Abidjan/Nairobi, 12 April 2017 – The lives and futures of more than 18 million people are at risk in the Greater Horn of Africa and in Nigeria, as a result of one of the worst hunger crisis in recent history. This unfolding humanitarian crisis will be repeated again and again without concerted efforts to build resilience on the continent, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today.
“As long as we have conflicts and do not take strong measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, food insecurity will be with us,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa. “As we respond to the risk of imminent mass starvation in Africa, we also need to invest in community-level capacities and systems, so that local communities are prepared for any future shocks.”
This warning comes at the end of a continental conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders, in Abidjan. The three-day meeting recommended a number of actions.
Other recommendations included strengthening domestic resource mobilization, increasing countrylevel policy dialogue with governments, fostering increased community ownership of programmes, and developing innovation centres in communities, while recognizing innovative community-level initiatives on disaster risks reduction.
“We need to take advantage of modern technologies in our response to current humanitarian challenges. Mobile applications and social media should be used to raise awareness on climate change and to share early warning information about disasters,” said Dr Abbas Gullet, IFRC’s Vice President. “We also need to improve data collection, through technology and capacity building at community level.”
The meeting also called on governments, donors and humanitarian partners to prioritize and invest in interventions that will finally help break the grim and destructive cycle of African hunger—by strengthening communities’ capacities and skills to better prepare for, and respond to disasters and food insecurity, among other crises.
“We’ve seen drought and hunger before: in Somalia in 2011 and 2012, in Niger in 2005, in Ethiopia in the 1980s. Not enough was done to prevent those crises from happening, and not enough is being done to prevent a similar disaster from happening in the future,” said Dr Gullet.
IFRC and member National Societies are providing long-term support to vulnerable communities throughout Africa. Local Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers are embedded in many of the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach communities. “How many people will die this year?
How many will die in future years if we don’t build the resilience of communities alongside our provision of emergency aid?” added Dr Gullet. “We cannot keep saying ‘never again’ unless we are prepared to change the way we respond.”
For more information contact:
In Abidjan: GABA Franck Romuald Kodjo, +225 0770 1632, firstname.lastname@example.org
Euloge Ishimwe, +225 870 922 01 ; +254 731 688 613, email@example.com
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 2 I Press release 12 April 2016
In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, firstname.lastname@example.org
IFRC is the world`s largest humanitarian network comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube – Flickr
An estimated seven million people across Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states of Nigeria are in need of life-saving assistance as a result of years of ongoing violence in the North-East of the country. With telecommunications infrastructure having been severely damaged by the conflict, provision and restoration of communications services are required to support the response community. As global lead of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), the World Food Programme (WFP) is convening theEmergency Telecommunications Sector (ETS) in Nigeria to meet vital communications needs,respondingwith government, private sector and humanitarian organisations to ensure a coordinated response
The World Food Programme (WFP) delivers millions of tons of food each year to hungry people, but, increasingly, this assistance comes through cash-based transfers (CBT) that allows them to buy food in the market and be in charge of key decisions that affect their lives.
For WFP, cash-based transfers are an effective way of reaching the Zero Hunger development goal by 2030, through reducing the cost of providing food assistance while maximising the number of people reached. If deployed in the right context, CBT can improve access to food, contribute to more consistent consumption patterns and diversified diets as well as reduce negative coping strategies such as selling valuable production assets to buy food. WFP takes the view that it is the people it serves who are in a position to decide what is best for them. Cash-based transfers help by giving the purchasing power to the people.
WFP is a lead humanitarian organization providing cash-based assistance. In 2016, it supported more than 14 million people globally with cash-based transfers for food. These transfers come in various forms from traditional banknotes, bank transfers or value vouchers to more innovative electronic platforms such as smart cards or mobile money.
Their use is dictated by the situation, from the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster to a protracted refugee crisis or recurrent assistance needed during the lean season.
WFP works closely with other humanitarian partners, national governments and non-governmental organizations, as well as new partners from the private sector to implement programmes that are cash-based. They include telecom companies and financial service providers, such as banks, microfinance institutions and money-transfer companies, as well as local food retailers to optimize the food supply chain and ensure that consumers get the best possible price.
By Hakim Kabour
The heavy door to the prison closed behind me and I’m locked in, sitting in a circle with children exchanging greetings. Smiles, fidgeting hands, “How are you? Can you believe this heat?” Always the same smiles — despite the fact they’re locked up. I’m struck by their good nature.
A thousand kilometres from here, in the extreme southeast of Niger bordering Nigeria, a very important dialogue is starting between community leaders from villages who’ve been abducted by Boko Haram. If the leaders resist the return of these children, they will stay safely at a transit centre. Arrival preparation is essential to avoid stigmatization and rejection, from the community or their own families. It’s one of the most complex steps in the process and can derail the whole reintegration if not done well.
The situation for children suspected of associating with armed forces and groups is an extremely delicate problem in Niger and every country where UNICEF and its partners work in this area. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Paris Principles provide the basis for our intervention and give us a framework with the government of Niger. These documents insist that children must be considered victims of a conflict and they must be protected. It’s a great step forward, opening the possibility for tangible future solutions for children in danger.
