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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster
    Country: South Sudan

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic

    Monitoring de la frontière à Mbaimboum (Arrondissement de Touboro)

    Des alertes reçues le 4 avril à travers l’équipe humanitaire pays en République Centrafricaine indiquaient que selon le Sous-préfet de Ngaoundaye, les villes de Ngaoundaye et de Bang, proche de la frontière avec le Cameroun, sont toutes deux passées sous le contrôle des éléments de la coalition ex-Seleka et RJ/MPC. La population de ces deux localités, estimée à plus de 20 000 habitants, se seraient déplacée principalement vers le Cameroun.

    Pour vérifier ces informations une équipe de monitoring de la Sous délégation du HCR à Meiganga s’est rendue dans l’Arrondissement de Touboro le 5 avril afin d’évaluer la situation sécuritaire et apprécier les mouvements de populations civiles centrafricains vers le Cameroun, notamment à Mbaimboum.
    La mission a eu plusieurs échanges avec des autorités locales (Sous-préfet de Touboro, Commandant de Brigade et Chef de poste frontière de Mbaimboum), avant de conduire des entretiens avec les demandeurs d’asile retrouvés déjà installés en communauté.

    Situation sécuritaire à Ngaoundaye et à Bang (RCA)

    Les entretiens avec les autorités administratives, sécuritaires et traditionnelles, et avec les ressortissants centrafricains ont permis de relever les points suivants :

    • Selon quelques témoins, aucun affrontement direct n’a eu lieu dans les localités de Ngaoundaye et à Bang ; seuls 03 coups de feu d’intimidation tirés par les ex-Selekas ont été entendus à leur arrivée.
      Aucune perte en vie humaine n’aurait donc été recensée.

    • Le dessein de ces assaillants était de s’emparer des postes de la douane, de la gendarmerie et de la police actuellement gérés par des auxiliaires de l’Administration centrafricaine.

    • Dans cette optique, souhaitant discuter avec le Souspréfet de Ngaoundaye (CAR), les assaillants sont arrivés jusqu’au pont sur le Mbéré, frontière RCA /CMR qui était déjà sécurisé par les Forces de Défense et de Sécurité camerounaises alertées.

    • Entre temps, la MINUSCA serait arrivée à Ngaoundaye à la rencontre des rebelles assaillants, et après des pourparlers, ont convaincu ces derniers à regagner leurs zones de provenance; Paoua et Degaulle.

    • Par conséquent, un calme relatif règne depuis mercredi 05 Mars 2017 dans ces deux localités centrafricaines après la panique y ayant gagné les populations à l’arrivée du groupe armé ex-Seleka et notamment sa faction, le MPC.

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: South Sudan


    • Since the beginning of the year, a total of 93,000mt of food commodities have been dispatched by road and air providing assistance to 1.6 million people in South Sudan.

    • WFP has completed 48 percent of its commodity prepositioning plan in preparation for the rainy season.

    • First test convoy from El-Obeid in Sudan reached Bentiu in South Sudan through newly opened Northern Corridor.

    Situation Update

    • WFP identified nine schools in Unity and Upper Nile states that will be included in the school meals programme, assisting an additional 3,316 school children to the 215,000 already assisted by WFP in the country. The inclusion of these schools is part of an ongoing expansion of the school meals programme in the Greater Upper Nile area. Additional school assessments are planned in Mayom, Rubkhona and Maban. WFP implements school meals activities to reduce short-term hunger among school children and create a positive incentive, contributing towards higher school attendance and improved gender equality.

    • A Standardised Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) survey has been completed in Panyijar (Unity State). An additional three surveys are currently planned in Leer, Mayendit and Koch counties in Unity state. The SMART survey is an inter-agency initiative launched in 2002 that assesses the magnitude and severity of a humanitarian crisis based on two indicators; 1) nutritional status of children under five, 2) mortality rate of the population.

    • Building on the lessons learned from its pilot project, WFP started Phase 2 of the complaint and feedback mechanism (CFM) to ensure accountability towards the affected population. The CFM comprises a beneficiary hotline, support by WFP staff at the distribution site and focus group discussions with people assisted. Under its emergency operation, WFP launched a pilot project in 2016 on a beneficiary hotline for cash-based transfer activities in Mingkaman, in-kind food distribution in the Juba protection of civilian (POC) sites and food assistance for assets activities in Aweil.

