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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    Faits saillants

    • Riposte à l’épidémie de Rougeole différée dans le DS de Kolofata ;
    • Epidémie de Polio au Nigéria avec des implications pour le Cameroun et les pays du bassin du Lac Tchad;
    • Vigilance autour du choléra en ce troisième trimestre 2016 ;
    • Première édition de la chimio prévention du Paludisme saisonnier au Cameroun;
    • Alerte épizootie de Monkeypox dans le Parc National de la Mefou

    ÉPIDÉMIES ENREGISTRÉES DANS LE PAYS
    ROUGEOLE

    Sur la base des résultats de laboratoire, la seule épidémie encore active dans le pays est celle de Kolofata. Il s’agit d’un district frontalier avec le Nigéria où la situation sécuritaire est instable du fait de sa proximité avec l’Etat de Borno au Nigéria où sévit la secte Boko Haram. Cette épidémie a été signalée depuis la 12e semaine épidémiologique

    La riposte est toujours en préparation avec les appuis technique et financier de l’OMS et la fourniture en vaccin par l’Unicef. Initialement prévue du 23 au 27 Août 2016, la campagne de riposte a été différée suite à la confirmation des cas de Poliomyélite au Nigéria imposant une riposte immédiate contre la Polio dans les pays voisins jugés à haut risque. Sur le plan pratique tout est prêt, le microplan de riposte a été élaboré et les financements mobilisés par l’OMS sont déjà virés dans la région pour organiser sa campagne de riposte.

    Des consultants OMS et de l’Unicef sont présents dans la région pour accompagner la campagne de riposte qui aura lieu après les Journées Locales de Vaccination contre la Poliomyélite prévues du 27 au 29 Août 2016.

    Il convient relever qu’à la semaine épidémiologique (SE) 32, le Cameroun a notifié 981 cas suspects (contre 943 cas à la SE28) de rougeole dont 840 cas (contre 768 cas à la SE28) ont été investigués et prélevés, les autres classés par lien épidémiologique.
    Aussi, des kits de réactifs pour les analyses de laboratoire ont été fournis par l’OMS le 24 Août 2016 au Laboratoire du Centre Pasteur du Cameroun (CPC) et permettront d’analyser les 342 échantillons qui étaient en attente depuis environ 2 mois.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Bamako, Mali | AFP | samedi 03/09/2016 - 14:31 GMT

    L’armée malienne a repris samedi, dans le centre du pays, le contrôle de la localité de Boni, tombée la veille sous le contrôle de jihadistes, a appris l’AFP de sources concordantes.

    "Les jihadistes ont quitté Boni dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi, et aujourd’hui vers 8 heures, l'armée malienne est revenue prendre le contrôle de la ville", a déclaré à l’AFP une source sécuritaire malienne.

    Une source sécuritaire proche de la mission de l’Onu au Mali a confirmé cette information. "Deux hélicoptères de la mission de l’ONU ont survolé ce samedi la ville de Boni, en soutien à l’armée malienne qui contrôle actuellement la localité", a-t-elle indiqué à l'AFP.

    Selon une source administrative locale contactée par l’AFP, en quittant la ville, "les jihadistes ont kidnappé un élu communal de Boni qui est accusé d’avoir donné des informations par téléphone à l’armée malienne".

    Les habitants de la localité ont vaqué samedi à leurs occupations, mais avec "la peur au ventre", a témoigné un habitant.

    sd/dom

    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    Niamey, Niger | AFP | samedi 03/09/2016 - 21:07 GMT

    Cinq villageois ont été tués et deux autres blessés dans une attaque menée vendredi soir par le groupe islamiste nigérian Boko Haram dans la région de Diffa (sud-est du Niger), selon le gouverneur de cette région frontalière du Nigeria.

    "Cinq personnes ont été tuées et deux autres ont été blessés à Toumour (75 km au nord de Diffa) par des éléments infiltrés de Boko Haram dans la nuit de vendredi" à samedi, a affirmé Dan Dano Mahaman Laouali, le gouverneur de Diffa à la radio publique nigérienne. C'est la première attaque dans l'Est depuis début juin lorsque Boko Haram avait lancé une offensive d'envergure avant d'être repoussé par un déploiement de forces militaires.

    "Boko a encore refait surface à Toumour. Malgré des ripostes acharnée des habitants armés de flèches et d'armes blanches, les assaillants équipés de fusils ont tué cinq personnes et blessé deux autres" a ajouté le correspondant de la radio qui s'est rendu sur les lieux.

