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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    01/06/2013 13:37 GMT

    NOUAKCHOTT, 06 jan 2013 (AFP) - Le Mali souhaite que la Mauritanie s'engage "encore plus fort" pour la résolution de la crise malienne, a affirmé dimanche son Premier ministre Diango Cissoko à l'issue d'une audience à Nouakchott avec le président mauritanien Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

    "Je l'ai sollicité (pour) un engagement encore plus fort de la Mauritanie pour la résolution de l'ensemble des problèmes du nord du Mali", occupé par des groupes islamistes armés dont Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), a déclaré à des journalistes M. Cissoko, arrivé samedi en Mauritanie.

    Selon lui, c'est un dossier que le président Aziz "maîtrise très bien".

    "Il en a une vision lumineuse, nous voudrions en profiter, exploiter cette vision pour nous permettre de sortir rapidement de nos difficultés que le président mauritanien considère comme ses propres difficultés", a affirmé M. Cissoko.

    Ancien général putschiste élu en 2009, le président mauritanien mène une politique très active contre Aqmi, et a ordonné des raids contre des bases d'Aqmi au Mali en 2010 et 2011.

    Les préparatifs d'une intervention militaire internationale sont en cours pour déloger les groupes armés du Nord malien. Le 20 décembre, l'ONU a approuvé le déploiement d'une force internationale au Mali, sans préciser de calendrier mais en indiquant qu'il se fera par étapes tout en exhortant au dialogue avec ceux qui rejetteraient le terrorisme et la partition du Mali.

    Diango Cissoko a aussi indiqué avoir remis dimanche à M. Aziz un message de "fraternité et de remerciement" de la part du président intérimaire malien Dioncounda Traoré, en rappelant que la Mauritanie "abrite plus de 100.000 Maliens réfugiés depuis l'éclatement de la crise dans le nord du Mali", mi-janvier 2012.

    "Ces réfugiés se sentent comme chez eux, et le gouvernement mauritanien les traite avec une attention particulière, il était important que je vienne le remercier de cette marque d'attention", a-t-il conclu.

    Samedi soir, il a reçu des représentants de la communauté malienne à Nouakchott, a indiqué l'un de ses conseillers, Bali Idrissa Sissoko. Il doit quitter la Mauritanie dimanche après-midi.

    Diango Cissoko n'a pas souhaité répondre aux sollicitations de journalistes, particulièrement sur les dernières exigences d'Ansar Dine, faisant partie des groupes armés (incluant Aqmi et les rebelles touareg) qui ont pris ensemble le contrôle du nord du Mali entre fin mars et début avril après deux mois et demi d'offensive contre l'armée.

    Les groupes jihadistes ont ensuite évincé fin juin de leurs zones d'influence leurs ex-alliés rebelles touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA), et ils y multiplient les exactions en prétendant imposer la charia (loi islamique) dont ils ont une interprétation rigoriste.

    Dans un document remis le 1er janvier au président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré, médiateur de l'Afrique de l'Ouest dans la crise au Mali, Ansar Dine réclame l'autonomie et l'application de la charia pour le Nord au sein d'un Etat malien proclamé "islamique".

    Ce texte a été rendu public à quelques jours de la tenue, le 10 janvier à Ouagadougou, de discussions entre le gouvernement malien, Ansar Dine et le MNLA autour du président Compaoré. Il s'agira du second rendez-vous après les premières discussions à Ouagadougou du 4 décembre 2012.

    hos/cs/aub


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger (the), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan (the), Western Sahara, World, Yemen
    preview


    La situation relative au Criquet pèlerin s'est améliorée dans le Sahel d'Afrique de l'ouest avec la diminution des effectifs acridiens en décembre suite aux opérations de lutte au Niger et en Mauritanie et au dessèchement de la végétation.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Niger (the), Saudi Arabia, Sudan (the), Western Sahara

    Persistance d’essaims et de bandes larvaires sur la côte de la mer Rouge

    La situation relative au Criquet pèlerin s’est améliorée dans le Sahel d’Afrique de l’Ouest suite au déclin des effectifs acridiens en décembre grâce aux opérations de lutte au Niger et en Mauritanie et à des conditions plus sèches. La situation demeure cependant préoccupante dans les zones de reproduction hivernale le long des deux côtés de la mer Rouge où des groupes d’ailés et des petits essaims y ont pondu, donnant naissance à des bandes larvaires en Égypte, au Soudan et en Arabie saoudite. Bien que des opérations de lutte aient été entreprises, on s’attend à davantage de reproductions et des essaims et de petites bandes larvaires vont probablement se former au cours de la période de prévision. En Afrique du nord-ouest, une reproduction à petite échelle accompagnée de basses températures entraînera une faible augmentation des effectifs acridiens dans le Sahara occidental, le nord-ouest de la Mauritanie et le sud de l’Algérie, où de petits groupes et des bandes larvaires pourraient se former. Tous les efforts sont requis pour suivre la situation et entreprendre les nécessaires opérations de lutte.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Somalia
    preview


    FEWS NET published a Rain Watch for Somalia every 10 days (dekad) through the end of the current October to December Deyr rainy season. The purpose of this document is to provide updated information on the progress of the Deyr rains to facilitate contingency and response planning. This Somalia Rain Watch is summary of Deyr 2012 seasonal performance and the final. This report is produced in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) Somalia, a number of other agencies, and several Somali non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

    The October to December Deyr 2012 rains were largely normal to above normal.

    Slightly earlier than normal Deyr 2012 rains started in early October in the central and southern regions. Over the course of the October to December Deyr season, rainfall performance was mixed in terms of amount, temporal distribution, and spatial coverage across the country (Figure 1). Comparing the rainfall estimate (RFE2) for October to December and the 1983 to 2011 long-term mean (LTM) shows that rainfall in most of the central, southern, and the northeastern regions has been normal to above normal (Figure 2).

    In the Northwest, most of West Golis and Guban pastoral and agropastoral areas had dry weather from October to December, which is the normal pattern at this time of the year. Rangeland conditions are near average following the July to September Karan rains in these livelihood zones. Parts of the Hawd, the Nugal Valley, East Golis pastoral, and the Sool Plateau pastoral livelihood zones received rains with mixed performance. However, most parts of the Sool Plateau and some parts of East Golis and Gabi Valley in Sanaag Region and the Nugal Valley in Sool Region had poor rainfall since the start of the season in early October. Field reports confirm normal livestock migration to areas with better pasture and browse condition.

    In the Northeast, in general, the rainfall performance in pastoral areas has been fairly good and evenly distributed, including in the Coastal Deeh livelihood zone, which had suffered from large rainfall deficits over the past several seasons. In addition, ground reports indicate the Northeast also received moderate to heavy rains following Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Murjan in late October. As a result, both water and pasture condition are largely normal in most areas. However, in Nugal Valley pastoral livelihood zone in Garowe and Eyl Districts, significantly poor rains forced livestock outmigration to adjacent livelihood zoness such as the Sool Plateau, Addun pastoral, and Hawd pastoral livelihood zone within the Northeast. On December 24 and 25, torrential, cold rains which fell for nearly 25 hours in parts of Eyl and Dangorayo Districts, and a number of livestock died due to hypothermia. Several people were also affected, and they needed to be hospitalized.

