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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    BAMAKO, Dec 15, 2012 (AFP) - Mali's new Prime Minister Diango Cissoko has formed his government, according to a decree read on state television Saturday, four days after he was named to the post when his predecessor Cheikh Modibo Diarra resigned under pressure from the country's ex-junta.

    Cissoko told AFP on Friday he was working on the formation of a unity government representative of all parts of the troubled nation's society.

    Defence Minister Colonel Yamoussa Camara, Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly and Economy Minister Tienan Coulibaly, who held posts in the previous administration, also joined the ranks of the new government, interim President Dioncounda Traore said in his decree.

    Mali, once one of the region's most stable democracies, imploded as a Tuareg rebellion in its desert north prompted angry soldiers in March to overthrow the government.

    As political paralysis took hold in Bamako, despite the setting up of an interim government earlier this year, the Tuareg and their Islamist allies continued a juggernaut which saw them seize all key northern towns and more than half the Malian territory.

    The Islamists, tied to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, quickly sidelined their erstwhile Tuareg allies and took firm control in the region, where they have imposed brutal sharia law on residents.

    The west African regional bloc ECOWAS is pushing for the deployment of a 3,300-strong intervention force to drive out the Islamists. It is backed by Western powers who fear the zone could become a haven for terrorists.

    sd/gk/gd

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: EastAfrican
    Country: Nigeria, Uganda, World

    By ISAAC KHISA The EastAfrican
    Posted Saturday, December 15 2012 at 18:02

    In Summary

    • The project dubbed Next Generation Cassava Breeding will be hosted by Cornel University, in the United States, together with five other partner institutions.

    • The partners will share cassava data, expertise, and information publicly on a website being developed by Lukas Mueller of Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in New York.

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) are investing $25.2 million to support a five-year project that seeks to improve breeding and productivity of cassava in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The project dubbed Next Generation Cassava Breeding will be hosted by Cornel University, in the United States, together with five other partner institutions, including the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Uganda, and the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) in Nigeria.

    Other partner institutions include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in New York, and the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

    Ronnie Coffman, Cornell University professor of plant breeding and genetics, is the principal investigator of the multi-partner grant.

    Yonah Baguma, the project co-ordinator for NaCCRI in Uganda said: “Increased support for strengthening the research capacity in Africa and harnessing novel technologies is critical to improving overall agricultural productivity and food security for poor people.”

    Uganda is currently working on a number of projects including the development of cassava resistant to mosaic virus disease and cassava fortified with vitamin A.

    The partners will share cassava data, expertise, and information publicly on a website being developed by Lukas Mueller of Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in New York.

    The researchers will use the latest information from cassava genome sequencing to improve cassava productivity and yields by shortening the cassava breeding cycle from almost a decade to as little as six years, in addition to training the next generation of cassava breeders, improving infrastructure at African institutions, and holding awareness-building workshops for farmers, scholars, researchers, and policy makers.

    Significant plant

    According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), smallholder farmers in Africa produce more than half of the world’s 250 million metric tonnes of cassava per year, a tough woody plant predicted to be one of the few crops that will benefit from climate change.

    Currently, some 500 million Africans consume cassava freshly boiled or raw on a daily basis, and the plant also serves as a low-cost source of carbohydrates for animals.

    “Next generation cassava provides a great opportunity for us to harness the power of modern science for faster delivery of best-bet cassava varieties for smallholder farmers,” said Chiedozie Egesi, assistant director at NRCRI and head of cassava breeding, who works to biofortify cassava with essential micronutrients to make it more nutritious.

    Peter Kulakow, a cassava breeder and geneticist at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture said the project will not only give breeders in Africa access to the most advanced plant breeding technologies to deliver improved varieties to farmers more rapidly, but also ensure that cassava genetic research is at par with other top food crops such as wheat, rice, maize and potato.


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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Ethiopia

    Marthe Van Der Wolf

    ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Ethiopia is launching medical services over the phone. A young Ethiopian doctor is starting the service in an attempt to improve access to health care across the country.

    "HelloDoctor" is Ethiopia’s first general medical hotline, in which a small fee is taken from a person’s mobile phone credit to receive medical advice or request home-care service.

    Dr. Yohans Wodaje is the young Ethiopian doctor who founded HelloDoctor. He said that healthcare services for the average Ethiopian will improve through the new service, as there are not enough doctors and clinics for the whole population.

    “Despite the huge improvement that Ethiopia made in the past 10 years regarding health coverage in its attempt to make universal basic health coverage a reality of the Ethiopian people, there are still many big challenges," he said. "And you have a very few number of highly skilled, highly specialized professionals, then you definitely need to link technology with those professionals to multiply the effect that they would have.”

    Phone consultations

    Getting medical advice by phone has happened in the United States, Canada, Australia and more recently also in parts of Latin America and Asia. A common question about the practice is whether doctors can give adequate advice without seeing the patient.

    Wodaje agreed that face-to-face consultations are preferable. He said, though, that it is not always realistic in Ethiopia.

    “We opt for phone-based consultations in situations, especially if you have to travel long distances to get to a health facility, if you have to wait in long lines to get to a health professional," he said. "And also, the professionals you need may not always be of the level that is required to help you.”

    An average conversation lasts four minutes and costs about $2, which is still a lot of money for most Ethiopians. But a visit to a clinic, including transportation costs when living outside the city, usually adds up to $15.

    Physicians prepared

    The doctors working for the service are mostly in their late 20s. It provides them with extra employment, something the government might welcome because many doctors today pursue careers abroad.

