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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification
    Country: South Sudan

    IPC GLOBAL ALERT on SOUTH SUDAN:

    LOCALIZED FAMINE AND UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF ACUTE MALNUTRITION IN GREATER UNITY

    Based on the IPC South Sudan Technical Working Group results:

    HOW MANY & WHEN

    • As of January 2017, 3.8 million were estimated in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

    • As of February-April 2017, the number of people estimated in need of humanitarian assistance (IPC phase 3 and above) has increased to almost 5 million, out of which 100,000 are facing famine conditions.

    WHERE

    • The highest proportions of populations in Crisis, Emergency and Catastrophe are observed in Northern Bahr el Ghazal (61%) and Unity (61%) States.

    • People facing famine or risk of famine are located in Leer, Mayendit, Koch and Panyijar counties of Unity State.

    WHO - The most affected populations are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who are dispersed and the host communities affected by the on-going conflict.

    WHY - Conflict and insecurity are the main drivers of acute food insecurity compounded by the coming lean season and resulting in devastating effects on livelihoods and the nutrition situation. In conflict areas, humanitarian assistance has become people’s main source of food and it is now insufficient to meet all their needs, mainly due to severe humanitarian access restrictions. Acute malnutrition is a major public health emergency in the country. Evidence shows that, in the Southern part of Unity State, one in three children is acutely malnourished. This represents an unprecedented situation requiring immediate action.

    FAMINE DECLARATION: Famine is declared in Leer and Mayendit counties of Greater Unity State. Famine is likely to happen in Koch County and can be avoided in Panyijiar County only if the humanitarian assistance is delivered as planned. The South Sudan IPC Technical Working Group has reached these conclusions in consideration of all currently available data, including planned humanitarian response and based on the professional judgment of the IPC Emergency Review Committee (ERC) but not in full accordance with the minimal evidence requirements of the IPC standard protocols.

    ACTION NEEDED:

    • Secure humanitarian access and ensure respect of humanitarian space in Leer, Mayendit, Koch and Panyijar counties, as further escalation of famine can only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the intended beneficiaries;

    • Urgent action is also required for the other severely food insecure areas of the country to protect livelihoods, reduce food consumption gaps and reduce acute malnutrition.

    • Vigilance is needed for monitoring the evolving conflict as well as economic, political and seasonal situation and updating the IPC analysis in real time.

    The SOUTH SUDAN IPC Process and next steps - The South Sudan IPC Technical Working Group (IPC TWG) undertook the IPC analysis at the end of January 2017. Due to the high levels of food insecurity and acute malnutrition prevailing in South Sudan, the IPC TWG requested the activation of the IPC Global Emergency Review Committee (ERC) to review the preliminary results. IPC ERC findings and conclusions were shared with the IPC TWG that has integrated and used the ERC review to reach final conclusions. The results were validated by South Sudan IPC TWG and officially endorsed by the National Bureau of Statistics of the Government of South Sudan. The South Sudan IPC TWG has planned to update the IPC analysis in April, 2017.


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    Source: Save the Children
    Country: Nigeria

    • Pre-school classes for under-fives overwhelmed by hundreds of older children

    • One school damaged or destroyed every two days

    • Lake Chad region home to a quarter of world’s out of school children

    • News comes as UN warns of famine in four countries, including Nigeria

    Children as old as 15 are flooding into pre-school facilities in a desperate effort to learn after more than seven years of conflict compounded the world’s worst education crisis in north-east Nigeria, says Save the Children.

    A staggering 1,200 schools have been damaged or destroyed whilst at least 611 teachers have been reported murdered and a further 19,000 displaced. This equates to one school being attacked for every two days of the conflict.

    More than half of the 700 children attending one Save the Children pre-school programme in Borno State in January 2017 were aged six or older with many teenagers aged up to fifteen. It is symptomatic of an education crisis spread across the Lake Chad region – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad – now home to a quarter of the world’s estimated 59 million out-of-school children.

    "This desperate quest for education reflects the hunger of children for knowledge that is not being met, which is heart-breaking" said Ben Foot, Save the Children’s Country Director in Nigeria.

    “This insurgency is based on an ideology that western education is evil and that children, teachers and schools are all legitimate targets,” she added.

    “The consequences have been record lows in enrolment, terrible literacy rates and arguably the worst education crisis in the world. We cannot stand by as an entire generation of children loses its right to go to school.”

    Save the Children, whose pre-school facilities are only funded to cater for children under five, says it is adapting its programmes to meet this unexpected demand, but this is only a stop-gap that cannot answer the long term need.

    Almost three million conflict-affected children are thought to be in need of education in north-east Nigeria. Even before the start of the conflict, Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children in the world at more than 10 million, according to the United Nations.

    With a severe shortage of trained teachers, displaced parents like Abu Bakar who fled his own home in Kukuwa - the site of a deadly insurgent attack that killed at least sixty people – now volunteer as a teacher at Save the Children’s early childhood care classes in Madinatu host community.

    “There was a school in my village but because of these insurgent attacks it did not have any students or any children learning,” Abu Bakar said.

    “Now, I have some children in my class who are older than five or six so I have changed the way I teach,” he added. “I arrange them according to age so I can sit with them and teach them in a way they will understand.”

    “A lot of people are becoming aware of the need for education. Some of the children who come here have never been to school. So it makes a difference to the children and for some of them it is the only opportunity they will get [to learn].”

    Around 80% of some one million children displaced by the conflict are living in remote host communities with little or no access to education. The situation is particularly dire for girls. While the average Nigerian can expect to receive nine years of schooling, that figure drops to just two years for girls in the north-east.

    Fifteen year-old Zainab lost her brother during an insurgent attack on her village, forcing her to flee the region and drop out of school. She has been attending Save the Children emergency pre-school classes in Borno State for the last five months.

    “I learn English words like ‘hospital’, ‘wagon’, ‘dog’ and ‘window’,” she said. “I feel sad because if this hadn’t happened I would be finishing school by now. Some of the children who were in the same school as me have been able to go back and are finished now.”

