit pour nous de ne pas donner de répit à Boko Haram", a commenté le général Seïni Garba, chef d'état-major des armées du Niger, filmé par la télévision publique depuis Diffa, la capitale du sud-est nigérien, frontalier avec le nord-est du Nigeria, considéré comme le fief des islamistes.

    "Il ne faudrait pas que cette action de Boko Haram entame notre détermination", a lancé l'officier, ajoutant que "Boko Haram ne peut pas gagner" contre la coalition régionale.

    Après l'assaut donné contre la position de l'armée nigérienne, les éléments de Boko Haram "ont retourné leurs armes contre les habitants", "visant les têtes" de ceux qui s'étaient jetés à l'eau pour leur échapper et "brûlant vivants beaucoup de résidents dans leurs maisons", a raconté lundi à l'AFP Umar Yerima, un pêcheur nigérian qui vivait sur cette île.

    Aucune attaque importante de Boko Haram n'avait été recensée depuis plus d'un mois au Niger, où le groupe armé nigérian avait multiplié les assauts en février.

    "Les risques de survenance d'attentats sont même très réduits du fait de l'élimination de tous les acteurs potentiels", avait assuré mi-mars à l'AFP Mohamed Bazoum, un proche du président nigérien Mahamadou Issoufou.

    "La situation est totalement sous contrôle" au Niger, "il n'y a plus de chance que Boko Haram prenne une ville, même sur le lac Tchad", une importante surface d'eau partagée entre Tchad, Cameroun, Nigeria et Niger, avait-il assuré.

    Karamga avait déjà été attaquée le 20 février par le groupe islamiste. Sept soldats nigériens et 15 combattants islamistes, ainsi qu'un civil, avaient été tués, selon un bilan officiel.

    bh-jf/sba/mf

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Niger

    Niamey, Niger | AFP | Tuesday 4/28/2015 - 23:18 GMT

    The Niger government said Tuesday it had lost 46 soldiers and 28 civilians in a Boko Haram attack on a Lake Chad island at the weekend, the country's heaviest losses yet since it joined a regional offensive against the militants.

    Interior Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou said "156 terrorists" were also killed in the assault on an army base on the island of Karamga on Saturday.

    The Niger authorities declared three days of national mourning from Wednesday.

    Speaking on public radio after visiting the island, Massaoudou said 46 troops had died in the dawn attack, nine were injured and 32 were missing, while "28 island residents were murdered".

    He said the Niger army had since retaken control of the island.

    It is the first official toll given by Niamey after the battle for the island with the Nigeria-based Islamist group. A Chadian security source on Monday said Niger had lost 48 soldiers and another 36 were missing.

    Niger, along with Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, has recently launched a joint offensive to end Boko Haram's six-year insurgency, which has claimed 13,000 lives and caused about 1.5 million people to flee their homes.

    "The village has been completely devastated," the minister said, adding that the country was "horrified" by the heavy toll, one of the biggest setbacks yet in the regional fightback against the Nigeria-based Islamists.

    Massaoudou said military ground and air operations were under way to track down the missing soldiers and neutralise "the perpetrators of this despicable act whose cruelty is unparallelled".

    Niger army chief Seyni Garba said his country's resolve to crush Boko Haram was undeterred by the attack in Lake Chad, where the borders of Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger converge.

    "This act by Boko Haram should not rattle our determination," Garba said on public television, speaking from Niger's southeastern Diffa region just across the border from Boko Haram's stronghold in northeastern Nigeria.

    While the Nigerian army has claimed a series of successes against Boko Haram since launching a regional military alliance against the group in February, a string of recent attacks have underlined the continuing risks posed by the extremist fighters.

    bh-jf/sba/mfp/jg

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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

    At around noon today, MINUSMA was informed about an attack conducted by GATIA and MAA-Plateforme on the town of Ménaka, held by elements of the Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA).

    Shots were heard and MINUSMA deployed helicopters to assess the situation.

    The Special Representative of the Secretary-General warned the parties involved about the serious consequences their actions could entail for the peace process in Mali. “I urge the parties to immediately cease hostilities and to return to their positions. This resurgence of tensions imperils everybody’s efforts to restore lasting peace in Mali,” he said.

    The SRSG had travelled to Nouakchott on 26 April to meet with representatives of the CMA, who reaffirmed their full commitment to the ongoing peace process and confirmed their intention to initial the Agreement.

    “Months of intensive negotiations involving all parties to put an end to the crisis in Mali could be endangered. These actions constitute serious violations of the ceasefire agreements, which were also reaffirmed in the declaration of 19 February 2015,” he continued.

    The SRSG also pointed to the statement by the President of the United Nations Security Council on 6 February 2015, which suggested that appropriate measures would be considered, including the imposition of targeted sanctions against those who resume hostilities and violate the ceasefire.

    “I therefore call for calm and reason to prevail for the benefit of all Malians. The crisis that has shaken Mali will only be resolved through dialogue. I remain convinced that all parties will demonstrate wisdom and reason to sign a historic peace agreement,” the SRSG concluded.


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

    In light of the dangerous developments on the ground in Ménaka yesterday and in Timbuktu today, the SRSG and Head of MINUSMA, Mr. Mongi Hamdi, expresses his great concern regarding the peace process that was begun more than a year ago to resolve the Malian security crisis in a lasting and peaceful way.

    “Early this morning, near Timbuktu, MINUSMA vehicles were targeted outside the city by the CMA. There were no casualties. The CMA have indicated to us that this was an error on their part, and demand the departure of FAMa,” the SRSG said. “These two events are extremely worrying as they endanger the peace process. We are currently establishing the facts,” he added.