UNICEF works with local authorities and neighborhood leaders to discuss the rights of the children, the fact that they are victims and the circumstances that ended with them in armed groups. Family mediations are crucial for the child to return home in the best possible circumstances, knowing that the return can be problematic for some parents. Tracking the psychological impact of post-traumatic stress is also essential, for the victims and for the families, especially if they’ve lost a loved one.
Hakim shares a smile with boys who he helps as part of his Child Protection efforts in Niger. Teaching life skills and practical trades like tailoring gives children a sense of financial independence and hope for the future.
In two years, more than 100 children who’ve been associated with Boko Haram have been supported by child protection programs in partnership with the judicial system here in Niger. Every story is different, every voice is unique. Some have been captured by security forces and others escaped Boko Haram, which operates in the far-east region of Niger. It’s very rare that children go directly home to their family.
The phone rings. The authorities release several children. Their faces brighten as they are released. It’s essential to help them return to a normal life. The logistics need to be organized quickly: the education supplies, the transport, the welcome at the transit centre in Niamey. With the Ministry for the Protection of Children, UNICEF takes responsibility for them and assures re-entry into their community and family reintegration. It’s a beautiful day for these young people, everyone agrees
They spend two to three months at the transit centre, as a smooth transition is organised. In workshops they learn practical skills that they can use back in their village. During this transition, they are exposed to cultural and educational games, along with psychosocial activities. A multidisciplinary approach provides a holistic response for the child so they can return to their society, to give them confidence and self-esteem, and to help deal with the negative experiences they had in custody. To leave custody and go to the transit centre is a key step in the process of reintegration.
It’s really important to focus on helping these young people develop useful skills to help them earn a living, and at the same time avoid stigmatisation. For example, we try to avoid training sessions with only children who’ve been associated with Boko Haram; we work to bring them into workshops for a broader group. This helps integrate the children into their community without provoking frustration from others who are also suffering daily consequences from the conflict.
It’s a fragile process. Many families anxiously await the return of their children from armed groups. We walk a fine line between acceptance and rejection. The future of these children and their families is in our hands.
The phone rings. A young girl has just been reunited with her family. It occurs to me that UNICEF is helping open doors to the future, literally and figuratively.
I realise how crucial it is for these parents, for these young people who find the courage to carry on despite all they have been through. With the support of the Niger authorities, and a protocol that considers them victims (signed in February 2017, nearly 3 years since the abduction of the Chibok girls), we are able to offer a real alternative for these young people: instead of prison we offer freedom and autonomy. Instead of being locked up, we offer the protection of their rights. Instead of rejection, we offer empathy and support. Our programs need to anticipate the needs of the children, whether boys or girls, suspected associating with Boko Haram, or other insurgent groups.
To help them put words to their suffering, to listen, understand and look towards the future with them, from my point of view, is one of the most important things we can do. We must explain the realities of conflict and the consequences for the most vulnerable if we are to help these families. The reconciliation of parents and children must go through this phase.
I close the door to the prison and emerge into the bright sunlight. I am free and they are not. But their focus on the future carries me and gives me confidence, it encourages me. The road is full of obstacles. But despite it all, these young people believe. If they believe, then I must too.
Hakim Kabour started working for UNICEF in Algeria in 2013. He joined the team in Niger 6 months ago as a consultant working on child protection in emergencies for UNICEF Niger and has been focusing ever since on children associated with armed forces and armed groups.
Vulnerable refugees, especially children and women, are exposed to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) on a daily basis. The increasingly difficult socio-economic situation, the downward trend in the resources allocated to refugee protection and assistance programmes, including reductions in food rations over the last five years, are factors that aggravate refugees' vulnerability and exposure to SGBV.
The negative effects of SGBV on the refugees' physical, mental and psychological health demand that rapid, coordinated and effective interventions be carried out by all actors so as to affect favourably the protection environment.
This annual report elaborates on the incidents of SGBV among the refugees in Chad during 2016 as well as the different prevention and response actions against SGBV undertaken by UNHCR and partners.
The data in this report were collected by UNHCR and various partners in the 19 camps hosting a total of 393,161 Sudanese, Central African, Nigerian, Congolese and other nationalities for the period 01 January to 31 December 2016.
Despite the slight decrease in the number of observed incidents in 2016 among the refugee population compared to 2015, the results of the analysis of the data remain worrying.
UNHCR recorded a total of 1,247 incidents of SGBV during 2016, an estimated rate of 0.31% of all refugees in Chad.
However, we feel that these figures are underestimated because of lack of information related to several other underlying socio-cultural norms.
Women and girls remain the most affected by this type of violence given the social status ascribed to them by the communities, their gender, their weak physical and legal defense capacity and their major involvement in the search for "even negative" coping mechanisms for the subsistence of their households.
Indicators show that women remain less represented and less active in the various community management structures (about 30%). Also they have very limited participation in the community strategic decision making processes. They instead opt for the understandable choice of dedicating themselves to income-generating activities for the subsistence of their household rather than participate in the voluntary activities of community management mechanisms.
It is therefore vital that UNHCR and partners review the community-based protection approach in order to build on, and enhance the contribution of refugees to their own protection.
As to the relative importance of the typology described under III (Definitions), physical violence remains the SGBV most encountered in the refugee camps, followed by psychological violence. These forms of violence are usually perpetrated on women by their spouses or on children by their parents and neighbors.