    Despite the grave need, education has borne the brunt of a woeful lack of funding for the Lake Chad Crisis. At the end of 2016, education funding for the crisis in north-east Nigeria stood at just 18% of total humanitarian funding despite Nigerian IDPs reporting education to be one of the least accessible services. Education funding asks have more than doubled from 2016 to 2017.

    A major international donor conference taking place in Oslo tomorrow is an opportunity to provide much-needed funds to get more children back into school. The conference comes as the United Nations warns of the threat of famine in four countries, including Nigeria.

    “Whilst the rate of attacks on education facilities has slowed over the last year, and the government is rebuilding schools, we are not doing enough to strengthen the system and get as many children as possible back into formal education,” Ben Foot said.

    “We need predictable long-term funding for three to five years so that we can scale up our response and work with the Nigerian government to give millions of children the chance of an education. This must include marginalized groups who fall off the education radar, such as orphans and children with disabilities.” said Ben Foot.

    Save the Children’s key education recommendations:

    • MORE: Donors and governments must pledge at least 84 million USD for education for 2017. The majority share of the pledges must be multiyear; predictable long-term funding of at least 3-5 years.

    • BETTER: The humanitarian community must urgently scale up the education response and work with governments and local community with the goal to give 2 million girls and boys - including marginalized groups of children such as orphans and children with disabilities - in the Lake Chad region are learning and receiving inclusive quality emergency education by end of 201

    • SAFE - Education; including teachers and children are safe and protected from attack. A specific commitment from Nigeria to adhere to and implement the Safe Schools Declaration.

    Notes to editors


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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Nigeria

    OVERVIEW

    In response to the displacement crisis in northeastern Nigeria, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs), started biometric registration in some of the areas most afected by the insurgency. The objective of this exercise is to provide reliable data to the Government of Nigeria and to the humanitarian community to target benefciaries, and to support humanitarian programs and activities, such as distributions, cash transfers, relocations, etc. The biometric registration was piloted in December 2015 in Maiduguri (Borno State) and and has since been implemented in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

    The selection of locations for biometric registration is based on the results of the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which allows for the identifcation of locations with vulnerable individuals, and partners' referrals. IDPs, returnees, and other confict-afected populations are biometrically registered at displacement sites (collective centres and transit centres) and in host communities in particular. The detailed information provided about individuals and households through this exercise, within IOM's framework for global data protection, has helped the government and humanitarian partners make informed decisions about aid delivery over the past few months. It has also supported assistance in the newly accessible areas of Borno State.

    This analytical report aims to provide detailed information about the locations, number and origins of people who were biometrically registered from December 2015 to January 2017.


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


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    Source: REACH Initiative
    Country: South Sudan

    Since May 2016, over half of the populations assessed by REACH in Unity State, South Sudan, have regularly reported that they do not have sufficient access to food. REACH data from January 2017 shows an increase of this figure to 84% for assessed settlements in Leer County and 76% for assessed settlements in Mayendit County. On 20 February 2017, the UN declared a state of famine in these two counties of Unity State. This is the first time a famine has been declared worldwide since 2011.

    Long-term findings from REACH (through data collected on a monthly basis since January 2016) highlight that the ongoing conflict coupled with the country-wide economic crisis has caused high levels of food insecurity in Unity State, decreasing access to markets, land for cultivation, and to food assistance. This has impacted community resilience in both Leer and Mayendit Counties, as well as in Koch County, which has been classified as likely to experience famine in the near future.

    Many people from Leer and Mayendit Counties have been displaced by conflict and can no longer access their land to cultivate or harvest food, much of which has been stolen or destroyed in the course of fighting. The impact of the conflict on cultivation has been further exacerbated by flooding or heavy rains that destroyed some crops during the 2016 cultivation season. Humanitarian access has been extremely limited by insecurity until very recently, making it difficult to conduct general food distributions in many highly food insecure areas, particularly in Leer. As a result, much of the population in the affected area has resorted to coping mechanisms such as foraging for wild foods (mainly water lilies) and skipping meals, with deaths related to hunger being widely reported.

    In order to provide a more detailed understanding of food insecurity in these counties, REACH is currently conducting a more detailed assessment to map the extent of food insecurity across Leer, Mayendit, and Koch Counties and identify vulnerable areas that most urgently require humanitarian support.

    Recent findings on food insecurity in Unity State have been published in the REACH Situation Overview of Unity State for December 2016.


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

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Le Salamat est confronté à plusieurs urgences sanitaires, notamment l’épidémie d’Hépatite E dans le département d’Am-Timan depuis septembre 2016 où plus de 956 cas dont 99 cas confirmés, 67 cas hospitalisés et 12 décès ont été rapportés entre le 1er septembre 2016 et le 15 février 2017 et dont les principales causes sont l’insuffisance d’eau potable et la faiblesse des pratiques d’hygiène et d’assainissement. Par ailleurs, dans la région, au total 25 cas de rougeole ont été notifiés en 2016 (janv - oct). Le manque de maîtrise et de suivi de l’état vaccinal des populations nomades constitue l’un des facteurs de risque de propagation de la maladie. Les structures sanitaires manquent de médicaments et de personnel pour faire face à ces urgences sanitaires.

    • La région du Salamat reste exposée au risque d’inondation des habitations et des cultures dans les bas-fonds en saison pluvieuse, ainsi qu’au risque de débordement de la rivière de Barh Azoum. En 2014, plus de 150 000 personnes en ont été affectées, et en 2016 plus de 1 910 hectares de cultures ont été détruits et 1 000 têtes de bétail sont mortes lors de la traversée des cours d’eau par des éleveurs transhumants dans les départements de Barh Azoum et Haraze Mangueigne (août et septembre 2016).

