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Somalia: Somalia: Population movement from Yemen to Somalia Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF n° MDRSO003

24 April 2015 - 2:00pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Somalia, Yemen

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

From 26 March 2015, there was an escalation in fighting between opposition groups in Yemen, which has affected an estimated 500,000 people, including 244,000 registered refugees (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As a result, Somali and Yemeni nationals affected by the crisis have begun to flee the country through the ports of Al Mukalla and Mukha in Yemen. On 28 March 2015, 32 Yemeni nationals reached the port of Berbera in Somaliland. According to Somaliland immigration authorities, the arrivals were from the Qahdani and Ibb tribes fleeing violence in Mukha, Taiz region, Yemen; and all has the relevant travel documentation. On 1 April 2015, 90 people reached the port of Bossaso (Puntland) comprising Somali returnees, originally from Puntland and South Central (Mogadishu, Kismayo, Qoryooleey etc.), claiming to fleeing violence against Somalis living in the Sana`a, Aden and Mukala areas of Yemen, and protection issues affecting women; as well as groups of Yemeni nationals.

On Friday 17 April, 321 new arrivals (166 male 155 female and 123 children below the age of 18 years) which comprised 306 Somalis (251 from Mogadishu; and 55 from Somaliland), 14 Yemenis, and one Ethiopian, reached the port of Berbera from Mukha, Yemen. By 21 April 2015, the total number of arrivals in Puntland and Somaliland had reached 2,000.

New refugee arrivals/returnees are reported to be travelling on commercial boats, each paying $50 per person; however in some instances had had to pay additional money to the owners / brokers of the boats to be able to travel as there are many people on the waiting list for departure. According to the Inter-Agency Task Force, which has been established by the government of Somaliland and Puntland together with United Nations (UN) Agencies, it is anticipated that about 100,000 arrivals/returnees are expected to arrive within the next six months.

Yemen: Migrants Leaving Yemen for Horn of Africa Top 10,000

24 April 2015 - 9:15am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Djibouti, Somalia, World, Yemen

Kenya - IOM is continuing its humanitarian assistance to migrants, refugees and Third Country Nationals (TCNs) arriving in the Horn of Africa, fleeing the crisis in Yemen.

This week the total arrivals in the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Somaliland and Puntland, since the start of the conflict, are approximately 10,263.

Djibouti is receiving the bulk of the people, with arrivals increasing to 8,344 this week. Of these, over 60 per cent are TCNs in need of assistance to return home.

“Djibouti has the biggest burden with 5,104 TCNs, 2,151 Yemenis, and 1,089 Djibouti nationals having arrived in the country,” said Craig Murphy, IOM’s Mixed Migration Project Coordinator.

“Most of the people escape Yemen by boat, crossing the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea from Aden, and finally arriving in Djibouti at Obock Port or Djibouti Port.”

On April 23, one boat arrived at the Djibouti Port carrying some 145 people. Most of the passengers on the boat were Yemeni nationals, but there were also American and British citizens.

A 29-year-old Yemeni, who asked not to be named, said: “We decided to leave because the situation in Yemen got so hard. We saw people injured and dying in our neighborhood in Aden. There were many snipers on the buildings and it was too dangerous.”

Yesterday he decided to escape by boat with his mother and two siblings, and they endured a 14-hour boat crossing to Djibouti. He said: “Thank God, the sea was calm, so we didn’t have problems.”

At the time of their escape, his father was in a different city looking after other family members. They got separated and he was not able to join them due to road blocks.

He said: “I want to go to another country because I have many ideas, but my country [Yemen] cannot support me.”

Another 66-year-old Yemeni, who arrived on the same boat, also did not want his name to be used. He was working as a security guard at the port in Aden.

He said: “Snipers were shooting everywhere. They were shooting at us. They want to kick us out from our country, but they cannot!”

He arrived with only the clothes he was wearing. The price for the boat trip from Aden to Djibouti is usually about USD 50 per person. Now the price has gone up to USD 200 as more people continue to flee Yemen. However, since he had no money, the operators of the boat let him on board without payment and other passengers gave him food and water.

IOM Djibouti has so far assisted 156 TCNs with visa support, transfer, transit accommodation, booking and onward air and ground transportation. Some 98 Ethiopian migrants were transferred back to Ethiopia in an IOM operation on 23 April.

On the outskirts of Obock, IOM is running a Migration Response Center which provides temporary accommodation for migrants and TCNs. UNHCR is also constructing a refugee camp in Obock for Yemeni refugees.

In the rest of the region, Puntland, Somalia has so far received 1,132 people. Many of them arrive at Bossaso. In Berbera, Somaliland 787 people have so far arrived. There were no registered arrivals this week in Somalia.

For further information please contact T. Craig Murphy at IOM Kenya, Tel; +254 717 711 822, Email: cmurphy@iom.int

World: World Malaria Day 2015: “Invest in the Future, Defeat Malaria”

24 April 2015 - 8:15am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Djibouti, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Thailand, Uganda, World, Yemen

Switzerland - In 2013, there were about 198 million malaria cases in the world and an estimated 584,000 deaths from the disease. The countries endemic for malaria are also some of the poorest countries in the world. The burden of malaria on the poor, including migrants and displaced populations in these countries further fuels the cycle of poverty. IOM works with governments and partners, mostly in Africa and Asia, to ensure universal access to health care, including malaria prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment services among migrants and hard-to-reach populations.

This year’s theme for World Malaria Day on April 25th will be “Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria.” It focuses on reaching 2015 malaria targets in all malaria-endemic countries, as well as scaling up efforts in malaria elimination and control beyond 2015.

Migration is often cyclical and seasonal, yet worldwide trends show a steady rise in the number of people migrating, with estimations reaching 232 million international migrants and 740 million migrants. There has also been a feminization of migration over the years – 50 per cent of international migrants are women.