Rape, exploitation and sexual assault account for 14.9% of all SGBV cases recorded in 2016.
UNHCR and partners have stepped up efforts to monitor, counter and raise awareness about female genital mutilation.
Although the practice persists, there is a significant reduction in cases recorded in 2016, ie 1.2% of all SGBVs identified, as compared to 2015. Despite this downward trend, this practice continues to mostly affect refugee girls.
The challenges identified in 2016 with regard to the overall response, namely adequate security and confidentiality of the victims, access to legal and psychosocial services, continued in 2016 to affect the quality of services available to, and provided to victims. Thus, only 1.28% of victims in need of safe houses had access to the service, 6.49% of victims had access to legal services, 26.06% were attended to by the police, 30.15% had access to material support, 39.69% consulted for medical care and 78.9% consulted the psychosocial services.
The situation described in this report reinforces the need for UNHCR and partners to actively pursue in 2017 activities around SGBV identification, response and prevention in refugee camps in order to reduce and provide enhanced protection to refugee women, men, girls and boys.
Les réfugiés vulnérables particulièrement les enfants et femmes sont exposés au quotidien aux violences sexuelles et basées sur le genre (SGBV). La situation socio-économique de plus en plus préoccupante, la réduction tendancielle des ressources allouées aux programmes de protection et d'assistance des réfugiés y compris les réductions des rations alimentaires sur les 5 dernières années constituent des véritables facteurs aggravant la vulnérabilité des réfugiés face aux SGBV.
L'impact négatif des SGBV sur la santé physique,mentale et psychologique des réfugiés requiert une intervention rapide, coordonnée et efficace de l'ensemble des acteurs afin de garantir un environnement de protection favorable.
Ce rapport annuel présente la situation des incidents de SGBV identifiés parmi les réfugiés au Tchad durant l'année 2016 ainsi que les différentes actions de prévention et de réponse contre les SGBV menées par le HCR et ses partenaires.
Les données qui font l'objet de ce rapport ont été collectées par le HCR et ses différents partenaires dans les 19 camps abritant un total de 393,161 réfugiés Soudanais, Centrafricains, Nigérians, Congolais et d'autres nationalités au 31 décembre 2016.
Malgré la légère diminution du nombre des cas incidents observé en 2016 au sein de la population réfugiée au Tchad par rapport à 2015,les résultats de l'analyse des données restent préoccupants.
Le HCR a enregistré un total de 1247 cas incidents de SGBV durant l'année 2016 soit une incidence estimée à 0,31 % sur l'ensemble des réfugiés au Tchad. Toutefois,ses chiffrent restent sous estimés à cause du manque de dénonciation liés à plusieurs facteurs socio-culturels.
Le groupe des femmes et des filles restent le plus concerné par ces violences du fait de leur statut social dans leur communauté, leur sexe, leur faible capacité de défense physique et légale ainsi que leur implication majeure dans la recherche des moyens de subsistance « même négatifs » pour leur ménage.
Les indicateurs montrent que les femmes restent moins représentées et moins actives dans les différentes structures de gestion communautaire (environ 30%). Par ailleurs participation très limitée au processus de prise de décisions stratégiques.Elles font le choix compréhensible de vaquer aux activités génératrices de revenu pour la subsistance de leur ménage que de participer aux actions bénévoles des mécanismes communautaires de gestion.
Il devient donc vital pour le HCR et ses partenaires de revoir le processus de protection à base communautaire afin de capitaliser et valoriser la contribution des réfugiés à leur propre protection.
Concernant la typologie,la violence physique demeure la SGBV la plus rencontrée dans les camps des réfugiés,suivi de celle psychologique.Ses violences sont généralement perpétrées sur les femmes par leurs conjoints ou sur les enfants par leurs parents et voisins.
Le viol,l'exploitation et les agressions sexuelles représentent 14,9 % de l'ensemble des SGBV enregistré en 2016. Le HCR et ses partenaires ont renforcé les différentes actions de surveillance et de lutte et sensibilisation contre les mutilations génitales féminines.Bien que la pratique persiste,on observe une réduction sensible des cas enregistré en 2016 soit 1,2 % de l'ensemble des SGBV identifiées.
Ce chiffre revue à la baisse continue cependant d'affecter en majeure partie les jeunes filles réfugiées.
Les défis identifiés en 2016 concernant la réponse globale à savoir la sécurisation appropriée des victimes, l'accès aux services juridiques et la prise en charge psychosociale ont été observés en 2016 affectant ainsi la qualité des services rendus aux victimes.Seuls 1,28% de victime a eu besoin d'un logement Secure,6,49 % des victimes a eu accès aux services juridiques,26,06 % a fait recours à la police,30,15% a eu accès au support matériel,39,69 % a consulté pour une prise en charge médicale et 78,9% au service psychosocial.
La situation décrite à l'aide des résultats du présent rapport justifie largement la nécessité pour le HCR et ses différents partenaires de poursuivre activement en 2017 les actions d'identification,de réponse et de prévention des SGBV dans les camps des réfugiés afin de réduire les risques et fournir une meilleure protection aux femmes, aux hommes, aux filles et aux garçons réfugiés.