    In the central regions, both satellite rainfall estimates and ground reports confirm that the October to December Deyr 2012 rainfall in most of the Hawd, Addun pastoral livelihood zone, and the cowpea-growing areas (central agropastoral livelihood zone) were average with good frequency and distribution. In addition, ground reports indicate good rainfall in most parts of Coastal Deeh livelihood zone, which had received poor precipitation during the April to June Gu 2012. As a result, both pasture and water availability have significantly improved. Environmental conditions are expected to support improved livestock body conditions through the January to March dry Jilaal season. Rains have improved cowpea crop development, and cowpea production should be above the post-war average (PWA) (1995 to 2011) in early January 2013.

    In the South, most of the regions received widely distributed, moderate to heavy rains according to both ground data and satellite estimates. Rains were beneficial in most agropastoral, pastoral, and riverine livelihood zones. Browse improved in all grazing areas in the South. Water availability has also improved, especially in the rainfed areas. These rains have improved the conditions of the standing maize, sorghum, cowpea, and sesame crops. Exceptions to this generally positive season are found in the rainfed, agropastoral areas of Lower Juba and northern Gedo Region where despite recent rains, total seasonal rainfall was been insufficient for normal crop development during October and early November. Recent rains have improved rangeland resources, and vegetation conditions are average to above average when compared to historical averages in many parts of the country. However, in Coastal Deeh of Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba Regions, a large deterioration in rangeland vegetation conditions is observed (Figure 3).


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger (the), Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan (the), Syrian Arab Republic (the), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)

    LA COMMISSION EUROPÉENNE,

    vu le traité sur le fonctionnement de l’Union européenne,

    vu le règlement (CE) nº 1257/96 du Conseil du 20 juin 1996 concernant l’aide humanitaire (ci-après dénommé «règlement concernant l’aide humanitaire») et notamment son article 2, en particulier le point c), son article 4 et son article 15, paragraphes 2 et 3,

    vu la décision 2001/822/CE du Conseil du 27 novembre 2001 relative à l’association des pays et territoires d’outre-mer à la Communauté européenne (ci-après dénommée «décision d’association outre-mer»), et notamment ses articles 21 et 30,

    considérant ce qui suit:

    (1) En 2013, le contexte humanitaire mondial restera, selon toute vraisemblance, aussi préoccupant qu’en 2012 et sera caractérisé par des crises d’une intensité et d’une ampleur supérieures à celles observées au cours des années précédentes, qui se traduiront par un accroissement du nombre total de personnes touchées par ces crises et ayant besoin d’une aide internationale. Cette augmentation des besoins humanitaires est liée à des crises humanitaires prolongées ou récurrentes, telles que les conflits de longue durée ou les sécheresses, et aux crises résultant de l’apparition soudaine de nouvelles situations d’urgence. Conformément aux principes de l’action humanitaire, il importe que la réponse apportée aux nouvelles situations d’urgence soudaines, telles que les tremblements de terre ou les conflits, ne fasse pas oublier les crises humanitaires existantes ou récurrentes.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Mauritania, Senegal

    PK6/ROSSO/NOUAKCHOTT, 8 January 2013 (IRIN) - Nearly 25,000 Mauritanian refugees who had sheltered in Senegal for two decades after fleeing violence in 1989, have returned home since 2008, but despite extensive efforts to resettle them in their original villages many lack ID papers and/or access to their old farmland.

    Tens of thousands of black Mauritanians fled ethnic killings carried out by security forces in the early 1990s. Some fled to Mali but most to Senegal.

    Aliou Moussa So is head of a returnee community of 73 families in PK6 village, 6km from Rosso in southern Mauritania near the Senegalese border. Like most of the returnees, he fled in 1989 and returned in 2008 when the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) started to repatriate refugees.

    Most of the returnees were originally from PK6 though when they fled it was called “Wellingara”, loosely meaning “a nice place to visit” in their local language Peulhar.

    Moussa So was angry when IRIN spoke to him about his problems. “I can’t recount all the problems I’ve had or we’d end up spending all night. I am sick of answering questions to you people in four-by-fours - that is all that anyone ever does here, they come, ask questions, and do nothing.”

    PK6 is a scrappy village with half-built brick rooms scattered around a small shop with half a dozen sacks of cereal for sale, and a few corrugated iron shelters covered in rugs to protect them from the sun.

    UNHCR provided the materials to returnees to build 150 brick shelters, but turned to corrugated iron shelters held up by wooden poles when their funding ran out.

    The agency’s repatriation exercise ended in March 2012, having repatriated 24,536 refugees and resettled 14,000 in Senegal.

    Access to land

    The problem for returnees in PK6 is they cannot access the old land they used to farm - some 14 hectares have been sold to someone else (they do not know who), and many of them cannot access the ID papers required to officially make their claim.

    Moussa So has “complained to everyone” including the National Agency for Support and Resettlement of Refugees (ANAIR), the mayor of Nouakchott, the Ministry of Interior, “even the president of the republic”. Authorities from the Interior Ministry visited the village last year, but since then nothing has happened, he said.

    “I am starting to lose hope,” said So. “We are exhausted. We are farmers. If we have no fields, how can we live?”

    Many returnees face these same problems, said Oumar Diop, head of the Clinique Juridique in Rosso, which is partly funded by Oxfam and the UN, and helps returnees try to access lost land.

    “We have many cases of people who have difficulties reclaiming their land. We follow these cases at the district (`ouaddi’) level, and will even go up to the national ministry [of interior] level if necessary,” Diop explained.

    The Clinique is currently working on 16 cases but Diop is also exasperated. “Most cases just don’t have a solution,” he said, and out of 640 problem cases, just 115 have been resolved, he said.

    According to ANAIR director Ndiwar Kane, the success rate is much higher, and 400 have been sorted out.

    One of the problems says Kane, is that the land never belonged to the villagers in the first place: in the 1980s most farmland was owned by the state. After the villagers left, the land was redistributed among other villagers, mainly by village chiefs.

    Private land ownership

    Since then, private land ownership rights have developed in Mauritania, and businessmen and officials have started to purchase the land - many of them living in Nouakchott or other towns, and managing it from afar. “A lot of the deals that took place were quite murky,” said Kane, “We are not used to individual land ownership here.”

    In a bid to diminish tensions, in some cases the government and ANAIR tried to strike deals with locals to return part of the land to the returnees. But ANAIR has no legal right to intervene in land rights issues - and neither does UNHCR. Instead, it is the job of the civil affairs bureau, which is in charge of registering people’s status, and the Ministry of Interior, says the government.

