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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali

    Seasonal trends have generally resumed; food access continues to improve


    • Despite the persistence of civil insecurity and the residual effects of conflict in northern Mali since March, 2012, the status quo of the gradual recovery of economic activities continues. This has allowed trade and commercial networks to adapt and assure staple food market supplies. The precarious appearance of calm and stability has also promoted the gradual recovery of market-based income-earning activities.

    • Throughout Mali, cereals production during the 2012/13 season has been deemed greater than average. In the North, this is particularly the case in Timbuktu, where irrigated rice production is estimated to be 20 percent greater than average.
      However, production of submerged rice decreased, particularly in parts of Gao, where production estimates are more than 40 percent below average, due to important losses from localized flooding.

    • Throughout West Africa, cereals prices resumed their seasonal downward trends beginning in September and October, 2012. Millet prices are generally following their seasonal trends at both a national and regional level, but remain greater than their respective five-year average levels. This is despite recently price decreases on many markets. Local rice prices on the other hand have approached their average levels, particularly in areas supplied by the surplus-producing irrigated zone of Timbuktu.

    • Agropastoral household market dependence has reached its annual minimum levels in line with seasonal trends. Currently, these households have access to their own production and in-kind payments from day labor. In addition, purchasing power has improved given recent cereals price decreases, improving terms of trade, and the gradual recovery of income-earning opportunities and cash transfers via standard channels.

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Malawi


    • Mixed rains recorded at the start of the 2012/13 cropping season

    • Cereal output in 2011/12 is estimated at 3.83 million tonnes, 7 percent below the previous season

    • Significantly high maize prices in the Southern Region are negatively affecting access to food, especially for vulnerable people

    • Nearly 2 million people are currently estimated to be food insecure, with southern parts of the country facing serious conditions

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    Source: Norwegian Refugee Council
    Country: Somalia

    Abdiaziz Bashir, NRC Puntland (17.12.2012)

    Hawo Mire (65) is one of the participants of NRC’s Food Security small-scale business project, supporting the most vulnerable people of the displaced and poor populations in Garowe.

    It is early morning in Garowe, the capital of Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in Somalia. Hawo Mire, a 65 year old woman with seven children and 35 grandchildren, is patiently waiting at NRC’s training location together with almost 60 other displaced persons.

    Hawo is dressed in a black gown and shawl, and walks with a gentle hunch on her back, a sign of her age and hardship. After a week of intensive training on book keeping and basic business management, the day has come for Hawo to receive her business goods. She moves slow, but determined when her name is called by the NRC food security officer who is facilitating the distribution. Once she has received her equipment, Hawo holds on to her items as if she is embracing it. With care, she opens the plastic bags and studies the clothing items provided by NRC’s food security team.

    Income opportunities

    Hawo has decided to sell the clothes and make more clothes from the textiles. Through the training, she has got basic accounting and business management skills.

    “I am glad NRC has provided me with business support. I have been in Garowe for so long and I have not received much assistance from anyone. The clothes provided will give me an opportunity to earn some money. I’m very grateful,” Hawo says.

    The training and distribution is conducted at the Somali women association centre (SWA). This location is considered almost a sanctuary in Garowe, providing vocational support to predominantly female populations in the town. Some of the participants have walked many miles to attend the training.

    More than 142,000 people in Puntland are internally displaced, of Somalia’s 1.3 million IDPs. For NRC, Garowe is an important centre for providing support, care and durable solutions to displaced and poor host communities. In addition to food security and livelihoods, NRC is providing shelter and education, including school construction and teacher training.

    Poor rains destroyed livelihoods

    Hawo has been facing poverty and hardship for many years. She previously earned her livelihood as a pastoralist, but following poor rains her livestock perished. When her husband and main breadwinner of her family was severally injured in 2008, Hawo and her family had to move to Garowe to seek support from international aid agencies. It was hard for the family to adapt to a new situation with hardly any means to survive.

    “Our living conditions were very bad. We were drinking out of puddles and sleeping outdoors with no protection. It was a very unsafe situation,” Hawo says.

    Today, Hawo has come to terms with what has happened to her family, and with more than 7,000 IDPs living in Garowe, livelihood opportunities especially for elderly women are rare. Elderly women are some of the most vulnerable people in the IDP settlements. Hawo identifies herself as the poorest of the poor, with little support from available. The small scale business support is her only hope to secure a better future for her family.

    Urged sustainable support

    “The majority of IDPs in Garowe and Burao are agro-pastoralists from rural areas who usually rely upon cultivation or livestock rearing for their livelihoods. The lack of land access in settlements significantly hinders their food security. They also lack experience in entrepreneurial and business management skills for other work than farming,” said NRC’s Regional Food Security Manager, Quentin Le Gallo.

    During 2012, NRC has conducted a food security project including a pilot livelihood project in Garowe and Burao, Somaliland. The pilot project aims at supporting and creating more sustainable livelihood opportunities for IDPs through farming input distribution and training. It also provides support to urban based income-generating activities, including vocational skills training, small scale business management training and start-up kit distribution. The project is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and targets 2,000 households from IDPs and host communities.

    “Meetings with local governmental authorities, community leaders, elders and cash voucher beneficiaries in Somaliland and Puntland have highlighted the lack of sustainable support to vulnerable groups. Livelihood recovery oriented programming should be a priority, but funding is limited,” said Le Gallo.