    The ceasefire agreements signed by the parties foresee that they stay in their positions during the negotiations and that they abstain from any action – direct or indirect – that would undermine the prospects for peace. MINUSMA, which is completely impartial, insists that these commitments be respected by all.

    “The MINUSMA teams on the ground and in Bamako are completely committed to ending this very worrying spiral of tensions as quickly as possible. We are in contact with the Plateforme, the Coordination and the Government of Mali to achieve a return to calm as soon as possible. I therefore reiterate my appeal for calm to give dialogue and peace a chance. I regret the turn of events, but I remain optimistic regarding the chances of seeing the peace process successfully concluded next month. There is no alternative to the signing of the peace agreement,” the SRSG concluded.


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    Source: AlertNet
    Country: Mali

    Author: Chris Arsenault

    MENAKA, Mali, April 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Life has never been easy in Moussa Majga's corner of northern Mali, a desert region of leafless trees, mud huts and roaming gunmen.

    Read the full article on AlertNet


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    Source: UN Children's Fund, Government of the Republic of Mali, Save the Children, Education Cluster
    Country: Mali


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Shelter Cluster
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia

    Executive summary

    This report was commissioned by UNHCR’s Shelter and Settlements Section (SSS).
    It combines the findings of two separate evaluations undertaken in Somalia in the latter half of 2014:

    1) Shelter response

    2) Shelter cluster coordination

    An external consultant was contracted to undertake the review of coordination.
    REACH, a global cluster partner, undertook the evaluation of shelter response. The aim of the combined report is to identify lessons, good practice and recommendations, and to contribute to the global shelter cluster’s evaluation guide.

    The review of coordination covered the period from August 2006 when the Shelter Cluster first began work in Somalia until September 2014. The response review considered emergency shelter response at Mogadishu, transitional shelter at Bosaso, and permanent shelter at Galkayo.
    Evaluation methods comprised document review, inception reports, field visits, key informant interviews, household surveys involving over 2,300 households (response only), and community discussions (response only).

    Both evaluation teams encountered constraints. Little documentation on the cluster’s lengthy deployment was available in Geneva. Most documents used in the coordination review were sourced via web search throughout the evaluation and requests to individual informants. Logistical and security considerations required revision of the original coordination review work plan. Security considerations restricted access by UNHCR’s external consultant, a UK national, and REACH’s evaluation manager, a US national, to Mogadishu. National and international staff of REACH therefore undertook enumerator training in Mogadishu, Bosaso and Galkayo. Shelter Cluster partners came to Mogadishu airport for meetings with the coordination evaluator.

    Somalia was one of four countries in which clusters were piloted, a year after the humanitarian reform process of 2005. By 2006, civil war in Somalia had been underway for at least fifteen years. Up to 400,000 people had been internally displaced: thousands had fled the capital, Mogadishu, to escape fighting between the Islamic Courts Union and US-backed Ethiopian troops; thousands more were made homeless that year by floods.

    Large parts of Somalia, particularly the south-central region, remained off-limits to humanitarian agencies. As in other cluster pilot countries, the failure of humanitarian assistance had been marked. Humanitarian aid in Somalia was seen as compromised by links to humanitarian intervention and the interests of global and regional powers. By 2006 the UN considered that the situation of IDPs had fallen far below the most basic of standards in refugee camps.

    UNHCR is the Shelter Cluster’s co-lead at global level. In Somalia, UNHCR and UNHabitat jointly led the Shelter Cluster, a then innovative arrangement which capitalised on the agencies’ expertise in emergency and permanent shelter and their many years’ experience in Somalia. The Shelter Cluster’s earliest focus was the accessible areas of northern Puntland and Hargeisa. In Puntland and Somaliland the Shelter Cluster benefited from the input of its first partners, DRC, NRC, UN-Habitat,
    UNHCR, and UNICEF. Bosaso, in particular, was seen as an early model of what clusters could achieve.

    A real-time evaluation by UNHCR in 2007 recommended that the agency increase cluster staffing. Recommendations to all clusters in IASC’s 2007 evaluation of the new cluster approach emphasised the need for lead agencies to institutionalise their commitment and recruit dedicated staff with coordination and information management skills. These recommendations chimed with UNHCR’s stated policy on cluster mainstreaming. Nevertheless, and despite a direct appeal in 2008 from Somalia’s Humanitarian Coordinator, UNHCR did not appoint a dedicated Shelter Cluster coordinator until 2010.

    Since then, successive coordinators, based in UNHCR’s Somalia country office in Nairobi, have established the Shelter Cluster at national and regional level, building good relationships with cluster partners, UNHCR colleagues and other clusters. The appointment of full-time staff has been accompanied by an increase in the number and diversity of active partners. In 2006, the Somalia Shelter Cluster had 5 international partners, in 2012 10 partners, both local and international. In 2014, the cluster contact list numbered approximately 80 NGOs, Red Cross and UN agencies of which approximately 20 were considered active partners.

    Partners have increasingly contributed to coordination. Before the appointment of a dedicated cluster coordinator, programme staff of UNHCR or UN-Habitat chaired coordination meetings in Somaliland, Puntland, Galkayo and Mogadishu. The first full-time Shelter Cluster coordinator appointed a local NGO, DFI, to act as focal point at Gedo in southern Somalia. His successor has worked with national and international partners to second Somali-speaking staff to ten regional hubs. By 2014 regional staff of ARC, DFI, DRC, NRC, UN-Habitat and UNHCR were acting as parttime regional cluster coordinators.

