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


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad

    Poor harvests and insecurity limit food availability and access in Sahelian Chad

    Summary

    Poor 2015/16 harvests across most of Sahelian Chad and continuing insecurity in the Lac Region have limited household food stocks, contributed to atypically high cereal prices, and reduced incomes. The lean season has begun earlier than normal and 1.2 million people are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Though outcomes in pastoral areas are likely to improve in July, most of the affected population (850,000 people) will continue to face difficulty meeting their basic food needs through the end of the agricultural lean season in September 2016. Urgent humanitarian assistance is required to protect livelihoods and mitigate food consumption gaps for displaced and poor resident households in Sahelian Chad.

    Situation

    Poorly distributed 2015 rainfall across Sahelian Chad led to a significant drop in 2015/16 agriculture production in Kanem, Wadi Fira, and Batha Regions where harvests were more than 50 percent below five-year averages according to official estimates. In Barh el Gazel, Guera, and Sila Regions, 2015/16 harvests were 24 to 27 percent below average. These declines in production have limited market supplies of staple foods. Furthermore, poor rainfall and the subsequent decline in pasture and water availability have contributed to a deterioration in livestock body conditions.

    Regional Boko Haram conflict is another important driver of food insecurity, particularly in the Lac Region. According to OCHA, more than 100,000 IDPs, Chadian returnees from Nigeria, and Nigerian refugees are displaced in this region. The conflict has disrupted market access and cross-border trade, impacted regional livestock movements, reduced the area planted in off-season crops, and disrupted livelihood activities, such as fishing, all of which are limiting food access for many IDPs/returnees, refugees, and poor resident households. Local resident food security has been further affected by the hosting of displaced households and increased competition for labor opportunities. Finally, the conflict has also disrupted trade flows in and around Lake Chad, exacerbating the impacts of poor harvests on market supplies.

    Given the decline in crop production, poor households are even more market dependent than usual. However, the reduction in market supplies, due to both poor production and disrupted trade flows, has resulted in atypically high food and fuel prices across Sahelian Chad. March maize prices in monitored markets were approximately 20 percent higher than the five-year average and are expected to continue to increase seasonally through the end of the lean season in September. Meanwhile, livestock prices are lower than average. For example, the March 2016 price of an average male sheep in the Moussoro market (Barh El Gazel) was down 16 percent compared to the five-year average. The combination of increasing cereal prices and declining livestock prices has resulted in a substantial reduction in household purchasing power. In Biltine (Wadi Fira), a sheep that would typically trade for 102 kilograms of millet was only worth 44 kilograms of millet in March 2016, a 58 percent decline. The quantity of food that households can access from agricultural labor has also declined given reduced demand for labor and rising food prices.

    As the peak lean season approaches, poor households are atypically dependent on food purchases but also face reduced market access due to limited seasonal incomes and rising food prices. Approximately 1.2 million people are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), meaning they face significant difficulty accessing the quantity of food needed for survival. While the onset of seasonal rains will bring improvements to pastoral areas by July, approximately 850,000 people in agropastoral areas will remain in Crisis (IPC phase 3) through September 2016. Levels of acute malnutrition are persistently high in Sahelian Chad and the poor food access expected over the coming four months is expected to contribute to an atypical increase in these levels. Urgent and well-targeted humanitarian assistance is needed to mitigate the expected food consumption gaps, prevent increases in acute malnutrition, and protect livelihoods.


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    Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    MSF assists victims of violence in the district of Bosso, in Diffa region

    At least six people were killed and eight more were severely injured last Thursday in an attack in Yebi, Bosso district, Niger, where thousands of people displaced from the Lake Chad area have settled looking for refuge. According to the Nigerien authorities, the attack was carried out by the group Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), also known as Boko Haram.

    At the request of local health authorities, MSF has evacuated the eight severely injured people to the regional hospital in Diffa town, the capital of the region.

    According to the UN, from 1 January to 10 March 2016, there were 20 attacks related to Boko Haram. There is an ongoing conflict in the region between this group and the Nigerien army.

    During the attack, which took place on the night of 19 May, the market and many houses were burned down. Three water bladders which provided water day and night to the village were also destroyed along with the generator which makes the pump work. Without these three bladders the village has no water supply as there is no other free water source around Yebi.

    Impact on the medical mission

    The MSF health post in Yebi, which serves a population of about 20,000 people, was also completely destroyed. The health centre registered an average of 400 consultations per week and there is no other health facility in the site. Unfortunately, this is not the first attack on an MSF supported medical facility in Diffa; on the night of 2 May, the health centre in Ngarwa was also looted.

    “We are very concerned about the impact of these attacks on the population and also about the lack of respect for the medical facilities which could jeopardise the already limited access to healthcare in Diffa,” says Elmounzer Ag Jiddou, MSF’s Head of Mission in Niger. “We are planning to resume activities as soon as possible.”

    A measles vaccination campaign, which had started just before the attack, has had to be postponed for several days.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: South Sudan

    26/05/2016

    The combined effects of long-term conflict and the economic crisis have left South Sudan facing large-scale market dysfunction. As a result, the availability of food – especially of fresh vegetables – has been very limited.

    For the past three years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been providing crisis-affected people in South Sudan with vegetable seeds to increase and diversify local food production, while reducing reliance on markets for food. In December 2015, FAO distributed vegetable kits to 2 000 families in Akobo for planting during the dry season. After just three months, the community is already seeing the effects of the kits. For one farmer, Yien Duol Pur in Akobo County, “the seeds given to us have allowed us to have vegetables for our families to eat. We cannot buy vegetable seeds here because of the fighting and insecurity around us, so it is very good we received them from FAO.”

    During the dry season, and concurrently the lean season, people in Akobo mainly consume cereals saved from their last harvest and ration their stock to last until the next planting season. This year, most households in Akobo are finding it difficult to meet their basic food needs, as their stocks are insufficient for a normal calorie intake and prices in the market are too high to complement their stocks, let alone have a balanced diet. This has long-term consequences for malnutrition especially for children and women of reproductive age. With the vegetable seeds provided, they are able to supplement their diet and, most importantly, increase their access to food and decrease their dependence on markets.