London/ Abuja/ Maiduguri, 13 April 2017: Women and girls escaping Nigeria's insurgency group Boko Haram are rejected by their families or communities, says peacebuilding charity International Alert. More help must be given to stigmatised survivors to find acceptance at home.
The 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, whose kidnap on 14 April 2014 sparked the global #BringBackOurGirls campaign, represent just a fraction of the estimated 8,000 women and girls who have been held by the insurgency group since 2009.
While most remain in captivity, hundreds have escaped or have been rescued.
Girls escaping often report physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and forced marriage at the hands of Boko Haram, and are typically highly traumatised.
Meanwhile, their families and communities fear the girls may have been radicalised in captivity. This makes it difficult for returnees to rebuild their lives.
Since December 2015, International Alert, together with UNICEF Nigeria and local partners, have been providing support for hundreds of girls and women returning from Boko Haram. They have also organised workshops to support the process of long-term reintegration. This includes working with communities and family members to foster empathy and reduce stigma.
The programme is supported by the government of the UK (UKAID) and the government of Sweden (Sida).
Kimairis Toogood, Peacebuilding Advisor for International Alert in Nigeria, said:
“Tragically, communities, families and husbands don’t always welcome returning women and girls with open arms, for a fear they may have been radicalised in captivity. This problem is fuelled by a culture of stigma around sexual violence - especially if the girls return with a baby. These girls may struggle to integrate back into their communities, and face a life of isolation and poverty.”
Jummai*, a young woman who escaped Boko Haram and is now taking part in the reintegration programme, said:
“The issue of being raped and carrying a baby from sexual violence, the stigma, the isolation from suspicious people in the [displacement] camp was emotionally overwhelming. The [dialogue] sessions have been crucial in my moving on in my life. They have helped me cope with the loss of my husband and the impact of rape.”
Find out more: www.intalert.org/FutureForOurGirls
Over 85,000 South Sudanese refugees arrived in Q1 of 2017; the total number is 380,000 since Dec 2013.
The national NGO Sanad Charity provided 9,000 South Sudanese refugees, taking refuge in border areas between East Darfur and South Sudan, with food assistance.
On 30 March, WFP began to move food assistance to famine-hit and food-insecure people in South Sudan using a newly opened aid corridor.
In 2016, 3.9 million people in Sudan received humanitarian assistance from the UN and humanitarian partners.
FIGURES 201 7
people in need in Sudan 4.8 million (2017 HNO)
people in need in Darfur 3 million (2017 HNO)
GAM caseload 2.2 million (2017 HNO)
South Sudanese refugee arrivals in Sudan - since 15 Dec 2013 379,692 (registered by UNHCR) - as of 31 March 2017
Other refugees and asylum seekers 144,866 (registered by UNHCR) - as of 31 March 2017
566.8 million US$ received in 2016
58.3% Reported funding (as of 9 April 2017)
Over 85,000 South Sudanese refugees arrive in 2017
More than 85,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan since the beginning of 2017, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in its latest inter-agency operational update on the South Sudanese Refugee Response. UNHCR estimates that nearly 380,000 refugees have fled to Sudan since December 2013. UNHCR and partners are now anticipating that up to 180,000 new arrivals from South Sudan may arrive by the end of 2017.
The highest number of new arrivals during the first quarter of 2017 was reported in East Darfur State, which accounts for nearly 40 per cent of new arrivals in 2017 so far.
Le PMR est un rapport produit en collaboration avec les secteurs / clusters pays et régionaux1. Il présente les progrès réalisés au travers d’une analyse qualitative et quantitative des indicateurs de résultat du Sahel.
En 2014, une stratégie de réponse humanitaire triennale pour le Sahel a été mise en place afin de répondre aux besoins des populations les plus vulnérables dans 9 pays (Burkina Faso,
Cameroun, Gambie, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger, Nigeria, Sénégal et Tchad).
Afin de faire le suivi de sa mise en œuvre, chaque secteur/ cluster a identifié des indicateurs de résultat communs pour la région ainsi que des cibles (désagrégées par genre) au niveau sous-national.
Les 7 secteurs opérationnels au niveau régional (eau, hygiène et assainissement - EHA, éducation, assistance multisectorielle aux réfugiés, nutrition, protection, santé et sécurité alimentaire) rapportent mensuellement sur leurs réalisations au travers de l’outil de rapportage en ligne (ORS).
Les 7 secteurs opérationnels au niveau régional (eau, hygiène et assainissement - EHA, éducation, assistance multisectorielles aux réfugiés, nutrition, protection, santé et sécurité alimentaire) rapportent mensuellement sur leurs réalisations au travers de l’outil de rapportage en ligne (ORS).
Ce rapport présente, par secteur et par pays, les réalisations rapportées pour la période allant de octobre à décembre 2016. Il comporte une partie narrative et quantitative. Chaque secteur est responsable de s’assurer de la qualité et validité des données rapportées.
Le système de rapportage en ligne (ORS)
ORS a été développé par OCHA ROWCA. C’est un outil innovant conçu spécifiquement pour soutenir le partage d’information humanitaire et notamment (mais pas uniquement) sur les réalisations en cours. Il est actuellement déployé et opérationnel dans 8 pays. L’ensemble des données présentées dans ce rapport sont enregistrées sur ORS et disponibles en ligne.