    In order to enhance regional capacity, the cluster secretariat, working with the Protection Cluster, organised residential workshops for regional coordinators in Garowe and Hargeisa in 2013 and 2014. This is good practice. Nevertheless, the Somalia Shelter Cluster is likely to need more staff if it is consistently to support a larger number of regional hubs which operate with part-time coordinators in difficult and demanding circumstances. An internal review of the cluster’s regionalisation is recommended, in line with a proposal by the global focal point for coordination.

    The first dedicated coordinator was assisted by one full-time support officer in Nairobi and another in Mogadishu: the latter, appointed in 2012, is now the longest-serving member of the Shelter Cluster’s Somalia staff. By late 2014 the secretariat had the equivalent of four full-time staff. However, staff in support roles are employed on short-term contracts or as unpaid interns and this has led to frequent gaps and turnover.

    Partners appreciate the role of cluster staff in supporting service delivery through coordination meetings, the SAG, the Cluster Review Committee and the Sustainable Shelter Solutions Working Group (SSWG). They see the secretariat as highly innovative, committed and hard working. The cluster coordinator frequently visits Mogadishu but there remains a perception that major decisions are made solely in Nairobi at meetings where relevant Somali government and Somali-based NGO representatives cannot be present. A deputy coordinator role would go some way to addressing this perception as well as providing support for regional hubs. Holding alternate quarterly or SSWG meetings in Mogadishu would also help raise the profile and status of the Shelter Cluster in Somalia.
    Successive coordinators and support staff have struggled to maintain and rationalise website information. The plethora of websites and the difficulties of managing them are systemic issues. Nevertheless, www.sheltercluster.org should be the Somalia Shelter Cluster’s main website. The appointment in 2014 of the cluster’s first information manager is an opportunity to prioritise website maintenance and improvement.

    The 2012 Strategic Operational Framework reflects the need for flexibility and for the options of emergency shelter, transitional shelter and durable solutions throughout Somalia. The cluster has tried to harmonise approaches rather than set standards which, experience has shown, are unlikely to be met. This is due in part to the huge programme area, the range of climates, lack of access and varying levels of government support. In addition, chronic under-funding and the summary eviction of IDPs by private and government landlords can put partners in an invidious position, forced to choose between the quantity and quality of shelter and settlement provision.

    REACH’s findings indicate that shelter – whether emergency, transitional or permanent - by cluster partners has been of better quality than previously supplied and better quality than that supplied by non-partners. It has met with high levels of beneficiary satisfaction. It leaves a majority feeling safer - at least inside individual shelters. However, settlement design, communal latrines and market areas have also contributed to feelings of insecurity outside individual shelters and this requires work with the Protection and WASH clusters. The use of contractor-driven approaches in large-scale response or to promote integration between displaced and host communities has left IDPs less well equipped to maintain, repair or extend shelter or to gain livelihood skills.

    The mix of shelter options remains valid but a revised framework and contingency plan are overdue. By late 2014 the cluster had, with assistance from REACH, developed a shelter monitoring and evaluation framework and indicators. This, together with the follow-up of strategic topics addressed by the SSWG, will assist the cluster in revising strategy and bringing it up to date.

    Revised strategy should specifically reference Sphere and other issues, standards and indicators that the cluster wishes to highlight. GenCap was active in Somalia from 2007 and the cluster strategy emphasises the need for consultation with women. Early monitoring found that security and protection from violence, including gender-based violence, were shelter beneficiaries’ biggest concerns. This finding has informed the continuing use of CGI in transitional shelters and the inclusion of lockable doors in CGI shelters and buuls. Successive coordinators have hired female cluster support officers in both Nairobi and Mogadishu. In 2012, the Nairobi Cluster Support Officer and partner agency Save Somali Women and Children developed a standard “Women’s Dignity Kit.” Some cluster assessment and monitoring has disaggregated data by gender, for example, the transitional shelter assessment at Bosaso in 2011. In 2014, however, the cluster’s settlement infrastructure mapping reports from Bosaso and other locations did not disaggregate data by gender or age and REACH too found it hard to recruit female enumerators. The cluster should do more to promote consistent attention to the full range of IASC cross-cutting issues. They should be explicitly included in the Strategic Operational Framework, coordination workshops and joint exercises. Global cluster tools and showcasing work by individual partners can assist. Accountability to affected people could be similarly highlighted and feedback ‘loops’ to groups surveyed added to the current assessment and settlement mapping exercises.

    Informants were uniformly appreciative of the Somalia Shelter Cluster’s role in developing and promoting mobile phone technology. In 2013 the Shelter Cluster began working on this with the Nairobi-based firm mFieldwork which in turn has built on experience from NRC in Somalia. A pilot project has addressed joint information management, assessment, monitoring and settlement mapping. Some partners have used the cluster’s digital platform for their own assessments. The Shelter Cluster has also reached out to other clusters, including the Protection Cluster, to involve and assist them in joint assessments. The technology is seen as simple and quick to use by relatively small teams. This work has potential in other contexts and would repay evaluation by the global shelter cluster to test costs, benefits and sustainability, particularly among local NGOs.

    Regular reporting from Nairobi and more frequent management visits and follow-up from Geneva would help the SSS understand the Somalia cluster’s complex working environment and the security issues that daily confront partners and the secretariat. It would also contribute to learning by UNHCR and the global cluster. The small secretariat would benefit from global support for local and international advocacy because any humanitarian achievements in Somalia are dwarfed by the massive unmet need. In October 2014, the funding gap was greatest in the shelter and NFI sector where less than 7 per cent of CAP needs were met and less than half those in need of shelter and NFI assisted by cluster partners. Informants cited advocacy with donors and local government as areas in which the cluster could do more.

    Independently of the cluster, some of its partners have sought to draw attention to funding needs as famine again threatens Somalia.

