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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Government of the United States of America
    Country: Senegal

    February 28, 2013
    Feed the Future | From the Field

    Ndendory, Senegal is a major producer of cereals, but this region in the country’s extreme north also has some of the highest levels of undernutrition—22 percent of children in Ndendory are underweight and nearly 18 percent suffer from stunted growth. Part of the problem is that, despite the abundance of staple grains, villagers don’t have access to other types of food that provide essential vitamins and nutrients.

    In response to this issue, Feed the Future is working with community nutrition volunteers in Ndendory to train women’s groups how to create fortified flour, a product that can be extremely effective in reducing severe and chronic undernutrition, but which is expensive and difficult to find in rural parts of Senegal. The fortification method uses a formula developed by nutritionists from USAID and can be made from locally available ingredients such as millet, sorghum, maize, fish flour, peanuts, cowpeas and baobab fruit powder. The enriched flour is used to create porridge that is fed to infants and young children.

    One of Feed the Future’s community nutrition volunteers is Raky Mamadou Niane, who works with 15 women’s groups that are part of the flour fortification enterprise known as Jab Gollade (The Working Women). Jab Gollade has worked since 2011 to create and sell reasonably priced and nutritious fortified flour products to address severe undernutrition in the region. Similar local groups are providing additional high-nutrition products such as iodized salt to their communities.

    The demand for these products was even greater than the groups had anticipated. "At first we found that we couldn’t keep some things such as iodized salt and enriched flour in stock and customers were buying up everything that we could get our hands on,” says Adrien Ndour of USAID, who trains volunteers like Niane. “Sales went up so radically, we began to have problems maintaining the stock.”

    Hawa Daff, a local mother, says that since her children have been eating the fortified flour, they have been healthier and more active. I don’t have to take them to the hospital so often,” Daff says. “That means I’m spending less than half of what I used to in doctor’s fees.”

    With the help of a grant from USAID, Jab Gollade can produce and package 50 kilograms per day of enriched flour, bringing the business about $90 profit per batch. This amount is considerable in an area where a farmer’s average monthly income is about $40. Divided among the group’s members, the money goes into a revolving loan fund that supports women’s enterprises within the group, and can also be used for everyday items like food, soap and other household goods.

    Niane, the community nutrition volunteer, points to a survey conducted by the local nutritional fortification program that indicates a drop in cases of moderate and acute undernutrition in Ndendory from 30 to ten between 2011 and 2012. "We think it’s due to our flour,” she says.


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    Source: International Peace Institute
    Country: Mali

    While the political and security crisis that erupted in Mali in 2012 seems to evolve daily, the underlying factors that threaten peace and human security in the Sahel region are not new. This issue brief analyzes the current crisis in Mali within the context of the Sahel-Sahara region as a whole. It discusses the roots of the crisis and details the various responses to date—including national, regional, and international actions—arguing that short-term crisis management will not be sufficient to bring peace and stability to the region.

    The multiplicity of actors, positions, and strategies seeking to resolve the crises in both Mali and the Sahel-Sahara region add new challenges to the multidimensional nature of the cross-border threats to peace, stability, and development in the region. While the French intervention in Mali has shown some initial success, responsibility for a long-term solution to the persistent insecurity in the country and the broader Sahel-Sahara region ultimately lies with the governments in the region.

    Given the broad regional challenges of chronic underdevelopment, recurrent humanitarian crises, and proliferating networks of organized crime and terrorism, the authors suggest that a more comprehensive strategy will be needed, and they conclude that the integrated regional strategy currently being developed by the UN represents a step in the right direction. For countries in the region and the international community, the challenge remains to make the quantitative and qualitative investments that will ensure sustainable growth, strengthen state institutions, and facilitate broad popular participation as preconditions for long-term peace, stability, and development.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger
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    Insécurité alimentaire globalement minimale malgré le délai des programmes sociaux

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Le programme social du gouvernement vise à répondre aux besoins alimentaires de 865 000 personnes contre 4 million en moyenne pendant la même période. Ce programme était planifié pour la période de janvier à mai. Toutefois, la mise en oeuvre des appuis est susceptible de commencer deux mois plus tard que prévu mais n’aura pas un impact très significatif sur la sécurité alimentaire compte tenu de l’accès alimentaire favorable et de certaines interventions que mènent les partenaires humanitaires.

    • L’offre locale est normale sur les marchés ce qui assure la grande partie des disponibilités en mil. Pourtant, des prix plus hauts que la moyenne saisonnière persistent suite à une forte demande provenant des institutions et des ménages consommateurs dont le nombre s’accroit sur les marchés à cause de la diminution normale des stocks céréaliers et la réduction des bras valides en migration cette année par rapport à la normale.

    • A part le niveau élevé des prix, aucune anomalie importante n’est observée sur les marchés frontaliers malgré la pression potentielle liée à une augmentation du nombre de réfugiés dans l’ouest du pays. De même, les rapports précoces sur les pertes agricoles au Nigeria n’ont pas encore provoqué des tendances atypiques sur les marchés clés du commerce transfrontalier.


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    Source: NATO Civil-Military Fusion Centre
    Country: Iraq, Jordan, Mali, Syrian Arab Republic
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    INSIDE THIS ISSUE

    Iraq 1

    Mali 3

    Syria 4

    IED/Demining 6

    In Brief: Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan 7


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso
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    Alimentation des ménages satisfaite par leurs stocks

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Les ménages pauvres comptent sur leurs stocks de céréales ou sur les revenus normaux générés par la pratique de l’orpaillage ou du maraichage ou encore de la vente des cultures de rente pour satisfaire leur alimentation sans recours à des stratégies d'adaptation néfastes. Ainsi, jusqu’en juin, ils seront en insécurité alimentaire minime, IPC phase 1.

    • Les niveaux de prix des céréales sont stables ou en hausse inférieure à 8 pour cent depuis décembre et en baisse n’excédant pas 12 pour cent par rapport à l’année passée. Ce qui représente une situation favorable pour l’accès des ménages à l’alimentation.