Migrants, often considered as hard to reach or hidden populations, face significant risk factors that result in their limited access to prevention and health care services. Human mobility from high-transmission areas can result in imported malaria cases and potential re-introduction of malaria into low-transmission or malaria-free areas.

The WHO World Malaria Report (2014) indicates that global collective efforts against malaria continue to make progress in reducing malaria cases and deaths. But there is more to be done to reach out to marginalized and vulnerable populations, including migrants and crisis affected populations.

IOM recommends the following considerations:

  • Operational research and malaria eradication actions should take into account migrants’ health needs, risk factors and mobility dynamics, including gender implications across the phases of migration. There is a need to advocate for inclusion of indicators that monitor migrants’ health, particularly in malaria transmission among mobile populations.
  • Often, policies and effective practices affecting the health of migrants are determined outside the health sector. Due to the complex inter-play between migration and malaria, there is a critical need to support efforts towards a multi-sectorial approach to malaria control and elimination. For example, engaging with health and non-health sectors such as transportation, education, social services, private sector, academia and law enforcement.
  • Imported malaria should be directly approached as a border health concern embracing a range of factors beyond the behavior of migrants per se.
  • Collaborative efforts and genuine processes of community participation and engagement along borders and in areas with high population mobility are more effective than an exclusive focus on the surveillance of mobile populations and specific risk groups.
  • The attention given to migrants and hard to reach populations as a high risk group should be further elaborated by IOM as part of a vulnerability framework, which includes multiple demographic groups, localities and intersecting socio-economic processes at individual, structural and environmental levels.

“We live in an era of unprecedented human mobility. Malaria is preventable and treatable, but the reality is that malaria remains a fatal disease that neither knows nor respects borders. As the world prepares for the post-2015 development agenda, it is imperative that migration and human mobility are included in the post 2015 health outcomes if we are to sustain our current achievements,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

IOM implements an array of migrant-inclusive control and elimination programs for malaria, in close collaboration with governments and partners mostly in Africa and Asia. It partners with governments, WHO, Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the private sector and academia with the goal of achieving universal health coverage for all migrants, in line with the 2008 61st World Health Assembly Resolution on Migrant Health (WHA61.17), which calls for all WHO member states and partners to advance migrant-friendly practices and health policies.

Myanmar: IOM has been providing malaria services to migrants, mobile populations and host communities in South East Myanmar since 2006. In 2014, it distributed 44,218 long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs), conducted 32,580 rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, provided treatment for 2,124 malaria cases and covered 605 worksites, 216 villages and 10 transit sites with malaria activities. Following an RBM-supported event on Opportunities for Private Sector Engagement in Malaria Control, IOM is also now focusing on mapping and engagement with private sector employers of migrant labor and their families to strengthen their involvement in malaria control activities.

Thailand: IOM has been providing malaria services to migrant populations and host communities in 11 border provinces – Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Chumphon, Ranong, Phang Nga, Chantaburi and Sa Kaeo, with funding from the Global Fund, since 2011. Backed by the Global Fund and in partnership with American Refugee Committee (ARC), in 2014 IOM distributed 34,940 long LLINs to 812 villages; conducted capacity development and Behavior Change Communications (BCC) activities through radio broadcasts covering 77 districts; organized malaria peer education reaching 74,698 migrants via 1,514 sessions and visits to 97 workplaces; organized peer visits to 214 diagnosed Plasmodium Faliciparum positive cases; and conducted joint World Malaria Day campaigns in 20 hotspot areas.

East and Southern Africa: IOM’s Partnership on Health and Mobility in East and Southern Africa (PHAMESA) continues to engage with the RBM Southern Africa Regional Network (SARN), as well as with the Elimination 8 (E8) countries and the Global Business Coalition (GBC) Health Africa to advocate for and address population mobility and malaria. In July 2014, IOM co-hosted hosted the Dialogue on Malaria and Human Mobility at the Malaria Endemic Constituency Meeting in Zimbabwe, the outcome of which was the Victoria Falls Statement ‘Malaria control and elimination in the context of migration and human mobility’. IOM is a member of the RBM Partnership's Coordinating Committee at the Sub Regional Network in the two regions – East (EARN) Southern (SARN) Africa.

Uganda: IOM has engaged the Private Sector Transport Association in dialogue and community mobilization on preventive measures for malaria control. Over 10,000 malaria rapid detection kits (RDTs and 8 electric mono-microscopes) have been distributed to a network of private partner clinics along the major transport hubs and fishing communities for faster and an early detection and treatment of malaria among high risk populations. The training of health workers along the transport corridors on Ministry of Health procedures on malaria detection and treatment in 2014 has also improved their knowledge of migrant sensitive health service provision to migrant populations.

South Sudan: IOM has been providing primary health care services including malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment and care services to internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host community members since 2009. IOM’s clinics confirmed 22,353 cases of malaria using Paracheck Rapid Diagnostic Tests and treated them in 2014. IOM’s reproductive health program assists pregnant and lactating mothers by distributing insecticide treated mosquito nets, providing second dose of intermittent preventive treatment (IPT2), and sensitizing the mothers on the importance of breastfeeding and the correct use of the mosquito nets.

Somalia: IOM has been providing malaria services to migrants and the crisis affected host communities since 2013. In 2014, IOM provided malaria prevention, diagnostic, treatment and care services to migrants, in particular IDPs, refugee returnees and the affected host communities in Dhobley, Kismayo, Doolow, Luuq and Garowe in Somalia. As of April 2015, IOM has distributed a total of 10,498 LLINs through eight mobile teams, and screened and provided treatment for malaria to 1,487 individuals.

