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ReliefWeb - Updates

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

    Seasonal Update

    The latest update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre shows that sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean remain slightly above average. The positive anomalies that prompt formation of El Niño conditions weakened during September, then strengthened in October, and have remained weakly positive in November. Coupled with the most recent update from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which notes that the previous weak El Niño conditions have dissipated over the past three months, the analysis suggested that conditions will remain neutral through the Northern Hemisphere spring of 2013. This makes it unlikely that there will be an El Niño-related impact on the upcoming February to June rainy season. Note: an El Niño normally leads to normal- to above-normal rains over the eastern Horn of Africa, whereas La Niña conditions, which originate in below-normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, generally result in below-normal rainfall. For more information, contact: FAO-Ethiopia@fao.org


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

    KOBE CAMP, Ethiopia, December 3 (UNHCR) – Bonkay may seem a bit old to be going to school but, like her classmates, the 23-year-old mother and refugee missed out on a proper education in her village in central Somalia's Bay region.

    Now, they are catching up on their schooling in an Ethiopian refugee camp thanks to the Youth Education Pack, or YEP, a UNHCR-backed programme implemented by the Norwegian Refugee Council and funded by the IKEA Foundation. It targets Somali refugees and local Ethiopians aged between 15 and 24 who have little or no formal education and initially focuses on literacy and numeracy training followed by vocational and life skills classes. The aim is to teach people new skills and help them become self-sufficient.

    Bonkay is illiterate and has never studied before. In July 2011, the combination of general insecurity and the worst drought in more than half-a-century forced her and her husband to leave their village with their two children. "We used to farm and keep livestock, but they all died because of the drought and we were also in danger of losing our two children," she explained.

    They walked for nine days to Dollo Ado in south-east Ethiopia, joining tens of thousands of others in what is now the world's second largest refugee complex after Dadaab in Kenya. The five camps in Dollo Ado, including Kobe where Bonkay lives, host more than 170,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia.

    After arriving in Kobe camp, Bonkay and her husband spent time getting settled before thinking of the future and how to make the best use of their time. Her husband failed to find work and the family were completely dependent on assistance from UNHCR, its partners and the government.

    But Bonkay was not content to sit back and rely on others, she wanted to "study and work to support myself and my children." Then, as she recently explained to Per Heggenes, the visiting chief executive officer of the IKEA Foundation, she heard about the YEP programme, which is only run in Kobe.

    She enrolled to take a basic literacy course and to study maths, followed by vocational skills training, and told Heggenes, "I want to become a cook and open my own restaurant." She will learn culinary skills once she has finished the literacy and numeracy training.

    The various YEP courses – all free – run for one year and the students are encouraged to use what they have learned to set up their own businesses, with help from the Norwegian Refugee Council.

    About 400 students, half of them women, are taking part in the programme, studying in a makeshift building while the Norwegian Refugee Council builds something sturdier. About 280 are refugees and the rest come from the host community, while the teachers are recruited locally.

    Moses Okello, the UNHCR representative in Ethiopia, welcomed the programme and the IKEA Foundation's support. "When the refugees arrived here in 2011, we were focused on life-saving activities," he noted, while adding that "now we are able also to turn our attention to consolidate the gains made by offering the refugees an opportunity to study and acquire skills that they will eventually take home with them."

    His enthusiasm was echoed by Hegennes, who said those working on the programme in Dollo Ado had "embraced the concept of innovation and efficiency" and were "creatively pursuing opportunities to improve the services for refugees in ways that have not been done before."

    The YEP initiative is part of a three-year partnership between the UN refugee agency and the IKEA Foundation to support refugee and host communities in the Dollo Ado region. The overall aim is to reduce dependency on aid and promote self-sufficiency in this arid, isolated region.

    This includes helping the host community that has welcomed so many vulnerable people. During his visit, Heggenes handed over water pumps to local farmers and visited 120 transitional shelters built for them by UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council with IKEA Foundation funding.

    The local population will have access to all the infrastructure built under the programme, including health facilities, schools, water systems and solar power systems.

    Other important aspects of the IKEA Foundation-UNHCR programme include a shelter project to research, pilot and develop alternative ways to lay out a refugee camp. Another project is the construction of a new health centre in Kobe which will be able to provide minor surgery and treat emergency cases and pregnant women. The latter must currently travel for about three hours on a bumpy road to receive specialist care.

    Bonkay, meanwhile, is starting to feel hopeful again. "Nobody can take my skills away from me, they will not disappear like my farm and livestock did," she said as she played with her two-year-old son during a break from class.


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    Source: UN Political Office for Somalia
    Country: Somalia
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    Open letter to Somali Parliamentarians

    Special Representative to the Secretary-General Augustine P. Mahiga SRSG Augustine P Mahiga issued this letter to Somali Parliamentarians several days prior to the Somali presidential elections.

    My brothers and sisters, As-Salaamu Alaikum. I write to you as we approach a truly momentous day for all Somalis. After two decades of civil war, a collapsed state and innumerable indignities to the proud Somali people, we are hours away from the election of a new President—the event that will completely end the transitional period and move us towards a phase of political and socio-economic transformation.

