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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Burkina Faso

    PRIORITY SECTORS

    • Education: School closures have interrupted education for an estimated 72,000 children.

    • Health: Various attacks have resulted in the disruption of health service provision, as health centres closed and people are scared to travel.

    • Food security will worsen in the area. Households are expected to face Stressed outcomes (IPC Phase 2) between April and September.

    • WASH: Scheduled repairs or constructions of wells and latrines are being delayed because of rising insecurity.

    Overview

    Northern Burkina Faso has seen a rapid deterioration of the security situation since January 2017. Various attacks have been carried out in the area ranging from targeted killings, assassination attempts, village and school incursions to complex attacks against army or police position ?. The Ansarul Islam group, which has links to the Ansar Dine movement in Mali, is suspected to be behind most of the recent attacks. The increase in threats and attacks has caused fear across the region and led to the closure of over 600 schools in Oudalan and Soum provinces. Insecurity is also impacting access to other social services such as health, food security and protection.

    Ansarul Islam is a new armed group, first known in December 2016 when it claimed responsibility for the attack of Nassoumbou military base in Burkina Faso, which resulted in 12 soldiers killed. Since then, it has claimed responsibility or being suspected for most of the recent attacks in the region. Ibrahim Malam Dicko is allegedly the leader. He first joined the Macina Liberation Front, an armed group close to Ansar Dine based in Mali, and in 2016 established his militia around Djibo in Burkina Faso and Douna and Selba in Mali.
    The aim of this group seems to re-establish a Fulani kingdom in the Sahel region


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Gambia

    Highlights

    • The Zero Hunger Country Strategic Review has officially begun.

    • A total of 7,416 people were assisted under the immediate response emergency operation (IR-EMOP 201036) in February 2017.

    Operational Updates

    • WFP provided food assistance through cash to 7,416 people in February 2017 under IR-EMOP 201036. The assistance targets people affected by floods and windstorms during the 2016 rainy season. The activity was implemented in partnership with the National Disaster Management Agency, Gambia Red Cross Society and United Purpose.

    • A total of 80,229 school children and cooks were targeted for assistance by WFP in the month of February.

    • Schoolchildren benefitting from the school meals programme participated in WFP’s global design completion for schoolchildren.

    • The national Zero Hunger Strategic Review process has commenced. The lead convener and his team had initial consultations and working sessions with UN partners to familiarise them about the process and scope of the review.

    • WFP held a meeting with key stakeholders in the Government and UN agencies to prepare for a national consultation on Purchase from Africans for Africa project in March 2017.

    • Preparations started for the celebration of international school meals day. The Ministers of Agriculture, Health and Trade issued statements reflecting the Government’s commitment to school meals.

    • WFP distributed food to pre and primary school children in Greater Banjul Area, West Coast, Lower River, Central River and Upper River Regions for the month of February.

    • Plans were reactivated to resume nutrition prevention and treatment activities previously suspended under the PRRO due to lack of resources. Funding was recently received through SRAC allocation as well as the European Commission.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Burkina Faso

    OVERVIEW

    Northern Burkina Faso has seen a rapid deterioration of the security situation since January 2017. Various attacks have been carried out in the area ranging from targeted killings, assassination attempts, village and school incursions to complex attacks against army or police position. The Ansarul Islam group, which has links to the Ansar Dine movement in Mali, is suspected to be behind most of the recent attacks. The increase in threats and attacks has caused fear across the region and led to the closure of over 600 schools in Oudalan and Soum provinces. Insecurity is also impacting access to other social services such as health, food security and protection.

    Ansarul Islam is a new armed group, first known in December 2016 when it claimed responsibility for the attack of Nassoumbou military base in Burkina Faso, which resulted in 12 soldiers killed. Since then, it has claimed responsibility or being suspected for most of the recent attacks in the region. Ibrahim Malam Dicko is allegedly the leader. He first joined the Macina Liberation Front, an armed group close to Ansar Dine based in Mali, and in 2016 established his militia around Djibo in Burkina Faso and Douna and Selba in Mali.
    The aim of this group seems to re-establish a Fulani kingdom in the Sahel region.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Burkina Faso

    PRIORITY SECTORS

    • Education: School closures have interrupted education for an estimated 72,000 children.

    • Health: Various attacks have resulted in the disruption of health service provision, as health centres closed and people are scared to travel.

    • Food security will worsen in the area. Households are expected to face Stressed outcomes (IPC Phase 2) between April and September.

    • WASH: Scheduled repairs or constructions of wells and latrines are being delayed because of rising insecurity.

    Overview

    Northern Burkina Faso has seen a rapid deterioration of the security situation since January 2017. Various attacks have been carried out in the area ranging from targeted killings, assassination attempts, village and school incursions to complex attacks against army or police position ?. The Ansarul Islam group, which has links to the Ansar Dine movement in Mali, is suspected to be behind most of the recent attacks. The increase in threats and attacks has caused fear across the region and led to the closure of over 600 schools in Oudalan and Soum provinces. Insecurity is also impacting access to other social services such as health, food security and protection.