Pour plus d’information, visitez http://ors.ocharowca.info.
For the first time in three decades, four countries, driven by war, verge on famine. Over coming weeks, Crisis Group will publish special briefings on Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. Each conflict requires tailored response; all need increased aid and efforts to end the violence.
The last time the UN declared a famine was in 2011, in Somalia. The last time it faced more than one major famine simultaneously was more than three decades ago. Today we are on the brink of four – in Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan.
The spectre of famine is primarily the result of war, not natural disaster. According to the UN, more than twenty million people, millions of them children, are at risk of starvation. This is happening in man-made crises and under the Security Council’s watch. In some places, the denial of food and other aid is a weapon of war as much as its consequence. Combatants’ fighting tactics often make the problem worse.
Both sides of Yemen’s conflict, for example, fight with little to no regard for the local population. The Huthis and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces, on one hand, and their opponents in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, on the other, have repeatedly strangled the flow of aid and commodities to areas controlled by their rivals. The impending Saudi-led push to recapture the Red Sea coast, including the port of Hodeida – the main entry point for imports on which much of the country depends – and the battle that offensive will provoke risk creating another major chokehold on supplies.
Elsewhere, too, the actions of governments and their opponents exact high humanitarian tolls. In north-east Nigeria, Boko Haram’s attacks on rural communities and the destruction wrought by fighting between its insurgents and the military caused the acute food crisis. The curtailing by Lake Chad basin states of economic activity, aimed at weakening the insurgency, has damaged communities’ livelihoods and increased their vulnerability.
Fighting in South Sudan often involves indiscriminate killing of civilians, sexual violence and pillage by state and non-state armed actors alike. Civilians in Southern Unity state must constantly flee armed groups, rendering them unable to farm or receive assistance and creating conditions for famine. Many resort to hiding in swamps; to seek food is to risk attack.
The risk of famine is thus closely tied to the spike, over recent years, in war and its fallout, particularly mounting human suffering. Critical norms, including adherence to International Humanitarian Law (IHL), are fast eroding. For the first time in a generation, most indicators suggest the world is becoming more dangerous.
The Nigerians, Somalis, South Sudanese and Yemenis over whom famine looms have already suffered intense, in some cases protracted conflict. The impact on those most affected is more than a passing tragedy. The displacement, destruction to livestock and local communities and the threat of a lost generation, without education or socio-economic prospects, hinder prospects for building sustainable peace.
Beginning today with publication of the special briefing Instruments of Pain (I): Conflict and Famine in Yemen, and continuing over the next few weeks with similar special briefings on South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, Crisis Group will describe these crises’ roots and the measures necessary to prevent their further deterioration. Each requires a unique response: challenges of access and funding vary, as do ways to quiet and eventually end the wars that have increased risks of famine. Each special briefing will offer detailed prescriptions.
Overall, though, governments of the states affected and their backers should:
show far greater respect for IHL, particularly by allowing in aid and protecting those delivering it. They must avoid tactics that contribute to the risk of famine, like the Hodeida offensive, the curtailing of Lake Chad basin trading or predation in Southern Unity state;
increase and sustain funds for relief efforts. Shortfalls are not the only financial challenge – in Yemen, for example, the central bank’s failure to pay public sector salaries has left many Yemenis unable to buy food that is available. But humanitarian efforts in all four crises are chronically underfunded; and
renew efforts to calm violence and bring those conflicts to a sustainable end. The spike in war over recent years, which has already caused more civilian casualties, mass displacement and terrorism, now threatens to starve millions. Without redoubled efforts to end those conflicts, 2017 promises to be not the low-water mark, but rather a way-station on the descent to something far worse.
Horn of Africa
Affected areas Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan
Cause of displacement Disaster (Drought, food insecurity and conflict)
Figures More than 464,000 new displacements between 1 November 2016 and 24 March 2017
More than 444,000 people were displaced directly or indirectly in relation to drought in Somalia between 1 November 2016 and 24 March 2017. More than 187,000 people were displaced between 1 and 24 March. The largest movements were to Baidoa in Bay region (more than 82,000 people),Mogadishu (more than 79,000) and Gaalkacyo (as many as 24,000) (UNHCR, 24 March 2017; UNHCR, 24 March 2017). More than 4,000 people, mostly women and children from Bay, Gedo and Middle Juba regions, crossed into Ethiopia in early 2017 because of drought (OCHA, 31 March 2017).
Somali families told “harrowing stories of abandoning their weak cattle, of being forced to leave their homes to search for food and water”. A mother of ten from Gedo province said: “I lost ten goats. One day they just started falling and dying. I decided to move away, as I feared that my children would start falling and dying too” (Norwegian Refugee Council, 29 March 2017).
More than 20,000 people were displaced by drought in Garissa and Turkana counties in Kenya between 1 January and 31 March. Another 5,000 people fled violence relating to cattle rustling in Baringo county during the same period, and more than 30,000 Kenyans with their cattle migrated to Uganda in search of water and grazing pastures. One hundred people who had received UNHCR support to return to Somalia arrived in Kenya’s Dadaab camp in March (OCHA, 31 March 2017).