    It has not been easy getting us to this point. In addition to the privations you have all endured during these past difficult years, the political process and the security situation has not been easy. There have been moments when all seemed lost and we have sometimes been on the brink of despair.
    Nevertheless, somehow, the courage, tenacity and determination of the Somali people has overcome these formidable obstacles and brought us to where we are now. From the gathering of the Elders, the National Constituent Assembly, the inauguration of Parliament and to the selection of the Speaker, the process has been inclusive, transparent and participatory. This approach also contributed to rescuing the situation. The process as a whole and its outcome, has been lauded by the majority of Somalis at home and abroad as well as by the whole International community.

    The bar has been set very high. This must continue as you, the most qualified and representative Parliament in Somali history, prepare to elect a President who will form a new government which we trust will live up to the standards you have already set. In these two weeks, you have already demonstrated leadership and ownership of the process on behalf of the Somali people.

    All Somalis, the Region and the rest of the International Community are watching during these remaining few days with hope and great anticipation. We should live up to these expectations by electing a President who will give us a government which is as good and credible as your collective leadership in this new Parliament.

    My brothers and sisters, it is all up to you.

    You are the highest sovereign authority in the land. You are the custodians of the future which is now in your hands. In the coming two days you will hear from all the Presidential candidates as they present publicly their visions. Listen to them and make your choice accordingly.

    We have all heard the rumours of corruption and attempted bribery. The media is full of allegations that all of us engaged in this process have taken money or other inducements to vote for a particular candidate or to try and sway the election one way or another. Wrong or right the truth will come out one day but, meanwhile, let us move on.

    The vote in which you will all participate is entirely secret. No one, but you and God the Almighty watching you, will know what name you place in the ballot box. You will remain anonymous and immune from retaliation. I implore you to think of the good of your country and vote with a clear conscience. You should not feel bound by any obligation other than the interests of your country and the Somali people. Choose the candidate who will be honest and effective in leading the country with a vision appropriate for the next four years of transformation and peace-building in Somalia. Your honour and chance is in the secret ballot, do not let this chance slip away on the 10th of September 2012.


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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, World
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    USAID launches policy and program guidance on building resilience to recurrent crisis

    For Immediate Release
    Monday, December 3, 2012
    USAID Press Office
    202-712-4320

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced the launch of the Agency’s first-ever policy and program guidance on Building Resilience to Recurrent Crisis during an event in Washington DC. Dr. Shah was joined by a distinguished panel of guests, including His Excellency Ambassador Elkanah Odembo, Kenyan Ambassador to the United States; The Honorable Jim McGovern (D-MA); Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council; David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World; Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps; and Carolyn Woo, President & CEO of Catholic Relief Services.

    In 2011, the widespread suffering seen across the Horn of Africa and Sahel revealed that in far too many places, too many communities, families, and individuals consistently rely on humanitarian assistance just to survive. Chronic poverty and recurring shocks drive the same communities into crisis year after year, undermining development gains. In response to this clear need, and together with our international development partners, USAID has committed, through this policy and program guidance, to better coordinate its development and humanitarian approaches to effectively build resilience in targeted areas of recurrent crisis. USAID will still maintain both the lifesaving speed of humanitarian assistance and the longer-term focus of development assistance; however, through this guidance, the Agency is working to ensure that humanitarian relief and development experts work together to better plan and program to build resilience and help vulnerable communities move from cycles of crisis to a pathway toward development.

    “We are committed to undertaking these efforts because we believe they will strengthen our ability to save and improve lives. No one should have to face the crippling circumstances we have seen in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel over the past year. Through building resilience, we can help prevent that desperation, save lives, and create the conditions where families and communities can prosper,” said Administrator Shah.

    Through this collaboration, USAID seeks to achieve specific results to build resilience for vulnerable populations: increased adaptive capacity; improved ability to address and reduce risk as well as mitigate and recover from shocks and stresses; and improved social and economic conditions. Over the long-term, USAID intends for these efforts to collectively contribute to reduced humanitarian need.

    With mandates to provide both humanitarian assistance and longer-term development assistance, USAID possesses a broad range of institutional capacities that can be used to build resilience and ensure a more efficient application of resources to save and improve lives. This policy and program guidance leverages the Agency’s comparative advantage and joins a series of recent USAID policies and strategies that guide the Agency on important issues such as education, gender equality, climate change, violent extremism and youth in development.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan (the), Yemen
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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/03/2012 23:14 GMT

    OUAGADOUGOU, Dec 3, 2012 (AFP) - Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, west Africa's chief mediator for the crisis in Mali, will hold his first joint meeting Tuesday with delegations from the Malian government and two rebel groups, his office said.

    "The president will receive all the delegations together tomorrow at 4:00 pm (1600 GMT)," the presidency said Monday, after Compaore met representatives from Mali's transitional government.

    Delegations from Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith), one of the Islamist groups that have seized Mali's north, and the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), a rebel movement fighting for an independent state for the Tuareg people, are also in the Burkinabe capital for the talks.

    Mali, once considered one of west Africa's most stable democracies, was plunged into chaos by a March 22 coup that created a power vacuum and enabled rebels to seize control of the country's north.

    The MNLA initially fought alongside the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist groups now controlling the vast desert territory -- Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).

    But the Islamists quickly sidelined the more secular Tuareg fighters and have set about imposing strict Islamic law in the north, destroying World Heritage shrines they consider blasphemous, stoning an unmarried couple to death and amputating hands of suspected thieves.

