ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 08:43
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 08:43
Source: Government of Israel Country: occupied Palestinian territory
The Crossing Authority at the Ministry of Defense and The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) invested over 80 million NIS in developing and upgrading the infrastructure at Kerem Shalom Crossing, in order of expanding the capacity of transferring goods into Gaza, and exporting goods from the Gaza Strip to overseas markets.
Date: 08.04.13 Author: Jonatan Ben Ami
According to the data of the Land Crossings Authority at the Ministry of Defence, the infrastructure of Kerem Shalom meets the requirements and provides the necessary needs to transfer all goods into Gaza, including cooking gas, but the crossing infrastructure are not being exploited to its fullest when the volume of orders by gas suppliers from the Gaza Strip does not match the needs of the public. Here it should be noted that as part of the expansion of civil policy, in quarter A of 2013 Israel approved the transfer of tens of thousands of gas cylinders for domestic use.
From the data at the District Coordination Office in Gaza, we understand that there is a constant shortage of 1,300 tons of cooking gas (monthly average), about 60 tons of gas per day (daily average). Last year, gas smuggling from Egypt were reduced from 700 to 200 tons per month due to an internal crisis in the energy sector in Egypt. This reduction limits the amount of cooking gas in the market (and the ability to cope with its constant lack) and harms the population of the Gaza Strip.
In recent years there has been a change in the structure of the market in the Gaza Strip, as consumers prepare for the gas shortage in winter and this by holding a number of cooking gas cylinders at each home.
There is no public entity in the Gaza Strip that supervises the cooking gas field and there is no public storage facility that allows accumulating surplus for "a rainy day". During the summer months, the demand for cooking gas in the Gaza Strip declines as well as utilization of the infrastructure in Kerem Shalom crossing. In addition, the credit policy of the Palestinian Authority ‘s Energy Authority limits the local merchants in Gaza from holding sufficient supply. Extending credit lines will allow accumulating larger stock toward the winter.
Gaza have the option of diversifying its gas import sources and allow various Israeli companies to supply gas to the Gaza Strip, but the Palestinian Authority restricts import to one company and actually prevents from local merchants to import gas from competing companies and by this use the capacity at Kerem Shalom to its full extent.
During 2012 the Palestinian Authority reached a decision regarding reduction of cooking gas prices due to public pressure exerted around the protest of cost of living in the West Bank, decision that merchants from Gaza claim caused significant losses to those holding stocks at the stations. Therefore, there is concern among local merchants that the PA will reduce again the fixed gas prices set by law (and the lack of a mechanism for compensation), a move that reduce the economic interest of the merchants to hold stocks in the Gaza strip.
Constant shortage of cooking gas in the Gaza Strip during the winter occupy the Palestinian public and is described by officials in Gaza and in the local and international media as part of the "siege" of Israel and the Gaza Strip. Current situation in the gas sector in the Gaza Strip and the reasons for the chronic shortage of cooking gas in the Gaza Strip are not at all related to Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip, but to the interests and considerations that are the concern of the Palestinian entities in their various levels.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 08:17
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: World
Graziano da Silva meets with South West Pacific ministers on food security
12 April 2013, Apia, Samoa/Rome – Efforts to end hunger and fight the effects of climate change in the Pacific Islands will hinge on the success of sustainable development, including wise use of oceans and fisheries, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told ministers from the region today.
“There can be no truly ‘green economy’ without a ‘blue economy’, one that makes the sustainable development of oceans and fishery resources a priority,” Graziano da Silva said.
“The importance of capture fisheries and aquaculture cannot be neglected. They provide over 3 billion people with about 15 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein. And these two activities contribute over 200 million jobs globally,”
“At the same time, these vital services must not jeopardize the key role oceans play in regulating the earth’s climate. They absorb more than 25 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from human activities.”
Speaking at the 10th Meeting of FAO South West Pacific Ministers for Agriculture in the Samoan capital, Graziano da Silva also said addressing climate change had become “a question of survival – just like hunger.”
The South West Pacific area accounts for roughly 15 percent of the globe, and includes about two thousand islands and atolls, which are particularly vulnerable to storms and flooding, water scarcity, and stresses on fishery and forestry systems.
The Director-General said one of FAO’s priorities was to work on the especially urgent climate change issues faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and low-lying coastal areas in Pacific and all regions.
FAO supports Pacific island countries in many ways, in part, by working to broaden and deepen implementation of internationally agreed norms, like the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related instruments.
The organization works with governments and partners at the national, regional and international levels on issues like illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; the management of tuna fishing; and the management of marine areas beyond national jurisdictions.
Graziano da Silva pointed out that the world had gained ground in the fight against hunger, but there was still much work to be done to improve both food security and the quality of nutrition, and to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, as measured against 1990 benchmarks.
Graziano da Silva also noted that three-quarters of all adult deaths in the Pacific are linked to nutrition and lifestyle-related diseases. He highlighted the importance of addressing nutritional issues by implementing integrated nutrition strategies, diversifying diets and recovering the use of traditional, local crops produced by smallholders.
“Every region has a variety of non-commodity crops that were used in the past as food,” said the FAO Director-General, citing pandanus plants as an example from the Pacific. “Research shows that pandanus contains high levels of carotenoids, which protected many generations from Vitamin A deficiency.”
Regional and global cooperation
The main task before participants of the meeting was to review and adopt an overall plan for FAO’s work in 14 countries in the region from 2013 to 2017.
“The support FAO offers you must respond to your development needs and priorities, as laid out in your sustainable development plans,” said the FAO Director-General, who also stressed the importance of aligning them with FAO’s revised strategic framework.