    Parmi les tués figure un ressortissant du Nigeria, a précisé le gouverneur.

    Les assaillants, dont le nombre restait indéterminé, ont mené "l'attaque aux environs de 22H (21H GMT)" et "pris la fuite vers le Nigeria" en traversant la rivière Komadougou Yobé qui marque la frontière, selon une source sécuritaire.

    Avant de se retirer, ils "ont incendié de nombreuses cases", a indiqué à l'AFP un résident de Toumour.

    Ce raid de Boko Haram intervient trois mois après l'attaque massive menée le 3 juin contre des positions de l'armée nigérienne à Bosso, près de la frontière du Nigeria, dans laquelle 26 soldats ont été tués, selon un bilan officiel de Niamey. Plusieurs civils avaient également été tués sans que l'on en connaisse le nombre exact.

    Le groupe islamiste avait également tué des gendarmes quelques jours plus tard à Nguagam prés d'un site de personnes déplacées.

    Fin juillet, la Force multinationale mixte (Nigeria, Tchad, Niger, Cameroun), a indiqué avoir repris aux insurgés islamistes les localités stratégiques nigérianes de Doutchi et Damasack, proches du Niger.

    Depuis février 2015, Boko Haram mène des attaques autour de Diffa, région frontalière du nord-est du Nigeria, fief des insurgés islamistes.

    La région de Diffa abrite plus de 300.000 réfugiés et déplacés, dont des milliers vivent aux dépens d'une population locale déjà très pauvre, selon l'ONU qui demande à la communauté internationale d'accroître son soutien financier pour leur venir en aide.

    bh-pgf/mct

    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    Niamey, Niger | AFP | Saturday 9/3/2016 - 21:27 GMT

    Five villagers were killed and two others wounded in a Boko Haram attack in eastern Niger, the first in three months carried out there by the jihadist group, a local governor said Saturday.

    Governor of the Diffa border region, Dan Dano Mahaman Laouali, told Niger public radio the attack took place on Friday in Toumour.

    It is the first attack in the east since early June when Boko Haram launched a major offensive in Bosso, a town in Niger near the border with Nigeria and Chad, before being pushed back by the military.

    The attackers on Friday, who battled with locals armed with bows and arrows, also burned several homes before fleeing toward Nigeria after the violence.

    Tens of thousands of Nigeriens fled the region after the Boko Haram attack in Bosso on June 23, which killed 26 soldiers.

    bh-pgf/har/jm/eb

    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Bamako, Mali | AFP | Saturday 9/3/2016 - 21:43 GMT

    Mali's defence minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly was fired Saturday, officials told AFP, a day after jihadists briefly took control of a town in the country's centre.

    A decree released by the government stated his post had been revoked after militants stepped up attacks in the country's centre in recent months, targeting government and military installations.

    A senior official in the Malian defence ministry told AFP it came following "the latest waves of insecurity in central Mali," referring to jihadists' seizure of the town of Boni on Friday and an attack on a central Mali military base in Nampala that killed several soldiers in July.

    The Malian army on Saturday regained control of Boni, which is home to several thousand people, from the jihadists who had escaped with a local official as a hostage.

    The militants fired on administrative buildings and set fire to the mayor's office, leading the army to recall its troops from the vicinity.

    "The jihadists left Boni in the night and today around 8am (0800 GMT) the Malian army came back to take control of the town," a Malian security source told AFP.

    A source close to the UN mission in the country, which is known by the acronym MINUSMA, said two helicopters were providing cover over the town, "to support the Malian army, who are now in control."

    However, an administrative source in the town said the jihadists "kidnapped a Boni community official" whom they accused of giving information to the security forces.

    Ongoing international military intervention since January 2013 has driven Islamist fighters away from major urban centres which they had briefly controlled, but large tracts of Mali are still not controlled by domestic or foreign troops.

    Jihadist groups early last year began to carry out attacks in central Mali as well as the long-troubled north.

    Ansar Dine claimed responsibility for the July 19 attack on Nampala, in which 17 soldiers were killed, 37 were wounded and six were reported missing, according to the official toll. 

    Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga, formerly land minister, was named to replace Coulibaly, according to the government statement.

    sd/jom/jm

    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Bamako, Mali | AFP | samedi 03/09/2016 - 21:51 GMT

    Le ministre malien de la Défense Tiéman Hubert Coulibaly a été limogé samedi, après la prise la veille d’une ville du centre du pays par des jihadistes, a appris l'AFP de sources officielles.