    • La situation nutritionnelle reste préoccupante dans le Salamat avec un total de 10 240 cas de malnutrition aigüe sévère rapportés entre janvier et décembre 2016 contre 8 435 cas de malnutrition au cours de l’année 2015, soit une augmentation de 21,4%. Les districts d’Am-Timan et d’Aboudeia sont particulièrement affectés. Les données de l’enquête SMART 2016 révèlent une augmentation de la malnutrition aigüe globale au-dessus du seuil d’urgence et une malnutrition aigüe sévère de 1,7% approchant le seuil d’urgence de 2%. Les causes de la persistance de la malnutrition aigüe sont principalement liées aux habitudes alimentaires, aux grossesses rapprochées, à la suspension/abandon des traitements de malnutrition, à l’absence ou insuffisance des pratiques d’hygiène et d’assainissement, à l’insuffisance d’eau potable et l’absence d’un programme de prise en charge de la malnutrition aigüe modérée.

    • L’accès aux services sociaux de base reste faible. L’accès à l’éducation est confronté à de multiples défis. Un tiers des écoles sont fermées par manque d’enseignants (année scolaire 2015/2016) et le taux de scolarisation brut a baissé de 76% (2013/2014) à 61%. Près de 60% des écoles sont construites en matériaux locaux rudimentaires (secco) et sont détruites lors de la saison pluvieuse, rendant ainsi difficile la poursuite des cours et l’achèvement du calendrier scolaire. Il est à noter que 8 000 retournés de la République Centrafricaine dans la région sont plus vulnérables en termes d’accès aux services sociaux. Egalement, les inondations entravent l’accès aux services de santé pour une grande partie de la population et il est primordial de soutenir les actions de préparations aux urgences (ex. pré-positionnement des stocks et plan de continence).


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    Source: Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, Danish Refugee Council, DanChurchAid, War Child International, Trócaire, ZOA, Norwegian Church Aid, INTERSOS, Tearfund, CARE, Christian Aid, Mercy Corps, Cordaid, Action Contre la Faim France, World Relief, Solidarités International, International Aid, Oxfam, International Rescue Committee, Relief International, Save the Children, Plan, World Vision, Finn Church Aid, Première Urgence Internationale
    Country: South Sudan

    27 humanitarian agencies working in South Sudan have warned that unless substantial funds are immediately provided to those working on the ground, organisations will struggle to stop famine spreading across the country in the next few months. The statement follows Monday’s declaration of famine in parts of the country.

    The UN has appealed for $1.6 billion to cope with the crisis and pledges have already been made in recent days by the UK (£100m) and the EU (82m Euros) - but the money is needed urgently for those on the ground before the rains start in April, which would make the delivery of aid even more difficult.

    The aid organisations say that if their requests are not urgently acted upon, the number of people going hungry could increase to more than 5.5 million by July 2017.

    Sara Almer, Oxfam South Sudan Country Director said: “If we are going to stop the spread of famine, now is the time to act – and fast, as the rainy season, which can immensely slow down aid delivery, is due to start in April. Funds need to be released immediately to aid agencies on the ground, so that they can straightaway start delivering the help that people need. With every day that passes, the risk of losing more lives increases”.

    Aid agencies also highlighted that lack of access due to conflict can prevent aid workers quickly reaching those who need it most.

    Pete Walsh, Country Director of Save the Children said: “The violence in South Sudan has made the country extremely dangerous for both its people and those trying to help them. In the last three years, at least 71 aid workers have been killed, the vast majority being South Sudanese. We not only need funds to be released quickly to reach the desperately hungry, which includes over 1 million children at risk of starvation, we need it to be safe for us to reach them”.

    Perry Mansfield, Country Director from World Vision added: “It has been proven time and time again that when both access and swift funding is made available to humanitarian agencies in South Sudan, not only are lives saved but development gains are made”.

    Notes to editor

    Spokespeople in South Sudan are available for interviews.

    For interview requests please contact in the UK: Serena Tramonti, on 00447825780651 stramonti@oxfam.org.uk or Dorothy Sang in South Sudan on dsang1@oxfam.org.uk or on Mobile: +211 955816733

    The statement was signed by Oxfam, Save the Children, World Vision, Care, Mercy Corps, IRC, DRC, ACF, Warchild, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, Plan International, CAFOD & Troicare in Partnership, Christian Aid, American Refugee Council, Intersos, Premiere Urgence International, Finn Church Aid, Solidarites, World Relief, International Aid, Relief International, Swiss Church Aid, ZOA South Sudan, Cordaid, Norwegian Church Aid, Tearfund, DCA


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    One of the world’s worst humanitarian crises is unfolding in West Africa’s Lake Chad region, where 11 million people are in urgent need of emergency aid.

    Nigeria, its neighbours, and the world are struggling to find an adequate response. Failure to do so will condemn millions to more suffering, and raise the region’s vulnerability to violent extremism.

    Read more on IRIN.


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

    2016 saw a significant scale-up in the response across the worst-hit areas of the Lake Chad region. Owing to the support of donors and collective efforts by Governments, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, children were rescued from malnutrition, vaccinated against life-threatening diseases and able to access education. Families on the move were sheltered and provided with help. Communities were assisted with food or livelihoods to avoid hunger.

    ACROSS THE LAKE CHAD REGION

    • Up to 1.6 million people received life-saving food and nutrition support
    • Over 1 million children were vaccinated against measles
    • 4.4 million people. accessed emergency primary health care
    • 1.4 million farmers and pastoralists received the means to resume their livelihoods
    • Almost 300,000 boys and girls out of school resumed their education despite the odds
    • 2.3 million displaced families and their host: were provided with access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene
    • 300,000 children under 5 and nursing mothers were treated for malnutrition, including 194,000 severely acutely malnourished children at risk of dying
    • 300,000 infants received adequate food to prevent malnutrition in worst-hit areas
    • 492,000 children who faced trauma benefitted from essential psychosocial support
    • 8,200 children separated from their families or unaccompanied received care
    • 6,000 women and children associated with armed groups or who survived gender-based violence were assisted
    • Almost 420,000 pupils received learning materials to continue their education
    • 75,000 refugees were registered and received identification documents
    • 97% of refugee families living in camps across the region have access to adequate dwellings
    • 4 Governments of the region adopted the Abuja Action Statement which spells out concrete actions to address immediate protection needs and design durable solutions

    CAMEROON

    Despite persisting insecurity and large numbers of displaced persons living in hard to reach areas, some 200,000 people received life-saving food or cash assistance. At least 33,500 famers and herders received seeds, tools and support to improve their food security. Almost 335,000 people were provided with access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services. 28,000 children under five were treated for severe acute malnutrition, and 43,000 children received learning support.