During his three-day visit, Graziano da Silva was bestowed with an honorary chiefly title during the Samoan Ava ceremony. He was scheduled to meet with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, ministers from other countries in the region, and local representatives of civil society and the private sector.
The Director-General was on his first visit to the Pacific islands since taking the helm of the hunger-fighting agency. Earlier in the week, he met with government authorities in Australia. After Samoa, he will travel to Vanuatu and New Zealand.
FAO Media Office
(+39) 06 570 53625
South Sudan (Republic of): The African Union welcomes resumption of oil production in South Sudan and its export through Sudan [EN/FR]
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 08:10
Source: African Union
Country: Sudan, South Sudan (Republic of)
Addis Ababa, 11 April 2013: The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, welcomes the news of the resumption of oil production by South Sudan, and its transit and export through Sudan’s oil pipeline. She notes that this marks another major step in the normalization of relations between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as a turning point in the economic fortunes of both countries, which have suffered greatly since oil production was halted in 2012. She welcomes the clear commitment and political will of the two countries to ‘reboot’ their relations, and encourages them to remain steadfast on this path.
Furthermore, the Chairperson of the Commission welcomes the decision of President Omar Hassan al Bashir to visit President Salva Kiir al Mayardit in Juba tomorrow, 12 April 2013, and believes that this visit will provide a further opportunity for the two Heads of State to consolidate the progress made in their relations in recent weeks. She urges them to use the opportunity afforded by this visit to address the remaining outstanding issues between them. In this regard, she calls on both sides urgently to agree to the full implementation of the June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, in particular as it relates to the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration, Abyei Area Council, and the Abyei Area Police Service. She also urges them to resolve the Final Status of Abyei, and in particular to agree to the composition and establishment of the Abyei Referendum Commission.
The Chairperson believes that the recent progress and high levels of commitment by the leadership of both countries augurs well for the forthcoming round of negotiations to be convened in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP). She calls on the international community to continue to support the efforts of the AU to address the outstanding issues, and to continue to accompany Sudan and South Sudan as they fulfill their commitments to forging mutually viable states living in peace with each other.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 08:07
● Two Palestinian youths were killed and more than 300 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces following the death of a Palestinian prisoner.
● In response to continued rocket firing from Gaza towards southern Israel, the Israeli air force launched two air strikes in Gaza and the Isr
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 06:45
Source: Kenya Daily Nation Country: Kenya
By DANIEL NYASSY email@example.com
Hundreds of maize and green gram acres washed away in Mwina, which is the most affected
More than 10,000 hectares of crops were washed away in Tana Delta District as floods continued to wreak havoc in the Tana River County.
Mwina location in Tarasaa Division was the most affected area, with hundreds of acres of green gram, maize and other crops destroyed following heavy rains and bursting of the River Tana banks.
Mwina chief Michael Mwarakondo told the Nation over the phone on Tuesday that Sailoni, Lazima, Marembo, Mnazini, Fiji and Hida Baganda villages were virtually submerged.
“The water has been flowing here for several days, intensifying each day. All our crops have gone,” he said.
No one was, however, reported injured or swept away by the floods, he said.
At the same time, the Kenya Red Cross Society yesterday began ferrying food and other items to 12,000 flood victims in Hirimani within Bura division.
The county Red Cross coordinator, Mr Joseph Karima, said they were sending blankets, water cleaning pellets, and utensils, among other items.
He said their efforts were, however, being hampered after the Bura-Garissa road was damaged by the rains at Bilbil.
“It has been very difficult for us to take the items to the affected people who are mostly in Hirimani, Chewele, Wadesa, Nanigi and Chardende, among other areas,” he said.
Tana North district commissioner Reuben Loyotoman said trucks carrying relief food to the affected areas had been stuck at Bilbil.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 06:34
Source: Kenya Daily Nation Country: Kenya
In a message delivered on his behalf by Information Permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo after the meeting, Mr. Ruto said that the floods which continue to wreck havoc in many parts of the country required urgent measures to contain the situation.
Deputy president William Ruto Wednesday evening convened a disaster management committee meeting to assess the damage caused by floods in some parts of the country.
Mr. Ruto expressed concern that 25 lives have so far been lost and 26,000 people displaced by the floods following heavy rains currently hitting different parts of the country and which has also paralyzed transport system.
The meeting was held at his official residence in Karen, Nairobi, and attended by a ten Permanent Secretaries charged with disaster mitigation and management in the country.
In a message delivered on his behalf by information permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo after the meeting, Mr. Ruto said that the floods which continue to wreck havoc in many parts of the country required urgent measures to contain the situation.
The deputy president said the meeting was aimed at minimizing negative flood-related impacts and appealed to members of the public to be cautious when crossing swollen rivers to avoid getting drowned.
He also called on residents in areas prone to floods and landslides to heed the government’s directive to move to safer areas to avert disaster.
He said that the Government will step up efforts towards provision of humanitarian relief to those affected by floods across the country as the government explores long-term solution to the perennial problem.
The deputy president expressed concern that thousands of people have been displaced by the raging floods and effects of the ongoing heavy rains pounding many parts of the country, but assured the victims that the government has moved swiftly to assist the affected families.
‘’The deputy president has spent the better part of this evening in consultation with various government departments over mobilization of resources to assist those in need,’’ said Mr. Ndemo.
Among the short term measures that the meeting came up with Dr. Ndemo said included ensuring residents in areas prone to floods and landslides are relocated to safer areas to avert disaster and provision of food to the affected families.
