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ReliefWeb - Updates

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


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria


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

    De 2011 à 2015, un total de 1,7 milliard de dollars a été requis pour l‘action humanitaire au Niger à travers le Plan de Réponse Stratégique (CAP/SRP). Un total de 1,4 milliard de dollars a été mobilisé, soit un taux de financement de 82 pour cent.

    Grâce aux fonds rendus disponibles par les donateurs, les acteurs humanitaires, en soutien au Gouvernement, ont apporté une aide humanitaire intégrant le développement des capacités de résilience des communautés affectées par l’insécurité alimentaire, la malnutrition, les épidémies et les catastrophes naturelles. Cette assistance a également profité aux migrants vulnérables, aux réfugiés, aux déplacés ainsi qu’aux communautés qui les accueillent. On observe depuis 2012, une tendance à la baisse tant au niveau des besoins financiers, qu’à celui des financements reçus.

    Toutes les années restent marquées par une récurrence de l’insécurité alimentaire et de la malnutrition, avec un pic pour l’insécurité alimentaire en 2010. En 2012 et 2013, la situation s’est aggravée avec l’arrivée massive des personnes déplacées de la Libye, de la Côte d’Ivoire et du Mali ainsi que des inondations qui ont touché plus de 500 000 personnes. Quant à 2014 et 2015, on enregistre un important flux de mouvements de populations dû à la situation sécuritaire du Nord-Est du Nigéria, en plus d’une augmentation sensible du nombre de personnes en insécurité alimentaire par rapport à 2012/2013.


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

    Highlights:

    • Since January 2015, three waves of displacement have taken place in Lac region. The first was in January, followed by another in April, and the latest at the end of July.

    • Some 77,000 people have been displaced as a result of the Nigerian crisis either internally or across international borders. This number includes over 14,000 refugees (of whom 7,134 currently live in Dar al Salam refugee camp), 11,000 returnees, and 52,000 internally displaced persons living either in spontaneous sites or in host communities. All are in need of humanitarian assistance.

    • The most immediate needs are in shelter and non-food items, food security, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and health.

    • Since early August, 39 women and children were released by the Chadian armed forces from an armed group in the Lake region.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Yola, Nigeria | AFP | Friday 9/11/2015

    Nigeria's president on Friday ordered security to be tightened at camps for people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict after seven people were killed in a bomb blast.

    The explosion happened at the Malkohi camp near the Adamawa state capital Yola just before 11:00 am (1000 GMT), when a homemade device left inside a tent went off, the National Emergency Management Agency said.

    The attack, which also injured 20 others, bore all the hallmarks of the Islamist militants, who have repeatedly hit "soft" civilian targets in the bloody, six-year insurgency.

    Elsewhere in Adamawa, residents in Madagali said a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives at a checkpoint, killing at least two.

    There was no immediate confirmation from the authorities, with communications and travel difficult to the remote area in the north of the state.

    Extra vigilance

    President Muhammadu Buhari, elected earlier this year on a promise of defeating the militants, denounced the attack as "heinous and cowardly" and ordered security to be ramped up at all camps.

    "We must not let the desperate and evil-minded criminals have any respite," he said in an emailed statement. 

    "There's now an urgent need for all to (pay the) utmost attention to security issues at all levels -- home, work, market, places of worship, schools, etc. 

    "To defeat terrorism... round-the-clock vigilance is called for."

    Security had been tight at the Malkohi camp after hundreds of traumatised women and children held hostage by Boko Haram were brought there after being rescued by the military earlier this year. 

    Armed soldiers manned the gates and carried out checks on vehicles and passengers, AFP reporters witnessed on a visit to the camp in May. 

    The sprawling camp, set back from the road, and near an army base, consists of concrete buildings housing dormitories as well as tents outside.

    Suleiman Mohammed, director of response, relief and rehabilitation at the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (ADSEMA), told AFP there were currently some 3,000 people staying at Malkohi.

    Yola had been seen as a relative safe haven from the violence and last year its population more than doubled in size to about 400,000 as those made homeless flocked to the city.

    Many of the displaced were housed at state-run camps or stayed with relatives and friends, reliant on assistance from organisations such as NEMA, the Red Cross and the American University of Nigeria (AUN).

    Lionel Rawlings, head of security at the AUN, which is based in Yola, confirmed student volunteers were slightly injured by flying debris. 

    "None was in direct contact with the explosion but there was flying shrapnel. We dodged the bullet," he said. 

    NEMA spokesman Sani Datti said: "So far seven persons lost their lives and 20 persons were injured in the bomb blast.

    "Among the injured, seven were treated and discharged while 13 persons, including four NEMA officials, are still receiving treatment at (the) Federal Medical Centre, Yola."

    'Hearts of evil'

    Nigeria's former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, who founded the AUN and is from Yola, said in a series of tweets that he was "deeply saddened" by the bombing.

    "Only persons with hearts of evil could do this," he wrote.

    "The Yola IDP camp is the largest in Nigeria, and is refuge to thousands of people who fled the insurgency from mostly Borno and Yobe (states).

    "Today's attack is an attempt to break the spirits of the people who came to seek refuge. The perpetrators will know no peace."

    Buhari on Monday said the military was gaining ground in the counter-insurgency, with troops apparently regaining control of captured territory and squeezing militant supply lines.

    He has given his new military high command, appointed in early August, three months to end the conflict, which has left at least 15,000 dead and made more than two million homeless since 2009.

    str-joa-phz/

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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

    Ce matin vers 9h00, un convoi logistique de la MINUSMA a été pris en embuscade par des hommes armés non identifiés.