    “We can only try to help resolve small problems,” said Kane. In 2008 ANAIR, UNHCR and others presented a report listing returnees’ main problems and priorities for district and regional chiefs and for the Ministry of the Interior. Four years on, the principal problems remain.

    Hard to get an ID card

    Getting hold of identification cards has been a process fraught with difficulty Kane agreed, but the same is true for many Mauritanians he says - it is a national issue.

    Returnees who had been registered as refugees by UNCHR were registered on the Mauritanian side by the Etat Civile (civil authorities) who gave them a Formulaire de Rapatriement Volontaire (VRF) which allowed them to move around freely. A deal was struck with the civil administration, whereby these two forms would suffice to attain an ID card.

    The tripartite repatriation agreement signed by Senegal, Mauritania and UNHCR in November 2007 stated that repatriated Mauritanians should have their citizenship papers within three months of their arrival.

    But hundreds of returnees still do not have their cards, says the Clinique Juridique. Without ID cards it is difficult to register for health care, or to enrol children in school in Mauritania. Even travel can be difficult in a country littered with military checkpoints.

    The problem lies at the level of the civil administration, said Kane, which lacks the resources to adequately process returnee identification, and has not been restructured as advised by others. Hundreds of cases remain blocked in their systems, says Diop.

    A minority of returnees - those included in the first convoy - returned to Mauritania without having the correct birth registration records for their children born in Senegal. A solution to this was found during meetings between ANAIR, UNHCR and the Senegalese authorities, though he is unaware of the outcome of individual cases.

    Returnees say the civil authorities choose not to address their problems.

    One refugee official said the problem also lay with the returnees: you have to pay 1,000 ouguiya (US$3.40) to pick up your identity card, a sum that many returnees refuse to pay.

    ANAIR assistance

    The residents of PK6 have not been abandoned said Kane. ANAIR provided the village with a water source; provided materials to the returnee association to set up a community shop to sell grains at reduced prices and gave them cooking gas to sell. It gave the women’s association a grinding machine so they would not have to walk long distances to purchase flour; helped them set up a dyeing business; and provided rudimentary fencing to protect their market gardens from being eaten by animals and pests.

    ANAIR has distributed 91 such grinding machines to returnee villages as part of wider income-generating efforts across many of the 124 villages to which ex-refugees have returned.

    PK6 villagers have access to 18 hectares of land, he said, six of which are for market gardening.

    Moussa So recognizes the help ANAIR has given. “It has certainly helped us. But when we complained about our papers, we got cooking gas,” he said, pointing to a heap of cooking gas canisters in the corner of his one-room house.

    While returnees do have small market gardens, they cannot access their land to grow rice, said Moussa So. Returnees get by mainly on small trade or dyeing clothes.

    For UNHCR’s reporting officer in Nouakchott, Elise Villechalane, the fact that 80 percent of returnees stayed in the regions to which they had returned, is a sign of success. UNHCR was in charge of registering and repatriating over 24,000 people across 124 villages. “It wasn’t an easy operation,” she said.

    Returnees IRIN spoke to do not want to move on - they are home at last - but they do want their old lives back. “We used to farm. We used to get by. Now we rely on outside help,” said So, using the Peulhar expression `boofni’, which loosely translated means “How can an empty sack stand up?”

    aj/cb


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2013 11:56 GMT

    Par Serge DANIEL

    BAMAKO, 08 jan 2013 (AFP) - L'armée malienne s'est opposée à l'arme lourde lundi et mardi près de Mopti (centre) aux groupes islamistes armés qui contrôlent le nord du pays, juste avant des discussions prévues entre le gouvernement et deux groupes rebelles.

    Pour contrer les islamistes qui s'étaient rapprochés de la limite des régions du Sud encore sous contrôle gouvernemental, "l'armée malienne a effectué lundi et dans la nuit de lundi à mardi vers Kona, des tirs de sommation face à l'ennemi, qui a reculé", a indiqué une source militaire malienne.

    Kona est proche de Mopti, située à environ 650 kilomètres de la capitale Bamako et qui est la dernière grande ville avant les zones sous contrôle des islamistes, des groupes armés incluant jihadistes et rebelles touareg. C'est la première fois depuis neuf mois que l'armée malienne et les groupes rebelles sont aussi proches d'un affrontement.

    Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), Ansar Dine et le Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao) contrôlent entièrement depuis fin juin les trois régions administratives formant le nord du Mali (Kidal, Gao, Tombouctou) ainsi que des localités de la région de Mopti, dont Douentza (environ 145 km au nord-est de la ville de Mopti).

    Selon des sources sécuritaires et des témoins, Aqmi, Ansar Dine et le Mujao se sont regroupés début janvier dans une localité proche de Tombouctou. Ils ont avec eux des hommes de la secte islamiste nigériane Boko Haram et ont installé une base militaire dans cette localité, Bambara Maoudé.

    Un responsable de la sécurité s'est dit "très inquiète", soupçonnant les islamistes de vouloir progresser vers le sud du Mali.

    Le Nord est tombé entre leurs mains et celles de rebelles touareg entre fin mars et début avril 2012, à l'issue d'une offensive de deux mois et demi contre l'armée malienne et quelques jours après un coup d'Etat militaire à Bamako, le 22 mars, qui a renversé le président Amadou Toumani Touré. Les islamistes ont ensuite évincé de leurs zones leurs ex-alliés touareg et y multiplient les exactions en prétendant imposer la charia (loi islamique) dont ils ont une interprétation rigoriste.

    Discussions à Ouagadougou

    Ces développements se produisent à deux jours de discussions prévues jeudi entre le gouvernement malien, Ansar Dine et la rébellion touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA) sous l'égide du Burkina Faso, pays médiateur régional pour la crise malienne.

    Les différentes parties y avaient déjà eu de premières discussions directes le 4 décembre. Sous la pression du Burkina Faso et de l'Algérie, qui a engagé une médiation parallèle, autre pays médiateur, Ansar Dine avait annoncé fin 2012 renoncer à appliquer la charia dans tout le Mali, mais seulement dans ses zones d'influence. Il s'était engagé à prendre ses distances avec Aqmi et le Mujao en rejetant le "terrorisme", tout en se disant disposé au dialogue avec Bamako.

    Mais dans un communiqué diffusé le 3 janvier, le chef d'Ansar Dine, Iyad Ag Ghaly, a accusé le pouvoir malien de ne pas être prêt au dialogue et a retiré son offre de cessation des hostilités, sans toutefois fermer la porte à de nouvelles discussions.

    Quelques jours auparavant, dans son message de voeux à la Nation, le président malien par intérim Dioncounda Traoré avait affirmé que le Mali se préparait à faire "la guerre contre les terroristes" sans attendre des mois, et que cette guerre "se fera plus tôt qu'on ne le pense" avec l'armée malienne aux premiers rôles.