    Ansarul Islam is a new armed group, first known in December 2016 when it claimed responsibility for the attack of Nassoumbou military base in Burkina Faso, which resulted in 12 soldiers killed. Since then, it has claimed responsibility or being suspected for most of the recent attacks in the region. Ibrahim Malam Dicko is allegedly the leader. He first joined the Macina Liberation Front, an armed group close to Ansar Dine based in Mali, and in 2016 established his militia around Djibo in Burkina Faso and Douna and Selba in Mali.
    The aim of this group seems to re-establish a Fulani kingdom in the Sahel region


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


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    Highlights

    • The mid-term results of the Project for Improving Communities’ Resilience and Food Security to Overcome the Adverse Effects of Climate Change (PARSSAC) – funded by WFP’s Climate Adaptation Fund – were presented in February.

    • For the next six months, WFP needs USD 4.8 million to avoid pipeline breaks, and assist the local population and Malian refugees with cash/in-kind assistance, and resilience building activities. Urgent funding of USD 1.2 million is also needed to resume WFP’s school meals programme for the next six months.

    • UNHAS operations are currently covered until June 2017, after which the service might be suspended if further funding is not secured.

    Operational Updates

    The mid-term results of the Project for Improving Communities’ Resilience and Food Security to Overcome the Adverse Effects of Climate Change (PARSSAC) – funded by WFP’s Climate Adaptation Fund – were presented in February. Since 2015, the country office has been strengthening the technical capacities of government authorities (amongst which the Délégation Régionale de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable, Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire (CSA) and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock) in integrating climate change adaptation measures and technical standards for asset building, into national and local planning. Over this period, the country office provided trainings and practical guidance to local NGOs and communities to understand climate change principles and how to practically integrate them into local seasonal and rural development planning in order to augment the abilities of communities to be prepared for and withstand climatic shocks. As a result of these efforts, 84 villages in 8 targeted regions elaborated climate adaptation action plans. In the regions, villagers actively participated in projects to rehabilitate dunes and soil for agricultural production, including planting of fruit trees, gardening and apiculture activities.

    PRRO – Refugees Component In February, WFP continued to assist an increasing number of registered Malian refugees with general distributions through cash transfers. Due to the lack of funding for the in-kind component of the ration and the increasing number of assisted people, WFP had to further reduce rations. WFP assisted 48,318 refugees with a reduced cash ration of 3,800 Mauritanian Ouguiya (USD 10.70) per household.

    Malnutrition treatment activities for pregnant and nursing women and children aged 6-59 months in the month of February targeted some 400 recipients (children and mothers). School meals were regularly distributed to 4,459 children in the camp’s six primary schools. WFP also provided school meals for 1,691 Mauritanian children attending 18 schools in the villages around Mbera camp with recent funding received. Children also benefitted from hygiene sensitization activities implemented by UNICEF.

    PRRO – Local Vulnerable Population Component February saw the completion of the cycle of gardening activities as part of WFP’s food assistance for assets (FFA) programme in Assaba. Nearly 2,500 people received cash distributions of 12,000 Mauritanian Ouguiya (USD 34) per household per month. Focusing on natural resource assets, activities such as gardening can benefit the entire community by providing income-generating and food production opportunities. Additionally FFA provides participants with a set of transferable skills in land recovery and harvesting techniques. The aim of the activity was to ensure sufficient assets were created to prepare and stabilize beneficiaries’ livelihoods prior to the lean season.

    UNHAS In February, UNHAS transported 220 passengers and 2,000 mt of light cargo in 28 rotations between Nouakchott and other locations. UNHAS successfully performed 1 medical evacuation from Bassikounou to Nouakchott. UNHAS also facilitated a UN joint mission (WFP, UNDP, UNHCR, OIM, UNICEF, UNHCR) to Bassikounou with a regular flight.


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    Source: ActionAid
    Country: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Myanmar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Viet Nam, World, Zimbabwe

    INTRODUCTION

    ActionAid is working with poor communities across the world to support them in building their resilience to disasters, climate change and other shocks and stresses. This work is of ever-growing importance, not only because of changing weather patterns and rising temperatures increasing the likelihood of disasters, but also because of growing risks related to violent conflict, human and livestock epidemics, environmental degradation and political and economic crises.

    The shape and nature of our resilience programmes varies from country to country, depending on the local context, but generally includes a combination of approaches such as disaster risk reduction, climate resilient sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, humanitarian response and recovery, and promoting accountable and inclusive governance.
    What sets us apart is our focus on women’s rights and leadership in resilience-building.

    It is widely known that women and girls are disproportionally affected by disasters, climate change and conflict. Women and girls face heightened risks due to the cultural and social norms that define gender stereotypes, and the breakdown of normal protection structures during crises. We see that all forms of violence against women and girls are exacerbated during humanitarian crises, and in emergency relief and recovery efforts women tend to be discriminated against by existing norms and processes. For example, social customs and women’s role as carers limits their mobility and access to public spaces, meaning they do not directly receive relief items and are restricted from taking part in the decision-making that affects their lives.