    Serge Tissot, FAO Representative in South Sudan, explained, “Akobo has been blocked from obtaining goods from other towns in South Sudan since the conflict started in 2013. The only route to access goods in Akobo is through Ethiopia, which is only accessible by boat. This inflates prices. We have seen that more people have turned to agriculture to sustain their livelihoods, but the availability of seeds is low. With this distribution we have supported the most vulnerable people in the community to increase their access to food,”

    Jacob Nhial Nile Hope, Agriculture Extension Worker Supervisor in Akobo, added to this saying, “the Akobo market is mostly supplied by our local farmers and especially during this dry season we really depend on them. At this time households sell some assets like goats for money to buy food. I have seen that people really want to buy vegetables and often complain when there is not enough or when they cannot even afford to buy. With the seeds households can now produce their own and have produce within 2-3 months.”

    Nyadew Gony Peat, a farmer in Bilkay Payam who started farming five years ago, noted “We don’t have anything but our farm so it is very important for us to plant. In the beginning we were not able to produce much, because we did not have seeds. We have always planted some maize but now we also planted some vegetables. It is new for me! I attended a training which helped me understand how to plant which really helped us.”


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: South Sudan, Sudan

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • A sub-national measles campaign is targeting more than 4 million children in five states of Sudan during 22-30 May 2016.
    • South Sudanese continue to arrive in Sudan as a result of conflict and deteriorating food security conditions in South Sudan.
    • UNHAS announces provisional direct flights between El Fasher and Sortony, North Darfur.
    • An inter-agency mission to the Anka area in North Darfur has reported that 15,000 people in the area need assistance.

    In this issue

    Sub-national measles vaccination starts P.1
    South Sudanese influx into Sudan P.2
    UNHAS flights to Sortony, North Darfur P.3
    Inter-agency mission to Anka, North Darfur P.4

    Measles vaccination campaign starts in five states

    On 22 May, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Sudan, the World Health Organizaton (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a sub-national measles campaign in six states – Blue Nile, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, White Nile, and Sennar – targeting more than 4 million children aged from 6 months to 15 years. The campaign will run till 30 May and cover the new South Sudanese arrivals in these states as well. The campaign is complementary to the campaigns implemented in 2015 that covered ten states when 9.5 million children were vaccinated. The vaccination campaign has already been completed in West Kordofan State where 728,586 children were vaccinated against measles, indicating coverage of 99 per cent of the target.

    The effect of the previous campaign is a reduction of measles cases compared to the same period of the last year. In 2015, up to week 19 there were 2,498 confirmed measles cases and 38 deaths compared to 1,073 confirmed cases and 10 deaths reported this year by the end of the week 19 (13 May 2016), according to the MoH. In addition, there has been reduction of case fatality, especially in Red Sea, Central Darfur and West Darfur states.

    WHO supported the campaign by mobilising WHO technical staff at the state level to support the implementation of the campaign. WHO’s support entails efforts to ensure good quality campaign, meet the objectives whilst reaching the expected results; and financial support to fill the gap for the campaign. UNICEF procured vaccines and supplies for the campaign and supported social mobilisation to enhance the coverage.

    South Sudanese continue to arrive in Sudan

    South Sudanese continue to arrive in Sudan as a result of conflict and deteriorating food security conditions in South Sudan. As of 22 May 2016, about 69,000 people are estimated to have arrived in various states in Sudan since January. East Darfur is hosting close to 46,000 people representing 66 per cent of all the new arrivals in 2016. An additional 5,324 people have arrived in Bileil camp in South Darfur and have been registered by Sudan’s Commissioner of Refugees (COR). In West Kordofan, 7,241 arrivals have been reported by the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC); and in White Nile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) have registered over 9,000 since the beginning of 2016 (please see the table on page 2 for details).

    According to UNHCR’s latest update on 12 May, 226,950 South Sudanese arrived in Sudan since December 2013. While the number of new South Sudanese arrivals in Sudan in 2016 is 75 per cent more than 39,622 arrivals registered by UNHCR during the same period last year, the level of funding provided is significantly lower. UNHCR and parterns are updating the response plan for the new arrivals from South Sudan for 2016 and are revising the figures accordingly.


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

    Introduction

    During the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), The Sahel output indicators were defined in consultation with the regional sector focal points to provide a standard measure of performance for the Sahel. Country Cluster focal points provided their annual targets for each country and started to report on their cluster achievements for each of the output indicators on a monthly basis.

    The report below shows the performance of the Sahel Output Indicators for the period January – March 2016. The monthly data is collected from the respective cluster focal points across the 9 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal) and validated with the regional sector focal points.

    The sectors represented at a regional level and included in the report include; Food Security, Nutrition, Health, Water Sanitation & Hygiene, Multi-sector for Refugees, Education and protection.

    In case of any questions or queries, please write to ors@ocharowca.info– these will be forwarded to the relevant regional sector focal points for feedback.


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

    Introduction

    Au cours du plan d'intervention humanitaire 2016 (HRP), les indicateurs de résultats du Sahel ont été définis en consultation avec les points focaux du secteur régional pour fournir des indicateurs de performance standards pour le Sahel. Les points focaux des Cluster Pays ont fournis leurs objectifs annuels et commencé à rapporter sur leurs réalisations sectorielles pour chacun des indicateurs de résultats sur une base mensuelle.

    Le rapport ci-dessous montre la performance des indicateurs de résultats du Sahel pour la période Janvier - Mars 2016. Les données mensuelles sont collectées par les points focaux sectoriels respectifs à travers les 9 pays du Sahel (Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Tchad, Gambie, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger, Nigeria et Sénégal) et validées avec les points focaux du secteur régional.

    Les secteurs représentés au niveau régional et inclus dans le rapport incluent : la sécurité alimentaire, la nutrition, la santé, l'assainissement de l'eau et de l'hygiène, le multi-secteur pour les réfugiés, l'éducation et la protection.