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

    Graziano da Silva says restoring agriculture-based livelihoods is key to recovery and peace efforts in Lake Chad Basin region

    7 April 2017, Maiduguri/Rome - It is imperative to immediately ramp up humanitarian assistance to hunger-threatened rural communities in the strife-torn Lake Chad Basin region, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today during a visit to some of the affected areas in northeastern Nigeria.

    "If we miss the coming planting season, there will be no substantial harvests until 2018. Failure to restore food production now will lead to the worsening of widespread and severe hunger and prolonged dependency on external assistance further into the future," Graziano da Silva said. The time for all of us to act is now."

    Insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin - which incorporates parts of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and northeastern Nigeria - has resulted in the largest humanitarian crisis in Africa. The conflict has forced an estimated 2 million people to abandon their homes and their predominantly agricultural livelihoods, in northeastern Nigeria alone.

    During the visit, the FAO Director-General publicly presented FAO's Response Strategy (2017-2019) for the Lake Chad Basin crisis.

    Across the Lake Chad Basin region, some 7 million people risk suffering from severe hunger during the lean season and require immediate food and livelihood assistance.

    "The situation we have now is largely due to the conflicts and armed groups that have devastated the lives and livelihoods across the whole of Lake Chad region. It is like an opportunistic infection, which is largely taking advantage of an already weak body from underlying problems of environmental degradation, related droughts, low investment in rural development and limited employment and livelihood opportunities for young men and women. We need to work on the symptoms by restoring peace and treat the disease by making the body stronger. This is all about resilience," Graziano da Silva stressed.

    More than 1 million returnees and the majority of internally displaced people in areas which have recently become relatively strife-free, have access to land and may benefit from the forthcoming rainy season starting in May 2017 should sufficient agriculture support be provided.

    "Protracted conflict has eroded coping capacities, exhausted livelihoods and left people with no way to feed themselves and their families. Agriculture cannot be an afterthought. More than 80 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods," the FAO Director-General said.

    Graziano da Silva met local farmers on several FAO supported farms in Gongolong and Old Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria's Borno State. He also held talks with the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, T.H Audu Ogbeh.

    FAO's work

    More than 1.16 million people will receive assistance from FAO in the coming months across the most affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin region as the UN agency and partners move to scale up their work.

    Key activities include the distribution of cereal seeds, animal feed and the provision of cash transfers and veterinary care. This will enable displaced farmers and voluntary returnees to get a substantial harvest and replenish their food stocks, and to prevent animal losses among vulnerable herders.

    Graziano da Silva noted how many people have lost their harvests and productive assets for up to three consecutive seasons. This has left them extremely food insecure and with a drastically reduced purchasing power. Livestock has been looted or abandoned, irrigation infrastructure destroyed, and extension services and markets have collapsed in many areas.

    One of the farmers, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Gaji from Fariya, a village in the Jere Local Government area of Borno State, recounted how he fled when Fariya was attacked and occupied by the insurgents two years ago.

    "I was caught and was to be killed but managed to escape. With FAO assistance, I am back to farming. My tomatoes, amaranth and sorrel are doing well."

    More support needed from the international community

    While the support provided by FAO and other partners will be key to mitigating the impact of the crisis, limited funding for emergency agricultural assistance is jeopardizing the ability to reach out to the majority of those in need.

    To date only $12.5 million or one fifth of the requested funding needed to support food production this year in northeast Nigeria have been secured. More than 1.1 million people will receive agricultural inputs during the next planting season, but this represents a little under half of the targeted population.

    "Some 4.7 million people are currently severely food insecure in the three northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. In particular, the next main planting season starting in June is a unique opportunity to tackle alarming levels of food insecurity by helping crisis-hit families to produce their own food," says Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa. FAO has developed a three-year strategy for the Lake Chad Basin crisis to improve food security and nutrition and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities in the affected areas. With a budget of USD 232 million - USD 191 million for northeastern Nigeria alone - required over the next three years, the Strategy targets 3 million people in the region, focusing on women and youth.


    Emeka Anuforo
    National Communication Officer
    FAO Nigeria
    (+234) 8053158754

    Liliane Kambirigi
    Communication Officer (FAO Accra)
    (+233) (0)302 610 930 - Ext. 41203
    mobile: (+233) (0)26 232 4303

    Graziano da Silva says restoring agriculture-based livelihoods is key to recovery and peace efforts in Lake Chad Basin region

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

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    Source: Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset
    Country: Algeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, World

    Welcome to the April issue of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project’s (ACLED) Conflict Trends report. Each month, ACLED researchers gather, analyse and publish data on political violence in Africa in realtime. Weekly updates to realtime conflict event data are published on the ACLED website.

