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Food Security and Nutrition
Protection and Access
Seán Hoy, Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland
Noh Kuy-duk, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Song Young-Min, Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Vibeke Grundtvig Søegaard, Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Norway
Robert Keller, Deputy Head of Mission Political and Economic Affairs, Embassy of Sweden
Pauline Torehall, Minister Counsellor, Head of Politics, Press and Information Section, Delegation of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS
Yassine Gaba, Head of Office, European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department, Nigeria
Manuel Mutrux, First Secretary for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Embassy of Switzerland for Nigeria, Chad, Niger and ECOWAS
Hendrikus Johannes Putker, First Secretary, North East Nigeria, Regional cooperation and ECOWAS, Embassy of Netherlands
Gaku Sato, First Secretary, Economic Development and Cooperation, Embassy of Japan
Friedrich Birgelen, First Secretary, Refugees, Migration, Humanitarian Assistance, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Helois Ellen, Cooperation Attaché, Embassy of France
Nick Cox, Disaster Assistance Response Team Leader, United States Agency for International Development, Embassy of United States of America
Kabura Zakama, Regional Coordinator for the North-East, Department for International Development, British High Commission
Yoon SANGCHUL, Embassy of the Republic of Korea
CHO HEE YOUNG, Embassy of the Republic of Korea
CHO Young Sook Song JINSUNG, Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Park Suk Hyun, Country Director of KOICA, Embassy of the Republic of Korea
- emergency food to up to one million people
- life-saving nutritional support to more than 600,000 starving children and pregnant and breastfeeding women
- safe drinking water for one million people
- emergency healthcare for 1.7 million people
- Food assistance for over 500,000 people
- Life-saving nutritional support to more than 27,500 children
- Safe drinking water for over 300,000 people
- Emergency health services for over 100,000 people
- Livelihood support for over 650,000 people
- Vaccinations for over 200,000 livestock
- The UK is providing £100m in new support in Somalia and another £100m in South Sudan for 2017/18.
- In addition to South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and North East Nigeria, the UK is at the forefront of the response to the Syria crisis. UK aid is helping millions of civilians caught up in the war; supporting Syrian refugees to remain in host countries in the region; and is enabling host countries to accommodate them.
- The UK has committed £2.3 billion to the Syria Crisis Response between 2012 and 2020. Since February 2012, across Syria and the region, we have distributed over 21 million food rations that feed a person for a month, over 6.5 million relief packages, over 6.2 million vaccines and provided over 4.8 million medical consultations
- We are supporting the governments of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to better cope with a protracted refugee presence, and enable Syrian refugees to remain in the region until they can safely return to Syria. Our programmes are aimed at meeting immediate humanitarian need. In addition, we are improving people’s lives by helping support children into school to avoid a lost generation, creating job opportunities and improving skills.
- 02/22/17--00:55: Niger: WFP Niger Country Brief, January 2017
The new Protracted Relief and Recover Operation (PRRO) 200961 “Strengthening resilience in Niger through an integrated multi-sector and multi-partner safety net approach” started. It will focus on two fundamentals pillars: the zero hunger objective and government capacity development.
At current operational levels of the new resilience project, USD 46 million are urgently needed for the implementation of activities for the next 6 months.
Due to lack of funding, WFP will not be able to assist 44 percent of planned school canteens.
- 02/22/17--09:17: South Sudan: Urgent food aid needed as famine strikes South Sudan
deliver political leadership to end the conflict in South Sudan
mobilize flexible, longer-term funding that allows experienced humanitarian actors to deliver programming to meet communities’ needs when windows of access exist
fully fund the response and maintain the core pipeline of nutrition commodities
enable unimpeded, unconditional access to currently inaccessible areas in Unity State.
5.1 million people urgently need food and livelihoods assistance
450,000 children suffering severe acute malnutrition
In 2016, humanitarian partners reached more than 2.3 million people with food and agriculture assistance and 1.1 million with water, sanitation and hygiene assistance
100,000 people already facing famine
1 million people on the brink of famine
5 million people urgently need food and livelihoods assistance
270,000 children suffering severe acute malnutrition
In 2016, humanitarian partners reached more than 5 million people with aid, including nearly 3.6 million with food assistance or emergency livelihoods support and more than 2 million people with access to clean water
2.9 million people urgently need food and livelihoods assistance
185,000 children suffering severe acute malnutrition
In 2016, humanitarian partners reached over one million people with food and livelihoods support, treated nearly 140,000 children for severe acute malnutrition, and provided water and sanitation to over one million people
7.3 million people urgently need food assistance
462,000 children suffering severe acute malnutrition
Humanitarian partners reached 5.3 million people with assistance in 2016, including an average of 3.8 million people with food assistance every month and 5.3 million people with direct health services
- 02/22/17--16:01: Nigeria: Millions of lives at risk in West Africa, aid agencies warn
- For full details of the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region: http://oslohumanitarianconference2017.org
- Presence of food
- Presence of functioning markets
- Access to agricultural inputs
- Access to agricultural land
- Presence of food
- Presence of functioning markets
- Access to agricultural inputs
- Access to agricultural land
$11 MILLION ALLOCATED FOR EQUATORIA PIPELINES RESPONSE
In December 2016, the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF) completed the allocation of nearly US$11 million to support priority humanitarian action during the dry season in the Greater Equatoria region. The reserve allocation – the second in 2016 – will fund 12 projects, including the procurement and transportation of core pipeline supplies to enable: treatment of life-threatening morbidities in conflict-affected communities; life-saving vaccination of children; provision of clean water, sanitation and hygiene; treatment of acute malnutrition; distribution of vital non-food items and emergency shelter supplies; and distribution of emergency livelihoods kits in areas where crops can be planted and harvested. Supplies will also be procured for inter-agency survival kits - a collection of essential, multi-sectoral life-saving items that are easily transported by foot and aim to improve people’s ability to survive in remote locations where they are cut off from access to basic items.The allocation prioritized sectors with the most acute humanitarian needs, with 22 per cent allocated for health, 21 per cent for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), 20 per cent for nutrition, 15 per cent for emergency shelter and non-food items, 11 per cent for protection, 7 per cent for food security and livelihoods and 4 per cent for education.
As a result of conflict, prolonged 22.9m drought and economic decline, 22.9 million people are severely food insecure across the eastern Africa region. Conflict in South Sudan, parts of Sudan and Somalia is aggravating food insecurity and causing displacement, which brings the number of refugees to nearly 4 million. Somalia, parts of Kenya and southeastern Ethiopia are in the grip of yet another severe drought. Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, and is a strong possibility in Somalia in 2017. Food prices are on the rise across the region, and malnutrition is above the emergency threshold in several locations. Healthcare facilities are overstretched by multiple disease outbreaks including measles, cholera, avian influenza and malaria. Insecurity and bureaucratic impediments are a hindrance to humanitarian operations, especially in Sudan, Somalia and South Sudan.
Maiduguri, Borno State Nigeria, 15 February 2017. Representatives of 12 donor countries and agencies completed a three-day mission to Borno State, northeast Nigeria, hosted by the UN Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The mission took place in advance of the first Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, to be co-hosted by Norway, Nigeria, Germany, and the UN in Oslo, Norway, on 23-24 February 2017. The objective of the mission was to increase understanding of the complex challenges through engagement with officials and IDPs and to take time to listen to the people whose lives have been devastated by Boko Haram violence. In this statement members of the donor delegation summarise their impressions, as an input to the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region.
During the three-day mission, the delegation visited several IDP sites and host communities in Maiduguri and in recently accessible Local Government Areas, including Bama and Gwoza. Meetings were held with key stakeholders, comprising H.E. the Governor of Borno State, the Theatre Commander of the Nigerian Army, religious leaders, civil society representatives, UN staff and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The team welcomed the opportunity to engage freely in open and constructive dialogue with all parties.
The delegation observed that coordination within the humanitarian community has improved significantly over recent months. This is clearly demonstrated through a scale-up in the humanitarian response, most notably in the increase of food assistance to reach over 1.13 million people in January 2017. This is a significant step forward in meeting the food and nutrition needs of 5.1 million food-insecure people, as identified in the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017. There are however huge levels of food needs yet to be covered.
While access continues to increase as a result of the military campaign, the humanitarian crisis in north east Nigeria has not yet ‘turned the corner’. The delivery of food and all basic services must expand until all IDPs are able to move freely to their homes, and pressure on host communities is reduced. This may take a long time given the scale and severity of this crisis. The international community has a role in supporting voluntary and sustainable returns. The overall situation remains fluid as access to previously stranded areas creates new humanitarian challenges. The humanitarian effort continuesto demand flexibility when responding to changes in the environment. The rapid response that saved many lives following the incident in Rann is fully acknowledged. The delegation focussed on the three themes of the Oslo Humanitarian Conference:
The food security and nutrition situation, as noted above, has improved over the past few months. The number of people currently receiving food assistance has increased tenfold since October 2016. The Food Security Sector’s initiative will continue to be a key component of the scale-up. It was also reported that the improvement in food assistance has reduced sale of sex for food. The vulnerability of women remains a grave concern and efforts to improve protection must be scaled-up. However, despite this impressive improvement in delivering assistance, the situation remains alarming with several million conflict-affected people with acute food and nutrition needs left unattended. There are major challenges ahead.
The situation in the north east is also a protection crisis. Continuing insecurity means that many people are unable to access humanitarian assistance, leaving them in desperate need of food, clean water, basic services and protection. Civilians continue to face threats of death, abduction, violence, gender-based violence, and looting. Positive developments regarding protection must be noted, including the strengthening of psychosocial support for victims of gender-based violence (GBV). The delegation welcomed the assurance by H.E. Governor Shettima that the return of all IDPs will be carried out with in a safe, dignified and secure manner in line with the Kampala Convention. The delegation also welcomes the initiative of the Nigerian Government to co-lead the protection session at the upcoming Oslo Humanitarian Conference.
The education sector has been devastated by the humanitarian crisis. Education has been interrupted in most areas by the Boko Haram insurgency. School children have been killed, abducted and displaced, leading to unacceptably high levels of trauma. The delegation welcomes the priority given by H.E. Governor Shettima to education and most particularly the education of girls. Without an immediate investment in education, Borno State risks the radicalisation of a new generation. While more than 1,200 schools have been destroyed, it is not possible to wait for all schools to be rebuilt. The delegation commends the establishment of emergency schools and child-friendly spaces in IDP settlements. All parties accept that it is vital to provide youth with formal and non-formal education as well aslivelihood skills. Psychosocial support should be provided for young conflict-affected learners. The delegation particularly welcomes the commitment by all religious leaders to use their places of worship as platforms to reach out to youth and to provide guidance that will help reduce the risk of radicalisation.
