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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Somalia, Thailand, World

    DHAKA/BANGKOK, 7 December 2012 (IRIN) - In southwestern Bangladesh, recent large-scale water-logging - stagnant flood water that fails to recede - threatens agriculture and public health for years to come. It is a crisis in the making, highlighting the risks slow-onset natural disasters pose to poor countries, and how ill-prepared officials are to respond - even with ample early warning.

    “At first glance, one would expect that, the slower the onset of a disaster, the better prepared we should be to mitigate its impacts,” UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström told IRIN. “What we often find, instead, is that we [are] far too late to react.”

    Last year, residents in Thailand had months of flood warnings, beginning in July 2011, as flooding upcountry triggered by a tropical storm slowly wound its way south. Flooding persisted in some areas until mid-January 2012. But even with ample warning, the disaster killed at least 628 people, affected more than 13 million people and damaged 20,000sqkm of farmland.

    Warnings not heeded

    Khurshid Alam, former head of livelihoods and disaster reduction at ActionAid’s office in Bangladesh, said slow-onset disasters receive less media attention and are less dramatic than flash floods or cyclones. “The persistent water-logging of the Satkhira region in the country’s southwest is currently the most significant slow-onset disaster plaguing the country.”

    Unlike a flash flood, whose effects can be fatal immediately, it can take years of warnings before slow-onset disasters - such as droughts, riverine erosion, coral bleaching and increasing soil and water salination - turn deadly.

    The problem is that warnings are not always heeded, said Wahlström. “Given the collective experience of responding to drought emergencies over the last 50 years, it is surprising that, once again last year, the world was caught short in its response to a drought-fuelled famine in the Horn of Africa and in the western Sahel, which was predicted well in advance. The lives and livelihoods of millions were at stake, but the warnings were not acted on.”

    Governments, donors and aid groups, conditioned to responding to rapid-onset disasters, need to become more flexible in responding to early warnings, advised Wahlström. This is especially true in Asia, one of the most natural-disaster prone areas in the world, with more fatalities attributed to natural hazards between 1975 and 2011 than anywhere else in the world.

    Urban risk

    Urban areas require particular attention. The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction estimates the number of people in East Asia living in the flood plains of urban areas may reach 67 million by 2060.

    More than two-thirds of the world’s urban population now live in low- and middle-income countries, and nearly one billion of them - mostly in Asia - reside in slums.

    Slum dwellers worldwide - a population growing by 25 million annually, according to UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) - are more likely to encounter chronic disasters than other urban areas.

    “The unpredictability of these events - for example, water-logging in flood-prone areas - makes it difficult to set triggers for response,” said Gerson Brandao, humanitarian affairs advisor for the UN Resident Coordinator’s office in Bangladesh.

    Water-logging causes increased salination in croplands, and affects not only rural farms but also the peri-urban and urban areas where agriculture is increasingly practiced. It also increases the risk of waterborne disease. “Water-logging isn’t simply a bad flooding but a continuous hazard,” Brandao continued.

    In Bangladesh, shrinking wetlands, which have traditionally helped drain flood water, have worsened water-logging in recent years.

    A 2011 study commissioned by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on slow-onset disasters warned, “If livelihoods are not restored or strengthened between events [caused by a chronic hazard]… then smaller and smaller hazards can push households over the edge, resulting in a vicious cycle.”

    Erratic weather

    Bangladesh’s yearly drought, and the resulting food shortage, known locally as ‘monga’, is another slow-onset disaster, said Alam. The country’s annual droughts affect up to 2.3 million [ ] of the country’s 8.4 million cultivable hectares, hitting farmers mostly in the northwest, according to the government, which says increasingly erratic weather is affecting crop cycles.

    In 2010, Bangladesh had 47,447mm of total rainfall. In 2011, rainfall levels increased by 40 percent. In southwestern Bangladesh, 2011 flood water did not recede as usual, compromising shelter, medical care, and access to food and income for more than one million people.

    But even without increased rainfall, this area - where three major river systems meet - is already at high risk of flooding, Shahadat Hossain Mahmud, the government’s rural risk reduction specialist at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, told IRIN.

    “These [river] systems all bring in a large amount of silt…so the river banks flood even with a little rainfall.”

    The government’s Tidal River Management project aims to divert water to shallow lakes, repair a number of flood embankments and earth dykes, and dredge river beds, said Abdul Latif Khan, of the disaster management ministry.

    The government is also working with coastal farmers to help them build homes on stilts, test new farming techniques, and explore fish and crab farming to recoup income lost as cropland disappears.

    As a natural-disaster prone country that is extremely vulnerable to climate change effects, Bangladesh’s best hope is to cope, said Hossain.


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Mali, Niger (the)

    Summary: The revised appeal focuses on food security and post-harvest season recovery activities for resilience capacity building in Tillabéry and Diffa regions. In Tillabéry region, activities in targeted communities are also focussed on addressing the risk of cholera and other water-borne diseases, access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene promotion while in Dosso, Diffa and Niamey regions, focus is on nutritional related activities.Supplementing these activities, an emergency nutritional programme (in partnership with UNICEF) targeting children below 5 years and women will continue in Dosso, Diffa and Niamey regions and monthly food distribution to some 20,000 Malian refugees and host families in Tillabéry and Tahoua regions, will continue.

    Despite a slow start of the operation due lack of funding and the need for additional operational support, the implementation of most activities has gathered up speed. The three month delay between the end of the DREF implementation and the appeal funding, made some of the food security activities irrelevant to be able to meet the government plan.

    Through the IFRC twin-track approach aimed at saving lives, protecting livelihoods, and strengthening recovery from disasters and crisis by providing short term emergency relief, the following progress has been made in the operation:

    • Food assistance has been distributed to 20,000 Malian refugees and host families in Tillabéry and Tahoua regions through a local field agreement between RCSN and WFP. This assistance will continue until end December 2012.

    • Cash vouchers have been ddistributed to 300 vulnerable heads of households unfit for fieldwork in 12 villages of Tillabéry and Tahoua regions. Additionally 325 families were enrolled into the cash for work activities and were involved in soil rehabilitation in the 12 villages giving them sufficient earnings to cover 3 months of food needs. Through the CFW activities 144 acres of dry land were rehabilitated, 39,030 herbaceous plants and trees planted to ensure land rehabilitation and provide fodder for livestock.