    Des préparatifs sont en cours pour le déploiement d'une force internationale au Mali pour déloger les islamistes armés. Le 20 décembre, l'ONU a approuvé ce déploiement, sans préciser de calendrier mais en indiquant qu'il se fera par étapes, en prônant en parallèle un dialogue politique avec certains des groupes armés ne remettant pas en cause l'intégrité territoriale du Mali et rejetant le terrorisme.

    Fin novembre, le représentant spécial de l'ONU pour le Sahel, Romano Prodi, avait estimé qu'aucune intervention ne pourrait avoir lieu avant "septembre 2013".

    sd-cs/de/jlb

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Chad, Libya, Switzerland

    Chad - IOM and The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) yesterday signed a two-year community stabilization project to support the livelihoods of the Chadian migrants who have returned from Libya and are currently living in three northern regions bordering Libya, Niger and Sudan.

    The USD 2.9 million Swiss contribution will support the socioeconomic reintegration of Chadian returnees from Libya. It will also strengthen social cohesion and dialogue between returnees and host communities and support the rehabilitation of existing infrastructures, including schools, medical facilities and cultural centres, community warehouses and cereal storage areas. Some 125,000 community members, including returnees, will directly benefit from this programme.

    An IOM assessment carried out in March 2012 in 14 regions of Chad with the highest number of returnees found that most are in urgent need of socio-economic reintegration support to help them cope with the loss of income and the adaptation to a different lifestyle.

    The assessment found that the majority were unable to meet their basic needs of food, housing, health and education and were struggling financially to provide for their families.

    The three target regions in the remote northern Chad are particularly vulnerable as no international humanitarian agencies apart from IOM are currently present in the area. The regions are separated from the economic centres of Chad by the Sahel belt, which has been experiencing severe droughts since 2011.

    In addition, the area is difficult to reach due to landmines which were left behind during the long civil wars.

    In the first phase of the project, IOM will work in partnership with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to ensure access roads are clear of mines.

    More than 130,000 Chadians are estimated to have returned to their country from Libya during and after the Libyan crisis in 2011. The majority had lived in Libya for many years and had little or no connections to their places of origin.

    The SDC contribution is the first of its kind to fund a project which uses community infrastructure projects to facilitate a reintegration process.

    “IOM is grateful to the Swiss government for the funds, which will go a long way towards providing much needed help to the returnees. Their plight did not end with their return and most still face numerous challenges,” says Qasim Sufi, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Chad.

    For more information, please contact

    Qasim Sufi
    IOM Chad
    Tel: 23562900674
    E-mail: qsufi@iom.int


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan (the)

    WASH Update

    Good seasonal rains have largely replenished water sources and supported regeneration of pasture in most chronically water-insecure areas of the country. However, pocket areas continue to experience water shortages. In Oromia, regional authorities requested 12 water trucks for East Harerge (8 trucks) and Bale (4 trucks) zones. Among the requests for East Harerge zone are three trucks for Kumbi, two trucks for Midhaga Tola, two trucks for Meyu and one truck for Fedis woredas to reach some 67,261 drought-affected people. Preliminary results of the recent meher assessment team recommended an immediate start to water trucking in Kumbi, Midhaga Tola and Meyu woredas of East Harerge zone, as well as close monitoring of the situation in Babile, Chenaksen, Fedis, Gola Oda, and Kursum woredas. At present, only one truck is operational in Kumbi woreda, benefiting approximately 14,500 people. Several drought-prone woredas in Oromia’s West Harerge zone are being closely monitored, including Boke, Burka Dimtu, Daro Lebu, Hawi Gudina, Meiso, and Oda Bultum. In Afar Region, Dubti, Elidar, and Kori woredas of zone 1 and Bidu and Erebti woredas of zone 2 have reported critical water shortages. Currently, two trucks are operating in Dubti and Elidar woredas, benefiting more than 3,200 people. In Tigray Region, more than 179,000 people in eight woredas, including Hintalo Wajirat and Seharti Samre in South Eastern zone; Raya Azebo in Southern zone; Kafta Humera in Western zone; Shire and Shiraro in North Western zone; Tanqua Abergele and Wereilehi in Central zone; and Erob and Klite Awlalo in Eastern zone, require support. Erob, Shire and Hintalo Wajirat are experiencing acute shortages with some 7,500 people without water and an additional 10,300 at risk. No water trucks are currently deployed in these locations. Emerging water shortages in Minjar Shenkora woreda of North Shewa zone (Amhara), as well as Bare and Dollo Bay woredas of Afder and Dollo Ado woreda of Liben zone (Somali), may also result in increasing demands for water trucking in early 2013.

    Humanitarian partners emphasized the need for acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) prevention and preparedness activities ahead of the upcoming religious celebration in Lalibela Town, Amhara Region. Every year, mass gatherings at religious sites serve as potential vectors for transmission of AWD and other water-related disease outbreaks. The Amhara WASH taskforce has proposed further discussions in Addis Ababa on sustainable solutions. With seasonal labour migration another potential source of transmission, the movement of some 1,500 laborers to the Omo Quaraz Sugar Development project in Dasenech and Sala Mago woredas of South Omo zone (SNNPR) also presents an increased risk of AWD outbreaks in the coming six months. The significant increase in population coupled with insufficient water supply and inadequate health facilities are a primary cause for concern. For more information, contact awesterbeek@unicef.org


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Mali

    The Government of Brazil has recently donated 1000 metric tonnes of rice to WFP for Malian refugees living in Burkina Faso.

    Ouagadougou – As a result of the ongoing conflict in Mali, around half a million people have been uprooted from their homes. An estimated 204,000 people have become internally displaced. Another 200,000 Malians have sought refuge in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.

    The Brazilian contribution aims to provide food assistance to 40,000 Malian refugees living in Burkina Faso for a period of two months.

    The donation was handed over to WFP by Ambassador of Brazil to Burkina Faso Santiago Louis Bento Fernandez Alcazar. During the ceremony, Ambassador Alcazar applauded the Government of Burkina Faso’s solidarity towards the Malian population.

    Ambassador Santiago Alcazar explained that the rice provided “comes from food procurement programmes and is destined for social entities and groups in vulnerable situations.”

    "WFP is grateful to the Government of Brazil for this important contribution that will ensure the continuation of food and nutritional assistance to refugees, especially women and young children,” said WFP Burkina Country Director Angelline Rudakubana.

    Under WFP activities each refugee receives a full daily food ration equivalent to 2100 Kal per day, which includes nutritional requirements. WFP also provides food and nutrition support to malnourished children aged between 6 and 59 months.

    Since February 2012, WFP has distributed nearly 3,000 metric tonnes of food to Malian refugees in Burkina Faso. In the Sahel region, where most of the refugees are sheltered, WFP has increased its support to the school meals programme, as many refugee children attend school in the area.

    In recent years, support from the Government of Brazil has enabled WFP in Burkina Faso to continue and strengthen its assistance to refugees, to populations affected by natural disasters and – through school canteens – to children in primary education.