    CHAD

    Seizing the opportunity of significant improvements in humanitarian access and scaled-up operational capacities, some 30 humanitarian partners assisted 127,000 people with food assistance and 94,000 people with cash transfers. '0,000 children under five affected by severe acute malnutrition were treated. NIGER Despite persisting insecurity and access challenges, 58 humanitarian organizations are currently working in Diffa. Since 2015, 70,000 tons of foods were distributed. Humanitarian actors provided shelters to 120,000 people in 2016, while half a million people received potable water and hygiene support.Over 240 schools were re-localised to safer areas and emergency education provided to 45,000 school-aged children. Almost 90,000 children received psychological support.

    NIGERIA

    As areas previously cut off from aid have become accessible, relief actors also discovered new depths of needs and significantly scaled up aid delivery. Food assistance increased over four-fold in the past six months, reaching an average of 1 million persons each month. Over 4 million people accessed primary healthcare, 1.7 million benefitted from safe access to water, hygiene and sanitation, and 736,000 people received basic household items or vouchers to purchase them. One million children were vaccinated against measles and 160,000 treated for severe acute malnutrition. 1.7 million people, of which many children, received protection services including legal aid or psycho-social counselling. 1.5 million men, women, boys and girls accessed contraceptives and other sexual and reproductive services.


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    Source: International Crisis Group
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    Executive Summary

    Vigilante groups in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad play a major role in the fight against Boko Haram, but their presence raises concerns. They make military operations less blunt and more effective and have reconnected these states somewhat with many of their local communities, but they have also committed abuses and become involved in the war economy. In Nigeria in particular, vigilantism did much to turn an anti-state insurgency into a bloodier civil war, pitting Boko Haram against communities and leading to drastic increases in violence. As the conflict continues to evolve, so will vigilantes. They are enmeshed with high politics, especially in Nigeria, and in local intercommunal relations, business operations and chiefdoms. Their belief that they should be rewarded will need to be addressed, and it is also important for the Lake Chad basin states to address the common gap in community policing, particularly in rural areas. To ensure vigilantes are not a future source of insecurity, these states will each need to devise their own mix of slowly disbanding and formalising and regulating them.

    Vigilantism, the recourse to non-state actors to enforce law and order (of a sort), has a history in the Lake Chad region. Colonial powers there relied, to a substantial degree, on local traditional chiefs and their retinues. The multi-faceted crisis in governance and decline in services among the Lake Chad states since the 1980s gave rise to new vigilante groups. The law and order challenges vigilantes tried to address were a factor in the formation and growth of Boko Haram, itself an attempt to provide regulation and guidance.

    The vigilante fight against Boko Haram started in 2013, in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and the insurgency’s epicentre, under the twin pressure of mounting jihadist violence and security force retaliation. The Joint Task Force (JTF), led by the Nigerian army, quickly realised the vigilantes’ potential as a source of local knowledge, intelligence and manpower and set out to help organise it, with the assistance of local and traditional authorities. Operating under the unofficial but revealing name of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), vigilantes were essential in flushing Boko Haram out of the city, then began replicating throughout the state. The official use of vigilantes to fight the movement spread further in Nigeria, then to Cameroon in 2014 and Chad in 2015, where the groups are known as comités de vigilance. Niger has been more cautious, partly because of past struggles with armed groups and because it has not needed them as much.

    Vigilantes have played many roles, from mostly discrete surveillance networks in Niger to military combat auxiliaries or semi-autonomous fighting forces in Nigeria. For the region’s overstretched and under pressure militaries, they have somewhat filled the security gap and provided local knowledge. They have made the military response more targeted and more efficient, but their mobilisation also provoked retribution by Boko Haram against their communities and contributed to the massive levels of civilian casualties in 2014 and 2015. Paradoxically, this, too, has favoured regional governments’ strategy of pushing civilians away from the jihadists. As the insurgency splinters and falls back on more discrete guerrilla operations and terror attacks, however, the time has come to measure the risks posed by such a massive mobilisation of vigilantes (they claim to be about 26,000 in Borno state alone). Their compensation demands will have to be addressed, especially if authorities consider offering deals to Boko Haram militants to lay down their weapons. In the longer term, vigilantes may become political foot soldiers, turn to organised crime or feed communal violence. Vigilantism can be a powerful counter-insurgency tool, but there is a compelling need to confront the immediate concerns it raises, notably in terms of impunity, and to begin planning for its long-term post-conflict transformation.

    Recommendations

    To protect civilians, limit risks to vigilantes and improve accountability

    To the governments of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger:

    1. Abstain, as much as possible, from creating additional standing vigilante units and focus instead on building intelligence and communication networks through which civilians can obtain state protection when needed.

    2. Ensure that as many civilians as possible have access to functional communication networks and can call on regular security forces, especially where risks remain high.

    3. Encourage, when necessary to maintain vigilante forces, their formalisation, including registration, and systems for internal oversight and external accountability, and include community oversight in accountability mechanisms.

    4. Supply assault rifles only to select groups of better-trained CJTF and for missionspecific purposes, such as when they serve as auxiliaries, while ensuring that those weapons are registered and remain security-service property.

    5. Synchronise CJTF accountability mechanisms with those of the federal Nigeria Police Force.

    6. Hold to account those vigilantes suspected of abuses, notably for sexual and gender-based violence, and ensure transparent and fair investigation of all suspects in accordance with domestic and international law, while publicising any judicial decisions.