He said the long-term measures included exploring ways of managing flooding through data and tools that make timely-flood forecasting and impact-mitigation possible as well as planting trees in areas prone to floods and landslides.
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Stopper la mortalité évitable des enfants due à la diarrhée et la pneumonie
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 06:28
Source: Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kinshasa, le 12 avril 2013 – Aujourd’hui, le Plan d’action global pour la prévention et le contrôle de la diarrhée et la pneumonie a été lancé par Monsieur Anthony Lake, Directeur Exécutif du Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’Enfance (UNICEF) et Dr Margaret Chan, Directrice Générale de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS). Selon ce Plan d’action tous les efforts doivent être déployés en vue de lutter contre ces deux maladies tueuses des enfants et réaliser des progrès significatifs vers l’atteinte de l'OMD 4.
A cette occasion, il convient de rappeler qu’en République Démocratique du Congo (RDC), le taux de mortalité chez les enfants de moins de cinq ans a baissé entre 2001 et 2010, passant de 213 à 158 pour mille naissances (Source : MICS 2010). En dépit des progrès accomplis, trop d’enfants meurent de causes évitables, dont la pneumonie et la diarrhée, respectivement 2eme et 4eme cause de la mortalité des enfants moins de cinq ans. Chaque année environ 87.000 des enfants en-dessous de 5 ans meurent de la pneumonie en RDC, et près de 60.000 de la diarrhée.
Selon Dr Félix KABANGE NUMBI MUKWAMPA, Ministre de la Santé Publique de la RDC, «Les parents et la communauté doivent améliorer la prise en charge à domicile des enfants souffrant de diarrhée ou de pneumonie ; de même les professionnels de santé devraient aussi traiter correctement ces enfants par les médicaments recommandés, notamment en respectant strictement la dose et la fréquence d’administration de ces médicaments. Il n’est plus admissible que des enfants continuent à mourir des pathologies dont la prévention et le traitement corrects sont à notre portée».
Le Ministère de la Santé Publique, l’OMS et l’UNICEF insistent sur la nécessité d’agir suffisamment à temps pour sauver des vies, en utilisant le sel de réhydratation orale et recommandent fortement l’utilisation du zinc dans le traitement des diarrhées, de même que la vaccination contre les infections à pneumocoque, afin de renforcer l’immunité des enfants et éviter l’usage abusif des antibiotiques qui peuvent avoir des conséquences néfastes sur leur santé.
Dans le Plan d’action global pour la prévention et le contrôle de la diarrhée et la pneumonie qui vient d’être lancé, trois axes sont privilégiés : la protection, la prévention et le traitement. Dans la protection, il s’agit de faire adopter de bonnes pratiques en santé dès la naissance de l’enfant, telles que l’allaitement maternel exclusif au cours des six premiers mois et la supplémentation en vitamine A. Concernant la prévention, il faut notamment assurer une large couverture vaccinale à chaque enfant, encourager le lavage des mains à l’eau propre et au savon. Pour le traitement des enfants malades, il faut continuer de les alimenter et leur donner les médicaments prescrits dans un centre de santé comme le sel de réhydratation orale, le zinc, et les antibiotiques.
« Agir sur les causes de la diarrhée et de la pneumonie chez les enfants âgés de moins de 5 ans exige un engagement individuel, familial, communautaire et multisectoriel afin de promouvoir davantage la prévention, à travers les services de vaccination au quotidien, la pratique de l’hygiène, l’assainissement de l’environnement de vie, etc. Nous devons apporter l’appui requis au Gouvernement pour mettre en œuvre à la fois des interventions efficaces à impact immédiat pour sauver des vies, et renforcer les programmes nationaux en cours en vue d’assurer la durabilité de nos actions conjointes», indique le Dr Joseph Waogodo Caboré, Représentant de l’OMS en RDC.
De son cote Madame Barbara Bentein, Représentante de l’UNICEF en RDC déclare, «Si nous ne conjuguons pas nos efforts, chaque année, près de 150.000 d’enfants parmi les plus vulnérables vont continuer de mourir de ces deux maladies. Nous devons absolument éliminer cette disparité».
La population apprécie également les améliorations positives et visibles qu’elle constate dans la santé de ses enfants. Maman Yola habitant la commune de Makiso à Kisangani dans la Province Orientale reconnaît : «J’ai remarqué que mes enfants faisaient moins souvent la diarrhée depuis que toute ma famille se lave les mains avec de l’eau et du savon avant de manger, avant que je ne prépare les repas, après l’utilisation des latrines et chaque fois que je change les couches de mon bébé. C’est vraiment un grand changement pour moi».
1000 jours séparent le monde et la RDC de la fin de 2015, date fixée pour atteindre les Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement (OMD), ce qui signifie 1.000 jours d'action pour s’assurer que chaque enfant partout, est pris en compte.#
Pour plus d’informations, veuillez contacter:
Cornelia Walther, Chef Communication UNICEF/RDC, +243 99 100 63 07, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bibiane Ambongo, Spécialiste Communication, +243 81 8803007, email@example.com
Eugène Kabambi, Chargé de Communication, OMS/RDC + 243 817151697,firstname.lastname@example.org
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 06:15
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic
Amman: A fully serviced joint Emirati-Jordanian camp welcomed yesterday the first batch of Syrian refugees.
Majed bin Sulaiman, head of the UAE relief team, said the group were transported to the UAE Red Crescent sponsored 'Meraijeb Al Fahoud" camp in coordination with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The camp is located 25 kilometres away from Zarqa Free Zone on the highway to Saudi Arabia.
He said each family was housed in a fully serviced caravan after they were registered, screened and issued a magnetic card.