    Deux Casques bleus ont été blessés, dont l’un grièvement, lors de cette attaque qui s’est déroulée sur l’axe Gao-Anéfis, à 15km au Nord de Gao.

    Une force d’intervention rapide de la MINUSMA est arrivée sur les lieux et a évacué les blessés sur Gao pour les soins appropriés.

    La MINUSMA condamne cette nouvelle attaque et s’indigne de la succession de ces actes terroristes qui touchent les soldats de la paix au Mali.

    La récente détérioration sécuritaire démontre qu’il est impératif de mobiliser davantage encore les efforts de tous pour lutter contre les ennemis de la paix au Mali, et mettre en œuvre au plus vite l’Accord de paix.

    Sans oublier les centaines de victimes dans la population et des dizaines du coté des forces de sécurité et défense maliennes, la MINUSMA déplore 42 morts et 126 blessés graves depuis son intervention au Mali. Il s’agit de la 50ème attaque contre la MINUSMA.


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Nigeria

    Abuja, 11 September 2015 - There’s starting to be a breath of fresh air for parents in Africa, and around the world, as Nigeria approaches being removed from the notorious polio-endemic list. From more than 1122 cases in 2006 to zero today, Nigeria has made tremendous progress in polio eradication with no children being paralyzed in more than one year.

    In Nigeria, some children continued to miss the opportunity to be fully vaccinated against this life-threatening disease, this was the case for Isa, a 30 month old and the last confirmed case of polio, from Sumaila LGA of Kano state.

    “Since Isa contracted polio, it has not been easy managing him. He sometimes falls over when he walks because of the flaccidity of his leg and arm. I am not sure I know what he will become in future but I am hopeful that Isa will grow up and go to school like other children”, said Binta Kanduwa, Isa’s mother.

    A menacing crippling disease

    Children like Isa missed being vaccinated despite availability of the highly-effective oral polio vaccine (OPV), which has been widely acclaimed as one of public health triumphs in protecting the lives of children in Africa and around the world.

    “Polio is a crippling disease and has caused far too many children to suffer irreversible and permanent disability,” says Dr Rui Gama Vaz, WHO Representative in Nigeria.

    “Despite tremendous progress in Nigeria, we cannot become complacent and WHO and partners will continue to deploy extensive human and financial resources to ensure no child suffers the devastating effects of polio,” adds Dr Vaz.

    In Nigeria, WHO’s work with religious leaders has been one of the key success indicators in the fight against polio. World renowned islamic scholar and medical doctor Sheikh Ahmad Gumi in Kaduna stated that ‘the role of WHO in eradicating polio in Nigeria can be said to be excellent. More particularly, the involvement of the local populace and their religious leaders have played a very important role in the success of the programme.

    In Jega LGA of Kebbi state, the local village head said on behalf of the crowd: “It is now that you are bringing what we want and we can assure you that all the children will be brought out to be vaccinated with OPV without any resistance”.

    This level of trust and confidence has been developed with the strong support from partners that include UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary, the European Union, Japanese and Canadian governments to coordinate the availability of OPV and other commodities to address communities’ health needs in high risk communities.

    “Working with religious leaders and partners has effectively created community demand for OPV, this has been instrumental in the fight against the disease, especially in persistently poor performing high-risk communities of northern Nigeria,” adds Dr Vaz.

    Continued surveillance and vigilance

    WHO will continue to support the government of Nigeria in the training of personnel and community sensitization to be able to quickly detect and respond to any suspected polio case. The gold standard for polio surveillance in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Programme is the detection of cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) and laboratory testing of stool specimens from these patients in a WHO accredited laboratory. This is how Isa’s case was detected.

    In addition, environmental surveillance is complimentary to AFP surveillance as it can also detect circulation of wild and/or vaccine-derived polioviruses in the population.

    A legacy for future public health programmes

    Nigeria is on the brink of being removed from the polio-endemic list, allowing the lessons learnt to be applied to other public health threats. The structures and resources employed by the polio eradication initiative will be essential in the fight against other vaccine-preventable diseases and the overall strengthening of health systems to improve the performance of health care delivery throughout the African Region.

    However, mothers like Binta can count on the Government of Nigeria, WHO and partners to remain vigilant in ensuring Nigeria stays polio-free.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso | AFP | samedi 12/09/2015

    Le gouvernement intérimaire du Burkina Faso, qui doit céder le pouvoir à des autorités démocratiquement élues à l'issue de l'élection présidentielle du 11 octobre, a appelé samedi les candidats pro-Compaoré exclus de la course par le Conseil constitutionnel à faire preuve de "fair-play".

    "Le gouvernement de la transition souhaite bonne chance aux candidats retenus (pour l'élection présidentielle) et sait compter sur l’esprit de fair-play des candidats non retenus", indique un communiqué transmis samedi à l'AFP.

    Quatorze des 16 candidats qui avaient été présélectionnés ont été retenus pour l'élection présidentielle par le Conseil constitutionnel, qui a écarté deux pro-Compaoré de la liste définitive publiée jeudi à Ouagadougou.

    Parmi ces deux exclus figure Djibrill Bassolé, ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères de l'ex-président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré, chassé du pouvoir fin octobre 2014 par une insurrection populaire. 

    L'ancien Premier ministre Roch Marc Christian Kaboré et Zéphirin Diabré, le chef de file de l'opposition sous Compaoré, présentés comme les principaux favoris, figurent sur la liste officielle.