Other areas discussed included the investment in infrastructure, in the absence of a peace agreement. It is accepted that economic recovery and peace cannot begin without investment in the rebuilding of areas destroyed by conflict. Investment in reconstruction will help prevent a protracted crisis, as has been witnessed in other parts of the world. It should be primarily built on integrated humanitarian-development perspectives.
If these communities are supported by a continued military presence and a return to civil authority, this will provide a basis for peace, recovery and the creation of livelihood opportunities. In this context, the delegation welcomes the return of civil authority to some Local Government Areas, advocating for the redeployment of civilian authorities to precede and prepare the returns of IDPs in all newly accessible areas whenever possible and the investment in the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructures. Meanwhile, IDPs should be free to relocate to areas of their choice and be allowed to stay in camps.
As the nature of the conflict is changing, and more and more areas are coming under government control, now is the time to expand humanitarian assistance, protection, basic services and essential infrastructure.
The delegation can report substantive progress in the scale-up of the humanitarian response. The essential elements of the humanitarian infrastructure are in place. Most positions are now filled by experienced humanitarian workers. Programmes have been designed in close consultation with government that address the key challenges. The delegation is confident that additional funding will be used and reported on properly, consistent with the norms of the humanitarian best practice.
The delegation, through this statement, urges all stakeholders to continue and expand efforts to address this humanitarian crisis. Further funding is required immediately as outlined in the United Nations appeal. The delegation acknowledge the role played by the Government of Nigeria to date, the leadership of Governor Shettima and the selfless efforts of all humanitarian workers who operate in a difficult and risky environment.
The delegation also acknowledges the unprecedented levels of support from the Nigerian private sector.
Continued support from these generous sources is essential. Finally, we acknowledge the resilience of the survivors of this conflict who must now rebuild their lives in the hope of a better future.
This Media Statement is issued on behalf of the 2017 donor mission to northeast, Nigeria. The participants in this mission, representing 12 donor countries and agencies, are listed below.
Maiduguri, 15 February 2017 Participants in the donor mission to the north east of Nigeria 13 to 15 February 2017
The International Development Secretary Priti Patel has today announced new packages of life-saving UK aid for South Sudan and Somalia and issued a call to action to the international community to step up their support before it is too late.
Before this week there has been only one certified famine globally since 2000. Parts of South Sudan are now in famine and in 2017 there is a credible risk of another three famines in Yemen, North East Nigeria and Somalia. Drought and conflict in these countries are pushing families to the brink of starvation and there is also no end in sight to the six-year conflict which has ripped Syria apart.
As the world faces an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises, Priti Patel outlined how the UK will lead the world in supporting famine stricken areas. In response to famine warnings in Somalia and South Sudan she announced new UK support to provide lifesaving food, water and emergency healthcare which will save more than a million lives.
This is alongside continued life-saving aid to Yemen and North East Nigeria which provided food, medical supplies, water and emergency shelter to over two million people in 2016.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:
The world faces a series of unprecedented humanitarian crises and the real threat of famine in four countries. These crises are being driven by conflict and drought and we must respond accordingly. Our commitment to UK aid means that when people are at risk of dying from drought and disaster, we have the tools and expertise to avoid catastrophe.
In times of crisis, the world looks to Britain not just for our work on the ground, but also for our leadership internationally. While we step up our support for emergency food, water and lifesaving care to those in need, our message to the world is clear – we must act now to help innocent people who are starving to death.
In Somalia, more than six million people have no reliable access to food and there are 360,000 acutely malnourished children. All the signs are pointing to a famine as bad, or worse, than the one in 2011 which killed 260,000 people. The UK is acting now to prevent this.
Today’s announcement of new support to Somalia will provide:
In South Sudan, famine has now been declared and more than half the population is in desperate need. Almost five million face the daily threat of going without enough food and water and three million people have been forced from their homes because of ruthless violence and widespread rape. The UK is leading the way by providing:
In North East Nigeria, as Boko Haram is pushed out, we are increasing our humanitarian support. The UK is providing:
food to more than 1 million people treatment to 34,000 children at risk of death from hunger access to clean water and sanitation for more than 135,000 people In Yemen, the UK is delivering life-saving aid to the most vulnerable people which included supplying food, medical supplies, water and emergency shelter to over one million people last year.
To stop famine spreading and help support stability in these regions the system needs urgent reform. The UK is pushing for a faster, more effective international humanitarian system fit for the 21st century, which is firmly in our interests.
Notes to editors:
General media queries
Telephone: 020 7023 0600
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WFP supports the Government in implementing a multi-sectoral, integrated community-based approach to building household and community resilience, supporting the same vulnerable people through a flexible combination of unconditional and conditional food assistance over a pluri-annual programme. The approach aims to reduce the impact of seasonal stresses and prevent a peak in acute malnutrition and mortality. The innovative integrated response includes food assistance for asset (through food and cash), nutrition specific and - sensitive activities, school meals and related programmes (such as school gardens and local milling and processing initiatives), local purchases from smallholder farmers, as well as unconditional food assistance during the lean season. This integrated safety net package is geographically concentrated in the most vulnerable areas allowing it to strengthen the core capacities and skills of key institutions and communities and those left behind. A special attention is put on gender.
Activities are implemented in the pre- and post-harvest period to assist rural communities in revitalizing infrastructure, improving agricultural production and diversifying rural incomes. They are linked to the promotion of local production and purchases. The resilience programme relies on a participatory process amongst others through the three-pronged approach (national, subnational and community levels) relying on the seasonal livelihood programming and community-based participatory planning.
Malian refugees will continue to be assisted under the existing PRRO. Unconditional food assistance along with nutritional supplementation for children 6-23 months is provided to Malian refugees in all camps and hosting sites. The PRRO will aim to move towards targeting on the basis of vulnerability and where possible promote the integration of asset creation activities.
The Food Security Cluster has been active since 2010. WFP coleads the Cluster with FAO and continues coordination activities with the Government and other humanitarian partners.
The Regional Emergency Operation provides flexible assistance through unconditional and conditional food distributions, and nutritional supplementation for children aged 6-23 months as well as emergency school meals. The assistance is provided to an increasing number of refugees in and out of camps, returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host populations affected by the insecurity in northern Nigeria
UNMISS Spokesperson Daniel Dickinson - We are welcoming Radio Miraya listeners live to this press conference and you can also follow us live on twitter. The SRSG will make a few introductory remarks and then we will take some questions. And when you ask the question, can you please identify yourself and the media that you work for. Thanks very much. SRSG over to you.
SRSG Shearer -Thank you Daniel and good morning everybody. It’s good to be here. I’ve met some of you at various times over the past few weeks, when we we’ve been doing impromptu press statements but this is the first official one that I have done, and I am suggesting that we do this regularly, and if the situation or an event permits we will put on a special one in addition to that.
As Daniel said, it’s a great pleasure to have Radio Miraya tuned in on this live. I think that’s excellent and the fact that we have so much coverage with Radio Miraya across the country is a real asset for people to be able to hear this as well. I will just make couple of brief points and then I’m happy to take questions from people here
First of all I have been here just a little over a month now, it’s been a time as you can imagine when I have been trying to get an understanding of what is happening in the country; I have been meeting with many people within the government, some within the opposition and most importantly travelling around the country. So I have been to Rumbek, visited Wau, Bentiu, Malakal and today straight after this conference I will be going down to Yambio, and I am intending to travel, at least one day, probably two days every week. For the simple reason that while here in Juba, there’s 500,000 people; there’s 11,000,000 people out there in the rest of the country, and I want to be able to have a good look, and see the situation and context; both the political, humanitarian and the economic context, in which people are living. Being able to get around and talk to people, ordinary South Sudanese citizens where ever I meet them, has been a priority for me and I will continue to do that during my course of being the SRSG here.
That has been; I have to say just a comment on that, it’s been a really interesting time for me to able to understand what is going, both in terms of understanding the very complicated and often very different contexts in every place that I have been.
Rumbek; the tensions in Rumbek are very different from the tensions that I saw in Malakal for example, because of the politics, the ethnic makeup etc. so it’s important that I understand that context. But also from the point of view of understanding what the UN is doing out in the field, and a lot of what we are doing is unreported; some of the Civil Affairs work for example, that we are doing, bringing groups together, people together, working alongside the governors to be able to encourage dialogue, and reconciliation for example, is one thing that is very rarely reported and yet is very important to the work that the UN is doing.
So as I say I will continue to do that. Just a couple of mentions I think of the big news of this week, and that is yesterday, as you all know the president gave his address to the parliament, I was there and present and just couple of comments on that. First of all, I thought that his remarks about the national dialogue, basically expanding on what he had mentioned already in December were welcome. The fact that this is going to be something that will be led by the South Sudanese, we anticipated and expected that, which is good. And secondly and I think for the United Nations, our issue about that is, we have had a considerable amount of experience with national dialogues across the world. We had a couple of experts in here over the past week or so, on how to, in terms of running national dialogues what we have learned from other places, and we are ready to provide that support to the government as they progress forward.
I think the most important thing for us is to make sure that any national dialogue is inclusive, that means we are looking at the widest range of actors coming into that. If we are going to be genuine about seeking peace and ultimately there is reconciliation involved in that, then we have to spread the dialogue wide. But I was, I certainly welcomed the president’s attention to the national dialogue and the way that he laid it out.
Also in his speech he mentioned the issue of access, this is something that the international community certainly the United Nations, many humanitarian organizations have struggled with; gaining access. There is obviously logistical problems in the state of roads but more importantly is being able to get through check points and get permissions, to be able to travel from one place to another, and the fact that he mentioned, made mention of this things in his speech, and that he would ensure that we were able to get to particular areas was very welcome, as well, and we will certainly follow up on that as well.
So I thought the speech certainly touched on a number of issues which were of interest to us and we will continue that on, and it’s good to get that sort of interest at the highest level within the country
The other thing that I just wanted to touch on was the report of the FAO, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN that came out on Monday and this was about the famine situation in some parts of Unity State and the food deficits in other parts of the country as well.