He added the camp is managed by the UAE Red Crescent volunteers through most advanced electronic and surveillance systems to ensure safety of refugees.
Refugees, he said, will receive food, educational, housing, health and recreational facilities as well psychological support. They will also get job opportunities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 05:53
Source: Voice of America Country: Zimbabwe
Nothando Sibanda, Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO — Farmers in drought prone areas have been urged to take up conservation farming as it is more likely to yield better harvests than conventional farming.
Farmers who used this method as part of a pilot project in Umzingwane district say they realized adequate yields while colleagues who resisted change have little to talk about in terms of yields this year.
Speaking at a field visit in Nswazi, Umzingwane district on Thursday, where the agricultural extension department is running a pilot project to promote conservation farming, Agritex officer Samuel Moyo said farmers need to explore new farming ways to preserve moisture.
Conservation farming is any system or practice which aims to conserve soil and water by using surface cover or mulch to minimize runoff and erosion and improve the conditions for plant growth. It involves planting crops directly into the land which is protected by mulch using minimum or no-tillage techniques.
Albert Maphosa’s farm falls under the pilot project. He says although the method is labor-intensive, it is worth it as other farmers in the area using old methods harvested nothing this season.
Speaking during the field visit, farming expert and consultant, David Stewart, said conservation farming has been tried and proven to work in other drought prone areas in the region.
The field visit was organized for journalists and local farmers by agricultural extension officers running the pilot project.
In the Gandangula area of Lupane district, a local farmer who engaged in conservation farming this year says he expects to get more than 20 ninety-kilogram bags of maize from his small piece of land.
Lameck Mkhwebu says the piece of land normally produces less than five bags of maize a year when he is using unscientific traditional methods of farming.
He says agricultural extension workers organized a crop field day at his homestead Saturday where they awarded him a farming certificate and also gave him a wheel barrow and maize seed for engaging in conservation farming.
Mkhwebu’s daughter, Patience Mkhwebu, says his father wants to sell his surplus harvest to local people whose crops were destroyed by armyworms in January and February this year.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 05:53
Source: IRIN Country: Mali
Bamako/Sévaré, 12 April 2013 (IRIN) - Hunger in Mali has reached crisis levels in the northern Kidal Region and has reached critical levels in Gao and Timbuktu regions, according to food security agencies and the government’s early warning body.
One in five households in Gao and Timbuktu are facing severe food shortages, while in Kidal one in five households faces severe malnutrition and increasing mortality.
The situation is likely to worsen over the coming months as the lean season progresses, part of the usual seasonal deterioration in food security across the Sahel.
So far, 28 percent of the US$139 million appeal for food security and 17 percent of the $73 million appeal for nutrition have been committed by donors.
“The problem is that people are starting [the lean season] from an already highly deteriorated position. Assistance is not yet meeting needs, and even if security improves dramatically tomorrow it will take a long time for households to rebuild their livelihoods,” Cedric Charpentier, West Africa market specialist for the World Food Programme (WFP), told IRIN.
In January, donors pledged $455 million to the African-lead international force in Mali, leaving some to fear the situation in northern Mali could be seen through a politico-military lens that overlooks the chronic vulnerability of ordinary Malians.
“There is very strong political will to intervene in northern Mali,” said Frank Abeille, head of the NGO Solidarités Internationale in Mali, which is operating across the north. “What we need is to see a motivation that can also adapt to the reality on the ground: the real needs are humanitarian, not military.”
Markets are still near-empty in Gao town and surrounding villages, and cereal prices are up by between 30 and 70 percent, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). The closed Algeria border and the flight of the majority of Arab and Tuareg traders in both Gao and Timbuktu have made products like pasta, oil, rice and sugar scarce.
While large cereal markets continue to function, smaller village-level markets have shut down, leaving rural communities and small traders - many of them women - destitute, according to Sally Haydock, Mali’s WFP head. The availability of staple grains, sorghum, millet and corn is better than in February but still far from healthy, according to food aid analysts.
“We cannot say people are starving yet, but they are not eating as they should,” said Oumar Hama Sangho, a Gao resident who has just finished assessing food security in the area.
“You go to the market, there is no fruit, no vegetables, meat or fish… There is only rice, millet and corn - mainly donated by the government or internationals. Old and young are surviving on these cereals, but it is not enough.”
Mahamane Touré, coordinator of the German NGO Agro Action in Timbuktu, told IRIN insecurity prevented many women from planting their market gardens this year, so they have little to fall back on. “I have met many families who eat just one meal - of cereals - a day,” he told IRIN.
Banking systems in Gao and Timbuktu have also been largely shut down since mid-2012, making large-scale transactions impossible. This has led suppliers to refrain from large deals.
While security has improved in much of Gao and Timbuktu, widespread acts of criminality and banditry on transit roads and on the outskirts of towns are also disrupting food markets.
In Kidal Region, both food and non-food items are largely unavailable in markets or are for sale at prices out of reach for the poorest people, said several NGOs. Kidal residents are highly dependent on markets, as they do not produce much of their own grain.
“The region is already very fragile,” said Wolde Gabrielle Saugeron, spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “People lack seeds to plant this year, and planting will be even more difficult for the displaced, while for herders, the lack of livestock services will pose severe problems.”
“The situation changes daily and remains unstable across the north,” he added.
ICRC is providing food to 30,000 people in Kidal - about one-third of them displaced - and is providing water to people in Kidal town. Doctors of the World (MDM) is providing healthcare and nutrition assistance.