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    Source: UN Radio
    Country: Kenya, Somalia

    Listen / Download

    The return of Somali refugees to their country is a positive indicator that there is security in the Horn of Africa country, says the top the United Nations envoy in Somalia Augustine Mahiga.

    There are reports that every day five planes carrying over 100 passengers each are landing in Mogadishu from Kenya.

    The return comes after the election of the President of Somalia in September last year and the campaign by Somali forces, supported by African Union peacekeepers to take back parts of Somalia from the Al Shabaab militants.

    Mr. Mahiga says the return of the refugees is spontaneous and most of them are not from the main refugee camps such as Daadab and Kakuma in Kenya which house hundreds of thousands of refugees.

    "They are mainly from some of the urban areas like Nairobi, Mombasa and some of the towns in the north-eastern part of Kenya. It is a positive indicator that there is security in Somalia and the political situation is permitting and they want to participate in that process. On the other hand, it poses a great challenge to the government. There is a great shortage of accommodation and housing and basic services like health and education." (Duration: 27")

    Augustine Mahiga says some of the refugees are from the Diaspora, including North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

    Donn Bobb, United Nations.

    Duration: 1’16″


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2013 16:28 GMT

    DAKAR, 08 jan 2013 (AFP) - La secrétaire générale adjointe de l'ONU et directrice exécutive d'ONU Femmes, l'ex-présidente chilienne Michelle Bachelet, s'est déclarée mardi à Dakar "très préoccupée par la situation des femmes" dans le nord du Mali, occupé depuis plus de neuf mois par des islamistes armés.

    "Nous sommes très préoccupée par la situation des femmes dans le nord" du Mali, "où les femmes sont victimes de violences sexuelles, de même que les enfants", a déclaré Mme Bachelet lors d'une rencontre avec la presse à Dakar et à la veille d'un voyage au Mali.

    "Nous voudrions montrer ce que nous pouvons faire pour protéger les femmes contre ce genre de dangers", a-t-elle ajouté, au nom d'ONU Femme, entité des Nations unies pour l'égalité des sexes et l'autonomisation des femmes.

    Le nord du Mali est occupé depuis plus de neuf mois par Ansar Dine, mouvement essentiellement composé de Touareg maliens, et les jihadistes surtout étrangers d'Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) ainsi que du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao).

    Ces groupes prônent la charia (loi islamique) dont ils ont une interprétation rigoriste, et prétendent l'appliquer dans les zones sous leur influence en commettant en son nom diverses exactions, notamment des lapidations et amputations.

    Ils y interdisent de fumer, de boire de l'alcool, d'avoir des relations sexuelles hors mariage, d'écouter de la musique occidentale. Plusieurs femmes ont été arrêtées ces derniers mois pour n'avoir notamment pas porté le voile.

    Selon Michelle Bachelet, les femmes ont un important rôle à jouer dans la construction de la paix au Mali.

    "L'expérience montre que les femmes jouent un rôle important dans la construction de la paix", et quand elles participent au processus, "la paix est plus durable", a affirmé Mme Bachelet, appelant les différentes parties au Mali à prendre cela en considération.

    Arrivée lundi dans la capitale sénégalaise pour une visite de deux jours au Sénégal, Mme Bachelet doit rencontrer le président sénégalais Macky Sall mardi en fin de journée. Elle doit se rendre mercredi au Mali, et poursuivre sa tournée au Nigeria jusqu'au 11 janvier.

    Au Sénégal, elle a rencontré lundi des femmes qui transforment le poisson à Joal-Fadiouth, le premier port de pêche du Sénégal au sud-est de Dakar.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Somalia

    NAIROBI [ACTED News] – It is estimated that 85,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are currently living in Somaliland, of which 2,500 families are hosted in Mohammed Moge IDP camp, surviving some of the region’s worst living conditions.

    During the months of September and October 2012, ACTED and REACH conducted two rapid IDP needs assessments in this camp on behalf of the Shelter Cluster. Collected data demonstrates that 87% of the surveyed families are living in a single room, 78% of households are forced to sleep on the floor due to lack of materials, while 73% of respondents reported that their shelters had recently been damaged by rains. Almost all IDPs that took part in the survey said they did not have a door or a locked door, demonstrating a significant lack of safety and security for families living in the camp.

    This information has been collected and published so that ACTED and other aid organisations can plan timely and targeted assistance to households in response to critical humanitarian needs.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2013 19:50 GMT

    OTTAWA, 8 jan 2013 (AFP) - Le président de l'Union africaine, le Béninois Thomas Boni Yayi, a appelé mardi l'Otan à déployer des forces aux côtés des troupes africaines qui doivent être envoyées dans le Nord du Mali pour en chasser les groupes islamistes armés.

    En conférence de presse à Ottawa, il a déclaré avoir "attiré l'attention" du Premier ministre canadien Stephen Harper pour lui demander d'"intervenir pour que l'Otan s'ajoute"à la coalition internationale qui doit être formée, conformément à une résolution de l'ONU adoptée fin décembre.

    "Si on fait la même lecture (de cette résolution), en réalité, l'Otan se joindra à nos forces africaines", a-t-il insisté, estimant que les "forces africaines ont montré le chemin".

    Selon le président de l'Union africaine, également président du Bénin, la question malienne "dépasse le cadre africain" car "c'est une question de terrorisme et que ça relève de la compétence de la communauté internationale".

    Ainsi, a indiqué M. Boni Yayi, l'Union africaine est "en train de formuler auprès des plus grands" décideurs de la planète le besoin de créer une "coalition globale"à l'image de celle qui avait été formée en Afghanistan après le 11-Septembre.

    Pour s'assurer du succès de l'offensive militaire chapeautée par l'Union africaine, une "conférence internationale" va bientôt être organisée "pour décider qui fait quoi et quand", a expliqué Thomas Boni Yayi, ajoutant que "l'Otan devrait y participer".

    "Nous ne pouvons plus perdre de temps", a-t-il lancé.

    Le 20 décembre, l'ONU a approuvé le déploiement d'une force de militaires africains appuyée par les Occidentaux, sans préciser de calendrier mais en indiquant qu'il se fera par étapes.

    Selon le ministre français de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian, l'intervention militaire pourrait être lancée au cours du premier semestre 2013.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2013 20:59 GMT

    BAMAKO, Jan 8, 2013 (AFP) - The African Union urged NATO powers Tuesday to send forces to help a regional West African force retake northern Mali from Islamist guerillas, as rebel fighters closed in on Malian forces.

    "NATO should play a part and the African force would lead the way as was done by NATO in Afghanistan," said the African Union's chairman, Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi, at a news conference in Canada.

    The West African desert nation of Mali has been cut in two since early last year, when Tuareg rebels -- including Islamist fighters -- seized control of cities in the arid north and east of the country.

    Mali's regional allies have vowed to help the government recapture the territory, which some fear could turn into a rear base for terror gangs, and the United Nations has endorsed plans for an international force.

    Addressing a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a visit to Ottawa, Yayi said: "I think that NATO should add its forces to our efforts so this could be an international mission.