    • La reconstitution des stocks institutionnels et privés est en cours, mais pour l’instant sans impact négatif sur le bon fonctionnement des marchés, le niveau des prix et des stocks ainsi que le transfert des céréales des zones de production vers les zones déficitaires


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad
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    Le niveau des stocks paysans est globalement satisfaisant dans le sahel tchadien

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Le niveau des stocks des ménages dans la zone sahélienne est supérieur à une année normale et permet de couvrir les besoins alimentaire des ménages pauvres et très pauvres jusqu'au début du période de soudure avec moins de difficultés alimentaires.

    • Malgré une bonne production agricole au niveau nationale, les marchés urbains du Sud sont moyennement approvisionnés comparés à une année normale à cause des effets négatifs des inondations et des mesures administratives interdisant la sortie des céréales. Ainsi, à la différence de la zone sahélienne, la tendance des prix est à la hausse dans la zone soudanienne.

    • La situation alimentaire est rassurante grâce au niveau actuel du stock ménager et de la bonne disponibilité des produits maraîchers dans certaines zones. A cet effet, toutes les zones de moyens d’existence sont actuellement en phase 1 de l’IPC 2.0 (Aucune ou Minimale) et y demeureront jusqu'à juin 2013.


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    Source: Government of the United States of America
    Country: Malawi

    February 28, 2013
    Feed the Future | From the Field

    In Malawi, Feed the Future is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to improve efficiency and accountability in the fertilizer value chain through innovative new mobile technology that tracks data on deliveries, inventories and sales in real time.

    Smallholder farmers in Malawi face many challenges in accessing high-quality inputs such as seed and fertilizer for their crops. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Farm Input Subsidy Program provides these inputs to half of the country’s three million farmers, using a paper voucher system to track thousands of shipments of seed and fertilizer as they are transported around the country. Fertilizer is particularly expensive, since it must first be imported to landlocked Malawi and then transported long distances to 1,300 rural markets, often using poor-quality roads that are impassable once the rains begin.

    These difficult conditions combined with the high price of fertilizer unfortunately mean that the system for tracking shipments is highly susceptible to fraud, loss and theft. Truck drivers and others along the fertilizer value chain at times profit by diverting their cargo or diluting it with soil and sand, preventing smallholder farmers from receiving critical deliveries.

    To address this problem, Feed the Future collaborated with Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture and other development partners to pilot an electronic tracking system that uses mobile phones to communicate via Short Message Service (SMS, or text messaging) between warehouses and the 1,300 market locations where fertilizer is delivered. All SMS communication is automatically documented in a centralized database, and when deliveries leave a warehouse the agriculture officers and market clerks in the field are notified of the estimated time of arrival, the truck registration number, and the number of fertilizer bags that will be delivered.

    This system makes truck drivers aware that their deliveries are being tracked daily and saves farmers from traveling to markets to wait for fertilizer deliveries that may arrive several days late or not at all. It also allows the Farm Input Subsidy Program to re-position fertilizer if necessary and to notify the police if trucks do not arrive or do not deliver their full inventory.

    The pilot has been so successful that the Government of Malawi is interested in expanding electronic fertilizer tracking nationwide for the next planting season. Feed the Future will also introduce a pilot e-voucher system, allowing farmers to receive their fertilizer and seed vouchers over mobile phones and redeem them with vendors, who will then be reimbursed automatically. The prospect of much speedier payments through the e-voucher system is expected to boost private sector participation in fertilizer markets.

    More private sector participation means more market outlets for farmers to access the inputs they need to improve their crop yields—thus, this innovative mobile technology solution is a win for farmers, businesses and Malawi’s agriculture sector.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad
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    Good rainfall levelsvisibly improve agropastoral conditions

    KEY MESSAGES

    • Good 2012/13 harvests allowed very poor and poor households to replenish their food reserves. These reserves, which should last one to two months longer than usual, will reduce household dependence on market purchases between May and June.

    • Market prices across the country are stable and are trending downwards. Cereal prices should follow normal seasonal trends but will stay well above the five-year average. Thus, prices will remain stable between now and March before edging slightly upwards as of March/April.

    • Cash income sources from crop sales and off-farm activities will be normal to above-normal over the next six months. These relatively good incomes will help offset rising cereal prices as of March.

    • Food security conditions are steadily improving with the rebuilding of production capacity and the replenishment of livelihood assets. Likewise, current price levels are improving food access. Thus, households in all livelihood zones will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between now and June.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali
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    Poor households face near-normal food insecurity conditions

    KEY MESSAGES

    • Food consumption by very poor and poor households is currently relatively normal with most households consuming two to three meals per day. Household food stocks are expected to be sufficient to meet consumption needs for an additional three to five months, and income levels (both farm and nonfarm) are currently above the five year average. Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) is expected from now through June 2013.

    • December prices for staple cereals were at their lowest levels of the year and were, on average, down two to 14 percent compared to November. However compared to the five-year average, millet prices were up 36 percent, sorghum prices up 22 percent, and corn prices up 13 percent.

    • Even with an influx of an additional 2,000 refugees since the end of December, the situation of Burkina Faso's approximately 40,000 Malian refugees is considered manageable by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These refugees' assistance needs should be sufficiently meet by humanitarian assistance programming which were designed for a population of over 100,000 refugees back in August of last year.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Yemen
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    UNHCR Operation highlights

    Somalia is the country generating the third highest number of refugees in the world, after Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Somali people are facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. One in three Somalis is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and one in every three children living in the South-Central region is malnourished.

    UNHCR leads protection and emergency relief interventions targeting 700,000 IDPs out of a total IDP population estimated between 1.1 and 1.36 million and over 2,300 refugees in Somalia.

    General Situation

    Somalia generates the third highest number of refugees in the world (after Afghanistan and Iraq). As at 19th February 2013, there were 1,025,346 Somali refugees in the region, mainly hosted in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Tanzania and Uganda and almost 1.36 million Somalis internally displaced within the country, settled mainly in the South-Central region.