    Le Conseil constitutionnel a choisi de rejeter les candidatures de M. Bassolé, qui faisait partie des favoris, ainsi que de l'ancien ministre des Sports et Loisirs Yacouba Ouédraogo, en application d'une loi électorale controversée votée en avril rendant "inéligibles" tous ceux qui ont soutenu un "changement inconstitutionnel".

    Avec ces dernières exclusions, tous les pro-Compaoré susceptibles de peser dans ce scrutin ont été écartés.

    Le gouvernement "félicite les juges constitutionnels pour leur sagesse et la qualité du travail abattu" et dit avoir "constaté" un "nombre élevé de candidats dont deux femmes et des candidats indépendants", "ce qui traduit l’engouement et l’engagement des Burkinabè à ouvrir une nouvelle page démocratique de leur histoire politique".

    Les élections présidentielle et législatives du 11 octobre doivent doter le pays de nouveaux dirigeants après la "transition démocratique" d'un an mise en place après la chute de Blaise Compaoré, chassé par la rue après 27 ans de pouvoir.

     

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    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Cameroon

    Yaoundé, Cameroun | AFP | dimanche 13/09/2015 - 16:09 GMT

    par Reinnier KAZE

    Au moins sept personnes ont été tuées dimanche au Cameroun lors d'un double attentat-suicide, à nouveau commis dans l'Extrême-Nord, région frontalière des bastions des islamistes nigérians de Boko Haram, au moment où s'accélèrent les préparatifs de déploiement d'une force régionale anti-terroriste.

    La double attaque a visé dimanche matin la ville de Kolofata, située non loin de Kerawa, également frappée le 3 septembre par un double attentat ayant fait de 20 à 40 morts selon les sources.

    "Les premières informations en notre possession font état de neuf morts (dont les deux kamikazes, ndlr)", a indiqué sous couvert d’anonymat à l'AFP un responsable de l'armée. Les explosions ont également fait 21 blessés, dont "11 cas préoccupants", a-t-il ajouté.

    "Les deux kamikazes se dirigeaient vers le marché de la ville lorsqu’ils ont été interceptés par des membres du comité de vigilance", formé de civils chargé de signaler aux autorités les mouvements suspects, a raconté ce miliaire.

    "Dans la foulée l’un d’eux a actionné sa charge et s’est fait exploser. L’autre a tenté de s’échapper. Les membres du comité de vigilance se sont lancés à sa poursuite. Il s’est aussi fait exploser moins de cinq minutes après la première explosion", a-t-il ajouté.

    Les attaques de Kolofata portent à neuf le nombre d’attentats-suicides ayant frappé depuis juillet l’Extrême-Nord du Cameroun, frontalier des fiefs nigérians de Boko Haram. Une centaine de personnes ont péri dans ces attentats.

    Les autorités camerounaises ont pourtant considérablement renforcé les mesures de sécurité face aux menaces de Boko Haram. Interdiction du port du voile islamique intégral, fouilles, perquisitions et parfois arrestations se sont multipliées en juillet et août, afin de prévenir de nouveaux attentats.

    Outre des attentats, Boko Haram mène régulièrement depuis deux ans dans cette région des opérations meurtrières de harcèlement des forces de sécurité camerounaises et des raids contre des villages.

    Une Force d'intervention conjointe multinationale (MNJTF), à laquelle doivent participer le Nigeria, le Niger, le Tchad, le Cameroun et le Bénin, a été mise en place pour mieux coordonner les efforts des différentes armées, qui agissaient jusque-là en ordre dispersé. Au total, la force comptera environ 10.000 hommes.

    • Buhari à Paris -

    Vendredi, le général de brigade camerounais Bouba Dobekreo a été officiellement installé à la tête du premier secteur de cette force à Mora (extrême-nord).

    Le commandant du 2e secteur sera basé à Gamboru (ville nigériane frontalière du Cameroun) et celui du 3e secteur à Baga, localité nigériane sur les rives du lac Tchad. L'état-major de la force est installé à N'Djamena, capitale du Tchad, elle-aussi la cible d'attentats.

    Ces derniers préparatifs se mettent en place alors que lundi, le président nigérian Muhammadu Buhari doit se rendre à Paris pour trois jours afin de resserrer ses liens avec la France, notamment en matière de sécurité.

    Le voyage "mettra l'accent sur le renforcement et la consolidation de la coopération bilatérale en cours entre le Nigeria et la France en matière de défense, de sécurité, du commerce et des investissements", a déclaré dimanche le porte-parole de la présidence nigériane, Femi Adesina dans un communiqué.

    Muhammadu Buhari, qui sera accompagné par son conseiller à la Sécurité nationale Babagana Monguno, doit rencontrer le président français François Hollande, mais aussi les ministres français de la Défense et des Affaires étrangères.

    Le groupe islamiste Boko Haram, affilié à l'organisation Etat islamique, a perdu beaucoup de terrain et de localités ces derniers mois dans des confrontations armées avec les militaires tchadiens notamment, mais il multiplie toujours sans pitié les attaques de part et d'autres des frontières.

    Ainsi, vendredi l'explosion d'une bombe artisanale dans une tente a fait au moins sept morts et 20 blessés dans un camp de déplacés à Yola dans le nord-est du Nigeria. Le président Buhari a alors ordonné une sécurité accrue dans tous les camps de déplacés.

    Mi-août, ce dernier avait donné trois mois à ses forces armées pour en finir avec Boko Haram. Selon l'ONU, les violences islamistes et leur répression ont fait au moins 15.000 morts et plus de deux millions de déplacés depuis 2009.

    rek-mc/de

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Cameroon

    Yaoundé, Cameroon | AFP | Sunday 9/13/2015

    Two suicide bombers killed at least seven people Sunday in twin attacks in northern Cameroon, an army official said, in an area near the border with Nigeria that has often been targeted by Boko Haram militants.