Djibouti: Malaria continues to prevail in Djibouti since its outbreak that started in 2013, affecting areas hosting large migrant communities such as Dikhik, Obock and Arhiba. In 2014, 4,894 malaria cases were registered, while between January-February 2015, 1,490 malaria cases were confirmed. It is estimated that 40 per cent of malaria cases are among migrants. IOM mobile teams stationed at Obock, Dikhil, and Arhiba support local authorities in fumigation activities and provide health care centers located along the migration corridors with malaria diagnostic kits and malaria medicines for local populations and migrant communities. IOM facilitates malaria training for an average of 50 Djibouti medical staff per year in different endemic areas.

Yemen: IOM works closely with the Government of Yemen to provide prevention, early diagnosis and treatment services to migrants coming from the Horn of Africa, mainly Ethiopia, and conflict affected populations in the southern parts of Yemen, notably, Abyan and Shabwah. In 2014, 185 malaria cases among migrants were confirmed and treated in three clinics in Haradh, Sana’a and Aden. IOM mobile clinics working in conflict affected areas provide health care, including malaria-related services for IDPs. In 2014, IOM focused on malaria preventive measures including insecticide spraying in migrant-dense areas, as well as distributing LLINs, mainly to pregnant women and children.

For further information please contact IOM HQ: Dr. Davide Mosca, Tel: + 41 22 717 9358, Email: dmosca@iom.int. Or Dr. Nenette Motus, Tel: +41 22-717 9355, Email: nmotus@iom.int

World: Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER), 24 April 2015, vol. 90, 17 (pp. 169-184) [EN/FR]

24 April 2015 - 5:57am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Pakistan, Somalia, World

Contents

169 Polio surveillance: tracking progress towards eradication worldwide, 2013–2014

179 Performance of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance and incidence of poliomyelitis, 2015

World: Global Weather Hazards Summary April 24-30, 2015

24 April 2015 - 5:09am
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Little rainfall expected over atypically dry areas of northern Ethiopia

  1. Erratic, below-average rainfall in February and early March, followed by four consecutive weeks of little to no rainfall since mid-March has led to large moisture deficits and rapidly deteriorating ground conditions in Ethiopia. The absence of mid-season rainfall is likely to adversely affect cropping activities in Belg-producing areas of the country.

  2. Below-average rainfall since March has affected crop conditions over bi-modal northern Tanzania. Increased rains over northwestern Tanzania have helped to alleviate short-term moisture deficits.

  3. Late season moisture deficits associated with an early end to the Southern Africa monsoon has negatively affected cropping conditions in northern Malawi and northern Mozambique.

  4. Since late December, below-average and poorly distributed rainfall has led to abnormal dryness across a broad portion of southern Africa. Below average seasonal rainfall and untimely dry spells are likely to lead to reductions in crop production in parts of southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho,
    Zambia, and South Africa.

  5. Poorly distributed rainfall and extended dry spells since January have led to large rainfall deficits and below-average vegetation growth in southern Angola and northern Namibia.

Kenya: Hopes raised as IGAD forecasts average rainfall in the region

24 April 2015 - 1:34am
Source: EastAfrican Country: Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania

By JEFF OTIENO

In Summary

What is normal rainfall?

•Above average rainfall, normal rainfall and below average rainfall are calculated using the long-term average rainfall of a particular ecological zone. The long-term average rainfall of a region is the mean rainfall amount for the past 30 years. It is calculated for both the long rains and short rains.

•Currently, the agreed 30-year period that meteorologists use to calculate long-term averages for various ecological zones is between 1980 and 2010. The period is normally set by the World Meteorological Organisation.

What amounts to normal rain for a particular ecological region?

•An ecological region is expected to receive normal rainfall when the predicted amount is within the range of 75 per cent and 125 per cent of the long-term average. •When the rainfall received is 125 per cent above the long term average of that particular region, it is above normal. •Below normal rainfall is when an ecological zone receives below 75 per cent of the long-term average.

A large part of East Africa is expected to receive normal to below normal rainfall in the current long rains season.

According to the forecast produced by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), there is an increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rainfall over the central parts of Sudan, central Eritrea, eastern Djibouti, south-western and north-eastern Rwanda, south-eastern Burundi, north-eastern Uganda and south-eastern parts of South Sudan.

Large parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya are also expected to receive normal to below normal rainfall.

“There is a 40 per cent probability of near normal rainfall, a 35 per cent probability of below normal rainfall and a 25 per cent chance of above normal rainfall,” said ICPAC, which produces regular rainfall forecasts for the region.

The rainfall is expected to minimise the devastating effects of drought in the region — mainly in the arid and semi-arid areas — which has killed thousands of heads of livestock and left millions of people in East Africa in need of emergency food supplies.

According to the World Food Programme, as at February this year, 7.8 million people were in the crisis or emergency phase, with the largest numbers being in Ethiopia (2.9 million), South Sudan (2.5 million), Kenya (1.5 million), Somalia (731,000) and Uganda (180,000).

Food security

The long rains season is considered the backbone of the region’s rain-fed agriculture, as it contributes the biggest percentage of rainfall in the region.

Indeed, the region’s food security status normally depends on the performance of the long rains, especially for the production of maize, wheat, rice and beans.

But meteorologists warn that if below normal rainfall is realised in the cited areas, the food situation may worsen before the end of the year.

In its latest update on global food security, WFP said if below normal rainfall were realised in the greater part of Kenya, Somalia and most areas of Ethiopia, Djibouti and central Tanzania, there would be a depletion of pasture and water resources, affecting the food and nutrition security situation in the region.