    This month’s issue focuses on the scope and scale of operations conducted by the Kamwina Nsapu militia across the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, banditry attacks and retaliatory communal violence in Madagascar, the surge of violence in Mali following the recent merger between Islamist groups into the Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (AQM) group and reduced rebel group activity in Sudan after a period of concessions following the ceasefire agreement.

    Elsewhere on the continent, riots and protests over austerity measures continue to fall in Algeria with Bejaia, Bouira, Ouargla and Tizi Ouzou experiencing the sharpest drop-off in activity, Ethiopia is experiencing a qualitative shift in the form of violence as battles involving Oromia militias have replaced riots and protests, and ethnic violence around land issues rose in Kenya.

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    Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    Un bref bilan de nos opérations depuis le début de l’année.

    Les mois de janvier et février ont vu la poursuite de nos activités sur les différents terrains.
    A Kousséri, MSF a inauguré officiellement le bloc opératoire qu’elle a réhabilité et rénové. Désormais, les opérations chirurgicales y auront lieu avec un plateau technique de pointe, dans un cadre totalement adapté.

    Notre capacité d’intervention face à un afflux de blessés en situation d’urgence, s’est vue grandement accrue. En effet, 2 UNIMOGS, ambulances-camion, ainsi que deux ambulances d’une place chacune, déployées depuis janvier contribuent à l’évacuation massive d’éventuels blessés vers les centres hospitaliers de Mora et de Maroua. L'installation d'un support spécifique à 4 brancards permet une meilleure exploitation de l'espace dans l’UNIMOG, ainsi que le transport simultané, en toute sécurité, de 4 patients couchés. A ce titre, rappelons que nos équipes en collaboration avec le MINSANTE sont sur pied 24h/24 et 7j/7 à l`Hôpital Régional de Maroua pour la prise en charge des urgences chirurgicales. De même, nos équipes basées à Mora sont préparées pour apporter une réponse aux afflux de blessés.

    Nous restons par ailleurs très actifs dans le domaine de la prise en charge de la malnutrition. Le projet pilote « Parents MUAC » continue son cours à Kousséri avec une réelle implication de la communauté au dépistage précoce de la malnutrition chez les enfants de moins de 5 ans.

    En ce début d’année, MSF signe donc le renforcement de son intervention à l’Extrême-Nord du pays, pour venir en aide aux populations réfugiées ainsi qu’aux populations hôtes ayant besoin d’une assistance humanitaire.

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    Source: Helping Hand
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan

    More than 20 million people face starvation in East Africa, if immediate water, healthcare, shelter, and nutritious food is not provided to the region and the hardest hit countries of: Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania (UNOCHA). The situation is so dire there are fears it can change from drought to widespread famine within the next few months.

    According to UN Humanitarian Chief O'Brien, "The world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, and issued an international plea for help to avoid "a catastrophe".

    With the threat of starvation, malnutrition, water borne diseases, and death looming overhead the citizens of these countries are relying on the international community to stand together and send aid. The world can not wait to see hundreds dying due to famine and drought before collectively doing something.

    HHRD is appealing to all patrons of humanity to contribute generously towards our 1 Million Dollars target to raise the minimum amount needed for the "African Drought Crisis".

    Crop production and livestock numbers have fallen sharply after poor back-to-back rainy seasons with conditions drying as you travel north. In early March of 2017, U.N. aid agencies warned there is only a two-month window to avert a catastrophe in Somalia where the first deaths from hunger have now been reported.

    HHRD Relief In The Region: HHRD is registered as an International NGO (INGO) with offices and team members in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, and Tanzania; through which HHRD is conducting several developmental programs and projects, including Water And Sanitation Hygiene (WASH), Healthcare, Orphan Support, Skills Development, and other similar programs & projects.

    Hundreds and thousands of South Sudanese have taken refuge in Kenya, whom HHRD will try to assist as many as possible as per capacity. In Ethiopia, HHRD has credible vetted partner NGOs, that help us execute seasonal and emergency relief projects.

    HHRD Actively Working In: South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, and Tanzania. For more information of our programs in these countries visit our website

    HHRD Goals: Your generosity and support will allow HHRD to provide:

    • relief and nutritional content to disaster affected people
    • clean drinking water for people and livestock
    • assistance in government efforts in fighting hunger

    With the threat of starvation, malnutrition, water borne diseases and death looming overhead the citizens of these countries are relying on the international community to stand together and send aid. Allow HHRD to help those in need, donate towards HHRD One Million Dollars Minimum target for the Africa Drought Crisis Fund today and help secure a more promising tomorrow for the people of East Africa.