IDPs share rations
Many internally displaced people (IDPs) who spoke to IRIN in the central town of Sévaré said they were sending part of their monthly WFP food rations back home to family remaining in the north.
Ahmed Maiga, an IDP at the “La Maison des chauffeurs” makeshift camp in Sévaré, had recently returned from his home in Gao to check up on family members there. “I came back because life is too difficult there - the markets don’t exist. The shops are empty. Everything we had was looted… We send a large part of our monthly rations back home to the rest of our family,” he told IRIN.
WFP has delivered food to 90,000 Malians in the north so far this year, working through international NGO partners, and is looking to scale-up its deliveries, but access remains a concern.
“One of our top concerns is for humanitarian access to be re-established. This would allow WFP to reopen its offices in order to assist a larger caseload and for our partners to operate fully,” said Haydock.
A number of NGOs - Médecins sans Frontières, MDM, Action against Hunger (ACF) and Solidarités - have been running nutrition and other programmes in the north since 2012. They say gaining humanitarian access through negotiations with non-state armed groups was not too difficult in 2012, but access is now more problematic because of the absence of administrative authorities and the lack of a clear military chain of command.
ACF is helping moderately and severely malnourished children in Gao, Bourem and Ansongo, and plans to soon provide blanket feeding for up to 30,000 children under two years old. The agency is trying to figure out how to buy goods from local traders in order to support local businesses.
Countrywide, the number of Malians at risk of critical hunger this year is estimated to be 2 million, and 660,000 children under age five are at risk of severe malnutrition, though this latter estimate is based on figures from a 2011 survey.
ACF head Franck Vannetelle told IRIN its caseload of malnourished children has gone up in recent days, but this could also be linked to the fact that its mobile teams are again running, enabling the organization to identify more at-risk children.
WFP is scaling-up cash transfers for the south and is considering them for the north as well, but the pre-conditions - availability of food in markets, return of traders, re-opened trade routes, functional banks and better security - are not currently in place.
More detailed evaluations of food security in the north should take place soon. But obtaining information from health centres, families, market traders, officials, local NGOs, transporters and others and finding qualified staff who can undertake detailed, qualitative analyses of vulnerability and hunger remain challenging in the north.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 05:41
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka
04/12/2013 04:43 GMT
by Angela Dewan
Belawan, Indonesia, April 12, 2013 (AFP) - With tears running down his cheeks, a Buddhist fisherman from Myanmar told how he was living in fear after his friends were beaten to death by Muslim Rohingya in a brutal attack at an Indonesian detention centre.
"There were too few guards and they just couldn't get into the block" when violence erupted last week, a clearly traumatised Soe Paing told AFP at the overcrowded, two-storey building on Sumatra island.
"It took ages for the immigration officials to send any backup. That's why our people died.
"We are very upset, and now we fear for our lives," said the slight 44-year-old, one of 11 Myanmar Buddhist fishermen who was in the centre when fighting flared, eight of whom were killed.
The attack underscored the soaring Buddhist-Muslim tensions which have cast a shadow over political reforms in Myanmar, where the end of decades of authoritarian military rule has laid bare deep sectarian fault lines.
It followed an outbreak of deadly communal unrest in central Myanmar last month, the worst since violence between Buddhists and Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine last year that left scores dead and tens of thousands -- mainly Muslims -- displaced.
Some 200 asylum seekers, from countries including Sri Lanka and Afghanistan as well as Myanmar, remain at the detention centre in the port town of Belawan, with some rooms holding large groups. They have been badly shaken by the killings.
"We could see what was happening through the bars. They were killed right in front of our eyes," said Mustafa Javeed, a 17-year-old Afghan from the Hazara Shiite Muslim minority.
Friday's violence began when already high tensions escalated after allegations emerged that some of the Buddhists raped two Rohingya women at the centre and sexually harassed a third, according to the national police.
Around 60 of the Rohingya sealed off the entrance to their block with chairs and tables before launching the deadly attack using pieces of wood and broom handles in the early hours, according to detention centre officials.
Only one immigration officer was on duty at the time in the centre which was holding more than 300 detainees -- way above its capacity of 120, the police said in a statement released after their initial probe.
When backup arrived and officials finally got into the room, they found a horrific scene of bloodied, beaten bodies, with blood collected in pools on the floor and smeared on the walls.
Another 15 people, believed to be Rohingya, were also injured in the violence.
Soe Paing and two other fishermen -- who had been detained for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters -- were unharmed as they were in another part of the centre when the violence broke out.
Detention centre officials and local police originally said they believed the violence was triggered by photos of communal violence in Myanmar, but police and officials say their probe is now focused on the sex attack claims.
At the centre, some of the Rohingya -- who have been fleeing the violence in Myanmar in their thousands and are described by the UN as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world -- sought to distance themselves from the fighting.
"I'd never faced trouble like this in the past. I never wanted to get involved," said Ikhbramad, a 41-year-old who gave only one name, adding he was in the room during the attack but did not participate.
Soe Paing, who spoke to AFP earlier this week, and the two other Myanmar Buddhist fishermen who were not involved in the attack, have now been sent to Jakarta to be deported back to Myanmar.
But for asylum seekers still at the centre, who are often detained for months waiting for their cases to be assessed, the violence has made desperate existences even more miserable.
Scores of Sri Lankans have gone on a hunger strike and are demanding to be moved from the gloomy, concrete building to a safer place.
"We're scared that the same thing will happen to us, so we don't want to live here anymore," said R. Thusanthan, 29.
Centre official Rida Agustian said that some women, children and couples had been moved since Friday to community housing in the nearby city of Medan in an attempt to ease the pressure on the complex.