“Northeast, eastern and southern Kenya and southern Somalia have persistently suffered drier-than-average conditions since the early stages of the short rains season,” said WFP.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation cited Kenya and Uganda as the countries in the region facing localised food insecurity — mainly in the arid and semi-arid areas — due to reasons ranging from the vagaries of weather to a large influx of refugees from the war-torn countries of South Sudan and Somalia.

In South Sudan, the main drivers of food insecurity in the are conflict-related displacement, disruptions to livestock and crop production and high staple food prices.

The conflict has led to the internal displacement of 1.4 million South Sudanese, mostly in the states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, where the conflict has been largely concentrated.

“It has also caused sharp increases in the price of staple foods and reduced stocks. Stocks from own production are expected to be depleted within the first quarter of 2015 in the worst-affected counties,” WFP said.

In Kenya, poor rainfall is to blame for the more than 1.5 million people facing severe food shortages. The government sounded a drought alarm early in the year, after putting 23 counties under the “alert drought” status. Most of the counties are in the arid and semi-arid regions, where pastoralism is the predominant source of livelihood.

The Kenya government, through the Devolution Ministry, has already set aside Ksh3 billion ($33.3 million) to tackle drought in the country.

In Uganda, 180,000 people are facing severe food shortages in Karamoja region, which has suffered two years of below-average crop production.

Among the principal factors ICPAC took into account while coming up with the regional forecast were the observed and predicted atmospheric ocean conditions, mainly in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, in relation to moisture transportation and rainfall distribution.

“The dominant climate forcing processes included the continued cooling and warming over the western Indian Ocean as well as south-eastern Atlantic Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean respectively with implications on the March-May 2015 forecast period,” ICPAC said.

Somalia: The African Union releases the key findings and recommendations of the report of investigations on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Somalia

23 April 2015 - 10:30pm
Source: African Union Country: Somalia

Addis Ababa, 21 April 2015: The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, today, formally released the key findings and recommendations (attached) contained in the report of an Independent Investigation Team established to investigate allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) by personnel of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The allegations were contained in a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), titled “The Power These Men Have Over Us – Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by African Union Forces in Somalia” and released on 8 September 2014.

The Team of experienced investigators was drawn from Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, which are all non-Troop/Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) to AMISOM. The Team conducted its investigations both inside and outside Somalia between November 2014 and February 2015.

The Team investigated the twenty one (21) allegations contained in the HRW report. It found that two of these allegations are indeed proven cases of SEA perpetrated by AMISOM soldiers.

On the basis of its findings, the Team made a number of observations and recommendations to strengthen existing mechanisms that the AU Commission and the T/PCCs to AMISOM have put in place to address SEA.

In line with its “zero tolerance policy” and its commitment to address SEA, the Commission is, in this particular instance, engaging with the concerned countries, which have the primary responsibility for the requisite prosecutorial action to be urgently undertaken in order to ensure that the victims get justice and assistance, as maybe required. Furthermore, the Commission will be convening a meeting with the T/PCCs and Somalia, with a view to identifying the concrete steps to be taken to implement the recommendations contained in both the HRW and the Investigation Team report.

The Commission seizes this opportunity to reiterate its commitment and that of the Member States to continue to respect the dignity of all Somali women and girls and to uphold the religious and cultural values of Somalia, as AMISOM continues to implement its mandate to restore peace and stability in the country.

World: Med shipwreck survivors describe terror on dry land

23 April 2015 - 10:35am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Gambia, Italy, Libya, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, World

Catania, Italy | AFP | Thursday 4/23/2015 - 13:37 GMT

People smugglers responsible for the Mediterranean's worst disaster in decades beat several migrants to death and executed at least one minor before the boat left Libya with more than 750 people aboard, survivors have told investigators.

The Prosecutor's office in the Sicilian city of Catania on Thursday identified the 26 men who, along with two crew members, were the only survivors of Sunday's catastrophe, saying publication of the names by the media was the only way they could inform friends and family.

They are 12 Malians, four Eritreans, three Bangladeshis, two nationals of Senegal and Somalia and one each from Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and the Gambia.

The men have described how the people smugglers operated a reign of terror while the migrants were held prior to embarkment in a disused building near the city of Tripoli.

Anyone who did not immediately obey orders was beaten with sticks, fatally in several cases.

Taken by truck to the coast, the migrants were then ferried by dinghy to the waiting boat, on which most of them were packed into the hold or a lower deck from which it seems they had no chance of escape when the vessel capsized and sunk.

A boy who climbed on to a dinghy before being told to was killed by the smugglers and his body tossed overboard, one survivor told the investigators.

Several survivors testified that the building where they were held was run by armed men in uniform. One said he had seen men he assumed to be Libyan police officers being paid off prior to the boat's departure.

The survivors said other migrants had perished from illness or exhaustion.

Based on their testimony, the Catania prosecutor said he believed there were more than 750 people on board the boat when it left Libya.

He has asked the navy to send a submarine to photograph and film the sunken wreck so that he can assess whether to try and salvage it for the purposes of the investigation.

The investigators said the passengers had paid anything between 1,000 Libyan dinars ($730) and $7,000 for their passage to Italy. They could not establish why the amounts varied so significantly.

am/sms

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Somalia: Workshop Report: Adopting and implementing Somaliland’s draft policy framework on internal displacement (1 - 2 March 2015 in Hargeisa, Somalia)

23 April 2015 - 9:21am
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Somalia

April 2015

IDMC organised a workshop to support the adoption and the implementation of a national draft policy in Somaliland in collaboration with the local Protection Cluster, NRC and the local Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (MRRR). The workshop aimed to reach a common understanding of the contents of the draft policy, to increase participants' knowledge of key protection and durable solution principles and to develop a strategy to advocate for the adoption and implementation of the draft instrument.