    "According to initial information, nine people have died and 20 were injured," the official said, giving a toll that included the bombers.

    The attacks in the far northern town of Kolofata brought to nine the number of suicide bombings in the area since July, which have killed about 100 people in total. 

    On September 3, the nearby town of Kerawa was hit by two suicide attacks that killed at least 20 people. 

    In Sunday's attack, two suicide bombers who were headed toward the town market detonated their suicide vests after being confronted by members of a local vigilante group, the army source told AFP on condition of anonymity. 

    Cameroon is part of a five-nation force set up to fight Boko Haram alongside Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Benin.

    Cameroon's far north region bordering Nigeria and Chad for the past two years has been targeted by a rising number of Boko Haram raids, kidnappings and, more recently, suicide attacks. 

    Boko Haram has stepped up its bloody attacks in recent months after a regional military coalition inflicted heavy losses on the group. 

    Cameroonian authorities have been trying to crack down on the risk of attacks by banning full Islamic face veils in public as well as stepping up searches and arrests. 

    rec-mc/jm/mfp

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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

    DEVELOPPEMENTS MAJEURS

    • Après cinq semaines d'accalmie, l'Extrême-Nord du Cameroun a été à nouveau secoué par un double attentat-suicide survenu le 3 septembre au marché puis au centre de santé de Kerawa, faisant 19 morts et 141 blessés, selon les autorités. En effet, deux kamikazes se sont fait exploser. L’un au marché et l’autre quelques minutes plus tard au centre de santé où étaient accueillis les blessés du premier attentat. La localité de Kerawa, située sur la frontière entre le Nigeria et le Cameroun dans la région de l’Extrême-Nord. Ce double attentat coïncide avec l'installation progressive de la Force mixte multinationale, dont les chefs étaient en conclave le même jour à Fotokol pour saluer la prise de la ville de Gambaru par les forces nigérianes.

    • Dans le cadre des activités de prévention du choléra en dehors du camp de Minawao, les populations locales des villages de Gadala et Gawar ont bénéficié de leurs premières doses de vaccin anti-choléra administrés par MSF avec l’appui de l’OMS et de l’UNICEF. Au total, 16 838 personnes à Gadala et à Gawar ont été vaccinées, soit un taux de couverture vaccinale respectif de plus 89% et de 100%.

    • En vue de contribuer à l'amélioration de l’alimentation des réfugiés du camp de Minawao, Caritas a fait un don de denrées alimentaires composé de 1350 sacs de 18 kg de sel iodé, 60 000 savons de 400 g, et 12 000 sachets de condiments (cube Maggi).


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Fiji, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, World

    The United Nations is urging Pacific Islanders and their governments to prepare now for a looming El Niño emergency with the potential to affect more than four million people.

    “Climatologists are now unanimous in predicting that we are heading for a strong to severe El Niño event in the coming months. Some modelling is now suggesting this El Niño could be as severe as the event in 1997/98 which is the worst on record and brought drought to countries including Papua New Guinea and Fiji,” United Nations Resident Coordinator, Osnat Lubrani said.

    “Now is the time for communities and governments to get ready for the extreme weather changes El Niño usually triggers. A number of Pacific countries are currently in the process of implementing or drafting drought plans and the United Nations stands ready to support these efforts by providing coordination and technical advice.”

    Over the coming months, countries on the equator can expect more rain, flooding and higher sea levels, presenting challenges for low-lying atolls already feeling the impacts of climate change. The more populous countries of the Pacific south west will see conditions get drier from now on with some eventually slipping into drought. El Niño years characteristically feature a longer cyclone season, with more intense cyclones affecting a wider portion of the Pacific.

    “El Niño has the potential to trigger a regional humanitarian emergency and we estimate as many as 4.1 million people are at risk from water shortages, food insecurity and disease across the Pacific,” Sune Gudnitz, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Regional Office for the Pacific said.

    “Countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands are already feeling El Nino’s impact with reduced rainfall affecting crops and drinking water supplies. In addition, drought conditions would further complicate the humanitarian situation in countries that are just emerging from the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclones Pam, Maysak and Raquel.”

    Some schools have already closed in PNG because of water shortages .The same thing happened in Fiji during the 1997/98 drought disrupting children’s education.

    “It is critical that we think now about how schools can be prepared to stay open. In Fiji in 1997/98 some schools were reliant on trucks delivering water and so it is important that tanks are checked now so that they are in a good condition to store water. Schools need to act now to ensure they can maintain sanitation and hygiene if water-reliant toilets and handwashing stations no longer work,” Dr Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative said.

    Prolonged drought is particularly difficult for women and children who are mostly responsible for collecting water in Pacific communities.

    “In drought situations, women and children may be travelling further to access water from unfamiliar sources, affecting their safety and security. Women are also usually responsible for family hygiene. When water supply is inadequate, these activities will become more difficult because limited water is prioritised for drinking and cooking,” Aleta Miller, UN Women representative at Multi-Country Office in Suva, Fiji, said.

    Fixing leaks and collecting rainwater are both critical for farmers to feed their livestock and crops, as well as for families to use in washing, cooking and drinking. Farmers are being encouraged to plant drought resistant crops which can adapt to survive long periods of dryness. Multi-storey cropping systems, mulching and drip irrigation are also effective ways of stretching limited water supplies. Watering crops late in the day can also reduce evaporation and the installation of ‘Tippy Taps’ can improve hygiene and reduce waste. Communities are also being warned of potential changes to tuna fisheries.