    Though the concept of gendered vulnerability is important for understanding the different ways in which women and men are affected by disasters, it must not be forgotten that there is nothing natural about this vulnerability. Rather, it is caused by the social and economic disadvantage that women experience as a result of socially constructed gender roles, systematic discrimination, and the power imbalance between women and men. While it is important to understand women’s vulnerability to disasters and climate change, it is also vital to avoid stereotyping women as inherently vulnerable, passive recipients of aid and protection. This has previously precluded women from being considered as active agents in humanitarian action and resilience-building, and overlooks the fulfilment of their right to equal participation and decision-making.

    Women have a fundamental right to contribute to the decisions that affect their lives, and they bring vital skills, resources and experience to building resilience. They hold intimate ‘front-line’ knowledge of the local environment, including a good understanding of local-level risk, which is extremely useful in identifying and implementing the most effective resilience building activities.

    Women’s connections within their community and their skills in mobilisation suggest they are well-placed to be transformative agents in community disaster planning and preparedness, should they be empowered to do so. “Women have an inherent capacity for risk management which has not been capitalised upon,” says Santosh Kumar, director of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Disaster Management Centre. “Experience from disasters indicates that the way women handle risk is different from men. They have different qualities to bring to disaster planning that have been ignored in the name of vulnerability.” When supported and empowered to take up a leadership role, the women ActionAid works with have shown readiness and enthusiasm to lead resilience-building efforts, and have time and again demonstrated their ability to do so. Women are leading initiatives to diversify livelihoods, adapt agricultural practices in the light of climate change, ensure governmental disaster management strategies incorporate their needs, and advocate for sustainable use of natural resources.

    Our experiences demonstrate that facilitating women’s leadership in resilience-building fosters a sense of self-confidence and empowerment among women that can help transform gender power relations in their households and communities, and overcome the barriers that have traditionally excluded women from decision-making and leadership.

    The case studies in this publication demonstrate the incredible courage of women who have taken up leadership roles in different resilience-building initiatives in eight countries across Africa and Asia.
    The stories illustrate the personal changes women have experienced, from being confined to their domestic responsibilities to participating in community decision-making processes and earning an income from different livelihood activities. They show the transformative change that women can bring about individually, or when they organise as a group.

    Such as in Vietnam, where women have demanded local authorities recognise and protect their right to forest land, and led the design and implementation of sustainable forest-based livelihoods. Or in Malawi, where women have decided to transition to agro-ecological farming practices, demonstrating its success and encouraging the larger community to follow suit.

    They are true stories of change, and we hope they inspire you.


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    Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
    Country: Mali

    Mali: MSF warns about the use of humanitarian aid for political and military interests

    The incursion of military and political actors in the humanitarian field is putting the provision of humanitarian aid at risk in Mali. This is the main conclusion of a report published this week by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) which analyses the continuous and harmful instrumentalisation of humanitarian aid in the country.

    Despite the peace agreement signed in 2015 between the government of Mali and some insurgent groups, the conflict remains active in many areas in the north of the country. Insecurity which limits the presence of humanitarian actors, as well as the lack of state presence in these areas, has resulted in the population having very limited access to basic services, particularly healthcare. Unfortunately, the security threats towards humanitarian actors have been further aggravated by the risk of confusion between humanitarian actors and military actors.

    There are currently three foreign military operations in Mali: the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), the European Union mission in the Sahel and the French military operation Barkhane, all of them in support of the government and its armed forces and against certain armed groups. Several armed groups are fighting against these operations in the country. In fact, the UN mission in Mali is one of the most attacked missions in the organisation's history.

    This foreign response is framed within three different logics: the integration of all objectives (political, military, economic, development and humanitarian) into one agenda; the stabilisation of the context to help the Malian government to extend its legitimacy, and the fight against terrorism. The union of these three logics can have a serious impact on the provision of humanitarian action, which can be confused by the population and some actors as being part of the conflict.

    According to the report published today by MSF, there are four main risks for humanitarian action in Mali. First, the risk of the assistance being perceived as support for the government’s political agenda. Second, the humanitarian aid can be rejected by the population and groups opposed to this political agenda. Third, and as a consequence of this, humanitarian organisations can be attacked if they are identified as belonging to the enemy.

    The use of armed escorts by humanitarian workers and the use of civilian vehicles by the military, both common practices in Mali, may increase the likelihood of these attacks. And finally, there is a risk that vital humanitarian aid cannot be implemented on the scale it is needed due to the other three risks, aggravating the needs of the population to be assisted.

    “Access to the most vulnerable populations has been a struggle for humanitarian actors since the beginning of the armed conflict. However, the humanitarian sector in Mali has not found a consistent manner on how to effectively react to the current military and political dynamics that subordinate humanitarian action to its interests, putting humanitarian organisations and their work at risk. We cannot resign ourselves to this reality,” explains Mari Carmen Viñoles, MSF’s programme manager for Sahel. “Despite the difficulties, humanitarian action is still possible and feasible today in Mali, and we have to work to keep it that way.”

    MSF in northern Mali

    MSF has been working in northern Mali since 2012, providing medical care to the populations affected by the armed conflict. The organisation is currently working in Ansongo district, in the Gao region, supporting a 48-bed referral hospital and another district health centre. MSF is also working in the rural areas of the district, arranging referrals and providing seasonal primary healthcare to the nomadic population. In the Kidal region, north of Gao, MSF is supporting two health centres in Kidal town and three more in the periphery.