    • RCSN volunteers have conducted nutritional screening on over 20,000 children (6 to 59 months), their mothers and pregnant women and about 2,000 children referred to health centres for further support. In addition over 60 tonnes of food and ready- to-use therapeutic food, 600 food parcels, protection rations, including ready to use therapeutically food (plumpy nut), improved cereal, and oil were distributed.

    • To support the health centres taking care of cholera patients, 500 litres of bleach 10,000, tablet of doxycline, 7,000 ORS were procured as well as 10 tents availed to those health centres in order to isolate cholera patients from other patients. In addition vaccinations and essential drugs to support over 2,000 moderate and severe acute malnourished children on a monthly basis have been provided to the referral health centres through the RCSN and UNICEF agreement.

    • Approximately 39 farmer associations in Tahoua region and 500 farmers in Tillabéry region have each received 500 bags of fodder.

    • A total of 37.5 tonnes of improved seeds (local resistant Sahel adapted), fertilizer and tools have been provided to 2,500 families in 14 villages as well as support provided to the community vegetable gardens to allow families to diversify their food intake and possibly create sources of income.

    • Existing cereal banks have been rehabilitated and new ones built to enable families in remote villages have a direct access to the most commonly used cereal seeds at a low price in times when prices rise during the lean season from June to October.

    • Approximately 27,090 people living in 48 villages in districts of Tillabery region (including 4,653 people in the Tillabery and Ayorou refugee camps) have been reached through sensitization campaigns and distribution of aqua tabs. Furthermore 6,000 pieces of soap and 400,000 water purification tablets were procured and distributed to 2,000 and 5,000 households respectively for hygiene promotion and to increase access to safe water.

    To date funding for the appeal has been received from Danish Red Cross/Government, Norwegian Red Cross/Government, Japanese, Monaco, and Swedish Red Cross Societies. The IFRC, on behalf of the National Society, would like to extend thanks to all for their generous contributions.

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Niger (the)

    Famine in the region averted but more efforts needed

    7 December 2012, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today that improving food security in the Sahel will contribute to peace and stability in the region.
    He was addressing a meeting on the Sahel situation called by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on the Sahel who is former Italian Prime Minister and EU Commission President Romano Prodi.

    "Investing in food security in the Sahel is also an investment in a peaceful and more stable future," Graziano da Silva said. "There is a clear linkage between hunger and conflict; food security and peace in Africa. In the Sahel, we are seeing how food insecurity, hunger, and the dispute over natural resources causes conflicts. Hunger can both trigger conflicts and be a result of conflict. So we cannot treat food security as being separated from security and development as a whole."

    Famine averted

    The Director-General noted that over one billion euro has been mobilized for the Sahel by the international community this year, "and we are glad to see that famine has been averted."

    But more needed to be done, he continued, adding: "It is essential to step up support and also combine short-term humanitarian responses with longer-term development actions. We need to make livelihoods more resilient. And we need to ensure that our interventions in different areas - food security and nutrition, agriculture, health, education and security - are as integrated as possible. FAO is committed to working more closely and better with you under African leadership, to promote sustainable development in the Sahel."

    Graziano da Silva said he believes there is the political will to end hunger in the Sahel. "I recently returned from a trip to Niger. What I saw was encouraging. It convinced me that there is hope; that there is political will to reverse the negative trends leading to food insecurity in the region, he declared.

    The Director-General welcomed Mr Prodi and his team, who met today with Special Envoys, mediators and Senior UN Officials dealing directly with the crisis in the Sahel in order to review the situation in the region and discuss how efforts in support of peace and security can be enhanced.

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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Somalia

    During a period of civil tension, political insecurity, governmental and constitutional change, drought, flash flooding and a state of famine, ACTED maintained a stable and steady presence, offering assistance to the most vulnerable populations of South Central Somalia.

    During 2011, Somalia suffered significant setbacks, which led to food shortages and the destruction of livelihoods, community assets, and farm lands, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Somalis fleeing the south for the capital, Mogadishu. As this humanitarian crisis unfolded, ACTED scaled up its presence in order to offer lifesaving assistance to populations in two of the most insecure areas in the country: Middle Juba and Bay regions. At the height of the famine, ACTED pledged food, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and livelihood support to some 15,700 affected households.

    2012: ACTED continues to support Somali populations

    ACTED teams are today mobilised to deliver food and hygiene support to some 8,100 vulnerable households in Middle Juba and Bay areas. Through this extended support, the affected families should be able to rebuild their livelihoods. This initiative is carried out with the support of ACTED’s partner, SADO (the Social life and Agricultural Development Organisation).

    Living conditions are improving in Somalia, although progress is slow, especially in the South where rates of malnutrition and food insecurity remain high. In a recently published report, the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU)observed that 236,000 children in Somalia are acutely malnourished, with Southern Somalia hosting approximately 70% of these children.

    What does the future hold?

    ACTED has partnered with think tank, IMPACT Initiatives and the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), to carry out mapping and conduct needs assessments for the internally displaced populations in two camps in Mogadishu. The information produced by these assessments, in the framework of the REACH programme, allows the humanitarian community to understand where services are most needed.

    ACTED will work with REACH in 2013 in order to assist relevant actors with information management and coordination.ACTED will remain mobilised to respond to developing humanitarian emergencies in the region while focusing specifically on long term food security by providing agricultural assistance to farmers and cooperatives, and by providing a sustainable water supply to this population, moving slowly but surely from crisis to recovery.

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    Source: International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia

    The most recent (2010–2011) drought in the arid and semiarid lowlands (ASAL) of the Horn of Africa has rendered over 13 million people in need of food, and caused a devastating famine in southern Somalia. The drought has also raised concerns that pastoralist livelihoods in this region are no longer viable or sustainable, thereby justifying strategies that aim to sedentarize and diversify these livelihoods. Countering this view are advocates of wholesale protection of pastoralist livelihoods. Yet despite these very contrasting views on economic development in the region, very little research directly addresses this big picture question of where public resources should be invested. In this paper we argue that both economic theory and the existing evidence base warrant a more balanced development strategy involving movement out of pastoralism (intersectoral transformation), modernization of pastoralism (intrasectoral transformation), and cross-cutting transformations of the demographic, social, and political structure of ASAL populations. We then explore the empirical basis for balancing investments across these kinds of transformations. While the available evidence base is weak in some respects, we find that most nonpastoralist livelihoods in ASAL yield lower incomes than pastoralism, with the exception of urban livelihoods and irrigated farming. However, both irrigation and urban migration have a limited capacity to absorb growing populations. Additional irrigation investments in pastoralist regions, for example, appear to be capable of profitably absorbing only about three percent of the estimated pastoralist population in 2020. Migration is more promising, but only provided that it comes on the back of much larger investments in education and meaningful urban job opportunities.