    A range of health issues may emerge in an El Niño year making good hygiene and mosquito protection both crucial.

    “Floods and droughts can precipitate outbreak of number of diseases including diarrhoea, leptospirosis and typhoid, by exposure to contaminated water or decreased hygiene due to water shortages. There may also be an increase in vector-borne diseases including dengue, chikungunya and zika virus due to increase mosquito vectors and higher temperatures that can enhance reproduction and transmission of these viruses. Malnutrition because of low or poor quality food supplies is also a problem we need to be aware of,” said Dr Liu Yunguo, Director of Pacific Technical Support and Representative in the South Pacific of the World Health Organization.

    The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Regional Office for the Pacific has launched a new web portal with important information and links about El Niño and how to prepare. Visit: http://www.unocha.org/el-nino

    What is El Niño?

    El Niño is a warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Paci­fic. It can have profound effects on weather patterns around the world. El Niño events tend to happen every three to seven years. They can last from six months to two years. The most severe El Niño happened in 1997/98. El Niño and its opposite, La Niña, are both naturally occurring phenomena that have happened in cycles over history. These events are not caused by climate change but climate change could make their impacts more severe.

    Media Contact

    To arrange interviews or more information please contact:
    Ms Danielle Parry
    UNOCHA ROP Public Information Officer
    Ph: +679 7771433
    Email: parryd@un.org
    Skype: danielle.renee.parry


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    Source: Government of the Philippines
    Country: Philippines

    COTABATO CITY, Sept. 11 (PIA) – The Metro Cotabato Water District (MCWD) undertakes some measures to mitigate the impact of water shortage when “strong El Nino” will hit the city. Primary among these measures is for the concessionaires to help in conservation.

    This is following to the warning of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) of a long strong dry spell (El Nino phenomenon) expected to start next month until early part of 2016.

    Based on the PAG-ASA advisory, a total of 32 provinces will be affected by the said phenomenon wherein 9 of which are in Mindanao.

    According to MCWD’s Executive Officer Alma Rodriguez, the El Nino will have a big impact in our water sources – more or less 5 to 10% expected volume reduction.

    Rodriguez said, the MCWD assures all of the pumping stations are efficiently working, meaning, no breakdowns, no back downs and in good running condition.

    “We conduct regular monitoring in all our service areas in the city to know the areas that are experiencing low pressure of water and we identify the barangays of Kalanganan Mother, Bagua area, portion of Awang, Notre Dame Avenue, Shariff Kabunsuan area, Supermarket area and Gen. Luna St.,” she added.

    She said, the MCWD also conducts pressure survey not only in day time but in night time. They are also identifying barangays that need water at the specific times as well as areas that are experiencing low water pressure as a strategy to serve all of the concessionaires.

    Rodriguez believed that the water shortage being experienced is due to the effect of the El Nino and the climate change.

    “It is possible to have water rationing if our water sources cannot provide enough water supply,” Rodriguez said.

    As this developed, the MCWD, Rodriguez said, is planning to tap the Simuay River in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao as possible additional water source.

    She encouraged the public to use water wisely and to take advantage of the rain to conserve water as an alternative water source and contribute to the concerted efforts for the conservation of water.

    “We are all involve and we must be responsible to educate ourselves for us to be aware on the things that we need to do to be able to survive the El Nino phenomenon,” she said.

    MCWD is a government-owned and controlled corporation water facility that serves Cotabato City and two towns in Maguindanao province – Sultan Kudarat and Datu Odin Sinsuat. (IEroy/PBChangco/PIA Cotabato City)


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, World, Zimbabwe

    by Mona Chaya

    In Africa, agriculture supports the livelihoods of over 800 million people (80 percent of the population), providing employment for around 60 percent of the economically active population and 70 percent of the poorest (around 270 million people).

    Smallholder farmers, pastoralists and agro-pastoralists living in drylands and relying on crops, livestock, fisheries and forests for their livelihoods are often the worst affected when a disaster strikes. However, in Africa, it is not only about the level of exposure to disaster risks, but the capacity to prevent, anticipate, manage and recover from disasters and crises.

    Africa accounts for only 15 % of global natural disasters, however, the toll of these disasters is quite severe in terms of human development set-backs. Strengthening vulnerable people to become resilient to threats and crises is a priority for human development in this region.

    This is why FAO started its Resilience Initiative in Africa’s Drylands in 2012. Nine focus countries were identified to benefit from a proactive support to improve their capacities at both national and community levels in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger), the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan) and Southern Africa (Zimbabwe).

    This initiative builds on existing experience and involves strong collaboration with similar initiatives and partnerships in the region, such as the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative (AGIR) in the Sahel and the Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience (SHARE) initiatives.

    The FAO Regional Initiative assists countries to strengthen institutional capacity for developing and implementing policies on risk prevention and reduction including focus on Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other regional bodies. It also facilitates knowledge exchange across sub-regions and between countries.

    Furthermore, it aims at supporting partners in learning and applying vulnerability mapping and analysis through already existing tools such as Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) as well as improving and extending early warning systems.

    Anticipating and preventing recurrent crises affecting food security and nutrition proactively is critical to address the root causes of the vulnerability of farmers, herders and fishermen, particularly women. This is particularly true if we consider that these drylands with their fragile ecosystems are facing a recurrent combination of natural disasters, food chain crises, conflicts and protracted crises.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    (Yaoundé, 14 September 2015) - Toby Lanzer, the United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, completed a week-long visit to Yaoundé and the Far North region to assess the mounting humanitarian impact of the crisis in neighbouring northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.