    "Le décret de nomination des membres du gouvernement est abrogé en ce qui concerne M. Tieman Hubert Coulibaly", précise le communiqué officiel. 

    "C’est bien un limogeage après les dernières vagues d’insécurité au centre du Mali", a déclaré à l’AFP un responsable du ministère malien de la Défense, faisant référence à la prise vendredi de la ville de Boni, et à une attaque en juillet contre une base militaire à Nampala, qui avait fait 17 morts parmi les soldats.

    M. Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga, jusque-là ministre de l’Administration territoriale, a été désigné pour remplacer M. Coulibaly, selon le même communiqué.

    Samedi, l’armée malienne a repris le contrôle de Boni (centre), une localité de plusieurs milliers d'habitants dans la région de Mopti, occupée la veille par des jihadistes.

    "Les jihadistes ont quitté Boni dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi, et aujourd’hui vers 8 heures, l'armée malienne est revenue prendre le contrôle de la ville", a déclaré à l’AFP une source sécuritaire malienne.

    Une source sécuritaire proche de la mission de l’Onu au Mali a confirmé cette information. "Deux hélicoptères de la mission de l’ONU ont survolé ce samedi la ville de Boni, en soutien à l’armée malienne qui contrôle actuellement la localité", a-t-elle indiqué à l'AFP.

    Selon une source administrative locale contactée par l’AFP, en quittant la ville, "les jihadistes ont kidnappé un élu communal de Boni qui est accusé d’avoir donné des informations par téléphone à l’armée malienne".

    Le nord du Mali est tombé en mars-avril 2012 sous la coupe de groupes jihadistes liés à Al-Qaïda. Ces groupes en ont été en grande partie chassés après le lancement en 2013, à l'initiative de la France, d'une intervention militaire internationale, qui se poursuit.

    Des zones entières échappent encore au contrôle des forces maliennes et étrangères, malgré la signature en mai-juin 2015 d'un accord de paix censé isoler définitivement les jihadistes. 

    L'attaque contre la base militaire de Nampala, le 19 juillet, avait fait 17 morts, 37 blessés et six disparus parmi les soldats, selon un bilan officiel.

    Longtemps concentrées dans le nord, les attaques jihadistes se sont étendues à partir de 2015 vers le centre, puis le sud du pays.

    sd/jom/may/lpt/mct

    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: International Peace Institute
    Country: Nigeria

    by Alex Thurston

    Northeast Nigeria and the surrounding Lake Chad region face a complex humanitarian emergency due to a combination of terrorism, hunger and malnutrition, displacement, and disease. Yet the situation attracts far less international attention than do other severe and ongoing emergencies. The reasons center on geopolitics and widespread media framing of the crisis as primarily security-related. This creates several dilemmas for those interested in resolving it.

    By most measures, the Lake Chad humanitarian crisis is one of the worst in the world. As of June 2016, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that 2.6 million people were displaced and 3.8 million faced “severe food shortages.” Certainly, these are far less than the number of people affected by the crisis in Syria—over 250,000 killed, 4.8 million displaced outside Syria, 6.5 million displaced within the country, and 13.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance—but the Lake Chad situation remains significant regardless.

    Why, then, does the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR)’s list of emergencies feature only the Central African Republic (CAR), Europe, Iraq, South Sudan, and Syria? CAR’s numbers—2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance—are higher as a proportion of its population, but less than Lake Chad’s in absolute terms, so the criteria for inclusion do not seem to be purely numerical. Nigeria’s absence may instead reflect its somewhat uncertain place in the geopolitical order: its emergency makes far fewer headlines than the European migration crisis or the wars in Iraq and Syria because, for most Western policymakers at least, the Middle East is more of a geopolitical chessboard than Africa. Meanwhile, Nigeria is a far richer country than either CAR or South Sudan, which perhaps means that it evokes less sympathy from Western policymakers and global humanitarian organizations.

    This is not to say that no international actors are working to alleviate the Lake Chad area’s suffering. UNHCR, USAID, the European Commission, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Program, Doctors Without Borders, the World Health Organization, and others are all active in northeastern Nigeria and the neighboring countries. But funding appeals have fallen far short of these organizations’ needs: as of August 30, nearly $179 million of requirements remained unmetpdf.