In South Sudan, conflict and drought contributed to displacement. “Spreading violence first led people to abandon their homes and villages, but sustained hunger with little hope of harvests to ease their suffering sent them on the long, risky walks to safety far away.” Nyawich Bangot, who fled Unity state, said: “There were so many random killings: men were killed randomly, even children were killed randomly. Our houses with our food stored inside were all destroyed, food we grew with our own hands to keep us going during the hard times” (UNHCR, 10 April 2017).
The security situation in south-eastern Niger remains a challenge for humanitarian actors notwithstanding a drop in the number of attacks by Boko Haram in the last three months. Ongoing military operations by the Nigerien Defense Forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and other security measures are restricting humanitarian access to areas along the Komadougou River. As of 31 March, more than 242, 000 people were displaced in the Diffa region according to the regional authorities. There have been some reports of people returning to their home community in Bosso, Niger, and Damassack, Nigeria, while new arrivals have also taken place in El Hadj Mainari through the entry point of Dewa village on the Niger side.
Years of insurgency and counterinsurgency operations have resulted in the displacement of approximately 1.9 million people and created a food and nutrition crisis in Nigeria’s northeast. The worst-affected local government areas of northeast Nigeria are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security conditions and Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) levels above emergency threshold.
Areas of Borno with limited access, such as Konduga, Bama, KalaBalge, Mafa, Ngala, Dikwa, and Marte, have between 39,000 and 250,000 people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Famine (IPC Phase 5) food security conditions, according to the Cadre Harmonisé (Cadre Harmonisé 10/03/2017).
Agricultural production has fallen, and raids and suicide bombings have destroyed vital infrastructure. Security measures impacting food security include a ban on the cultivation of tall crops, road closures, controls on fertiliser and fuels, and curfews. The scale of population movement is worsening food security: returning refugees and IDPs are adding to the strain on both camps and host communities.
Anticipated Scope and Scale
The crisis is expected to worsen – 50,000 people will be in Famine from June to August if the situation is not remedied. The lean season is predicted to start earlier in April-May instead of in July, therefore lasting longer than usual, and farmers would still be unable to cultivate land. With the rainy season expected to begin in May/June, many access roads will be cut off due to flooding.
Priorities for humanitarian intervention
Food: 1,099,000 people, or 19% of the population in Borno state, are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and 38,000 in Famine (IPC Phase 5) levels of food insecurity. In Adamawa 197,000 people are in Emergency food insecurity and 5,800 in Famine. In Yobe 88,000 are in Emergency.
Nutrition: GAM prevalence is 11.4%, 11.3%, and 5.6% in Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa states, respectively. The situation is thought to be worse in inaccessible areas.
Livelihoods: Many livelihoods have been disrupted by the crisis. Farming has particularly been affected as farmers are unable to access and cultivate their farmlands due to security threats.
Protection: Extreme negative coping strategies have been adopted. The risk of forced/early marriage is high. Women and girls trade sex for food and other essential needs.
Over 80% of Borno is considered high or very high risk for international humanitarian partners to operate in. Movement is usually restricted to LGA headquarters, as military clearance operations are still ongoing in many communities.
Administrative restrictions on visas and customs clearance for humanitarian personnel and supplies are delaying response.
Three humanitarian corridors identified in Southern Chad for the potential voluntary return of CAR refugees not yet functional.
Potential refugees for the Chadian national exam-Baccalaureate for 2016/2017 increased by 34%. Women make up 60% of candidates.
Preliminary results of the Survey on the intentions of return of Sudanese refugees in Eastern Chad shows that less than 3% are willing to repatriate in 2017.
The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix Round XV highlights that 1,832,743 IDPs (326,010 households) remain displaced in the six North-East affected states of Nigeria. Population movements in Borno State (IDPs leaving Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) to other LGAs and returnees coming from Niger and Cameroon) indicate a rapid rise in numbers of people moving to the liberated areas.
The reporting period has been characterized by influx of new IDPs in most outer LGAs areas of Borno State such as Dikwa, Ngala, Bama, Gwoza and Konduga as indicated by the recent IOM DTM Emergency Tracking Tool (ETT) data.
The period under review has also recorded incidents of fire in Monguno GSS and Konduga IDP camp, affecting about 4,000 IDPs. Partners responded to other incidents by rapidly mobilizing essential WASH supplies from the existing contingency stock as well as non-food items (NFI) and shelters.
Due to security and access constraints, however monitoring, coaching and joint supervision continue to face challenges which affect the quality of services in many areas.
Critical funding gap is another factor that constrains operational capacity. The current funding level is 9.5 per cent (99.8 million mobilised against 1.1 billion requirements), as the US $458 million pledge made following the Oslo conference in February has not yet been translated. Timely disbursement is much needed to reduce the critical gap and to scale up the response humanitarian crises in the North-East.
By Lily Partland, Save the Children Australia
In the remote town of Akobo, South Sudan, all seems calm and peaceful in the early afternoon, but this is a place full of suffering.
At Save the Children’s stabilisation centre, dozens of women sit on woven bamboo mats and plastic chairs waiting to have their babies and children assessed or treated for malnutrition.
Makwach*, with her hair cropped close, has sad eyes that crease into a small smile when I introduce myself.