I visited Unity state and several of those areas around Leer just two weeks ago, so I can confirm that the situation there is indeed serious, in terms of food shortages, and I guess that the two or three issues that I wanted just want to point out is that; first of all, there is nothing about these food shortages which is about a drought or climatic problems. It is all about man made problems, which is conflict, which has displaced people, it is meant that people are not able to partake in their ordinary livelihoods; they have been displaced and as a result they find themselves short of coping mechanisms and have to rely outside food aid. This is not a situation that we would like to see, we want to see people on their own, in their own homes, on their land and being able to cope for themselves.
Secondly the issue is obviously of trying to address some of those shortfalls, and that’s what the United Nations will try and do obviously with the support of donors. There’s’ going to be a need to be a very big donor mobilization in terms of being able to raise, attract money, to fund the shortfalls and we are looking at 1.6 billion dollar humanitarian appeal this year. It’s an enormous amount of money and it’s particularly tragic, as I say, because most of the problems are brought about because there isn’t peace in the country and people are leaving, and fleeing their homes. So obviously peace, ceasefire and getting back onto the track of the peace process is, we believe, is a priority not just for the future of the country but obviously for the people who are suffering most, which as always are, women and children in many of the places which can’t be accessed.
And so let me leave it there, and I am happy to take further questions; I just wanted to touch on those three points, obviously my introductory remarks about being here for one month, the national dialogue and the results of the FAO food survey that came out recently. Thank you
Spokesperson: Okay thank you. So questions please, do we have a microphone. Oh great Taban thanks
Reuters: My question is a bit different from what you have just mentioned, given the recent high level resignation by the military officers in charge of the SPLA court. What does the UN think about whether soldiers are accountable, for abuses and is UNMISS following up on the case of Kubi gang rape case for example? Thank you.
SRSG Shearer -Just in terms of the resignations of staff, I don’t have a comment on that. That is something that it’s really about the government to address rather than who is in the government and who is not in the government. I mean they’ve stated their reasons for leaving, I have no ability to verify one way or the other about that. But coming to your point on the…look when it comes to trying and holding soldiers to account for possible atrocities that they have committed yes, absolutely, we are, we believe that it is the position of the government that these soldiers should be held to account, and that they should be put in front of a proper tribunal or a court, and their case be heard.
I was pleased to see that there was change in direction, in terms of ensuring that people are given a trial, before any punishment might be meted out. The UN does not sanction executions, but we definitely believe that any sort of climate of impunity only encourages more atrocities to take place, so it’s important that we, that the government stamps down firmly on any abuses that might occur, in the course of operations and makes sure that, that that goes before proper judicial process.
Radio Miraya -Recently we had a situation in Wau Shilluk; I just read a release yesterday by CTSAMM that they were denied access into the area. Now I am wondering what does the mission know about the situation in Wau Shilluk, did the mission have access there? Can you just shed a little bit of light about Wau Shilluk?
Answer: Yes I was in Malakal last week, we had discussions with the SPLA, with the governor there, and we have wanted to get into Wau Shilluk for the last few days, so far we have been denied access by the SPLA. The reason we want to get access into the area is simply is because we want to see the plight of the civilians and what needs are there so that we can mobilize potential humanitarian assistance to assist those people. We are continuing to try to get into Wau Shilluk and also to Kodok, further north along the Nile River, where we understand many people have fled to. But at the moment, we lack the ability to understand exactly, what the situation for people is, and that’s our sole concern; which is about making sure we are able to address, we think about 20,000 people, which have fled Wau Shilluk and are likely to be heading North on the West Bank of the Nile and what their situation might be.
Al Jazeera: So the UN has been calling for a return to the peace process since July, may be even before that but all we have seen since then is more people fleeing, more fighting, lack of access, for humanitarian actors and now we’ve got the declaration of famine. Isn’t it time you tried something else besides calling the government to return to the peace process, or is it that you are out of options?
SRSG Shearer - Well I think the peace process is, has been set down, it’s well established, there have been significant discussions by regional partners, which at the end of the day, I guess are the parents of the peace process; in terms of IGAD and JMEC, that are here on the ground. They have the particular role of monitoring and ensuring that the various phases of the peace process are undertaken. And there has been some; certainly I was in Addis about three weeks ago where there was certainly an agreement amongst the IGAD countries and the AU, about providing a greater degree of focus from President Konare and from President Mogae here on the ground, to move things forward. But ultimately when it comes to peace, that peace is in the heads of the government and the opposition group here in the country. I mean it has to be on the basis of a negotiated settlement and so having those players involved is a positive thing, but ultimately it lies in the hands of those people who are fighting, that are where peace ultimately rests with
DPA News Agency: You mentioned that the famine that was declared two days ago was man made, can you elaborate more on that, second what will be the intervention or the role played by UN or UNMISS since there is food deficit in the country, How would you fill that gap?
SRSG – Shearer - In contrast to other parts of the region and the East Africa region where for example in Ethiopia they are suffering from drought and that is being the reason for their short fall, here in South Sudan, with the exception of the area around kapiweto and the very extreme sort of South East, there hasn’t been any climatic issues around food deficit. What’s happening instead is with the fighting in the Equatorias which is traditionally food basket of South Sudan, we've had many hundreds and thousands of people fleeing that area which means they are not producing food which means there's a ,just in that area there is a 100,000 metric ton deficit in the food as a result of production that will not go ahead because people are simply not there. So they are fleeing because of conflict, they are fleeing because they fear for their lives and as a result of that we have a food deficit. On top of that the conflict has exacerbated the economic situation so the inflation rate means that peoples' ability to buy food with the South Sudanese Pounds has been eroded and that has also created major problems and particularly for people up in Western Bahr el Ghazal and that area which relied on trade and food being able to get up there. We’ve seen livestock prices falling and cereal prices rising and that's creating problems for families in those areas as well. So that's what I mean by man-made situation. In terms of intervention , the WFP who leads this operation has been doing so very successfully and very professionally over the last few years- will continue its plan for the distribution of food and where there's food , obviously what we would like to is to be able to move food by road because we can move most by road or in some cases by barge, we are having problems with access with the rainy season coming , the roads for example from Juba to Wau , through the Bentui and around that arc around the western part of the country will become more difficult with rains , but we are also seeing multiplying of the number of small check points which are along that road as well . And there are now several dozen check points which stop our vehicles for various reasons and that is why I was pleased that the President mentioned in his speech that they would facilitate access , because that message has to go right down to not just from the Generals but right down to the unlisted people on checkpoints . So they will roll out a very large program and where we can reach areas by road or by barge, we will have to consider air drops but they are hugely expensive and they don't deliver the amount of food that is needed in those particular areas, particularly in Unity State which is the most severe. I have to say I mean the world hasn’t declared famine for five years in any area of the world. This is the first that happened in five years. We will certainly do our best to reach those people, the citizens of South Sudan who are not getting enough food.
This Day News Paper - As you did mention in your briefing that you welcome the national dialogue that the president put clearly yesterday at the national assembly and in your own opinion you have seen the political situation, the senior members of the government are resigning and they are also some analysts from across the country and outside the country are criticizing the National dialogue that it is not going to be inclusive In your opinion how is it going to be in terms of peace building ?
SRSG – Shearer - I think that's a very important question. We have said from the very beginning when the National dialogue was first announced, the UN would support an inclusive national dialogue. So it has to be inclusive. The second point is we haven't seen the details of the national dialogue yet, only seen the broad kind of layout of how it might go ahead. So we are waiting to see how those details might emerge. but I think the third thing is as you said it has to be inclusive and therefore we will offer the support that we can provide to make sure that happens and we have been involved in national dialogues in Yemen, Tunisia, Mali, just to name a few where the UN has supported national efforts on the ground to bring the various parties together. We have offered that support and we will provide that support so that it does meet what we would like to consider the conditions to make sure that the national dialogue is in fact inclusive.
VOA - You did say peace agreement is well established deal. Are you convinced on the full implementation of the peace deal so far? My second question is on the issue of access; yes you did mention the several blockages, is this across the country or is this in the Wau Shilluk area? Can you shed a bit of light how serious is the issue of accessibility especially UNMISS is facing in attempts to reach several areas that are in need of humanitarian aid?
SRSG shearer -Just on your first point I think I touched on that before to say that there is a peace agreement that was established and I think after the fighting of last year, the process has definitely not taken place, not progressed in the way that we would want it to, that's obvious, what we are hoping with the engagement of the international community in particular the regional community, we might be able get back on the track again. That’s certainly our hope. On access, access takes various forms, certainly Wau Shulluk is one particular example, but it's one example of many where we had been asked to go to particular areas. We wanted to go to kajo keji the other day and we had to wait four days before we were able to get clearance to go. In the end I asked the forces and police group that was going down the road there who had been turned back I think three days in a row , they slept at the checkpoints and finally they were able to go down there the following morning . We will continue to be robust about wanting to go to particular places and we will make that clear to the government; but let me give you another example of lacking access. We have well over hundred military personnel who are joining various peacekeeping groups across the country who are waiting outside for visas at the moment and there is some problem within the bureaucracy of the government which is not allowing them to be able to get into the country. This is a real problem and it interferes with the effective operations of our forces. As I said to the government we as the UN, are required by the Security Council to record areas where there have been access problems or were we have a violation of state of forces agreement that has been signed between the UN and the government of south Sudan . And we record those and we send that to the Security Council. I would be delighted if we were able to see a reduction in a number of those violations and so we are able to say to the Security Council the situation is getting better. I think that would be positive on both sides, both on the government side and for the UN as well. So I would like to see a greater degree of compliance with agreements that are already signed some time ago.
Channel News Asia - Yesterday the President urged people living in the PoC sites to move back to their homes. Is this something the mission is advocating for or supports that? And if that's true how will the mission support the transition between leaving the camps and settling back in their homes?
SRSG Shearer - This is a good question, thank you. Yes we do support people moving out the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camps, but that has to happen voluntarily from the people who leave. We are not pushing them out. What we need to be able to do is to establish the conditions which will encourage them to go back. And there are two major conditions; one is they feel secure physically form the security point of view, that when they are going back, they are going back to their homes and there is not going to be threat or risk of their lives and I have asked our peace keeping forces wherever possible to be able to push out of the camp and start doing patrols in conjunction with the governor of the particular area so that these people can have a greater sense of confidence about being able to move back. Second part of that confidence is making sure that they have the ability to particularly when they move back where their lively hoods are destroyed, where they don't have anything to fall back on, just to make sure that food distributions for example are able to happen in the place of their residence. And we are looking at that with humanitarian organizations to try and coordinate so that is able to happen and we have done that. To give you one small example when we do food in the town of Leer, anybody from the PoC site which is about sixteen or seventeen hundred people near the peacekeeping camp, they have to go to town to pick it up. So people are slowly starting to drift back to their homes. So it is a voluntary thing, but we can try and put the conditions in place for people to move back. It's incredibly important over the next couple of months because as you know the rainy season will be here, people will need to start planting. If they missed this planting season, then we are condemned to having another cycle of a year for people to be in camps because they can’t go back to their homes. So we are anxious that we are able to move people along as much as possible. So thanks for the question.