    The Nigerian government has mounted a humanitarian response through the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency and various private donors in the country have contributed funds for humanitarian assistance. But a prominent politician, Senate President Bukola Saraki, still called for more international help in a recent article in The Guardian. Saraki notes the Nigerian National Assembly’s effort to allocate more humanitarian funding, but also writes, “We need far greater support from overseas to ensure that, first, people are able to leave the camps and live their lives safely and securely, and, second, those who have suffered so much are effectively rehabilitated.”

    Saraki is certainly correct in this, although cynical observers—Nigerian and non-Nigerian alike—will have their suspicions about whether corruption will inhibit aid delivery. Nigeria and its political class are infamous, sometimes unfairly so, for corruption, and there have already been numerous accusations about humanitarian supplies, especially food, being stolen by officials and soldiers in the northeast. Indeed, corruption in aid delivery is a problem around the world: in May, USAID reportedly suspended and investigated several of its humanitarian partners in Syria due to concerns of this nature. Some Nigerians may hear in Saraki’s call for increased aid a call for further enrichment of the governing elite.

    Of more immediate concern is the framing of the humanitarian crisis in securitized terms. Saraki, again, writes, “While progress has been made in improving security, this is at risk of being undermined by the humanitarian situation. Poverty, malnourishment and isolation form a perfect breeding ground for Boko Haram to recruit desperate individuals and turn them into their latest weapon against humanity. Islamic State is reportedly recruiting members from European refugee camps. Kenya has announced plans to close Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee complex, due to fears that al-Shabaab is recruiting on an unprecedented scale.”

    Such claims about European camps and about Dadaab have been largely debunked. Nor is there evidence, so far, that Boko Haram has recruited significantly among displaced persons. The securitized approach therefore takes a risk in arguing that camps around Lake Chad could become breeding grounds for terrorists. On the one hand, it may attract more international attention. On the other, it may perpetuate stereotypes that make the crisis harder to resolve. Nigeria’s humanitarian response and its displaced persons camps have already been heavily, and dangerously, militarized.

    Civilian victims of Boko Haram already face a terrible and unfair stigma, including from the authorities. Furthering this trend would be even more problematic. Kenya’s recurring threats to close Dadaab, about which I have previously written for the Global Observatory, have wasted valuable time and resources that could have gone to addressing both the displacement crisis and the threat of jihadism in East Africa. If calls to see Lake Chad camps as security threats succeed, the Boko Haram crisis could become even more difficult to resolve.

    Media framing of the Nigerian extremist group is one reason that the humanitarian crisis is not getting the attention it needs: compare the significant attention that international media paid to the recent leadership schism within Boko Haram to the sparse and intermittent coverage of the humanitarian emergency. An attack or statement from the extremist group attracts much more coverage than mass hunger and deprivation among civilian victims. Even the international attention given to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 267 female students at Chibok over two years ago has not translated into adequate funding and assistance for Boko Haram.

    In coverage of Syria, the international media and other observers seem to have room for more than one narrative: not just war and terrorism, but also a humanitarian emergency. For the sake of Boko Haram’s victims, more attention should be paid to Nigeria’s humanitarian situation, while the country’s elites should call attention to the problem without characterizing the displaced as potential terrorists.

    Originally Published in the Global Observatory


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: South Sudan, Uganda

    In Numbers

    • 1.61 million internally displaced people (OCHA estimates)
    • 786,093 South Sudanese refugees (UNHCR estimates, post 15 December 2013)
    • 169,418 people seeking shelter with the UN (UNMISS estimates)
    • 4.8 million people in emergency or crisis level food insecurity