    Being the dominant livelihood for the foreseeable future, and potentially quite a profitable one given growing demand for livestock products, pastoralism therefore needs to be an important component of local and regional development strategies. The goal of livestock investments should be to transform the pastoralist sector into a more profitable, more integrated, and more resilient economic system. The basis for achieving this transformation comprises a number of overlapping and largely reinforcing investments: (1) commercializing pastoralism with the goal of improving the competitiveness, value addition, poverty impact and outreach of livestock markets; (2) improving natural resource management; (3) economic diversification, but in a manner that is compatible with existing pastoralist livelihoods; (4) improved social infrastructure (pertaining to health, nutrition, and education); (5) improved physical infrastructure (principally roads, mobile telephony, and irrigation where profitable); (6) more effective disaster risk management strategies; and (7) a range of governance efforts, including efforts at better protection of pastoralist property rights, strengthening of conflict resolution mechanisms, and further efforts to promote bottom-up policymaking.

    While these arguments are grounded in economic theory and in the available evidence, our concluding section notes that this evidence is rather weak on many fronts, including basic statistics on human and livestock population, as well as more complex issues of carrying capacity. Building a better strategy for ASAL regions therefore requires a coordinated but interdisciplinary research program that can systematically pick up the various pieces of the pastoralist puzzle. This research should not only answer the crucially important questions of how to balance investments across livestock and nonlivestock sectors, but also involve rigorous evaluation of on-the-ground demonstrations trialing innovative methods of service delivery that overcome the severe constraints of isolation, mobility, and extreme vulnerability to climatic shocks.

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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Mali

    08/12/2012 - The European Commission intends to increase its humanitarian response to the crisis in Mali by €20 million to address the increasing humanitarian needs in the country which are compounded by the conflict in the north of the country. The conflict has now forced 400,000 people to flee their homes while the on-going food crisis has caused an estimated 560,000 Malian children to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. The communities who are hosting those displaced by the conflict, already vulnerable because of the food crises, are struggling to cope and are also in need of assistance.

    Pending the final decision of the European Union's Budgetary Authorities this additional funding, would bring the EU's humanitarian support to Mali this year to €101 million. This funding would increase the humanitarian response to all parts of Mali, particularly in the north, and help address needs in the areas of food assistance, water and sanitation, shelter, health and protection. It would aim to reach all affected by the conflict both within Mali, north and south, and in neighbouring countries where Malian refugees have arrived.

    Mali has the second highest infant mortality rate in the world, after Somalia, with malnutrition being one of the biggest related causes of this high death toll. While over half a million Malian children suffered from acute malnutrition this year, there is now cautious hope that a reasonably good harvest will be saved in the coming weeks, however the prices of many staple foods are likely to remain so high that the poorest segments of Mali's society will remain locked out of the market and in need of food assistance for many months to come. These high prices are in large part due to the negative impact and restrictions to movement, that the conflict has had on local markets and supply routes.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/08/2012 18:39 GMT

    DAKAR, 08 déc 2012 (AFP) - Les élus locaux d'Afrique, réunis au sixième sommet Africités à Dakar, ont appelé samedi à un dialogue avec les groupes islamistes armés qui occupent le nord du Mali, avant toute intervention armée, afin d'"éviter des pertes en vies humaines", selon les organisateurs.

    "Le sommet a adopté une déclaration appelant au respect de l'intégrité territoriale du Mali et au retour de la paix, y compris par les moyens des interventions militaires, (même si) nous ne les souhaitons pas", a déclaré à l'AFP Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, secrétaire général des Cités et gouvernements locaux unis d'Afrique (CGLUA), au dernier jour du sommet.

    La réunion a appelé à "un dialogue pour éviter des pertes en vies humaines".

    "Nous appelons l'UA (Union africaine), la Cédéao (Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'ouest), l'Uemoa (Union économique et monétaire ouest africaine) et l'ensemble des collectivités locales d'Afrique à se mobiliser pour apporter un soutien aux populations déplacées du Mali et aux collectivités locales qui les accueillent", a ajouté M. Mbassi.

    Le nord du Mali est contrôlé depuis fin mars par les islamistes d'Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) alliés aux groupes Ansar Dine (Défenseurs de l'islam) et du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao).

    Bamako et la Cédéao ont soumis à l'ONU des plans pour une force internationale de 3.300 hommes et demandent au Conseil de sécurité d'autoriser rapidement son déploiement.

    Parallèlement, le sommet Africités a adopté une Charte africaine de la gouvernance locale, pour une mise en oeuvre efficace des politiques de décentralisation, qui doit être soumise aux chefs d'Etat de l'Union africaine.

    "Cela fait cinquante ans qu'on essaie de construire l'Afrique à partir des Etats-nations. Cette construction par le toit n'a pas rempli toutes ses promesses. Il faut lui donner des fondations, les collectivités locales", a plaidé M. Mbassi.

    Organisée sur le thème "Construire l'Afrique à partir de ses territoires. Quels défis pour les collectivités locales ?", la rencontre réunissait depuis lundi quelque 5.000 participants dont 2.500 maires de 50 pays africains, ainsi que des représentants de villes, collectivités territoriales, gouvernements et associations d'autres continents.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    2/08/2012 14:57 GMT

    BAMAKO, Dec 08, 2012 (AFP) - A growing number of Malians, including in the military, feel abandonned by the international community and are advocating unilateral action to reclaim the north from Islamist militia if foreign armies are too slow to the rescue.

    The transitional government in Bamako which still has control over Mali's southern half made a fresh appeal to the United Nations Security Council on December 5 for a 3,300-strong regional standby force to intervene.

    UN chief Ban Ki-moon however gave a lukewarm response, arguing that a more detailed plan was needed for the Security Council to give its backing and that talks should be given a chance.

    The UN's peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous and the world body's special envoy to the Sahel region have both warned that any deployment was unlikely for another nine months.