    “Families on the run often survived brutal attacks and face severe trauma,” says Lanzer. “As if this was not enough of a burden, we now worry that their lives are threatened by the lack of food and water, malnutrition and deadly epidemics such as cholera and measles”, he added upon return from the Far North region, which has been hit hard by the effects of violence in the northeast of Nigeria.

    Cameroon’s Far North region hosts almost 200,000 forced migrants, including 80,000 internally displaced persons and over 57,000 Nigerian refugees who fled the violence and settled either in the Minawao refugee camp or with local communities along borders areas. "Many fled overnight, leaving all they had behind. They now rely on humanitarian assistance and the scarce resources of host communities that were already on the brink before the crisis”, Lanzer noted.

    In the Far North –which faces many of the challenges inherent to the Sahel region – large scale displacement is compounding existing vulnerabilities. Food insecurity has dramatically spiked in recent months, affecting today one in every three people. The acute malnutrition rate is also on the rise, surpassing the emergency threshold in many areas. Insecurity is further undermining population movements, daily commercial and agricultural activities, thereby adversely impacting the livelihoods of communities that are still recovering from a decade of periodic droughts. “As farmers were forced to flee away from their lands, many will miss the harvest next month. Without timely humanitarian assistance, communities may take years to recover. The international community must step up its support and match the generosity of the people and Government of Cameroon”, he urged.

    Current funding of Cameroon’s humanitarian appeal covers barely 40 per cent of the needs, threatening the viability of humanitarian response to the Far North over the coming months. “Food distributions, access to health services and psycho-social care are among our top priorities to save lives and restore the dignity of the displaced”, noted Najat Rochdi, the UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator in Cameroon. “A renewed engagement by development actors is also essential if we are to address the root causes of chronic vulnerability and ensure stability of the region in a durable manner”, she added.

    For further information, please call:

    Berenice Van Den Driessche, OCHA, vandendriessche@un.org, +221 77 333 91 95 (Dakar)
    To learn more about the humanitarian needs in the Sahel and how humanitarian teams plan to respond, visit: www.unocha.org/sahel2015. OCHA press releases are available on http://www.unocha.org/rowca


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    Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
    Country: Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic

    By Berta Acero

    CAIRO, 14 September 2015 – Health services across the region continue to deal with the impact of the severe sandstorm which hit the Middle East last week, sweeping across Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, causing casualties and sending dozens to hospitals, as health risks particularly respiratory problems increased. Other countries in the region, like Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, were affected by the clouds of dust and sand causing flight delays and disrupting school activities.

    The heavy dust storm originated on September 7 in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine and by September 8, it had swept southwest over much of the Middle East towards Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Sandstorms in the region, locally known as "khamaseen", are more common during February to May, triggered by lower pressure across the Levant during seasonal changes.

    According to the Lebanese Health Ministry, hundreds of people were hospitalized with breathing problems and two women have died. Health officials urged those suffering from respiratory and heart problems as well as children, senior citizens and pregnant women to stay indoors. The meteorological department at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport described the storm as being "unprecedented" in Lebanon's modern history.

    In Syria, the sandstorm disrupted the fighting and air strikes and caused dozens of suffocation cases, including 3 casualties reported. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hospitals in the city of al-Mayadin, in the province of Deir Ezzor, stopped to receive relief cases because there were no oxygen cylinders.

    The sandstorm reached Egypt on Wednesday. Four Red Sea ports in the governorate of Suez -El-Sokhna, El-Adabiya, Petroleum and Tawfik- were closed due to the extreme weather conditions of the sandstorm, which impaired visibility.

    Dust storms have worsened in East Asia and the Mediterranean regions over the last decade due to massive deforestation and increased droughts.

    "Sand-dust storms, especially serious-strong sand or dust storms are hazardous weather events with extreme calamity. When they occur, they can move forward like an overwhelming tide and the strong winds take along drifting sands that cover farmlands, damage young crop plants and result in a loss of production", explained Dr. Wadid Erian, Prof. of Soil Science at Cairo University and Senior Advisor on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction at the League of Arab States.

    "Sandstorms accelerate the process of land desertification and cause serious environment pollution with huge destruction to ecology and the living environment", he added.


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    Source: BioMed Central
    Country: Mali

    Abstract

    Objective

    Little is known specifically about the effects of conflict and displacement on provision of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. We aimed to understand the association between levels of conflict and displacement and the availability of SRH services in post-conflict Mali.

    Methods

    A national assessment was conducted between April and May 2013 employing Health Systems Availability Mapping System (HeRAMS). Data from 1581 primary care facilities were analysed, focusing on SRH services. Descriptive analyses and multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the availability of SRH services by different levels of conflict and displacement.

    Findings

    Of 1581 facilities, 1551 had data available to identify the details of service provision. The majority of the facilities were part of the public sector (79.1 %), identified as basic community primary care facilities (71.9 %). Overall 15.7 % of the facilities were in the zones under occupation, 40.3 % in the areas with high concentration of displaced population and 44 % in areas with low concentration of displaced populations. Between zones of low concentration of displaced populations and under occupation the likelihood of service availability varied between OR: 2.9 (95 % CI 2.0–4.4) for basic emergency obstetric care and OR: 41.7 (95 % CI 20.4–85.3) for family planning. All of the services within the three domains of SRH were more likely to be available in the low and high concentration displaced population areas compared to the facilities in the under occupation zones, after adjusting for other facility-related variables.