    Project: Emergency Gap

    The report "Perilous terrain: Humanitarian action at risk in Mali" is part of MSF’s project entitled “Emergency Gap”, which aims to analyse the absence of effective and meaningful emergency response in the acute phase of armed conflict, at a time of growing levels of humanitarian crisis and needs. The report (in English) is available on the website of the Centre for Applied Reflection on Humanitarian Practice (ARHP): http://arhp.msf.es


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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: South Sudan, Sudan, United States of America

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Above-average harvest reduces food insecurity levels across Sudan

    • GoS implements revised humanitarian directives to facilitate relief operations

    • Humanitarian actors report improved access in Jebel Marra region

    • Relief agencies coordinate to support influx of South Sudanese refugees

    KEY DEVELOPMENTS

    • An above-average 2016/2017 harvest and regular access to seasonal agricultural labor have reduced food insecurity across Sudan, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). However, parts of South Kordofan State and Jebel Marra continue to experience elevated levels of acute food insecurity due to disrupted agricultural production, ongoing insecurity, and population displacement.

    • In mid-January, the Government of Sudan (GoS) Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) convened a workshop in the capital city of Khartoum to communicate key elements of the revised Directives and Procedures for Humanitarian Action in Sudan.

    • More than 46,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan since January 1, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), prompting the UN agency and other humanitarian actors to scale up response activities to meet the needs of refugees and affected host community members.


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    Source: Government of Italy
    Country: Italy, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

    "Responding to the appeal made by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, we have arranged, through Italian Cooperation, a package of humanitarian aid worth 10 million euros in response to the very serious food crisis that is endangering the survival of 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, including 1.4 million children under 5 with acute malnutrition problems".

    This statement was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, specifying that the actions in question will be implemented by "the UN Agencies working on the front line of the colossal human effort currently under way, in particular the World Food Programme and UNICEF, as well as the Committee of the International Red Cross".

    Specifically, the action taken by Italian Cooperation will provide funding of three million euros for the WFP and UNICEF to distribute food rations and water in the States of North Eastern Nigeria, with particular attention being paid to children and pregnant women. Two million euros will be destined for Somalia for the distribution of food and medical assistance, entrusted to the WFP and the International Red Cross, respectively, in the areas most seriously hit by the drought.

    In South Sudan as well, Italian Cooperation will be working with the WFP and UNICEF, providing 2 million euros to fund a programme of school canteens and to combat acute malnutrition in children. Finally, three million euros will be allocated to Yemen for food distribution by the WFP and to provide assistance in the health sector and support for hospitals with the Yemeni Red Crescent.

    "The sums put in place," concluded Minister Alfano, "are not the end of our humanitarian commitment to the affected countries. We shall soon be making further resources available to fund other emergency activities, the implementation of which will be entrusted to Italian civil society organisations".


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    Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Country: Iraq, Nigeria, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    by Adela Suliman | Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Friday, 24 March 2017 07:00 GMT

    Many women have lost male relatives to war and find themselves in the role of sole breadwinner. One in four Syrian refugee families is now headed by a woman.

    By Adela Suliman

    LONDON, March 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Islamic State militants brutally invaded her hometown of Kobani in Syria, Shorash didn't initially see it as a career opportunity.

    Grabbing only what she could carry, Shorash and her family trekked on foot across the Turkish border. After months of sleeping rough in parks and bouncing from one refugee camp to another, they eventually settled near Erbil, in Iraq's relatively stable Kurdistan region.

    "I had been looking for work without any success, and was feeling rather bored and frustrated," said 23-year-old Shorash, who did not disclose her surname for security reasons.

    One day, her husband told her about a local women's centre, run by non-profit group "Women for Women International" (WfWI), that offered training to help women establish businesses.

    A law graduate, Shorash was a diligent student and attended all classes, even giving birth to her daughter just hours after her final exams.

    She developed a plan to establish a greenhouse construction business - in demand in the region as a modern way to grow fruit and vegetables.

    "The programme changed my life - I no longer feel lonely and isolated as before," she said.

    Gender equality and empowerment of women are among the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals designed to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.

    Nowhere is support for women more important and urgent than in post-conflict situations, experts say.

    "We believe that women survivors of war are agents of change, (and) that through empowering women we will actually empower the entire community," said Mandana Hendessi, WfWI's director for the Syria crisis response and Iraq.

    The WfWI centre, one of three in Iraq, enables women to rebuild their lives after conflict, to meet in a safe space, and to learn new skills.

    "People do have a very distorted view of refugee life," Hendessi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "They think everybody is just sitting there in a tent waiting for food to arrive or for medicine... but we're talking about women who back in Syria were incredibly resourceful, generally quite educated and losing all of their identity once they became a refugee."

    WOMEN BREADWINNERS

    Some 4.9 million Syrians – the majority women and children – are refugees in neighbouring states, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

    The WfWI programme in Iraq supports around 400 mainly Syrian and Yazidi female refugees, and also works with men to ensure social cohesion.