    The Shelter Cluster’s achievements in Somalia have been made despite frequent staffing gaps and turnover in the small secretariat and despite the constant search by successive coordinators for funding. UNHCR’s present country representative is supportive of the Shelter Cluster, as evidenced by funds for staffing and for information management initiatives. However, the pattern of funding since deployment has been inconsistent with the predictable leadership and appropriate staffing levels UNHCR promised for its new coordination mandate. UNHCR needs to consolidate the secretariat’s impressive achievements since 2010 and conduct a budget review to ensure appropriate staffing and ring-fenced resources for the cluster and its activities.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Global Highlights

    • In Q1-2015, FAO’s global cereal price index fell a further 13 percent year-on-year. It is now 5 percent lower than in Q4-2014.

    • Real prices of wheat have fallen by 10 percent over the last quarter. Prices are 20 percent lower than in Q1-2014 and at their lowest levels since mid-2010, thanks to large supplies, favourable production forecasts and strong export competition.

    • Real prices of maize have largely stabilized, falling just 2 percent since Q4-2014. Even so, prices are 17 percent lower than in Q1-2014. Although production has started to contract slightly, large carry-over stocks will ensure ample global supply.

    • Real prices of rice have fallen by 3 percent since Q4-2014 to pre-crisis levels last seen in early 2008.
      Global market supplies remain ample and competitively priced.

    • In Q1-2015, real prices for crude oil reached half what they were the year before. This is translating into significantly lower diesel and gasoline prices in some countries.

    • The cost of the minimum food basket increased severely (>10%) during Q1-2015 in eight countries: Cameroon, Colombia, Mozambique, Peru, Zambia, Tajikistan, South Sudan and Syria. High increases (5–10%) were seen in nine countries. In the other 50 monitored countries, the change was low or moderate (<5%).

    • Price spikes, as monitored by ALPS (Alert for Price Spikes), are evident in India, Ghana, Nepal, Rwanda and Sudan (see the map below). These spikes indicate crisis levels for one of the two most important staples in the country, whether they are maize, rice, wheat, sorghum or bananas.

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    Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Country: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe

    • A continued absence of rainfall across northern Ethiopia expected to adversely affect crop and pastoral conditions.
    • Largely suppressed early season rains observed during the 2nd dekad of April over much of West Africa.

    1) Since late December, an unseasonable distribution of monsoonal rainfall has resulted in anomalous dryness and poor ground conditions unfavorable for crops across several local areas in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and South Africa.
    2) Below-average rainfall since March, which have already impacted crop conditions across the bimodal region of northern Tanzania.
    3) Poorly distributed rainfall and extended dry spells since January have led to large rainfall deficits and degraded vegetation conditions in southern Angola and northern Namibia.
    4) Very poor rainfall since February combined with five consecutive weeks of virtually no rainfall since mid-March has led to large moisture deficits and rapidly deteriorating ground conditions in Ethiopia, Djibouti and eastern Eritrea. The mid-season absence of precipitation is likely to adversely affect cropping activities for several “Belg” producing areas of the country.
    5) Late season moisture deficits associated with an early cessation of the southern Africa monsoon has negatively affect cropping conditions for parts of northern Malawi and northern Mozambique. 6) Untimely rains and prolonged dry spells have resulted in failed crops over unimodal areas in the Dodoma, Singida, Shinyanga, Tabora, and Kigoma provinces of central Tanzania.
    7) Torrential amounts of rainfall triggered flooding across the Nyanza and Nairobi regions of southern Kenya during the last week. Enhanced rainfall is forecast in the region during the next seven days.
    8) Seasonally above-average moisture conditions combined with the potential for heavy rainfall forecast across eastern Ethiopia and Somalia is expected to elevate the risk for localized flooding and inundation along the Jubba and Shabelle River basins in Somalia.


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    Source: AlertNet
    Country: Mali

    Author: Chris Arsenault

    BAMAKO, Mali, April 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - On the green banks of the Niger River in downtown Bamako alongside heavily guarded foreign hotels, a group of urban farmers busily weed and water vegetables on some of Mali's prime real-estate.

    The "guerrilla growers" do not own the land they're cultivating but property rules aren't stopping them from trying to feed themselves in one of the world's poorest countries.

    Read the full article


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Bamako, Mali | AFP | 4/30/2015 - 00:02 GMT

    by Serge DANIEL

    Armed insurgents exchanged fire with soldiers in Mali on Wednesday, plunging peace negotiations into disarray in the first clash this year between government forces and the main Tuareg rebel alliance.

    A Malian army colonel said fighters from the Tuareg-led Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA) had ambushed military positions in Lere, a central town near the Mauritanian border.

    "Groups of armed Tuareg rebels have been attacking us since 4:00 pm (1600 GMT). We are fighting back and defending our positions," a Malian army colonel told AFP from the town.

    The CMA had warned in a statement after it came under attack from a pro-government militia on Tuesday it had "no other choice than to use its right to exercise legitimate self-defence to protect civilians, its people and its positions".

    The army source said the militants had arrived in several vehicles from the west of the town.

    "We are under fire. Everybody is hiding at home. The rebels are shooting, the Malian army too," a local councillor told AFP by telephone as gunshots rang out in the background.

    The attacks came on a day of violence which started when unidentified militants opened fire on troops at a national guard camp in northern Mali, killing two soldiers and a child, security sources told AFP.

    The gunmen struck at 5:00 am in the former Islamist stronghold of Goundam, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the ancient desert city of Timbuktu, a Malian security source said.

    The head of MINUSMA, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, had voiced concerns for the west African nation's fragile peace process ahead of the attack.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed those concerns Wednesday, calling for an "immediate cessation of the hostilities in northern Mali" following "serious ceasefire violations" in recent days, according to a statement.