"There are not usually tensions like this here, but the overcrowding doesn't help," he conceded.
© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 05:19
Source: Xinhua Country: China
BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government has alloted a total of 1.5 billion yuan (239.6 million U.S. dollars) to drought-hit areas to aid their agriculture production, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.
The funds will go to the provinces of Shanxi, Henan, Yunnan, Gansu and Sichuan, where droughts had affected large areas of farmland, a ministry statement said.
China's drought relief authority said last week that drought in the country's central and western regions has affected 7.3 million hectares of farmland.
The ministry said the latest policy support is in response to the central government's call for increasing efforts to ensure grain output as the country has entered the season of spring farming.
World: Le gouvernement Harper réitère son engagement à l’égard de l’éducation et de la formation pour les femmes et les filles
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 04:57
Source: Canadian International Development Agency Country: World
Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique) — Permettre aux personnes, en particulier les femmes et les filles, d'avoir un meilleur accès à un enseignement de qualité et à des possibilités de formation professionnelle est une grande priorité pour le Canada. L'honorable Julian Fantino, ministre de la Coopération internationale, a réaffirmé aujourd'hui l'appui du Canada à l'égard du Commonwealth of Learning, un organisme qui aide les pays en développement du Commonwealth à élargir leur accès à un apprentissage à l'aide d'approches à distance et axées sur la technologie.
Le ministre Fantino a annoncé un appui à l'initiative du Commonwealth of Learning visant l'accroissement du soutien à l'éducation permanente pour les agriculteurs (en anglais) de l'Afrique subsaharienne. Cette initiative a pour but d'améliorer les possibilités d'apprentissage pour les petits exploitants agricoles dans les régions éloignées, particulièrement les femmes, qui ont un accès limité à une éducation et à une formation professionnelle. En permettant le renforcement des capacités des agriculteurs, leur accès au marché et la négociation d'un crédit, cette initiative viendra accroître leurs revenus et les aidera à passer de la pauvreté à la prospérité.
« Pour sortir des personnes de la pauvreté et les amener vers la prospérité, il faut investir dans les personnes, les enseignants, les entreprises en expansion et le développement agricole durable, particulièrement pour les petites exploitantes agricoles », a déclaré le ministre Fantino lors de sa rencontre avec la présidente du Commonwealth of Learning, Asha Kanwar, et son équipe. « Cette initiative contribuera à améliorer les moyens de subsistance des personnes et des familles dans les collectivités rurales de l'Afrique subsaharienne et les revenus des agriculteurs et d'ouvriers sans terre, particulièrement les femmes, dans les collectivités rurales éloignées et souvent marginalisées. »
La professeure Asha Kanwar, présidente du Commonwealth of Learning et ancienne pro-vice-rectrice (vice-présidente) de l'Université Indira Gandhi National Open (Inde), a accueilli le ministre Fantino dans les bureaux du Commonwealth of Learning (COL). « Nous sommes honorés que le ministre Fantino nous rende visite pour en apprendre davantage au sujet du COL et de notre travail. Cette année, nous célébrons les 25 années d'existence du COL et de sa présence au Canada, a indiqué la professeure Kanwar. Grâce au soutien financier et intellectuel du gouvernement du Canada, le COL a pu répondre aux besoins en développement des ressources humaines d'une grande variété d'intervenants, que ce soit des femmes des milieux ruraux au Malawi, des éleveurs de chèvres en Inde, des jeunes non scolarisés en Jamaïque, ou des ministères et des institutions du Commonwealth. »
Le ministre Fantino a aussi annoncé un autre soutien institutionnel à long terme au Commonwealth of Learning pour appuyer ses efforts visant à aider des pays à accroître l'importance, l'efficacité et la qualité de l'éducation à tous les niveaux. Ces efforts permettront aussi aux collectivités, à la société civile et aux institutions d'améliorer les moyens de subsistance et la santé de leurs membres en ayant recours aux technologies liées à l'apprentissage pour renforcer les compétences, transmettre des connaissances et créer de nouveaux débouchés économiques.
« Notre gouvernement appuie fermement le Commonwealth et est fier d'être le pays qui contribue le plus au Commonwealth of Learning, a déclaré le ministre Fantino. Il continuera à chercher des moyens novateurs de donner aux jeunes la formation et les connaissances dont ils ont besoin pour devenir des chefs de file dans leur pays et relever les défis avec lesquels leur collectivité et eux-mêmes sont aux prises. »
Dans le cadre de cet engagement, le Plan d'action économique 2013 fera la promotion du Canada, une destination de choix pour les études et la recherche de calibre mondial, et encouragera les étudiants canadiens à profiter des possibilités de formation à l'étranger offerte par la Stratégie en matière d'éducation internationale.
Le Plan d'action économique 2013 réitère aussi l'engagement du Canada à l'égard des investissements liés au développement international, notamment assurer l'avenir des enfants et des jeunes. Le nouveau ministère des Affaires étrangères, du Commerce et du Développement conservera le mandat de réduction de la pauvreté et améliorera la coordination entre l'aide internationale et les valeurs plus larges du Canada. De plus, la création de ce ministère rendra l'aide plus efficace, transparente et ciblée afin de continuer d'améliorer le sort des personnes démunies à l'échelle internationale.
Commonwealth of Learning
Fondé en 1987, le Commonwealth of Learning est l'une des trois organisations intergouvernementales du Commonwealth. Cette organisation, dont le siège se trouve à Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique), est la seule institution officielle du Commonwealth située à l'extérieur du Royaume-Uni et constitue un chef de file de renommée mondiale en matière d'apprentissage ouvert et de formation à distance.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 04:52
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Yemen
Sana'a: The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Humanitarian Foundation (KZHF) has continued the fifth phase of distribution of food assistance to the poor and needy people as part of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Dh 500 million food aid for Yemeni people.