    Anteneh Kassahun plans to become one of the doctors for the service. He feels it gives him more opportunities.

    “The first thing is, we will help our country, especially those who live in rural areas, they don’t get doctors. So when they need the health information they can call us and right away we will support them," said Kassahun. "The second thing is we have jobs in different hospitals and clinics, so we do it in our free time. The third thing is we get other training, especially how to talk to people, how to communicate with people and other things. And the fourth thing is we get extra money.”

    Vast medical need

    The Ethiopian government has employed 10 times as many health extension workers in recent years, but there is still a long way to go before everybody in the country can easily access health care.

    Ahmed Emano of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health said that Ethiopia needs the involvement of private initiatives to improve health-care services in the country.

    “If you take the private clinics in Addis Ababa, there are 2,015 health services in Addis Ababa only. From this, about 60 percent - more than 60 percent - are private services," said Emano. "So the government is already supporting all private partners and we establish public-private partnership with private service givers, so especially when we say the high level and some specialized services, we give support to private people who can afford to establish this type of services in the country.”

    The World Health Organization recommends that in any country there should be no less than one doctor for every 10,000 citizens. Ethiopia currently has one doctor employed for every 33,500 people.

    The pressure on health services in Ethiopia is due to increase as the population - now at 85 million - continues growing rapidly. Also, people in rural areas generally lack access to health care, and 84 percent of Ethiopians live in the rural parts of the country.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Mauritania

    Starting at the end of 2011, a nutrition crisis gripped the Sahel belt that would ultimately affect part or all of nine countries – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. An entire subregion suffered from poor rainfall and failed harvests.

    In the first warning of this crisis in December 2011, UNICEF stated that 1.1 million children would need treatment for life-threatening severe acute malnutrition. In a subregion that is always vulnerable, this figure was notable.

    A UNICEF progress report released today says that more than 850,000 children are expected to have received life-saving treatment for severe acute malnutrition across the nine countries during the course of 2012. However, there were significant challenges during the year, including displacement because of conflict in Mali, insecurity and severe flooding.

    The response has been one of the biggest nutrition responses ever conducted, and a catastrophe has been averted. It does, however, underline that there will always be children who, for a variety of reasons, may not be reached. In the end, greater safety for vulnerable children is secured by better provision of health and other social services.

    By Jessica Mony

    TINIZAH, Kaedi Region, Mauritania, 12 December 2012 - Humming softly, Fatimatou cradles her healthy, smiling 9-month-old boy Sidiahmed in her lap. It’s been a long time since she could relax and play with him.

    Just over a month ago, Sidiahmed was malnourished – and often unresponsive. “He was not moving anymore. He wasn’t playing anymore. He wasn’t breastfeeding. He just didn’t want to eat anymore,” says Fatimatou.

    Without a support network

    Fatimatou is a single mother. Her husband divorced her just before Sidiahmed was born. In a rural area with a baby on the way – and without a network for support – Fatimatou decided to move to live with her uncle and his family.

    The divorce came at a difficult time for families across Mauritania. “Lots of animals died. People didn’t have anything to eat. It was so hard for us,” she says. Without the means to support herself, Fatimatou relied on the kindness of her extended family, even though they, too, were struggling. At the height of this hardship, Fatimatou gave birth to Sidiahmed, her first child.

    Some time later, after the worst seemed to be over, Fatimatou began to worry when Sidiahmed became sick. She had her brother take them to the nearby UNICEF-supported CRENAS (outpatient nutrition centre).

    Treatment for Sidiahmed

    Relief washed over Fatimatou when she arrived. Energetic nurse Mari had seen hundreds of anguished mothers walk through the doors over the previous few months and immediately tried to reassure them. Despite the traumatic experience of seeing her son so ill, Fatimatou was soon able to calm down.

    “I was very happy when I arrived at the CRENAS centre,” she says. “Mari told me he was very fragile and very weak. She told me that he would get treatment and that everything would be fine.”

    Once he had had treatment, Fatimatou was still worried, as Sidiahmed didn’t move as a baby of his age should. Without adequate nutrition, children’s development suffers, and often they fail to reach vital milestones like smiling, crawling and walking.

    Thankfully, soon after Sidiahmed started attending the centre weekly, a tented area was set up next door where malnourished children could play and mothers could learn techniques to help stimulate their babies. Set up by UNICEF and Save the Children, this space is now a haven for mothers coming through the centre. UNICEF-trained health workers run classes here a few mornings a week after the mothers have taken their babies to be weighed and treated.

    “Now he lives!”

    With a broad smile on her face, Fatimatou hands Sidiahmed a toy guitar, which he eagerly shakes to make a sound. Across the mat are similar scenes of mothers interacting with their babies.

    Following a discussion on safe health and hygiene practices, two UNICEF-trained health workers demonstrate baby massage so mothers can help stimulate their babies. As the health worker demonstrates on Sidiahmed, he begins to fall asleep. Fatimatou laughs as she listens carefully to the techniques the health workers are showing her. Combined with nutrition treatment, the impact of the psychosocial activities on Sidiahmed’s development is clear. “Before, he was not moving. He was always lying down. Now he is starting to crawl. Now he lives!”

    Fatimatou is keen to explain the benefits of the sessions. “The difference now is, as they play, they start to eat again. It ‘opens’ their appetite. If they have an appetite, they are happy. They feel like playing and moving. I think the activity is so important.”