    • Deeply divided -

    On Monday, the pro-government Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defence Group (GATIA) was accused of violating a ceasefire when it seized key rebel positions in the desert town of Menaka, while UN vehicles were attacked by rebels on Tuesday.

    The situation was calm on Wednesday in Menaka, where GATIA fighters have occupied the town hall, a MINUSMA source said.

    Separate MINUSMA sources said militants appeared to have driven from the east ahead of Wednesday's attack in Goundam, adding that they stole cars belonging to the army and the government.

    Mali was upended by a coup in 2012 which opened the door for Tuareg separatists to seize the towns and cities of the vast northern desert with the help of several Islamist groups.

    The Tuareg were then sidelined by their one-time allies, extremists who imposed a brutal version of Islamic shariah in the region and destroyed historic buildings and artifacts in Timbuktu.

    Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) took control of Goundam and destroyed shrines in the town of around 20,000, declaring them idolatrous.

    The Islamists then pushed south toward Bamako, prompting France to deploy troops in January 2013 who drove them back into the country's mountains and vast desert, and Mali returned to democracy with the election in August of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

    The country remains deeply divided, however, with the impoverished north home predominantly to lighter-skinned Tuareg and Arab populations who accuse the sub-Saharan ethnic groups that live in the more prosperous south of marginalising them.

    • Threat to peace -

    The recent violence comes amid assurances by the CMA that it is committed to a deal to bring stability to Mali.

    The government and a coalition of armed groups from the north known as the Platform have already signed the peace accord, brokered by Algeria under UN auspices over the past eight months.

    But the CMA has been holding out ahead of the May 15 deadline, demanding an amendment guaranteeing political recognition for "Azawad", the name used by the Tuareg for the northern part of Mali.

    "Unless there is a last-minute change, the CMA will initial the agreement before May 15," a Western diplomat in Bamako told AFP.

    "In the interim, the CMA and government will hold direct talks."

    The diplomat said 15 heads-of-state had been invited to the finalising of the accord in Bamako on May 15.

    MINUSMA chief Mongi Hamdi said on Tuesday he had met rebel leaders over the weekend in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott who "confirmed their intention to initial the agreement".

    But he voiced concerns that "months of intense negotiations involving all parties to put an end to the Malian crisis could be threatened" by renewed violence.

    Mali's various rival factions agreed to a ceasefire in May last year after Tuareg and Arab rebels claimed control of Kidal and other northern towns, dealing a humiliating defeat to the Malian army.

    sd/sst/ft/mfp/st

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Nigeria

    29 April 2015 – The United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, has welcomed the release of 200 girls from captivity by Boko Haram and called for the immediate release of all abducted girls, ahead of his meeting tomorrow with Nigerian President-Elect.

    “It is time to end the nightmare,” said Mr. Brown, who will have talks with Nigerian President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow about the missing girls.

    Some 276 girls were abducted by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok, located in Nigeria’s restive north-eastern Borno state, in April 2014, as the militant group ramped up brutal attacks targeting the African country’s children.

    “I will talk to President-Elect Buhari tomorrow about how the international community can provide air and military help to free the girls. And I will also offer help for safe schools which allow girls to participate in education, free of fear,” he added.

    “For a year families have not known whether their daughters are dead or alive, married off, sold off or violated as a result of their captivity,” the Global Education Envoy emphasized.

    “Now that some girls have been released we want all girls released. And we want them home with their families in days - not months or years,” Mr. Brown urged.

    Since Boko Haram began targeting schools and children, hundreds of thousands of children have been displaced from their homes and deprived of their rights to live and grow up in safety and peace.

    “We need more secure, better prepared, safe schools to make girls and parents know everything is being done to protect them,” Mr. Brown emphasized.

    “Today 10 million children don’t go to school in Nigeria,” Mr. Brown said. “By creating safe schools and communities where girls are free of fear we can get every child into school and learning.”

    According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 300 schools were damaged or destroyed and at least 196 teachers and 314 schoolchildren killed by the end of 2014 as a result of the conflict in northeast Nigeria between Boko Haram and military forces.


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

    Aujourd’hui vers midi, la MINUSMA a été informée d’une attaque menée par le GATIA et MAA-Plateforme sur la ville de Ménaka tenue par les éléments de la Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA).

    Des tirs ont été entendus, la MINUSMA a déployé des hélicoptères sur le terrain pour évaluer la situation.

    Le Représentant Spécial du Secrétaire général a tenu à mettre en garde les parties prenantes sur les conséquences graves que leurs actions pourraient entraîner sur le processus de paix au Mali : « J’exhorte les parties à cesser immédiatement les hostilités et à retourner sur leurs positions. Cette résurgence de tensions met en péril les efforts de tous pour restaurer une paix durable au Mali, » a-t-il déclaré.

    Le RSSG s’était rendu à Nouakchott le 26 avril pour rencontrer les représentants de la CMA qui ont réaffirmé leur pleine adhésion au processus de paix en cours, et ont confirmé leur intention de parapher l’Accord.

    « Des mois de négociations intenses impliquant toutes les parties en vue de mettre un terme à la crise malienne pourraient être menacés. Ces actions constituent de graves violations des accords de cessez-le-feu, rappelées dans la déclaration du 19 février 2015, » a-t-il poursuivi.

    Le RSSG a également rappelé la déclaration du 6 février 2015 du Président du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies évoquant des mesures appropriées, y compris l’imposition de sanctions ciblées à l’encontre de ceux qui reprennent les hostilités et violent le cessez-le-feu.