The foundation's fifth phase targeted nearly 20,000 needy families in different areas of Yemen.
The number of needy Yemeni families benefiting from the aid ordered by His Highness the Head of State reached to nearly a million family in the various governorates of Yemen, with 20,000 family in Sana'a benefiting from KZHF's fifth phase. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 04:51
Source: World Food Programme Country: Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic
Link to high resolution pictures: http://goo.gl/1aCZo
AMMAN – The internationally acclaimed British singer and composer Sami Yusuf visited Zaatari camp in Jordan yesterday where he saw at first hand the plight of refugees who fled the conflict in Syria.
“This is an incredible ordeal for you and your families and I don’t want you to lose faith that you will go back home soon, so stay strong and take care of your children because this is the future of Syria,” Yusuf told refugees that he met during his one-day visit to the camp.
Yusuf met families who shared with him stories of loss, war and hope. Touched by their resilience, Yusuf invited them to sing along with him.
Yusuf also stopped at WFP’s distribution centres inside the camp where he met refugee men and women collecting their food rations. He dedicated part of his visit to seeing Syrian children at UNICEF-run schools inside the camp and he participated in WFP’s school feeding programme, distributing nutritious date bars to school-aged refugees.
This month, WFP is planning to feed up to 380,000 refugees living with host communities and in the camps through food vouchers and in-kind food assistance. WFP is short of US$20 million needed to continue its operations in Jordan and expand as more refugees arrive every day.
“I am proud of the hard work and collective effort that I see today of WFP and other humanitarian agencies to assist Syrian refugees and I appeal to the international community and the public to support the humanitarian efforts inside Syria and in neighbouring countries,” said Yusuf.
Overall, WFP needs US$19 million every week to provide assistance for 2.5 million people inside Syria and just over one million refugees in neighbouring countries.
As a celebrity partner for the World Food Programme, Yusuf has been promoting the fight against hunger around the world through his music and voicing the needs of millions of vulnerable people worldwide.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media
For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600 Mob. +2 010 666 34352
Laure Chadraoui, WFP/Beirut-Amman, Mob. + 962795917987 and +9613489925
Elise Bijon, WFP/Dubai, Tel. +971 4 368 1383
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 04:40
Source: World Food Programme Country: Guatemala
Families in Guatemala that are still recovering from the destruction caused by the earthquake of 7 November 2012 and the aftermath early 2013 are now facing a new calamity: coffee rust. Due to this plague, the coffee harvest, Guatemala main export, has decreased, reducing the incomes and food access of vulnerable households.
SAN MARCOS- Emilda Marisol Fuentes still remembers the impact of the earthquake that struck the department of San Marcos in late 2012. “I was three months pregnant with my seventh child, and I was very afraid. I was in the hospital for over a month”, she tells us sadly after the loss of her baby.
On an exterior wall of her home, authorities wrote “Demolish” in spray paint because her home was so badly affected by the earthquake. But there is a problem: due to the lack of employment Emilda and her husband Obdulio, do not have the money to move nor to buy the materials to build a new home. They do not even have enough money to feed their family.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food declared a national emergency for the coffee rust plague which affected plantations on a national level. The Government of Guatemala has established an initial plan to benefit 60,000 small farmers of the 204 municipalities of 20 departments that will receive technical assistance and fungicide.
Families in the department of San Marcos still suffer from the consequences of the earthquake from last November, and now the plague of coffee rust is added to the burden. The outbreak of the fungus has destroyed coffee plantations, which are the main source of labor wages in the region. Obdulio, who produces coffee for sale, also works as a laborer on a coffee farm, where he gets paid Q30.00 (USD 3.75) a day. “I am very worried because the rust is affecting the coffee plants, and this week I only worked two days pruning the plants affected by the rust” said Obdulio.
“If I do not get money I will not be able to buy enough food for the whole family”, he added. In addition, Emilda and their children live with Obdulio’s sister, Rosa María, who has special capacities and is also part of their family.
“We have hope that with the support we are receiving from WFP we can overcome this crisis, and that with the sale of my plants we will be able to save money to build a new home before the rains come”, says Obdulio. “We are afraid because the terrain is very fragile and is on a slope; this could bring down the house”, he comments.
To date, WFP has provided food rations to a total of 4,655 families in five departments affected by the earthquake and the coffee rust plague. A second delivery is set for March and April. Every family receives a food ration to cover the needs of 45 days, this includes: 198 pounds of corn, 45 pounds of beans, 45 pounds of a fortified mixture of corn and, 2.7 gallons of oil, and 1.5 pounds of sugar.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 04:29
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan Country: Sudan, South Sudan (Republic of)
9 April 2013 - The mandate of UNMISS does not include the defense of South Sudan’s international boundaries or the monitoring of its border with Sudan, UNMISS staff members said at a community outreach event held today in Aweil North County in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State.
Aweil North County Commissioner Kuol Athuai Hal opened the day-long workshop in the town of Gok Machar by noting that his fellow residents had suffered considerable hardships during the second Sudanese civil war and urged UNMISS representatives to hear their concerns.
Five people died during ground and air attacks on remote communities in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal last December, and some participants in this week’s conference asked why UNMISS was not doing more to monitor movements of suspected militia elements across the border with Sudan.