    Now that Sidiahmed is recovering and the rains have finally come, Fatimatou can start to think about the future. Watching her energetic son crawl across the mat, she says, “I hope he is going to have good health. I want him to be clever and go to school. I want that he performs well – I want him to become a man.”


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/15/2012 20:47 GMT

    BAMAKO, 15 déc 2012 (AFP) - Le nouveau Premier ministre malien Diango Cissoko, nommé mardi après l'éviction de Cheick Modibo Diarra sous la pression d'officiers putschistes, a formé son gouvernement, selon un décret lu samedi soir soir à l'antenne de la télévision publique malienne.

    Le ministre de l'Economie, Tiénan Coulibaly, le ministre de la Défense, le colonel Yamoussa Camara, et le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Tiéman Coulibaly, membres du précédent gouvernement, restent en poste, selon ce décret du président par intérim Dioncounda Traoré.

    En plus de la Défense, l'ex-junte militaire, dirigée par le capitaine Amadou Haya Sanogo, à l'origine de la démission forcée de Cheick Modibo Diarra, conserve trois autres ministères, dont celui la Sécurité intérieure.

    Les trois régions du Nord du Mali, contrôlées depuis huit mois par des groupes islamistes armés liés à Al-Qaïda, sont davantage représentées, avec trois ministères supplémentaires.

    Par ailleurs, la nouvelle équipe gouvernementale comprend des représentants des principaux regroupements politiques maliens.

    M. Cissoko a été nommé mardi par le président Traoré après l'éviction de son prédécesseur, l'astrophysicien Cheick Modibo Diarra, sous la pression d'officiers putschistes menés par le capitaine Sanogo.

    Ces officiers avaient renversé le 22 mars le président Amadou Toumani Touré par un coup d'Etat ayant précipité la chute du nord du pays aux mains de groupes islamistes qui l'occupent entièrement depuis juin et y imposent une interprétation rigoriste de la charia.

    La communauté internationale, qui espère un "nouvel élan"à Bamako, avait appelé Diango Cissoko à former rapidement un véritable gouvernement d'union nationale pour mettre fin à la crise politique et faciliter ainsi une intervention armée internationale qui, avec l'aval de l'ONU, aura pour mission de libérer le Nord de l'emprise islamiste.

    sd-jb/jpc

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/16/2012 03:02 GMT

    ABIDJAN, 16 déc 2012 (AFP) - Les chefs d'état-major des pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest ont affiné samedi à Abidjan leur plan pour une opération au Mali, dont le Nord est occupé par des groupes islamistes armés, alors que l'ONU a émis de fortes réserves sur le schéma jusque là proposé.

    "Nous avons parfait aujourd'hui le +concept d'opération harmonisé conjoint+", c'est-à-dire le plan d'intervention (censé définir la mission, les effectifs, etc.), adopté par la région et l'Union africaine et transmis au Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies, a déclaré le général Soumaïla Bakayoko, chef de l'armée ivoirienne.

    Lors de leur réunion qui a commencé samedi matin et s'est achevée dans la nuit, les responsables militaires ont validé une "planification un peu plus poussée" de cette opération, a poursuivi le général Bakayoko, dont le pays préside la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao).

    Selon lui, les participants sont allés "plus loin" dans l'examen du "niveau de préparation" des pays qui ont promis de fournir des troupes à cette force, baptisée Mission internationale de soutien au Mali sous conduite africaine (Misma).

    Cet état des lieux va se poursuivre, a souligné l'officier ivoirien, relativisant de facto les déclarations de certains responsables politiques régionaux tendant à faire croire que les troupes sont fin prêtes et n'attendent plus qu'un feu vert pour intervenir.

    L'Union africaine et la Cédéao espèrent que le Conseil de sécurité adoptera en décembre une résolution autorisant le déploiement de cette force, destinée à chasser les groupes islamistes armés occupant seuls depuis juin le Nord malien.

    Mais le secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon a exprimé récemment de fortes réserves sur une telle opération et sa conception.

    A l'ouverture de la réunion, le ministre ivoirien de la Défense, Paul Koffi Koffi, avait d'ailleurs reconnu que les partenaires des pays africains avaient soulevé des "préoccupations" en vue de la finalisation du projet de résolution.

    Le général Bakayoko n'a cependant pas précisé si et comment les chefs militaires ouest-africains, dont les conclusions doivent être transmises aux chefs d'Etat de la région, avaient répondu à ces préoccupations.

    tmo/jr

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/17/2012 00:36 GMT

    Par Serge DANIEL

    BAMAKO, 17 déc 2012 (AFP) - Le Premier ministre malien a joué la continuité en reconduisant dans son gouvernement les principaux ministres de l'ancienne l'équipe, tout en accordant plus de poids aux représentants du Nord, occupé par les islamistes, en vue d'accélérer la réconciliation avant l'envoi d'une force internationale.

    Après quatre jours de consultations, Diango Cissoko a formé samedi un nouveau gouvernement d'union, comme le réclamait la communauté internationale pour refermer au plus vite la crise ouverte mardi après le départ forcé de son prédécesseur Cheick Modibo Diarra sous la pression d'ex-putschistes.

    Il s'agissait pour lui de former un gouvernement "représentatif" de tous les acteurs de la crise, après l'éviction de M. Diarra considéré comme un élément de blocage des institutions de transition, tout en ménageant l'ex-junte militaire du capitaine Amadou Haya Sanogo, toujours influente.

