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Niger: WHO AFRO Outbreaks and Other Emergencies Week 15: 8 – 14 April 2017 (Data as reported by 17:00 14 April 2017)

26 April 2017 - 1:57pm
Source: World Health Organization Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Togo, Uganda

Overview

This weekly bulletin focuses on selected public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African region. WHO AFRO is currently monitoring 41 events: two Grade 3, six Grade 2, two Grade 1, and 31 ungraded events.

This week, one new event has been reported: an outbreak of hepatitis E in Niger.

The bulletin also focuses on key ongoing events in the region, including the grade 3 humanitarian crisis in South Sudan as well as outbreaks of Lassa fever in 5 West African countries, measles in Guinea, acute watery diarrhoea/cholera in Ethiopia, and the food insecurity crisis in the Horn of Africa.
For each of these events, a brief description followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.

A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all public health events currently being monitored in the region.

Major challenges to be addressed include:

• Cross border spread of diseases and the need to build and maintain strong collaboration and corporation among State Parties, in line with provisions of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

• Deliberate investment in preparedness activities in order to strengthen disease surveillance for early detection, verification and response to public health events; and minimize their impacts.

New event

Hepatitis E
Niger
72 Cases 17 Deaths
24% CFR

Event description

The Niger Ministry of Health notified WHO on 12 April 2017 of an outbreak of hepatitis E in Diffa region located in the east of the country. The outbreak emerged on 09 January 2017 when clinicians at the Centre Mere-Enfant de Diffa started admitting pregnant women with acute jaundice syndrome. The initial case-patients presented with headaches, vomiting, fever, conjunctivitis, pelvic pain, and memory loss. The initial differential diagnosis was yellow fever, however, hepatitis E was later considered in light of the preponderance of pregnant mothers to the disease and the ongoing outbreak of hepatitis E in neighbouring Chad.

According to the Regional Director of Public Health in Diffa, 72 cases of acute jaundice syndrome including 17 deaths (case fatality rate of 23.6%) were reported by 10 April 2017. All 17 deaths occurred among pregnant mothers. Over 70% (52/72) of the case-patients and 100% of the deaths were reported from the Centre Mere-Enfant de Diffa while 20 case-patients and zero death came from Diffa district health care.

On 11 April 2017, the WHO Country Office in Niger relayed laboratory results from the Institut Pasteur Dakar (IPD). The results indicated that 14 samples obtained from the initial cases of acute jaundice syndrome in Diffa tested negative for yellow fever virus while 4 samples tested positive for hepatitis E virus. These results led to the formal declaration of hepatitis E outbreak by the Ministry of Health on 12 April 2017.

Detailed outbreak investigation and risk assessment are currently being conducted and the findings will be provided in the next bulletin.

Somalia: UNSOM hosts workshop on Somalia’s New Policing Model

26 April 2017 - 11:22am
Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia Country: Somalia

Mogadishu, 24 April 2017 - A three-day workshop to discuss the modalities of implementing Somalia’s New Policing Model in HirShabelle state commenced today in Mogadishu.

The workshop contributes to the operationalization of a broader agreement known as the National Security Architecture, which was jointly endorsed by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and the presidents of the federal member states in Mogadishu on 16 April. The New Policing Model was reaffirmed by the political agreement on Somalia’s National Security Architecture.

In attendance at the workshop were members of the HirShabelle Technical Committee, who will oversee the implementation of the New Policing Model and lay the foundation for the establishment of a state police force.

The members of the committee are drawn from the HirShabelle state assembly, government ministries and departments, and nongovernmental organizations, among others. The meeting was organized by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and officially opened by the HirShabelle Minister of Interior, Mohamed Ali Adle.

Speaking at the workshop, HirShabelle State Police Commissioner Col. Hassan Dhisow Hassan said the implementation of the New Policing Model will culminate in the establishment of a strong police service to help secure the region and the country.