    En cas de questions ou requêtes, s'il vous plaît écrire à ors@ocharowca.info– celles-ci seront transmises aux points focaux régionaux respectifs pour leurs commentaires.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad

    Aperçu de la situation

    Le site de Gaoui, situé à 15 km de N’Djamena, a été ouvert en janvier 2014 afin d’accueillir les retournés tchadiens fuyant les violences en République Centrafricaine (RCA). Il compte actuellement quelque 5 200 retournés, en majorité des femmes et des enfants, principalement venus de Bangui.

    La situation humanitaire sur place est préoccupante car le manque de financement a entrainé le retrait presque total des acteurs humanitaires. Cela s’est traduit par une dégradation des conditions de vie des retournés, mettant à mal les efforts réalisés depuis deux ans. Les partenaires qui intervenaient sur le site (OIM, UNFPA, UNICEF, OMS, ACF, SID, Alerte Santé, INTERSOS, et ADES) se sont retirés. L’ONG nationale ADES qui avait été nommée en avril 2014 comme gestionnaire du site par le Gouvernement a également arrêté ses activités depuis le 31 décembre 2015 – après un an et demi d’arriérés de paiements par le Gouvernement – laissant la gestion du site aux retournés.

    Parallèlement, le retard dans l’adoption du « Plan de Réponse Globale en faveur des retournés tchadiens de la RCA » 2015-2019 (Ministère du Plan) et du Plan spécifique de réintégration socio-économique des retournés de Gaoui (Ministère de la Femme) ne permet pas aux acteurs de développement de s’engager dans la mise en place de solutions durables pour l’intégration et l’autonomisation des retournés. En attendant l’opérationnalisation de ce Plan, il est essentiel de poursuivre une assistance humanitaire minimum afin de soulager les besoins les plus urgents et d’éviter une détérioration trop importante des conditions de vie des retournés qui mettrait leur vie en danger, tout particulièrement à l’approche de la saison des pluies.


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    Source: AlertNet
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, World

    by Kieran Guilbert | Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Thursday, 26 May 2016 15:03 GMT

    DAKAR, May 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - From displacement and deaths to funding and food prices, a new data map will enable aid agencies to compare and contrast various needs in a humanitarian crisis and boost their response, according to the U.N. team behind it.

    Read the story on the Thomson Reuters Foundation


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


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


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, World

    SC/12378
    7699th Meeting (PM)
    SECURITY COUNCIL
    MEETINGS COVERAGE

    Briefer Tells of Species Lost To Desertification, Youths Lured by Militants

    Stretched thin between the interlinked challenges of desertification, poverty and rising violent extremism, resolving challenges facing the Sahel region of Africa would require accelerated regional action and urgent international support, the Security Council heard during a series of briefings today.

    “West Africa and the Sahel countries are at a crossroads,” Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), told the 15-member Council. They were on the front line of humanity’s struggle against climate change and also faced challenges related to organized crime, trafficking and violent extremism. While those challenges were primarily the responsibility of Governments in the region, their budgets were already stretched, and they needed international support, he said. Indeed, dealing with desertification, insecurity in Libya as well as jihadists returning from the Middle East was beyond the scope of any single Government alone.

    Jean-Paul Laborde, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), described climate change as an “aggravator” of conflict and violent extremism, adding that other contributing factors included poor governance, economic instability and unemployment. The recent terrorist attacks in West Africa — well below the Sahel zone — demonstrated the flexibility and inventiveness of terrorists operating in the region, he said, calling for an equally flexible and innovative United Nations response. Citing the alarming pace of weapons proliferation across the region, he stressed that terrorism in the Sahel was a complex and constantly evolving threat.

    Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said the opportunity for coherent action in the Sahel appeared to be closing quickly, as immense challenges pressed in and the region’s population grew at annual rates of up to 4 per cent. For the bulk of the people, life was already tough and would get tougher, creating a breeding ground for disillusionment, crime, radicalization and conflict. With up to 80 per cent of them eking out a living from the land, climate change and the accompanying land degradation would further destabilize the situation, she said, warning that tensions over land and water shortages could spiral out of control as they had done in Darfur.

    Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, said climate change and desertification had become part of the daily lives of the Sahel’s peoples and a major cause of instability and insecurity. Conflicts over water, land and migration routes would increase, as would the recruitment of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, she predicted, noting that the militants offered cash in the neighbourhood of $500 to young people who would otherwise have a hard time earning $50 a year. Underscoring the need for the Council to play a preventive role, she called for accelerated implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, with an emphasis on contributions from countries bearing the greatest responsibility for pollution.

    As the members of the Council took the floor, a number of speakers underlined the need to support the “Group of Five for the Sahel” — formed in 2014 by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger — as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional entities on the ground. Meanwhile, other speakers objected to the Council’s consideration of the issue, noting that it was not the appropriate venue for a discussion on climate change or development.

    In that regard, the Russian Federation’s representative said that, although desertification added to the Sahel’s problems, it did not in itself pose a threat to international peace and security, and should be considered in other United Nations forums.

    Venezuela’s representative pointed out that many of the difficult political circumstances and instability in the Sahel had been unleashed by the 2011 intervention in Libya. Africa had historically been a victim of the ambitions of more powerful States, he said, emphasizing the need to respect the sovereignty of the region’s countries on the path to peace.

    Also speaking were representatives of Senegal, Spain, China, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States, Japan, France, Ukraine, New Zealand, Angola, Malaysia and Egypt. The Council also heard from the African Union High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, and the European Union’s Special Representative for the Sahel.

    The meeting began at 3:07 p.m. and ended at 6:24 p.m.

    Briefings

    MOHAMMED IBN CHAMBAS, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), said he had just met President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger as part of a tour of Sahelian countries on the front line of humanity’s struggle against climate change. That fundamental threat directly affected the region’s security, development and stability, he said, citing also the renewed insurgency in the Niger delta, terrorist activities in northern Mali, and deadly conflicts over resources. Those threats went hand-in-hand with organized crime, trafficking and violent extremism.

    While the fight against terrorism in the region was beginning to yield tangible results, more efforts were needed to support the military campaign against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin area, he said. Cooperation was also needed to help Sahel countries address the terrorist threats spreading into West Africa. The United Nations was committed to playing its part, within the parameters of its mandate, to help the region address those challenges, in particular by addressing the underlying issues of underdevelopment, poor governance and poverty.