    5,613 Somalis have so far sought refuge in neighboring countries in 2013. As of 26th February 2013, 4,700 people were displaced while in January 2013 alone, another 10,000 were displaced, mainly in South Central Somalia.

    Between 1st Nov and 1st Feb 2013, displacements were mainly recorded in South Central with approximately 17,000 out of a total 19,000 displacements recorded in all three zones, citing cross border movement, IDP temporary return and insecurity as their major reasons for displacement.

    1 million Somalis still remain food insecure, unable to meet basic food needs without assistance, according to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU). Another 1.7 million people are at risk of falling back into crisis without continued support to meet basic needs and build up their livelihoods.

    With an elected president, Hassan SheikhMohamud, and a 275-member parliament, Somalia is set to reestablish government functions and institutions, with numerous reports of its diaspora population coming back home to contribute to similar activities. Somalia fell into the hands of armed opposition groups after the fall of the Siad Barre regime, and was divided along clan lines.

    Most of Somalia continues to be in security level 5 (high), with some parts of Mogadishu and other areas on level 6 (extreme). Humanitarian access still remains a challenge in certain pockets especially in the South Central Zone and hampers delivery of life-saving activities. Distribution of emergency / temporary shelter materials and other relief items and protection through livelihood interventions are among the activities carried out by UNHCR to support IDPs.

    In January 2013, UNHCR distributed 4,160 emergency assistance packages (EAPs) to 24,960 individuals in Mogadishu and other districts within southern Somalia as well as 27 non-food items (NFI) kits to households affected by a fire outbreak in Bosaso. These EAPs include kitchen sets, sleeping mats and plastic sheeting that would aid these vulnerable populations in their time of need.


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Chad
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    Period covered by this Ops Update: November 2012 to February, 2013;

    Appeal target (current): CHF 775,716;

    Appeal coverage: 60%

    Appeal history:

    • Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 125,920 was initially allocated on 11 September, 2012 to support the National Society in delivering immediate assistance to 11,770 beneficiaries.

    • The Emergency Appeal was launched on 21 October, 2012 for CHF 775,716 to support the Red Cross of Chad (RCC) to assist 4,400 households (30,800 beneficiaries) for six months.

    • An operation update n°1 was published on 10 December, 2012 and provided information about activities implemented within the timeframe of DREF

    Summary: The emergency operation responds to urgent needs of 4,400 households affected by seasonal flooding through interventions in health, watsan and shelter. IFRC field staff and national society’s counterpart were deployed in the area of Bongor and the surrounding villages to start implementing activities. Activities implemented so far include the registration process of vulnerable groups (criteria agreed upon on the e-single form) to receive NFIs support, training of 200 volunteers and discussion with local authorities and partners on the best ways to achieve results. Visit to the local health facilities to assess the level of preparedness, should an epidemic such as cholera strike and how the RCC can provide support was also carried out. From the national society small stock, a total of 362 households were reached by the distribution of mosquito nets, jerry cans, buckets and soap. This stock will be compensated by the awaited NFIs from neighbouring Cameroon.

    Meanwhile, conditions of affected victims in both target areas remain critical. In the capital N’Djamena, families still live in makeshift shelters in the Toukra camps with no hope of returning to their homes soon. The camp hosts more than 6,000 people who lost their homes to floods in 2012. In Bongor area and surroundings, one of the worst-hit by the floods, more than one third of cultivated fields were flooded. The harvest is expected to be lower this year in these areas. Certain areas have begun experiencing food shortages.

    Funds in support of this operation have been received from European Commission - DG ECHO, as well as from Japanese, Monaco, Swiss, Canadian and Netherlands Red Cross Societies. The Red Cross of Chad wishes to thank donors for their generous support to this operation and encourage others to fund the remainder of the operation so that planned activities can be carried out.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Malawi

    MZUZU, 1 March 2013 (IRIN) - Every morning, Bernadette Kilembe, from the northern Malawian town of Karonga, is confronted with two related problems: She has to keep her restaurant running, and she has to feed herself and her three children.

    Exacerbating both of these problems is the cost of maize - Malawi's staple food - which has become unaffordable.

    Between June and October 2012, a 20-litre bucket of maize cost her between 500 and 750 kwacha (about US$1.50 to $2). Now it costs 3,000 kwacha ($8) a bucket.

    "That is only enough to produce two meals for me and my children," said Kilembe.

    In a good year, Kilembe grows enough maize in her garden to supply her restaurant and feed her family, but dry spells during the 2011-2012 growing season wilted her crop. Unreliable rainfall is nothing new in Malawi, but in the past, Kilembe could purchase affordable maize from local vendors. This year things are different.

    During and after the 2012 harvest, cross-border traders offered farmers in the area much better prices than those offered by local traders.

    "Most of the farmers here thought if they sold their maize and kept the money, they would be able to buy from the market once the maize they stored for their own consumption was depleted," said Masuzgo Zowani, a community worker and subsistence farmer from Chirambo, in western Rumphi District.

    "Unfortunately, they did not know that they were creating a gap in the supply of maize both in their area and the country generally because those who offered the better prices took the maize out of the country. Now they can hardly afford the maize that is found on the market."

    Exports banned

    A ban on the export of maize from Malawi was implemented in December 2011, when it became apparent dry weather threatened to cause a maize shortage.

    But the ban has not prevented traders from smuggling maize across the border into neighbouring Tanzania and Mozambique, where the weakening of the kwacha against the dollar has made Malawi's maize attractive to buyers.

    "When trucks bring bags of maize here [from surrounding areas], it is not meant for our market," said Kilembe. "We don't know where it goes, as the maize often comes late in the evening when we are about to sleep and it is not [there] by daybreak."

    Dan Msowoya, a spokesperson from the opposition party the Alliance for Democracy, blamed the boom in cross-border trade on the state-owned grain marketer, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC). In recent years, ADMARC has not received sufficient budgetary support to buy surplus maize from farmers, store it and then resell it, leaving the task in the hands of a private conglomerate called Mulli Brothers.