Radio Miraya - Could you tell us more about humanitarian response planned given the fact that famine was declared in the country and there is this response planned that government and humanitarian agencies put in place (paraphrased)
SRSG shearer- The price tag is on 1.6 billion dollars. There is an increase in the number of people that we are trying to reach particularly with food aid. That's the critical issue and that's getting more than five and a half million people will be in food deficit this year. So that is an increase from last year by half a million of people. In addition to that obviously there's an array of health requirements that is needed in addition to food. I think food takes up about a billion dollars of that more than one and a half billion. In addition to that what we are trying to do is to not look at simple kind of basic food supply but also some of the seeds, tools, fishing equipment etcetera which will enable people being more self-sufficient on top of that as well . And that's part of the array of support as well as to education, and as I said to health services. So it’s a very big package, the critical issue will be whether the donors will be able to support. I hope they do ,because clearly people are in desperate need and what we would like obviously is the government has said that it would provide I think one percent of the total as well from its budget and we will certainly welcome the government's contribution as they committed to when it was launched earlier this week
Aljazeera - Mr. David you said that you're hoping that the peace process gets back on track , obviously that's very challenging with so many fragmented armed groups , not just between the government and the opposition IO but there are so many armed groups in the Equatorias and parts of the greater Upper Nile , grater Unity State . My question is , how long do you think South Sudanese can take before the UN or the International Community actually decides to take a stronger step to try to make sure that South Sudan survives?
SRSG shearer -I think the UN has been taking pretty strong steps if you read for example the response from the Security Council , I can’t think about a place where it was any stronger than the statement that has come out of the Security Council . You know it depends on what you are anticipating in a sense the UN is able to do. We had 12,000 troops and we are able to keep the peace but basically as you said there is has been some fragmentation and there is not a lot of peace to be kept at the moment but ultimately it is only true and I guess we have a process which is in track certainly from the regional countries supporting the promotion of a peace agreement. That's definitely there and it’s been a re-commitment over the last two or three weeks. We are hopeful that, that commitment will provide the spot to get the peace process back on track again.
UNMISS Spokesperson - Thanks everybody, thanks for coming and we hope to see you soon.
Pope Francis has urgently appealed for food aid to help millions of South Sudanese “condemned to death by hunger”. His plea followed the United Nation’s declaration of famine in the stricken country, with 275,000 children severely malnourished and more than 5 million people urgently in need of food and agricultural assistance.
The pope has called on all involved to send food aid to South Sudan: “where a fratricidal conflict compounded by a severe food crisis condemns to death by starvation millions of people, including many children.”
“Caritas Internationalis is deeply concerned,” said Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. “This famine is a direct consequence of a protracted conflict and almost four years of indescribable violence and abuses committed against the population.”
The brutal combination of civil war, a collapsing economy and drought have brought communities already living on the brink to their knees. Many were unable to harvest last August and September due to insecurity, and the second planting season due in April is now threatened.
“Our worst fears have come to pass,” said Fergus Conmee of UK Caritas agency CAFOD, reporting to the British TV channel ITV from Yirol in South Sudan. “Hunger is evident in the thinness of children and the way clothes hang from the bodies of people already suffering.”
The next crops are not due for six months, and then only if there is rain, and, as Fergus Conmee warns, “unless they get food now, the women who are usually responsible for tilling the land … will be too weak to do so.”
In its first official famine declaration since the crisis in Somalia in 2011, when 250,000 people died, the UN has joined the South Sudanese government to announce famine in Unity State. This follows a warning issued last week by the World Food Programme that 20 million people across Africa may be facing famine over the next six months.
Irish Caritas agency Trocaire’s Head of International Division Sean Farrell has just returned from the region. As he reports, with their stocks of grain long gone, people are being reduced to foraging for wild leaves in the forest. Even these are fast disappearing.
“Food supplies are practically gone,” he told Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 “and families are really, really struggling. If there is not a large international effort, then people will die. It is a pretty abysmal situation.”
Caritas South Sudan reports that “access to basic services such as food, water, shelter and protection remains dire and there is a lack of good sanitation”. Caritas and local churches are responding to immediate disaster needs of their local communities as well as the displaced people who arrive daily.
Across the dioceses of Yei, Torit, Wau and Juba, nearly 22,000 vulnerable people including children have been sheltered from fighting in church compounds. Caritas South Sudan is working in committees with local people to provide and coordinate assistance focused on food, water, sanitation and shelter.
Caritas is also supporting people with the wider issues thrown up by the insecurity, overcrowding and hunger, such as the large number of lone children, women affected by or at risk of gender-based violence, and an entire population psychologically affected by trauma. Peace-building efforts continue.
The almost constant fighting in South Sudan since 2013 has caused human suffering on a dreadful scale. Accounts of atrocities are widespread, as rival militias roam the fledgling state shooting, looting and burning. Delivering aid is fraught with difficulty, with humanitarian supplies being looted by militias and aid workers threatened by the conflict.
“Caritas Internationalis calls on all parties to the conflict to stop the fighting and immediately allow unimpeded and safe access to humanitarian actors to reach the affected populations with food and essential humanitarian assistance,” says Secretary General Michel Roy.
The UN estimates that over 3.4 million people, nearly a third of the population, have been forced from their homes since the conflict began. Nearly 2 million are displaced – still in the country but without their homes and farms – while the rest are refugees in neighbouring countries.
The Caritas network is active in assisting refugees from South Sudan.
Caritas Uganda raised appeal funds to deliver emergency assistance at Bidi Bidi refugee camp which has sprung up in the last seven months in northern Uganda, and is now the second biggest refugee camp in the world, with upwards of 270,000 South Sudanese who have fled for their lives.
As of October 2016, children constituted 62% of Minawao camp’s population and out of 29,000 children of school-going age, 40% were not enrolled. Within this group, 10,000 adolescents aged between 14 to 17 years had never been to school in Nigeria or had been attending Koranic School, leaving them with little to no previous educational experience. This makes providing accelerated learning programmes that are adapted to their age and skill level all the more urgent. Compounded with these difficulties are the protection risks that out of school children and youth face such as engaging in negative coping mechanisms and involvement in illicit activities. This is particularly relevant to youth of secondary school age who do not enroll in or drop out of school to support their families.
To bridge systemic challenges such as language barriers (English speaking Nigerians vs French as official schooling language) or overcrowded classrooms, a bilingual secondary school was established in 2014 in Minawao and primary schools run in double shifts. Despite ongoing efforts to expand quality primary and secondary education, critical challenges remain. Firstly, there are not enough infrastructures available in which to conduct lessons and pedagogical activities. In addition, there are not enough teaching staff to supervise a constantly growing student body. In this respect, all activities are adversely affected by the excessively high student to classroom ratio (150-200:1 at primary level and 90-100:1 at secondary level). Secondly, there are severe material shortages such as school kits, uniforms, and also computers. Overall, parents’ prejudicial behaviour towards formal education has further hindered the adoption of good practices and reduced the chances for sustained attendance.
In 2017, more than a 100 classrooms and 50 latrines will need to be constructed. School kits, uniforms and teaching materials will have to be distributed to 20,000 students and classrooms equipped with benches and desks. Education actors will advocate for the deployment of trained teachers and provide capacity building. Financial assistance will also have to be provided to 320 children in primary and secondary schools in order for them to sit their exams. Education actors will work with the Livelihoods sector to provide vocational and skills training activities. Adult literacy programmes will target 3,000 adults in Minawao camp and will also encourage beneficiaries, including from the host community, to benefit from trainings. In synergy with other sectors, education actors will work to ensure children’s rights are protected and propose a holistic approach to the education response with the technical support of relevant Ministries.
Famine declared for first time anywhere since 2011 Horn of Africa crisis
(JUBA & NEW YORK) February 21, 2017—Action Against Hunger issued an urgent call for political leadership to end the conflict in South Sudan in response to the official declaration of famine in Unity State, where an estimated 100,000 people face catastrophic levels of hunger and imminent risk of death. According to an alert issued on February 20th by the government of South Sudan, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), and the IPC Global Emergency Committee, which includes Action Against Hunger, the number of people projected to be severely affected by food shortages between February and July 2017 is unprecedented. A total of 4.9 million people—42 percent of the country’s population—are in urgent need of food assistance, and according to a joint statement from three major UN agencies, an estimated 1 million people in other parts of South Sudan are on the brink of famine, per the IPC classification.
“Make no mistake, the declaration of famine in Leer and Mayendit counties of Unity State is not a surprise,” said Action Against Hunger’s Chief Executive, Andrea Tamburini. “As we know from decades of experience, famines are manmade. The warning signs have been impossible to miss. And yet, even at this critical juncture, the international humanitarian response is shamefully underfunded, humanitarian personnel face frequent threats to their safety, and the political commitment to end the crisis remains inadequate.”
In December 2013, civil war broke out in South Sudan. Although a peace agreement was brokered in 2015, violence erupted again in April of the same year. Much of the population in Unity State was displaced, and humanitarian actors could not gain access to areas worst affected. Since then, political upheaval and ongoing conflict—combined with widespread insecurity, inflation, food deficits, and an unstable economy—have contributed to a spiralling humanitarian emergency. Action Against Hunger, via its Surveillance and Evaluation Team, has conducted several technical assessments in Unity State and other parts of South Sudan, quantifying prevalence of acute malnutrition that far exceeded emergency thresholds.
“The IPC analysis and the data have been telling us a consistent story, clearly signaling where large-scale humanitarian assistance is needed most acutely, ” said Action Against Hunger’s Director of Programs for South Sudan, Rebeckah Piotrowski. “We have the tools and data to anticipate and take action before it is too late. It is unacceptable for the international community to wait for crises to dramatically deteriorate before mobilizing an adequate response.”