    As is common in post-conflict societies, many of the women have lost their male relatives to war, and find themselves thrust into the position of sole breadwinner. One in four Syrian refugee families is now headed by a woman, according to WfWI.

    Projects like that supporting Shorash encourage women to grasp entrepreneurial opportunities, nurturing start-ups from wedding services and hair-salons to bakeries and sweet shops.

    Research suggests men often do not adapt as well as women to new roles in times of conflict, said Nicola Jones, principal research fellow at the London-based Overseas Development Institute.

    "Often women have been more flexible," she said.

    Rather than waiting for institutions to be rebuilt after wars, which can take generations, women's informal networks are an increasingly powerful tool for driving forward economic and social recovery, she added.

    NIGERIA NURSES

    In northern Nigeria, a region under the shadow of Boko Haram militants, Fatima Adamu is working to equip young women to become midwives and healthcare practitioners.

    In patriarchal rural communities, Adamu negotiates with local leaders to nominate a young woman to train in the city who will then return home to help close the village healthcare gap.

    "The reality is nobody is coming from the city to fill that space for you, (so) you must provide," said Adamu, explaining how she persuades villages to participate.

    The "Women for Health" programme, led by Health Partners International, aims to train more than 6,000 female workers and deploy them to rural health facilities in a region where up to 90 percent of women deliver their babies without a skilled birth attendant present.

    On graduating, the young women are usually employed by local governments, and must work for a minimum of three years in their villages before they can move elsewhere.

    The programme has faced some resistance, however.

    At least a handful of women have been divorced during their absence or returned home to find their husbands have taken another wife, said Adamu.

    In some cases, the community has rallied to pressure the husband to support his wife's training, knowing the village will benefit in the long term.

    The women often take up leadership roles when they return and are more able to negotiate power structures, said Adamu.

    Educating women and girls is "the surest way to address the challenges of extremism, poverty and... break the cycle of inequality", she said, in the region ravaged by Boko Haram, an Islamist group whose insurgency has killed 15,000 people and forced some 2 million from their homes. Historically, conflicts can accelerate women's rights and social opportunities, as seen after World War Two in Europe, while working women can help pick up the pieces and contribute significantly to rebuilding war-torn communities, experts say.

    "Often post-conflict there are real opportunities to rethink the social and political contract with citizens," said ODI's Jones. (Reporting by Adela Suliman; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)


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    Source: Handicap International
    Country: Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

    Twenty million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria have been grappling with a serious food crisis since 2016. Several East African countries have been hit by drought in recent months, including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan and, to a lesser extent, Tanzania. In some countries, conflicts have caused severe food shortages. Handicap International is preparing to deal with one of the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War.

    SOMALIA

    In Somalia, Handicap International is working with other humanitarian organizations to train them about the needs of the most vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, older people, children, pregnant woman, and others. The goal of these awareness sessions is to ensure these individuals are not forgotten and their needs are met in each actor's emergency response.

    The organization will also prioritize long-term access to water and food: “After months of severe drought, the rainy season, which is starting now, could spell disaster," explains Xavier Duvauchelle, the head of the organization’s programs in East and Southern Africa. "A second drought is expected from July. Our aim is therefore to give affected people sustainable access to food and water. This could entail digging wells and cultivating land to grow agricultural products resistant to climate change.”

    Handicap International also plans to provide malnourished children with physical therapy. “Many malnourished children may need support from a physiotherapist to prevent the onset of permanent disabilities," Duvauchelle adds. *"*Children affected by famine may have a developmental delay caused by under nutrition. Malnutrition can also lead to respiratory infections and physical therapists can intervene to prevent complications.”

    Under these circumstances, Handicap International may also organize awareness sessions to teach parents how to detect problems.

    SOUTH SUDAN

    In South Sudan, Handicap International ensures the needs of people with disabilities, older people, pregnant women, children, and others are taken into account in humanitarian programs implemented by international aid organizations.

    We plan to distribute food and water, supply rehabilitation care and provide psychological support sessions if needs are not adequately covered by humanitarian organizations already working in the field.

    YEMEN

    In Yemen, two years of fighting have given rise to widespread food insecurity: “The war in Yemen has seriously disrupted food imports and considerably reduced the livelihoods and sources of income of households,” says Arnaud Pont, the manager of the organization’s emergency operations in Yemen. Handicap International’s teams in the field are currently assessing needs in view of a possible response.

    PRESS CONTACTS
    Mica Bevington
    +1 (240) 450-3531
    +1 (202) 290-9264
    mbevington@handicap-international.us

    Michele Lunsford
    +1 (240) 450-3538
    +1 (814) 386-3853
    mlunsford@handicap-international.us

    DONOR SERVICES
    +1 (301) 891-2138
    donorservices@handicap-international.us


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Nigeria

    WASHINGTON, March 23, 2017 — The World Bank today approved a $200 million credit to further support the Government of Nigeria in its efforts to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers in participating states.

    “Agriculture is key to long-term economic growth and diversification,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. “The project supports the country policy thrusts on food security, local production, job creation and economic diversification. It responds to the recurring issues of low productivity, limited farmers’ participation to agribusiness supply chains, and institutional realignment in the agricultural sector.”