    « Je lance donc un appel au calme et à la raison pour le bénéfice de tous les Maliens. La crise qui a secoué le Mali se résoudra uniquement par la voie du dialogue. Je reste convaincu que toutes les parties feront montre de sagesse et de raison pour signer un Accord de paix historique, » a conclu le RSSG.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria

    N'Djamena, Chad | AFP | Thursday 4/30/2015 - 01:58 GMT

    by Celia LEBUR

    Long tailbacks form at a bridge on the border between Chad and Cameroon while Chadian security forces, wary of deadly Boko Haram jihadists, screen all road users and their property.

    "We're looking for weapons," a police officer explains at the Ngueuli bridge on the main road for imports to landlocked Chad, linking the capital N'Djamena to the far north of Cameroon.

    Customs officials and security forces search men, women and children alike for arms being smuggled to the Nigeria-based Islamic extremists who have spread terror throughout the region. They also watch out for incoming explosives.

    "There are no exceptions," a policeman says as he fleeces the pockets of a 13-year-old boy. "Have you seen how Boko Haram sends little kamikaze girls to blow themselves up in the middle of crowds? We don't want that happening here."

    Every day thousands of traders and travellers cross the bridge, which opens at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) and closes at nightfall. They include children from the Cameroonian border town of Kousseri who go to school in N'Djamena.

    Chad, whose battle-hardened troops are leading a four-nation regional offensive against the Nigerian insurgents, is seeking to prevent Boko Haram attacks on its soil, like in Cameroon and Niger.

    Chadian soldiers have played a decisive part in weakening the sect since they deployed in Nigeria in February, as part of the operation conducted alongside the armies of Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria itself.

    N'Djamena lies only about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Nigeria's northeastern Borno state, the stronghold of the radical Islamist movement.

    "We've launched open warfare against these people, we can't deny that there's a threat: bombs in the mosques and in the markets, that's their specialty," says Abakar Walar Modou, general secretary of the King Faisal University in N'Djamena, who knows the Islamist sect well.

    Patrols by police and paramilitary gendarmes have been increased considerably on N'Djamena streets of late. Hundreds of people have been arrested after identity checks, which have become systematic in districts with a sizeable Nigerian community.

    Security sources in N'Djamena say that Boko Haram fighters regularly enter Chad to seek refuge or to buy weapons.

    A few weeks ago, 19 suspected members of the sect were detained as they crossed the border from Cameroon in the Bongor region, some 200 miles south of N'Djamena, according to a police captain who asked not to be named.

    • 'Hot peppers cost too much' -

    In a bid to stem such infiltration, Chadian authorities have halted all navigation on the Chari river and its tributary, the Logone, which both flow along the border between Chad and Cameroon.

    Beneath the Ngueli bridge, the river once crossed daily by countless dugout boats in either direction now flows still and empty.

    However, the stringent regulations are hurting the Chadian economy, which relies for maritime trade on the Cameroonian port of Douala on the Atlantic coast.

    N'Djamena residents are paying the price.

    "Crossing the bridge is a huge bother," says Ahmad, a trader. "Now when you return with only a small bag, they carry out a 100 percent search. You need ID and everything."

    Many manufactured items, from farming tools and spare parts for motor vehicles to portable phones, are imported to Chad, a deeply poor and partly arid country that began to exploit its oil reserves a dozen years ago.

    The bulk of the imported produce is transported by heavy goods vehicles to Kousseri, along a road that follows the border between Cameroon and Nigeria. On many occasions, the trucks have been attacked.

    Supplies by road are increasingly scarce as a result, leading to a sharp rise in prices. "Many things have become too expensive," says Awa, a shop worker of about 40. "Even hot peppers cost too much."

    Awa makes do by buying beer in Kousseri and bringing it home for sale. "They say that Boko Haram has made this trip difficult. We are living like this, but it is tough."

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    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: The Global Fund
    Country: Niger

    NIAMEY, Niger – À quelques jours de la Journée mondiale du paludisme, le 25 avril prochain, le partenariat du Fonds mondial et le Niger ont renforcé leur riposte contre la maladie par une campagne de distribution à grande échelle de moustiquaires visant à garantir une couverture universelle pour la première fois dans le pays.

    Les moyens financiers canalisés par l’intermédiaire du Fonds mondial proviennent de nombreux donateurs, représentés aujourd’hui par les États-Unis et la France. Cette initiative mobilise un vaste partenariat regroupant l’UNICEF, l’OMS, le Programme national de lutte contre le paludisme dépendant du Ministère de la Santé publique, ainsi que Catholic Relief Services, qui œuvrent ensemble en faveur de la population du Niger.

    Dans le cadre de cette initiative, le partenariat du Fonds mondial finance quelque 8 millions de moustiquaires imprégnées d’insecticide de longue durée, dont 1,5 million ont déjà été distribuées en 2015. Une deuxième phase verra la distribution de 6,5 millions de ces moustiquaires lors d’une campagne qui débutera officiellement le 16 mai. Le Gouvernement du Niger s’engage à fournir 2 millions de moustiquaires supplémentaires dans le but d’en garantir la couverture universelle dans le pays.

    Selon le rapport 2014 sur la mortalité infantile publié par le Groupe de travail inter-institutions des Nations Unies, le Niger a fait des progrès considérables pour réduire la mortalité infantile chez les enfants de moins de cinq ans, puisqu’elle est y passée de 327 pour 1 000 en 1990 à 104 en 2013.

    Il n’en demeure pas moins que le paludisme reste un problème majeur de santé publique au Niger, où près d’un tiers des patients qui viennent en consultation dans les établissements de soins souffrent de cette maladie véhiculée par les insectes. La quasi-totalité des 18,5 millions d’habitants du pays vit dans des régions d’endémie palustre, les femmes enceintes et les enfants de moins de cinq ans constituant les groupes les plus vulnérables.