    Conclusion

    Areas with high concentration of displaced population had less service availability, and areas formerly under occupation had the least service availability. This suggests that those living in conflict areas, and many of those who are internally displaced, have poor access to essential SRH interventions. The systematic measurement of the availability of health services, including SRH, is feasible and can contribute to recovery planning in post-conflict and humanitarian settings.


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    Source: UN Human Rights Council
    Country: Algeria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Germany, Haiti, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Western Sahara, World, Yemen

    MORNING/MIDDAY
    14 September 2015

    High-level Dignitaries from Sri Lanka, Mexico and the United Kingdom Address the Council

    The Human Rights Council this morning opened its thirtieth regular session, hearing an address by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in which he updated the Council on the activities of his Office. The Council then held a general debate on the update. It also heard from Mangala Samaraweera, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka; Roberto Campa, Undersecretary for Human Rights, Ministry of the Interior of Mexico; and Hugo Swire, Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom.

    Joachim Rücker, President of the Human Rights Council, in his opening remarks underlined the importance of civil society in the work of the Council, and reiterated concerns regarding cases of reprisals and intimidation that had been brought to his attention.

    High Commissioner Zeid expressed specific concerns at the international community’s failure to address the situation in Syria. Some countries in the Middle East – Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey – and in Europe – Germany and Sweden – were showing commendable humanity and leadership when it came to hosting refugees and migrants needing protection, and he implored decision-makers in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, as well as Europe, to take swift action to establish effective and principled migration governance and urged European States to put in place an architecture of migration governance that was far more comprehensive, thoughtful, principled and effective, and to expand channels of regular migration and resettlement, which would prevent deaths and cut smuggling. The people most responsible for migration were those leaders who had failed to uphold human rights, and robbed their people of hope, said the High Commissioner. He called on all States to accept scrutiny and to fully commit to the implementation of human rights recommendations by United Nations mechanisms. Upholding human rights was intrinsic to the obligations of sovereignty.

    In the ensuing general debate, delegations said that the migration crisis, which was above all a refugee crisis, confronted the world with its failure in ensuring the realization of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations. Although the present situation stemmed from conflicts in the region and the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State, it was exacerbated by the political and institutional disarray left behind by foreign interventions and misguided strategies for the Middle East, often outside international law. There was a need to deal with human rights violations in countries of origin of the numerous refugees and migrants, and to adopt political and economic solutions which would be aligned to international human rights norms and would ensure that human mobility was seen as an indispensable factor of development for both countries of origin and receiving countries. Speakers condemned the crimes and acts of violence committed by ISIL/Daesh. They said that particular attention needed to be paid to terrorism and extremist violence: measures to combat it and de-radicalize societies should address recruitment and financing, while perpetrators of terrorist acts should be held accountable and prosecuted according to international laws and standards.

    Addressing the Council, Mangala Samaraweera, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, noted that the recent formation of the National Unity Government allowed traditional rivals in Sri Lankan politics to come together and herald a new culture of consensual politics and so face the important challenges of reconciliation and peacebuilding. The new Government recognized that the process of reconciliation involved addressing broad areas of truth seeking, justice, reparations and non-recurrence, and that the grievances of the Tamil people needed to be addressed.

    In his address to the Human Rights Council, Roberto Campa, Undersecretary for Human Rights, Ministry of the Interior of Mexico, reiterated Mexico’s commitment to the protection of journalists and said that a specialized prosecution unit for crimes against freedom of expression had been established within the Attorney General’s Office, which conducted investigations on common law crimes committed against journalists and human rights defenders. Mexico had drafted the bill on enforced disappearances and was in the process of drafting the law on torture and cruel and inhumane treatment based on international standards.

    Hugo Swire, Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, told the Council that the United Kingdom had granted humanitarian protection to almost 5,000 Syrians through its normal asylum procedure since 2011 and had committed to resettling a further 20,000 Syrians from the region over the next five years. The United Kingdom was already the second largest bilateral donor to this appalling humanitarian crisis. The United Kingdom’s aid would be used to provide basic services to people in Syria and in neighbouring countries, helping them to meet their basic needs where they were rather than taking the desperate decision to risk their lives by attempting to get to Europe.

    Taking floor in the general debate were Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union, Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Arab Group, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Algeria on behalf of the African Group, Egypt on behalf of the Like-Minded Group, Qatar, Morocco, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Cuba, Argentina, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, France, Brazil, Namibia, Venezuela, Bangladesh, India, Russia, Algeria, Ethiopia, China, United States, Portugal, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, Japan, Paraguay, United Arab Emirates, Montenegro, Botswana, El Salvador, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Maldives, Gabon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Republic of the Congo, turkey, Norway, Spain, Thailand, Nepal, Jordan, Kuwait, Australia, Benin, Tunisia, Angola, Switzerland, Malaysia, Italy, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Greece, Iraq, Belgium, Chile, Iran, Ecuador, Senegal, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Croatia, Honduras, Haiti, Moldova, Eritrea, Armenia, Bahrein, Serbia, Libya, Myanmar, Sudan, Hungary, Costa Rica, Philippines, Colombia, Uganda, Niger, Djibouti, Guatemala, Uruguay, the African Union, Egypt, and Burundi.

    Also speaking in the general debate were the following non-governmental organizations: Al Khoei Foundation, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Human Rights House Foundation, Amnesty International, European Union of Public Relations, Human Rights Watch, Arab Commission for Human Rights, Centro de Estudio Legales y Sociales, Institut International pour la Paix, China Society for Human Rights Studies, World Environment and Resource Council, Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association, Liberation, Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, World Muslim Congress, Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, Agence Internationale pour le Developpement, Global Network for Rights in Development, International Lawyers Organization, Association Burkinabé pour la Survie de l’Enfance, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Iraqi Development Organization, International Service for Human Rights, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, and Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos.