    Some Malians however -- be they government officials, military planners, fighters or simple residents of the impoverished desert north where Al Qaeda-linked groups are enforcing an extreme form of Islamic law -- are losing patience.

    "In any case, at one point, the Malian army will have to do what it has to do. Preparations are already afoot for us to take our fate into our own hands," a high-ranking defence ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

    That feeling is shared by some of the Malian troops on the ground, where the only fighting to have taken place in recent months was a few skirmishes between the Islamists and rival secular rebel groups.

    "All we are waiting for are orders from the political echelon to march on the north," a Malian soldier said from his base in Sevare, a town near Mopti and just south of the dividing line.

    Western powers Mali's north could become what Afghanistan was to Al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks but diplomats say Washington has been reluctant to throw its weight behind a fully-fledged African intervention.

    Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, its offshoot the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Ansar Dine enjoyed a weapons bonanza after when Moamer Kadhafi scattered his arsenal across the region in his fall.

    Mali's army is still licking its wounds after a March coup that, however short-lived and half-hearted, toppled the regime and left one of western Africa's most promising democracies in tatters.

    While the military odds would seem to favour battle-hardened rebels who have reportedly been reinforced by hundreds of foreign fighters, some people in Mali argue a unilateral offensive could spur the world into action.

    "The liberation of the north is chiefly our own army's responsibility. Let the army launch operations and you'll see how the United Nations will change tack," said Lassana Traore, a young resident of Bamako's Magnambougou neighbourhood.

    "Ban Ki-moon doesn't live on the same planet as us. When I hear that we should wait until September 2013 for anything to happen, that makes me sick," he said.

    Residents of the north -- where Islamist fighters have flogged, amputated and sometimes executed sharia violators -- are even more eager to see an end to diplomatic palaver and a start to military operations.

    "I am furious at the international community. I wonder if they understand the full extent of the people's suffering here," said Mohamed Toure, a resident of the city of Timbuktu, which is under the control of group called Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith).

    On Saturday, around 1,000 people marched through the streets of Bamako to demand swift international action.

    "We cannot allow half of our country to remain in the hands of criminals. The international community must understand that and help Mali," said one of the demonstrators, student Hamadoun Diallo.

    The authorities have launched a December 1-10 campaign aimed at enlisting 2,000 new recruits to fight in the north and more than 4,000 had already signed up by Saturday.

    Armoured vehicles that Mali had bought under the ousted regime of Amadou Amani Toure and had been blocked in Guinea by regional bloc ECOWAS as a result of the coup were finally delivered in Bamako this month, to cheers from local residents.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: ALIMA
    Country: Niger (the)

    Despite the significant efforts being made to address the food and nutritional consequences of the Sahel region crisis, several other diseases continue to kill including malaria. The risk of dying from malaria increases with degrading nutritional state in children under 5 years of age. Integrated malaria treatment is therefore required to significantly reduce mortality rates in children under 5.

    Alima and BEFEN have been working in Niger since 2009. Currently they manage two medical nutrition programs targeting children under 5; the first in Dakoro, Maradi region, and the second in Mirriah, Zinder region. Zinder is the most malaria affected region in the country (WHO maps of malaria prevalence in Niger, 2010).

    Alima and BEFEN teams are launching a new malaria diagnosis and treatment program in Mirriah to reduce its impact. Roughly 120,509 malaria cases were recorded in the area in 2010 and 93,000 in 2011.

    For five months’ activities, the project is financed by the ELMA Relief Foundation ( Projections include treating 40,000 simple malaria cases confirmed by rapid testing, and 1,200 severe malaria cases requiring hospitalisation.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Afghanistan, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan (the), Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), World, Yemen, South Sudan (Republic of)


    This section summarizes FEWS NET’s most forward-looking analysis of projected external emergency food assistance needs, six months from now, in FEWS NET coverage countries. Overall needs at a national level are compared to typical needs at this time of year during the last five years and categorized as Above-average, Average, or Below-average/No need. A star (*) indicates new information this month. Projected lean season months that are highlighted in red indicate either an early start or an extension to the typical lean season. Analytical confidence is lower in remote monitoring countries, denoted by “RM”. Visit for more detail.

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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Mali

    Bruxelles, le 8 décembre 2012

    La Commission européenne va augmenter de 20 millions € l'aide humanitaire qu'elle fournit en réponse à la crise malienne.

    Une fois approuvés par les autorités budgétaires de l'Union européenne, ces fonds supplémentaires porteront à 101 millions € l'aide humanitaire apportée par l'UE au Mali en 2012.

    La Commission entend utiliser cette nouvelle enveloppe pour intensifier l'effort de secours dans l’ensemble du Mali, et plus particulièrement dans le nord, ainsi que dans les pays voisins où les Maliens qui ont fui le conflit ont trouvé refuge.

    Les fonds européens sont utilisés pour fournir des denrées alimentaires, de l’eau, des installations sanitaires et des abris aux Maliens les plus vulnérables, notamment les femmes, les enfants et les personnes âgées, ainsi que pour leur dispenser des soins de santé et assurer leur protection.

    «Alors que tous les projecteurs se sont braqués sur le conflit qui sévit dans le nord du Mali, il est essentiel de recentrer l'attention sur la crise humanitaire qui touche la population», a déclaré Mme Kristalina Georgieva, commissaire européenne chargée de la coopération internationale, de l’aide humanitaire et de la réaction aux crises.

    «Des millions de Maliens ont cruellement besoin d’une aide d’urgence et soulager leurs souffrances doit être notre priorité absolue. Notre action rapide et coordonnée nous a permis, cette année, d’éviter une catastrophe qui mettait en péril la vie de 18 millions de personnes dans la région du Sahel. Toutefois, même si nous intensifions nos efforts pour renforcer la résilience aux catastrophes naturelles, telles les sécheresses, afin que pareille crise ne puisse plus se reproduire, nous nous engageons à ne pas négliger pour autant l’aide d'urgence chaque fois qu'elle sera nécessaire et partout où elle le sera. C’est la raison pour laquelle nous mobilisons maintenant 20 millions € supplémentaires pour le Mali.»