    Highlights

    • Within the next two weeks, WFP will bring in two additional IL-76. The expanded fleet of eight will help bring urgently needed food assistance to areas that are not reachable by land or river, due to insecurity or deteriorated road conditions. Air requirements have increased based on humanitarian needs in the Greater Upper Nile and Northern Bahr el Ghazal. In parallel, insecurity in major supply routes have substantially hampered road deliveries. Current plans are to position four IL-76 in Ethiopia, two in Uganda, and two in South Sudan. WFP also maintains four MI-8 and one MI-26 to deliver life-saving food and nutrition assistance.
    • The six-month extension of the MOU between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan and WFP Sudan and South Sudan indicates that WFP will lose road access to Upper Nile through the Northern Corridor by January 2017 should road rehabilitation activities not be undertaken. WFP urgently needs US$1.7 million to rehabilitate roads between Kosti and Joda (Sudan). Preparations are underway by WFP Sudan to create a Special Operation for the project. The Sudan Corridor serves as a critical backbone to Upper Nile Operations. In 2016, over 25,000 mt of commodities have been cost-effectively delivered through the Sudan Corridor.
    • On 01 September, Hakan Falkell (DCD—Operations) joined George Okoth—Obbo, Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, and Valentin Tapsoba, Regional Bureau for Africa for UNHCR, in the official opening of the Pamir refugee site. With a capacity of 50,000 people, Pamir has been developed in preparation for more new arrivals from South Kordofan (Sudan). In Pariang County, WFP provides food and nutrition assistance to refugees (Ajuong Thok and Yida) and host communities (total: 140,000 beneficiaries). To help reduce exposure to gender-based violence, WFP has also distributed fuel efficient stoves.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Mali, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, World

    Africa Weather Hazards

    1. Persistent, above average rainfall since July has led to excessively rainfall surpluses and floods that have damaged infrastructure, displaced populations, and caused fatalities in parts of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.
    2. Below-average seasonal rainfall and persistent moisture deficits in the region have negatively impacted developing crops across parts of eastern Oromia and SNNPR in Ethiopia.
    3. There is a potential for increased number of locusts migrating from the Arabian Peninsula which may negatively impact cropping activities.
    4. Low and poorly distributed seasonal rainfall across parts of central Senegal have led to strengthening moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions.
    5. Heavy and frequent rain over the past several weeks has led to substantial rainfall surpluses and flooding along the Niger and Benue Rivers in Nigeria. Enhanced rainfall is forecast across much of West Africa during the next seven days, sustaining the risk for flooding into early September.

    Central America and the Caribbean Weather Hazards

    1. Below-average rainfall over the past several weeks has led to growing rainfall deficits and abnormal dryness throughout much of Haiti and neighboring western Dominican Republic. Only light to locally moderate rain is forecast over Hispaniola during the next week, which could worsen the situation on the ground.
    2. Poorly-distributed Primera (May-August) seasonal rainfall has led to moderate to large moisture deficits and stressed crops across portions of east-central Honduras, central Nicaragua, and the Pacific North region of Costa Rica. Heavy rain is forecast along the Pacific Basin of Central America during the next week, which should help alleviate dryness and help cropping activities for the upcoming growing cycle.
    3. Abundant rain during the past week triggered flooding over local areas of Choluteca, Tegucigalpa, and El Paraiso department of southeastern Honduras. Heavy rain is forecast to continue during the next week, increasing risks for flooding and landslides.

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    Source: The Washington Post
    Country: Nigeria

    By Michelle Faul

    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — An emergency polio vaccination campaign aimed at reaching 25 million children this year has begun in parts of Nigeria newly freed from Boko Haram Islamist extremists, with fears that many more cases of the crippling disease will probably be found.

    Read the full story here


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Nigeria

    Highlights

    • Humanitarian access remains limited and situation has remained volatile with increased displacement of people. The situation remains critical in both the newly accessible and still inaccessible areas due to the deepening food security, nutrition crisis and polio and measles outbreak.

    • 1.7 million people (IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), Round 10 June, 2016) displaced in Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe, with Borno being the worst affected. 946,217 children (55 per cent) are among the IDP population. Additional 2.2 million people are in areas still inaccessible.

    • Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) program reached over 74,978 severely malnourished children. Nutrition screening data collected of the new arrivals from Kaleri settlement, Mafa Local Government Area (LGA) show Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) at 15% and 45% respectively indicating catastrophic humanitarian situation in inaccessible areas.

    • UNICEF required immediate funding of $115 million to scale up response which will cover the urgent needs of the affected population for 6 months (August 2016- February 2017). The scale up plan focuses on a multi-sector response covering newly liberated areas, Maiduguri Municipality (MMC)/Jere and Southern Borno and Gujaba and Gulani LGAs of Yobe.

    • 2 cases of Wild Polio Virus type 1 were identified in Jere LGA on the 6th July 2016 and Gwoza LGA on the 13th July 2016, Borno State. An immediate response was launched on 15th August 2016 in 4 LGAs surrounding the identified cases covering 887,095 children between the ages 0 – 59 months.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Gambia, Senegal

    KEY DRIVERS OF THE CRISIS

    Endemic of food insecurity due to crop failure/ poor harvest, rising food prices and loss of livelihoods as a result of frequent natural disasters (droughts, floods).