    In 2012, NRC in Somalia has assisted around 33,000 displaced affected households with food access improvement in response to the 2011 famine. Also, we supported 1,500 households with livelihood recovery support. In 2013, NRC is planning to increase early recovery activities aiming at strengthening food security resilience of displacement affected households. We thank our main donors, including the Government of Norway (MFA), Government of Sweden (SIDA), European Union (ECHO), UNHCR, and UNICEF.

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Malawi

    With food prices high in Malawi's markets, many families are struggling to find enough to eat. A new programme by WFP is sending cash to the most vulnerable people through their mobile phones. This assistance enables them to buy more food and so keep hunger and malnutrition at bay.

    LILONGUE -- The market-place is busy and the stalls are full of local produce in Lunzu, a trading centre on the edge of Blantyre in southern Malawi. Traders shout out the prices of maize harvested in the central region of the country, sacks of beans and pigeon peas are sheltered under canvas awnings to provide shade from the sun, and small piles of tiny, silvery, dried fish from Lake Malawi are lined up for sale to those who can afford to pay for the protein and added flavour they can bring to the daily meal.

    But these are lean times for the farming communities that work the fields around Lunzu. They are in the grip of the “hungry season,” the period between the planting of new crops and the arrival of the next harvest, which is not due until March next year.

    Forty-one year old Hannah Chikaloni is one of them. Married with three children, she speaks of the struggles she’s faced over the past year when erratic rainfall devastated her crops and brought hunger to her village.

    Crops died in drought

    “After the first rains, we planted as we always do, but it wasn’t long before we had a drought which burned the whole crop,” she says, fingering a pink plastic rosary necklace as she talks. “It took so long for the next rains to come that it was too late for us to replant. We ran out of food and we had no help until WFP came in.”

    “Maize bran is not all that nutritious, and normally we use it to feed livestock,” says Edward Chingeni from Save the Children, “But this year, because the maize prices have gone so high, people have been forced to eat maize bran.”

    Working with the Malawi government, local partner Save the Children, and the mobile phone provider, Airtel, WFP has launched a programme that aims to address this problem of access to food. Hungry farmers are being introduced to a mobile phone banking system that will deliver the cash they need to spend on food at the market.

    Food unaffordable for poor

    “In many places where we have a surplus of food, the problem is not that there’s no food in the locality, but that poor people cannot afford it,” says WFP Senior Programme Officer, Charles Inwani. “In a situation like this in Malawi, where the country has been producing a surplus of food for a while, having money in their pockets at least enables people to reach it.”

    More than 100,000 people are participating in the mobile cash transfer programme, which is being funded by UKAID. Each will be provided with low-cost mobile phones and they will receive monthly text messages that entitle them to collect cash from Airtel agents.

    And it’s not just the farming community that stands to benefit. In Lunzu market, traders are also happy that more people will have the cash they need to buy local produce.

    “With this cash programme, it will put us in a better position to make a sale,” says maize trader, Mesa Besta. “We have enough maize to sell to the entire community and in my warehouse I have fifty bags of stock.”

    Smart Food Aid WFP delivers hundreds of thousands of tons of food each year, but, increasingly, we give hungry people cash or vouchers to buy food for themselves. Learn more about how WFP is using cash and vouchers to help fight hunger around the world.

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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali

    N°: 354/2012

    17 décembre 2012 [Abidjan - Cote D'Ivoire]

    Trouver une solution politique à la situation du capitaine Amadou Haya Sanogo, vu que les interventions du chef de l’ex-junte militaire malienne dans le débat politique ont toujours constitué un handicap à l’évolution positive de la situation au Mali.

    Telle est l’une des recommandations de la 31ème réunion ordinaire du Comité des chefs d'état-major de la CEDEAO (CCEM) qui s’est achevée au petit matin du dimanche 16 décembre 2012 à Abidjan, en Côte d’Ivoire.

    Le ministre auprès du président ivoirien chargé de la Défense, M. Paul Koffi Koffi, a déploré la situation politique actuelle au Mali caractérisée par la démission de l'ex-Premier ministre sur injonctions du capitaine Amadou Haya Sanogo.

    «Nous souhaitons vivement que l'armée ne se mêle pas du débat politique afin que cela ne vienne pas constituer un autre souci à gérer alors que nous attendons une résolution du Conseil de sécurité», a expliqué M. Paul Koffi Koffi.

    Pour sa part, la commissaire chargée des Affaires politiques, de la Paix et de la Sécurité de la Commission de la CEDEAO, Mme Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, a rappelé la position de l’organisation sous-régionale face à la crise politique malienne actuelle.

    «La CEDEAO condamne fermement tout agissement qui va à l’encontre de la transition au Mali, en particulier l’action des militaires contre toute autorité de la transition ainsi que toute forme d’interférence et d’ingérence de leur part dans le processus politique», a-t-elle souligné.

    Cette rencontre a également permis aux participants de faire le point sur les activités de planification élaborées et conçues pour la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali sous conduite africaine (MISMA). Un accent particulier a été mis sur l’examen de la structure et du personnel proposés pour le déploiement de cette Mission.