    The Council is holding a full day of meetings today. At 4:30 p.m., the Council will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Working Group on arbitrary detention and with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Children's Fund
    Country: Fiji, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, World

    SUAVE, Fiji, 14 September 2015 - The United Nations is urging Pacific Islanders and their governments to prepare now for a looming El Niño emergency with the potential to affect more than four million people.

    “Climatologists are now unanimous in predicting that we are heading for a strong to severe El Niño event in the coming months. Some modelling is now suggesting this El Niño could be as severe as the event in 1997/98 which is the worst on record and brought severe drought to PNG and Fiji,” United Nations Resident Coordinator, Osnat Lubrani said.

    “Now is the time for communities and governments to get ready for the extreme weather changes El Niño usually triggers. A number of countries are currently in the process of implementing or drafting drought plans and the United Nations stands ready to support these efforts by providing coordination and technical advice.”

    Over the coming months, countries on the equator can expect more rain, flooding and higher sea levels presenting challenges for low-lying atolls already feeling the impacts of climate change. The more populous countries of the Pacific south west will see conditions get drier from now on with some eventually slipping into drought. El Niño years characteristically feature a longer cyclone season, with more intense cyclones affecting a wider portion of the Pacific

    “El Niño has the potential to trigger a regional humanitarian emergency and we estimate as many as 4.1 million people are at risk from water shortages, food insecurity and disease across the Pacific,” Sune Gudnitz, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Regional Office for the Pacific said.

    “Countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands are already feeling El Nino’s impact with reduced rainfall affecting crops and drinking water supplies. Drought conditions would further complicate the humanitarian situation in countries that are just emerging from the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclones Pam, Maysak and Raquel.”

    Some schools have already closed in PNG because of water shortages .The same thing happened in Fiji during the 1997/98 drought disrupting children’s education.

    “It is critical that we think now about how schools can be prepared to stay open. In Fiji in 1997/98 some schools were reliant on trucks delivering water and so it is important that tanks are checked now so that they are in a good condition to store water. Schools need to act now to ensure they can maintain sanitation and hygiene if water-reliant toilets and handwashing stations no longer work,” Dr Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative said.

    Prolonged drought is particularly difficult for women and children who are mostly responsible for collecting water in Pacific communities.

    “In drought situations, women and children may be travelling further to access water from unfamiliar sources, affecting their safety and security. Women are also usually responsible for family hygiene. When water supply is inadequate these activities will become more difficult because limited water is prioritised for drinking and cooking,” Aleta Miller, UN Women representative at Multi-Country Office in Suva, Fiji, said.

    Fixing leaks and collecting rainwater are both critical for farmers to feed their livestock and crops, as well as for families to use in washing, cooking and drinking. Communities are being warned of potential changes to tuna fisheries and farmers are being encouraged to plant drought resistant crops which can adapt to survive long periods of dryness. Multi-storey cropping systems, mulching and drip irrigation are also effective ways of stretching limited water supplies. Watering crops late in the day can also reduce evaporation and the installation of ‘Tippy Taps’ can improve hygiene and reduce waste.

    A range of health issues may emerge in an El Niño year making good hygiene and mosquito protection both crucial.

    “Floods and droughts can precipitate outbreak of number of diseases including diarrohea, leptospirosis, typhoid, by exposure to contaminated water or decreased hygiene due to water shortages. There may also be an increase in vector-borne diseases including dengue, chikungunya and zika virus due to increase mosquito vectors and increased temperatures that can enhance reproduction and transmission of these viruses. Malnutrition because of low or poor quality food supplies is also a problem we need to be aware of,” said Dr. Liu Yunguo, Director of Pacific Technical Support and Representative in the South Pacific of the World Health Organization.

    Note to editors:
    El Niño is a warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Paci¬fic. It can have profound effects on weather patterns around the world. El Niño events tend to happen every three to seven years. They can last from six months to two years. The most severe El Niño happened in 1997/98. El Niño and its opposite, La Niña, are both naturally occurring phenomena that have happened in cycles over history. These events are not caused by climate change but climate change could make their impacts more severe.

    The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Regional Office for the Pacific has launched a new web portal with important information and links about El Niño and how to prepare. Visit: http://www.unocha.org/el-nino

    About UNICEF
    UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

    For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

    For more information please contact:
    Danielle Parry, UNOCHA Pacific +679 7771433 parryd@un.org Skype: danielle.renee.parry
    Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1 212 326 7448, +1 917 209 1804, nmekki@unicf.org


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Syrian Arab Republic

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • While Mauritania has maintained its borders open to new arrivals of asylum seekers in the country, UNHCR continues to cooperate with the Mauritanian authorities in order to strengthen protection for refugees and asylum seekers in Mauritania.

    • To this end, a protection workshop was carried out by UNHCR on 6 August 2015 for 12 Mauritanian civil servants in charge of national registration centers.

    • Between August and September, more than 1,000 urban refugees in Nouakchott were provided with clothes generously donated by the clothes company UNIQLO.

    • In Mberra Camp, UNHCR continues to promote refugees’ self-reliance through the financing of 80 income-generating projects and the follow up on projects financed in previous years. In August, beneficiaries were provided with common assets and individual kits to enable them to carry out their activities.

    • UNHCR, in cooperation with WFP and the Commissariat à la sécurité alimentaire, organized a general food distribution in August targeting all refugees in the camp.


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