    Lack of integrated early warning systems to facilitate early response and assist affected populations to cope better with shocks.

    Poor sanitation and access to clean water are main causes of waterborne diseases. Prevalence of epidemics, lack of access to adequate health services and poor health service delivery.

    Lack of lasting peace in southern Senegal leading to sporadic inflow of refugees.


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

    KEY DRIVERS OF THE CRISIS

    Chronic vulnerability: recurrent shocks (droughts, floods, epidemics, locust), chronic poverty and market instability have contributed to the deterioration of livelihoods and to a lack of opportunities for youth.

    The presence of State administration, the access to drinking water and to basic social services remain limited in areas of insecurity in parts of the north and center of Mali which increases the vulnerability of communities.

    Inter-community conflicts and socio-political factors continue to fuel sporadic displacements. Continued insecurity and limited access to social services in parts of the north and center of Mali impede the durable return of displaced persons and refugees.


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

    KEY DRIVERS OF THE CRISIS

    Food insecurity, malnutrition and overall vulnerability are results of recurring natural hazards (droughts, floods), increasing food prices and overall scarcity of resources.

    The country continues to host Malian refugees, their returns are contingent on restoring peace and security in Northern Mali.

    Diseases under epidemiological surveillance are likely to report increased number of cases as a result of poor access to health structures and water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities.


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

    KEY DRIVERS OF THE CRISIS

    Poverty, demographic pressure and recurrent shocks (droughts, floods, epidemics, and high food prices) are among the key causes of vulnerability amongst households and communities.

    Insecurity in neighboring countries, notably Mali and Nigeria, has led to displacements to Niger. In addition, the country is experiencing internal displacement of people due to armed attacks by insurgents that have been occurring in Diffa since Feb 2015.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund, Protection Cluster
    Country: Nigeria


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    Source: Institute for Security Studies
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal

    In July 2016 the Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the United Nations (UN) sent a technical team to assess the situation in Mali and the Sahel. This was in response to the continued instability in the country, despite efforts by Malian and international forces. Plans for more offensive action against armed jihadist groups have been afoot for quite some time, but can they work?

    At the 27th African Union (AU) summit in Kigali, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smaïl Chergui announced that the AU was sending another technical team to Mali, together with the UN and all 11 members of the Nouakchott Process. The aim was ‘to see how we can deploy an African force [as part of] the UN in northern Mali to preserve the peace agreement’, he said.

    After being driven out of northern Mali in 2013 by French forces and the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), extremist groups have taken advantage of the unprotected deserts and ungoverned spaces in the region to launch attacks in Mali and neighbouring countries. This terrorist threat has complicated efforts to implement the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali signed on 20 June 2015.

    Decisive action needed against armed groups

    A decisive intervention against the insurgents in northern Mali is not only key to enabling Mali to implement the peace agreement but is also crucial for addressing the terrorist threats in the Sahel. A number of states in the region – Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger, among others – have been victims of attacks by jihadist elements from Mali such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine and al-Mourabitoun (also known as al-Qaeda in West Africa).

    It is in view of this regional threat that the AU initiated the Nouakchott Process on the enhancement of security cooperation and the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) in the Sahelo-Saharan region at a meeting in Mauritania in 2013. Eleven countries – Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Chad – are part of the Nouakchott Process.

    An AU-led regional intervention force for Mali is not a new idea. It was first proposed during the 24th AU summit in January 2015, in line with a decision by members of the Nouakchott Process on 18 December 2014. Speaking to the PSC Report last year, the former president of Burundi, Pierre Buyoya, the High Representative of the AU for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), said: ‘We believe that an intervention brigade is one way of doing so [strengthening the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA], particularly seeing that MINUSMA’s classical peacekeeping mandate does not seem to allow it to engage in offensive anti-terrorist operations, as was the case for MONUSCO in the DRC prior to the deployment of the Intervention Brigade.’

    A sense of urgency to silence the guns

    The proposed regional force for Mali reflects the AU’s increasing willingness to authorise peace enforcement missions. There is clearly a sense of urgency as the deadline draws near for ‘Silencing the Guns by 2020’, which is part of the AU’s Agenda 2063.