    The project will help increase increase agricultural productivity and production, improve processing and marketing, foster job creation, and increase household income and livelihood in participating states. The project will benefit women and youth businesses such as horticulture, poultry and aquaculture

    The project will tackle the key constraints of the Nigeria agriculture sector, such as low productivity, lack of seed funds for establishing agro-processing plants, lack of access to supportive infrastructure, and low level of technology adoption and limited access to markets.

    “Priority value chains under the project will include products with potential for immediate improvement of food security, products with a potential for export and foreign currency earnings (cocoa and cashew) and enhancement of the national production of crops including rice, maize, cassava and wheat,” said El Hadj Adama Toure, Lead Agriculture Specialist at the World Bank. “The number of project’s direct beneficiaries is 60,000 individuals, 35 percent of which will be women. Overall, about 300,000 farm household members are indirect beneficiaries.”

    The credit is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s grant and low-interest arm. It will be on standard IDA terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.

    MEDIA CONTACTS

    In Washington Ekaterina Svirina
    Tel : (202) 458-1042
    esvirina@worldbank.org


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    Country: Mali, Niger, Nigeria

    FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

    • Adequate rains in 2016 facilitated crop development in most regions; bumper crop gathered for second consecutive year

    • Coarse grain prices increased in recent months and remained above their year earlier levels

    • Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed, including for Nigerian and Malian refugees

    Bumper crop harvested in 2016

    Harvesting of the 2016 cereal crops was completed in November 2016. The cropping season was characterized by adequate precipitation and soil water reserves in most monitored rainfall stations. As a result, preliminary estimates put the aggregate 2016 cereal output at about 5.9 million tonnes, 9 percent above the 2015 bumper levels and about 25 percent above the five-year average. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, increased by 16 percent compared to 2015. Pastures have been regenerating countrywide, improving livestock conditions.

    A bumper crop was gathered in 2015. The aggregate cereals production in 2015 was estimated at some 5.4 million tonnes about 11 percent above the 2014 output.

    Coarse grain prices increased recently in most markets

    The Niger is highly dependent on imports of coarse grains (millet, sorghum and maize) from its neighbours, Nigeria and Benin, to cover its cereal requirements. Reflecting ample supplies following the recent harvests, coarse grain prices dropped steeply in October and November in most markets. The steep depreciation of the Nigerian Naira also made imported products cheaper in Niger. However, millet prices were on the increase since December 2016 and in February they were over 29 percent above their year-earlier levels. Prices reached high levels following the sharp increases in mid-2016 when seasonal trends were exacerbated by concerns about crop performance in some areas due to unfavourable weather. The strong demand from institutional bodies for the replenishment of their stocks have also put pressure on cereal prices in recent months.

    Continued assistance still needed for vulnerable people, including refugees

    The Niger hosts a large number of refugees due to the continuing civil conflict in neighbouring Mali and Nigeria. As of February 2017, Over 119 000 people are estimated to have left Nigeria for the Diffa Region of the Niger; while an additional 61 000 Malian refugees are still living in the Niger. The refugee crisis has exacerbated an already fragile food situation. Moreover, there are more than 121 000 IDPs in the country which has been struck by successive severe food crises in recent years that resulted in the depletion of household assets and high level of indebtedness. The food security situation has remained difficult in several parts of the country due to the lingering effects of the previous crises and the impact of recent years’ erratic rains on crops and pastures in some regions. Several segments of the population still need food and non-food assistance to restore their livelihoods and enable them to have better access to food. About 327 000 people are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above, according to the last analysis of the “Cadre Harmonisé” (Harmonized Framework) conducted in the country.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan

    FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

    • Above-average crop production in 2016 due to adequate rainfall throughout the season

    • Prices of millet and sorghum stable in January but remain above their year-earlier levels

    • Continued assistance required to improve access to food and protect livelihoods of food insecure and vulnerable people, including refugees and returnees

    Cereal production recovered in 2016

    Harvesting of the 2016 cereal crops was completed last November. In most agricultural regions, the 2016/17 cropping season was characterized by favourable rains in terms of amounts and distribution in time and space. Despite some attacks by pests reported in some areas, the 2016 aggregate cereal production is estimated at about 2.8 million tonnes, about 15 percent above the previous year’s output and about 11 percent above the last five-year average.

    Coarse grain prices stable in January, but remained above last year’s levels

    Millet prices began to stabilize in January 2017 following the steep decline of the previous months. However, they remain well below their year-earlier values as a result of good supplies from the above-average 2016 harvest.

    The steep depreciation of the local currency in neighbouring Nigeria also supported increased cereal imports to Chad.

    Food security continues to be affected by civil insecurity in neighbouring countries

    The country hosts a large number of refugees due to the continuing civil conflict in neighbouring countries: the Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria and the Sudan. The ongoing civil insecurity due to Boko Haram led to large population displacement, compromising the food security amongst refugees, returnees and host communities in the whole Lake Chad region. According to OCHA, as of March 2017, about 104 000 people have been internally displaced due to insecurity in the Lake Chad Region. In addition, over 394 000 refugees are estimated to be currently living in Chad, while about 117 000 Chadians have returned to the country. As a result of these various factors, according to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 456 000 people are currently estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above and are in need of urgent assistance across the country.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: South Sudan

    By Joe English

    It’s now more than a month since famine was declared in parts of South Sudan. For children in the world’s youngest country, the worsening food crisis comes at a time when they already face countless challenges on a daily basis.