    Toujours au chapitre des recommandations, les membres du CCEM ont décidé de la mise en place d’une structure adéquate de gestion financière de la MISMA telle que demandée par l’Union européenne, l’élaboration d’un plan B tenant compte de l’appui à la formation et l’engagement avec les seuls moyens de la CEDEAO, l’achèvement de l’inspection des unités promises par les Etats membres ainsi que l’étude d’une option de révision du chronogramme pour un déploiement plus rapide de la Mission.

    Le président du CCEM, le chef d’état-major général des Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire, le général de corps d’armée Soumaïla Bakayoko, a félicité les officiers planificateurs de la MISMA pour les résultats auxquels ils sont parvenus et remercié ses pairs pour leur disponibilité et leur engagement aux côtés de leurs frères d’armes maliens pour la résolution de la crise et le rétablissement de l’intégrité territoriale du Mali.

    Outre la crise malienne, les participants se sont penchés sur la présence de la Mission de la CEDEAO en Guinée-Bissau (ECOMIB) et ont examiné une demande du gouvernement bissau-guinéen relative au déploiement d’une composante maritime au sein de ladite Mission.

    Le président du CCEM a félicité les forces de l’ECOMIB pour l’amélioration de la situation sur le terrain, et s’est engagé à faire prendre les dispositions nécessaires en vue d’une amélioration urgente des conditions de vie des soldats de la Mision et de la réussite de la réforme du secteur de défense et de sécurité en Guinée-Bissau.

    La 31ème réunion ordinaire du CCEM s’est déroulée à Abidjan au lieu d’Abuja, au Nigéria, en raison de la tenue dans la capitale administrative ivoirienne de la 8ème édition de la Coupe d’Afrique militaire de football (Camfoot 2012).

    La finale de la compétition, jouée quelques heures après la fin des travaux du CCEM, a été remportée par le Mali qui a battu par 1 but à 0 le Cameroun, vainqueur des deux dernières éditions du tournoi.

    Le Mali a emporté 20 000 dollars américains du président burkinabè, Blaise Compaoré, dont la Coupe porte le nom et 10 millions de francs CFA du président ivoirien Alassane Ouattara.

    La Côte d'Ivoire, pays organisateur, s'est classée troisième.

    La prochaine Coupe d'Afrique militaire de football se déroulera au Tchad en 2014.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal

    (Dakar, 17 décembre 2012): La Stratégie Humanitaire pour le Sahel 2013 a été présentée aujourd’hui à Dakar. Les acteurs humanitaires ont besoin de 1,6 milliard de dollars en 2013 pour répondre aux besoins de millions de personnes au Burkina Faso, en Gambie, au Mali, en Mauritanie, au Niger, au Sénégal, au Tchad, et dans les parties nord du Cameroun et du Nigeria.

    Malgré les bonnes récoltes en 2012, les conséquences de la crise alimentaire et nutritionnelle de l’année dernière combinées à la hausse continue des prix de denrées alimentaires, vont continuer à affecter des millions de personnes dans le Sahel. L’actuelle crise au Mali, qui a provoqué des déplacements internes importants et un exode des réfugiés maliens dans les pays voisins, a créé des besoins humanitaires considérables y compris pour les communautés hôtes. La fréquence encore plus élevée des chocs a détérioré la capacité de résistance des populations du Sahel qui sont touchées par une insécurité alimentaire et une malnutrition chroniques profondes. On estime que 8,5 millions de personnes seront en insécurité alimentaire en 2013, alors que quelques 4 millions d'enfants de moins de 5 ans souffriront d’une malnutrition sévère ou modérée.

    “Ce que nous avons appris des interventions humanitaires répétées et massives dans la région est qu’il est impératif de changer la façon de répondre aux crises dans le Sahel”, a dit le Coordonnateur Régional Humanitaire, David Gressly.

    La stratégie a pour objectif d’assurer une approche coordonnée et harmonisée pour la réponse humanitaire aussi bien au niveau national qu’avec les partenaires régionaux. Elle inclut une analyse régionale partagée du contexte et de la situation ; des buts et des objectifs stratégiques communs et des indicateurs de performance consensuels pour la réponse et le suivi systématique qui donne des données fiables basées sur l’analyse des besoins et des gaps.

    En 2012, le total des appels humanitaires pour la région s’élevaient à 1,65 milliard de dollars dont 1,162 milliard de dollars, soit 70%, ont été reçus au 17 décembre. D’autres 370 millions de dollars ont été donnés à la région en dehors des appels, portant le total des fonds disponibles pour le Sahel à 1,532 milliard de dollars.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal

    (Dakar, 17 December 2012): The 2013 Humanitarian Sahel Strategy was presented today in Dakar. Humanitarian actors request US$1.6 billion in 2013 to respond to the needs of millions of people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, The Gambia and the northern parts of Cameroon and Nigeria.

    Despite good harvests in 2012, the consequences of last year’s acute food and nutrition crisis, compounded by the continuing high food prices, will continue to affect millions in the Sahel. The current Mali crisis, which has resulted in significant internal displacements within Mali and an exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries, has created considerable humanitarian needs, including for the host communities. The even higher frequency of the shocks has eroded the resilience of the people of the Sahel, who are affected by underlying, chronic food insecurity and malnutrition. It is estimated that 8.5 million people will be food insecure in 2013, while some 4 million children under 5 will suffer from severe to moderate malnutrition.