According to the IPC alert, humanitarian assistance throughout 2016 “not only sustained but also improved food security” in many areas. But access barriers that prevent humanitarian organizations from reaching populations “remain a major challenge in delivering lifesaving interventions” and gathering data on needs in the worst affected areas. In places like Northern Bahr el Ghazal, where Action Against Hunger has been able to reach communities and maintain a significant presence, our programs have improved levels of food security and reduced the prevalence of malnutrition.
“In increasingly complex, protracted emergencies, we must do more than just keep people alive,” said Tamburini. “In South Sudan, of course, our immediate priorities today are to save lives and alleviate suffering. But we must also think about what’s next and get beyond the tunnel vision of traditional emergency response. We need to plan for solutions that help chart a course in which communities can rebuild and become more resilient to crisis.”
Today, South Sudan has arrived at a deadly tipping point. Humanitarian actors are overstretched in the face of overwhelming needs, insufficient funding, and a volatile environment. It is evident that humanitarian actors are incapable of resolving the crisis itself but instead are left struggling to meet the needs with a lack of access, funding and supplies.
With utmost urgency, Action Against Hunger calls on the international community and all parties to the conflict to:
Without a political solution and safe, unconditional access to populations in need, suffering will increase and more children will die. South Sudan is now entering the “lean season,” when food stocks will be depleted even more drastically before the next harvest. Unless a large-scale humanitarian response is mobilized immediately, the IPC projects that the situation in Unity State, as well as in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, will deteriorate even further over the next six months. The world shares a collective responsibility to take action today to prevent the nation from sliding even deeper into tragedy. The time to act is now: we cannot fail the people of South Sudan.
Action Against Hunger is meeting urgent humanitarian needs of populations in four states of South Sudan: Jonglei, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Central Equatoria (Juba). We are reaching more than 349,500 people with lifesaving emergency food and nutrition programs, as well as livelihoods and water and sanitation interventions. Our multisector emergency team is responding on the frontlines of the widespread food crisis, supporting emergency assessments and lifesaving humanitarian action where it is most needed.
ABOUT ACTION AGAINST HUNGER
Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger. We save the lives of malnourished children. We ensure families can access clean water, food, training, and health care. We enable entire communities to be free from hunger. With more than 6,500 staff in over 45 countries, our programs reached 14.9 million people in 2015.
I. FOOD SECURITY DASHBOARD (JANUARY – NOVEMBER 2016)
The Food Security Dashboard tracks and reports on food security situation and number of people reached with various food security interventions. During the period, Dashboard showed that 1,568,850 vulnerable persons were reached with different food security related activities or interventions.
The following are the breakdown of activities/interventions as per the three key FSS objectives of food assistance, livelihoods and agriculture production inputs, as detailed below:
i. Food Assistance Interventions (in-kind and cash-based transfers) - 1,368,361 people were reached with various food assistance interventions implemented by partners. This figure is expected to increase significantly through the on-going scale-up of food assistance by WFP and partners through its rapid response mechanism, targeting food insecure population in both accessible and hard-to-reach areas.
ii. Livelihoods-53,636 people were reached with various livelihood activities and interventions including small-businesses/entrepreneurship, income generating activities and training.
iii. Agricultural production inputs-146,853 people were reached with agricultural production inputs including seeds, tools, fertilizer, livestock (small ruminants re-stocking) and training n Borno, Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe
La malnutrition est chronique et alarmante. La malnutrition aigüe sévère (MAS, à 3,7%) demeure au-dessus du seuil d’urgence (2%) en 2016, du fait des difficultés d’accès à l’eau potable, des pratiques d’hygiène insuffisantes, des grossesses rapprochées et de la mauvaise utilisation des intrants nutritionnels. Le taux de MAS est le 3ème plus élevé parmi les 23 régions du pays. La situation nutritionnelle au Guéra requiert une attention particulière des acteurs pour prévenir la malnutrition, renforcer les programmes de prise en charge de la malnutrition aiguë et améliorer la couverture des interventions dans la région.
Une personne sur deux souffre d’insécurité alimentaire dans la région. Le département de Mangalmé a été particulièrement affecté pendant la dernière période de soudure (juin – août 2016) par la baisse de production agricole lors de la campagne 2015/2016. Il est donc primordial de consolider et soutenir les activités dans le secteur de la sécurité alimentaire pour renforcer la résilience et les moyens d’existence des populations.
La région montagneuse du Guéra dispose de faibles ressources en eau potable. Des efforts sont nécessaires pour améliorer l’accès à l’eau potable par la construction d’infrastructures hydrauliques et maintenir durablement les ouvrages d’approvisionnement en eau.
Egalement, il est essentiel de développer des puits pastoraux pour les animaux et prévenir des conflits entre les agriculteurs et les éleveurs autour des points d’eau.
Published under: Solberg's Government
Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Press release | Date: 2017-02-22
The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is now so severe that the UN has declared a famine in parts of the country. ‘The situation is acute. We must act now to save lives. Norway is therefore providing NOK 135 million for emergency relief efforts in South Sudan,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. One of the world’s most serious humanitarian crises is continuing to unfold in South Sudan. Armed conflict broke out in the country in December 2013, and there are still daily clashes between government and opposition forces. According to UN estimates, 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Around half of these are in urgent need of food.
‘It is the South Sudanese people who are paying the price for the conflict in the country. Sexual violence, abuse and other violations of human rights are widespread. The humanitarian crisis we are now witnessing is largely man-made. Norway consistently highlights this in our talks with the South Sudanese parties,’ said Mr Brende.
Mr Brende stressed once again that the responsibility for bringing an end to the conflict lies with the South Sudanese Government and the parties to the conflict.
‘The hostilities must cease if we are to be able to deliver emergency relief to all those in need of protection, food, drinking water, medical help and shelter. The rainy season will set in in a few months’ time. We must act now to get help through, while the roads are still dry and passable,’ Mr Brende said. More than 3.4 million people have fled their homes. Of these, 1.5 million have fled to neighbouring countries. In addition to helping the population in South Sudan, Norway will also provide support to South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries. Every week, thousands of South Sudanese flee across the border to Uganda, which has received a total of 700 000 refugees. Most of the refugees are women and children.
The support provided by Norway will go primarily to efforts to improve food security, protection and education, and will be channelled through experienced humanitarian organisations: the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a number of Norwegian NGOs.
Norway has been one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to South Sudan for several years, and in 2016 provided more than NOK 590 million in humanitarian support to the country.
More than 20 million people in North-East Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are facing famine or a credible risk of famine over the coming six months.
With access to people in need and sufficient funding, the United Nations and its partners can avert famine and provide the necessary relief and support where famine already exists.
To avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the four countries over the coming months, the United Nations and its partners will continue to scale up humanitarian operations.
Lifesaving assistance in the areas of food and livelihoods, nutrition, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene will be prioritised as these represent the key sectors of famine response and prevention.
The United Nations is also stepping up cooperation between humanitarian and development partners. Strengthening such links, we are seeking not only to save lives but to build the resilience necessary for people to withstand future shocks.
Overall, humanitarian operations in the four countries require more than US$5.6 billion in 2017, of which $4.4 billion is required for the key sectors by March. These figures may rise as the crises unfold.
Effective and efficient humanitarian delivery relies on access to reach people in need. The UN and its partners call for full, safe and unimpeded access to all those in need, wherever they are.
14 February 2017, Juba, South Sudan - Despite the ongoing complex humanitarian crises in South Sudan, the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and partners are responding to the latest cholera outbreak in the former Jonglei and Lakes States. The outbreak of cholera was first detected in June 2016 and since then 5 006 cholera cases and 99 deaths (CFR 1.98%) have been reported from 12 Counties in nine states countrywide.
“The outbreak poses a significant threat given the security concerns in affected and at-risk locations and the drastic deterioration of the health care infrastructure. Currently over 11% of health facilities in the affected locations are non-functional. The national health system’s capacity to respond to the cholera outbreak has been severely compromised by the continuing decline in health system performance due to conflict,” said Dr Abdulmumini Usman, WHO Representative to South Sudan.
Most cases are currently reported from Mingkaman, Panyijiar, Mayendit, Bentiu PoC, and Bor South. Cholera has also been confirmed in Shambe, Adior, and Langmatot in Yirol East and Duk and Twic East in Jonglei. The health of these populations is already compromised as a result of food shortages, increased malnutrition and lack of adequate health services. Without a sustained multisector response, cases of cholera are likely to increase.
WHO support to control the cholera outbreak
WHO and the Ministry of Health have activated national and sub-national cholera taskforce committees covering overall coordination and resource mobilization; case management, surveillance and laboratory, WASH, Risk Communication and Social Mobilization, Logistics and use of safe and effective oral cholera vaccines. To address the rising need to treat critically affected patients, WHO and partners deployed the rapid response team to help contain the epidemic and treat those affected.
WHO with funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Government of Japan and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been supporting the cholera prevention and treatment efforts through provision of supplies including tents and cholera kits, strengthening disease surveillance and comprehensive disease investigation through the deployment of rapid response teams, training community health workers to conduct house-to-house case identification, initiation of treatment with ORS and referral to designated treatment centers, establishment of cholera treatment center as well as supporting social mobilization and community engagement activities.
WHO and health cluster partners has identified nine high-risk IDP locations including: Bentiu PoC, Mingkaman, UN House PoC, Bor PoC, Malakal PoC, Mayendit North, Leer Town, Panyijiar, and Wau PoC and IDP sites – that will be prioritized for emergency complementary oral cholera vaccination. WHO has initiated steps to secure the vaccines and lead partners have been identified to deploy the vaccines to the selected IDP sites. The oral cholera vaccine requests will be placed in three phases with the first two phases prioritizing IDP sites (Leer, Mayendit, Mingkaman, Bentiu PoC, Bor PoC, and Panyijiar) with active transmission. At least 300,000 doses of oral cholera vaccines for Leer and Mayendit North have already been requested by WHO from the emergency stockpile.
As part of the response, WHO delivered supplies including cholera kits that provide treatment for 700 people, rapid diagnostic test kits, Cary Blair, backpack, hand sprayer, IV fluids. To improve case detection and treatment of cholera, WHO has also distributed cholera preparedness and response guidelines.
With the overall goal of reducing mortality and morbidity related to cholera, health cluster partners with support from the common humanitarian funds have supported service delivery through the deployment of rapid response teams to implement the cluster strategy on outbreak response and to ensure accountability to the affected population. Health cluster partners have worked on risk assessments and provided micro plans to support the response.