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    Source: Government of the United States of America
    Country: Ethiopia, Haiti, Malawi, South Sudan, United States of America, World, Zimbabwe

    USAID spent about $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2016 on international food aid projects under the Food for Peace Act. These funds have traditionally been used to buy food in the United States and transport it abroad. In addition, USAID also spends some of this money on implementation and support costs, such as storing food in warehouses and—in recent years—providing cash and food vouchers to individuals.

    We found that USAID could enhance its financial oversight of these implementation and support costs. We recommended that the agency conduct financial reviews, collect monitoring data, and assess risks to ensure that these funds are used properly.

    What GAO Found

    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has used most of the 2014 Farm Bill’s increase in authorized funding for section 202(e) of the Food for Peace Act to provide cash transfers, food vouchers, and locally or regionally procured food—modalities not previously supported through Title II. Of the additional authorized funding that the agency utilized, USAID obligated 75 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 96 percent in fiscal year 2015 for these modalities. In addition, to better meet beneficiaries’ needs, USAID has increasingly used funds from accounts authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act, along with 202(e) funding, to implement and support projects—costs that 202(e) funding has typically covered. Also, in some cases, USAID has used funds from those accounts along with 202(e) funding to provide cash transfers, food vouchers, or local or regional procurement in a single project.

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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Mali

    This evaluation is presented as part of the Effectiveness Review Series 2015/16, selected for review under the women’s empowerment thematic area. This report documents the findings of a quasi-experimental impact evaluation carried out in January 2016 that sought to assess the impact of the activities of the 'Girls CAN – Promoting Secondary Education in West Africa' project.

    The overall objective of this project was to promote the successful transition of adolescent girls from primary to secondary school. This was achieved by rolling out a variety of activities to support the change from within the community. It was, therefore, aimed not only at girls, but also at all community members involved in the project (e.g. mothers, school directors and religious figures).

    The project was implemented by Oxfam in conjunction with the Association d'Appui à l'Auto Développement Communautaire (AADeC), a local NGO, in collaboration with the Centre d’Animation Pedagogique (CAP) of Baguinéda, and the Ministry of National Education. It started in October 2011 in 17 primary schools and eight secondary schools, and ended in December 2015.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen

    This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is warning today that the risk of mass deaths from starvation among populations in the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Nigeria is growing. This warning is in light of droughts that are also affecting many neighbouring countries and a funding shortfall that has become so severe that an avoidable humanitarian crisis in the region, possibly worse than that of 2011, is fast becoming an inevitability.

    Already displacement is rising, forcing us to upgrade our displacement estimates for 2017. In Sudan, for example, where our initial estimate was for 60,000 arrivals from South Sudan this year, we are in the process of revising the expected total upwards to 180,000. Similarly in Uganda we are revising planning from 300,000 displaced to 400,000.

    In all, some 20 million people in these countries are in areas affected by drought, 4.2 million of whom are refugees. Consecutive harvests have failed, conflict in South Sudan coupled with drought is leading to famine and outflows of refugees, insecurity in Somalia is leading to rising internal displacement, and rates of malnutrition are high, especially among children and lactating mothers. In the Dollo Ado area of southeast Ethiopia for example, acute malnutrition rates among newly arriving Somali refugee children aged between 6 months and five years are now running at 50-79 percent.

    Children account for the majority of refugees (62 per cent, for instance, in the case of refugees fleeing South Sudan) and in common with other refugees nearly all are dependent on food assistance via our sister-agency WFP. With no money to buy food, rations however are being cut. In Djibouti rations have been cut by 12 per cent, in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Rwanda by between 20 and 50 per cent, and in Uganda by up to 75 per cent. Many refugees are without full access to livelihoods and agriculture or food production and their ability to take matters into their own hands and help themselves is limited. In this context, the risks to children can be particularly great. Already, many are dropping out of school. In Kenya, 175,000 students in drought areas have stopped attending school. In Ethiopia, almost 600 schools have closed. In all, some five million children could in the coming weeks and months see their educations being disrupted.

    Inside Somalia, the internal displacement dynamics are shifting too. Of the half a million people displaced since November, 278,000 were displaced in the first quarter of 2017. More than 72,000 of these have moved to the capital Mogadishu. Some 69,000 others have headed to Baidoa in the country’s southwest. Somalia continues to see a complex situation of both outflows and returns (mainly from Yemen).