    « Grâce aux efforts de l’État et de ses nombreux partenaires dans la lutte contre le paludisme, cette campagne de distribution à grande échelle de moustiquaires imprégnées d’insecticide de longue durée, organisée avant tout avec le soutien du Fonds mondial, offre au Niger une véritable occasion et une chance de progresser, cette année encore, vers une réduction de la morbidité et de la mortalité liées au paludisme », a déclaré le docteur Mélé Djalo, qui préside l’instance de coordination nationale du pays.

    « Le Fonds mondial est heureux de soutenir les efforts déployés par le gouvernement afin de garantir, pour la première fois dans l’histoire du Niger, une couverture universelle en moustiquaire imprégnées d’insecticide », a déclaré Tina Draser, la responsable régionale du Fonds mondial pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest. « Grâce à l’appui de tous les partenaires réunis ici aujourd’hui, cette campagne à grande échelle a tous les éléments pour avoir un impact concret et faire encore reculer la mortalité chez les enfants de moins de cinq ans. »

    Ibon Villelabeitia
    Telephone: +41 79 292 54 26
    E-mail: ibon.villelabeitia@theglobalfund.org


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Trois communes du nord confrontés à la consommation inadéquate durant la soudure

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • La sécurité alimentaire des ménages pauvres et très pauvres des communes de Tin-Akoff, Nassoumbou et Koutougou à l’extrême nord du pays, fortement dégradée, est passée du Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) à Crise (Phase 3 de l’IPC). Ces ménages, dont les stocks céréaliers précocement épuisés depuis janvier, sont en outre confrontés à une forte baisse tendancielle des prix des animaux, leurs principales sources de revenu.

    • La soudure pastorale, particulièrement rude dans l’extrême nord du pays, s’est intensifiée avec la raréfaction et l’éloignement du fourrage et des points d’eau pour l’abreuvement des animaux avec pour corollaire la forte dégradation de l’état physique du bétail conduisant à la dépréciation de leurs valeurs marchandes, et l’émergence de certaines maladies animales telle que de la fièvre aphteuse.

    • Dans le reste du pays, la situation alimentaire des ménages est dans l’ensemble normale. La demande relativement stable des ménages et l’offre commerciale de céréales au-dessus de la moyenne, permettent une stabilité, voire par endroit, une baisse des prix aux consommateurs. La relance du gouvernement de l’opération de vente de maïs à prix subventionné permet de renforcer les disponibilités céréalières et améliorer l’accès des ménages à la nourriture.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Abuja, Nigeria | AFP | Thursday 4/30/2015 - 16:02 GMT

    by Ola AWONIYI with Aminu ABUBAKAR in Kano

    Nigeria's military on Thursday vowed to free more hostages from Boko Haram after nearly 500 were released from atrocious conditions this week in the group's Sambisa Forest stronghold.

    Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade told reporters in Abuja the army would "comprehensively" clean out the forest, adding: "There is great hope for recovery of more hostages of the terrorists."

    The army said on Thursday about 160 hostages were rescued from the dense, former colonial-era game reserve, while 200 girls and 93 women were freed on Tuesday.

    The numbers underlined the scale of the tactic of mass abduction used by the militants, who according to Amnesty International have seized about 2,000 women and girls since the start of last year.

    The human rights group's Africa director for research and advocacy, Netsanet Belay, said the rescues were a "cause for celebration" but he warned: "This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    "There are thousands more women and girls, and men and boys, who have been abducted by Boko Haram," he said in a statement.

    • 'Inhuman conditions' -

    Female former hostages have described being subjected to forced labour, sexual and psychological abuse as well as having to fight on the frontline alongside the rebels.

    The military released a series of photographs purporting to show some of the rescued women and children in an undisclosed location, huddled on the ground watched over by soldiers.

    One very young child pictured appeared to be severely malnourished.

    The rescue, after what the military said was a sustained aerial bombing campaign of the forest, raised hope that some of the 219 girls snatched from their school last year were among them.

    Army spokesman Sani Usman has said the Chibok girls were not part of the group but defence headquarters in Abuja has said it was too early to say.

    The mass kidnapping from Chibok, in Borno state, prompted global outrage and forced President Goodluck Jonathan to accept international help in the search operation for the missing girls.

    Olukolade said work was being undertaken to determine the former hostages' real identities but the priority was getting them to safety.

    "Whoever they may be, the important thing is that Nigerians held captive under very severe and inhuman conditions have been freed by our gallant troops," he said.

    Usman said earlier that the 160 or so hostages were rescued in an operation involving troops from the army's 7th Division, which has been tasked with fighting Boko Haram.

    "We are still trying to compute the actual number of those rescued. But tentatively there are about 60 women of various ages and around 100 children," he told AFP.

    One woman was killed in the fighting and eight other rescued hostages were injured. A soldier was also killed and four others wounded.

    Several "terrorist training camps" were cleared during the operation while equipment and vehicles were seized, he added.

    A military source indicated the women were used as human shields and in some cases fired back at soldiers until they were subdued.

    • 'End the nightmare' -

    Meanwhile, the United Nations special envoy for global education, Gordon Brown, said he would hold talks with Nigeria's president-elect Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.

    The former British prime minister said it was "time to end the nightmare" of kidnappings, which with forced conscription have been a regular feature of the bloody six-year insurgency.

    "Now that some girls have been released we want all girls released," he said in a statement. "And we want them home with their families in days -- not months or years."