Somalia: Somali PM sees risk to his country in Yemen strife

23 April 2015 - 8:34am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Somalia, Yemen

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Thursday 4/23/2015 - 12:26 GMT

Somalia's prime minister warned Thursday that the conflict in Yemen poses dangers across the Gulf of Aden where an influx of refugees is stretching scarce resources and Al-Qaeda militants are eager for support.

More than 2,000 refugees have so far arrived in the northern Somali regions of Puntland and Somaliland, with the UN refugee agency preparing to receive as many as 100,000 in the coming months.

Those fleeing the fighting are a mixture of Yemenis and Somalis.

"Our economy cannot support this influx of refugees," Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke told AFP during a visit to the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Thursday.

"We need a lot of support to accommodate these refugees," said Sharmarke, whose country has itself suffered from decades of civil war.

In the south of Somalia Al-Qaeda-aligned Shebab militants still hold sway in much of the countryside, despite being pushed out of most towns by a coalition of African Union and Somali troops. A string of militant leaders have also been killed in US drone strikes.

Sharmarke said "there's a debate" within Shebab over whether to switch allegiance to Islamic State. But he warned that the strengthening of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), which has long had ties to Shebab and has taken advantage of Yemen's strife to seize new territory, could benefit the Somali group.

The prime minister warned that Al-Qaeda operatives from Yemen could use the cover of fleeing refugees to infiltrate Somalia and called for stringent screening of new arrivals as well as a renewed regional effort to defeat Shebab.

"There's a real sense of urgency for us in the region to quickly shut down the Jubba corridor," said Sharmarke, referring to a riverine area in southern Somalia where Shebab fighters are concentrated.

"Shebab is not a local issue but a regional one," said Sharmarke. The group struck Uganda in 2010 and has attacked Kenya repeatedly, most recently killing 148 people at Garissa University earlier this month.

Referring to international coalitions currently fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Sharmarke said, "There has to be a regional solution to Shebab."

Sharmarke, who has both Somali and Canadian citizenship, was named prime minister in December, the second time he held the position.

His appointment has been hailed by key donors as a chance to end months of political infighting and stalemate that beset his predecessor and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

tmc/sas/sms

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Somalia: Somalia Seasonal Monitor April 22, 2015

22 April 2015 - 11:16pm
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Somalia

Moderate Gu rains started in mid-April in many parts of South-Central

Summary

Both satellite images and ground reports show moderate to heavy rains of 25 to 75 millimeters (mm) were received in many parts of the South and in Galgaduud Region. The rainfall estimate (RFE2) for April 11 to 20 shows that the rainfall was 10 to 50 mm below the 2001 to 2014 mean in most of the country (Figure 2). However, most parts of Bakool, Galgaduud, and Hiraan Regions and some parts of Gedo received 25 to 50 mm above the mean. Most of the northern regions remained dry from April 11 to 20 (Figure 1).

Somalia: Escaping Danger into Uncertainty: The Voyages of Migrants out of Yemen into Somalia

22 April 2015 - 10:30pm
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Somalia, Yemen

By Dayib Abdirahman Askar, IOM Somalia

Mohamed is originally from Jigjiga, Ethiopia. He was living in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

“I was working at a hotel in Sana’a. I am married and have a one-year-old son.”

Then fighting broke out and Mohamed says there was a fight between two armed groups.

“We spent many days with no food and no water. I was unable to go to work since the fighting so we left Sana’a and arrived in Mokha by car.”

Mohamed says he travelled with one other family and they did not use the usual roads. “We went through checkpoints and had to avoid normal roads. It took us some days to get to Mokha and we had to pay USD 250 for my family to take the car.”

Mohamed and the group took a boat for two days before arriving in Berbera Somaliland. They had to part with USD 50 per person to get onto the boat that finally brought them to Somaliland.

“We were two families who got in the vehicle from Sana’a to Mokha and once we were in Mokha we joined more than a hundred people on the boat that brought us to Berbera. We managed to escape with no harm.”

Mohamed now hopes to join his father in Jigjiga and start a new life. But by the time he arrived in Berbera he had no money left.

“I cannot support my family to get back to Ethiopia on my own,” he says.

Naima is originally from Burao, Somaliland and she has also arrived in Berbera fleeing the conflict in Yemen with her eight-month-old baby girl. Just like Mohamed, she too lived in Sana’a.

“I lived with my husband who is a student and still in Sana’a,” Naima said. “My husband refused to come with us. He is still in Sana’a waiting for a certificate of his studies.”

Naima too used the same route as Mohamed to get to Berbera in Somaliland.

Naima wants to join her mother in Burao but worries still remain. “I don’t know if my husband will be okay or not.”

For now Naima also needs support to get her home to her family.

IOM is supporting Mohamed, Naima and many others to go back home safely. IOM teams are assisting migrants and third country nationals that are fleeing fighting in Yemen into Somaliland and other areas in the Horn of Africa.

IOM provides medical screening of new arrivals, accommodation, food, medical assistance and onward transportation assistance to vulnerable stranded families at the reception center in Berbera, Somaliland.

“The people arriving from Yemen have varying urgent needs. IOM is working with partners to register, screen and identify the most vulnerable,” said Craig Murphy, IOM Regional Project Coordinator for the Horn of Africa.

“Migrants are provided with food, water, and transferred to a reception center for transit accommodation and onward transportation. IOM is building its capacity to provide effective and timely assistance to the migrants arriving in Somaliland fleeing the Yemen Crisis,” added Murphy.

As of 20 April, 787 people arrived through Berbera port in Somaliland while 1,132 arrived in Puntland through the Port of Bosasso and the remote coastal areas of Alula and Bargal. Most of the arrivals are Somali nationals as well as a few Yemeni nationals.