    He went on to say that the Boko Haram onslaught had galvanized attention to the effects of climate change, noting that the Lake Chad Basin directly provided livelihoods to about 2 million people, and supplied nearly 13 million with food. The Basin area was also home to up to 50 million people, a population expected to double by 2030. Another regional example of the effects of climate change included the situation of the Niger River, some sections of which had already begun to dry up, he said.

    Declaring that “West Africa and the Sahel countries are at a crossroad”, he said that although tackling climate change and insecurity was the primary responsibility of the region’s Governments, their budgets were already stretched, and they needed international support. Indeed, insecurity in Libya, jihadists returning from the Middle East and desertification were beyond the scope of any single Government, he stressed. Humanitarian needs continued to grow in the Sahel, with some 9.2 million people needing assistance, and only a small percentage of the $535 million requested for humanitarian assistance having been met.

    JEAN-PAUL LABORDE, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), described climate change as an “aggravator” of conflict and violent extremism, adding that other contributing factors included poor governance, economic instability and unemployment. Recalling Council resolution 1373 (2001), he said the 15-member organ had long been aware of the close ties linking transnational organized crime, trafficking and terrorism. Few organized crime cases had been prosecuted in the region, and although criminal groups and terrorists might have different objectives, they shared common ground in their recruitment techniques and other activities, he pointed out.

    Porous borders and corruption also worked alongside climate change to exacerbate the region’s challenges, he continued. Indeed, those factors put greater pressure on border controls and the ability to monitor the activities of criminal groups. The recent terrorist attacks in West Africa — well below the Sahel zone — demonstrated the flexibility and inventiveness of the terrorists as well as their ability to adapt. While concerted action by the region’s countries had weakened Boko Haram, it continued to hit the civilian population hard. The situation in Libya was also a major concern, he said, noting that its coastal town of Sirte, in particular, could be used as a platform from which to spread terrorism throughout the region, and to attack Europe. Citing the alarming pace of weapons proliferation across the region, he stressed that terrorism in the Sahel was a complex and constantly evolving threat. The United Nations must respond in a way that was equally flexible and innovative, he said, underlining the critical need to find political solutions to the region’s challenges. “We must diminish the impact on innocent lives” and ensure that perpetrators of terrorism were punished.

    MONIQUE BARBUT, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said the opportunity for coherent action in the Sahel appeared to be closing quickly, as immense challenges pressed in and the population grew at annual rates of up to 4 per cent. For the bulk of the population, life was already tough and would get tougher, creating a breeding ground for disillusionment, crime, radicalization and conflict. With up to 80 per cent of the people eking out a living from the land, climate change and the accompanying land degradation would further destabilize the situation, she said, warning that tensions over land and water shortages could spiral out of control as they had done in Darfur.

    She went on to describe her visits to two towns in northern Niger that used to be tourist attractions and trading centres and which were now major transit points for migrant, where smuggling people had become the only viable economic activity. With desperation increasing, it was estimated that close to 60 million people could migrate to North Africa and Europe by 2035 due to the desertification of sub-Saharan Africa, she said, noting that “100 per cent” of illegal migrants moving to Europe had originated in dryland countries, whereas most rural migrants would generally prefer to stay close to home if they were able to survive there.

    Interventions to improve the situation in rural areas of the Sahel should prioritize employment and income-generating opportunities, she said, adding that they should include clearly defined land- and water-use and access rules as well as equitable land-tenure systems. There was also a need to rapidly accelerate implementation of the Great Green Wall and Lake Chad initiatives, and to greatly scale up investment in land rehabilitation and sustainable land management. The land-based approach would build resilience to climate change in rural communities, enhance food and water security and help stabilize much of the region. “We are not claiming it is a silver bullet, but it would definitely be cheaper and more effective than investing in walls, wars and relief,” she said.

    HINDOU OUMAROU IBRAHIM, Coordinator of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, said climate change and desertification had become part of the daily lives of the Sahel’s peoples and a major cause of instability and insecurity. She said many animal and plant species had disappeared since her childhood. Lack of water and soil degradation was exacerbating poverty every day, and competition over resources was leading to “survival for the fittest”. As a result, conflicts over water, land and migration routes would increase, as would the recruitment of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, she predicted, noting that the terrorist group offered cash in the neighbourhood of $500 to young people who would otherwise have a hard time earning $50 a year. Development in the Sahel could not be considered without considering security, she emphasized.

    In order to enable the Sahel to meet the threats facing it, the Security Council must play its role in prevention, and all stakeholders must ensure that the consequences of climate change were met, she said. For that purpose, implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change must be accelerated, with an emphasis on contributions from the countries responsible for the pollution. Social and environmental criteria must be taken into account in all actions, as must the needs of the most vulnerable communities through projects that directly engaged them, particularly young people. The Sahel’s people wanted to be able to survive as farmers and herders, not to emigrate, she said, adding that adaptation financing must be stepped up to multiply projects involving access to water and sustainable agriculture. The international community must help or Sahel communities would have no hope for the future.

    Statements

    FODÉ SECK (Senegal) said terrorism, transnational organized crime and human trafficking had all fed into multiple other problems, all of which must be tackled in an integrated, multidimensional manner. Such an approach required coordination among all sectors, from development to security. Combating terrorism was likely to be in vain unless its sources of financing were cut off, education was improved and employment opportunities were available. Noting that Senegal was suffering land degradation, plagues of locusts and many other problems, he said that had led many of its young people to emigrate. The United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel could address many of those problems, but if nothing was done to combat climate change, all of northern Africa would soon be uninhabitable, he warned.

    ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said the Sahel had been defined as “Ground Zero” for global warming, and was dealing with extreme drought, torrential rains and record-high temperatures. “Projections for the Sahel are truly alarming,” he said, adding that the rapidly increasing Sahelian population had less and less land to farm. “Climate change is already changing the rules of the game,” he said, emphasizing that continuing to ignore it would only lead to failure. Today’s meeting was therefore critical, and its objectives crucial: to ensure that the Council’s commitments would not remain a dead letter; to ensure that it had the appropriate information needed to make decisions; and to address the crisis in the Sahel in a holistic manner. Climate change would become another factor for early warning, and the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel should pay due attention to its destabilizing role in the region, he stressed, urging the CTED to analyse the impact of climate change so as to determine whether it made people more vulnerable to violent extremism and recruitment. “Climate change is part of our present, and it will no doubt define our future,” he said.