    7. Provide vigilantes training programs that mix practical skills (eg, intelligence, first aid, handling of landmines and improvised explosive devices) and instruction in applicable national and international laws, while involving the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and relevant human rights groups (eg, in Nigeria, the National Human Rights Commission) in the latter.

    To donors:

    1. Adjust legal guidelines to permit assistance in building justice and accountability mechanisms. To acknowledge the contribution of the vigilantes and manage expectations To the governments of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger:

    2. Combat stereotyping that certain entire ethnic communities, notably the Kanuri, support Boko Haram by highlighting vigilante efforts from those groups.

    3. Respect vigilantes publicly and give sufficient and standardised assistance packages to those wounded or killed in the line of duty and their families.

    4. Set expectations for compensation transparently through public announcements on what is being offered and to whom, who is not eligible and when it will end, so as not to motivate more vigilantism.

    To prepare for a transformation of the vigilantes and prevent the emergence of mafias and ethnic militias

    To the governments of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger:

    1. Plan to transform vigilante units when the situation stabilises further, with each country following its own pace according to its security situation and according to the extent and role of vigilantism, notably by:

    a) planning demobilisation processes for the majority of vigilantes that include small grants to help them go back to their former occupations, complete their education or develop businesses;

    b) creating, given the likely continuation of some form of lower-level jihadist activity and rural unrest, particularly in Borno and Adamawa states, a temporary auxiliary body under the army or Police Mobile Force, drawing on the vigilantes who have received weapons training and served directly with security forces; and providing for their potential integration into the security forces if they meet the educational and other requirements and undergo retraining;

    c) combatting police and vigilante corruption vigorously, so it does not undermine professionalism, and improving ties with local communities; and

    d) selecting, vetting, retraining and equipping a number of vigilantes with the help of local civil society organisations, so that they feed reports and early warning into both police and civil society networks.

    1. Prepare a disarmament plan that focuses exclusively on taking functional automatic weapons out of circulation.

    To donors:

    1. Support programs for vigilante demobilisation and to professionalise the police and their capacity to monitor and regulate temporary auxiliary forces.

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

    Over 20 million people across the Lake Chad Basin are in need of humanitarian assistance. Since 2014, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated $144 million for urgent aid to people affected by conflict and deepening food crisis. More than one third of the allocations supported humanitarian operations in Nigeria helping displaced people and vulnerable host communities. The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) will further bolster the response by making funds directly available to a wide range of relief partners, including NGOs. CERF and NHF provide complementary funding towards activities prioritized at the local level under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator.


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    Source: Acción contra el Hambre España
    Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

    • Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan del Sur y Yemen presentan una situación de inseguridad alimentaria alarmante.

    • Acción contra el Hambre, presente en todos ellos desde hace varios años, lanza un llamamiento a los donantes para poder seguir atendiendo las necesidades más urgentes de estas poblaciones.

    Madrid, 23 de febrero de 2017

    El hambre afecta ya a 4 millones de personas en Sudán del Sur y amenaza varios millones en Nigeria, Somalia y Yemen. Cifras que anuncian una situación mundial extremadamente preocupante. Acción contra el Hambre trabaja no sólo para responder a estas emergencias, sino para prevenir consecuencias extremas como estas.

    Nigeria: el conflicto entre las fuerzas de seguridad y el grupo terrorista Boko Haram en el país se ha intensificado en los últimos ocho años y en la actualidad afecta a más de 17 millones de personas. El aumento de la violencia y los actos terroristas en Nigeria y los países vecinos, principalmente contra la población civil, y la crisis económica han dado lugar a grandes movimientos de desplazados y una situación humanitaria catastrófica. 4,4 millones de personas viven amenazadas por el hambre.

    Sudán del Sur: se ha declarado el estado de hambruna en el país. En la actualidad, 4,9 millones de personas - el 42% de la población – necesitan ayuda alimentaria de urgencia. La guerra civil, que estalló en 2013 y ha provocado el desplazamiento de millones de personas, es la principal causa de esta dramática situación.

    Somalia: el país se enfrenta a una grave sequía en un contexto de conflicto armado persistente y de difícil acceso a los servicios básicos, provocando un alarmante deterioro de la situación alimentaria y nutricional de la población. Actualmente hay 363.000 niños y niñas que sufren de desnutrición y cerca de 6,2 millones de personas -el 50% de la población- que necesitan asistencia humanitaria. Unas circunstancian que recuerdan a la hambruna que en 2011 acabó con la vida de cerca de 250 000 personas.

    Yemen: después de dos años el conflicto ha empeorado la situación humanitaria en este país, que ya era el país más pobre de la península Arábiga. La situación continúa deteriorándose y 14,1 millones de yemeníes viven en situación de inseguridad alimentaria en la actualidad.

    "Estas graves crisis alimentarias son causadas por el hombre y no producto de una fatalidad. Es por eso que desde Acción contra el Hambre llamamos a la movilización para proporcionar una respuesta urgente y adecuada para cubrir las necesidades más básicas de la personas afectadas", recuerda Olivier Longué, director general de Acción contra el Hambre. La organización pide también el fin de los conflictos y el respeto del derecho internacional humanitario para que las personas tengan acceso a los servicios básicos.

    A pesar de los riesgos por falta de seguridad, equipos de Acción contra el Hambre se han movilizado para desplegar una respuesta humanitaria de emergencia. El diagnóstico y tratamiento de la desnutrición entre los niños menores de 5 años sigue siendo la mayor prioridad y se articula desde un enfoque multisectorial: atención primaria de salud para los niños y las mujeres embarazadas y lactantes, intervenciones de agua, saneamiento e higiene para garantizar el acceso a agua segura, las transferencias monetarias para satisfacer las necesidades alimentarias de estas poblaciones y el apoyo psicosocial.