    But farmers complained that Mulli Brothers did not offer them good prices, and as a result, many sold their maize instead to cross-border traders, not even keeping a portion of the crop for consumption.

    Government officials are now urging communities to stop selling maize to cross-border traders, regardless of the prices they offer, but the message seems to have come too late.

    Police corruption?

    Efforts by local police to stop the smuggling of maize into Tanzania have been largely unsuccessful.

    "When we increased manpower on land and impounded trucks carrying maize, the smugglers started transporting the maize on bicycles, and it would appear as if it belonged to an individual who was taking it home," said Karonga police station officer William Kadzayekha.

    "But once we busted that, they started smuggling the maize in boats via Lake Malawi and connecting to Songwe River. We know that they are doing this, but we cannot do anything. We have officers who trained as marine experts, but there are no boats for these officers to use."

    Many local people in Karonga blame the police for letting maize pass through roadblocks, allegedly in return for bribes.

    "We have a number of roadblocks from Karonga to the Songwe border post. Police are manning these roadblocks, yet food crops such as maize continue to cross the borders. One wonders how this could happen if it is not [that] the police have pocketed bribes," said paramount chief Kyungu, the most senior traditional authority in Karonga and Chitipa districts.

    Locals have engaged the police in battles over the issue, even chasing them from roadblocks. But while this may have slowed the movement of maize by truck, it has not affected transport by boat. On a recent night, IRIN witnessed maize being loaded onto boats on Lake Malawi just a few hundred metres from the Karonga police station.

    Supply and demand

    Malawian cross-border businesspersons buying goods in Tanzania for resale in Malawi have also reported seeing huge piles of maize at the Tanzanian border town of Kasumulu. It is believed that the maize is repackaged there for transportation further on in the region.

    "The maize piles we see there are usually more than what we see on the Malawian side," said Grace Kumwenda, who buys wares in Mbeya, Tanzania, and sells them in Mzuzu.

    Economist Henry Kachanje says the rising market cost of maize is simple supply and demand: As more maize is smuggled out of the country, supply in the Malawian market dwindles and prices go up.

    Currently, most ADMARC markets across the country do not have maize stocks. When limited stocks do come in, they are rationed; the amounts sold are as little as 5kg per person.

    The government's 2012 decision last year to replace fuel price subsidies with automatic fuel price adjustments - in which the cost automatically reflects global price fluctuations - has resulted in record high fuel costs, which private traders of maize are also transferring to consumers.

    sm/ks/rz


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

    Almost two months on in Mali from the French intervention, UNHCR is continuing to see large numbers of internally displaced people, while in surrounding countries the numbers of refugees are still high and in some cases increasing. Despite improvements to the security situation in some areas, fear of returning home remains widespread.

    Of the estimated 430,000 people uprooted by this crisis, available figures are that 260,665 are still displaced inside Mali. The refugee population is 170,300, of whom 71,624 are in Mauritania, 47,205 in Burkina Faso and some 50,000 in Niger, and 1,500 in Algeria. Spontaneous returns among IDPs are still low although bus services between Bamako and Gao resumed last week, and boats are also now travelling between Mopti and Timbuktu.

    For IDPs and refugees alike the primary worry remains insecurity. Continued fighting, suicide attacks, reprisal attacks against some communities, the presence of mines and unexploded ordinance in the regions of Mopti, Gao, and Timbuktu, are all cited as reasons to delay returning. However, the absence of services in the north is also a factor: With few schools functioning there, and government authorities still absent in many towns and cities, many displaced families prefer to wait.

    For those outside Mali, an additional complication is ethnic make-up, as a majority of the refugees are Tuareg or Arab. Fear of reprisal attacks is widespread, as is fear of criminality or that jihadists might remain present in the community. A reflection of the situation is that while new refugee numbers are substantially down on their levels of a few weeks ago, Mali is nonetheless continuing to see net refugee outflow, albeit a modest one. During February, average arrivals in Mauritania were over 1,500 people per week – mainly from the Lere, Goundam, Gnoufonke, and Timbuktu areas. Refugee numbers in Burkina and Niger are static.

    UNHCR believes that reconciliation efforts are urgently needed, together with efforts to combat impunity, to encourage peaceful coexistence between communities, to help long-term stabilization and security and to prevent Mali's displacement crisis from becoming more protracted. We are at present planning support for reconciliation in areas of displacement and returns, as well as in refugee camps.

    For more information on this topic, please contact:

    In Bamako: Helene Caux on mobile +223 61 77 77 44 / +221 77 333 1291 In Geneva: Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile +41 79 249 3483


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal
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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Mali

    N°: 054/2013 1 mars 2013 [Yamoussoukro - Côte d’Ivoire]

    La Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO a réaffirmé son soutien ferme aux autorités de la transition malienne et fait part de sa détermination à défendre le pouvoir central de Bamako contre tout fauteur de troubles, civil ou militaire, à l’issue de sa 42ème session ordinaire qui a pris fin ce jeudi 28 février 2013 à Yamoussoukro, en Côte d’Ivoire.

    En droite ligne de cette position affichée sans ambages, le sommet de Yamoussoukro répertorie dans le communiqué final publié à la fin des travaux les différentes mesures destinées à préserver la transition malienne de tout danger jusqu’aux élections présidentielle et législatives prévues au plus tard le 31 juillet 2013.

    Devant le président intérimaire du Mali, Dioncounda Traoré, ses pairs de la CEDEAO ont fermement condamné les attaques-suicides et de guérilla en cours menées par les groupes terroristes et extrémistes dans le nord du Mali et exhorté les forces alliées à prendre les mesures nécessaires, dans le cadre de la contre-offensive, afin de les neutraliser et d’engager des poursuites contre leurs complices.

    La Conférence, qui s’était ouverte le mercredi 27 février en présence de 13 chefs d’Etat sur 15, a exprimé sa profonde gratitude au gouvernement français pour son action décisive, de même qu’au gouvernement et au peuple tchadiens pour le «témoignage exemplaire de solidarité» dont ils font preuve à l’égard du Mali et pour leur attachement aux idéaux de l’Union africaine.