    In famine hit parts of South Sudan, where UN agencies warned in February that fighting, insecurity, lack of access to aid and collapsing economy had left 100,000 people facing starvation in some parts of the country, a further 1 million people are now on the brink of famine.

    In Yemen, which is experiencing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with almost 19 million people in need of humanitarian help, around 17 million people are food insecure. Food needs are being cited as the lead factor in displacement at three quarters of all locations where there are internally displaced people.

    In northern Nigeria, seven million people are now struggling with food insecurity and need help. The situation is particularly bad in parts of Borno, Adamawa and Yobo states where by June it’s expected that some 5.1 million people will be in Integrated Food Security Phase classification levels of between 3 and 5 (worst).

    UNHCR is scaling up efforts with its partners, we remind the international community that the Horn of Africa drought of 2011 cost more than 260,000 lives, more than half of these children aged below five. A repeat must be avoided at all costs. Our operations in South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen are today funded at between 3 and 11 percent. It is now urgent that the shortfalls be addressed.

    For more information on this topic, please contact:
    In Geneva, Babar Baloch,, +41 79 513 95 49
    In Uganda, Rocco Nuri,, +256 779 663 793
    In South Sudan, Juliette Stevenson,, +211 992 700 550
    For Somalia, Julien Navier,, +254 732 40 00 44
    In Yemen, Shabia Mantoo,, +967 71 222 5121
    For Nigeria, Romain Desclous,, + 221 786 396 385

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria

    259,145 Central African refugees registered by UNHCR in rural areas in the East, Adamaoua and North regions, of which 158,418 arrived since December 2013

    86,729 Nigerian refugees in the Far North region (of which 62,829 have been registered in Minawao camp)

    191,908 Internally Displaced Persons in the Far North region (sources: DTM by IOM as of January 2017 and UNHCR protection monitoring Flash Updates)


    • UNHCR undertook a mission to Bétaré-Oya in the East region on 4 March and registered 176 new Central African asylum seekers (58 households). The majority are Christians of the Gbaya ethnic group who fled exactions carried out by Peuhls rebel groups in the area of Bocaranga in the CAR. A medical and nutritional screening was carried out and cases of acute pathologies were treated.

    • The security situation in the Far North region remains uncertain. During the month of March, 529 (198 households) new arrivals from Nigeria were registered at Gourounguel transit center. They came from the Cameroonian villages of Zhélevet, Tchakarmari and Mémé and various Nigerian villages along the border, seeking family reunification as well as protection and assistance due to difficult living conditions and the fear of Boko Haram incursions. Some 2,254 Nigerians also arrived in the localities of Dabanga, Waza, and Sale in the department of Logone et Chari, and Kolofata and Kerawa in the department of Mayo Sava. They essentially came from Nigerian villages in Borno state (Maloum Kari, Djabari, Blamassa, Abudja, Gumba, Yerwa, Bargino, Daradjaman, and Bomari) where they fled confrontation between the Nigerian armed forces and Boko Haram fighters. Most of these newcomers are settled in the customs building in Kolofata and show signs of malnutrition, dehydration and fragile health.

    • On 2 March, the Governments of Cameroon, Nigeria and UNHCR signed, the Tripartite Agreement on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees living in Cameroon. This document is a legal framework setting out the modalities for the voluntary return of more than 85,000 Nigerian refugees in the Far North region, of whom approximately 62,000 live in Minawao camp. The Agreement stipulates that repatriation, which is a voluntary decision, will only take place once conditions are conducive for their return in safety and dignity.

    • On 3 March, a delegation of the 15 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council visited Maroua. This took place within a wider context to visit and focus attention on the humanitarian situation of countries of the Lake Chad Basin. . The objective of the mission was to assess the challenges in fighting Boko Haram, and to appreciate efforts concerning humanitarian emergency and development. In Maroua, they met with local authorities and UNHCR Factsheet | Cameroon | March 2017 humanitarian actors, as well as a group of Nigerian refugees, internally displaced persons and two children victims of Boko Haram's violence.