    WU HAITAO (China) said the expansion of terrorism and transnational organized crime had rendered the Sahel region even more fragile. The international community should promote the settlement of hotspot issues there while paying due respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the region’s countries. Advocating increased counter-terrorism activities in the Sahel, he said the United Nations could support regional States through capacity-building, targeted training and technical support. Those countries should formulate development strategies in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and with their specific national priorities. Underlining the importance of regional efforts to address the Sahel’s challenges, he urged the United Nations to heed the views of Sahelian States.

    Peter Wilson (United Kingdom) said the Sahel had been seeing temperatures rise and rainfall dwindle; without access to diverse and productive livelihoods adaptable to climate change, young people would face even greater poverty and become even more susceptible to recruitment by terrorists. “The call of extremism will thrive in these conditions,” he warned, calling for a united international response. The United Nations must support the countries of the Sahel, he stressed, noting that the United Kingdom had contributed $26 million for building resilience, an amount that would rise to $79 million by 2017. The United Kingdom was also working to build new coalitions between civil society and other actors, and had provided $9 million in 2016 for social protection programmes. Welcoming the efforts of the Group of 5 for the Sahel (G5 Sahel — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger), he emphasized that only regional engagement, with the support of the international community, could bring a brighter future for the Sahel’s people.

    ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said that the international community must address the underlying causes of conflict through an integrated approach linked to climate change. That did not mean climate change should be on the agenda of the Security Council. Rather, it must be addressed in a concerted manner by other United Nations organizations, including those involved with peacebuilding. Political turmoil also played a role in instability, as did terrorism. He applauded initiatives for regional cooperation in addressing Boko Haram and other problems and expressed hope that United Nations structures would facilitate implementation of the integrated Sahel strategy. Building institutions in the region, providing education and providing access to justice were critical.

    DAVID PRESSMAN (United States), countering scepticism that climate change should be discussed in the Council in regard to conflict, said that it was impossible to ignore the interplay between climate change and peace and security. The effects had already exacerbated a raft of problems; it was a threat multiplier. Terrorism, in turn, could worsen food crises that were taking place. He described the relation of Boko Haram and the shrinking of Lake Chad in worsening food security in the region. Welcoming recent regional initiatives towards a comprehensive strategy on terrorism and poverty, he called for assistance in their implementation. Boko Haram was not born out of climate change, but there was no doubt that the tensions in the region had multiplied because of the phenomenon. Wider cooperation in the region was needed in order to address both terrorism and the reasons conducive to it.

    YOSHIFUMI OKAMURA (Japan), enumerating the problems of the Sahel, related his experience in northern Mali where the population had no choice but to live with terrorists and participate in an improvised economy. Japan was committed to assisting Africa to overcome such challenges through institution and capacity-building. He commended international initiatives for support to the United Nations integrated strategy on the Sahel, praising, as well, projects that reinforced the foundation of livelihoods such as the creation of multiple water reservoirs in Burkina Faso. Local ownership was critical in all counter-desertification projects, because local maintenance was needed. Local knowledge must be incorporated. Relating his country’s cooperation in the Sahel, he said that local ownership was, as a consequence, a priority.

    ALEXIS LAMEK (France) underscored that the Sahel region would soon be home to more than 200 million inhabitants. If that growth was not accompanied by development, there would be negative repercussions such as insecurity and forced migration. The Sahel was at a crossroads. The world had seen in Mali how the mobilization of the international community could bear fruit and improve the situation on the ground. Underscoring the need to quickly implement the United Nations Integrated Sahel Strategy, as well as to streamline UNOWAS’s crisis prevention frameworks, he also spotlighted the importance of regional efforts on the part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union. Indeed, stakeholders must move forward together, as terrorism in the region was a threat to all States. His country’s President had recently announced his intention to focus on a number of key areas, including Africa’s access to energy, the Great Green Wall and the restoration of the Lake Chad area.

    RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said many of the difficult political circumstances and instability of the Sahel region had been unleashed by the 2011 intervention in Libya, making it the focus of terrorist groups, which in turn led to a climate of violence and fear. The solutions to the region’s problems should be addressed in a structural manner with an eye towards sustainable development. There was not necessarily a direct link between environmental change and armed conflicts, he said, noting that the latter was fuelled by destabilization efforts and the interests of third parties. Emphasizing the need to avoid “securitizing” the climate agenda, he said the Council was not the proper space to address the environmental issues that stemmed from climate change. Regional policies and international support in the Sahel must be well coordinated and should take into account the principles of the United Nations Charter, especially the sovereignty and self-determination of nations. Noting that Africa had historically been a victim of the ambitions of more powerful States, he stressed that the path to peace in the Sahel must respect the sovereignty of that region’s countries.

    YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine), underscoring that climate change had already affected the Sahel’s stability, said that a better understanding of the effect of that phenomenon on security risks could help countries of the region and the international community to address them. In that context, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) should elaborate guidance on combating land degradation. Closer cooperation and increased synergies between UNEP, the desertification convention and other multilateral organizations should also be encouraged. He noted that Ukraine had tabled a draft resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly on the issue of protection of the environment in areas affected by armed conflict; the topic should be a core concern of that body. Voids due to underdevelopment in the Sahel were being filled by terrorist groups. Along with combating such groups through military means and preventing them from acquiring financing and weapons, it was also critical to address poverty and social exclusion and other root causes.

    PHILLIP TAULA (New Zealand) said counter-terrorism measures were not enough, emphasizing that the economic, social and climatic factors that facilitated the recruitment of terrorists must also be considered. If groups such as Boko Haram offered a few hundred dollars a month to desperate people facing climate-induced hardship, it should not come as a surprise that many had thrown in their lot with the terrorists. It was also a mistake to designate everyone who took up arms as a terrorist, he cautioned, pointing out that when people rebelled out of a sense of hopelessness, peace and security could only be secured through negotiations addressing their grievances. Although the problem in the Sahel was reasonably well defined, the solution was lost in a surfeit of strategies, he said, welcoming the consolidation of regional United Nations offices into the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).

    ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) noted that Governments in the Sahel were forced to spend precious resources on security instead of development, and millions of people were dependent on the benevolence of neighbouring countries and humanitarian donors. While commending those providing assistance in areas of dangerous access, he emphasized that the severity of regional problems required a more effective, comprehensive response. Climate change, in combination with the other problems, had pushed the region to the brink of disaster, creating fertile ground for radicalization. He called on the international community to accelerate implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and to support regional efforts for development and stability.

    SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia) said that the links between conflict and other problems required a multidimensional response. Climate change had exacerbated the Sahel’s already existing vulnerabilities, greatly increasing displacement and tensions that led to violence. Malaysia commended humanitarian actors on the ground who carried out their work in spite of insecurity, she said, also praising projects that targeted youth for inclusion, since poverty and exclusion provided fertile ground for radicalization. However, there was a need to enhance coordination in implementing the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, and to provide support for regional initiatives.

    PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) emphasized the critical need to build the capacity of countries in the region to fight terrorism and violent extremism. Desertification added to the region’s problems but did not in itself pose a threat to international peace and security, and should be considered in other United Nations forums. The fostering of technical cooperation to improve land use would be better pursued in those forums, where practical solutions could be discussed. The range of severe challenges facing the region could only be addressed through comprehensive implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

    AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), Council President for May, spoke in his national capacity, describing the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel as the appropriate political framework to deal effectively with the Sahel’s challenges. If implemented properly, it would help to attain a qualitative shift in the region’s situation. The review of the Strategy was an important opportunity to identify the progress made and to better understand shortcomings, he said, adding that future implementation efforts must be sufficiently flexible to adapt to escalating and emerging challenges, including climate change and the spread of terrorism. It was therefore important to raise awareness of the new threats facing the Sahel, he said, adding that partners must invest in building national and local capacities to mitigate environmental crises and ensure sustainability. Calling on UNOWAS to ensure that its future reports contained more figures and statistics that could help the Council in its work, he welcomed efforts to prioritize a comprehensive political framework for the Sahel.

    PIERRE BUYOYA, African Union High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, said the bloc’s commitment to the Sahel dated back to the crisis in Libya, and the region now faced challenges in three main areas: security, governance and development. Concerning security, the main challenges were linked to terrorism, the trafficking of drugs and people, migration and conflicts over natural resources. Sahelian countries were vast and their populations often lived on the margins, nearly abandoned. Those fragile States lacked resources and control over their respective territories, he said, noting that they were among the world’s poorest countries.

    The African Union was involved in a number of initiatives throughout the Sahel, he continued, noting that the region had a number of “hotspots”, including northern Mali, the Lake Chad Basin and Libya. The situation in Libya was “muddled and confused”, and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) was present. In Mali, the African Union was working to follow up on the peace agreement, including as part of the technical commission monitoring the ceasefire. It was also working with neighbouring States through the dispatch of a special envoy to follow up on the situation in Libya.

    He went on to state that the African Union supported the multinational force fighting Boko Haram and was engaged in monitoring elections and other political processes in the Sahel countries. In addition, the bloc was working to mobilize African institutions working in the development sphere, he said, citing “huge” needs and recommending that international efforts be set against a long-term horizon. The Council should continue to focus on the situation in the north of Mali and on Libya, he said, warning: “As long as that country remains unstable there will be no peace in the Sahel.”

    ANGEL LOSADA, Special Representative for the Sahel of the European Union, said the bloc had a multidimensional partnership with the Sahel. While the region was afflicted by a multitude of severe challenges, it also contained many opportunities, such as the consolidation of regional cooperation, as represented by the Group of 5 for the Sahel. The European Union had been the first to adopt a global approach for the region, in 2011, engendering a Regional Plan of Action adopted in 2015. Its objective was to reinforce political dialogue and provide assistance.

    The bloc’s approach closely linked issues of development with security, as well as questions of short-term assistance with structural reforms for the middle-and long-term, he said. Within that approach, the European Union planned to allocate more than €5 billion to the Sahel between 2014 and 2020 through various cooperation instruments and humanitarian activities, he continued. Adding the contributions of member States, total European assistance would exceed €8 billion for that period. Furthermore, it had established an emergency fund to address the root causes of irregular migration and was providing support for the multinational force fighting against Boko Haram, he said, emphasizing the need for a collective effort to combat terrorism.

    He went on to state that combating the effects of climate change in the Sahel was also a priority for Europe, notably in reinforcing the resilience of the vulnerable populations and promoting the sustainable management of resources. Sahel was “ground zero” for global warming, he added. On Mali, he recalled the opportunity provided by the peace and reconciliation agreement and affirmed Europe’s commitment to helping that country meet its security challenges. As for the cooperation among the Group of 5 for the Sahel, he described the road map that had emerged from a recent summit that had addressed security, border management, counter-terrorism, terrorism, transnational crime and other cross-border issues. Coordination among all international actors on the Sahel was critical, he said, while stressing the importance of African ownership of all such endeavours.


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Central African Republic, Mali, World

    26 mai 2016 – Confrontés à des tâches complexes et à des attaques délibérées par des extrémistes et des trafiquants, les Casques bleus des Nations Unies ont aujourd'hui besoin de courage, d'un haut degré de professionnalisme et de résilience, ont expliqué deux hauts responsables de l'Organisation.

    « Être un Casque bleu a toujours voulu dire consacrer une période de sa vie aux nobles idéaux de paix et de sécurité. Mais cela a pris une dimension très spécifique au cours des dernières années en raison des situations très dangereuses dans lesquelles nous avons été amenés à intervenir », a déclaré le Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies aux opérations de maintien de la paix, Hervé Ladsous, dans un entretien au Centre d'actualités de l'ONU avant la Journée internationale des Casques bleus des Nations Unies, célébrée chaque année le 29 mai.