    The Islamist occupation of the Texas-sized desert region has raised fears it could become a base for attacks on Africa and Europe.

    Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly, head of the government delegation, said authorities in Bamako were open to talks only if they kept the country intact and secular.

    "We are acting under the Malian constitution. The republic is united and indivisible and secular, and in that respect separatist demands, attempts to install a religion and a law by force cannot thrive in Mali," Coulibaly told journalists.

    He said chief mediator Compaore had "talked extensively with various sides as part of the preparatory meetings", adding: "I believe the moment has come to move on to another phase. That is why we are here."

    "We will succeed," he added -- but also cautioned that Tuesday's talks would only explore "the possibility of beginning a dialogue".

    Compaore's efforts to reach a negotiated solution with Ansar Dine -- a homegrown Malian group considered more moderate than its Islamist allies AQIM and MUJAO -- have met resistance in Mali.

    On Saturday, an umbrella group of some 30 political parties and civil society groups published a "manifesto for the nation" rejecting any negotiations with Ansar Dine and the MNLA, and accusing Compaore of favouring the rebels and their "terrorist partners" in his role as mediator.

    The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) resolved last month to deploy 3,300 troops to reclaim northern Mali if peaceful efforts failed to resolve the crisis.

    But the UN Security Council is demanding stronger military plans to avoid a potential humanitarian disaster amid the fight to oust the Islamist groups.

    Security sources said Monday that one of AQIM's former commanders, Algerian national Mokhtar Belmokhtar, had left Al-Qaeda's north African branch after being fired in October as one of its two top commanders in northern Mali.

    "Belmokhtar couldn't stand being dismissed. He sent a letter to his superiors announcing he was no longer a member of AQIM," a Malian security source told AFP.

    The one-eyed Belmokhtar, seen as a loose cannon within AQIM, had acquired a reputation as a smuggling baron in the region, and some members of AQIM had questioned his commitment to the group's puritanical brand of Islam.

    roh-tmo/jhb/sst

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali

    1 December 2012 [Abidjan - Cote D'Ivoire]

    1. The ECOWAS Council of Ministers, meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session in Abidjan from 30 November to 2 December 2012, took note of the Report of the United Nations Secretary General on the situation in Mali, which has been transmitted to the Security Council. The Council of Ministers fully appreciates the efforts made for a comprehensive analysis of the context and challenges.

    2. Council is however disturbed by the seeming lack of urgency in the recommendations of the report with regard to authorization to deploy an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) as requested by ECOWAS and the Africa Union (AU) after series of consultations with all international partners.

    3. Council recalls that, in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2071, the Strategic Concept and the harmonized Concept of Operations (CONOPS) forwarded to the Secretary General by AU were developed, in collaboration with the Malian Government and in close cooperation with military and security Experts from the UN System and other key partners, including France, USA, Canada, the neighbouring countries of Mali and the European Union (EU).

    4. It is the view of ECOWAS that the situation in the north of Mali calls for urgent action and proactive measures to restore the territorial integrity of the country and dismantle the terrorist and criminal networks which have continued to bring untold hardship and human rights abuses and violations not only in Mali but across the ECOWAS region and beyond.

    5. Council considers the assertion that the populations of Northern Mali, especially the Touaregs, are marginalized does not reflect the reality on the ground.

    6. Council reaffirms ECOWAS’ determination to pursue the political dialogue between the Transitional Government in Mali and the armed groups in the North that are willing to give up terrorism and violence.

    7. Non-intervention in Northern Mali or any hesitation in the face of the expeditious need to deploy the force may result in the worsening of the humanitarian and security situations in the region and Africa. It would be tentamount to failure to assist the Malian people and encourage further entrenchment of the terrorist and criminal groups with far-reaching threats for regional and international security.

    8. The Council of Ministers urges the African Union to direct the African Group in New York to expedite diplomatic efforts with the United Nations Secretary General and the Security Council Members on this matter.

    9. Council further urges the African Union and ECOWAS to expeditiously dispatch a joint high-level mission to the United Nations Secretary General and the Security Council members with a view to reiterating the positions of the Continent on the situation in Mali.

    10. The ECOWAS Council of Ministers urges the UNSC to take into account, in considering the report, the urgent need of adopting a Resolution authorizing the use of force and therefore the deployment of AFISMA in Mali, under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali

    N°: 331/2012

    1. Le Conseil des Ministres de la CEDEAO, réuni en sa 69e session ordinaire du 30 novembre au 2 décembre 2012 à Abidjan, a pris note du rapport du Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies sur la situation au Mali transmis au Conseil de Sécurité. Le Conseil des Ministres apprécie l’effort fourni pour une description détaillée du contexte et l’analyse des enjeux.

    2. Toutefois, le Conseil déplore le déphasage entre les recommandations du rapport et l’urgence d’actions que nécessite la situation, notamment en ce qui concerne l’autorisation du déploiement d’une Mission Internationale de Soutien au Mali sous conduite Africaine (MISMA), conformément à la demande faite par le Sommet Extraordinaire des Chefs d’Etat et de Gouvernement tenu le 11 novembre 2012 à Abuja et par l’Union Africaine (UA) et ce, après une série de consultations avec tous les partenaires internationaux.