    • The Cameroonian government, the World Bank, the European Union and UN agencies organized a workshop in Bertoua, on 28 March, on the common understanding of the process of rehabilitation and consolidation of peace (RCP) in Cameroon, in particular in the regions of the East, Adamawa, the North and the Far North that host refugees and internally displaced persons in an environment already struggling with infrastructural challenges. A joint assessment and strategic prioritization of needs to sustainably address these challenges will be conducted. The main objectives of the RCP process are to establish an inclusive process and build mutual understanding both of the underlying causes of the crises affecting Cameroon and on the structural challenges Cameroon must meet for the recovery and peacebuilding; and develop a mutual accountability framework that will promote more effective coordination and implementation. The process will be based on five main themes: security, forced displacement and protection; governance and basic social services; economic and territorial integration; access to land and agricultural production; and the commitment and inclusion of youth. Stakeholders in this process will develop a strategy by June 2017 to achieve these objectives, and activities and programs will be implemented from the second half of the current year.

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    Source: Norwegian Refugee Council
    Country: South Sudan

    SOUTH SUDAN: As access to food declines drastically, families eat seeds to survive and risk losing next season’s vital crops.

    Even families living in areas where famine has not been declared are risking malnutrition as they turn to barely edible wild foods with low nutritional value.

    Bhakita Abuk Deng and her seven children live in the remote farming community of Amothic village. She is one of many parents concerned for her children’s health.

    “Children are suffering because there is not enough food to eat. Some of the children have diarrhoea from eating the leaves,” she says.

    Over 35,000 people have fled to Sudan in search of food. Meanwhile, families in famine-affected areas resort to eating seeds in order to survive, and are left with nothing to plant for the next growing season.

    From bad to worse

    Desperate survival strategies damage livelihoods and threaten to worsen the food crisis. There is an increasing risk that famine will spread from affected areas to neighbouring villages.

    While famine has been declared in southern parts of the country, the people of Amothic are also running out of food options. Across the country, conflict has disrupted planting, harvesting and other livelihood activities. In the coming months, famine might spread to farming communities like Amothic.

    We have a catastrophe occurring right before our eyes, and the time to act and stop this crisis from spreading is now.
    Rehana Zawar, NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan.

    “About 40 per cent of the people in Amothic are eating tree leaves. About half of the village are eating their seed stocks too,” says Deng Yel Piol, village chief in Amothic.

    Supported 100,000

    The Norwegian Refugee Council has emergency teams on the ground, and since farming was declared in parts of the country the organisation has supported over 100,000 people affected by the food crisis.

    “We have a catastrophe occurring right before our eyes, and the time to act and stop this crisis from spreading is now,” warns Rehana Zawar, NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan.

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    Source: Start Network
    Country: Burkina Faso, Togo

    An outbreak of Lassa fever that poses a risk to nearly a million people in northern Togo has become the focus of the 100th crisis response financed by the Start Fund.

    Schoolchildren will play a key role in a project run by Plan International which aims to raise people’s awareness of the potentially deadly virus and encourage them to react quickly to the appearance of its symptoms. They will be taught what to look out for and precautions that can prevent the disease spreading, and urged to share the knowledge with their families and communities.

    Togo has had 20 suspected cases of the viral haemorrhagic fever since February, eight of which have been positively confirmed as the disease by laboratory testing. Seven of those were in the northern-most Savanes region, and four have since died. Others are still being treated.

    Many of the cases were people who had arrived from neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso, where the disease is more common. Because Lassa fever is not endemic in Togo, a single case qualifies as an outbreak under the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) definition.

    The Start Fund was alerted to the crisis by the medical aid agency ALIMA on April 2 and members agreed in principle the following day. On April 5 a local selection committee, involving members in Togo and two neighbouring countries, backed a £128,000 project proposed by Plan International, also a member of the fund. The response on the ground has just begun.

    It was a significant milestone for the Start Fund, a pooled rapid-response fund, marking the 100 crisis response since it was launched in April 2014. The fund, run collectively by 42 members of the global Start Network, was set up to tackle below-the-radar emergencies or sudden spikes in humanitarian need within longer-running crises, thus plugging the gap in more traditional sources of funding.

    The fund aims for its collective decisions to be impartial and objective, and to have money on its way within 72 hours of an alert being raised. It is supported by the governments of the UK (UK aid through DFID), Ireland (Irish Aid) and the Netherlands (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and by the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department. It has enabled emergency aid to reach nearly six million people affected by crisis in 51 countries.
    Sean Lowrie, director of Start Network, said: “The Start Fund is one of the success stories of foreign aid. It harnesses the impartial expertise of humanitarians for the collective good in a unique way, and enables help to reach communities affected by crises that might otherwise receive no assistance, or receive it late. It is transparent, fast, efficient and effective.”

    Reflecting on the Start Fund’s third anniversary Gloria Donate, head of the Disaster Risk Management Unit at Plan International UK – who was involved in the fund’s first response in South Sudan, in April 2014 – said it had changed aspects of how the aid system works.