    La commissaire Georgieva a invité toutes les parties à la crise à respecter l’impartialité et la neutralité des agences humanitaires qui, malgré l’insécurité, s’efforcent d’apporter un peu de répit aux victimes. En octobre, un travailleur humanitaire local a été tué au Niger et cinq de ses collègues ont été enlevés par des militants à proximité de la frontière malienne. «Si l’on ne ménage pas un accès sécurisé aux travailleurs humanitaires, notre aide ne peut sauver ceux dont la vie est en jeu», a-t-elle ajouté.


    Le Mali affiche le deuxième taux de mortalité infantile le plus élevé au monde, après la Somalie. Ce taux s’explique essentiellement par la malnutrition. À ce jour, plus d’un demi-million d’enfants maliens ont souffert de malnutrition aiguë cette année. Bien que l'on puisse prudemment espérer une récolte raisonnablement bonne dans les semaines à venir, les aliments de base resteront probablement si chers que les Maliens les plus pauvres ne pourront toujours pas s'en procurer et auront encore besoin d'une aide alimentaire pendant de nombreux mois.

    Le conflit au Mali a entraîné le déplacement de 400 000 personnes, tandis que 4,6 millions de Maliens sont touchés par la crise alimentaire actuelle. Parmi les Maliens en situation de détresse humanitaire figurent 200 000 personnes contraintes de quitter leur foyer dans le nord du pays et 200 000 autres, réfugiées dans les pays voisins. Les communautés qui accueillent les personnes déplacées par le conflit, déjà vulnérables en raison de la crise alimentaire, ont elles aussi besoin d’aide.

    La Commission européenne est le premier bailleur de fonds destinés à lutter contre la crise alimentaire au Sahel. Elle a aussi été la première à réagir, au tout début de cette crise, en débloquant 10 millions € en novembre 2011. En réussissant à concrétiser l'alerte précoce en une action rapide, elle a déjà sauvé des milliers de vies humaines sur les dix-huit millions de personnes frappées par la crise alimentaire qui sévit dans huit pays du Sahel. À ce jour, l’aide de la Commission a déjà atteint un million d’enfants de moins de deux ans et 500 000 femmes enceintes ou allaitantes.

    En sus des 337 millions € mobilisés pour faire face à la crise alimentaire et au conflit au Mali, une enveloppe de 208 millions € a été mise à disposition pour financer les projets en cours et remédier ainsi au problème d’insécurité alimentaire chronique au Sahel, ce qui porte à plus de 500 millions € le budget total consacré par la Commission à l’amélioration de la sécurité alimentaire dans la région.

    Un nouveau partenariat a été lancé en juin à Bruxelles pour renforcer la capacité de résilience du Sahel face aux crises à venir. L’initiative, baptisée AGIR Sahel (Alliance Globale pour l'Initiative Résilience), poursuit un objectif essentiel: faire en sorte que les populations du Sahel soient mieux à même d'affronter les sécheresses futures.

    Pour de plus amples informations

    Site web de Mme Georgieva:

    Aide humanitaire de la Commission européenne:

    Comptes Twitter et Facebook de Mme Georgieva:


    Irina Novakova (+32 22957517)

    David Sharrock (+32 22968909)

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    Source: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
    Country: Ethiopia

    Improved cassava varieties developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and tested in Ethiopia –one of the countries in the Horn of Africa—have high prospects of tackling the menace of seasonal bouts of famine in that region.

    Under good conditions in Ethiopia, cassava’s yield performance showed high potential of 25 tons per hectare to more than 40 tons per hectare, although current farmer yields are often well below these levels, according to preliminary trials.

    “These results reinforce the fact that cassava can be grown, and can provide food security in that part of the continent. More importantly, hence the region is drought prone, growing cassava is one of the best options,” said Dr Pheneas Ntawuruhunga, IITA Cassava Breeder, who carried some studies in that region in collaboration with the national program

    Consumed by more than 600 million people in the developing countries mostly for its high carbohydrate content, cassava is resistant to drought and tolerant of biotic and abiotic stresses such as low soil fertility. These characteristics make cassava an alternative for a region that highly relies on cereals and legumes.

    The Ethiopian government realized the importance of cassava and attention has been given to cassava production intensification and promotion.

    “Cassava is now on top of the agenda of the government as a food security crop. And I must say that IITA contributed significantly to this development,” according to Dr. Solomon Assefa, the Director General of the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research.

    But from Assefa’s point of view, more research is needed to maximize the full potential of the root crop.

    In 2000, through the former Eastern Africa Root Crops Research Network (EARRNT) in collaboration with the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization /Southern Agricultural Research Institute (EARO/SARI), IITA introduced, first, 117 clones from Nigeria.

    Out of these, 42 genotypes reached the preliminary yield trial by 2007. Another set of 46 clones resistant to cassava mosaic disease (CMD) was introduced in 2005 from EARRNET coordination through Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS). “Six clones were advanced directly into multi-locations trial in six locations and their performance was very good whilst the rest were evaluated at Awasa Research Centre,” explained Dr Ntawuruhunga. According to him, two clones (44/72 Red and 104 Nigeria Red) introduced from Nigeria in the 1990s were officially released and being promoted through multiplication in collaboration with nongovernmental organisations and private companies. But since the end of EARRNET in 2007, Dr Ntawuruhunga said this collaboration ceased and no information has been collected from that country. To move cassava forward, Drs. Assefa and Ntawuruhunga noted that additional efforts are needed to multiply, distribute the selected varieties, and scale up through participatory mechanisms along the value chain. “Because of the increasing demand for cassava, there is a need to strengthen research. Apart from breeding new varieties, we also need to understand the agronomic practices associated with the crop,” Assefa concluded. ###

    For information, please contact:

    Godwin Atser,

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    Source: Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: Kenya

    This summary note is an excerpt from the chapter on Kenya that will appear in the peer-reviewed IFPRI monograph, East African Agriculture and Climate Change: A Comprehensive Analysis.

    The research, produced in collaboration with scientists from the countries studied, is based on scenarios from economic global climate change models, and takes into account estimates of each country’s economic and population growth. Each study includes a set of policy recommendations.

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    Source: Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: Eritrea


    Located in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea has a long coastline on the Red Sea. The country has varied topography, rainfall, and climate, with altitude ranging from 60 to more than 3,000 meters above sea level. The climate ranges from hot and arid near the Red Sea to subhumid in isolated micro catchments along the eastern escarpment. The central highlands have a semi-arid climate. Most of the year’s rain falls within a short time, resulting in soil erosion and runoff.