    Brown has spearheaded an initiative to improve security at schools in Nigeria, which have been a target for the militants, who are opposed to Western-style, secular education.

    Talks with Buhari, who won last month's elections, would focus on international military support to free the Chibok girls as well as improving access to secure schools for girls, he added.

    Former military ruler Buhari has vowed to crush Boko Haram, whose quest for a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has left at least 15,000 dead and more than 1.5 million homeless since 2009.

    ola-abu-phz/pvh

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

    Situation Update

    According to UNHCR, there are some 62,000 internally displaced persons in Mali and 16,000 returnees. Burkina Faso shelters 33,000 Malian refugees, while Mauritania and Niger host 53,000 and 49,000 Malian refugees, respectively.

    WFP Response

    Under its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200719 in Mali, WFP is responding to immediate food needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees, among other needs intended to save lives, promote stability and contribute to achieving the Zero Hunger Challenge. Under its Regional Emergency Operation (EMOP) 200438, WFP is addressing life-saving needs of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger, who fled conflict in northern Mali since early 2012. In March, WFP assisted 298,000 beneficiaries in Mali and 85,000 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.

    Mali

    • The security situation remains volatile in Mali with frequent incidents and attacks. Despite this context, WFP was able to reach some 298,000 beneficiaries during the month of March 2015.

    • The March Cadre Harmonisé (CH) identified some 248,000 food insecure people who require immediate food assistance. Estimates suggest that from April to August 2015, the figure will increase to 410,000. WFP aims to reach 360,000 beneficiaries in April.

    • A budget revision to the operation in Mali (PRRO 200719) has increased the budget from approximately USD 310 million to USD 326 million. The increase mainly reflects increased transportation and operational costs due to the insecurity.

    Burkina Faso

    • WFP is targeting up to 32,000 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso. In March, WFP reached some 31,000 refugees in Bobo-Dioulasso, Goudebou, Mentao and Saag-Nioniogo. This includes pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and children aged 6-59 months who benefited from targeted supplementary feeding (TSF) in Goudebou and Mentao.

    • The closing of the Saag-Nioniogo camp in March has led to the relocation of refugees to the Sahel (Goudebou and Mentao). The relocation is still ongoing, therefore extra monitoring is required to guarantee uninterrupted distributions.

    Mauritania

    • In March, major funding gaps due to the late confirmation of contributions disrupted the distributions. As a result, WFP suspended its general food distributions (GFD) to the 52,000 planned beneficiaries for the month.

    • Available resources were used to cover interventions for some 690 children aged 6-59 months and 120 PLW suffering from moderate acute malnutrition. In addition, some 5,400 children under the age of 5 and 1,600 PLW received nutritional supplements to prevent malnutrition. WFP also provided school meals to 4,400 children.

    • WFP plans to reach approximately 53,000 beneficiaries in April through GFD which resumed on 15 April.

    Niger

    • WFP provided assistance to some 43,200 refugees in the camps and refugee hosting zones in March. Approximately 36,600 refugees were reached through food distributions, 6,500 through the voucher modality and 2,300 children aged 6-23 months received nutritional supplements.

    • WFP continues its mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) assessments in the Abala camp. According to the third round, conducted at the end of March, the food security situation remains fragile.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    Situation Update

    WFP’s most critical concern at this stage is to secure enough funding to provide the level of support required to refugees, returnees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and host populations in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. WFP has already leveraged its internal financial mechanisms and supply chain networks to ensure that food can be moved as quickly as possible once resources are confirmed. Through its revised Regional Emergency Operation 200777, WFP expects to reach nearly 400,000 people in 2015. In May, WFP will launch Special Operation 200834 to ensure humanitarian access to northeast Nigeria by providing air transport services. Apart from the limited funding, WFP is affected by the heavily congested port in Douala, Cameroon, and lengthy administrative procedures at this port. Insecurity and the resulting access difficulties along the border areas in the three countries also affect operations.

    WFP Response

    Cameroon

    • WFP initiated a first distribution to IDPs in November 2014. Since then, WFP had not been in a position to assist the growing IDP population or vulnerable host communities in Cameroon given the lack of resources. Finally, in mid-April, WFP was able to begin providing some support to IDPs, but this was limited to a 15-day reduced ration – and will not cover the full estimated IDP caseload. At current food supply pipeline levels, WFP anticipates that in May and June, it will only be able to cover refugees in Minawao camp – who represent 20 percent of the total monthly target in the Far North.

    • In March, WFP distributed food to some 31,000 refugees in the Minawao camp.

    Chad

    • In March, WFP in Chad assisted some 9,000 per-sons: 5,500 IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities and 3,500 refugees. Approximately 10,000 beneficiaries are targeted for food assistance in April.

    • Results from the national market survey show that markets in the Lake area have been affected so severely that WFP will not implement a voucher programme as planned until after the lean season, when the market situation is expected to improve.

    • Due to limited funding, WFP is unable to scale-up its operations, particularly for the local populations, returnees and IDPs. To date, WFP is able to assist less than half of the planned beneficiaries who now depend on food assistance, following an early exhaustion of their food stocks. This bleak situation is further compounded by the fast approaching lean season, as well as the rains which will impede WFP’s access to many areas.

    Niger

    • WFP in Niger has increased its assistance to affected populations and served 62,000 beneficiaries in March. Some 90,000 beneficiaries are targeted in April.

    • WFP currently complements the food basket of the ICRC to ensure that the displaced population (refugees, returnees and IDPs) and vulnerable host populations receive required food and nutritional commodities, thus avoiding duplication of efforts.

    • In the Diffa region, a critical shortage of nutrition products will affect pregnant and nursing women among displaced and local populations starting in May.


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