World: Le HCR se félicite du Plan d'action de l'UE pour la Méditerranée; davantage doit être fait

22 April 2015 - 2:26pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Italy, Libya, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

GENÈVE, 22 avril (HCR) – Le HCR s'est félicité mardi du Plan d'action européen pour répondre aux problèmes de la migration irrégulière en Méditerranée. L'agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés a toutefois annoncé que davantage doit être fait, après que des centaines de réfugiés et de migrants aient péri en haute mer.

En particulier, le Haut Commissaire assistant en charge de la protection Volker Türk a déclaré à Genève qu'une opération robuste de recherche et de sauvetage et des voies juridiques crédibles à ces traversées périlleuses demeurent nécessaires.

La réunion conjointe, ce lundi, des Ministres européens des Affaires étrangères et de l'Intérieur a présenté un Plan d'action en 10 points sur la migration, suite à une semaine qui a été le théâtre de multiples naufrages en Méditerranée, y compris celui ayant généré le plus lourd bilan jamais enregistré.

Volker Türk s'est félicité des mesures de l'UE sur le partage de la responsabilité contenues dans le plan, comme les procédures d'examen des demandes d'asile, le transfert et la réinstallation, qui sont un point de départ bienvenu pour la réponse à la situation en Méditerranée.

Il a déclaré que le HCR appelait également instamment à ce que ces mesures soient étendues pour renforcer la composante de l'asile et de la protection dans le plan, y compris élaborer une opération robuste de recherche et de sauvetage dont la priorité serait de sauver des milliers de vies humaines ; prendre l'engagement ferme de recevoir un nombre important de réfugiés pour la réinstallation dans l'UE; offrir des alternatives juridiques, comme l'amélioration du processus de réunification des familles, des systèmes de parrainage privé, ainsi que des visas de travail et d'étude, afin que les personnes ayant besoin de protection internationale n'aient pas à recourir à ces traversées périlleuses; fournir un appui aux pays qui reçoivent le plus grand nombre d'arrivants (Italie et Grèce), et; un plus important partage de la responsabilité intra-UE pour éviter la situation actuelle où quelques pays reçoivent la plupart des demandeurs d'asile, principalement l'Allemagne et la Suède.

Parallèlement, selon les survivants de la tragédie du week-end dernier, le bateau avait quitté Tripoli en Libye samedi matin avec quelque 850 personnes à bord, dont 350 Erythréens ainsi que des ressortissants de Syrie, de Somalie, de Sierra Leone, du Mali, du Sénégal, de la Gambie, de la Côte-d'Ivoire et de l'Ethiopie.

« Seulement 28 personnes auraient survécu au naufrage, y compris un jeune Bangladais qui a été transporté dimanche par hélicoptère vers l'hôpital de Catane en Sicile et 27 autres personnes qui ont été débarquées par les garde-côtes italiens à Catane la nuit dernière [lundi] », a indiqué le porte-parole du HCR Adrian Edwards aux journalistes à Genève.

« D'après les informations disponibles et les différents témoignages que nous avons reçus, le HCR estime désormais le nombre de décès à plus de 800, ce qui en fait la tragédie la plus meurtrière jamais enregistrée pour la Méditerranée », at-il ajouté.

Le personnel du HCR à Catane a évoqué le traumatisme subi par les survivants avec lesquels ils se sont entretenus. « La peur se lisant dans les yeux d'un homme, sa tête baissée et ses mains serrées dans ses poches, était évidente », a écrit Kate Bond, rédactrice au HCR. « Un survivant a indiqué aux employés du HCR que des enfants se trouvaient à bord. Aucun d'eux n'a encore été trouvé, bien que les opérations de recherche et de sauvetage se poursuivent sur zone », a-t-elle ajouté.

Les réfugiés et les migrants ont été transférés par autocar vers un centre d'accueil situé à proximité, où ils ont reçu des soins médicaux. Des visages hébétés, des regards vides pouvaient être aperçus aux fenêtres de l'autobus qui s'est éloigné dans la nuit noire.

« Les migrants avaient l'air épuisés, fragiles et étonnés de voir autant de gens qui les attendaient. Ils auront besoin d'un soutien psychologique », a déclaré la porte-parole du HCR Carlotta Sami à Catane.

Angola: Climate Prediction Center’s Africa Hazards Outlook April 23 – April 29, 2015

22 April 2015 - 12:30pm
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Country: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe
  • Very poor rains across northern Ethiopia expected to negatively affect “Belg” season cropping activities.

  • Average to above-average rains continue across parts of Kenya, Tanzania, and southern Somalia.

1) Since late December, an unseasonable distribution of monsoonal rainfall has resulted in anomalous dryness across a broad portion of southern Africa. Low seasonal precipitation totals and untimely dry spells has negatively affected ground conditions and is likely to lead crop reductions for several local areas in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and South Africa.

2) Below-average rainfall since March, which have already impacted crop conditions across the bimodal region of northern Tanzania. Increased rains over northwestern Tanzania have helped to alleviate short-term moisture deficits.

3) Poorly distributed rainfall and extended dry spells since January have led to large rainfall deficits and degraded vegetation conditions in southern Angola and northern Namibia.

4) Erratic, below-average rainfall since February combined with four consecutive weeks of little to no rainfall since mid-March has led to large moisture deficits and rapidly deteriorating ground conditions in Ethiopia. The mid-season absence of precipitation is likely to adversely affect cropping activities for several “Belg” producing areas of the country.

5) Late season moisture deficits associated with an early cessation of the southern Africa monsoon has negatively affect cropping conditions for parts of northern Malawi and northern Mozambique.

Somalia: International partners welcome the formation of the Jubba regional assembly

22 April 2015 - 12:18pm
Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia Country: Somalia

Mogadishu, 22 April 2015 –The United Nations, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union (EU), African Union Mission in Somalia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom welcome the formation of the Jubba regional assembly. We encourage further dialogue to ensure that all clans, communities and minority groups from the Jubas feel represented.