    Acción contra el Hambre es una organización humanitaria internacional que lucha contra las causas y los efectos del hambre. Salvamos la vida de niños y niñas desnutridos. Garantizamos acceso a agua segura, alimentos, formación y cuidados básicos de salud. Trabajamos también para liberar niños, mujeres y hombres de la amenaza del hambre.

    Más información y entrevistas con portavoces:

    Departamento de Comunicación Acción contra el Hambre España

    91 771 16 72 | 91 391 53 06 I 609 018 735

    @Acontraelhambre www.accioncontraelhambre.org


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    Highlights

    • WFP’s funding outlook for 2017 is extremely dire with ration cuts and pipeline breaks already taking place for the PRRO, the Country Programme and UNHAS. For the next 6 months, WFP faces a funding shortfall of 48 percent for its assistance to refugees; 68 percent for its assistance to local Mauritanians; 86 percent for school meals; and 32 percent for UNHAS.

    • Erratic assistance will likely have a detrimental effect on the resilience and self-reliance capabilities, coping strategies, food security and nutrition situation of people assisted by WFP.

    • Security remains a concern especially in Hodh Ech-Charghi where refugee and host population operations are implemented.

    Operational Updates

    PRRO – Refugees Component

    A decrease in the number of registered refugees in Mbera was observed in January 2017, despite the latest incidents reported inside the Malian territory. In January, WFP was able to assist all registered refugees but could only provide the cash value of the monthly ration (65 percent) worth 4,200 Mauritanian Ouguiya (USD 12,45 ) per household due to lack of funding for the in-kind component (35 percent) of the ration.

    Malnutrition treatment activities for pregnant and nursing women and children aged 6-59 months in the month of January were limited to one week due to operational delays. For this reason, WFP assisted only half of the planned 658 assistance recipients (children and mothers). School meals were regularly distributed to 4,534 children in the camp’s six primary schools.

    Overall, WFP assisted 46,875 refugees in January, amongst which 29,131 were women.

    PRRO – Local Vulnerable Population Component

    Following a strategic review of its operations, in 2017, WFP plans to focus assistance to the local Mauritanian population on a package of nutrition, and unconditional food and cash transfers activities during the lean season (April-October) to the extent possible. Food assistance for assets (FFA) activities are instead planned in the period prior to the lean season to strengthen communities’ self-reliance and resilience to climate-induced shocks.

    Accordingly, in January, WFP supported participants of FFA activities to complete the cycle of gardening activities started in December 2016. Nearly 1,500 people in Gorgol, Guidimakha, and Assaba were assisted with cash distributions of 12,000 Mauritanian Ouguiya per household per month. Gardening activities progressed well in all regions and allowed easy access to nutritious food and provided a source of income to community members. In Tagant, Gorgol and Hodh el-Gharbi WFP also carried out nutrition activities for 3,200 children aged 6-59 months and 775 pregnant and nursing women for the treatment of malnutrition.

    Country Programme – School meals programme

    The school meals programme has been put on hold throughout the country due to funding constraints since December 2015. The programme will partially resume in February 2017.

    UNHAS

    In January, UNHAS transported 280 passengers and 2,000 mt of light cargo in 38 rotations between Nouakchott and other locations.

    Impact of Limited Funding

    2017 Net Funding requirements: PRRO and CP require USD 11.8 million for the next six months. Urgent funding is needed to assist Malian refugees and the local population with life-saving food assistance and resilience-building activities, and to resume the school meals programme in Mauritania for some 73,000 children.

    As the sole air service provider for humanitarian operations, UNHAS is crucial for the humanitarian community to reach its recipient people in remote and difficult to access areas of Mauritania. Immediate funding of USD 0.6 million for UNHAS operations is needed to prevent a suspension of activities from May onward


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


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

    An international conference in Oslo draws attention to the plight of millions of people driven from their homes across Nigeria and the Lake Chad region by insurgency.

    By: Hanson Ghandi Tamfu | 23 February 2017

    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – The Boko Haram insurgency recently came to the humble home of Bintu in north-east Nigeria and turned her already hard life upside down.

    “My husband was slaughtered by the insurgents at our farm in Ngorodole,” the 30-year-old recalled recently in a camp for displaced persons in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

    She quickly decided to leave her village near the Cameroonian border and head to safety in Maiduguri with her four children. “I feel secure here, but would rather be at home,” she confided. Many others like her long for the security situation to improve throughout the north-east so that they can return home.

    “I feel secure here, but would rather be at home.”

    Some 950,000 internally displaced people (IDP) have returned to their home areas of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states since August 2015, and tens of thousands of Nigerians, including refugees, are estimated to have returned from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

    Many displaced Nigerians wish to return home when conditions improve, but the security situation remains precarious in many areas of origin, despite major gains by the military last year that have improved access to some areas.

     A major international conference tomorrow in Oslo on displacement in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region will discuss the situation and possibilities for return. Participants will also discuss ways to strengthen the protection and solutions environment for the affected communities. Donor nations are expected to pledge fresh funds. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will address the meeting.

    Sustainable and durable return will depend on a number of factors. For example, there is a desperate need to rebuild core infrastructure, ensure access to basic services and revive local economies and food production as well as rebuild trust and foster reconciliation among affected people. Many of those who have sought to return home have found themselves in situations of secondary displacement, highlighting the continuing risks that the Boko Haram insurgency poses.

    “The importance of ensuring voluntary and sustainable returns in safety and dignity cannot be overemphasized.”

    Urgent action is needed to create a solutions environment, as well as to assist those, like Bintu, who remain in displacement. A large number of those staying in camps in north-eastern Nigeria are women and children. The government, supported by the UN, is stepping up efforts to reunite families who may have been separated during the conflict.

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has also intensified training of aid workers, local government officials and community leaders to help in response and rebuilding, especially in Borno state, where the crisis is most severe and the insurgency threat most potent.

    “The importance of ensuring voluntary and sustainable returns in conditions of safety and dignity, and to avoid secondary displacement as returnees search for basic needs, including food, shelter and medical care, cannot be overemphasized,” said Brigitte Mukanga Eno, UNHCR’s acting representative in Nigeria.