She has five children, including eight-month-old twin girls called Nyalith* and Nyandeng*, who she nurses in her lap as they fitfully doze. Both are being treated for severe malnutrition.
“When I was pregnant, there was not enough food,” she tells me through an interpreter. “I tried to breastfeed but there was nothing.”
Makwach’s daughters have been in treatment for three weeks, eating a high nutrient peanut paste. They are gaining weight and their health is improving. But she says, “For my other children, there is no food.”
Makwach says sometimes they eat leaves to survive, she can collect and sell firewood for a little money, and if they’re lucky they catch fish in the river.
Getting food has been a problem since the civil conflict escalated about four years ago. Unpredictable outbreaks of fighting in the region have made agricultural produce unreliable and one favoured method of warfare – cattle raiding – has left many without their only assets.
“Before, there were cattle and goats and we used to grow vegetables in a little garden. Now there are no cattle and no goats – they were all taken.”
Makwach tells me she is losing hope. “My children are suffering. It is a very bad future, because there is nothing to feed them.”
Three days of walking
Nearby sits 19-year-old Nyaliak* with her only son, Chuol*.
She was married at the age of 15 – not at all unusual in this region – but her husband left to fight with an armed group a few years ago and she hasn’t seen him since.
She comes from a village in the region but fled – alone with her son – to the town of Waat because of fighting.
She then fled to Akobo to stay with relatives and get help for her sick child. All up, she walked for three days to make it here to relative safety.
Pneumonia, malaria and malnutrition
Nyaliak’s son is very unwell. Chuol was treated for pneumonia, and is now being treated for malaria. he is also severely malnourished, and has lost the use of his legs. “Two things are not making me happy. My husband is not here with me and my child is sick,” she says, her eyes downcast.
“When I arrived here there was no food but yesterday they gave out rations for displaced people.” They were given sorghum, lentils and oil.
One step away from famine
Under the system widely used to classify food insecurity, the region is just one step away from famine.
Save the Children and other NGOs are doing all they can to prevent places like this from sliding into famine and to save the lives of children like Chuol, Nyalith and Nyandeng.
But nutrition workers here at Akobo are seeing this crisis escalate. Last month, 348 children were treated here for severe acute malnutrition, with 142 new cases recorded.
Time is running out
The coming rains will bring with them the threat of waterborne diseases and other illnesses. These may prove too much for the compromised immune systems of the weakest – babies and children already suffering from illness and malnutrition.
Time is running out but with enough support, we can still stop this famine in its tracks and save the lives of the most vulnerable.
As delivered by Ms Reena Ghelani, Deputy Director, OCHA Coordination and Response Division
His Excellency, Mr Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly and Mr Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delivering this statement on behalf of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Stephen O’Brien.
Thank you for this opportunity to brief on the grave situation facing millions of people in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and north-east Nigeria. The numbers are staggering. As his Excellency outlined, more than 20 million people face famine or the risk of famine across the four countries. Some 1.4 million children are severely malnourished. Over 21 million people lack sufficient access to health care, at a time when three out of the four countries are experiencing cholera outbreaks. And more than 20 million people lack clean water and sanitation. Around eighty per cent of affected populations live in rural areas and a combination of hunger and conflict is forcing people to be displaced, both internally and as refugees. Those who were forced from their homes in past years by conflict are being hit particularly hard as a consequence of this current crisis.
The crises in these four countries are protracted and complex – and the impacts will be felt for years.
In South Sudan, years of appalling violence and conflict have left over 5 million people in need of urgent food assistance, an estimated 100,000 of whom are, already, facing famine. More than 1 million more are on the brink of famine. Over a quarter of a million children are suffering severe acute malnutrition. Three years of conflict has displaced some 3.5 million people, disrupted agricultural production of farmers, and crippled the economy. Half of the country’s water points have been damaged or destroyed, and at least 5,000 people have contracted cholera in an outbreak that began in June of last year.
In Somalia close to 3 million people cannot meet their daily food needs. Some over 500,000 people have fled their homes this year alone in search of food, water, and safety. Acute Watery Diarrhea and Cholera has spread to 11 of 18 regions of the country, with over 18,000 cases reported just this year. Women are particularly impacted, sometimes forced to walk many kilometres to fetch water. In Somalia women will walk 25 to 50 kilometres on average to fetch water, exposing them to violence and sexual abuse.
Yemen is facing the largest food security crisis in the world with almost 7 million people requiring immediate life-saving assistance and at least 462,000 children suffering severe acute malnutrition. Conflict has damaged and obstructed water networks and only 45 per cent of the country’s health facilities are functioning.
And in north-east Nigeria, violence has left millions displaced and some 4.7 million people in severe food insecurity – at least 450,000 of them are children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
This is the impact of hunger and famine: communities broken, families torn apart, and preventable deaths of men women and children from disease. Famine is about much more than food insecurity. It is about compounding vulnerabilities that leave millions of people without basic human dignity, without hope for the future. It leaves children stunted and out of school. Development gains are stalled or reversed. People abandon their homes, and are robbed of their livelihoods, exacerbating instability across entire regions.