    Le sommet, qui avait observé à son ouverture une minute de silence en mémoire des soldats de la force alliée qui ont perdu la vie, parmi lesquels 25 Tchadiens, a rendu un «hommage spécial aux vaillants héros de cette grande nation qui ont payé de leur vie en aidant le Mali dans la reconquête de son intégrité territoriale».

    La Conférence endosse le Concept révisé des opérations (Conops) de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (Misma) et engage les dirigeants politiques ainsi que les commandants des forces alliées à veiller à l’amélioration de la coordination de leurs activités afin de favoriser l’exécution harmonieuse et efficace des opérations.

    Les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont en outre salué la disponibilité du Burundi de déployer des troupes dans le cadre de la Misma et invité le commandant de la force à en assurer le suivi en vue de les intégrer dans les opérations en cours. Ils se sont aussi félicités de la «coopération constructive» de l’Algérie, de la Mauritanie et du Maroc pour la résolution de la crise au Mali.

    La Conférence exhorte les forces alliées à veiller au respect scrupuleux des droits humains et du droit international humanitaire dans le cadre de leurs opérations. Elle se félicite des initiatives actuellement engagées par la CEDEAO, l’Union africaine et d’autres partenaires pour le déploiement rapide d’observateurs des droits de l’homme sur la zone de conflit et l’inculcation, à travers des sessions d’orientation, des valeurs relatives aux droits de l’homme au personnel de la mission.

    Les chefs d’Etat ont ensuite instruit la Commission de la CEDEAO, en étroite collaboration avec la Commission de l’Union africaine, d’adresser une requête aux Nations unies à l’effet de soutenir la requête formelle du Mali relative à la transformation de la Misma en une opération de maintien de la paix de l’ONU avec un mandat approprié dès que possible.

    Rappelant son attachement à l’unité et à l’intégrité territoriale du Mali, qui exige en particulier le déploiement de l’armée nationale sur l’ensemble du pays, la Conférence demande le désarmement de tous les groupes armés, notamment le MNLA (Mouvement nationale de libération de l’Azawad). Elle précise que «la renonciation du MNLA à la violence et à son projet sécessionniste est une condition minimale à remplir avant son acceptation dans tout processus de dialogue».

    Concernant la situation en Guinée-Bissau, les chefs d’Etat de la CEDEAO ont réitéré leur appui à la transition en cours dans ce pays et se félicitent de la signature du pacte de transition par les principaux partis politiques ainsi que de l’esprit consensuel et inclusif qui se construit autour du processus.

    Ils encouragent le président par intérim, Manuel Serifo Nhamajo, à soumettre un projet de feuille de route révisée et réaliste à l’Assemblée nationale populaire (ANP) pour la préparation et l’organisation d’élections générales libres, équitables et transparentes avant la fin de l’année 2013.

    La Conférence exhorte l’Assemblée nationale à adopter, le plus rapidement possible, ledit projet de feuille de route et invite le groupe de contact régional sur la Guinée-Bissau à en assurer le suivi. A cet égard, le sommet a décidé de prolonger la période de la transition en Guinée-Bissau jusqu’au 31 décembre 2013 en tenant compte du processus en cours au sein de l’ANP.

    Enfin la CEDEAO réitère ses nombreux appels à l’UA pour la reconnaissance de la transition en cours et la levée des sanctions contre la Guinée-Bissau. Elle lance également un appel aux partenaires internationaux afin qu’ils envisagent de toute urgence la reprise de la coopération bilatérale et multilatérale en vue d’encourager les réformes dans le pays.

    Le sommet s’est prononcé sur les autres menaces sécuritaires et a réaffirmé son engagement ferme pour la lutte contre le terrorisme dans la région. A ce propos, elle endosse la Stratégie antiterroriste de la CEDEAO et son plan de mise en œuvre ainsi que la Déclaration politique sur la position commune contre le terrorisme.

    Il déclare sa détermination à combattre la piraterie, la pêche illégale, le trafic de drogue et toute autre forme de crimes transnationaux organisés dans le golfe de Guinée.

    Se penchant sur les objectifs originels de la CEDEAO, les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont réaffirmé leur ferme engagement pour le développement de la région à travers l’accélération du processus d’intégration autour de la mise en œuvre des programmes sectoriels et de la consolidation du marché commun et ce, dans le respect des principes fondamentaux tels que contenus dans l’acte fondateur ainsi que dans les protocoles et autres textes pertinents de l’organisation.

    La Conférence a jugé encourageantes les performances économiques réalisées par la région en 2012. Afin de les consolider et soutenir une croissance réductrice de pauvreté, elle s’engage à prendre des mesures ciblées visant notamment l’assainissement du cadre macroéconomique, l’approfondissement des réformes structurelles, la diversification du tissu productif et l’amélioration de la fourniture des services sociaux de base.

    Se félicitant des avancées enregistrées dans la finalisation du Tarif extérieur commun (TEC), ils ont instruit le président de la Commission de la CEDEAO à poursuivre, en collaboration avec la Commission de l’UEMOA (Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine), le travail de coordination nécessaire pour la mise en place effective de l’union douanière.

    A cet égard, la Conférence souligne la nécessité de l’application effective du Protocole de la CEDEAO sur la libre circulation des personnes et des biens et en appelle donc à une plus grande appropriation par les Etats membres.

    Les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement réaffirment leur attachement à la conclusion d’un Accord de partenariat économique (APE) régional équitable et porteur de développement avec l’Union européenne.

    Ils saluent les efforts engagés par la région Afrique de l’Ouest dans l’affinement de l’offre d’accès au marché et demandent au président de la commission de finaliser, dans les meilleurs délais, les propositions en cohérence avec les travaux en cours du TEC et les objectifs de développement de la région.