“We welcome this important development. We urge the Interim Jubba Administration (IJA) to coordinate with the Federal Government of Somalia to resolve any issues arising from the process.

Forming the Assembly is a positive and important step in the implementation of the August 2013 Addis Ababa Agreement and the Jubba state formation process, and in building a Federal Somalia. Ensuring a fair and inclusive process will help build a just, peaceful society that can serve as a model for the rest of the country.

We commend the Federal Government and the IJA for their contributions in the formation of the assembly.

We stand ready to support the authorities and the regional assembly. We urge all parties to engage in constructive consultation and reconciliation with all stakeholders, ensuring that the interests of all communities are protected. Somalia’s international partners remain committed to supporting the nation’s peace and state-building process.”

Get updates from UNSOM/Halkan ka hel wararka UNSOM:
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Somalia: Food Security & Nutrition Quarterly Brief - Focus on Gu 2015 Season Early Warning (Issued April 22, 2015)

22 April 2015 - 10:53am
Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit Country: Somalia

KEY ISSUES

According to the post-Deyr 2014/15 seasonal assessment results, based on Integrated Phase Classification (IPC), an estimated 731 000 people are classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity phases from February to June 2015. A total caseload of acutely malnourished children under-five (based on October-December 2014 results) is 202 600 children. The results of recent rapid field assessments (March 2014) and a monthly monitoring of food security indicators by the FSNAU indicated that the estimates of population in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) among internally displaced persons (IDPs) and rural people is likely to remain unchanged through June 2015. However, recent nutrition MUAC assessment results (April 2015) in Bulo Burte (Hiran) revealed very critical level of malnutrition rates (Global Acute Malnutrition [GAM] of 33%), which suggests a worsening of the food security situation in the town which is already Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Worsened food security conditions could be attributed to a significant surge in food prices since January this year as a result of scarcity of food on the markets and reduced economic activities in the context of continued siege by insurgents and severely limitted access to humanitarian assistance.

• The 2015 Jilaal dry season (January – March) was hotter and drier than usual in all pastoral and agropastoral livelihoods of Somalia, which caused a significant deterioration in vegetation conditions in most of the South as well as parts of the North. Water shortages experienced in many parts of the country during February-March resulted in significant increases in water prices. However, the early start of the Gu rainy season (from late March) brought some improvement to pasture and water resources in the affected areas. Although milk production declined seasonally during the Jilaal period, causing increases in milk prices in most parts of the country, it is likely to improve in the course of Gu April-June 2015 rainy season with calving/ kidding of livestock expected in May-June 2015.

• According to FSNAU rapid assessment results, off-season harvest (maize, sesame and cowpea), with a total estimate of nearly 10 000 tones, was collected in February-March 2015 in three southern regions (Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Gedo). Poor farmers in these areas as well as in parts of Bay and Lower Shabelle currently have cereal stocks. However, in most agricultural livelihood zones of the country poor households have already exhausted cereal stocks from the recent Deyr harvest and will rely on market purchases of cereals until the next Gu harvest, expected from July to August. Prompted by early start of Gu rains, seasonal farming activities (land preparation, planting, etc) commenced in most of the South and in the Northwest, in March 2015. However, prevailing insecurity in parts of Lower Shabelle, Hiran, Bakool and Gedo may affect the intensity of cultivation in these regions. The Gu harvest will largely depend on rainfall performance in April through June, which is expected to be near to below normal, based on the early outlook issued in February 2015.

• Cereal prices exhibited mild increases in most markets in the first quarter of the year, but surged significantly in Bulo Burte (27%). The poor segments of Bulo Burte town also have the weakest purchasing power expressed in terms-of-trade (ToT) between daily labour wage and cereals (1.8kg of cereals for one day of casual labour wage). Conversely, cereal prices have come down in another siege-affected town of Hudur (Bakool) due to improved supplies through Elbarde as well as ongoing humanitarian assistance. Compared to a year ago, ToTs dropped in most regions as a result of increased cereal prices and/or decreased labor wages and goat prices. The consumer price index (CPI) shows relatively stable rates of inflation in the first quarter of 2015; it has also remained largely unchanged in most parts of Somali shilling (SoSh) regions, but declined by six percent in Somaliland shilling (SISh)-using regions.

• Acute malnutrition trends based on data from health facilities for January-March 2015 suggest deterioration in nutrition situation in Hiran region (Buloburte, Beletweyne districts), Banadir region and in riverine livelihoods of Gedo region and Shabelle regions, parts of Northeast (Sool and East Golis/Karkar) and Buraotown in Northwest. Apart from deteriorated food security conditions in Buloburte, the worsening nutrition situation in other regions in the South could be ascribed to various diseases reported by MCH clinics as well as lack of nutrition supplies to treat malnourished children in the largest referral hospital in South-Central Zone in Banadir.

• Humanitarian assistance, geared towards treatment of malnourished children, improved access to food, social safety nets and livelihood support are needed, at least, until the next Gu harvest in July-August 2015.

Somalia: Somalia Dekadal Rainfall Update: 2nd Dekad of April 2015 Issued on 22/04/2015

22 April 2015 - 9:23am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Somalia

This bulletin provides summary of 10 days (Dekadal) observed rainfall in Somalia

During the second Dekad of April 2015 (11th – 20th), the Gu rains continued to spread in terms of quantity and space in most parts of the country, with the southern parts recording high rainfall amounts. Figure (1) shows the rainfall observation network and monthly rainfall distribution for selected stations across the country. The table below is a brief summary of the rainfall situation by region for this dekad. This update will be issued every 10-days throughout the Gu rainy season.