    The AU already has a Regional Task Force (RTF) of the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA). It also recently endorsed a regional protection force to impose peace in South Sudan. In West Africa the AU authorised the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) that is combating Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin. Furthermore, AU peace support operations have been authorised mainly in high-intensity conflict regions with barely any peace to keep. The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), for instance, has gradually transformed from a peacekeeping operation to a counter-terrorist force against al-Shabaab. The proposed regional force in Mali highlights the prioritisation of peace and security on the continent.

    Challenges and prospects for the regional force

    There has been no official information about the outcome of the technical mission to Mali. Some sources at the AU Peace and Security Department say that the envisaged regional force demands careful planning, because the mission will be set up in the difficult working environment of northern Mali. Notably, the extremely hot, dry climate and the thick dust in the region present difficulties for the mission, given that the intervention brigade would have to spend a considerable amount of time in the field in the fight against the insurgents. The Malian government’s limited presence in the north also presents challenges for such a regional force, which will have to set up its headquarters in unfamiliar terrain.

    Although the regional force is meant to combat terrorist forces, not all armed groups in the region are terrorists. This presents the operational challenge of identifying the actual terrorist groups. There remain a number of significant political and legal challenges to consider before establishing such a mission. These include issues around who the targets would be and the capacity of the regional force to operate across borders.

    Moreover, the AU’s counter-terrorist efforts face criticism for the slow pace of operationalising worthwhile frameworks. This is largely due to the poor commitment and coordination of states in the region, as well as uncertainty around the funding of robust and multi-stakeholder operations. MINUSMA already faces resource and capacity constraints that inhibit it from meeting its peacekeeping mandate. Over the years terrorists in the Sahel have benefitted from these weaknesses in the AU's counter-terrorism strategy.

    In the face of the recent deadly attacks across the Sahel, however, there has been greater bilateral and multilateral cooperation between states in the region. Attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso have encouraged closer cooperation between these countries in terms of sharing information and organising joint patrols. Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria already formed the MNJTF in 2015 and Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso formed the G5 Sahel in February 2014 to strengthen cooperation on development and security in the region.

    Among other priorities, the G5 intends to create a Joint Force of the G5 Sahel to address the security threats in the region. The joint force aims to cut off possible links between the jihadist elements in the Sahel and Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin. However, the potential synergies and modalities of cooperation between the proposed AU-backed regional force in northern Mali and the proposed Joint Force of the G5 Sahel remain unclear.

    Although the outcome of the AU technical mission to Mali is yet to be revealed, the challenges involved in deploying a regional force in Mali and the Sahel could result in a negative or delayed decision to authorise such a mission. To address the drivers of terrorism and conflict in the region, there is a need for a structural focus on the developmental needs of communities and for greater cooperation between partners.

    The need to prioritise development in the region

    The AU’s Nouakchott Process and its strategy for the Sahel are designed to serve as approaches that link development and security. There is a growing realisation that military operations alone cannot address the challenges in northern Mali and the Sahel. However, the implementation of the development and stability strategies thus far remains poor. In Mali the number of armed groups has increased steadily since the crisis in the region began in 2012, due to the poor actualisation of the developmental needs of communities and groups.

    The Mali peace agreement offered partial autonomy and a comprehensive development strategy in the north of the country, among other priorities. Yet despite the signing of the agreement, many people still do not feel represented by the peace deal due to the lack of implementation. There have been a number of protests over this. This highlights the need to quickly implement the agreement and address issues that foster armed rebellion and the growth of terrorism in northern Mali and the Sahel.

    At the 26th AU summit in January 2016, the AU Assembly asked the AU Commission to conduct consultations with a view to holding an international conference on peace and development in the Sahel. The AU also decided to establish a special fund for the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism at its 27th summit in July 2016. The envisaged conference and the special fund should give both the AU and its partners the opportunity to realise its developmental goals in the Sahel. MISAHEL and the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), an AU body, will have to play a major role in pushing for the operationalisation of the decisions, and set goals in Mali and the Sahel.


    0 0

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

    KEY DRIVERS OF THE CRISIS

    Food insecurity aggravated by chronic drought and negative coping strategies, in the context of limited capacity. Malnutrition is not only linked to food insecurity, but also caused by poor eating habits.

    Recent and former population displacement due to conflicts in neighboring CAR, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan (security volatility around Chad).

    Lack of functional health facilities and qualified medical staff (only 450 doctors for 13.2 million people), poor sanitation and limited access to clean water and basic services.

    A country prone to natural disasters such as drought, floods and crop enemies, which further undermine the already fragile livelihoods of the most vulnerable.


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