    Eritrea’s total population is about 5.27 million people, of whom 50–60 percent live in highlands that comprise only about 10 percent of the country’s total area. Life expectancy has increased modestly, from 40 years in the 1960s to about 52 years in 2010. The mortality rate for children under five years is decreasing, owing to improved mother- and child-care. Overall, malaria morbidity declined by more than 86 percent, and mortality due to malaria fell by more than 82 percent, making Eritrea one of the few Sub-Saharan countries to have met the targets for reducing malaria incidence set by the Abuja Declaration in 2000 .

    Agriculture is still an important sector for Eritrea, employing about half of the population and producing about 20 percent of GDP. Eritrea has several agricultural systems: rainfed cereal and pulses; semi-commercial and periurban agriculture; small-scale irrigated horticulture; commercial farming; agropastoral rainfed farming; and agropastoral spate irrigation systems. The major food crops grown in Eritrea are sorghum, millet and barley.

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    Source: Government of Kenya
    Country: Kenya

    The country is expected to produce 38million bags of maize valued at shs 114 b.

    Tran Nzoia county is expected to realize 4.6 million bags of maize valued at shs 13.8billion.The bumper maize harvest is to be achieved inspite of the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease which affected 60,000 hectares of maize nationally with production losses ranging from 10% to 60%. The government has since appointed a Taskforce to provide a long term solution to the maize disease.

    Other crops in the Rift Valley include wheat. The province is expected to produce 2.5 million bags valued at shs 8.7 billion this year compared to 2.3 million bags valued at shs 5.9 billion produced in 2011. Tran Nzoia county is expected to produce 1 million bags of wheat. Local wheat farm gate prices have increased from shs2,600 last year per 90kg bag to shs 3,500 this year.

    Tea farmers in rift Valley province produced 174,000Mt valued at shs 52.8 million compared to 2011 when the farmers produced 184,000 MT of tea valued at shs 55.8 million. The impressive results are due to favourable tea prices, favourable exchange rates, and effective management by tea factories. Coffee as well registered impressive growth rates. Rift Valley Province produced 75,000MT of clean coffee valued at shs489 million. Coffee farming was supported by a loan of shs 81 million to coffee farmers in 2011.

    Horticulture is the most rapidly growing sub sector in agriculture. The sub sector earned for the country shs 205 billion in 2011 compared to shs 186 billion in 2010. Rift Valley Province produced assorted horticultural produce valued at shs 55 billion compared to 2010 production of 1.8 metric tons valued at 48.1 billion.

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    Source: Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: Ethiopia

    This summary note is an excerpt from the chapter on Ethiopia that will appear in the peer-reviewed IFPRI monograph, East African Agriculture and Climate Change: A Comprehensive Analysis.

    The research, produced in collaboration with scientists from the countries studied, is based on scenarios from economic global climate change models, and takes into account estimates of each country’s economic and population growth. Each study includes a set of policy recommendations.

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    Source: Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: Burkina Faso

    This summary note is an excerpt from the chapter on Burkina Faso that will appear in the peer-reviewed IFPRI monograph, West African Agriculture and Climate Change: A Comprehensive Analysis.

    The research, produced in collaboration with scientists from the countries studied, is based on scenarios from economic global climate change models, and takes into account estimates of each country’s economic and population growth. Each study includes a set of policy recommendations.

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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Chad

    Summary: In mid-July 2012, heavy rains started to affect families across Chad. As of 24 September, a total of 466,000 persons were affected in eight regions in central and southern Chad. The floods affected both rural and urban areas in the regions, causing damage to infrastructure, agriculture and homes. Approximately 54,689 hectares of agriculture was affected. The National Society, with its network of volunteers around the country responded through evacuation assistance, search and rescue and emergency assessments.

    From its emergency stock, relief items such as tarpaulins, soap, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and jerry cans were dispatched and distributed to 2,354 families (11,770 beneficiaries) in Rig Rig, Mangalmé and Goz Beida regions. A total of 75 volunteers were trained and subsequently conducted sessions raising awareness on water-borne diseases and hygiene promotion, reaching 3,109 families. The volunteers also distributed hygiene kits including detergent to 50 most vulnerable families highly exposed to water borne diseases in Mangalmé area.

    In the capital, N’Djamena, 10 emergency latrines were constructed for use by over 700 people displaced by the overflow of the Chari River. Volunteers from the urban committee of the capital worked and supported non-Movement partners such as UNICEF in the installation of temporary camps, distribution of non food items (NFI), camp management as well as in hygiene promotion activities. This move was replicated in all affected areas where NGOs and government regularly requested support from RCC branches to reduce the suffering of affected persons. The IFRC Chad country office coordinated the response activities and advocated with local partners to promote the role of the National Society in the humanitarian response.

    To date funding for the appeal has been received from Canadian Red Cross/Government, Netherlands Red Cross/Government, Japanese Red Cross Society and VERF/WHO Voluntary Emergency Relief. The IFRC, on behalf of the National Society, would like to extend thanks to all for their generous contributions. Donors are encouraged to continue to fund the appeal as needs remain urgent.

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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Sudan (the)


    Security Council
    6882nd Meeting (AM)

    Special Envoy for Sahel, High Commissioner for Refugees, Minister for Economic Community of West African States Also Speak

    In a high-level meeting on the Sahel this morning, the Security Council called for the finalization of an integrated strategy for the north-African region encompassing security, governance, human rights, humanitarian needs and development, while it strongly condemned terrorism, human rights abuses and the destruction of historic sites in Mali.

    Through a statement read out by the Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani of Morocco, President of the Security Council for December, the 15-member body expressed serious concern at the multiple humanitarian crises in the region, complicated by the influx of weapons, separatist movements and terrorist groups, which included Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

    Recognizing the importance of immediate humanitarian aid and long-term institution-building and development, the statement welcomed the holding of a Rome meeting on 7 December to coordinate concrete action towards those goals, as well measures taken by States of the region in coordination with regional and international organizations. It reaffirmed the need for enhanced and inclusive synergy between all stakeholders.

    “We cannot lose sight of the context in which Mali is but a part: a sustained, systemic crisis across the entire Sahel region,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the start of the meeting, noting the armed insurgency in that country and pointing to a “toxic brew of vulnerability” there, including mass food insecurity, large-scale criminal activity, extreme climatic conditions and fragile economies.