    The scale of the crisis engulfing the country is staggering. Over 4 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, with almost 1.9 million people displaced inside the country since fighting began in December 2013. More than 1.6 million people have fled to neighbouring countries in search of safety and UNICEF estimates that over one million children will be acutely malnourished in 2017.

    The current deterioration in food security and nutrition is mostly due to the conflict and insecurity, the effects of the economic crisis, and depleted stocks from the last harvest.

    For the children and families in the affected areas, and indeed across the country, getting enough food is just one of the challenges they face each and every day. The conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of children from their homes, deprived them of education and basic health services and left them at risk of violence, recruitment, and even death.

    The ongoing conflict has caused repeated displacement of communities, leaving millions of people scattered across the country in far-flung locations that make it incredibly difficult to reach children with vital supplies and services like clean water, sanitation, food, medicine, and education.

    This means agencies like UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) must coordinate complex response missions to get basic supplies and services to families living in often very remote and hard-to-reach locations, but ongoing tensions and fighting means that just getting to many areas is incredibly challenging.

    Since the declaration of famine in Unity State on 20 February, however, the WFP and UNICEF have been able to complete eight Integrated Rapid Response Mechanism (IRRM) missions to Unity State, delivering lifesaving supplies and services to more than 170,000 people living there.

    Hearing from UNICEF staff who are part of these missions, the sheer scale of the challenge that community’s face becomes clear.

    Dr. Panyuan Joseph Baluang, part of the UNICEF team who reached Aburoc, in Upper Nile State, described the situation they found there: “Most families are spending every hour of the day sat in the shade of the few trees. The children looked traumatized, and families have very little food for survival.” Some families, already struggling to find enough food to survive, are taking on the added responsibility of orphans who have lost their parents to the conflict.

    Even the basic supplies included in the emergency missions are vitally important to families with little or no other support. In Koch, one of the areas affected by famine, a Christopher Otti, a UNICEF worker explained that *‘”*the majority of health and nutrition facilities have been destroyed, and supplies and equipment looted or ruined in the fighting.” So far this year, joint UNICEF-WFP teams – bringing assistance via plane and helicopter – have now reached more than 450,000 people, including over 51,000 children under the age of five.

    Using a combination of airdrops and airlifts, WFP delivers food assistance and nutrition supplements while UNICEF provides life-saving nutrition and basic health services, including immunizing children against polio and measles and giving out learning materials and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies. Both agencies provide nutrition screening and treatment, as well as information and messages on nutrition. Children who are separated from their families, or unaccompanied, are registered to begin the reunification process.

    For many communities reached by the missions, it is the first aid they have received for months, or sometimes even years, and with many public services destroyed or cut off by the conflict, the missions can mean the difference between life and death.

    Benjamin Lokoyo, a UNICEF education worker who was part of the IRRM mission to Leer, described the impact these missions have. “It gives the communities some glimpse of hope, WFP providing food and UNICEF was there to give vaccinations to children, to do nutrition screening and to help malnourished children.”

    As access improves UNICEF will continue to broaden its rapid response air missions to remote parts of the country, seeking to save the tens of thousands of child lives at risk, all the time stressing that leaders must find peace for the children of South Sudan.

    Support UNICEF’s work for children in South Sudan

    Joe English is a Communications Specialist for UNICEF based in New York. He is currently in Juba, South Sudan


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    Source: Disasters Emergency Committee
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan

    DEC East Africa appeal reaches £36 million The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for East Africa has raised more than £36 million in 11 days. Donations continue to pour in from the UK public, with over 3m from Scotland, more than 1m from Wales and almost £800 thousand from Northern Ireland. Prolonged drought and conflict have left 16 million people across East Africa on the brink of starvation and in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment.

    Women and children are forced to walk for hours to fetch water. 19.5 million people across the region do not have a regular supply of safe drinking water, putting them at risk of life threatening water borne diseases.

    Food is increasingly scarce. With failed crops and soaring food prices mothers are struggling to find food and feed their children. Emaciated livestock are almost worthless. In Northern Kenya, goats which previously sold for the equivalent of £54 are now worth just £4, whilst sheep have dropped from £39 to £4.

    More than 800,000 children under 5 are severely malnourished. Without immediate treatment, they are at risk of starving to death.

    Money raised by the DEC appeal will provide millions of people in desperate need with vital food, water and medical treatment.

    DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “The response has been phenomenal. I cannot thank the British public, trusts and companies enough for their generous support to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal, which has now raised an incredible £36m. “Our member charities are already on the ground providing life-saving assistance to some of the worst affected people. Your generosity is helping them step up their response, providing more food, water and medical care to millions of people across East Africa who are in dire need. Every donation makes a huge difference, so if you haven’t had a chance to support please don’t delay, donate today.” What your money could buy: £25 could provide a month’s supply of life-saving peanut paste to a malnourished child. £60 could provide clean drinking water for two families for a month £100 could provide supplies to a clinic treating severely malnourished children for a week.