    "L'objectif était de ne pas déstabiliser l'architecture gouvernementale. La plupart des principaux ministères ne changent pas de titulaires pour ne pas casser la dynamique de groupe qui commençait à exister", a confié à l'AFP un proche du président par intérim Dioncounda Traoré. Seuls les partisans de M. Diarra ont été écartés.

    Dans ce nouveau gouvernement, qui s'est fixé pour mission la reconquête du Nord et l'organisation d'élections transparentes, les ministres de l'Economie, de la Défense et des Affaires étrangères sont reconduits, tandis que tous les groupements politiques maliens restent représentés.

    En plus de la Défense, l'ex-junte militaire, déjà à l'origine du renversement le 22 mars du président Amani Toumani Touré, conserve les trois autres postes clés qu'elle détenait (Sécurité intérieure, Justice et Administration territoriale).

    "De l'espoir"

    S'il est encore difficile de dire si ce nouvel exécutif sera mieux armé que l'équipe précédente pour stabiliser le pays, alors que l'influence du capitaine Sanogo, hostile à un déploiement armé international, reste intacte, M. Cissoko a déjà fait un geste symbolique en faveur de la réconciliation nationale.

    Le Premier ministre, qui avait appelé dès sa nomination les Maliens à se "rassembler", s'est ainsi attaché à donner davantage de poids aux trois régions du Nord du Mali, entièrement occupées depuis juin par les groupes islamistes armés.

    Elles détiennent désormais quatre ministères (Enseignement supérieur, Environnement, Artisanat et tourisme, un ministère délégué), contre un seul précédemment, avec à leur tête un représentant de la minorité arabe, deux Touaregs -contre un dans l'ancienne équipe- et un membre du Collectif des ressortissants du Nord, regroupant des organisations de la société civile.

    "Nous avons une équipe qui devrait pouvoir remettre le pays sur les rails. Il y a de l'espoir", a réagi Bachir Diallo, du Front uni pour la défense de la République et de la démocratie (FDR), anti-putschistes, tandis qu'un membre de la COPAM, front pro-putschistes, soulignait "l'importance de se montrer patriote" en période de crise.

    La nomination du gouvernement intervient alors que les chefs d'état-major des pays de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) ont peaufiné samedi à Abidjan leur plan pour le déploiement de 3.300 hommes au Mali, qui doit être soumis avant Noël au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU.

    A Conakry, le président sénégalais Macky Sall a appelé les nouvelles autorités maliennes à se mettre "au diapason" de l'Union africaine (UA) et de l'Afrique de l'Ouest pour soutenir ce déploiement.

    Parallèlement, le chef de la diplomatie française Laurent Fabius a assuré qu'un accord allait être trouvé entre Français et Américains à l'ONU pour l'envoi de cette force, minimisant tout différend à ce sujet entre Paris et Washington.

    La France et les Africains veulent obtenir un feu vert rapide de l'ONU, Washington se montre plus circonspect sur la capacité de Bamako et de ses voisins à mener à bien l'opération.

    sd-jb/jr

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: EastAfrican
    Country: Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), World

    By MIKE MANDE The EastAfrican

    Posted Saturday, December 15 2012 at 18:03

    In Summary

    • The draft policy will make it mandatory for small-scale farmers in East Africa to buy all their seeds from multinational firms and stop using seeds from past harvests.

    • The group faults the process used to develop the draft policy and the negative impact its adoption would have on small-scale farmers, food security and on agricultural biodiversity.

    East African farmers under the umbrella of civil society organisations have petitioned the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), following the latter’s proposed draft of a regional harmonised policy and legal framework on plant variety protection.

    The draft policy, which is based on the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Convention of 1991, will make it mandatory for small-scale farmers in East Africa to buy all their seeds from multinational firms and stop using seeds from past harvests.

    The group faults the process used to develop the draft policy and the negative impact its adoption would have on small-scale farmers, food security and on agricultural biodiversity.

    Reactions

    Mariam Mayet, director of the African Centre for Biosafety told The EastAfrican that the legal framework will not only facilitate the theft of African germplasm and privatisation of seed breeding, but will ensure the unhindered creation of a commercial seed market.

    She said such a market will see farmers’ rights to freely use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds taken away as the types of seeds on offer will be restricted to commercially protected varieties.

    Michael Farrelly, director of the Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity, told The EastAfrican that the proposed law does not take into consideration Tanzania’s 4.8 million smallholder farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and who plant using seeds from previous crops.

    Mr Farrelly said the draft policy would reduce the availability of local plant varieties, weaken Tanzania’s rich biodiversity and deny millions of farmers the right to breed and share seeds.

    Consultations

    Moses Mulumba from the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development in Uganda said the proposed law did not consult farmers, civil society organisations and farmers’ movements.

    “It is unimaginable that the ARIPO could facilitate and encourage African governments to adopt the comprehensive International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) 1991 law without first ensuring that all stake holders were consulted,” said Mr Mulumba.

    He said it is crucial for ARIPO to undertake comprehensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders and desist from rushing governments into adopting the draft legislation.

    Mr Mulumba added there was a need to support the development of a legal framework that acknowledged the contribution of farmers as breeders, and upheld and promoted the customary practices of small-scale farmers.

    The draft policy will give powers to ARIPO regional offices to grant and administer breeders’ rights on behalf of all the contracting states and provide adequate opportunities for consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society organisations before any further work is undertaken.

    The draft policy also paves the way for the African Union to start discussions on the cultivation, import and export of genetically modified crops in Africa at the next AU summit to be held in January 2013.