    "This is an international situation," he added.

    Several NATO members -- including the United States, Canada and France -- have offered to help train and supply the West African force bolstering Mali's army, but none have offered Western boots on the ground.

    "The Canadian government is not considering a direct military mission," Harper told reporters, echoing previous comments in Washington and Paris.

    But he added: "Obviously we are very concerned about the situation, and the development of essentially an entire terrorist region is of grave concern to everybody in the international community."

    Overnight Malian soldiers had fired warning shots at Islamist fighters amid fears they plan to advance on the government-controlled south of the country, a military source said.

    The fighters retreated after the shots were fired at Kona near the town of Mopti, which lies about 650 kilometres (400 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, the source told AFP.

    Mopti is the first major town south of a vast swathe of desert which fell into the hands of armed Islamist groups and Tuareg rebels after a coup that rocked Bamako last March.

    The incident was the first time Malian soldiers and rebel forces have come into direct confrontation since the Islamist movements sidelined their Tuareg separatist allies last year.

    Security sources and witnesses have said that three Islamist rebel groups had set up a military base in Bambara Maoude, a town near Timbuktu.

    These movements -- the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb -- control Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao, the regional administrative centres in northern Mali.

    Security sources claim they have been joined by members of Boko Haram, an extremist movement blamed for thousands of deaths in nearby Nigeria.

    One regional security source said he was "deeply worried" and suspected the Islamists planned to head southwards into government-held territory.

    Ansar Dine and another armed group in the north, the ethnic Tuareg Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), are homegrown movements, while the other two movements have infiltrated the vast territory.

    The Islamists have effectively sidelined the MNLA, and peace talks planned between Ansar Dine, its former Tuareg ally and the government that were due to begin on Thursday in Burkina Faso were postponed indefinitely on Tuesday.

    The Economic Community of West African States theoretically has 3,300 troops on standby for a mission to reclaim northern Mali that received the approval of the UN Security Council on December 20.

    But the United Nations has also called for negotiations between armed groups and the Bamako government, and Western military sources cast doubt on the ability of a regional force to fight guerillas in unfamiliar desert terrain.

    Moreover, in November, UN special representative for the Sahel Romano Prodi said that no intervention could take place before September 2013, to allow time for the preparation of the African force.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2013 20:48 GMT

    OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, Jan 08, 2013 (AFP) - Talks planned Thursday between the Malian government and two armed groups from the country's north, Ansar Dine and the MNLA, have been postponed, said officials in Burkina Faso, where they were due to take place.

    Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, who heads the negotiations for Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, the west African mediator on the Malian crisis, said Tuesday that "all the parties asked that they be given more time to prepare".

    The talks are "postponed until a later date," he added.

    Compaore had invited delegates from Islamist group Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) and ethnic-Tuareg separatist movement the MNLA (Azawad National Liberation Movement) to Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou for a new round of direct new talks.

    The first talks took place on December 4.

    The delay comes as the armed Islamists occupying Mali's north move toward the south, which remains under government control.

    The Malian army used heavy weapons near the central town of Mopti Monday and Tuesday to fight back against the groups, according to a Malian security source.

    Mali, once considered one of the region's most stable democracies, was plunged into crisis by a March 22 coup that overthrew the elected government and created a power vacuum that enabled Ansar Dine and two Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist groups to seize control of the vast desert north.

    Ansar Dine and the MNLA are both homegrown movements seen as more moderate than their sometime allies in the vast desert north, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

    But Ansar Dine recently released a political programme saying it wants autonomy for the north and "the strict observance of Islamic law", dashing hopes that it was taking a more moderate line in the face of plans for a 3,300-troop African military intervention to reclaim Mali's north.

    The UN Security Council on December 20 approved the deployment of an international force for the north, but in stages and without a precise timetable.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    News Stories, 8 January 2013

    SAG-NIONIOGO, Burkina Faso, January 8 (UNHCR) – Local chieftain Maurice has his work cut out at the best of times looking after the interests of the 10,000 residents of Sag-nioniogo. Since last October, he's also had to deal with the unexpected arrival of hundreds of refugees from neighbouring Mali.

    It's a testament to his leadership and diplomatic skills that the two communities have been living side-by-side peacefully in this village just outside the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou. When asked how life has changed in Sag-nioniogo since the influx, he says: "A nation without foreigners, is no nation at all."

    That's an encouraging sentiment to hear from an influential community leader like Maurice, but major challenges remain, including the increasing strain on resources in an area hit by drought and food insecurity and the need to also help the host community if resentment is to be avoided.

    Maurice, a subsistence farmer, starts the day by checking on his crops and livestock before dealing with his duties as chief. In the past three months, this has included a daily visit to the refugee camp set up by UNHCR on land usually cultivated by his peers. He catches up on the latest news and issues affecting both communities, including potential areas of friction.

    The newcomers are among the hundreds of thousands of people who have fled violence and strict Islamic rule in northern Mali since January last year, when fighting erupted between Malian government troops and an ethnic Tuareg rebel group. Some 38,000 of them have made their way to Burkina Faso, including the 2,700 at Sag-nioniogo, where UNHCR and its partners have provided shelter and food as well as supporting the local school and health centre.

    The arrival of the refugees initially met with mixed reactions in Sag-nioniogo, where some villagers had to give up land so that the refugee camp could be established. The locals were also angered when a group of refugees pitched their tents on a site regarded as sacred.

    Others were simply resentful of the attention paid to the newcomers. "It is not always easy to see UN cars rush in to cater for the Malians, while we remain poor and hungry," acknowledged one inhabitant of Sag-nioniogo.

    But UNHCR and its partners, helped by people like Maurice and refugee leaders, have tackled these obstacles through comprehensive mediation as well as awareness sessions on refugees and on culturally sensitive issues.

    What's more, some of the refugees, like 30-year-old Mustapha, have been here before and made friends in Burkina Faso during earlier displacement crises. They help build bridges between the two communities.

    Mustapha, a Tuareg, fled to Burkina Faso with his wife and two children almost a year ago from Mali's Gao region. Travelling with their two donkeys, they made their way to Sag-nioniogo – 18 years after he had first fled to the village. He spent four years here that time and learned Mooré, a local tonal language.

    Maurice remembers Mustapha well: "The first time he came to Burkina Faso, he was just a child," he said, adding: "It was great to see and hear from him again." And his facility with the language has helped to ensure understanding between the communities.

    But the refugee agency and its partners are taking additional measures across Burkina Faso to pre-empt potential problems and to anchor the good neighbourly relations. "UNHCR has planned its operation in a manner that will stimulate the peaceful cohabitation between the refugees and the local population," Ibrahima Coly, UNHCR's representative in Burkina Faso, stressed.

    For starters, the most vulnerable among the local population are also being given material assistance as well as help in accessing basic services, including education and health care. In some areas, UNHCR has helped renovate village schools that can be used by refugees and local children.