    “We often wait for institutional donors to make funding available and tell us what they want, but the Start Fund enables us to take responsibility as humanitarian agencies with strong presence in the field. It’s also pushed us to improve our preparedness capacity: to invest in having on-going need assessment information and situation reports, and to coordinate better with our humanitarian peers to jointly agree on the needs and potential response.”

    Lassa fever is carried primarily by rats, but without strict hygiene can also be transmitted directly from one person to another. Early symptoms include fever and weakness, which then escalate to diarrhoea and vomiting.

    Dr Ruhana-Mirindi Bisimwa, a WHO health security and emergencies officer in Togo, said the Plan International project enabled by the Start Fund was “crucial” to controlling the Lassa fever outbreak as it would lead to better understanding of the disease and its symptoms.

    “If communities have good information it encourages people to come quickly to health centres, and so it encourages good care,” he said. “Awareness raising also enables communities to take preventative measures, particularly in the area of hygiene, thus avoiding the spread of the disease.’’

    The project team is working with Togo's health ministry, the WHO and other local, partners to develop educational materials to use with children, as well as other ways including radio spots to convey the message to people in the Savannah region most at risk.

    Plan International also intends to deliver basic hygiene kits to more than 200 health centres, to reduce the risk of accidental transmission of the virus and to protect health workers.

    The Start Network is running a live blog to report on the 100th Start Fund intervention in real time, which began shortly before the Lassa fever alert was raised.


    For further information contact David Wastell: T: +44(0)20 3763 0074 | M: +44(0)7770 380 804 | Twitter: @davidwastell


    1. Start Network members agree to put long-term humanitarian goals above any short-term financial benefit to their individual aid agency.

    2. Start Network was originally 15 British humanitarian agencies, impatient at the slow pace and duplication of effort in aid delivery, which came together to develop an emergency response fund. It now has 42 members spanning five continents. It aims to lead for change in the humanitarian system and manages aid programmes that contribute to this objective.

    3. The Start Fund is the first multi-donor pooled fund managed exclusively by NGOs and was created in April 2014 to fill a gap in humanitarian funding. Since then it been activated 100 times and reached nearly six million people in 51 countries, with assistance totalling more than £19 million. It aims to begin disbursing funds to “below-the-radar” emergencies within 72 hours of a member sending an alert. It is financed jointly by the UK Aid (DFID), Irish Aid (Government of Ireland), the Government of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department.

    4. Other Start Network initiatives include Start Engage, helping communities in disaster-prone areas to prepare for future crises; Start Labs, fostering innovation for the humanitarian system, and Start Response, organising multi-agency interventions in larger and more enduring crises.

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    Source: Government of Chad, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Sudan

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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

    Responding to the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Lucca, Italy, Elisa Bacciotti, Oxfam's Campaigns Director, said:

    On Syria

    "Now, more than ever, Oxfam urges a redoubling of efforts to find a lasting and peaceful solution to this conflict and to offer safe refuge for the Syrian people who are fleeing for their lives. G7 members should put their weight behind the Geneva peace talks and push all warring parties to come to the table and reach a deal that will guarantee full respect for human rights in Syria.

    "The innocent families who were killed in Idlib are no different from the people who are attempting to seek refuge in Europe, the US and around the world. More than ever, Syrians need genuine protection from the violence that they have suffered over these six long years. G7 countries must increase the provision of both refuge and assistance to the people of Syria, ceasing all discriminatory bans and all agreements - such as the EU-Turkey agreement - that are failing refugees, leaving them in miserable conditions and vulnerable to abuses."

    On food crises and famine

    "The communiqué mentions little on hunger and nothing on poverty. Oxfam calls on G7 leaders to act decisively at the summit in May to work with governments of affected countries to respond to needs in famine-affected areas and to hold back the hunger in areas at risk. A massive injection of aid, backed with diplomatic clout and the necessary political will, could save hundreds of thousands of lives and stop the worst from happening in countries such as Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

    "Every famine is man-made, representing either catastrophic human failure or a political choice. But this grim fact means that we have the power to prevent and end it."

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kai Tabacek on / 07584 265 077

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

    More than 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are experiencing famine or a credible risk thereof over the coming six months. To avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the four countries, humanitarian operations require more than US$5.6 billion in 2017. Of this amount $4.4 billion is urgently needed for life-saving assistance in the key areas of food security, health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene, as these are key sectors of famine response and prevention.