    The need for an integrated regional strategy to deal with those problems, he said, had already been noted through Council resolution 2056 (2012), and a framework had been presented during a high-level meeting in September, with Romano Prodi appointed as his Special Envoy for the Sahel. He urged the international community to support efforts to develop the integrated strategy. “We simply must not relent until peace and stability have been restored to the region,” he said.

    Mr. Prodi, also addressing the Council, said that although the priority was restoring the unity of Mali and uniting against terrorism, he was focussed as well on humanitarian aid and long-term development, within an integrated strategy that would bring urgent relief to those in need and attract tight cooperation of the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union and all the main actors of world politics.

    Substantial resources were also needed, he said, and for that reason, he was getting on board the widest number of countries, international institutions and private donors, with the first focus on people in dire need. A donor meeting would be organized very soon; a multi-donor trust fund was an urgent necessity.

    In Mali itself, he said, it was vital, despite the difficulties, to identify and support one and only one “decision centre” inside the country, as strong leadership was needed to negotiate with acceptable interlocutors in the north, with whom political dialogue must be opened. The international community must act as facilitators, leaving the Malians full responsibility.

    At the same time, military action must be prepared with the necessary instruments, lest “we are not credible even in our effort for peace”. However, every effort must be made to use peaceful means to make progress. As the tensions between north and south were decades old, a platform of decentralization was needed that preserved the unity of Mali, negotiated with international facilitation.

    Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that the harsh conditions facing refugees and internally displaced persons due to the fighting in Mali illustrated the urgency of the Sahel issue. Nearly 350,000 people had been forced from their homes since the beginning of 2012, many fleeing to neighbouring countries in a region rife with drought and food insecurity. Many were vulnerable to sexual violence and child recruitment.

    Mr. Guterres agreed that building resilience in the region as a whole was critical. In Mali, which he deemed to be among the most explosive corners of the world, it was up to the Council to consider the appropriate international response, but he cautioned that any military intervention, even when successful, would result in the displacement of tens of thousands more people.

    Also calling for an integrated strategy for the region, on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire sounded an alarm on the regional threat posed by terrorists in Mali, calling for the immediate authorization of an African-led military force to restore the country’s territorial integrity. “We must act urgently and now,” he said, warning that delays would strengthen the terrorists. “And the bill to pay to remove them will be even higher for all of us.”

    Following those briefings, representatives of Council members — some at the ministerial level — and other concerned countries and organizations agreed with the need for an integrated approach to the crises in the Sahel, with most concurring with the urgency of the threat posed by terrorists in Mali. While some urged quick authorization of an African-led support mission, the representative of the Russian Federation cautioned that military force should be used only as a last resort, pointing to the negative effects, particularly proliferation of weapons, which followed fighting in Libya.

    Represented at the Ministerial or Cabinet level at this morning’s meeting were Morocco, Colombia, Togo, United States, United Kingdom and Azerbaijan.

    Also speaking were the representatives of France, China, Portugal, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, India, Germany and Chad (on behalf of the Community of Sahelian and Maghreb States — CEN-SAD).

    The Permanent Observers of the African Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as representatives of the European Union, Arab Maghreb Union, World Bank and the African Development Bank, also made statements.

    The meeting began at 9:37 a.m. and ended at 1:18 p.m.

    Presidential Statement

    The full text of the statement contained in document (S/PRST/2012/26) reads as follows:

    “The Security Council reiterates its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations and recalls that cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations is an important pillar of collective security.

    “The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of countries in the Sahel region.

    “The Security Council expresses its concern about the underlying problems in the Sahel region and remains engaged in addressing the complex security and political challenges in this region that are inter-related with humanitarian and developmental issues as well as adverse effects of climate and ecological changes.

    “The Security Council remains seriously concerned over the insecurity and the significant ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region, which is further complicated by the presence of armed groups, including separatist movements, terrorist and criminal networks, and their increased activities, as well as the continued proliferation of weapons from within and outside the region that threaten peace, security, and stability of States in this region and in this regard stresses the importance of the implementation of all relevant Security Council Resolutions including those with regards to arms embargoes.

    “The Security Council also reiterates its grave concern about the consequences of instability in the north of Mali on the Sahel region and beyond, and stresses the need to respond swiftly to this crisis through a comprehensive and strategic approach in order to ensure the territorial integrity of Mali and restore its stability and prevent further destabilization of States of the Sahel.

    “The Security Council expresses its grave concern about the increasing entrenchment in the Sahel of terrorist elements, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), affiliated groups and other extremist groups, and its consequences for the countries of the region and beyond.

    “The Security Council continues to be concerned about the serious threats posed by transnational organized crime in the Sahel region, and its increasing links, in some cases, with terrorism.

    “The Security Council strongly condemns the abuses of human rights committed in the region by terrorist and other extremist groups, including violence against civilians, notably women and children, extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, hostage-taking, trafficking in persons, and recruitment of child soldiers.

    “The Security Council reiterates its strongest condemnation of the desecration, damage and destruction of sites of holy, historic and cultural significance, especially but not exclusively those designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including in the city of Timbuktu.

    “The Security Council welcomes the initiatives and measures taken by the States of the Sahel, West Africa and the Maghreb, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Arab Maghreb Union, the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), international partners such as the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the United Nations to tackle the complex multidimensional challenges facing the Sahel region but stresses the importance of strengthening trans-regional, interregional and international cooperation on the basis of a common and shared responsibility.

    “The Security Council reaffirms, in this regard, the urgent need for enhanced and inclusive cooperation and coordination between States of the Sahel and the Maghreb, and among each other, in collaboration with relevant United Nations entities, regional and international partners, in order to combat AQIM activities and to prevent further progress of AQIM elements and affiliated groups in the Sahel and Maghreb regions and beyond, as well as to tackle the proliferation of all arms and transnational organized crime, including illicit activities such as drug trafficking.

    “The Security Council recognizes the work done and efforts made by the relevant United Nations bodies, entities, relevant subsidiary bodies, and other international, regional, and subregional organizations aimed at enhancing capacity-building of States of the Sahel, and urges them to step up their efforts to provide, upon request, assistance for these countries in order to contribute to security and arms control and tackle transnational organized criminal activities and terrorism.