    “What we learnt from repeated, massive humanitarian interventions in the region is: it is imperative to change the way we respond to the crises in the Sahel”, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel David Gressly said.

    The Strategy aims to ensure a coordinated and harmonized approach for humanitarian response both at the national level and together with the regional partners. It includes a shared regional analysis of the context and situation; common regional strategic goals and objectives; and agreed performance indicators for delivery and systematic monitoring that provides evidence-based needs and gaps analysis.

    In 2012, the total of humanitarian appeals for the region amounted to US$ 1.65 billion, out of which $1.162 billion, or 70 per cent, have been received as of 17 December. Another $370 million were provided to the region outside of the framework of the UN appeals, bringing the total available funding for the Sahel to $1.532 billion.

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    Source: Croix-Rouge Française
    Country: Mali
    1. Contexte et justificatif

    La région de Kayes, en République du Mali est située à l'Ouest du pays aux frontières avec la République du Sénégal et la République Islamique de Mauritanie. La population de la région est estimée en 2011 à 2 139 034 habitants avec un taux de croissance annuel moyen de 3,5%. La région est divisée administrativement en 7 cercles : Bafoulabé, Diéma, Kayes, Kéniéba, Kita, Nioro, Yélimané.

    L'enquête nationale SMART de 2011, menée par le Ministère de la Santé et l'UNICEF, a mis en évidence dans son rapport préliminaire des taux de prévalence de malnutrition aigüe globale supérieurs au seuil d'alerte déterminé par l'Organisation Mondiale de la Santé: Région de Kayes: MAG=13% MAS=2,9% MM5=0,47%.

    L'évaluation rapide réalisée par l'UNICEF, en décembre 2011, a montré une prévalence de MAG de 13,8% pour la région de Kayes. De plus, les résultats d'enquête de base de nutrition et mortalité réalisée par le PAM à Kayes en novembre/décembre 2011 indiquent une détérioration de la situation nutritionnelle avec des prévalences de MAG de 15,4% dans le cercle de Yélimané, 12% à Diéma, et 10,9% à Bafoulabe.

    Dans l'ensemble de la région, le Ministère de la Santé est soutenu par l'UNICEF au niveau de 184 structures de santé sur un total de 194. 175 URENAS (Unité de récupération et Education Nutritionnelle en Ambulatoire pour Sévères) sont fonctionnelles ainsi que 9 URENI (Unité de récupération et Education Nutritionnelle Intensive).

    Les URENAS ne sont pas des structures isolées et sont intégrées dans les activités dispensées par les Centres de Santé Communautaires. Les URENI sont également intégrées aux Centres de Santé de Référence ou aux services hospitaliers de pédiatrie.

    La Direction Régionale de la Santé, bien que soutenue par l'UNICEF, se trouve à présent dans l'impossibilité d'assurer une prise en charge exhaustive de la malnutrition aigüe sévère.

    Les principales difficultés du système de prise en charge s'expliquent par les éléments suivants :

    • manque de dépistage régulier au niveau communautaire - consultations médicales payantes au niveau des Centres de Santé Communautaires (CSCom)

    • distance importante entre une partie de la population et les structures sanitaires - frais de vie élevés pour les accompagnantes des enfants hospitalisés à l'URENI - besoins avérés en renforcement des capacités du personnel sanitaire concernant la prise en charge de la malnutrition aiguë - retards ou absences de rapports d'activités nutritionnels des CSCom

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    Source: AlertNet
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Somalia, Uganda

    LONDON (AlertNet) - Ali, a Somali refugee living in Uganda's capital Kampala, has a thriving mini-supermarket selling rice, canned food, ice cream and soap among other items, while Martin, a Congolese refugee, runs a busy tailor’s shop.

    The two men are lucky because Uganda allows refugees to work as part of a “self-reliance” strategy based on the simple logic that this is better for the host nation’s economy than putting them into camps where they have to rely on aid handouts.

    Read the full article on AlertNet

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Libya, Mali

    12/18/2012 14:25 GMT

    by Dominique Soguel

    TRIPOLI, Dec 18, 2012 (AFP) - Libya's decision to shut its desert frontiers is a tall order for its fledgling army, which is ill-equipped to seal largely uninhabited Saharan wastes stretching more than 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles).

    Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told the national assembly on Tuesday that the measure requires further study and warned that "rash decisions should not be made when we are incapable of implementing them."

    Assembly members voted on Sunday to order the closure of Libya's borders with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Algeria. They also declared martial law in the vast desert south, citing mounting unrest across the Sahel region.

    The foreign ministry said on Monday that the decision was made in coordination with the countries concerned, following a regional tour by the prime minister to discuss boosting joint action against "terrorists" following the seizure of northern Mali by Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

    Libya plans to establish one authorised border crossing with each of the four neighbours, army spokesman Ali al-Sheikhi told AFP. "Any person who enters or exits at other points will be considered an infiltrator," he added.

    Analysts see the measure as a response to the crisis in Mali, which has sparked calls for international intervention, but say that Libyan security forces simply do not have the means to implement it while they reamin in disarray after last year's ouster of veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

    "The Mali crisis has crystallised the fact that you have an area where there can be a lot of cross-border criminality, cross-border flux," said Jon Mark, a North Africa analyst at the London-based Chatham House.