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    Source: UN Development Programme
    Country: Mali

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

    FAO Director-General calls for critical investments in agriculture and addressing climate change

    11 April 2017, Rome - The crisis afflicting the strife-torn Lake Chad Basin is rooted in decades of neglect, lack of rural development and the impact of climate change, and the only way to ensure a lasting solution is to address these including through investments in sustainable agriculture, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, said today.

    "This is not only a humanitarian crisis, but it is also an ecological one," Graziano da Silva said at a media briefing in Rome on his visit last week to some of the worst affected areas in Chad and northeastern Nigeria.

    "This conflict cannot be solved only with arms. This is a war against hunger and poverty in the rural areas of the Lake Chad Basin," the FAO Director-General stressed.

    "Peace is a prerequisite" to resolve the crisis in the region, but this is not enough, the FAO Director-General said. "Agriculture including livestock and fisheries can no longer be an afterthought. It is what produces food and what sustains the livelihoods of about 90 percent of the region's population."

    Some 7 million people risk suffering from severe hunger in the Lake Chad Basin, which incorporates parts of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and northeastern Nigeria. In the latter, some 50,000 people are facing famine.

    While fighting and violence have caused much of the suffering, the impact of environmental degradation and climate change including repeated droughts, are exacerbating the situation, the FAO Director-General said.

    He noted how, since 1963, Lake Chad has lost some 90 percent of its water mass with devastating consequences on the food security and livelihoods of people depending on fishing and irrigation-based agricultural activities. And while Lake Chad has been shrinking, the population has been growing, including millions of displaced people from the worst conflict areas.

    Food assistance and production support urgently needed

    FAO together with its partners including other UN agencies is calling on the international community for urgent support - a combination of immediate food assistance and food production support is the only way to make dent in the scale of hunger in the region.

    Graziano da Silva reiterated the call he made last week during his visit to Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria: if farmers miss the coming May/June planting season, they will see no substantial harvests until 2018. Failure to restore food production now will lead to the worsening of widespread and severe hunger and prolonged dependency on external assistance further into the future.

    During his visit to the region, which included the capital of Chad, N'Djamena, Graziano da Silva also publicly presented FAO's Response Strategy (2017-2019) for the Lake Chad Basin crisis.

    Key activities include the distribution of cereal seeds, animal feed and the provision of cash transfers and veterinary care. This will enable displaced farmers and voluntary returnees to get a substantial harvest and replenish their food stocks, and to prevent animal losses among vulnerable herders

    However, there is a huge shortfall in international assistance to meet the demands of the coming planting season. Of the $62 million requested under the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria, FAO has only received $12.5 million.

    Long-term investment for agriculture and rural development in Africa

    The FAO Director-General warned that the situation in the Lake Chad Basin reflects in many ways the threats facing other countries in Africa, where a combination of ethnic or religious tensions fueled by rural poverty and unemployment, particularly amongst young people, could escalate full-scale crises.

    Key to addressing this is the promotion and support for longer-term sustainable agriculture practices that can assist people in rural areas to adapt to climate change and the increasing scarcity of many natural resources, such as water and forests.

    To do this, more investments in agriculture are needed, Graziano da Silva stressed, citing the example of Ethiopia where government support to the sector has helped alleviate the impact of El Niño-linked drought.

    In the Lake Chad Basin region, FAO is working with farmers and displaced people to assist them with producing food and to sell their surplus in the markets. This includes the distribution of cash vouchers that help to stimulate markets for agricultural products.

    In addition, FAO together with its partners is exploring the possibility of introducing irrigation techniques that will help save water, and to help train farmers in using these techniques.


    Peter Mayer
    FAO Media Relations (Rome)
    (+39) 06 570 53304

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


    La situation humanitaire se détériore au Mali. Le climat de violence et d’insécurité qui persiste dans certaines zones du nord et qui s’étend au centre du pays affecte négativement les moyens de subsistance des ménages et limite leur accès aux services sociaux de base. Selon les projections, l’insécurité alimentaire touchera plus de 3,8 millions de personnes pendant la période de soudure de juin à août 2017, dont 600 000 personnes en phase de crise ; soit une augmentation de 804 800 personnes par rapport à l’année dernière. Par ailleurs, les conflits intercommunautaires, les violences et la criminalité ambiante ont poussé des milliers de personnes à se déplacer dans le nord et le centre du pays ces derniers mois. Le nombre de réfugiés Maliens dans les pays voisins est également en légère augmentation.

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