World: Mediterranean migrants could surge to 500,000 this year: IMO chief

22 April 2015 - 6:11am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Eritrea, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Singapore, Singapore | Wednesday 4/22/2015 - 10:03 GMT

The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean could surge to 500,000 this year, with deaths at sea reaching thousands if no action is taken against the people who traffic them, the head of the UN's maritime agency warned Wednesday.

Koji Sekimizu, secretary general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), called for a multinational effort to ensure not only the safety of the migrants but also to target those who smuggle them out for profit despite the risks.

"This is a very serious issue," Sekimizu said in a keynote address at Sea Asia, a major maritime conference and exhibition in Singapore.

"It is time to really think about how to stop the very dangerous and unsafe passage of migrants on board small, very unsafe boats. We should take action."

He said his office was working with other UN agencies to establish a database of the people smugglers as an initial step to target them, but would not give any more details.

More than 170,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean into Europe last year, with 3,000 of them perishing at sea, according to Sekimizu.

In the latest incident, some 800 people are feared to have died when a boat packed with migrants capsized near Libya on Sunday.

The victims, including an unknown number of children, were locked in the hold or the middle deck of the 20-metre (66-foot) boat which keeled over in pitch darkness after colliding with a Portuguese container ship answering its distress call.

The United Nations refugee agency said those on board included Syrians, Eritreans and Somalians.

"If we do nothing, I think this year we will see half a million of migrants crossing over the Mediterranean and potentially we will see probably 10,000 of deaths if that is the case," Sekimizu warned.

"We should not only address the situation of search and rescue but also we should address the smugglers, the traffickers behind the scene," he said, adding that European governments must play a crucial role.

Sekimizu cited the global effort that successfully reduced the number of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia as an example of how the international community could come together on the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

Italian officials believe there could be up to one million more would-be immigrants to Europe waiting to board boats in conflict-torn Libya.

Many of them are refugees from Syria's civil war or persecution in places like Eritrea. Others are seeking to escape poverty and hunger in Africa and South Asia and secure a better future in Europe.

mba/bjp/mtp

Kenya: Refugees exit plan put on hold

22 April 2015 - 1:22am
Source: Kenya Daily Nation Country: Kenya, Somalia

In Summary

  • Commission formed to fast-track bid to close Dadaab camp.

  • Kenya to seek money from donors before embarking on the programme to return Somali refugees home.

By AGGREY MUTAMBO

Somali refugees will not be kicked out in 90 days as it would be too expensive.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed told reporters in Nairobi that the repatriation would depend on the outcome of a donor conference later in the year.

“We will request UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) to convene a conference at which we will request partners and donors, for resources for the repatriation of refugees,” she said.

She went on: “I don’t want to put a timeframe but I tell you that we probably could do it either before the three months are over or maybe go over that period a little.”

LARGEST CAMP

Last week, Deputy President William Ruto, citing the camp as a terrorist breeding ground, told the UN agency to organise the relocation of the world’s largest camp to Somalia or the government would do it.

Both Somalia and UNHCR said it would break international laws and that Somalia was not yet safe.

On Tuesday, Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR officials held a three-hour meeting in Nairobi on security, repatriation and support for refugees.

Refugee Commissioner Haron Komen, National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations vice-chairman Barre Shill and Dadaab MP Mohamed Daliye attended the meeting.

It culminated in the launch of a 12-member commission that will be in charge of the repatriation.

Kenya’s representatives will be Foreign Affairs and Interior cabinet secretaries, Refugee Commissioner and Kenyan ambassador to Somalia Josephat Maikara.

On Tuesday, Ms Mohamed insisted that the “bottom line” would be to repatriate the refugees, but conceded it would require much more money and time.

“The three of us are going to continuously meet to ensure that we expedite repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya,” she said.

Of the 335,565 refugees at Dadaab, only 2,060 have been repatriated through a tripartite agreement.

Although 50,000 others had gone back on their own, sources indicate the government was getting frustrated by the delay, yet the tripartite pact expires in September 2016.

Somalia: Somalia Climate Update: March 2015 Monthly Rainfall and NDVI (Issued April 21, 2015)

22 April 2015 - 12:52am
Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit Country: Somalia

Highlights

The much awaited Gu (April – June) rains have commenced early, during the third dekad of March, across the country based on rainfall station data.
Some areas in the North experienced good rainfall performance. However, in most of South-Central the rains were poor with uneven distribution in space and time. Notable stations recorded above average rains include: Borama (64mm), Burao (18mm), Caynabo (41mm), Bossaso (20mm), Dangaroyo (19mm), Burtinle (38mm), Galkayo(60mm) in the North and Buale and Jowhar stations (28mm each) in the South (Map 1 and Table 1). The above average rains in Northeast resulted in flash floods in Kakaar Mountains that flowed to the Dharor valley leading to loss of unknown numbers of goat and sheep. River (Shabelle and Juba) levels were stable in March.

Satellite derived Rainfall Estimates (TAMSAT-RFE) also indicate moderate rainfall in the last Dekad of March (Maps 6-8 and 10). Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived from the E-Modis shows that vegetation started to recover, although depressed vegetation is still visible in Lower Shabelle, Jubas, Gedo and Bay regions, following drier than normal Jilaal season (Map 6-8). Additionally, field reports indicate poor pasture in parts of Hawd and Addun of Central.

According to FSNAU field reports, recent rains improved pasture and browse, to some extent in most livelihoods of the country, which will eventually provide recovery to animals after Jilaal dry season.
Improvements, however, will depend on the rainfall intensity and distribution in the coming weeks. Land preparation, ridging, dry/wet planting and de-silting of canals are some of the on-going agricultural activities. Opportunistic livestock migration to areas where pasture is better was observed across the country in March.