    3. Le Conseil rappelle que, en conformité avec la Résolution 2071 du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies (CSNU), le Concept stratégique et le Concept harmonisé des Opérations (CONOPS) transmis au Secrétaire Général par l’UA, ont été conçus et adoptés, avec la collaboration des autorités maliennes et en étroite concertation avec des experts dans les domaines militaires et sécuritaires du système des Nations Unies et d’autres partenaires de premier plan, notamment la France, les Etats Unis, le Canada, les pays voisins du Mali et l’Union Européenne (UE).

    4. La CEDEAO considère que la situation dans le Nord Mali requiert une action urgente ainsi que la mise en place de mesures proactives afin de restaurer l’intégrité territoriale du pays et de démanteler les réseaux terroristes et criminels qui n’ont cessé de se livrer aux pires exactions et à toutes sortes de violations des droits humains au Mali et dans l’ensemble de la région ouest africaine, voire au-delà.

    5. Le Conseil considère que l’affirmation selon laquelle les populations du Nord Mali et notamment les Touaregs seraient marginalisées ne reflète pas la réalité sur le terrain.

    6. Le Conseil réaffirme la détermination de la CEDEAO à poursuivre ses efforts pour le dialogue politique entre le Gouvernement de transition du Mali et les groupes armés du Nord qui renoncent au terrorisme et à la violence.

    7. Une non intervention au Nord Mali ou tout recul devant l’urgence d’envoyer une force pourrait entraîner une aggravation de la situation sécuritaire et humanitaire dans la région et en Afrique. Cela équivaudrait à une forme de non assistance au peuple malien et favoriserait ainsi l’enracinement des groupes terroristes et criminels avec des menaces lourdes de conséquences pour la sécurité régionale et internationale.

    8. Le Conseil des Ministre invite l’Union Africaine à instruire le Groupe Africain de New York à entreprendre, sans délai, une démarche diplomatique auprès du Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies et des membres du Conseil de Sécurité sur cette question.

    9. Le Conseil invite également l’Union Africaine et la CEDEAO à dépêcher en urgence une mission conjointe de haut niveau auprès du Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies et des membres du Conseil de Sécurité en vue de réitérer les positions du continent sur la situation au Mali.

    10. Le Conseil des Ministres de la CEDEAO demande au CSNU de prendre en compte, lors de l’examen du rapport, le caractère urgent de l’adoption d’une Résolution autorisant l’usage de la force et donc le déploiement de la MISMA au Mali, sous le Chapitre 7 de la Charte des Nations Unies.


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    Source: UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia
    Country: Somalia

    Strategy covers three years with US$1.3 billion required in 2013

    (Mogadishu, 4 December 2012) – A three-year Humanitarian Appeal for Somalia was launched today in Mogadishu. For the first time, the launch took place in Somalia. The appeal was presented by the acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Stefano Porretti, to the Minister of Interior and National Security of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hon. Abdikarim Hussein Guled, who is responsible for humanitarian affairs.

    The 2013-2015 humanitarian strategy targets immediate humanitarian needs of the Somali people and aims to enhance resilience and ultimately address the protracted nature of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia. The appeal for 2013 is $1.3 billion for 369 humanitarian projects targeting 3.8 million Somalis in need. The strategy will be implemented by 177 national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies operating in Somalia. “This is a humanitarian event, not a political one. It is the first humanitarian gathering in Mogadishu for over 20 years. Somalia and its people are happy that the humanitarian community is presenting the strategy to us on our home soil,” said Guled. “The current humanitarian crisis can only be resolved through a concerted effort among local and international partners. We thank the international community for being generous to us during these difficult times and for supporting the humanitarian cause in our country. I call on all Somalis to support the humanitarian community in assisting our vulnerable people,” he added.

    With 3.8 million people in need of assistance, the humanitarian crisis in Somalia is one of the largest in the world. More than 1.1 million people are internally displaced and over 1 million Somalis live outside the country as refugees. “While the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains critical, the improvement in the food security situation and the new security and political landscape present opportunities to break the cycle of recurring crises brought on by drought and conflict,” said Stefano Porretti. “By strengthening Somalis’ ability to cope with droughts and floods we can prevent future shocks from developing into a humanitarian catastrophe.” “The road to resilience will be long and difficult. There is an absolute imperative to continue supporting the humanitarian work in Somalia. The new three-year humanitarian appeal allows for greater continuity in programming and aims at responding to the existing emergency needs of the population in crisis in a sustainable manner,” said Porretti.

    Fifty-seven per cent of the Somalia Humanitarian Appeal for 2012 has been funded, with over $668 million provided out of $1.1 billion. The global Humanitarian Appeal will be launched on 14 December in Rome, Italy.

    For further information please contact:
    In Mogadishu, Abdi Yussuf Noor on nooryussuf@un.org or +252 6997758 13
    or
    In Nairobi, Roberta Russo on russor@un.org or +254 733643737


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Somalia
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    USD 72m required for Shelter Cluster projects in Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for Somalia

    Mogadishu, Tuesday 4th December 2012 - “Shelter is the key to rebuilding the lives and dignity of displaced Somalis,” UNHCR Somalia Representative Bruno Geddo said today as the 2013 Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for Somalia was presented to the Somali Federal Government in Mogadishu. The UNHCR led Emergency Shelter Cluster needs USD 72 million to provide Somalis displaced by drought and conflict with shelter and emergency assistance packs in 2013. The Shelter Cluster is targeting three quarters of a million internally displaced people (IDPs) who are still living in crisis.