    She added that premature returns, undertaken before conditions are in place, can give rise to serious protection risks and can undermine longer term peace and recovery efforts.


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    Source: Government of Ireland
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Ireland, Nigeria

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh TD, announced today that Ireland will contribute at least €5 million towards the global response to the humanitarian crisis in north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

    Announcing the funding Minister Flanagan said:

    “I have been following the deteriorating situation in north east Nigeria and the Lake Chad region with great concern. The Boko Haram insurgency targeting civilian populations has destroyed vital infrastructure, preventing people from accessing essential services, causing widespread trauma, suffering and displacement. The crisis has now reached grave proportions with 10.7 million people currently in need of life-saving assistance across Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.”

    “Ireland welcomes the Oslo conference as an important step in gaining necessary recognition of the scale of the crisis. While recent increases in assistance are a significant step forward, huge food security, protection, and education needs still remain to be met as more areas become accessible to the humanitarian community.”

    Minister of State McHugh added:

    “The combined impact of deepening insecurity, rapid population growth and severe vulnerability resulting from the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and underinvestment in social services is translating into record numbers of people in need of humanitarian assistance and the situation in the Lake Chad region remains extremely fragile. Now is the time to expand humanitarian assistance, protection, basic services and essential infrastructure. Progress towards peace requires our firm and united support and Irelands stands in solidarity with the people of north east Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.”

    “Ireland’s pledge of at least €5 million for north east Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in 2017 reflects our commitment to provide humanitarian assistance where needs are greatest and our focus on forgotten crises and conflicts.”

    Ireland’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Seán Hoy, will represent Ireland at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region on the 24th February. The conference, co-hosted by Germany, Nigeria, Norway and the United Nations, is intended to draw attention to, and increase funding for, the urgent humanitarian crisis unfolding in north-eastern Nigeria and in the Lake Chad region.

    ENDS
    Press Office
    23 February 2017

    Notes to the editor:

    • Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information visit http://www.irishaid.ie/

    • Ireland’s Humanitarian Assistance Policy outlines how Irish Aid saves and protects lives, alleviates suffering and maintains human dignity before, during and in the aftermath of humanitarian crises.

    • A new Country Based Pooled Fund for Nigeria will be announced at the Oslo Conference. Country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) are multi-donor humanitarian financing instruments established by the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC). They are managed by UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) at the country-level under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC). Donor contributions to each CBPF are un-earmarked and allocated by the HC through an in-country consultative process. Ireland currently co-chairs the Pooled Fund Working Group with OCHA and is very supportive all this initiative.

    • Ireland provided almost €6 million in humanitarian assistance to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region during 2016. This included support for the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the region, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s food security response in northern Nigeria, the UN Refugee Agency’s refugee response plan in Chad, and the work of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Niger.

    • As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid maintains a roster of highly skilled and experienced individuals who are willing to deploy at short notice to assist in emergency relief and humanitarian efforts.

    • In 2016, two rapid responders were deployed to the World Food Programme’s humanitarian operations in Nigeria to provide support in logistics and engineering, and four others were deployed to UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also in Nigeria to provide much-needed support in the information management and gender response areas.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    NOUAKCHOTT – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a vital injection of €1.5 million from the European Union to help meet the food needs of Malian refugees in Mauritania.

    Funding from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) received at the end of 2016 has allowed WFP to provide cash assistance during January and February 2017 for approximately 48,500 refugees from Mali who live in the Mbera camp.

    Since the end of September 2016, an additional 6,000 people have crossed the border seeking refuge from insecurity and violence in northern Mali, swelling the number of registered refugees assisted by WFP in Mbera camp.

    “ECHO’s contribution arrived at a pivotal time for meeting the food needs of Malian refugees for the first two months of the year,” said Jean-Noel Gentile, WFP Country Director for Mauritania. “Without this vital injection of funds, WFP would have been forced to suspend its assistance.”

    WFP plans to continue providing a flexible package of assistance comprising cash and in-kind food rations. Cash–based transfers allow families to buy the food of their liking at local markets along with other basic items, such as cooking fuel.

    WFP also plans to distribute in-kind rations of staple foods and fortified supplementary foods for vulnerable malnourished children and pregnant woman and nursing mothers. Additionally, WFP aims to provide one warm daily school meal to primary school children throughout the school year.

    Currently, WFP is working with UNHCR, partners and the Mauritanian Government to better align the type of assistance it provides to the needs of refugees through carrying out vulnerability-based targeting. The targeting would allow WFP to reach the most vulnerable among the refugee population, while designing long-term self-reliance and resilience building activities in consultations with refugees, partners and Government. This approach is in line with WFP’s efforts in Mauritania to strengthen synergies and better integrate humanitarian assistance and development activities.

    From March until the end of the year, WFP Mauritania will need USD 8.7 million to continue providing assistance to Malian refugees in the camp.

    ###

    WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

    Follow us on Twitter: @WFP_WAfrica, @wfp_media

    For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org): Vanessa Rizzi, WFP/Mauritania: 00222 45 252 793 vanessa.rizzi@wfp.org


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    Source: International Medical Corps
    Country: South Sudan

    LOS ANGELES/LONDON– In the wake of three years of ongoing conflict and political turmoil in South Sudan, more than 100,000 people now face starvation and death in Leer and Mayendit counties, and more than one million additional people in Greater Unity region are on the brink of famine, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification update recently released by the Republic of South Sudan, the United Nations, and humanitarian agencies.

    Insecurity continues to force families from their homes and hinder humanitarian access in South Sudan. Across the country, nearly 5 million people—or more than 40 percent of the population—face life-threatening hunger, and that number is only expected to increase if additional aid is unable to reach those in need.

    “Lives have already been lost because people haven’t had enough to eat, and the situation worsens with every passing day. We can prevent more people from dying, but we must be able to reach them. And we need to reach them now,” said Golam Azam, International Medical Corps’ Country Director in South Sudan. “We call on all parties to the conflict to immediately provide humanitarian organizations with safe, unrestricted access to communities in need.”