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Kenya
    preview


    Period covered by this Final Report: March 2011- July 2012

    Appeal target (current): CHF 30,438,354

    Appeal coverage: The IFRC mobilized 33 percent of the budget with support from Partner National Societies(PNS) while Kenya Red Cross Society raised 66 percent of the appeal budget through bilateral contributions which included funds raised through private sector, the African Union and through the “Kenyans for Kenya Initiative.” When these contributions are considered, the Appeal can be said to be fully funded.

    Appeal history:

    · Kenya Red Cross Society launched a National Drought Appeal on 14 January 2011 for CHF 28,343,156 for 6 months.

    · An Emergency appeal for CHF 4,931,743 was launched by the IFRC EA Regional Representation on 23 March 2011 for 6 months to assist 855,000 beneficiaries. The appeal supplemented KRCS’ response to the drought.

    · An operations update No.1 was published on 30 May 2011 covering the period March to April 2011.

    · An operations update No.2 was published on 31 May 2011 covering the period April to May 2011.

    The Appeal was revised on 22 July 2011 to increase the appeal budget to CHF 14,692,020, to extend the operation timeframe to 12 months and increase the number of targeted beneficiaries to 1 million.

    · On 3 October 2011, the appeal was revised again to increase the appeal budget to CHF 30,438,354 in order to address evident gaps by adding longer-term food security interventions and doubling school feeding programmes, including the addition of water trucking to schools

    · An 8 months operations update was published on 31 October 2011 covering the period March to October 2011.

    · A 12 months operations update was published on 14 June 2012 covering the period March 2011 to May 2012.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the), Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Djibouti, Dominican Republic (the), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger (the), Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines (the), Samoa, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan (the), Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic (the), United Republic of Tanzania (the), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)
    preview


    Tropical cyclone Evan hit Samoa and Fiji on 13 and 16 December. As a category 4 storm, Evan caused significant damage to homes and infrastructure on both islands. 3,500 people were evacuated to emergency shelters in Fiji. In Samoa 1,500 were evacuated and 2 killed.Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) made landfall in the southern Philippines on 4 December, carrying winds of up to 160 kilometres an hour. More than 6.2 million people have been affected in nine provinces, according to Government estimates.The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, with heavy fighting southwest of Damascus and in the Yarmouk district of Damascus, which hosts more than 112,000 Palestinian refugees, following a major operation launched by the Government to prevent rebels from advancing on the capital. The security situation in South Sudan was tense in Western Bahr al Ghazal, Northern Bahr al Ghazal and Jonglei States due to the eruption of localised violence and clashes of the South Sudanese army and armed groups.In West Darfur, Sudan, the Ministry of Health announced the outbreak of Hepatitis D in addition to a yellow fever outbreak which has caused 788 suspected cases and 166 deaths in Darfur since 29 October.

    Global Emergency Overview web interface


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan (Republic of)
    preview


    1. SUMMARY

    Kenya continues to experience humanitarian emergencies linked to natural disasters such as drought and floods, ethno-political and resource-based conflicts, and outbreaks of human and livestock diseases. However, the 2011 short-rains and 2012 long-rains seasons brought relief to protracted drought conditions. This reduced the number of food-insecure people from 3.75 million at the beginning of the year to 2.1 million as of October. It is expected that the current short-rains season will further improve food security conditions and reduce the food insecure population. Nutrition surveys carried out in Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) areas in 2012 also reflect this improvement, showing significantly reduced malnutrition levels in some ASAL counties (Turkana, Mandera, Moyale and Kajiado). The expected caseload of children under age 5 suffering from acute malnutrition has declined from 385,000 in January 2012 to 300,000 as of October 2012. However, the situation in Wajir County and Mandera East has not improved; these counties account for 75,644 (25%) of expected caseloads.

    As the March 2013 elections draw near, the risk of increased inter-communal violence is a key concern. In 2012, more than 80,000 people have been displaced to date by inter-communal violence including in Moyale, Tana Delta, Isiolo, Mandera and Wajir. In addition, attacks on schools have become an emerging issue, confirmed in an assessment by the Ministry of Education through the Education Sector and in the findings of the district steering group in Isiolo. Between November 2011 and October 2012, varied incidents of violence in Isiolo, Moyale and Tana delta districts disrupted learning in schools, affecting at least 6,000 pupils and displacing communities.

    The situation in Somalia and South Sudan continues to influence the refugee dynamics across the borders into Kenya where 673,788 refugees are hosted in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps and in Nairobi. The Kenya military offensive into Somalia began over a year ago and has now been incorporated into the AMISOM mission to pursue Al-Shabaab militants. This military operation has caused ongoing insecurity in north-eastern Kenya with numerous improvisedexplosive-device and grenade attacks, including in and around Dadaab. It has also hampered humanitarian access.

    Despite these challenges, Kenya is making impressive progress towards consolidating the gains of humanitarian investment and creating an enabling environment to link emergency assistance to longer-term development programming. Through its Vision 2030 Policy, the Government continues to lay the foundations for longer-term recovery and development by strengthening its key structures and institutional capacity. This is providing a critical opportunity for humanitarian and development partners to participate in this process and help shape strategic planning. In addition, the formation of the county structures in line with Kenya’s new constitution is giving impetus to coordinated engagement at the sub-national level. Partners are also making sustained efforts to align with other national policies and initiatives such as the Ending Drought Emergencies campaign, the newly passed IDP bill and policy, and the draft disaster risk management policy. The 2011-2013 Kenya Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan and multiyear strategy has also provided the opportunity and mechanism for stakeholders to not only plan responses to immediate acute needs, but also integrate resilience in humanitarian programming. This has helped build national and local capacity for emergency preparedness and response. 2013 marks the end of the multi-year strategy and the transition to longer-term programming through the engagement of development frameworks.