    “We aim to give 750,000 people in need Emergency Assistance Packages (EAPs), including transitional shelter kits to over 250,000 people. Without the foundation that shelter provides, the level of protection we can offer is reduced. The ability to cope with ongoing nutrition and health issues is diminished and it is more difficult to improve sanitation at internally displaced people’s settlements,” Geddo said.

    The Shelter Cluster will continue delivery of emergency assistance through EAPs, provision of transitional shelter from plastic sheeting right through to semi-permanent and permanent shelter, ncluding settlement planning and return of IDPs. A total of 39,000 Somali IDPs are targeted for durable housing based on secure land tenure.

    “The transitional shelter approach allows us to provide shelter for all types of IDPs from the recently displaced to protracted IDPs,” said Richard Evans, Emergency Shelter Cluster Coordinator. “Shelter solutions range from a plastic sheeting for a new arrival in Mogadishu to a solid brick house for the long-term displaced in Puntland,” he added.

    The 750,000 EAPs each contain plastic sheeting, a jerrican for water collection and storage, blankets, sleeping mats, a kitchen set of vital utensils, as well as sanitary items including soap. A new addition to the emergency assistance package for 2013 is a standard ‘Women's Dignity Kit’ which will contain traditional Somali women's clothing and sanitary items for all female members in a beneficiary family.

    The Emergency Shelter Cluster is one of eight clusters responding to the Somalia crisis. The USD 72 million is part of an overall appeal for Somalia of USD 1.3 billion.

    END

    Further info: Andy Needham, UNHCR Somalia PI Officer +254 733 120 931 needham@unhcr.org

    UNHCR Somalia Representative Bruno Geddo is available for interview (English, French, Italian)
    Images of and information on the Standardized Women’s Dignity Kit are attached to this release Images of the sanitary wear in production at the GECPD girls' tailoring class in Galkayo, run by 2012 Nansen Refugee Award Laureate Mama Hawa Aden Mohammed, are available on request


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Somalia
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    Humanitarian Context

    The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains critical. In February 2012, the end of famine was declared, largely due to the delivery of aid under extremely difficult conditions and the exceptional harvest at the start of the year. Humanitarian actors have built on these gains, and continue to provide life-saving assistance and implementing programmes to strengthen people's coping mechanisms.

    Despite the progress, 3.8 million people in Somalia are in need of life-saving assistance or other crucial humanitarian support. An estimated 2.1 million people are still in crisis, unable to meet their basic needs without assistance (these most vulnerable include an estimated 1.1 million internally displaced people). The remaining 1.7 million people in need have only emerged from crisis in the past year, and could fall back into crisis without support to maintain their livelihoods.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Angola, Comoros (the), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Chad, Egypt, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan (the), Tunisia, Western Sahara, World, Yemen

    La situation relative au Criquet pèlerin est restée préoccupante en novembre avec la formation de petits essaims au Mali, au Niger et au Tchad et le déplacement de groupes d'ailés au Nord vers la Libye, la Tunisie et l'Algérie.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Somalia
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    The Deyr rains ended in most parts of the northern and central regions

    From November 21 to 30, both field reports and satellite-based rainfall estimates confirm that rains ceased in most parts of northern and central Somalia, including Hiran, Bay, Bakol, Gedo, and Middle Shabelle Regions (Figure 1). Parts of Lower Shabelle, Middle and Lower Juba, and localized pastoral areas of East Golis pastoral livelihood zone in Bari received light to moderate rains. A comparison with the long-term (1983 to 2011) mean (LTM) indicates that rains received in late November were below-average in most of the South and were 20 percent or less of average in the northern and central regions (Figure 2).


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/05/2012 01:59 GMT

    by Romaric Ollo Hien

    OUAGADOUGOU, Dec 05, 2012 (AFP) - Mali government officials met with two armed groups for the first time Tuesday in a landmark encounter that saw the rebels pledge to respect the country's territorial integrity and root out "terrorism".

    The meeting, hosted in neighbouring Burkina Faso, came amid growing calls to deploy an international African force to northern Mali to eject the Islamist groups that seized control there after a March coup.

    The talks in Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou were hosted by the country's President Blaise Compaore, who has acted as top mediator in the crisis for regional bloc the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

    During the talks, Bamako and the rebel groups -- the Islamist Ansar Dine and the Tuareg Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) -- agreed to "observe a cessation of hostilities", though there is not currently any fighting between the parties, and "recognised the need to create a framework of inclusive dialogue within Mali", according to a Burkina Faso statement.

    Among the principles for dialogue going forward are "respect of national unity and the territorial integrity of Mali", the "rejection of any form of extremism and terrorism", and the "respect of human rights, human dignity and basic and religious freedoms", the statement said.

    Mali was plunged into crisis when troops seized power in a March 22 coup, creating a power vacuum that allowed Tuareg and Islamist rebels to snatch the large desert north and take over key towns including Timbuktu.

    The four main armed groups are the homegrown Ansar Dine and MNLA and the mainly foreign, Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).