    "Some of the fighters and a lot of the guns in Mali came from Libya. The Malian conflict forced everyone to focus on the situation," Mark said.

    Mali does not share a border with Libya but it proved the worst affected by the spillover of fighters and weapons, both Tuareg and Islamist, that accompanied the uprising that overthrew Kadhafi.

    With West African governments now pushing for intervention to evict the jihadists from northern Mali, Libya and its neighbours, particularly Algeria, fear the fighters and weapons made be sent streaming back north across the Sahara.

    "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb got themselves more ensconced in the top of Mali. The threat that all governments in the region are worrying about is that it blows back the other way," Mark said.

    Middle East analyst Shashank Joshi said he was "sceptical" whether the new measures would make any "dent in the flow of arms, people and goods," given that the post-Kadhafi army struggles even to secure the cities of Libya's Mediterranean coast.

    "We are dealing with national armed forces that are extremely weak and have trouble asserting themselves in populous coastal areas," said Joshi, a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.

    The killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans by Islamist extremists in a September 11 assault in Libya's main eastern city Benghazi highlighted insecurity in the populous north but Joshi said the south could prove more dangerous in the long run.

    "In the longer term... the threat is greater in the south... because the prospect of politically integrating the south is a lot harder than integrating the east," he warned.

    Ethnic conflicts born out of the Kadhafi regime's policy of divide-and-rule and aggravated by the 2011 conflict have already led to several rounds of fighting in the south that claimed hundreds of lives this year.

    Libya analyst Saleh al-Senussi said the decision to declare martial law in the region also reflected continuing security concerns about remnants of the Kadhafi regime, some who found refuge in neighbouring Algeria and Niger.

    The new authorities worried that they might yet exploit the south for "subversive activities," Senussi said.


    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda

    The activities proposed hereafter are subject to the adoption of the financing decision ECHO/WWD/ BUD/2013/01000

    1. CONTEXT


    Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti have been heavily affected during the period 2010/2011 by consecutive rain failures, hitting mostly the populations of arid and semi-arid lands in the region. The drought caused harvests to fail, high crude mortality and malnutrition rates in the population, severe livestock mortality, and increased food and water prices. By mid-2011, at the peak of the crisis, 13 million people were in need of emergency assistance across the region. In July 2011 famine was declared by the United Nations (UN) in parts of Somalia.

    As of February 2012, UN declared the end of famine in Somalia. Malnutrition and crude mortality rates have dropped but still remain high in some areas. While drought-affected people are still struggling to recover in the region, the first 2012 rainy season was delayed and its below average performance in certain areas created renewed concerns about possible drought and humanitarian consequences. The last quarter of 2012 is benefitting from increased likelihood of above to near normal rainfall over much of the region. Overall, this has positive impacts on the region attributed to increased food supply from harvests, reduced food prices, enhanced productivity and prices of livestock, increased labour opportunities for households, and reduced inflationary pressures. However, rains are not evenly distributed and some areas are experiencing flooding and acute food insecurity is affecting areas of southern Ethiopia, south-central Somalia, parts of northern/eastern Kenya and Djibouti at least until the end of 2012. The number of severely food insecure people in the Horn of Africa has fallen substantially in 2012 compared to 2011 due to good harvests in parts of the region and sustained emergency and recovery support. However 9.1 million are still in need of humanitarian assistance.

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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Senegal

    DAKAR, 18 December 2012 (IRIN) - Over 700,000 people could be displaced if military intervention goes ahead next year in northern Mali, according to preliminary estimates by humanitarian agencies, who stress that the numbers are just approximations.

    This includes some 300,000 internally displaced Malians (a significant increase on the current 198,550) and 407,000 refugees (currently 156,819), most of them headed to Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Algeria.

    Over recent months humanitarian actors have been using risk and threat models to develop likely disaster scenarios, with a view to mapping out what their response might look like - an exercise fraught with difficulty given the uncertainties involved.

    "It is almost impossible to predict what is going to happen where and when - everything is very broad," said Philippe Conraud, West Africa emergency coordinator with Oxfam, which is working in Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

    Humanitarian country teams - made up of UN agencies and partners including some NGOs and the International Organization of Migration - have set out in a planning document four potential scenarios, ranging from a progressive deterioration of the situation in northern and southern Mali but with no military intervention; to Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)-backed military intervention, which is estimated as of now to be the most likely scenario.

    ECOWAS has been urging the UN Security Council to authorize a military intervention to retake northern Mali from the Islamist Ansar Dine militia, which controls swathes of territory alongside the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI).

    The regional body has also opened talks with the some of the forces in the north. On 4 December, ECOWAS mediator and Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré led talks in Ouagadougou between Mali government representatives and those of Ansar Dine and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a separatist Tuareg movement that initially captured key towns in northern Mali before being uprooted by Islamist forces.

    In addition to mass displacement, potential humanitarian implications of military intervention could include inter-communal and/or inter-ethnic violence the possible reactivation of dormant terrorist cells in southern Mali and in the region; as well as deaths and injuries.

    Inter-communal violence is not new to northern Mali, with Tuareg groups deeply factionalized through a succession of attempted rebellions. Currently militia groups are proliferating in the north and are expected to involve themselves in conflict. Earlier this year three prominent militias united to form the Northern Mali Liberation Front.