    In the recently opened Goudebou Camp, near the city of Dori, 554 refugees are attending the local primary school alongside 22 local children. UNHCR and its partner, Plan Burkina Faso, have started constructing 24 classrooms that will be open to new arrivals from Mali as well as the local community. Students are also learning a mix of Burkina Faso and Mali history, which will help them understand each other better.

    Vulnerable locals are also benefitting from the health schemes set up to assist refugees. At the health clinic run by UNHCR and Médecins du Monde-France (MDM-F) in Mentao Camp, Soum province, more than half of those turning up for consultations are from the local community.

    Aboubacar Mahamadou, a UNHCR associate public health officer, added that the clinic had been treating locals for problems such as malaria, respiratory diseases and diarrhoea. The doctor added that UNHCR and its partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and MDM-Spain as well as MDM-France, had also been spreading awareness in Burkina Faso about cholera and the need for good hygiene and sanitation.

    These partners have also been supporting the primary health posts in several camps and this has also benefitted the local population. All these measures have helped to ease tension between the refugees and their hosts.

    By Hugo Reichenberger in Sag-nioniogo, Burkina Faso


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/08/2013 23:26 GMT

    BAMAKO, 08 jan 2013 (AFP) - L'armée malienne a affirmé mardi avoir repoussé la veille près de Mopti (centre du Mali) une tentative d'attaque d'islamistes occupant le nord du pays, alors que des discussions prévues entre Bamako et deux groupes armés ont été reportées à la demande des différentes parties.

    Lundi après-midi, "des terroristes et islamistes armés d'Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique, d'Ansar Dine et du Mujao (Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest) ont tenté un mouvement de force sur les positions avancées" de l'armée aux alentours de la localité de Kona, proche de Mopti, selon un communiqué du ministère malien de la Défense diffusé par les médias publics.

    "Les forces armées et de sécurité maliennes ont repoussé cette tentative d'attaque", elles n'"ont subi aucun dommage" et leurs effectifs "sont au grand complet sur la ligne de front", ajoute le communiqué.

    Sur Radio France Internationale, le ministre de la Défense Yamoussa Camara a lui-même assuré qu'il n'y a eu aucun accrochage entre militaires et islamistes.

    Plus tôt mardi, une source militaire malienne avait parlé à l'AFP de "tirs de sommation" effectués lundi et dans la nuit de lundi à mardi par l'armée en direction des islamistes, qui se sont rapprochés de la limite de leurs zones.

    La ville de Mopti est la dernière grande cité avant les territoires sous contrôle des islamistes qui se sont emparés du vaste Nord malien il y a neuf mois, avec le Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA, rébellion touareg). Ils ont aussi pris des localités de la région de Mopti. Depuis neuf mois, c'est la première fois que l'armée malienne et ces mouvements armés ont été aussi proches d'un affrontement.

    "Ordre a été donné à nos troupes qui patrouillent actuellement dans la région de Mopti" sous contrôle gouvernemental "de détruire toutes les cibles ennemies" qui s'y manifesteraient, a-t-on affirmé à l'AFP à l'état-major de l'armée à Bamako.

    Selon des sources sécuritaires et des témoins, Ansar Dine, Aqmi et le Mujao, renforcés par des hommes de la secte islamiste nigériane Boko Haram, se sont regroupés début janvier dans une localité proche de Tombouctou (nord-ouest).

    Regain de tension

    "La tension a clairement augmenté et nous observons cela de très près tout en travaillant avec nos partenaires internationaux (...) pour appliquer rapidement" la résolution de l'ONU adoptée le 20 décembre et autorisant le déploiement d'une force internationale au Mali, a déclaré la porte-parole du département d'Etat Victoria Nuland.

    La France a appelé les islamistes à "cesser" leurs mouvements vers le Sud malien et à "reprendre les négociations" alors qu'à Dakar où elle était en visite mardi, la directrice exécutive d'ONU Femmes, Michelle Bachelet, s'est déclarée "très préoccupée par la situation des femmes" dans le nord du Mali, où elles "sont victimes de violences sexuelles".

    C'est que dans leurs zones d'influence, les islamistes multiplient les exactions en prétendant imposer la charia (loi islamique) dont ils ont une interprétation rigoriste.

    Ces développements sur le terrain se sont produits alors que Bamako, Ansar Dine et le MNLA étaient appelés à discuter jeudi à Ouagadougou. Discussions finalement "reportées à une date ultérieure à la demande des parties", selon le ministre burkinabè des Affaires étrangères Djibrill Bassolé qui conduit les négociations au nom du président Blaise Compaoré, médiateur de l'Afrique de l'Ouest dans la crise malienne.

    Ce report doit leur accorder "plus de temps pour se préparer", a-t-il dit à l'AFP.

    Sous la pression du Burkina Faso et de l'Algérie, Ansar Dine s'était notamment engagé à prendre ses distances avec Aqmi et le Mujao en se disant disposé au dialogue avec Bamako. Mais le 3 janvier, il a accusé Bamako de ne pas être prêt au dialogue et a retiré son offre de cessation des hostilités, se disant ouvert à de nouvelles discussions.

    En visite à Ottawa, le président en exercice de l'Union africaine (UA), le Béninois Thomas Boni Yayi, a appelé l'Otan à déployer des forces aux côtés des troupes africaines devant aller au Mali sous mandat de l'ONU.

    Le 31 décembre, le président malien par intérim Dioncounda Traoré avait affirmé que le Mali se préparait à faire "la guerre contre les terroristes (...) plus tôt qu'on ne le pense", avec l'armée malienne aux premiers rôles. En novembre, un émissaire onusien avait estimé une intervention impossible avant septembre 2013.

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    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Iranian Red Crescent
    Country: Somalia

    Background

    Somalia, consisting of 18 states and estimated population of 12 million people, is located in the Horn of Africa. It is surrounded by Aden gulf (from north), Indian Ocean (from east), Djibouti and Ethiopia (from west) and Kenya (from south). This country has been suffering from civil war since 1991 and since recent years the youth branch of Al-Qaida, called Al Shabab, has invaded almost 50% of this country. In addition to civil war and its consequences, extreme drought which started from 2011, has harmed people of Somalia who are mostly living on agriculture and farming and this situation has end up to a great rush of estimated 2,800,000 .starving people toward Mogadishu, the Capital

    Humanitarian Situation

    The results of rush of more than 2,800,000 drought affected people to Mogadishu, was turn worse by general starvation and epidemic diseases which caused large amount of human losses and left the temporary government of this country in huge humanitarian crises. Considering the fights and clashes in the Capital, this area has been announced as “unsecure” thus, except for few Islamic countries including I.R Iran, Turkey, U.A.E, Qatar and Kuwait, no other country was actively sending humanitarian consignments to Somali.