Given the overall situation in South Sudan, containing the outbreak at an early stage is critical to avoid the spread of the disease. The failure to control the outbreak could have immense public health consequences, straining the overstretched capacity of health services and resulting in an increase of morbidity and mortality.
For more information please contact:
Dr Allan Mpairwe, Allan, +211 955 372 370, email@example.com
Dr Wamala Joseph Francis, +211955036445, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Magdalene Armah, +211955036448, email@example.com
Ms Jemila M. Ebrahim, +211 950 450 007, firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 20 million people in North-East Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are facing famine or a credible risk of famine over the coming six months. With access to people in need and sufficient funding, the United Nations and its partners can avert famine and provide the necessary relief and support where famine already exists.
To avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the four countries over the coming months, the United Nations and its partners will continue to scale up humanitarian operations. Lifesaving assistance in the areas of food and livelihoods, nutrition, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene will be prioritised as these represent the key sectors of famine response and prevention.
"One of the biggest obstacles we face now is funding. Humanitarian operations in these four countries require more than $5.6 billion this year. We need at least $4.4 billion by the end of March to avert a catastrophe. Despite some generous pledges, just $90 million has actually been received so far – around two cents for every dollar needed", said UN Secretary-General António Guterres today addressing a packed press briefing at UN headquarters. "Funding shortages have already forced the World Food Programme to cut rations in Yemen by more than half since last year. Without new resources, critical shortages will worsen within months."
The United Nations is also stepping up cooperation between humanitarian and development partners. Strengthening such links, we are seeking not only to save lives but to build the resilience necessary for people to withstand future shocks.
Effective and efficient humanitarian delivery relies on access to reach people in need. The UN and its partners call for full, safe and unimpeded access to all those in need, wherever they are.
"The lives of millions of people depend on our collective ability to act", Mr Guterres stressed. "We have heard the alerts. Now there is no time to lose."
Aid agencies today warned that lives are at risk unless there is a substantial increase in funds to help over seven million people facing hunger in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The warning from Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) comes as the UN, governments and donors meet in Oslo, Norway to pledge funds to tackle the crisis that wracks an area known as the Lake Chad Basin. The UN has appealed for $1.5 billion to meet the emergency needs in 2017. Last year’s appeal was only 52 per cent funded.
Pauline Ballaman, Oxfam’s head of operations in the Lake Chad Basin area, said: “The risk of famine is real in parts of northern Nigeria. Millions of people have been pushed to the brink after years of conflict. Unable to grow or buy food, or get the help they desperately need, many have died.
"Aid has managed to make some people's lives better - but without urgent funding and access to areas where people are cut off from aid, we could see levels of hunger and malnutrition deteriorate further and many more lives lost."
Over the last four years the conflict with Boko Haram has intensified and spread from North East Nigeria across the border into Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Over 2.6 million people – of which 1.5 million are children – have fled their homes in search of safety and nearly 11 million people are in need of emergency aid. In Borno State in northeast Nigeria, at least 400,000 people could be living in 'famine-like' conditions.
Nigerian government forces have recaptured territory from Boko Haram and previously cut off areas are now more accessible revealing huge levels of suffering. But the security situation remains fragile and violence continues to make it difficult for Oxfam and other agencies to get help to all the people who need it. Some areas remain completely inaccessible to humanitarian organizations because of ongoing military operations or because they are still under the control of Boko Haram
Meanwhile the government has announced it intends to close all camps hosting displaced people by May 2017. Many of them are already returning to areas still surrounded by fighting. Some find their home villages are still too dangerous, leaving them to seek shelter in nearby towns where there is often widespread destruction and few services or assistance available.
Cheick Ba, Country Director for NRC Nigeria, said: “We are seeing convoys of displaced people being moved back into towns the government recently reclaimed, even as fresh violence in the surrounding areas forces more people to flee. People tell us they want to go home, but only when it’s safe. We need to hear real commitment from the authorities that no one will be encouraged to go home until there is lasting security and basic services have been restored.”
People continue to experience horrific levels of human rights abuses and threats including sexual violence, abductions, killings, torture, forced recruitment, forced disappearance and arbitrary detention. In North East Nigeria, nearly one in three women report having experienced sexual violence.
Military and political objectives in the fight against Boko Haram have trumped humanitarian concerns. Collectively, governments, humanitarian organizations, and donors were slow to respond to this crisis. A large humanitarian operation is now underway and many lives have been saved. But without a massive injection of aid many lives could be lost.
For interviews and further information, please contact:
At the Norwegian Refugee Council:
Tuva Raanes Bogsnes | Head of Media and Communication |
email@example.com | +47 93231883. We have staff in north-eastern Nigeria available for interview.
[with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UNDP Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark; Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Stephen O’Brien; Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (by video conference); Ms. Carla Mucavi, Director of FAO Liaison Office in New York, and Mr. Justin Forsyth, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF]
Spokesman: Good afternoon. We are joined by the Secretary-General, by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Administrator, Helen Clark; the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien – who are here at the front table; and you see behind me Ertharin Cousin [by video conference], the Executive Director of the World Food Programme. And we also have here in the front row, Carla Mucavi [Director] of the FAO Liaison Office [in New York], and Justin Forsyth, the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF. We will let the Secretary-General open up, and then we will take your questions.
Sir, you have the floor.
Secretary-General: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you very much for coming.
I am here with my colleagues to draw the world’s attention to the fact that today, more than 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and north-east Nigeria are going hungry, and facing devastating levels of food insecurity.
Famine is already a reality in parts of South Sudan. Unless we act now, it is only a matter of time until it affects other areas and other countries. We are facing a tragedy; we must avoid it becoming a catastrophe. This is preventable if the international community takes decisive action.
The situation is dire. Millions of people are barely surviving in the space between malnutrition and death, vulnerable to diseases and outbreaks, forced to kill their animals for food and eat the grain they saved for next year’s seeds.
Throughout South Sudan, almost 5 million people desperately need food; famine has already been declared in two counties. Across North-East Nigeria, some 5.1 million people face serious food shortages. Women and girls are disproportionately affected, and nearly half a million children are suffering severe acute malnutrition. Even if they survive, this may affect their health and development throughout their lives.
In Somalia, food prices are rising, animals are dying, and almost one million children under the age of 5 will be acutely malnourished this year. Yemen is facing the largest food insecurity emergency in the world, with an estimated 7.3 million people needing help now.
United Nations agencies are deployed with plans in place for all these countries, and we are scaling up the response. In North-East Nigeria, humanitarians are reaching more than two million people with food assistance. In South Sudan, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners aim to assist 5.8 million people this year; in Somalia, 5.5 million people and in Yemen 8.3 [million].
We are also stepping up cooperation between humanitarian and development agencies, including the World Bank, strengthening collaboration, coordination and alignment and working [towards] common goals. Saving lives is the first priority, but we are also looking to build longer-term resilience to shocks.
I have asked the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and the Emergency Relief Coordinator to take immediate action to ensure a coordinated long-term approach. They will set up a steering committee to link the United Nations Development Group and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee for humanitarian assistance.
One of the biggest obstacles we face now is funding. Humanitarian operations in these four countries require more than $5.6 billion this year. We need at least $4.4 billion by the end of March to avert a catastrophe. Despite some generous pledges, just $90 million has actually been received so far – around two cents for every dollar needed. We are in the beginning of the year but these numbers are very worrying.
Funding shortages have already forced the World Food Programme to cut rations in Yemen by more than half since last year. Without new resources, critical shortages will worsen within months.
These four crises are very different, but they have one thing in common. They are all preventable.
They all stem from conflict, which we must do much more to prevent and resolve.
But even now, we can prevent the worst effects, if we act urgently and strongly.
I urge all members of the international community to step up and to do whatever is in their power, whether that is mobilizing support, exerting political pressure on parties to conflict, or funding humanitarian operations.
I want to make a personal appeal to the parties to conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and allow aid workers access to reach people in desperate need. Without access, hundreds of thousands of people could die, even if we have the resources to help them.
The lives of millions of people depend on our collective ability to act. In our world of plenty, there is no excuse for inaction or indifference. We have heard the alerts. Now there is no time to lose.
Thank you. I would like to ask my two colleagues to complete my introduction. We will be distributing also a small fact sheet with the key data relevant to this crisis.
Mr O'Brien: Secretary-General, thank you very much, indeed. And I use this opportunity very briefly to re-emphasise how much working together with development partners we want to both help people to survive, but also to have the opportunity to build a more durable solution so that they can have the opportunity to not be left in vulnerability.
More than 20 million people in South Sudan, in Somalia, in Yemen, and in Northeastern Nigeria are facing famine or at risk of famine or starvation over the next six months. And that includes 1.4 million children, who are currently at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition.
And the point that is so important to emphasise, which the Secretary-General has outlined, is these famines can be averted if we act now. The lesson from the 2011 Somalia famine was, by the time we declared famine broadly as a world, half those who died had already died. So, this is why we're sounding the alarm now so that we can actually make the difference to avert the catastrophe.
And it builds on the enormous advocacy for all four countries, which is why we already have in place many of the aid workers and agencies and implementing partners, both at international and national level, and working with and through governments where they have that capacity to respond to make sure that we are averting what we can see is a famine through these many causes, different as they are, but with the common theme of conflict, which has to be in the context of trying to prevent, as well.
We basically need at least $4.4 billion of funds to come in by the end of March in order for us to make that scale-up and that difference. And I can give the assurance that we are ready to scale up, providing those funds are forthcoming and providing the access in order to reach all the people in need wherever they are is made available to the very brave and committed aid workers, both in place and who we can surge on the back of increased funding.
And it's to focus on food, nutrition, water, and sanitation and hygiene and health. Those will be the interventions, and, to the extent that we need to reprogramme from already the very detailed plans for meeting humanitarian needs in these countries, they are being reprogrammed to make sure that we meet these immediate needs but, at the same time, sew in the opportunity to build a more durable resilience to the shocks of the future.
I think I'll leave Helen Clark very much at that point as that segues, I think, into how we want to look at this in a comprehensive way.
Ms Clark: Thank you very much. And, definitely, there's a total commitment on the part of the development actors to work extremely closely with OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and the humanitarian actors on the new way of working in crisis which was agreed at the World Humanitarian Summit between us.
Clearly, the primary objective here is to save lives in the face of extremely dire circumstances, and part of saving lives is also about building the resilience for the future. A lot is underway. What we are doing is being retargeted, reprioritized. Everything can be scaled up.