    Destruction of infrastructure and restrictions in basic services in both the south and the north could take place; market prices are likely to be volatile; food insecurity and malnutrition rates could rise. Malnutrition rates [ ] in parts of northern Mali have doubled in one year, to reach 13.5 percent, according to NGO Doctors of the World.

    Other potential outcomes include a restriction in humanitarian access; anti-ECOWAS protests; terrorist attacks in ECOWAS troop-contributing countries; mounting hostility towards UN agencies - depending on the role of the UN in military intervention; a proliferation of militia and south-defence groups; and the near-cessation of development activities.

    A potential rise in human rights violations could also occur; while children are particularly at risk of recruitment and separation from their families among other violations.

    Time to plan?

    Advance knowledge that a military intervention is very likely means "we have time - lots of time to plan, so we can set up to at least reduce to a minimum the last-minute scramble that is involved in a reactive response," said Allegra Baiocchi, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in West Africa (ROWCA).

    By planning ahead, agencies can at least make donors aware of the potential need for a large-scale response in the Sahel again this year, and the crisis in Mali could continue to focus donor attention on the region, which is cyclically hit with food insecurity and malnutrition crises.

    Some 18 million Sahelians were food insecure in 2012 and vulnerability for millions will carry through to 2013, say aid experts.

    An appeal for US$1.6 billion to cover humanitarian needs in the Sahel in 2013 was released today.

    Donors favour certainty

    Now that scenarios have been discussed, agencies are developing potential operational responses, which need to be aligned with regional and government plans.

    But planning a response based on a potential scenario is difficult as donors will usually decline to fund it.

    European Union aid body ECHO, one of the principal responders to malnutrition in the Sahel this year, will not allocate money specifically to prepare for military intervention in Mali, said its West Africa head Cyprien Fabre. "We don't have a specific allocation to prepare for military intervention.. What we are trying to do is to enhance the capacity to respond to unmet needs now," said Fabre. ECHO recently directed an additional US$26 million to the Sahel.

    Some NGOs have private funding, while the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme in Mali have some funds to pre-position stocks for next year, "but it's hard for everyone to have the flexibility to do this," said Baiocchi.

    "It is very difficult to prepare," said Germain Mwehu, International Committee of the Red Cross response coordinator in Mali and Niger, "but we are used to always adapting to evolving situations. We are ready if there is an intervention, to the degree that we can be."

    Humanitarian principles

    Another concern is which actors are planning to respond to humanitarian consequences. ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender Issues Adrienne Yande Diop told IRIN: "We have a mandate to treat those affected with some sort of aid. humanitarian priorities will be food, nutrition, water, health and shelter. We want to be effective and to reach people in need."

    But this has alarmed many humanitarian actors who believe humanitarian and military intervention must be kept separate so as to not to muddy the humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality and put humanitarian staff - and populations in need - in danger.

    "The ability of humanitarian actors, particularly NGOs, to stay and deliver, is predicated on their acceptance by communities and local authorities. Making sure they are viewed as being separate and independent to military intervention is essential," said Baiocchi. "As we have seen in other contexts, how we relate to an internationally-supported military intervention can pose serious dilemmas to humanitarians."

    Political interventions usually range from peacekeeping to peace enforcement, to outright combat - the latter poses the most danger to humanitarian principles in the case of integrated missions. [ ]

    Most agree more dialogue is needed. "If ECOWAS plans humanitarian actions, that is its right to do so, but it is the modality on the ground that is at stake and where separation is needed," said Fabre.

    For regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel David Gressly, this is a chance "to test our systems". He told IRIN: "There are a lot of countries involved with this planning - getting a common sense of operating assumptions is challenging, though having clarity across the board on what we may have to face in 2013 is an opportunity."



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    Source: Save the Children
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Ethiopia, Somalia

    BRUSSELS (Dec. 18, 2012) - Thirteen thousand children who have fled from conflict in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will benefit from the European Union's Nobel Peace prize money, granted to Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), it was announced today.

    The announcement was made in Brussels by ECHO, the European Community Humanitarian Office, following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. The joint initiative between Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council received nearly $1.2 million, and was one of four proposals to receive a total of $2.6 million, made up of Nobel Peace Prize money matched by the European Union.

    Save the Children will provide education to 4,000 Somali children living in refugee camps in the border town of Dollo Ado in Ethiopia. NRC will focus on 9,000 children affected by the conflict in Petit Nord Kivu, DRC.

    The proposed projects will ensure that 13,000 highly vulnerable children displaced by conflict have access to safe, protective and nurturing spaces, in which they can attend education classes, begin to recover from the emotional distress of conflict and be supported in building their resilience to cope with their lives ahead.

    "It is crucial that key agencies like ECHO see education as a vital component to ensure it is responding to what children need, and ensuring it endorses this through its own humanitarian operations," said Tove Wang, the chief executive of Save the Children Norway.

    "We are thankful and honored. It is particularly gratifying that the prize money is earmarked for education in conflict areas. Education should be considered a critical part of any humanitarian response, in line with shelter, food and health care. Unfortunately, it is often deprioritized and underfunded. Globally, only 2 percent of total humanitarian funding goes into education programmes," said Elisabeth Rasmusson, secretary general of Norwegian Refugee Council.