    Réaffirmant leur fidélité à divers principes comme ceux relatifs à la démocratie et à la bonne gouvernance, la Conférence a décidé de reconduire Alassane Ouattara à la présidence de la Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO pour un nouveau mandat d’un an.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/01/2013 13:45 GMT

    Par Anne LE COZ

    KADJI (Mali), 01 mars 2013 (AFP) - Tête baissée, le regard éteint, ils descendent, menottés par deux, de la pirogue qui les ramène de leur île-refuge de Kadji (nord du Mali), où une "opération de nettoyage" par l'armée malienne a permis l'arrestation d'une cinquantaine de jihadistes présumés.

    Cela faisait plusieurs semaines que les habitants de Gao, à cinq km à vol d'oiseau plus au nord, attendaient cette opération, censée mettre un coup d'arrêt aux infiltrations d'islamistes armés dans la principale ville du nord du Mali, qui a déjà été, à deux reprises depuis le 26 janvier, la cible d'attaques jihadistes.

    Dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi, des hélicoptères français avaient effectué pendant plus de quatre heures des survols de reconnaissance au dessus de l'île, où est installée depuis plusieurs dizaines d'années une secte musulmane fondamentaliste.

    L'opération en elle-même a été déclenchée jeudi en début d'après-midi quand des forces maliennes (gendarmerie et forces spéciales essentiellement) ont gagné l'île de Darassalami-Kadji en pirogue, appuyées par des militaires français embarqués sur des zodiacs.

    Sur place, aucun coup de feu n'a été tiré. "les soldats français de l'infanterie de marine ont débarqué avec nous, ont avancé sur 100 mètres et sont restés pour assurer nos arrières pendant qu'on progressait vers l'intérieur de l'île", a raconté un militaire malien à l'AFP.

    Les Français ont ensuite quitté le site vers 00H30, a ajouté la même source.

    Les fouilles ont été effectuées sous le commandement du colonel touareg malien El Hadj Ag Gamou, en présence du commandant de région de la gendarmerie, le colonel Salihou Maïga.

    Vendredi matin, un premier groupe de 14 prisonniers, transporté sous escorte des gendarmes à bord de quatre pirogues, est débarqué sur la rive du fleuve Niger, située à environ deux km de l'île.

    Nous sommes à Goungoumari, chef-lieu de Kadji, une commune qui s'étend sur huit quartiers le long du fleuve.

    Assis sur le sable, une vingtaine d'hommes observent les opérations en bavardant. Parmi eux, deux conseillers du chef du village et des jeunes, membres de groupes locaux de résistance, les "Patriotes" et les "Patrouilleurs".

    Jeudi, les forces maliennes avaient déjà procédé à 20 interpellations, selon leurs témoignages.

    Un militaire malien explique que parmi les personnes qui viennent d'être débarquées ce vendredi matin figurent "deux islamistes ayant avoué avoir participé à la bataille de Konna" (centre du Mali) le 9 janvier qui a déclenché l'intervention française deux jours plus tard.

    "Où sont les armes ?"

    "Certains s'étaient cachés dans les herbes, on en a trouvé d'autres dans le fleuve, sous l'eau", dit-il.

    Les hommes interpellés sont en majorité des Maliens, mais "il y a aussi des Burkinabé et Togolais", affirme un gendarme.

    "Darassalami est devenu un havre pour tous les jihadistes", affirme en langue locale songhaï l'un des conseillers du chef de village, en boubou et turban indigo.

    "On sait que sont passés par là des gens de Boko Haram du Nigeria, des salafistes, des fondamentalistes de partout", ajoute-t-il.

    Depuis le début des années 70, l'île de Darassalami abrite une secte fondamentaliste qui applique des règles religieuses très strictes, sans rapport avec les traditions locales.

    Les femmes, entièrement voilées, y vivent cloîtrées.

    "En 1975, leur chef spirituel a été arrêté et envoyé à Bamako", explique le colonel Salihou Maïga, mais "jusqu'à l'an dernier, on n'avait pas trop de problèmes". Jeudi, les gendarmes ont interpellé son successeur, actuellement entendu à Gao, a-t-il précisé à l'AFP.

    Une nouvelle pirogue débarque son lot de détenus. Ils sont sept, les yeux fixés au sol, les mains ligotées par des bandes de tissu. Tous portent la barbe et le crâne rasé.

    "Parmi ceux qu'on a vus, il manque des +gros+. On attend de voir s'ils arrivent ou s'ils se sont échappés. Ce sont des gens qu'on connait, des gens même de Darassalami-Kadji, pas des étrangers", dit Zoubeirou Ibrahim Maïga, un jeune "Patrouilleur" de Kadji.

    "On ne sait pas non plus où sont les +petits+, les enfants à qui ils ont appris à fabriquer des explosifs, on ne les voit pas" s'inquiète Oumar, le chef des "Patriotes".

    "Pour l'instant nous n'avons pas trouvé d'armes", confirme le colonel Maïga. "Ca nous énerve. Où les ont-ils cachées ? Elles doivent être enterrées quelque part dans la dune..."

    alc/stb/hba


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/01/2013 15:27 GMT

    Par Anne LE COZ

    GAO (Mali), 01 mars 2013 (AFP) - Après plus d'un mois de guerre contre les jihadistes au Mali, l'armée française confirme son surnom de "grande muette", en verrouillant l'information sur ses opérations, un choix jugé "contre-productif" par certains observateurs.

    "Nous ne savons rien": le leitmotiv des officiers de presse français est devenu une blague parmi les envoyés spéciaux, qu'ils soient confinés à Bamako ou à Gao (nord) dans l'attente d'un hypothétique accompagnement de troupes sur un théâtre d'opérations.

    Seules trois équipes de télévision ont été emmenées le 7 février à Kidal, dans l'extrême nord malien, où se déroule aujourd'hui l'essentiel des combats. Mais elles sont restées cantonnées à l'aéroport et n'ont de facto rien pu voir.

    Lors de l'opération Turquoise au Rwanda en 1994, dans la foulée du génocide, l'armée française assurait à Goma (RDCongo) un "briefing" quotidien pour les envoyés spéciaux de la presse internationale et les emmenait régulièrement en mission héliportée dans le Sud Kivu et même au Rwanda.