    Though the MNLA initially fought alongside the Islamists, the Tuaregs were sidelined in June and have since clashed with AQIM fighters.

    The international community is concerned AQIM is free to operate unchecked in northern Mali and could use the Texas-sized territory under Islamist control as a base for attacks on Europe and north Africa.

    ECOWAS has said it is ready to deploy 3,300 troops to help reclaim the north. It is waiting for approval from the United Nations, which is expected to decide sometime next month.

    The African Union and Chad issued renewed calls for the UN to authorise military intervention.

    Ivory Coast President and ECOWAS chairman Alassane Ouattara late Tuesday said a military intervention was vital and needed to be carried out quickly.

    "Political dialogue is certainly needed, but a military intervention seems to me indispensable and (should be done) in the shortest timeframe," Ouattara said.

    -- Armoured trucks arrive in Bamako --

    In Ouagadougou, MNLA spokesman Moussa Ag Assarid told AFP the talks "went very well".

    "No commitments were made, other than to get together around the same negotiating table," he said.

    If talks succeed, the armed intervention would only target AQIM and MUJAO.

    Bamako delegation spokesman Tiebile Drame said Malian authorities require the MNLA "to solemnly and formally renounce their aims of independence and self-determination".

    Though marginalised on the ground, the MNLA is still considered a key player.

    The Islamists in the north have been enforcing strict Islamic law, or sharia, in areas under their control, stoning and whipping unmarried couples and amputating hands and feet of suspected thieves.

    An Ansar Dine official said the group was cautiously ready to "listen to" government envoys. The movement has softened its hardline Islamist stance, apparently under pressure from Burkina Faso and Algeria, the other mediating nation.

    It has said it renounces the imposition of sharia throughout Mali and has declared itself ready to help rid the north of "terrorism".

    African leaders are keen for the UN to authorise a military intervention and expressed disappointment over the last report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was lukewarm on the intervention last week.

    The UN chief wrote that a "military operation may be required as a last resort to deal with the most hardline extremist and criminal elements in the north", but warned of worsening an already fragile humanitarian situation.

    AQIM has already threatened France, which would provide logistical support to the intervention, and its African allies, warning "the Sahara will be a great graveyard for your soldiers".

    Armoured vehicles and weapons that had been ordered under the regime of toppled president Amadou Toumani Toure and that had been held in Guinea since July also began arriving in Mali's capital Tuesday.

    An official from Mali's defence ministry said ECOWAS had approved the release of the equipment to Bamako.

    European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton meanwhile said it was "essential that the international community helps the people of Mali find a lasting solution to the crisis facing their country."

    After a meeting with Romano Prodi, the new UN special envoy for the Sahel, Ashton said the EU would work closely with the UN, African Union and ECOWAS "with the objective of achieving reunification and lasting peace" in Mali.

    roh-tmo/bm

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/04/2012 21:58 GMT

    Par Romaric Ollo HIEN

    OUAGADOUGOU, 04 déc 2012 (AFP) - Le gouvernement malien et les groupes armés Ansar Dine et MNLA, qui discutaient directement pour la première fois, se sont engagés mardi à Ouagadougou à un "dialogue" basé sur le respect de l'intégrité territoriale du Mali et le rejet du "terrorisme", pour régler la crise dans le pays.

    Dans le même temps, Alassane Ouattara, chef de l'Etat ivoirien et président en exercice de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao), a appelé depuis Paris à déployer "dans les meilleurs délais" une force africaine pour chasser les islamistes armés qui dominent seuls le nord du Mali depuis juin.

    Autour du président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré, médiateur pour la Cédéao, se sont retrouvés au Burkina Faso une délégation du gouvernement malien et des émissaires d'Ansar Dine, l'un de ces groupes islamistes, et de la rébellion touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA).

    Durant leur toute première rencontre à trois, Bamako et ces mouvements armés ont convenu "d'observer une cessation des hostilités" et "ont reconnu la nécessité de créer un cadre de dialogue intermalien inclusif", selon le communiqué final.

    "Principes" majeurs sur lesquels ils se sont entendus: "respect de l'unité nationale et de l'intégrité territoriale du Mali", "rejet de toute forme d'extrémisme et de terrorisme" et "respect des droits de l'Homme, de la dignité humaine, des libertés fondamentales et religieuses".

    Le nord du Mali est contrôlé par trois groupes islamistes armés, qui en ont évincé le MNLA avec lequel ils avaient mis en déroute l'armée malienne début 2012: Ansar Dine, mouvement essentiellement composé de Touareg maliens, et les jihadistes surtout étrangers d'Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) et du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao).

    "laïcité" et charia

    Ils y appliquent de façon très stricte la charia (loi islamique). Mais ce sujet très sensible n'est pas évoqué explicitement dans la déclaration finale. Elle indique seulement que les envoyés de Bamako ont réitéré que "la laïcité est un préalable à l'ouverture du dialogue".

    Or, si Ansar Dine a fortement évolué récemment en prenant ses distances avec les "terroristes" et en annonçant renoncer à imposer la charia dans tout le Mali, il a exigé jusque-là de pouvoir la faire appliquer dans les zones sous son contrôle.

    Quant au MNLA, il a cessé officiellement de réclamer l'indépendance pour ne plus plaider que le droit à "l'autodétermination".