Now, you may say, what does resilience actually involve in circumstances like this? I want to give you just a very brief flavour of what is involved. Take South Sudan. A number of the agencies are working together -- that's UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), World Food Programme, FAO -- on a comprehensive approach around stabilisation and recovery, access to basic social services, reinvigorating livelihoods locally, and enhancing the capacity of the local governments to deliver the services they need to deliver.
Another aspect of it, in Somalia, where UNDP and OCHA are jointly supporting the research and disaster preparedness agency to do its job in Somaliland and also in Puntland, supporting humanitarian affairs and disaster management agencies and supporting formation of local disaster committees. The local actors are incredibly important in this.
In Yemen, a number of the agencies, including UNICEF, including UNDP, are enormously supported now by major World Bank programming, coming in to support water distribution systems, solar water pumps and greenhouses, to support agricultural production. There's a lot that can be done.
So the joint focus on saving lives, the food, the nutrition support bridging into saving the lives of animals, supporting the agricultural production, where possible, this joined-up approach can be done. It will work, but it does need the support that the Secretary-General is appealing for. Thank you.
Spokesman: Ertharin, do you want to add a few words?
Ms Cousin: Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate with you here today. I have very few words, to avoid repeating anything my colleagues have said.
In each of these four countries as… as the parties… as my colleagues noted, the plans are in place. The people are prepared to perform the work that is necessary. What we need are the financial resources that have been identified by my colleagues as well as the access.
This is a very different situation than even in Somalia than we were in in 2011. In Somalia today, as compared to 2011, you have a functioning government. The markets are functioning. What we need are the resources to ensure that we can give access to the food that is available to those who have suffered from two years of drought and also, as the meteorologists are telling us, that there… that the next rains will also fail.
And so acting now before we reach the height of the lean season, in each one of these countries, will ensure our ability to provide the support that is necessary.
So I am prepared to answer any questions about the plans that we have in place. And [audio gap] with the 1.2 billion that's required from WFP to meet the needs of those through this lean season will be deployed to scale up, to address the challenges, to avoid what we all see on the horizon, which is a famine in each one of these countries if we fail to act. Thank you very much.
Questions and Answers
Spokesman: Thank you. Sherwin, go ahead.
Question: Thanks, Steph. It's quite an esteemed panel led by the Secretary-General himself. On behalf of the UN Correspondents Association, thank you very much. And I think it speaks to the seriousness of the issue. I guess the short question would be: How on earth did we get here again? I think it's unconscionable that we are again seeing starving black children on television screens around the world. This was something that happened in the '90s, at the beginning of the century. It's unconscionable that in 2017 we are again seeing these images. So the question, I think, is: What role does race and region have to play in this conversation we're having today?
Secretary-General: Well, first of all, these things are repeating themselves, and I believe there are two very important factors that explain why they are repeating themselves. One is conflict, and conflict is, of course, having devastating humanitarian consequences. The second is a number of situations of drought are being accelerated by climate change. We always had drought. We always had desertification. But climate change works as a key enhancer of other factors -- desertification, food insecurity, water scarcity. And so, not only we have the repetition of crisis, but we risk to have more and more and with more devastating consequences. In this area, it is obvious that the cooperation with regional and national and local entities is absolutely crucial. And I think that we can clearly underline that… namely the African context, with the cooperation of the UN, with the African Union is today an example of cooperation. We are more and more also relying on the different sub-regional organisations.
Spokesman: Thank you. Rosiland, Al Jazeera.
Question: Thank you, Mr Secretary-General. Rosiland Jordan with Al Jazeera English. A multipart question, and it goes to the funding. In light of concerns that the new US Government may cut its spending on foreign aid, including on humanitarian relief, and in light of the fact that recent appeals to help the people of Syria, for example, haven't been met 100 per cent, how confident are you that the world will step up, fully fund this latest appeal? Can the UN count on the same level of support from the US as it has in previous years? And, finally, how worried are you in general about this concept of donor fatigue? Have people simply said, we need to take care of our own people and countries where these crises are happening, where the risk of famine is so great, they need to find a way to take care of their own people? How do you answer that?
Secretary-General: First of all, I don't think there is donor fatigue. There is a lot of talk about donor fatigue, but if you look at the numbers, humanitarian aid has been growing every year. And my experience at UNHCR for ten years was that, indeed, our resources have been growing every year. The problem is that they are not growing as quickly as the needs are growing. This is the drama. It's not a donor fatigue. It's an increasing impact of different factors to make humanitarian needs exploding in our worlds. Now, we had a combination of factors. We had El Niño. We have now different other weather patterns with similar effects. We have a multiplication of conflicts that became particularly dramatic from the point of view of access. So we are facing now in this regard a situation in which either we act now or we will have a devastating situation of famine widespread in several parts of Africa and in Yemen. Now, if we act now, it will be cheaper. And so, raising awareness now, when we have the capacity in place and where the resources can be used in the most effective way, is the best way also to avoid a much bigger humanitarian assistance and unfortunately coming too late. And I don't want to need the images of children dying in big numbers alerting the public conscience of states to allow for them to finally come with their support. This is the moment in which this support cannot solve naturally many of the problems that exist and they are already very dramatic but prevent the worst. So, what we are appealing for is not only something that human conscience should guide governments to deliver, independently of the country that we are talking about, but it is also the smart way. It limits the suffering, and it allows for a better use of resources and not to have… coming too late to then spend much more but with much less effective impact on the ground.
Spokesman: Thank you. Nizar?
Question: Thank you, Mr Guterres. Nizar Abboud, Al-Mayadeen Television in Lebanon. The conflict in Yemen started with the humanitarian crisis, of course. There is an inspection and verification mechanism in the Red Sea and it doesn't look like it is working for some time. You've been to Saudi Arabia recently and visited United Arab Emirates. Did you raise this issue with them? And what's hampering aid from reaching the dying children in Yemen? They are dying at a rate of ten, every ten minutes a person.
Secretary-General: Humanitarian access is vital. I mentioned that very clearly in my statement. We are appealing simultaneously for funds, and for all those that are parties to the conflict to grant humanitarian access. Unfortunately, we have seen in Yemen and in many parts of the world where conflicts take place limitations to humanitarian access for different kinds of pretexts. My appeal is that the situation is so dire, the consequences are so dramatic, this is the moment in which international humanitarian law must be respected by all and access must be granted to all areas where people are suffering these kind of problems.
Spokesman: Herman, BBC Afrique.
Question: Right, thank you. Herman Houngbo from LC2 and BBC Afrique. And I'm going to ask my question in French. I would appreciate if you could answer me in French. Les conflits sont l’une des causes des crises humanitaires que vous évoquez aujourd’hui. L’une des priorités de l’Organisation des Nations Unies, c’est de protéger les civils, tout comme ce fut le cas en Libye. A quand une résolution ou un engagement international aujourd’hui, pour tacler Boko Haram par exemple qui affecte des millions de personnes dans la zone du Lac Tchad et dans la zone ouest-africaine par exemple? Et que répondez-vous à ces organisations non-gouvernementales qui, pour le cas dun Soudan du Sud, estiment que les autorités sud-soudanaises are not qualified for the job?
Secretary-General: C’est vrai que nous avons de sérieux problèmes de protection des civils. Non seulement à cause des actions des forces armées et des milices, mais aussi à cause des limitations des missions, notamment des Nations Unies. Vous avez mentionné le [Soudan du Sud], le mandat de la mission des Nations Unies limite strictement la capacité de mouvement de la mission, notamment pour la protection des civils. C’est une des questions que d’ailleurs je viens de discuter à Addis [Abeba] pendant le sommet de l’Union africaine et avec les autorités sud-soudanaises, et avec l’IGAD [Autorité intergouvernementale pour le développement] et l’Union africaine. Je crois qu’il nous faut, ce n’est pas l’objet de cette conférence de presse, mais c’est évident que la protection des civils et le respect du droit international humanitaire sont des conditions essentielles pour que l’aide humanitaire soit efficace.
Spokesman: Pam, yes.
Question: Thank you. Thank you to the panel. It's Pamela Falk from CBS News. Secretary-General, you've mentioned that all of this is preventable. Tony Lake said yesterday it was man-made. And I'm going back to Sherwin's question a bit. How did it get this far so that, in one month's time, I mean, there's over a million children that are about to die? Was it neglect? Was it the combination that you mentioned? I mean, Ms Clark also mentioned it. What… what made it happen… what… what happened, neglect? I mean, how did it get this bad so urgently? And then, just as a piece of that, do you think in a few weeks’ time, you will get $4 billion and where are you looking? Thank you.
Secretary-General: First, this has been a combination of factors. We are not starting to act. In all these areas, our people together with the NGOs, the Red Cross-Red Crescent movement are acting. Now, what we are now seeing is an overwhelming growth of the problem. And before it explodes, we are alerting the world to make sure that we can scale up the action to meet the requirements of this worsening of the situation we are now witnessing. I do believe that we are in the beginning of the year. Many countries still have a lot of budget resources available. I do believe that, if there is a clear conscience of the problem we are facing and the clear conscience of the problems we might face if we do not act, I do believe that governments will step up and that other donors will step up, and we will be able to fund the operations that are already taking place but will be scaled up as soon as resources allow it.
Question: And just a clarification. Is the 1 billion that Ms Cousins talked about part of the four…
Secretary-General: Yes, yes.
Question: Does that offset the four…
Secretary-General: Yes, yes.
Spokesman: Kyodo News.
Question: Thank you, Secretary-General. I'm Takagi from Kyodo, Japan's news agency. I have a question on South Sudan. United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a resolution to import arms embargo on South Sudan last December, and Japanese Ambassador said it's counterproductive for peace and security in South Sudan. On the other hand, United States and UK and France and other countries said it’s only way to prevent possible genocide. So Security Council seems to be divided still now. So what is your stance on arms embargo? Thank you.