Seven weeks ago, the Secretary-General called on the international community to take urgent action to prevent this looming catastrophe. He urged all actors to work together to save lives, reduce underlying vulnerabilities, and build long-term resilience to future shocks.
Humanitarian partners acted early. Humanitarian response plans and action for the year, in each of the four countries, had already incorporated the massive food and other key responses that would be required for the situation we face today. Large-scale operations are underway, in extremely challenging and dangerous environments.
Since February, UN agencies and their partners have reached over 1.2 million people in South Sudan, more than 330,000 people of them in the famine-affected or at-risk counties of Unity State. In Yemen, humanitarian partners have reached 5.8 million people with food and other assistance so far this year.
In Somalia, partners and the UN doubled our response from February to March, to reach 1.8 million suffering people with food aid and nearly 500,000 with livelihood support. Around 1.8 million people are targeted for assistance this month in Nigeria alone, where so far this year a quarter of a million people have been reached with emergency water and sanitation assistance, 3.8 million children vaccinated against measles, and over 900,000 people provided basic health services.
The humanitarian assistance being delivered on the ground is saving lives and livelihoods. But it is not enough.
While all four countries have unique contexts, they share a common component. That is of protracted conflict. Likewise, all four countries are marked by severe access constraints due to insecurity and some have costly bureaucratic impediments that impede the reach of life saving aid, and exacerbate the suffering of civilians.
In Somalia almost one third of the people who need help the most are living in areas under control of Al Shabaab where access is extremely limited. There are indications now that Al Shabaab is using this crisis as part of a “hearts and minds” campaign, to use the situation to feed people. South Sudan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an aid worker – more than 12 humanitarian personnel have been killed this year alone. Here, conflict severely challenges humanitarian presence, forcing lengthy relocations of aid workers, including from famine-affected counties, and affecting directly millions of vulnerable South Sudanese people in need of humanitarian assistance.
In north-eastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram continues to launch attacks on military and civilian targets, an estimated 700,000 people remain beyond reach for humanitarian actors, living in what are feared to be desperate conditions. And in Yemen, where conflict and insecurity and strain on the economy are driving the crisis, restrictions on the movement of goods into non-Government-controlled ports are at times delayed.
Humanitarian operations in these four countries require more than US$5.6 billion this year as his Excellency has announced and we need this funding now. In order to be ahead of the game we need this funding now – especially for the priority sectors to respond and prevent famine in the four critical sectors of Food Security, Nutrition, Water and Sanitation, and Health. Following the Secretary-General’s call to action on Famine response and prevention, donors have generously committed approximately 21 per cent of the $4.4 billion required. I thank donors for these critically needed funds to save lives, but highlight that they remain less than a quarter of the amount needed to avert a catastrophe.
We thank the President of the General Assembly to have provided this dialogue today.
While humanitarians will continue to deliver and scale up where they are able, four things are required in order to effectively reverse these crises:
First, more political will is required to end the conflicts that have caused these crises. Without an end to conflict, violence, and violations of international humanitarian law, humanitarian conditions – including severe food insecurity – will continue to deteriorate. Hunger and suffering will increase.
Likewise in order for assistance to reach those who need it most there must be unhindered and sustained humanitarian access. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian law and allow aid workers access to vulnerable people in need of support. More pressure needs to be exerted on these parties to abide by those obligations.
Thirdly, we urgently need further funding to back a robust humanitarian response. This includes funding from traditional and emerging donors, including development banks and the private sector. The upcoming ministerial-level pledging conference for Yemen, co-chaired by the Secretary-General and the Foreign Ministers of Switzerland and Sweden, provides an opportunity for countries to come together and unite behind humanitarian efforts in Yemen – for which less than 10 per cent of required funds have been received to date.
Finally, the severity and the scale of these crises call for a more comprehensive approach, a new way of working. The immediate goal of the humanitarian response is to save lives, but humanitarian response alone is not enough to reduce needs and address the risk and vulnerability that drive those needs. Longer-term action is needed now to help reduce needs and vulnerability and build resilience, preventing future catastrophes. To do this requires more risk tolerance, earlier and sustained development engagement, and more flexible and context-adaptable programming. Crucially, a broader range of financing options, better aligning short- and long-term funding, and working with a diversity of partners will be needed. We must now make tangible progress on this New Way of Working by scaling up the programmes required to reach our collective outcomes of reducing need, risk and vulnerability of those left behind as a result of conflict and crises.
This weekly bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African region. WHO AFRO is currently monitoring 39 events: two Grade 3, six Grade 2, two Grade 1, and 29 ungraded events.
This week, one new event has been reported: an outbreak of influenza-like illness in Senegal.
The bulletin also focuses on key ongoing events in the region, including the two grade 3 humanitarian crises in Nigeria and South Sudan as well as outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea /cholera in Ethiopia, malaria in Burundi, and meningitis in Nigeria, Niger and Togo.
For each of these events, a brief description followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.
A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all public health events currently being monitored in the region.
Major challenges to be addressed include:
Reluctance of some countries to share data and information on outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
The security challenges that impede access to populations in need of humanitarian assistance and deter aid workers from providing life-saving interventions, especially targeting vulnerable and hard to reach populations.
-Ongoing need for strong financial backing from donor partners to humanitarian actors, given the increasing complexity and scale of public health emergencies.