    "L'autodétermination est quelque chose qui sera discuté autour de la table" de négociations, a expliqué le chef des émissaires du MNLA, Mahamadou Djeri Maïga, après la rencontre. Mais, signe des divisions du mouvement, un porte-parole, Mohamed Ag Assarid, a aussitôt rectifié: même "la question de l'indépendance et de l'intégrité territoriale" devra être sur la table.

    Les difficiles discussions qui s'annoncent sont très critiquées par certains acteurs politiques maliens, hostiles à tout compromis. Mais si elles aboutissent, l'intervention militaire africaine en cours de préparation devrait ne viser que les "terroristes" d'Aqmi et du Mujao.

    Les Nations unies doivent se prononcer en décembre sur cette intervention.

    "Il faut bien sûr le dialogue politique mais une intervention militaire me paraît indispensable et dans les meilleurs délais", a lancé M. Ouattara à l'issue d'un entretien avec le président français François Hollande.

    Les dirigeants africains ont été très déçus par le dernier rapport du secrétaire général des Nations unies, Ban Ki-moon. Tout en jugeant que la force serait "sans doute nécessaire en dernier recours contre les plus extrémistes" des groupes armés, il a averti des risques humanitaires et politiques.

    Comme la Cédéao, le chef de l'Etat béninois Thomas Boni Yayi, président en exercice de l'Union africaine, et le président tchadien Idriss Deby ont lancé mardi "un appel"à l'ONU pour qu'elle autorise "d'urgence" le déploiement de cette force.

    L'Union européenne a souhaité de son côté "un cadre crédible pour des négociations Nord-Sud" en vue d'une "solution durable" au Mali. L'UE a donné son accord de principe pour dépêcher au Mali une mission de 250 formateurs chargés d'y entraîner quatre bataillons de 650 soldats maliens, en vue de l'intervention dans le Nord.

    bur-tmo/jeb

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Government of Ethiopia
    Country: Ethiopia

    Nekempt December 03/2012 Some 23 safe water projects constructed in Abababo Gudru Woreda, Horu Gudru Wollega Zone of Oromia State with 12.5 million Birr have gone operational, the woreda water, mines and energy office said. Office Head, Teshale Kumsa said the projects benefited more than 5000 residents. Teshale said safe water service coverage has grown to 44.4 per cent from 34.5 per cent following construction of the projects. Activities are underway to construct 24 similar projects with over 15.6 million Birr during the current Ethiopian budget year, the head said, adding, the projects will benefit more than 10,000 people.


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Djibouti

    La Banque inaugure un bureau de représentation à Djibouti

    WASHINGTON, 1er décembre 2012 – Le Groupe de la Banque mondiale a réalisé plusieurs premières à Djibouti cette semaine : Inger Andersen, vice-présidente de la Banque mondiale pour la Région Moyen-Orient et Afrique du Nord, a effectué sa première visite dans le pays pour officialiser l’ouverture du premier bureau permanent de la Banque à Djibouti — bureau établi et géré par Homa-Zahra Fotouhi, première représentante résidente de la Banque dans le pays.

    « Djibouti et le Groupe de la Banque mondiale travaillent en partenariat depuis 32 ans et je suis très fière que la Banque s’établisse enfin ici, ce qui nous permettra de travailler en étroite collaboration avec le pays pour relever les défis auxquels il est confronté en matière de développement », déclare Mme Andersen. « Cette initiative témoigne pleinement de notre volonté de soutenir Djibouti et sa Vision 2035 ».

    Durant sa visite de deux jours, Inger Andersen a pu observer un programme de lutte contre la pauvreté urbaine qui inclut des services de formation communautaire et professionnelle enregistrant un taux de placement de 30 % sur le marché du travail. Le programme privilégie les citoyens les plus pauvres et cherche à promouvoir la construction d’infrastructures essentielles, notamment des routes, des centres communautaires et des terrains de sport. Durant sa visite, la vice-présidente était accompagnée d’Hartwig Schafer, directeur des opérations pour Djibouti, l’Égypte et le Yémen à la Banque mondiale.

    Mme Andersen a participé à une séance d’éducation nutritionnelle destinée aux mères d’enfants âgés de moins de deux ans à Hayableh. Elle a pu constater à cette occasion l’importance cruciale de la lutte contre la malnutrition : ce programme de protection sociale soutient des projets de travaux à forte intensité de main-d’œuvre visant à relever les revenus des ménages, donc la qualité de la nutrition.

    Inger Andersen a félicité le gouvernement d’avoir organisé, le mois dernier, un atelier de consultation, durant lequel la Banque a sollicité des avis au sujet de l’élaboration de sa Stratégie de partenariat avec le pays. Dirigé par Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, ministre de l’Économie et des Finances, l’atelier a bénéficié de la participation active de plusieurs ministres de premier plan durant les deux jours de discussion.

    Durant une réunion avec des représentants du secteur privé, Mme Andersen s’est engagée à collaborer avec le gouvernement pour lever les obstacles au développement du secteur privé et à la création d’emplois. Durant ses entretiens avec les partenaires de développement, elle a réaffirmé la volonté de la Banque de renforcer la coordination pour améliorer les résultats des programmes de développement et accroître les effets bénéfiques sur la population.