Secretary-General: Well, first of all, that is a decision of the Security Council, and we don't control the Security Council and its decisions. But immediately after I went to the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development)… to the African Union summit, and we reached in a summit between IGAD, the regional organisation, African Union and the UN a total agreement on a strategy aiming at, on one side, create conditions for the prevention of the kind of genocide you are talking about. And until now, we have been relatively successful on that, with full support of all the countries of the region putting pressure on the authorities in South Sudan in that regard. Second, we have now a common strategy in relation to the need for an inclusive national dialogue, and Mr [Alpha Oumar] Konaré, President Konaré, the envoy of the African Union, together with our own envoy, and the envoy of IGAD are shuttling between the parties and between the countries of the region to make sure that this condition is met. And, at the same time, we are revitalizing the conditions to allow for the mission to be more effective and for the regional protection force to be implemented. So we do not stop just complaining about the fact that one or another decision doesn't correspond to our aims. We act in order to create the conditions to prevent underground the kind of catastrophic development that you have mentioned.
Question: Yeah. It’s Raghida Dergham, Al Hayat. Mr Secretary-General, during your recent trip to the region to the Middle East, to the Gulf area, I'm sure you raised the issue of the need that they should contribute generously to not only Yemen but also Somalia and Sudan. Did you get any pledges? Did you get any commitments that made you feel that, yes, they are serious about giving on these issues? And, secondly, what strategy might you be thinking about to engage the private sector? I know that there has been the strategy of engaging the celebrities to come in every now and then and help out when you're putting out such a plea. Have you been thinking about a new strategy to engage the private sector in these countries and outside these countries? Because many of them get away with it. They just claim that they want to contribute, and they really don't do as much as they should. Thank you.
Secretary-General: Well, this visit was not to seek financial commitments. It was a political visit. But I must say that I am pretty confident that the countries of the region that you mentioned will step up also and respond to this appeal. And in relation to the private sector in general and to the private sector in particular in the Gulf, there is a number of initiatives that several of our agencies have already launched, and there are forms of cooperation that have been quite positive. I can tell you, for instance, in my past capacity, we were in contact with a group of companies based… the group was based in Dubai, that allowed for a very important mobilisation of private sector support from the area. And I believe that all agencies are doing the same, and I'd like to ask Stephen O'Brien to give eventually some details that I'm not yet entirely aware of.
Mr O'Brien: Well, I think it's very clear that already being present in these countries and having already had the agencies working with international, local national NGOs, millions of lives have already been saved. It's the compound effect which the Secretary-General has highlighted which has brought us to this point in trying to avert the worst as so many things have come together at once and in the context of conflict. But, even within that, particularly -- and Ertharin Cousin may want to add -- WFP has been working extensively and very effectively with the contributions of the private sector both in terms of a sense of partnership but also, not just in terms of finance, also in kind and skills and ensuring that we have the ability to extend into the latest technological opportunities to give us the most efficient way to reach people in need wherever they are and in line with our humanitarian principles. So, with your indulgence, sir, Secretary-General, as I say, Ertharin Cousin may want to give a specific example which might help you.
Ms Cousin: Thank you very much, Stephen, and Mr Secretary. Let me just tell you that WFP has ongoing relationships with private sector companies both in the region, in the Middle East, as well as globally. Those companies are now being mobilised by our private sector division and along with part… the other UN agencies, including in… UNICEF in particular where we're working together to drive out messaging… messages to the private sector in support of nutrition and food security in each these countries. I can tell you that it's not just about cash, as Stephen said. We also have a partnership… an ongoing partnership with both Facebook and Google who are providing us with information about those individuals who are in need of our assistance in areas where we don't have regular access. So we are using the private sector to increase our capacity to serve as well as to provide us with additional financial resources.
Spokesman: Thank you. Abdelhamid.
Question: Thank you. My name is Abdelhamid Siyam from the Arabic Daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. That's based in London. And my question, Mr Secretary-General, about the report had been put by a number of UN agencies, it's called Gaza 2020. This report says that life will not be sustainable in Gaza in the year 2020 if nothing could be done to alleviate the suffering and the disastrous consequences of conflicts in Gaza in particular. First, why there is no more… no shedding light on this disaster? And are you prepared to do something about the disaster situation in Gaza? And have you raised the issue of Gaza in your meeting with the leaders of the region? Thank you very much.
Secretary-General: The answer is obviously in reference to your last question. Yes, of course. This is about situations that correspond to an immediate emergency. We are not talking here of all the protracted humanitarian situations in the world, and Gaza is one of the protracted humanitarian situations in the world. And, of course, this report corresponds exactly to our position and to our appeal. This is an immediate answer to situations that can explode, from the humanitarian point of view, tomorrow. But the protracted crises remain, and they also need to be effectively supported with the adequate response, and Gaza is obviously one of our priorities in that regard.
Spokesman: Thank you. Majeed.
Question: Thank you, Mr Secretary-General, and the panel. This is Majeed Gly from Rudaw Media Network. Mr Secretary-General, from day one, you focussed on… one of your priorities has been prevention of conflict, and I wanted to ask you about that with regard to Iraq. The US and other international partners with the UN are rightly so focussed on the humanitarian and the military aspect of the war against ISIS in Iraq. But there seems to be all the international actors forgot about the political future of Iraq after ISIS, which is… many call it a ticking time bomb, what's going on there. Why the UN didn't… don't take the initiative to start talking of a… starting a framework talk about the future of Iraq after ISIS just like we are seeing the same process in Syria? Totally different situation, but it's a political process the UN can take charge of. And my other related question is, last week, you met with of President of Kurdistan region of Iraq, Masoud Barzani. What did you talk about with him? And did he raise the issue of the prospect of the independence of Kurdistan, as he raised it with Vice President [Michael] Pence? Thank you very much.
Secretary-General: Well, I don't see a direct link between your question and what we are dealing today. And, obviously, we can discuss all problems in the world, but I will answer your question. But the objective is not to divert the attention from this, because obviously, we have a very clear message. There is a dramatic emergency situation, and it needs a response. There are many other problems in the world. We are dealing with them. I met recently with the Prime Minister [Haider al] Abadi and President Barzani, and we have been saying consistently there is no way to defeat terrorism if you don't find political solutions to the different crises. And, obviously, one of the things we need in Iraq is an inclusive political solution in which all Iraqis feel that they are part of the new Iraq. Obviously, this was in the centre of my discussions with both Prime Minister Abadi and President Barzani.
Spokesman: Let's go to the next question. Associated Press, please.
Question: Thank you, Jennifer Peltz from the Associated Press. It's a bit of a technical question. What is the threshold for declaring a situation to be a famine? And how close are the other places to that status, other than the counties where it's already been declared?
Mr O'Brien: We use a number of measures. There's some very technical terms I'm going to… in terms of actual famine, it's very important because the people who absolutely have to interpret when the famine is declared are, of course, the main people who can do something about it. So I'm going to turn to Ertharin Cousin, because I think it's really important you hear it from where the trigger point happens. But we use number of inputs, not least FuseNet and others who categorize where we are in terms of people who are either starving, who are on the brink of famine and those who absolutely are not getting any kind of access to sufficient nutrition and people who are on the verge of dying or where we have had a number of deaths which are clearly attributable. But I think it's very important you hear directly from Ertharin Cousin.
Ms Cousin: Thank you very much for turning to me on this. As you said, it's a very technical answer. There is a technical group that we call the IPC that includes WFP, FAO, FuseNet, and the surveys are performed. And what the data that is required is that there's a certain number of deaths per thousand that determine exactly when a famine is… has occurred. That is the situation in these two counties in Unity State in South Sudan today is that they have met that threshold number of deaths required to actually call a hunger situation a famine situation.
Spokesman: Thank you. Sam Oakford and that will have to be the last question.
Question: Thanks. I want to ask a question on Yemen given this is meant to be an emergency press conference in a way and not just the usual request for humanitarian funding. There's a situation in Hudaydah and the potential situation in Hudaydah, the port, where a lot of the food comes in currently, some of it is not getting in, but there's also the potential for military action there. And I'm wondering if you can comment on that and what effect that could have on the situation in Yemen going forward.
Secretary-General: Well, we have no information about what kind of military operations will be or not launched. What we are always saying is that what matters is that all parties to a conflict respect international humanitarian law and the law for access in relation to populations in dramatic situations, as it is the case, obviously, in Yemen.
Question: Can I ask a follow-up on Yemen, just a quick follow-up on Yemen? Okay. Thank you. It's Joseph Klein, Canada Free Press. According to this handout, 462,000 children are currently suffering severe acute malnutrition in Yemen. And, as you know, Saudi Arabia, which is a party to the conflict, leading the Coalition that has caused a number of… quite a number of civilian deaths, they were removed from a list of countries that were found to have committed violence against children. And I'm wondering to what extent -- you mentioned engaging parties to the conflict -- that you are going to specifically interact with the leaders of Saudi Arabia to try to influence them in relation to how they are conducting their operations. Thank you.
Secretary-General: In my visit to Saudi Arabia, I had occasion to ask for and to interact with the actors exactly in relation to the measures that can be taken in order to avoid the kind of collateral damage in a war that can have the consequences that you mentioned. It was one of the key points I have discussed with the Saudi authorities, in relation to which I had an extensive briefing on the situation and education to express my concern and the concern to make sure that everything is done to limit… in a war there is always, unfortunately, collateral damage but to limit maximum as possible death that collateral damage.
Spokesman: Great. Thank you very much.
[Briefing concludes at 2:40 p.m.]
Following the declaration of famine in Leer and Mayendit Counties, Unity State, South Sudan, REACH calculated the areas more likely to be food insecure basing the estimation on the data collected between months x and y with the Area of Knowledge (AoK) approach, using the following methodology. A simple, composite food security measurement was created by averaging the percentages of key informants (KIs) reporting on the following indicators for specific settlements:
0% indicates a reported absence of all 4 by all KIs, while 100% indicates all 4 were reported available by each KI. All indicators were considered to have the same impact on the composite measure.
Only assessed settlements are shown on the map. Value for different settlements have been averaged and represented with hexagons 10km wide.
Following the declaration of famine in Leer and Mayendit Counties, Unity State, South Sudan, REACH calculated the areas more likely to be food insecure basing the estimation on the data collected between months x and y with the Area of Knowledge (AoK) approach, using the following methodology.
A simple, composite food security measurement was created by averaging the percentages of key informants (KIs) reporting on the following indicators for specific settlements:
0% indicates a reported absence of all 4 by all KIs, while 100% indicates all 4 were reported available by each KI. All indicators were considered to have the same impact on the composite measure.
Only assessed settlements are shown on the map. Value for different settlements have been averaged and represented with hexagons 10km wide.
209.1 M required for 2017
2.6 M contributions received, representing 1% of requirements
206.5 M funding gap for the Central African Republic Situation
All figures displayed in USD