    The 2013 Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan comprises 116 projects from more than 50 organizations. It requests US$743 million for humanitarian action.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/17/2012 12:40 GMT

    NIAMEY, 17 déc 2012 (AFP) - L'Union africaine (UA) et des pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest ont de nouveau appelé, lundi à Niamey, à déployer "sans délai" une force africaine pour chasser les groupes islamistes armés occupant le nord du Mali.

    "Un accent particulier doit être mis sur la nécessité de l'envoi sans délai d'une force internationale en vue d'éradiquer le péril terroriste qui menace la paix dans notre sous-région", a déclaré le chef de l'Etat béninois Thomas Boni Yayi, président en exercice de l'UA.

    Il s'exprimait à l'ouverture à Niamey d'un sommet des chefs d'Etat du Conseil de l'Entente, une organisation de coopération régionale regroupant Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger et Togo.

    "Je renouvelle notre appel au Conseil de sécurité pour qu'il autorise le plus rapidement possible l'envoi d'une force internationale pour aider à la libération du nord du Mali", a lancé le président nigérien Mahamadou Issoufou.

    "Notre sous-région est soumise à des menaces sans précédent, dont le terrorisme et le crime organisé, qui s'imbriquent pour créer une situation explosive. Ils n'épargneront à terme aucun de nos pays", a-t-il alerté.

    Une résolution du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU est attendue avant la fin de l'année pour autoriser l'envoi au Mali d'une force africaine, appuyée logistiquement par des pays occidentaux. Cette force devrait tenter de chasser les mouvements islamistes armés occupant seuls depuis juin le Nord malien.

    L'UA et la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao), à laquelle appartiennent les pays du Conseil de l'Entente, plaident avec insistance pour une opération armée, mais les Etats-Unis et le secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon ont émis de fortes réserves sur une intervention et sa préparation.

    bh-tmo/jlb

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Angola, Malawi

    JOHANNESBURG, 17 December 2012 (IRIN) - Prolonged dry spells have driven almost four million people to food insecurity in Malawi and oil-rich Angola, in Southern Africa. Humanitarian aid agencies have been trying to shine a spotlight on crises in the region, even as the situations in Syria and the Sahel continue to dominate headlines.

    Squeezed supplies and a towering inflation rate have kept the price of the main staple grain, maize, high throughout the region. Malawi and Mozambique have seen prices climb 40 to 100 percent since 2011. [ http://www.fao.org/giews/english/gfpm/GFPM_12_2012.pdf ] Angola, meanwhile, is experiencing its worst drought in years, according to UN agencies.

    Following are snapshots of the crises in Malawi and Angola:

    Malawi

    Poor harvests are plaguing the Malawi's vulnerable Southern Region. Residents there are also grappling with rising inflation (28 percent in September, compared to three percent in 2011), the 49 percent devaluation of the Malawi kwacha, and few opportunities to work as a casual labourers - factors that have together pushed the number of food-insecure persons to nearly 2 million, up from an estimated 1.6 million in June. [ http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Malawi%20-%20Hu... ]

    Even with humanitarian assistance, which started in early September, households in nine districts in southern Malawi have remained in phase two - or the stressed level - of the Integrated Phase Classification, a scale for measuring the intensity of food insecurity [ http://www.irinnews.org/Report/75303/AFRICA-New-improved-disaster-respon... ]. In areas where aid has not yet been disbursed, people are in phase three, crisis level.

    But humanitarian funding remains insufficient, and if shortfalls persist during the lean season - January through March - more poor households in the south could fall into phase three, warned the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), or even phase four, an emergency state. [ http://www.fews.net/docs/Publications/Malawi_FSOU_11_2012_Final.pdf ]

    The government, the UN and other aid agencies have put together a cluster-based response plan requiring more than a US$100 million. The clusters - agriculture and food security, health and nutrition, education, and protection - have raised little more than $41 million. Still, this leaves a resource gap of more than $61 million. The World Food Programme (WFP), which is currently distributing aid to 1.8 million people, says it needs $14 million to cover its shortfall. [ http://www.irinnews.org/Report/96205/MALAWI-Need-for-food-aid-outpaces-r... ]

    The government has pledged to release 47,600 metric tons of maize from its Strategic Grain Reserve to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs and WFP in order to provide maize though March 2013. The government has also retained an export ban on maize to control prices.

    WFP and partners have also just launched an innovative system using mobile phones to transfer cash to more than 100,000 people, which will allow them to buy food in local markets. FEWS NET estimates these initiatives will aid the almost 2 million people in need of assistance.

    But news reports indicate there is also an acute shortage of safe drinking water in southern Malawi, as the country faces persistent electricity blackouts affecting water pumps. There is concern about possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases as people resort to consuming untreated water in the midst of the rainy season [ http://www.nyasatimes.com/malawi/2012/12/17/malawis-southern-region-resi... ].

    Noting that droughts are getting more frequent, the government announced a strategy to build resilience and reduce vulnerability that focuses on strategic interventions such as social protection, income diversification schemes, and microloans ahead.