    “The Security Council reiterates the need for an enhanced, comprehensive, and more regional approach to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the food insecure, conflict-affected, and displaced populations in accordance with applicable international law and the guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, and emphasizes the necessity to turn attention to the chronic structural nature of food insecurity and nutrition crisis in the Sahel region, address the underlying causes of chronic repetitive humanitarian emergencies as well as strengthen regional mechanisms for early warning and disaster risk reduction .

    “The Security Council commends efforts made by the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other agencies to provide assistance and draw attention to the scale of the problems in the Sahel as well as the support provided by countries in the region and beyond.

    “The Security Council recognizes that the strengthening of State institutions, economic and social development, respect for human rights and the rule of law are necessary to ensure long-term security, development and stability in the Sahel region.

    “The Security Council also recognizes the importance of a comprehensive approach encompassing security, development and humanitarian issues to address the immediate and long term needs of the Sahel region.

    “The Security Council welcomes the initiative of the Secretary-General to hold a high-level meeting on the Sahel, on 26 September 2012, in the margin of the sixty-seventh General Assembly of the United Nations.

    “The Security Council also welcomes the holding of the Rome meeting of 7 December 2012 by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel, which identified concrete and coordinated actions to advance the resolution of the multiple crises in the Sahel region.

    “The Council encourages the Special Envoy to pursue his efforts in order to coordinate bilateral, interregional and international response and support for the Sahel region and to engage constructively with other representatives from regional, subregional organizations, bilateral partners and countries of the region and in this regard stresses the importance of a coherent, comprehensive and coordinated approach by all United Nations entities involved in the Sahel region and their cooperation with one another with a view of maximizing synergies.

    “The Security Council reiterates, in this regard, its call to the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy to finalize as soon as possible the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel region encompassing governance, security, humanitarian, human rights and developmental issues as requested by Security Council Resolution 2056 (2012).”

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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    ISIOLO, 10 December 2012 (IRIN) - Continued violent attacks on security agents and civilians highlight Kenya’s ongoing struggle with insecurity, creating widespread unease ahead of the March 2013 general elections.

    Some of the worst-affected areas are North Eastern, Rift Valley, Coast and Nairobi provinces.

    In the latest such incident, the detonation of an improvised explosive device in the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi on 7 December, a member of parliament was among those injured. Five people died as a result of the explosion.

    In November, as many as 42 police officers pursuing cattle rustlers in Rift Valley Province were killed when attackers from the Turkana community ambushed them in Baragoi, an area of Turkana County. Following the army’s subsequent deployment to the area, some 11,000 people were displaced, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Aid agencies told IRIN that efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to around 8,400 internally displaced people from Baragoi were being hampered by poor infrastructure.

    "The displaced families are scattered. The main factors that triggered the movement are fear of revenge attacks, more raids, [and the] security operation. Tension is still high. We are the only organization offering emergence relief assistance,” said Mugambi Gitonga, Kenya Red Cross’s coordinator in the Rift Valley.

    Also in November, the town of Garissa, in North Eastern Province, saw some 40,000 families lose their livelihoods during a bloody confrontation between civilians and military officers. The violence followed the killings of two army officers by suspected Al-Shabab militants.

    The government says it will compensate those whose business premises were destroyed.

    "We are still collecting and verifying the names of those whose businesses were razed by the fire. The case is being investigated. A number of traders with stalls outside the market were also affected. We are, however, sure that this market supported more than 40,000 people," said Mohamed Gabow, assistant minister for special programmes, told IRIN.

    Abdinoor Ibrahim, a trader, said, “I plan to sell my livestock and start afresh. I will help my cousin, who was shot as he tried to stop the army from burning my shop, to seek legal redress.”

    In September, 10 police officers were among those killed when inter-communal clashes broke out in the coastal district of Tana Delta. A total of 102 civilians were killed in the attacks, and many more were displaced.

    Security agencies overwhelmed

    The violence and efforts to prevent further attacks have spread the country’s poorly equipped security agencies thin.

    “We are doing the best we can with the available resources, but we at times feel overwhelmed, and we can’t be everywhere,” Kenya police spokesperson Charles Owino Hongo told IRIN. “We are getting concerned because some of these attacks are being carried out with very sophisticated weapons. We must move quickly and ensure we mop up illegal firearms in the hands of criminals.”

    The government says it has begun a disarmament programme ahead of the elections.

    "Nobody, no group, will stop our plan to get rid of all the illegal weapons or end cattle rustling. We know this group of bandits that attacked and killed our officers took the action to indicate they are opposed to disarmament exercises or any attempts to end cattle rustling," Osman Warfa, Rift Valley provincial commissioner, told IRIN.


    Many families have been forced to move due to the insecurity.

    “I have stayed here for over 25 years,” said Muiruri, a government worker in Garissa. “My first-born daughter has just completed university. They will miss this place. I have moved them to Kitui; it's not my home area. I can't take any more risks [by bringing] them to my home in Njoro, as I fear politics might cause another conflict.”

    Ahmed Yassin fled attacks targeting ethnic Somalis in Nairobi’s Eastleigh. The attacks, by angry mobs, followed an explosion inside a public transport van that killed 10 people - the deadliest incident in Nairobi this year.

    "How do you expect me to stay in Nairobi, pay rent, [and] feed my family when all my merchandise was looted? I am here [in Isiolo, Eastern Province] for safety and to survive," said Yassin.

    Aid workers told IRIN that there has also been movement in and out of northeastern Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex, as Somali refugees seek safety from criminals, insurgents and security forces.

    "Hundreds of Somalis have migrated from Nairobi [to] Garissa. They have closed their businesses and settled in Ifo, Dagahaley, Kambioos and Hagadera [camps in Dadaab]. A significant number, almost 5,000, have crossed the border back to their country," said an aid worker who preferred anonymity.

    Rights groups and civil society organizations have accused Kenyan security forces of using excessive force against ethnic Somalis and refugees under the guise of fighting terrorism and hunting for Al-Shabab militants, claims the government has consistently denied.

    “We don’t use excessive force because we are operating within the law,” said the police’s Hongo.

    He also denied claims the government is conducting a biased disarmament exercise among pastoralist communities.

    “Ours [the government’s job] is to ensure that illegal guns out there are mopped up. The government has no interest in disarming other communities and leaving others holding guns. We will get every gun available out there without any discrimination,” Hongo said.

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