    Dans les années 2000, sa communication a déjà fait grincer des dents en Afghanistan. Des journalistes ont alors été "blacklistés" après la publication d'articles jugés négatifs.

    Au Mali, les officiers de communication français ne sont plus "habilités"à répondre aux journalistes sur les "événements", c'est-à-dire les opérations en cours. "Pas d'humain", proclament aussi sans rire les "communicants"à ceux qui veulent parler aux soldats.

    "La communication de l'armée est totalement infantilisante. Ils nous proposent des +activités+ (suivre des convois logistiques, des actions de soutien aux populations locales...ndlr) comme si nous étions des enfants hyperactifs qu'il faut absolument occuper", juge Jean-Louis Le Touzet, envoyé spécial du quotidien français Libération, déplorant "un manque de transparence total sur l'information".

    "Les journalistes ont de fait une confiance extrêmement limitée dans la communication de l'armée, alors que le sentiment au départ était très favorable", ajoute-t-il.

    Interrogé par l'AFP, le porte-parole de l'état-major des Armées, Thierry Burkhard, se défend de tout ostracisme. Depuis le début de la guerre le 11 janvier, "on a accueilli 280 équipes médias sur le théâtre", soit "370 journalistes". "Ils n'ont peut-être pas vu tout ce qu'ils voulaient voir, mais on a accueilli des journalistes dans les unités", dit-il.

    "Rien à voir"

    Mais les contraintes imposées sur le terrain semblent parfois ubuesques : un photographe de l'AFP s'est vu empêcher de photographier la "mascotte" d'un pilote, un autre a provoqué des remous pour avoir photographié un soldat portant un foulard à tête de mort.

    Le 21 février, des journalistes, coincés à l'aéroport de Gao en raison de combats en ville, ont été bloqués par trois officiers de communication alors qu'ils se dirigeaient vers un blindé sanitaire arrivé en trombe. "Il ne se passe rien, il n'y a rien à voir", leur a-t-on rétorqué alors que deux militaires français venaient d'être blessés.

    L'ONG Reporters sans frontières (RSF) a, dans un communiqué, ironiquement félicité l'armée française pour avoir atteint son "objectif médiatique", à savoir "zéro image de combat", et dénoncé une "atteinte sérieuse à la liberté des médias", maintenus à distance au nom "d'arguments sécuritaires excessifs".

    "Nous n'avons jamais vu une telle unanimité dans la frustration de la presse sur place", assure Ambroise Pierre, responsable du bureau Afrique de RSF.

    Pour le colonel Michel Goya, directeur d'études à l'institut de recherche stratégique de l'Ecole militaire et blogueur de référence, ce contrôle de l'information est "contre-productif".

    "Le ministère de la Défense et l'armée ont toujours eu une vision défensive de la communication, dont ils ne voient que les aspects négatifs, perturbateurs, qu'il s'agit de restreindre", explique-t-il.

    "L'armée laisse ainsi passer une occasion de se mettre en avant, alors qu'elle est en train de faire quelque chose d'impressionnant, seule, sans nos alliés américains. Le militaire français se plaint souvent de ne pas être reconnu. Le public ne connaît que le nom des morts et éventuellement d'un général, mais les soldats restent anonymes".

    bur-alc-prh/sba


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: United Republic of Tanzania
    preview


    Summary: This emergency appeal was launched to respond to a drought and food insecurity situation in Tanzania by providing relief food to five targeted districts namely; Ngorongoro, Simanjiro, Same, Rombo and Mwanga. Food assistance was urgently needed for 2,760 most food insecure households in these five districts, for a period of two months. Early recovery activities were also planned focusing on improving food production in the affected communities through support of agricultural inputs (fertilizer and seeds), farming tools (hoes, machetes, axes and shovels) and imparting the community with dry land farming techniques. The response operation has made significant achievements against the planned objectives, as detailed within.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Somalia, World

    JOHANNESBURG, 1 March 2013 (IRIN) - Despite early warning information about the Horn of Africa’s impending drought crisis in 2011, humanitarian responses were slow to mobilize, leading to tens of thousands of deaths in the region and famine in parts of Somalia.

    Now, a research team led by food aid expert Daniel Maxwell, a professor at Tufts University’s Feinstein International Centre (FIC), has released a paper, Response Analysis and Response Choice in Food Security Crises: A Roadmap, describing the factors that underlie how aid agencies respond to food crises. The paper, released this week, highlights the need for reliable analysis to inform aid agencies’ and policymakers’ decisions, not only in responding to these crises but also in preventing their recurrence.

    However, the authors - Maxwell, Heather Stobaugh and John Parker from FIC, and Megan McGlinchy of Catholic Relief Services - point out, “There remains little in the way of an evidence base about what works best under what circumstances.”

    Analysis for prevention

    Response analysis should not simply ensure that aid is delivered in time to those who need it; it should also play a role in addressing chronic food insecurity, helping to end the vicious cycle of aid dependency.

    “Response analysis is appropriate and necessary whether you are talking about an acute emergency or longer-term resilience programming - the range of options may be different, but the analysis processes are similar,” Maxwell told IRIN via email.

    "the authors find there often remains a 'disconnect' between the information provided and kind needed to inform humanitarian responses"

    Laura Taylor, policy head at the NGO Tearfund, said, "Smarter analysis before emergencies, such as cyclical droughts and food crises that we can often predict from warning signs - up to nine months in advance - will ground plans with a good understanding of the risks and underlying causes of vulnerability. This has been proven in the case of chronic hunger situations in regions such as the Sahel.”

    Graham Farmer, global coordinator of the new Food Security Cluster - the UN’s mechanism to coordinate the food responses of humanitarian agencies - agrees.

    He told IRIN via email, “Response analysis is a key element of preparedness and contingency planning… Such preparedness will allow us to respond faster, more effectively and in a more targeted manner.”

    The study’s authors suggest various kinds of information should be collected before a crisis, such as market analysis. This information would include: the number and types of food traders in an area; historical commodity prices; production trends; consumer demand; access to markets; food quality; government policies; and weaknesses or bottlenecks in the food supply chains. The agencies should also be aware of traditional coping mechanisms and details of how households function.