    In Dollo Ado, a special emphasis will be placed on bringing girls to school, including young mothers and girls attending to younger siblings. A total of 60 percent of the beneficiaries will be girls aged 11-14. Funding from the EU will also train teachers to ensure quality teaching.

    Save the Children and NRC will set up temporary schools and learning spaces, train teachers and other community leaders, and provide teaching materials such as books, stationery, learning and play materials.

    The projects will ensure that children attending these schools have access to other key lifesaving services including health, nutrition, hygiene and school feeding programs, as well as child protection services that identify and protect children from the threats and risks they face associated with living in refugee camps.

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    Source: International Peace Institute
    Country: Mali

    This issue brief by an expert in Mauritania provides a perspective on current threats to peace and security in the Sahel and specifically Mali. It includes historical background and scenarios for the future of the region.

    The optimistic scenarios, which the author admits are not the most likely, would entail two components:

    1. The restoration of authority and legitimacy to the central government in Bamako.
    2. An agreement by the international community to provide the Malian government with all of the support it needs.

    Pessimistic scenarios include:

    1. The "Afghanization" of Mali, in which an Islamic state dominated by al-Qaeda develops in northern Mali.
    2. The "Somalization" of Mali, in which a complete collapse of state authority leads to perpetual war and chaos, making the agents of organized crime the only true beneficiaries.

    The brief was produced by IPI's Africa Program in partnership with the Mauritania-based think tank, the Centre for Strategies for Security in the Sahel Sahara Region (Centre 4S). It was published in French in June 2012 and translated into English by Annie Jacobs.

    About the author: Mohamed Mahmoud Mohamed Salah is a professor of law, attorney-at law, and researcher at Centre 4S.

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    Source: Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat
    Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan (the), Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), Yemen, South Sudan (Republic of)

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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Niger (the), Spain

    El Gobierno español podría abandonar a 7 millones de personas en conflictos y desastres naturales en 2013

    • Con el recorte del 90% en ayuda humanitaria, la cooperación española no podrá seguir respondiendo a las grandes crisis humanitarias, según un nuevo informe de Intermón Oxfam

    • La organización lamenta que España deje de ser un actor humanitario relevante, ya que en la crisis alimentaria del Sahel ha jugado un papel destacado en el sistema humanitario internacional

    • El Gobierno debe aumentar al menos 50 millones de euros más esta partida para mantener los compromisos ya adquiridos y seguir siendo un donante respetado

    El Gobierno español podría abandonar a cerca de 7 millones de personas en conflictos y desastres naturales el próximo año con el drástico recorte que han sufrido los fondos destinados a la ayuda humanitaria, ha denunciado hoy Intermón Oxfam. Los Presupuestos Generales del Estado, que concluyen su tramitación parlamentaria esta semana, contemplan un recorte sin precedentes del 90 por ciento en esta partida, la más castigada en materia de cooperación, pasando de los 127,5 millones de euros en 2010 a los 12,3 millones para 2013.

    El descenso supone un freno en seco al avance tanto cuantitativo como cualitativo que el sistema humanitario español ha experimentado en la última década y con el que ha contribuido a salvar millones de vidas. Tal y como detalla el informe “Crisis alimentaria en el Sahel: ¿prevenir o curar?”, que lanza hoy la organización, la respuesta de la cooperación española en la reciente emergencia del Sahel, a la que ha destinado más de 10 millones de euros, ha jugado un papel relevante dentro del sistema humanitario internacional, principalmente en temas de seguridad alimentaria y agricultura.

    “Con los recortes, la cooperación española no podrá seguir ayudando a las poblaciones que lo han perdido todo y tampoco podrá cumplir los compromisos ya adquiridos. Apostar por las personas que más sufren es una cuestión de voluntad política. Es inaceptable que el dinero destinado a toda la respuesta española para la emergencia del Sahel sea prácticamente igual a la indemnización que recibió el director general del Banco de Valencia”, ha asegurado la responsable de Advocacy Humanitario de Intermón Oxfam, Lara Contreras.

    Según el informe, en Mauritania, con un presupuesto de 2 millones de euros gestionado por ONGs, 120.000 personas se han beneficiado de los programas de tratamiento de malnutrición y ayuda alimentaria, así como de agua y saneamiento. Además de la ayuda en el Sahel, la cooperación española ha sido un actor humanitario destacado en las grandes crisis que en la última década han azotado el planeta como el tsunami del sudeste asiático, el terremoto de Haití y la hambruna del Cuerno de África, entre otras, en las que siempre ha estado al lado de los que más sufrían.

    Prevenir mejor que curar

    La organización calcula que el Gobierno debería aumentar como mínimo los fondos humanitarios en 50 millones de euros, sumados a los 12,3 millones ya presupuestados, para que España pueda seguir manteniendo el prestigio internacional adquirido en estos últimos años como donante humanitario.

    Con ello, también aseguraría la coherencia con los compromisos ya pactados, como el que adquirió con la región del Sahel el presidente del Gobierno el pasado mes de septiembre ante la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas. “La priorización del Sahel pasa por reforzar más el enfoque de prevención de crisis y de construcción de las capacidades de las poblaciones más vulnerables para romper el círculo del hambre. Es esencial un enfoque más integral que una el trabajo humanitario con el de desarrollo”, ha señalado la portavoz.