“This workshop is of great significance, given that it is the first step towards the establishment of the security institutions, particularly the police in HirShabelle. We look forward to the outcome, which will be very useful for the administration in terms of the provision of security for the people,” Col. Hassan said.

In March 2016 internal security ministers from the federal government and federal member states signed an agreement on the future structure of Somali police services and called it the New Policing Model.

The agreement codifies a two-tier approach for policing by state-level police services and a federal police service. On 24 June 2016 the New Policing Model was endorsed by the National Leadership Forum, and that backing was confirmed by the political agreement on a national security architecture for Somalia that was reached on 16 April of this year.

The model contains federal and state-level components that will report to their respective federal and state-level ministries of internal security. Each component will be responsible for recruitment and training of police personnel.

Minister Adle welcomed the fact that the workshop was being held just a few days after the country’s top leadership agreed on the new national security architecture, which proposed an increase in security personnel numbers nationwide and greater collaboration between state and federal security institutions.

“The National Security Architecture is about how the security and stabilization plan will be implemented, given that we have a federal system of governance. Federal member states have a stake in the security of the country, since the security of the country is intertwined with that of the federal state. They complement each other. If HirShabelle is secure, it is good for the whole country and we are happy with the security architecture,” the Minister explained.

Meinolf Schlotmann, UNSOM Senior Police Advisor on Police Reforms, also expressed satisfaction with the discussions, adding that the issue of security was of great significance to both federal and state governments. Mr. Schlotmann noted that security will be one of the topical issues in the London Somalia Conference scheduled for 11 May 2017.

“You all know that the London Conference in coming up and support to the New Policing Model will be one of the topics to be discussed,” the UN official observed.

Halima Abdirahman Sheikh, one of the participants, urged the UN and the federal government to organize more workshops on security to enable Somalia to establish a strong security force.

“I hope that we have more of such workshops because they are important for women and children who over the last 26 years have suffered the most because of wars in Somalia. If we have a strong police in place, then our security will be guaranteed,” Ms. Sheikh said.

HirShabelle is the fifth federal member state to implement the New Policing Model joining Jubbaland, South West State, Puntland and Galmudug.

Somalia: First conference for Somali women legislators opens in Mogadishu

26 April 2017 - 11:20am
Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia Country: Somalia

Mogadishu, 24 April 2017 - Somali women parliamentarians attended the opening of the first annual consultative conference since the conclusion of the 2016 electoral process to discuss their roles in legislative assemblies.

The conference was opened by the Speaker of the House of the People, Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari, and participants have been drawn from the federal parliament and regional assemblies, the executive branch of the federal government and civil society.

The Speaker told the two-day conference that there was a need to strengthen the agenda of women members of parliament (MPs) to address the challenges they face.

“I believe the quality of women leadership whether in parliament, the executive or civil society, depends on their training to promote their leadership qualities and address women’s issues”, Mr. Jawari added.

The federal Minister for Women and Human Rights, Hon. Deeqa Yasin Yusuf, called on women members of regional and federal parliaments to forge unity in order to achieve their goals.

“I know if we become united -- the women MPs in regional states and federal parliament, the ministers and members of the civil society working on women issues -- our voice will be heard, and we can attain our goals”, the Minister added.

Hon. Betty Amongi, a Ugandan MP who is also a parliamentary gender expert, reminded participants that some had benefitted from the 30 percent parliamentary gender quota that was adopted for the 2016 electoral process.

“You’re supposed to sleep and walk and think of what are you going to do for the women of Somalia. Don’t think that I should behave well so that next time my tribe picks me. You should dream and work to think of what are you doing to shape the life of the women of Somalia,” said Ms. Amongi.

An MP from South West State, Hon. Maryan Moalimu Isaak, said the conference would galvanize women in all sectors to develop an agenda for Somalia. The chairperson of the Somalia Women Parliamentary Caucus, Hon.Bibi Khalif Mohamed, welcomed the conference as an indication that the country’s democracy is maturing.