    Angola

    A 60 percent drop in rainfall in the 2011-2012 farming season led to a drought affecting 10 of the 18 provinces in Angola, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [ http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/MDRAO005ea.pdf ] . As a result, more than 1.8 million people are food insecure.

    Over half a million children are estimated to be suffering from acute malnutrition. According to the Federation, 20 percent of these children could be suffering from severe malnutrition, which has a possible 20 percent mortality rate.

    There are very few international humanitarian organizations still operating in Angola. A majority of the organizations, including WFP, pulled out in 2006, following after the 2002 signing of a peace agreement ending the country's 27-year civil war.

    The government has initiated an emergency programme, totalling $43 million, to provide food and water as well as agricultural inputs to affected families, according to the Federation. It is unclear if all the funds for the programme have been released.

    In June 2012, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund allocated $5.1 million to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization to complement government efforts to deal with the nutrition crisis.

    The government has not declared a state of emergency nor officially called for international assistance. But it did agree to appeal for almost $1.7 million to support the Angola Red Cross Society's efforts to help 12,000 households in four of the most affected regions - Luanda, Kwanza Sul, Huambo and Bie - in November.

    Although the most severe rainfall deficits were recorded in the northern and coastal regions of the country, the large crop-producing provinces of Huambo, Huila and Bie - which collectively contribute to over 50 percent of the country's cereal output - were also affected by the dry period and irregular rains, according to FAO.

    But Angola has received good rains in the past few weeks, so the situation could improve.

    jk/rz[END]


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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    They were told to assemble in Gao's market place at dusk. A man accused of using tobacco was escorted before the crowd by several members of the al-Qaida splinter group Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa.

    "Then they chopped off his hand. They wanted to show us what they could do," said Ahmed, 39, a meat trader from the town in northern Mali.

    Read the full article


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    Source: Reuters - AlertNet
    Country: Kenya

    EMBU, Kenya (AlertNet) – The most important post-harvest pest in Kenya’s dryland areas is the larger grain borer, locally known as ‘Osama’ in testament to its aggressive destructiveness.

    Farmers say it flourishes in high temperatures – a particular problem as climate change brings warming conditions in many parts of the country.

    Read the full article on AlertNet


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

    National Needs Assessment Update

    Assessment teams in all regions, including Afar, Amhara, Beneshangul Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, SNNP, Somali and Tigray have completed the assessment field work and begun the process of consolidating their findings and debriefing regional authorities. The assessment results will inform the 2013 Humanitarian Requirements Document (January-June), which is expected to be launched in early 2013. For more information, contact ocha-eth@un.org

    Malaria Response Update

    More than 1.7 million cases of malaria have been reported from five regions (Amhara, Beneshangul Gumuz, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray) since January 2012, of which 122,621 cases were reported in the week ending 24 November. The cases are mainly from Amhara (30 per cent), SNNP (28.2 per cent) and Oromia (22.5 per cent), according to the Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) unit of the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute. The Ministry of Health, Regional Health Bureaus and health partners continue implementing malaria prevention and control measures, including case management, distribution of insecticide treated nets, and indoor residual spraying. The November case fatality rate (CFR ≤1) indicates the success of such measures. However, inconsistent implementation of the new malaria treatment guidelines (some health facilities still using the old version) and weak reporting in some areas (reporting rate below 80 per cent) are outstanding concerns that need to be addressed. Countrywide, some 20 million people live in 160 malaria hyper hotspot woredas. For more information, contact: who-wro@et.efro.who.int.


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    Source: AlertNet
    Country: Kenya

    EMBU, Kenya (AlertNet) – The most important post-harvest pest in Kenya’s dryland areas is the larger grain borer, locally known as ‘Osama’ in testament to its aggressive destructiveness.

    Farmers say it flourishes in high temperatures – a particular problem as climate change brings warming conditions in many parts of the country.

    Read the full article on AlertNet


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


    1. RÉSUMÉ EXÉCUTIF

    Les effets des crises alimentaire et nutritionnelle se ressentent encore par une grande partie de la population en Mauritanie. L’assistance conjointe du Gouvernement et des partenaires d’aide dans le cadre du plan EMEL a permis de répondre aux besoins urgents des communautés les plus affectées. Cependant, ces communautés restent encore fragilisées par les chocs cumulés des crises précédentes.

    Sur le plan agricole, les prévisions de la récolte sont favorables grâce à une pluviométrie abondante dans les zones agro-pastorales. Cependant, la conjugaison de plusieurs facteurs, tant au niveau national qu’international, risquerait de menacer cet équilibre précaire. Les mauvaises récoltes enregistrées dans certains pays producteurs pourraient avoir un impact sur les prix des céréales et autres denrées de base sur le marché international. Compte tenu de cette conjoncture économique mondiale, il faudra mobiliser davantage de ressources financières pour importer des denrées alimentaires nécessaires pour couvrir les besoins importants des populations vulnérables.

    En effet, les enquêtes FSMS et SMART qui ont été conduites en juillet 2012 par le Ministère de la santé et le Commissariat à la sécurité alimentaire, avec le soutien du PAM et de l’UNICEF, révèlent une forte dégradation de la situation alimentaire et nutritionnelle. Selon ces enquêtes, plus d’un million de personnes, dont 800 000 en milieu rural et 200 000 en milieu urbain, nécessiteraient une assistance alimentaire et nutritionnelle d’urgence et plus de 100 000 enfants souffrent de malnutrition. Ces résultats démontrent également que la crise s’est étendue à d’autres communautés dans des régions qui n’étaient pas ciblées par l’aide d’urgence en 2012, à savoir Adrar, Inchiri et Trarza ainsi que la zone péri-urbaine de Nouakchott, en plus des zones du sud et sud-est qui étaient déjà touchées.