    En este sentido, el informe confirma que la respuesta a Sahel ha evitado una catástrofe humanitaria, en parte, gracias a las lecciones aprendidas de la respuesta tardía en la emergencia del Cuerno de África, ya que se ha respondido antes. Para ello hay que asegurar una respuesta preventiva y un enfoque de continuidad que permita a las comunidades vulnerables recuperarse más allá del momento de la emergencia.

    Según Contreras, “invertir en prevención y resiliencia cuesta 1.000 millones de euros menos que responder a una crisis”. Níger es un buen ejemplo: hasta la fecha, los programas de nutrición y ayuda alimentaria han conseguido reducir casi en un millón los casos de desnutrición aguda entre niños menores de cinco años.

    Más de un millón de población beneficiaria

    En la región, Intermón Oxfam está trabajando en siete países atendiendo a las poblaciones desde que saltó la alerta temprana, durante el pico de la crisis y en la actual fase de recuperación. Hasta el momento, con 38 millones de euros, la organización ha llegado a más de un millón de personas afectadas por la crisis alimentaria. Al mismo tiempo, está proporcionando servicios de agua, saneamiento y ayuda alimentaria a más de 100.000 refugiados que han huido del conflicto de Mali y a las poblaciones de acogida en Burkina, Mauritania y Níger.

    Los programas de Oxfam tienen el objetivo de prevenir crisis futuras, contribuyendo a mejorar las capacidades de la población para enfrentar las crisis alimentarias. Esto se ha logrado, entre otras cosas, por la continuidad entre la respuesta humanitaria y los programas de desarrollo que refuerzan a las organizaciones locales

    En este sentido, Moumouni Sano, beneficiario del proyecto con productores de maíz que la organización desarrolla en Kouakoualé, al sur de Burkina Faso, ha señalado: “Hoy en día el proyecto nos ha permitido sostenernos de forma independiente, pero todavía tenemos mucha incertidumbre.Podemos pagar la escuela de los niños, los cuidados médicos pero pedimos que el proyecto siga acompañándonos para poder reforzar lo que hemos conseguido hasta ahora. Nos gustaría que todo el pueblo llegara a ser autosuficiente y pudiera sustentar a todas las familias”.

    Lecciones solidarias

    Para Contreras, “a pesar de la crisis económica, la sociedad española sigue dando lecciones de solidaridad al Gobierno. En el terremoto de Haití, la población aportó más de 100 millones de euros y para la emergencia del Cuerno de África, ya habiendo más de 5 millones de desempleados, la ciudadanía donó cerca de 29 millones de euros".

    La política de recortes del Gobierno en ayuda humanitaria pone en entredicho que España pueda seguir contribuyendo a salvar vidas en crisis futuras. “En un mundo en el que cada vez más millones de personas sufren las consecuencias devastadoras provocadas por conflictos armados y desastres naturales, la cooperación española con estos drásticos recortes no tendrá otra solución que dejar abandonadas a personas afectadas o elegir entre unas víctimas u otras”, ha concluido Contreras.

    Notas al editor:

    El lanzamiento del informe “Crisis alimentaria en el Sahel: ¿prevenir o curar?” se enmarca en la campaña de Intermón Oxfam “32XRajoy=0”, en la que se informa a la ciudadanía de la situación lamentable que queda la cooperación española tras los recortes y en la que se anima a la población a decirle a Rajoy que se equivoca.

    La cifra de 7 millones de personas que serán abandonadas en conflictos y desastres naturales por el Gobierno español en 2013, se ha calculado tomando como base las 120.000 personas atendidas en Mauritania en la crisis del Sahel con 2 millones de euros y el recorte de 115,2 millones de euros desde 2010.

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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Kenya

    MARALAL [ACTED News] - Nomadic pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya are confronted with the same environmental constraints over pasture land and water resources. These resources account for their primary source of livelihoods, and are often the cause of land disputes, notably when livestock migrates into perceived buffer zones of the neighbouring community. Resource sharing agreements are being devised to focus on areas of common interest and to enhance the management of key natural resources by opening up areas of previously underutilised pasture land and water resources. ACTED is currently bringing the relevant communities together to draft a roadmap towards peaceful co-existence, in Samburu and Baringo counties. In light of the recent tension in Samburu North, ACTED’s intervention, supported by the Office of the United States Foreign Disaster Assistance could not come at a more fitting time.

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    Source: Télécoms Sans Frontières
    Country: Niger (the)

    Information and data collection system on agriculture and livestock markets in Nigeria

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    Source: US Agency for International Development, Relief International
    Country: Senegal

    Since 2009, the Economic Growth Project, designed to support USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative in Senegal, has been focusing on achieving large-scale improvements in production, sales and food security for three value chains – rice, maize and millet. Relief International (RI) has been leading the way in the capital access activities for collectives of small-holder farmers. RI is doing this by increasing access by small-holder farmers to financing, working to improve the overall financial environment for this sector, and developing and adapting new financial products with lending institutions. Thus far these efforts helped mobilize over $30.6 million in production and commercialization credits as well as increase bank lending, with 9,138 loans issued. RI strategic focus and expertise on loans and credit mobilization is increasing the level of production and thus augmenting farmers’ income.

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    Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster
    Country: Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)

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