    Le thème de cette année est intitulé 'Rendre hommage à nos héros', pour honorer les 125.000 militaires, policiers et employés civils qui servent dans 16 opérations de maintien de la paix à travers le monde. Il s'agit du plus grand déploiement de Casques bleus dans l'histoire des Nations Unies.

    Quelques jours avant l'entretien, cinq Casques bleus tchadiens ont été tués et trois autres blessés lors d'une attaque dans le nord du Mali. L'attaque par des extrémistes islamistes a été condamnée par le Secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon et le Conseil de sécurité.

    Au moins de 37 soldats de l'ONU ont été tués au cours des quatre derniers mois. Depuis le début des opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies en 1948, près de 3.500 militaires, policiers et civils servant sous le drapeau de l'ONU ont été tués, dont 129 rien qu'en 2015.

    Ces 129 personnes ont été honorées la semaine dernière avec des médailles Dag Hammarskjöld. Lors d'une cérémonie spéciale, la famille du capitaine Mbaye Diagne, dont la bravoure au Rwanda a sauvé des centaines de personnes du génocide en 1994, a reçu la 'médaille pour courage exceptionnel' qui porte son nom.

    La commémoration 2016 a marqué la huitième année consécutive où l'ONU a honoré plus de 100 soldats de la paix ayant perdu leur vie au cours de l'année précédente au service de l'ONU.

    « Ils sacrifient leur vie afin d'apporter la paix et la sécurité à ceux qui en ont été privés », a déclaré le Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies à l'appui aux missions, Atul Khare, dont le Département travaille en étroite collaboration avec le Département des opérations de maintien de la paix.

    M. Khare est chargé de s'assurer que le personnel des missions des Nations Unies ont la nourriture, l'eau, les camps, les véhicules, le carburant et les autres moyens logistiques nécessaires pour faire leur travail.

    L'un de ses objectifs est de travailler d'une « manière plus efficace et plus responsable », a dit M. Khare au Centre d'actualités de l'ONU. Cela veut dit mettre davantage l'accent sur la technologie et l'innovation, et travailler en partenariat étroit avec les groupes locaux, régionaux et internationaux pour planifier et partager des informations.

    Le comportement des Casques bleus est un sujet de préoccupation, alors que des soldats de la paix ont été accusés d'avoir commis des abus sexuels sur des civils, en particulier en République centrafricaine.

    « Le comportement totalement inacceptable de quelques-uns ternit l'image et le courage de la grande majorité de leurs collègues », a déclaré M. Ladsous.

    « Il faut également dire que les pays qui envoient des soldats et des policiers n'ont jamais donné à l'ONU le pouvoir d'enquêter ou de mener des poursuites », a-t-il poursuivi. L'ONU a maintenant une politique de nommer les pays dont les soldats sont cités dans les allégations d'abus et d'exploitation sexuelle.

    « Aucun Etat ne peut laisser un Casque bleu se transformer en prédateur », a déclaré M. Khare.

    L'objectif principal, ont souligné MM. Ladsous et Khare, doit être de fournir une assistance immédiate, médicale et psychologique, à la victime pour l'aider ou à surmonter le drame.

    Un fonds d'affectation spéciale pour soutenir la prestation de services aux victimes est opérationnel et les États membres ont été invités à faire des contributions.

    Ces efforts sont supervisés par Jane Holl Lute, la Coordonnatrice spéciale sur l'amélioration de la réponse de l'ONU à l'exploitation et aux abus sexuels.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Afghanistan, Benin, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, World

    Reduced rainfall expected to alleviate flooding concerns in the Shabelle River basin

    Africa Weather Hazards

    1. Despite more favorable rainfall along the coast during the last week, low and poorly-distributed rainfall during April and May has led to moderate moisture deficits over Liberia, portions of eastern Guinea Conakry, Cote d’Ivoire, and western Ghana.

    2. Low and infrequent rainfall since late March has led to locally moderate to large moisture deficits across parts of southeastern Kenya and northeastern Tanzania.

    3. Significantly heavy seasonal precipitation over many parts of Ethiopia and Somalia has elevated rivers levels along the Jubba and Shabelle River Basins and has triggered flooding, landslides, the displacement of thousands of people, and fatalities over many regions in eastern and southern Ethiopia. Decreased rainfall is forecast over the region during late May.


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    Source: International Organization for Migration, Government of the Republic of Mali
    Country: Mali

    En appui à l’ensemble des acteurs œuvrant pour le bénéfice des populations déplacées et afin de faire le suivi des mouvements de populations au Mali, la Direction Nationale du Développement Social (DNDS) et l’Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations (OIM) continuent de mettre en œuvre la matrice de suivi des déplacements. Après la publication du rapport DTM d’avril 2016, de nouveaux déplacements de population ont été signalé dans le cercle de Niono (région de Ségou).

    Ce rapport, fruit d’une évaluation rapide effectuée les 22, 23, et 24 Mai 2016, par l’équipe DTM du Service local du Développement Social et de l’Economie Solidaire de Niono, vise à donner des informations concernant les populations déplacées, présents dans le cercle, suite aux conflits intercommunautaires à Malimana dans la commune rurale de Kareri (cercle de Tenenkou, région de Mopti).

    Cependant en raison de la difficulté d’accès à certaines zones concernées pour des raisons liées à la sécurité, les estimations données dans ce rapport pourraient faire l’objet d’une révision dans les prochains jours.


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    Source: CARE
    Country: Mali

    NOTE IMPORTANTE : Cette mission d’évaluation rapide des besoins des déplacés internes de Niono et Diabaly a été conjointement préparée par CARE, HKI et COOPI en concertation avec les autorités régionales et locales. Les équipes de HLI et COOPI n’ont pu faire le déplacement sur le terrain le 20 Mai 2016 pour raison de calendrier. Mais ce rapport, quoique produit par CARE Mali, est le résultat d’un effort conjoint des trois organisations

    Introduction

    Suite aux incidents survenus à Malemana dans la commune de Kareri (Cercle de Tenenkou - Région de Mopti), le Bureau Régional de la MINUSMA à Mopti a effectué une mission du 10 au 14 Mai 2016 dans le cercle de Niono (Région de ségou) pour faire l’état des mouvements de la population qui s’est refugiée dans la ville de Tenenkou (44 personnes), les communes de Diabaly (270 personnes), Nampala (180 personnes) et Niono (333 personnes). Le nombre total de personnes déplacées est estimé à environ 800 individus dont environ 49% des femmes.