    -Ends-

    Notes to editors:

    Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours).

    • The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.

    • Keira Knightley Matt Baker, Brenda Blethyn, Tamsin Greig, Bill Nighy and Eddie Redmayne have backed the DEC’s East Africa Crisis Appeal by recording calls for support from the public.

    • The UK Government is matching pound for pound the first £10 million donated by the public to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal through its Aid Match Fund.

    • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters. To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.

    • To donate £5 by text send the word SUPPORT to 70000. The full £5 will go to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers’ permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.

    • DEC will be hosting Facebook live sessions during the week, featuring aid workers and journalists, Rageh Omaar and Tom Parry, who will be discussing their experiences from recent visits to East Africa.


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    Source: UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan
    Country: South Sudan, Sudan

    Khartoum, 26 Mar 2017. The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ms. Marta Ruedas, today welcomed the decision by the Government of Sudan to open a new humanitarian corridor for food aid to be delivered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) from El Obeid in central Sudan to Bentiu, a town in Unity State, South Sudan, where 100,000 people are enduring famine amid a deepening humanitarian crisis across the country.

    “By opening this cross-border corridor, the Government of Sudan is showing its commitment to the people of South Sudan and further strengthening cooperation with the international community to pull South Sudan back from a widening famine that could affect another 1 million people,” said Ms. Ruedas. “This decision also comes at a critical time just before South Sudan’s rainy season, which starts in May and usually renders these roads impassable.”

    This week, WFP will be moving an initial delivery of 11,000 metric tons of sorghum – including 1,000 metric tons donated by the Government of Sudan - in seven convoys of 30 to 40 trucks, which is enough to feed 300,000 people for three months. The convoys will take up to four days to complete the 500km journey. The humanitarian corridor will not only allow for the timely delivery of the food aid, but will also help reduce reliance on air operations, which cost six to seven times as much as moving food by river and road.

    At least 7.5 million people across South Sudan – almost two thirds of the population – need humanitarian assistance. Sudan is also currently hosting over 350,000 South Sudanese refugees, who have arrived since the conflict erupted in December 2013.


    For further information, please contact Samantha Newport, Chief, Communication & Information Section, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan (newports@un.org / +249 912 174 454).


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Chad

    Climate change is about much more than polar bears – it is about the lives of millions of children around the world who are at risk of climate-related disasters

    The meeting had begun badly. 8-year-old Aïta Abakar, smiling and looking a little intimidated, was seated beside us in the shade of a tree when she jumped abruptly at the hissing of a snake passing behind her back. “There are plenty of snakes on the lake shore, so before sitting down, we normally sweep the floor with sticks to make them flee,” she said while moving dust around with a palm tree branch she had picked up from the ground.

    After regaining our senses and choosing a quieter place to talk, Aïta began to tell her story, at length. “I have never known anything but my island, my house, and my dad’s canoe. The first time I left my house was when Boko Haram attacked our village. I don’t know if I will ever get back,” she said.

    As you approach Lake Chad, the air is dusty, and the sparse vegetation is broken only by shrubs. The lives of this region’s inhabitants are on the edge as the Lake dries up before their eyes. We mentioned the shrinking Lake Chad issue to Aïta but she had never heard of it. I took bits of straw, sticks, and leaves to explain that the Lake Chad she knows is disappearing.

    “But if the water from the Lake disappears, the thirst will kill us, and we will not find any more fish,” she replies, worried. The young people sitting next to us laughed. I asked her if she understands why the Lake is getting smaller and smaller. She thought for a moment, and said, “It’s probably because many villages drill the ground to build water points and they finish all the water.” The young people who had been laughing earlier were now surprised by the girl’s pertinent comment.

    We also talked about global warming and the fact that temperature will rise in the years to come. She cut me off, “it’s already too hot here, we need water. Every day, I help my sister fetch water at the only pump of the village. As for me, I’m mostly doing the dishes and washing the clothes.”

    I asked her if she can think of any solution because it will be up to children, the adults of tomorrow, to search for solutions. She looked at me for a moment and exclaimed, “But it’s not fair, you have to help! I want the Lake to exist forever. ”

    Children in industrialized countries are told not to leave any light or electrical appliance on, not to waste tap water, to walk or ride a bicycle rather than drive. Here in Tagal, there is no electricity, no tap, and no car. Yet, children in the Lake Chad area will be the first to be affected by climate change. After saying goodbye to Aïta, I realized how crucial it is to teach kids how to be engaged citizens and show them there is still time to do something about climate change without scaring them.

    Recent studies show that the Lake’s surface area in the past 50 years has been reduced from the initial 25,000 km2 to less than 2,500 km2 due largely to its waters drying up. Environment experts attribute this to increasing temperatures from global warming. This has had a harsh impact on the 20 million people whose livelihood heavily depends on Lake Chad.

    Badre Bahaji is a Communication Officer with UNICEF Chad in N’djamena


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


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