UNMISS staff members told the gathering of 67 Aweil North residents that responsibility for monitoring the international border lies with the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) and the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism established by the governments of Sudan and South Sudan.
Conference participants were advised that UNISFA is in the process of setting up a base in Gok Machar.
Different sections of the UNMISS office in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State reviewed the official mandate of UNMISS and explained the Mission’s work in various areas such as peace consolidation efforts, support to government bodies engaged in institution building, and the protection of civilians under imminent danger of physical violence.
“People perceive (UNMISS) activities according to their expectations. They expect UNMISS to (protect) them from attack, be it air attacks or border disputes,” said UNMISS Public Information Officer Negus Hadera. “This clearly was discussed with them and they came up with a clear understanding of what UNMISS (does).”
The participants included county officials, paramount chiefs, members of South Sudanese security services, elders, representatives of youth and women’s groups, and members of community-based organizations.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 04:27
Source: Human Rights Watch Country: Yemen
Removes Commanders Linked to Abuse but Immunity a Concern
APRIL 12, 2013
(Beirut, April 12, 2013) – President Abdu Rabu Hadi’s removal from military command on April 10, 2013, of senior figures linked to abuse was a key step in Yemen’s post-uprising transition. The president’s appointment of some of these key figures to posts in which they would have diplomatic immunity is a source of concern, however.
“While shuffling these men out of the country’s security forces is a positive development, shuffling them into cozy diplomatic posts abroad where they may be immune from prosecution could take them away from justice,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “If President Hadi is to break with the impunity of the past, he should ensure an independent investigation into the role of these men in the terrible crimes against his countrymen.”
Hadi removed the Republican Guard commander, Gen. Ahmad Ali Saleh, son of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but named him ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. Hadi also named Saleh’s nephew, Col. Ammar Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, deputy director of the National Security Bureau until 2012, to be the new military attaché to Ethiopia. Another nephew, Brig. Tariq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, the Presidential Guard commander until 2012, was nominated to be the new military attaché to Germany.
Human Rights Watch has documented evidence of serious human rights violations involving forces under the command of all three, including attacks on peaceful protesters, arbitrary detention, torture, and enforced disappearances.In their new diplomatic posts, they would benefit from diplomatic immunity in the countries where they are posted, which may prevent criminal prosecution in those countries. Such postings would not grant them immunity from investigation in Yemen, though in Yemen they are covered by the January 2012 immunity law that covered Saleh and those who served with him.
During the uprising in 2011, Human Rights Watch documented 37 cases in which security forces—including the Republican Guard, National Security Bureau, and Presidential Guard—held people for days, weeks, or months without charge. Twenty two of the former detainees told Human Rights Watch they had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including beatings, electric shock, threats of death or rape, and weeks or months in solitary confinement. Human Rights Watch also interviewed relatives of five protesters, opposition fighters, and others who were forcibly disappeared or held without charge.
In the city of Taizz, Human Rights Watch documented the Republican Guards’ indiscriminate shelling of civilians, firing on peaceful protesters, storming and occupation of hospitals, as well as preventing doctors from treating wounded protesters and evicting patients at gunpoint from February to December 2011.
ReliefWeb - Latest Updates - Fri, 2013-04-12 04:26
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan
UMM DUKHUN (11 Apr.) - Misseriya and Salamat tribes’ leaders signed on Thursday a ceasefire treaty to end the war in Central Darfur which displaced at least 10,000 people in one week.
According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), since 4 April some 10,000 people have arrived in Tissi, Chad, from Umm Dukhun, located some 10 kilometers away from the Sudanese border. “And there’s every indication that more are on their way”, MSF added.
“They tell similar stories, of villages attacked and set on fire by armed men on horseback, of neighbors and family members killed, of women and children abandoning all their belongings and taking flight”, a press release read.
UNHCR says Umm Dukhun’s displaced, who include dozens of wounded, have now joined the 25,000 previously settled refugees in Tissa.
“Roughly one-third of [them] were from Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR), while the rest were originally from Chad but had relocated to Darfur and CAR.
More than 90 percent are women. They’ve been living under trees or in makeshift shelters, having thus far gone without any assistance”, the agency says.
Tensions in Umm Dukhun began to rise after a member of the Misseriya tribe allegedly tried looting and opening fire on a Salamat man, who was not hurt. Hostilities erupted the next day when 4,000 men of both sides began battling each other.
According to Babiker Khabusa, commissioner of president’s affairs in Central Darfur, the Misseriya-Salamat ceasefire treaty stipulates the following: stop the war immediately; dismantle fighters’ camps; restore peace and stability; allow displaced to return to their villages; renounce the militarization of citizens.
It also stipulates that fighters must liberate seized territories; and roads and corridors for the delivery of humanitarian aid must be opened. A reconciliation conference was scheduled for 30 April.
The treaty was signed by Misseriya Amir Abdul Karim Al Haj Adam Omar and by Salamat Amir Mohamed Al Bashir Musa. Umm Dukhun’s commissioner appealed to both tribes to abide by the terms of the agreement and renounce war.
The signing event was witnessed by Umm Dukhun’s local security committee, the locality’s social peace committee, and by the head deputy of the legislative council of Central Darfur, Abdul Karim Yunes.
Last Thursday local and tribal leaders had formed a mediation committee in a failed attempt to prevent problems from escalating in Umm Dukhun.
Misseriya and Salamat leaders swore an oath to abide by the agreement and guaranteed they would transmit the word to their comrades. A source had claimed that “90 percent of the problems have been solved”.
According to the latest death tolls from Monday, different witness accounts put the total number of dead as high as 163 in several different clashes in and around Umm Dukhun.