    À l’occasion de leurs entretiens avec les ministres et d’autres interlocuteurs, Mme Andersen et sa délégation ont examiné les problèmes de développement de Djibouti et réaffirmé que la Banque était déterminée à appuyer la nouvelle stratégie du pays en matière de développement — la vision « Djibouti 2035 » —, qui contribuera à réduire la pauvreté et à promouvoir une prospérité partagée. L’exploration du potentiel géothermique du pays figurait aussi parmi les importantes questions abordées.

    La vice-présidente de la Banque mondiale a appelé de ses vœux une accélération de la mise en œuvre de quatre projets approuvés par la Banque le 12 juin 2012 pour un montant total de 19,2 millions de dollars. Ces projets visent à renforcer les filets de protection sociale au profit des habitants les plus pauvres et les plus vulnérables, à améliorer l’accès aux services d’eau et d’électricité, à mettre en œuvre une réforme de l’éducation et à promouvoir le développement rural.

    Les projets ont tous pour objectif d’aider Djibouti à surmonter les effets d’une des sécheresses les plus sévères qui ont frappé la Corne de l’Afrique durant les 60 dernières années. Homa-Zahra Fotouhi a noté que Djibouti était vulnérable à divers risques naturels, notamment les sécheresses qui se prolongent pendant plusieurs années et entraînent de graves pénuries d’eau au détriment de l’agriculture et des ménages. Elle a fait remarquer que la Banque mondiale organisera une table ronde sur la gestion des risques avec le Gouvernement de Djibouti en avril prochain pour consolider l’amélioration de la gestion des risques dans le pays et continuer à développer une culture nationale en matière de résilience aux catastroph

    Contacts médias

    À Djibouti
    Homa-Zahra Fotouhi
    Téléphone : +253-21 35-1090
    hfotouhi@worldbank.org

    À Washington

    Irene Sitienei
    Téléphone : (202) 458-0175
    Isitienei@worldbank.org


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    Source: Chatham House
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia

    Jason Mosley Chatham House November 2012

    INTRODUCTION

    More than a quarter-century after the 1984 famine in Ethiopia, and following decades of investment in famine early warning (EW) systems, a slow-motion disaster unfolded in Somalia during 2011, as a food security crisis mushroomed into a full blown famine in some central and southern districts. Warnings were sounded as early as August 2010, and only grew in intensity. However, intervention – and funding – commensurate with the scale of the disaster only increased from mid-2011, when a famine had been declared in parts of southern and central Somalia.

    This is precisely the scenario that EW systems were developed to avoid. A series of technical evaluations have been and are being carried out by the humanitarian and donor communities, seeking to understand the response in Somalia and how it fell short. There are doubtless technical lessons to be learned, in terms of improving the efficacy of response and shortening lead times.

    However, it is significant to note that the same climatic conditions that contributed to famine in parts of Somalia also affect neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya – neither of which experienced conditions anywhere near as dire. Nor, in fact, did the climatic factors affect other parts of Somalia in the same way. The 2011 Horn of Africa emergency was described as in essence a Somali emergency, spilling over the borders into south-eastern Ethiopia and northern Kenya (in the form of refugees). In terms of the acute emergency, this seems accurate. Both Kenya and Ethiopia face perennial food security challenges, which were exacerbated by drought in 2011, but certainly the epicentre of their emergencies played out in their borderlands with Somalia.

    How can this variation be accounted for? Technical factors related to humanitarian operations and logistics do vary between the three countries, although there are serious efforts to coordinate between agencies within countries and between. Nevertheless, these factors are better left to the ‘real-time evaluation’ processes carried out by the UN Interagency Standing Committee (IASC), Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and others.

    This paper is based in part on a number of interviews conducted with humanitarian community, donor and government sources in Nairobi and Addis Ababa between 22 March and 5 April 2012, as well as on desk research and further interviews with academic and policy specialists in the United Kingdom. Informants have been kept anonymous, to allow for a more frank discussion.

    The paper explores how the political context has affected and – in effect – constrains or enables the humanitarian community in its response to emergencies, examining the operating environments in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Although the Horn of Africa is often seen as a security-challenged region, for good reason, the level of insecurity varies significantly between and within countries. Moreover, the political systems – in terms of governance (and its impact on social and economic mobility and human rights) and of government capacity – in place in the three countries bear little resemblance to each other.

    What the countries do share, however, is a common climatic zone – a semi-arid rangeland that stretches across northern Kenya, into Somalia and southern Ethiopia. The first section of this paper deals with some important implications of this region’s perennial climatic challenges for approaches to improving food security. The following sections deal with the political contexts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, how these affected the response to the 2011 crisis, and the implications for future response. The final section offers recommendations.


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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Burkina Faso

    The award-winning reportage artist visits the drought-plagued African country to meet its people and learn about their lives

    See Olivier Kugler's reportage-illustrations of the people he met in Burkina Faso

    Earlier this year, this year Valerie Amos, the head of the UN's humanitarian and emergency relief programme, warned that a combination of failed crops, locust plague, high food prices, conflict, chronic levels of poverty and drought meant more than 18 million people were facing hunger across eight countries in west Africa, including the Sahel region. More than a million children under five are at risk of severe malnutrition.

    Read the full report on the Guardian.


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