    All this information would help agencies analyse which communities to target and what kind of interventions would best ensure people are resilient to shocks.

    Disconnect

    Although a lot of effort has recently gone into improving assessments, the authors find there often remains a “disconnect” between the information provided and kind needed to inform humanitarian responses.

    For instance, assessments often provide a snapshot of the current needs in a food security crisis, but humanitarian requirements change with seasons. Ideally, an assessment should include some projection of the conditions expected in the immediate future so programmes can be designed to address them.

    The study also found that analyses often fail to take into account recipients’ preferences. When they do, recipients’ preferences are typically noted to justify an agency’s mode of response, rather than driving decision-making.

    Additionally, the authors note, aid agencies do not base their responses solely on evidence and analysis. Other factors come into play, including agencies’ capacities, the personal experiences of staff, and funding and policy constraints.

    “As a result, they often have to rely on assumptions - rather than analysis - when choosing emergency food-security interventions. This makes the need for more evidence-based decision-making processes more urgent than ever,” the authors say.

    In most instances, agencies’ capacities determine their responses - for example, an agency’s nutritional assessment will lead to nutrition programmes - which can result in narrowly focused responses to complex emergencies.

    Coordination is key

    The report stresses that, while conducting response analysis, agencies must be mindful of how their work will affect the broader humanitarian context, taking into account what other agencies, governments, and local communities are doing to address food insecurity.

    For example, an agency might roll-out a cash-transfer programme based on an assessment that concludes one such programme would not affect local markets. But if a number of agencies roll-out similar programmes, the cumulative effects could prove disruptive.

    The authors say some collaborative work resulted from the response to the Horn of Africa crisis in 2011-2012, “but in practice, such approaches remain the exception rather than the rule”.

    A coordination mechanism is necessary to ensuring all parties are aware of what is being done - the new Food Security Cluster aims to fill this role.

    “Much of what we advocate is that this kind of analysis should be done at the cluster level, so that the response follows an overall strategy,” Maxwell told IRIN.

    Collaborations across institutions help draw on the strengths of different organizations, Farmer says. “The cluster approach… should provide a safe environment - devoid of interference from external factors such agency agendas - for the development of evidence-based analysis and programming,” he said.

    “That then increases efficiency and, through the efforts of national cluster partners, increases delivery and accountability to affected populations.”

    Integrating programmes

    Ideally, food and nutrition interventions and programmes that target livelihoods should be integrated, reckoned Maxwell.

    Farmer says the aid community is moving in that direction. “At the global level, we have created a working group between the Food Security and Nutrition Clusters, looking at how to avoid duplication and increase synergy. At the country level, there are clear examples of benefits from clusters working together.”

    Farmer says there is also dialogue taking place at the Inter-Agency Standing Committee “about reshaping our perspective on… cross-cutting issues such as gender, age, environment and so on. One potential push coming from the work is a focus on better targeting based on strong assessment.”

    Tearfund’s Taylor says a key element would be for “donors to be more flexible with funding for budgets. Programmes shouldn’t be set in stone. This ensures that if a crisis develops over time, NGOs can adapt their responses based on the latest analysis from the affected region and avoid being locked into pre-determined budgets.”

    jk/rz


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    Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit
    Country: Somalia
    preview


    FSNAU is pleased to announce the release of the Post Deyr 2012/13 Nutrition Technical Series Report following a seasonal analysis conducted jointly with UNICEF, FEWSNET, WFP and other partner agencies. This publication contains an overview of the Deyr 2012/13 nutrition situation in the context of the prevailing food security and health situation at the time.

    Integrated analysis of core nutrition indicators for the Deyr 2012/13 reflects improvements in the overall nutrition situation as compared to the Gu 2012 six months earlier. This is mostly as a result of improved household food access and disease outbreak control. Recent improvements in food security are attributed to continued humanitarian interventions, improved own production (crops, milk), increased incomes (farm labour, livestock sales at high prices) and improved purchasing power in light of reduced cost of living. Although morbidity levels remained high, no seasonal outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea/cholera or measles were reported during this period. Subsequently, in the northern and central regions, the nutrition situation is within Serious levels, with the exception of Sool Plateau pastoral livelihood zone in Alert phase, West Golis Guban in Critical and the Coastal Deeh of central regions in likely Critical. In the assessed areas in southern regions, the situation is Critical – Very Critical.

    Based on the Deyr 2012/13 analysis, at national level, an estimated 215,000 (14.3% of the 1.5 million) Somali children are currently acutely malnourished and in need of specialized nutrition treatment services. Of the 215,000 children, 45,000 (3.0% of the 1.5 million Somali children) are severely malnourished requiring immediate lifesaving interventions. About seventy percent of the malnourished are from the southern regions, where there are concerns about their ability to access vital basic services needed for survival. Nevertheless, the figures reflect a reducing trend since August 2011, the peak of famine when an estimated 450,000 (30% of the 1.5 million Somali children) of the children were acutely malnourished with 190,000 (13%) in severe state; in January 2012, when 323,000 (or 22%) were acutely malnourished, with 93,000 (6%) in severe state; and in August 2012 when 236,000 (16%) were acutely malnourished with 54,000 (4%) in severe state.

    The nutrition situation outlook, February to April 2013 is inferred from current estimates/median seasonal rates (2001-2011), alongside with historical disease patterns and food security trends for the February – April 2013 period. In general, the nutrition situation is likely to remain the same across the country up to April 2013 except for: Sool Plateau livelihood zone, which could deteriorate to Serious phase, consistent with worrying food security situation and seasonal levels; Bakool and Hiran regions, which are likely to improve to Critical phase consistent with seasonal levels. The nutrition situation in Shabelle regions, which could not be assessed in the Deyr 2012, is projected to be in Serious phase in February-April 2013. The current projection assumption will be reviewed in April 2013 based on updated information on climate performance, cereal price dynamics, humanitarian interventions and civil insecurity.


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