    Le Bureau régional de la Coordination Humanitaire des Nations Unies à Mopti a partagé avec CARE, ledit rapport le 17 mai et a estimé la nécessité de mener une évaluation rapide des besoins sur les lieux d’accueil des IDPs. C’est en réaction à cette information, qu’une équipe de 3 staffs de CARE (2 hommes et une femme) s’est rendue à Niono le Vendredi 20 mai 2016 pour apprécier les conditions de vie des populations déplacées et évaluer leurs besoins urgents notamment dans les domaines de la Santé, Sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle.

    La mission avait prévu de visiter 2 sites sur 4 dans la commune de Diabaly et 2 sites sur 7 dans la commune de Toridagako. La pluie qui a précédé la mission a rendu les zones inaccessibles, c’est pourquoi seulement 2 sites (composés de 65% des IDPs) ont pu être visités dans la commune de Toridagako. Le passage de l’équipe du PAM sur certains sites a été rapporté sur place à CARE.


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    Source: Fund for Peace
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    Violence has been increasing in the Niger Delta over the last several years. According to data formatted and integrated onto the Peace Map, in Quarter 1 of 2016, the number of fatalities reached the highest point since the end of the militancy, in late 2009.

    The conflict landscape in the Niger Delta is layered and complex, involving communal tensions, political competition, organised criminality, and resource-based conflicts; exemplified by militancy, piracy, cultism, election violence, armed robbery, kidnapping, and land disputes that differ from state to state and LGA to LGA.

    Data sources include ACLED (www.acleddata.com), Nigeria Watch (www.nigeriawatch.org), NSRP Sources (focused on violence against women and girls), as well as the IPDU SMS early warning system, and others.

    To ensure that these trackers are comprehensive, please contribute your knowledge by reporting any verified incident of conflict to the IPDU Early Warning System by texting a message to 080 9936 2222. Kindly include the relevant state, LGA, town, date, and brief description of the incident.
    To read the latest monthly tracker, please visit: www.p4p-nigerdelta.org


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    Source: Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Buni Yadi, Nigeria | AFP | Friday 5/27/2016 - 11:04 GMT

    by Aminu ABUBAKAR

    More than two years after being attacked by Boko Haram, piles of blackened furniture, iron bed frames and computers still litter the burnt-out shell of the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi.

    The corrugated iron roofing has caved in and the eerily silent school compound in Yobe state, northeast Nigeria, is overgrown with shrubs and grass.

    Boko Haram fighters stormed the boarding school on February 25, 2014, killing at least 43 students as they slept, and destroying classrooms, offices, laboratories and dormitories.

    Five months earlier, 40 students were shot in their beds at an agricultural college in Gujba, 23 kilometres (14 miles) away.

    After the second attack, public officials in Yobe closed all schools. But local residents say their children have yet to resume classes, even with relative peace restored in the state.

    "Some parents who have the means have sent their children to schools elsewhere," Husseini Idi told AFP from under a tree outside his burnt-out house overlooking the deserted school.

    "Most of us are poor and can't afford to send their children to schools in other places."

    • Massive attack

    The situation in Buni Yadi is reflected across northeast Nigeria and a reminder of the challenges facing those charged with reconstruction of the devastated region.

    The insurgency exacerbated problems in a region already grappling with low levels of education.

    According to a report published last year by the Africa Health, Human and Social Development Information Service, some 52.4 percent of men and boys over aged six and 61.1 percent of girls and women had no education in the northeast.

    In Yobe, it said the figure was 83.3 percent of the 1.4 million males.

    More than one million children have been kept out of school because of the violence since it began in 2009, the UN children's agency said in December.

    In Yobe, Boko Haram, which opposes so-called Western education, killed 128 students in five public schools, burning down hundreds of classrooms, the state government said last week.

    Next door in Borno, the authorities said at least 350 teachers have been killed and 512 schools destroyed, including in Chibok, from where more than 200 girls were abducted in April 2014.

    At least 18,000 of the 130,000 people to flee when Boko Haram attacked Buni Yadi again in July last year have now returned, according to one military officer in the town involved in documenting returns.

    But one of those to come back, Ibrahim Kampani, said: "For two years our children have not been going to school and this worries us as parents."

    • Town v country

    One school that has reopened is the Government Comprehensive Secondary School in Yobe's commercial hub, Potiskum, where a suicide bomber disguised as a student killed 58 on November 10, 2014.

    "The advantage we have over schools in the countryside is that we are located in the town where Boko Haram have no base," said vice-principal Jubril Muhammad.

    "Most of the students are based in the town and could come for classes from their homes while repairs were carried out on facilities destroyed in the attacks."

    Schools in hard-to-reach rural areas, however, face greater difficulties, with Boko Haram remnants still said to operate in the bush.

    In Chibok, for example, there have been promises to rebuild the school, which was the only one in the town and surrounding villages.

    But despite global outrage at the mass abduction that brought worldwide attention to the conflict, so far nothing has been done and the compound is in ruins.

    • On alert

    In Buni Yadi, residents say the security situation is still too precarious for schools to restart, despite military claims of success.

    "We don't want to take any chances," said one government official, who asked not to be identified. "It is still not safe for schools to reopen in the Buni Yadi district."

    Muazu Usman hasn't been able to pick mangoes from his farm several kilometres outside the town since he returned last month. He said nearby countryside is "still infested with Boko Haram".

    The bush outside Buni Yadi leads to Sambisa forest, a former game reserve in Borno which Boko Haram has turned into its stronghold.

    Soldiers and civilian vigilantes patrol Buni Yadi's dusty, potholed streets in pick-up trucks.

    "We are always on alert," said one vigilante at a checkpoint, holding a hunting rifle in one hand and a machete in the other.

    "We have pushed Boko Haram out but we are not relaxing our vigilance."

    abu/phz/sf/wdb

    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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