    Activities of the Iranian Red Crescent Society

    The IRCS delegation entered into Mogadishu on the 2 August 2011, and immediately started to set up camps, aiming for temporary sheltering and treatment, for vulnerable people in different parts of the city. This consisted a central clinic, 7 mobile clinics in the camps and 12 emergency shelter camps which covered more than 7000 families (more than 56000 people). Also the IRCS has dispatched 24 relief, food, nonfood and medical consignments to Somalia via air and sea. The IRCS started an active cooperation with Somalian Red Crescent Society aiming for closer relations and empowering the SRCS. Donation of considerable amount of medical supplies, as well as 1475 tents and a lift track to SRCS, are some examples of the latter cooperation.

    Actions taken for the benefit of Somalia affected people by IRCS

    1- Dispatching of consignments by the Iranian Red Crescent Society including relief food, non food and medicine, medical equipment and hygienic items.

    2- Visit of the Secretary General of Iranian Red Crescent Society with some of the high ranking officials of Somalia based in Kenya including Minister for Women Affairs and Minister of Health.

    3- Dispatch of the first assessment team to Somalia, headed by Dr. Mozafar, Head of Relief And Rescue Organization and medical and relief teams of the Red Crescent Society, for making necessary coordination regarding treatment and dispatching aid and monitoring the distribution of items among starving people of Somalia.

    4- Visit of the dispatch teams of Red Crescent Society with high ranking officials of Somalia including President, Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minster, Minister of Foreign Affairs and so on.

    5- Public announcement regarding account NO. 99999 and 199999999003 of Melli Bank of Iran for receiving cash aid from the Iranian people and received a huge contribution of Iranian volunteers and people.

    6- Informing all the ministries and Governor Generals of the country for participation in this humanitarian action.

    7- Establishing various bases in all over county and particularly in crowded areas, for receiving cash aid of people for famine in Somalia.

    8- Coordination with religious jurisprudences and scholars including His Eminence Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi , His Eminence Ayatollah Nouri Hammedani and His Eminence Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani , for allocating contributions and a third of Imam’s share to starving people of Somalia.

    9- Activating SMS number of 8115 of Irancell for receiving contributions of philanthropic people of Iran.

    10- Visit of Secretary General of Red Crescent Society of Iran with the Charge d’ Affairs of the Embassy of Somalia in Tehran.

    11- Dispatching three teams of journalists in order to report relief operations of Iran in Somalia.

    12- Presenting good news coverage and appropriate dissemination of information by the cooperation of all various Medias particularly Radio and TV Organization.

    13- Broadcasting in different TV channels an advertisement regarding disastrous famine in Somalia in order to promote public participation.

    14- Holding of coordination meeting with the participation of representatives from the office of His Eminence Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Mine and Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Iranian Broadcast, Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, Mobilized Organization of Oppressed People, High National Council of Security for giving rapid support to starving people of Somalia. Meanwhile in that meeting it was decided to select the day 22 Aug 2011 which correspond with birth anniversary of first Shiite Imam Ali (PBUH) as the day of “solidarity of the people of Iran with the people of Somalia who suffer from hunger as a result of famine.

    15- Establishing fixed base in Imamzadeh Saleh shrine and in Shahr e Ray with the coordination of Iranian Broadcast for collecting people ‘s donation and aid on the day of “solidarity between the people of Iran and Somalia.”

    16- Secretary General of Red Crescent Society of Iran accompany Esteemed Foreign Minister of Iran and His Delegation during their visit to Somalia

    17- Establishing of relief clinic center in the affected area of famine (BHC) and dispatching medicines, equipments and medical teams to this center.

    18- Dispatching high ranking delegation from Red Crescent Society of Iran including Secretary General, Representative of Supreme Leader Office in Red Crescent Society, Under Secretary General for Health, Treatment and Rehabilitation and Director General of the Red Crescent Society in Tehran, to Somalia in order to monitor the relief services given by Iran to Somalia and along with Somali authorities inaugurate the sixth camp established by the Red Crescent Society in Somalia.

    19- Loading of the biggest aid consignment of Iranian Red Crescent Society including: almost 5000 tons of food stuff and medical and hygienic items. This consignment was sent to Somalia on 27 September 2011 through Rajai port.

    20- Establishing of 6 mobile medical groups and one permanent clinic including doctors and nurses in order to present medical services and establishing of 20 camps with the capacity of rendering relief services to 20 thousands families who were victims of famine.

    21- Implementing the plan of Youth organization of the Red Crescent Society with the cooperation of the Coordinating Council of Students including the students from Mobilize Student Center and Islamic Associations of Students, Deputy Minister of Education for creating piggybank and collecting contribution from students for helping starving children in Somalia.

    22- Implementing cultural and educational programs for Somali children and women in the Camps and psychological Support Program (PSP) offered by Red Crescent Society of Iran in Somalia.

    23- Collecting more than USD 43,500,000 donation and more than 900 tons of non- cash aid.

    The list of the humanitarian consignments sent to Somalia by IRCS from August 2011 till May 2012

    Distribution plan

    At the beginning of drought and starvation crises in Somalia, most of donations had been distributed in Mogadishu and 22 camps which were established by IRCS. There were negotiations between IRCS and SRCS to expand the geographical distribution plan so during distribution of consignment no. 15, about 2,000 tones of the cargo was distributed by SRCS in central and northern parts of Somalia which were under the control of Al-Shabab. Also a consignment was sent to the northern part of Somalia in Berbera by sea and distributed in Somaliland, Poontland and Hergaisa. On the other hand, a decision was made on returning of refugees to their home land and registration of the latter project was started afterwards. By reduction of refugee population in Mogadishu, the amount of humanitarian aids has been reduced and it seems that living situation is back to normal again.

    Future Plan

    The IRCS continues its humanitarian aid to Somali people through its counterpart, Somali Red Crescent Society. As the memorandum of understanding was signed between two National Societies, it conducts the future road map among two humanitarian organizations. The IRCS is committed to strengthen the relations with the SRCS and work on the capacity building of the sister National Societies. Hence a summary of the future cooperation is listed as follow:

    1-Existing medical clinic continues its current activities in various fields and rendering free of charge medical service to the most vulnerable people in Mogadishu.

    2- Assessments for the possibility of delivery of more humanitarian aids in northern, central and southern parts of Somalia through SRCS will be done by IRCS; Iranian Red Crescent Society tries to cover more regions in different part of Somali.

    3- As the emergency period of the crises is over, IRCS is now more concentrating on capacity building, development and organizational improvement of SRCS. Aiming for this purpose, the 24th consignment of IRCS is consisted of 23 vehicles and other technical and relief equipments for the benefit of SRCS will be sent to Somali at the beginning of year 2013. Furthermore Iranian Red Crescent Society will more concentrate on the issues such as training, relief and rescue operations as well as health and care in danger in Somalia.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Afghanistan, Egypt, Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic (the), Yemen
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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Humanitarian actors in the MENA region seek to foster greater collaboration, emphasizing the importance of partnerships and recognizing the value in diverse humanitarian approaches.

    • The number of Syrian refugees in Egypt has increased significantly since June 2012. The UN and humanitarian partners are seeking to address their main protection concerns.


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