    Les régions du sud-est du pays restent les plus affectées par la crise, et enregistrent les taux les plus élevés d’insécurité alimentaire et de malnutrition. Plus de 100 000 réfugiés maliens fuyant les hostilités dans leur pays se sont installés depuis janvier 2012 à Mbéra, dans la région du Hodh el Chargui. Cette situation constitue un poids démographique considérable pour les quelque 45 000 habitants de la zone, aux maigres ressources disponibles et avec un accès faible aux services sociaux de base. La protection et l’assistance multi-sectorielle fournies conjointement par le Gouvernement et le HCR, avec l’appui d’autres partenaires du système des Nations Unies et d’ONG, a permis de stabiliser la situation des réfugiés dans le camp. Les perspectives de retour pour ces réfugiés ne sont pas envisageables à moyen terme. La situation actuelle d’instabilité au nord Mali fait pressentir un probable afflux de réfugiés additionnels dans la même zone, ce qui compliquerait davantage la capacité de réponse prévue dans le présent Appel. Cependant, la phase de stabilisation qui a commencé avec le HCR et ses partenaires doit être consolidée et complétée par d’autres efforts, notamment à travers le renforcement des liens pour une cohabitation apaisée entre les réfugiés et les communautés d’accueil ou encore la protection de l’environnement.

    A ce contexte déjà préoccupant, s’ajoutent des épidémies de la fièvre de la Vallée du Rift et de choléra qui sont signalées, notamment dans le sud-ouest, région habitée par des communautés à vocation agro-pastorale fortement fragilisées. L’alerte, la riposte et la surveillance épidémiologiques doivent être organisées et renforcées par les partenaires du secteur, en appui à l’autorité sanitaire nationale. Les communautés à risque devront être sensibilisées non seulement aux mesures préventives d’hygiène, mais des efforts devront être consentis pour augmenter leur niveau d’accès aux services sociaux de base.

    La Mauritanie est également exposée aux risques d’inondations entraînant des dégâts parfois considérables, comme ce fut le cas lors de la saison des pluies de 2012. Les partenaires devront se préparer à disposer des moyens et capacités de réponse nécessaires,à travers la révision du cadre existant Il s’agira accompagner les structures étatiques et de renforcer les mécanismes existants de préparation et de réponse aux urgences, en s’assurant que les outils nécessaires soient en place, et la coordination et le partenariat soient et le partenariat sont fonctionnels, efficients et efficaces.

    Les crises récurrentes et soudaines qui frappent la Mauritanie sont intimement liées au changement climatique et au contexte régional. Ces crises se traduisent par une situation sanitaire préoccupante, une reconstitution du cheptel lente et partielle, des stocks alimentaires quasi nuls et des ménages en attente des premières récoltes à venir. Par conséquent, les acteurs ont inscrit les programmations de cet Appel dans une approche fondée sur la résilience, qui permettrait aux communautés en Mauritanie de mieux se préparer et se relever des chocs.

    Suite à une analyse des besoins ciblés, des bénéficiaires et des zones d’interventions prioritaires, l’Appel 2013 demande davantage de fonds que celui de 2012 qui ne couvrait que les besoins humanitaires partiels pour une période de huit mois. L’Appel global humanitaire 2013 pour la Mauritanie sollicite auprès des bailleurs, un montant équivalent à $179 835 908, pour (1) poursuivre les activités d’assistance aux personnes exposées aux risques d’insécurité alimentaire et de malnutrition, (2) maintenir les activités de protection et d’assistance aux réfugiés maliens, et (3) renforcer les activités de surveillance et de riposte aux épidémies, et de réponse aux inondations.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/17/2012 13:47 GMT

    NIAMEY, Dec 17, 2012 (AFP) - African leaders on Monday renewed their call for the urgent deployment of a regional military force to recapture northern Mali from Al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

    The West African bloc ECOWAS has 3,300 troops on standby but the United Nations has expressed reservations and warned a deployment could take another year.

    "Special emphasis is required on the need to send, without further delay, an international force tasked with removing the terrorist threat from our sub-region," African Union chairman Thomas Boni Yayi said.

    The current AU head, also the president of Benin, was speaking in the capital of Niger at the opening of a summit of the Conseil de l'Entente (Council of the Accord), a six-member regional cooperation body.

    "I reiterate our call for the Security Council to authorise the deployment of an international force as soon as possible to help liberate northern Mali," Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said.

    "Our sub-region faces unprecedented threats, including terrorism and organised crime, which together make for an explosive situation. They will not spare any of our countries," he said.

    Niger is one of the countries most at risk of a spillover from the crisis in Mali, where militants groups with ties to Al-Qaeda and drug traffickers took advantage of a failed coup and a Tuareg rebellion to take control of the entire north.

    A UN resolution authorising a military intervention in Mali is expected by year's end but top officials from the world body have warned any deployment was unlikely before September 2013.

    bh-tmo/jmm/boc

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Christian Science Monitor
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    After a spate of grenade attacks linked to Somali Islamist militants over the past 14 months, Kenya has ordered all refugees in its urban areas to move to established refugee camps, which the government says is necessary for security but international organizations argue could violate the refugees' rights.

    Read the full article


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