In his opening remarks, the UNDP Country Director for Somalia, George Conway, lauded the progress made in last year’s electoral process, noting that there has been an increase in gender representation in state assemblies in South West, Galmudug, Jubbaland, HirShabelle and Puntland.

The conference is taking place three months after the conclusion of the electoral process that increased the number of women federal MPs from 14 percent in the 2012-2016 parliament to 24 per cent in the current parliament.

South Sudan: War at the root of hunger

26 April 2017 - 11:03am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

by Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations, ICRC

We are on the brink of a humanitarian mega-crisis unprecedented in recent history. The spectre of famine looms large over parts of Africa and the Middle East.

We must act now. What is needed is a broad and massive scaling up of support from the international community. If we treat this as "business as usual", the long-term cost in human lives will only rise.

The consequences of not dedicating the resources to avert these disasters and address their root causes could affect us all.

It is estimated that more than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia are affected by the current crisis. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been on the ground in these countries for years. We witness the massive suffering.

In Yemen, a perfect storm is brewing. Only 45 percent of health structures are functioning. In one city, Hodeida, the water system is on the verge of collapse, threatening nearly half a million people. Desperately needed goods such as food and medicine are blocked from entering the country.

In South Sudan, it is estimated that one in three households is in urgent need of food. In Nigeria's Borno state, 300,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition over the coming year.

Long-term conflict is the common factor linking the crises in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria; the emergency is man-made. In the horn of Africa, drought is also a central cause, with mass livestock deaths in Somalia devastating entire communities.

In Kenya, the rate of malnutrition is above emergency levels in some areas. In Ethiopia, more than five million people still need food assistance.

Hope exists: there is still time to avert famine, but speed is essential and substantial financial resources are needed.

Humanitarian funding is a tiny fraction of government budgets, and yet absolutely essential to keeping millions of people alive in conflict hotspots.

In view of the alarming situation over such a large geographical area, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has come together to respond in a coordinated way, leveraging our respective strengths and diversity to work towards one common goal: to save lives in communities most at risk in these countries.

We have been busy. In South Sudan, our teams wade through swamps to meet with families hiding from violence. We distribute seeds and fishing kits so people can feed themselves.

Following the recent upsurge in fighting in Yemen, the ICRC increased its medical assistance by 250 percent to assist people wounded by war.

The Kenya Red Cross has been scaling up activities in the distribution of foodstuffs, health and nutrition, cash transfer and animal destocking and slaughter programming.

In total, the ICRC and the IFRC will spend nearly $600 million in the 6 countries, to help more than 7 million people.

But no amount of aid money can overcome widespread violations of the Geneva Conventions. States have the power and duty to influence behavior in the right direction. They must try harder. States should not support those who fail to abide by the laws of war.

Looking to the long-term, what happens if we do not act now and deal with the causes of this famine? If conflict deepens, if polarization increases, there will be a growing price to pay.

First, there will be the massive cost in human life, and the deep suffering and pain for those who survive the backwash of mass death.

Second, there will be another increase in refugees crossing borders in search of safety. How would a massive tide of new movement affect a world already wary of migration?

At a time of growing uncertainty and fear, we still have a chance to tackle the coming disaster in countries facing mass hunger. By working together, we have a chance to avert this seemingly relentless march towards the abyss.

Jordan: Displaced Minorities Part II: Experiences and needs of Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants in Jordan, April 2017

26 April 2017 - 10:24am
Source: Mixed Migration Platform Country: Jordan, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