    As the crisis in Leer County deepened, families fled to nearby Nyal County to find temporary shelter, food, water, health care, and other critical relief. International Medical Corps, one of the only health organizations working in Nyal County, is supporting host communities and displaced persons by providing lifesaving nutrition services; primary, secondary, and reproductive health care; psychosocial and mental health care; support for survivors of gender-based violence; and awareness-raising to help prevent the spread of disease. International Medical Corps operates a clinic that serves the more than 80,000 people now living in Nyal town as well as mobile clinics that reach an additional 20,000 persons displaced from Leer County. In addition, the organization has also trained community health workers in Leer County to identify and refer those with malnutrition or other common diseases for treatment and support.

    International Medical Corps teams are working in seven of South Sudan’s 11 states, providing health care, nutrition services, and other relief to hundreds of thousands of people. This includes working in 77 health facilities and supporting a stabilization center in the displacement camp in the capital of Juba, which provides 24-hour care for severely malnourished children with medical complications.

    Since its inception 30 years ago, International Medical Corps' mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster, and disease by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit:

    www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

    CONTACT INFO:

    In Washington, DC
    Rebecca Gustafson
    Senior Advisor, Global Communications
    +1 202 828 5155
    rgustafson@internationalmedicalcorps.org

    In London
    Larissa Schneider-Kim
    Media and Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 785 441 0825
    lschneider-kim@internationalmedicalcorps.org.uk


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    Source: Catholic Agency for Overseas Development
    Country: South Sudan

    Church leaders from South Sudan have called on the international community to assist millions of people who are facing starvation in the country. Bishops from England and Wales have backed their call for peace and urgent action to alleviate suffering and save lives.

    In a pastoral letter released by the South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference on 23 February 2017, the Bishops said:

    “Our country is gripped by a humanitarian crisis – famine, insecurity and economic hardship. Our people are struggling simply to survive. While there have been poor rains in many parts of the country, there is no doubt that this famine is man-made, due to insecurity and poor economic management.

    “Millions of our people are affected, with large numbers displaced from their homes and many fleeing to neighbouring countries, where they are facing appalling hardships in refugee camps.”

    The Bishops called on the international community “for immediate and unconditional concrete intervention and action before thousands of innocent lives are carried away and before it is too late.”

    Bishop William Kenney of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said:

    “Having visited the country in the past few years, I commend the pastoral message from my brother Bishops in South Sudan. The South Sudanese people are suffering a brutal civil war, resulting in widespread violence, economic breakdown and famine. The world must wake up to this man-made humanitarian disaster. The violence must stop and the international community must intervene.

    “Please remember the people of South Sudan in your prayers, support the famine relief and put pressure on our government to do their utmost to bring an end to the fighting.”

    Aid agency CAFOD has scaled up its response to the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. Fergus Conmee, CAFOD’s Head of Africa, said:

    “We will continue to support the life-saving activities of our Church partners in South Sudan and to do our utmost in responding to the enormous humanitarian challenges that have been with South Sudan since December 2013, and are worsening at this time.”

    “To stop this disaster, the belligerents have to listen to the Bishops and come together to find a peaceful way of rebuilding a shattered country.”

    The food security situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate since the outbreak of fighting in December 2013. The humanitarian crisis has spiralled with more than three million people fleeing the conflict and seeking refuge in neighbouring countries or as internally displaced persons hosted by already poor communities across the country.

    A famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, with 100,000 people affected. It is feared that the number of people affected could rise to 5.5 million by July.

    Notes to Editor:

    1. On 22 February 2017 Pope Francis made an appeal for South Sudan from the Vatican.

    2. From 1 April 2015 CAFOD and Trócaire started working in together in South Sudan, as CAFOD and Trócaire in Partnership. CAFOD and Trócaire both have a long history of working in South Sudan through church and non-church partners who support vulnerable people in communities, providing food, water and sanitation and supporting communities to earn a living through better farming methods.

    3. CAFOD’s South Sudan Appeal: cafod.org.uk/southsudanappeal

    4. CAFOD have spokespeople available in Juba and in London.

    5. For media enquiries please contact,

    In London: Laura Ouseley, laura.ouseley@cafod.org.uk, +44(0)207 095 5479, +44(0)7909 875 956. CAFOD out-of-hours media hotline: +44 (0)7919 301 429

    In Nairobi: To contact spokespeople based in Juba – please contact David Mutua, dmutua@cafod.org.uk +254 (722) 896 315 Skype: david_mutua


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    Source: Sudan Tribune
    Country: South Sudan, Sudan

    February 23, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir, Thursday, has directed his government to provide the necessary support and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and relief supplies to the needy civilian in the neighbouring South Sudan.

    South Sudan, which has been mired in civil war since December 2013, is now Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the world’s third largest behind Syria and Afghanistan.

    Government officials declared that some parts of the war-ravaged country, particularly in the Unity province are suffering famine. At least 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of the country while 4.9 million of them need urgent humanitarian assistance.

    Al-Bashir "directed the concerned authorities to provide support to our brothers in the Republic of South Sudan in coordination with the competent South Sudanese ministries and institutions in order to facilitate and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid and relief supplies to the needy," said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir on Thursday.

    the Sudanese president further "ordered to ensure all the necessary facilities for the entry of any humanitarian assistance for South Sudan through the Sudanese territory, both from United Nations organisations and agencies or sisterly and friendly countries".

    Khidir said these directives aim to ensure the success of the international humanitarian campaign aimed at alleviating the suffering of the South Sudanese people.

    Since 2014, Sudan opened river and road humanitarian corridors enabling UN agencies to use trucks and river barges to deliver humanitarian aid to the northern parts of South Sudan.

    Last Tuesday President Salva Kiir pledged to provide aid agencies unimpeded access to the needy population across the country.

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