Introduction

Over 10,000 Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and asylum seekers are now registered with UNHCR in Jordan, though many members of these communities live in the country without valid documentation (see Part I). Despite this high numbers of displaced individuals, insufficient attention has been devoted to understanding their experiences of displacement, humanitarian and protection needs, and access to appropriate solutions. From the few studies that point out gaps and imbalances in the humanitarian response framework, we know that minority groups face unmet protection, healthcare, education, shelter, non-food items (NFIs), food security and livelihoods needs. Despite efforts to develop a more holistic refugee response that bolsters Jordan’s resilience to the protracted Syrian refugee crisis, more work is needed to ensure smaller displaced groups, whose needs are often equally urgent and severe, do not fall through the cracks.3 Part II of MMP’s feature article on displaced minorities in Jordan compiles the findings of existing literature on the needs and experiences of Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants living in Jordan, and is supplemented by insights from aid organisations and personnel working to address the needs of these underserved populations. By first outlining the range of humanitarian needs, then analysing gaps in the response framework that contribute to these unmet needs, the article aims to set out suggestions on the way forward for humanitarian policy and programming. These suggestions have been informed by a roundtable discussion held in April 2017. The project will also contribute to a primary needs assessment, which will be conducted in May 2017.

Methodology

This article presents a review of the available secondary data on Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants in Jordan. Collectively, these groups are denoted as “displaced minorities” for the purposes of this report, not to diminish their importance, but to acknowledge their representation of smaller populations whose needs are often overlooked relative to other, larger displaced groups in Jordan. Given the limited nature of reporting on Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants in Jordan, the study supplemented desk research with a small series of key informant interviews carried out from February to April 2017. Nine open-ended interviews were conducted in Amman with NGO staff, researchers and members of the focus communities. These interviews were exploratory in nature and conducted in order to triangulate information from secondary data, identify key issues and highlight information gaps. Policy and programme recommendations outlined at the end of this article were discussed at a roundtable held in Amman in April 2017, attended by staff from ten NGOs, research institutions, and UN agencies.

Jordan: Feature Article: Displaced Minorities: Part II: Experiences and needs of Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants in Jordan

26 April 2017 - 10:24am
Source: Mixed Migration Platform Country: Jordan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

Introduction

Over 10,000 Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and asylum seekers are now registered with UNHCR in Jordan,1 though many members of these communities live in the country without valid documentation (see Part I). Despite this high numbers of displaced individuals, insufficient attention has been devoted to understanding their experiences of displacement, humanitarian and protection needs, and access to appropriate solutions. From the few studies that point out gaps and imbalances in the humanitarian response framework, we know that minority groups face unmet protection, healthcare, education, shelter, non-food items (NFIs), food security and livelihoods needs.2 Despite efforts to develop a more holistic refugee response that bolsters Jordan’s resilience to the protracted Syrian refugee crisis, more work is needed to ensure smaller displaced groups, whose needs are often equally urgent and severe, do not fall through the cracks.3 Part II of MMP’s feature article on displaced minorities in Jordan compiles the findings of existing literature on the needs and experiences of Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants living in Jordan, and is supplemented by insights from aid organisations and personnel working to address the needs of these underserved populations. By first outlining the range of humanitarian needs, then analysing gaps in the response framework that contribute to these unmet needs, the article aims to set out suggestions on the way forward for humanitarian policy and programming. These suggestions have been informed by a roundtable discussion held in April 2017. The project will also contribute to a primary needs assessment, which will be conducted in May 2017.

Methodology

This article presents a review of the available secondary data on Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants in Jordan. Collectively, these groups are denoted as “displaced minorities” for the purposes of this report, not to diminish their importance, but to acknowledge their representation of smaller populations whose needs are often overlooked relative to other, larger displaced groups in Jordan. Given the limited nature of reporting on Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni refugees and other migrants in Jordan, the study supplemented desk research with a small series of key informant interviews carried out from February to April 2017. Nine open-ended interviews were conducted in Amman with NGO staff, researchers and members of the focus communities. These interviews were exploratory in nature and conducted in order to triangulate information from secondary data, identify key issues and highlight information gaps. Policy and programme recommendations outlined at the end of this article were discussed at a roundtable held in Amman in April 2017, attended by staff from ten NGOs, research institutions, and UN agencies.

Somalia: OIC-sponsored Workshop in Uganda on Building Capacity for Responding to Humanitarian Crises

26 April 2017 - 7:53am
Source: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Country: Somalia, Sudan, Uganda

A five-day workshop to strengthen the capacity of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to effectively respond to humanitarian crises and coordinate within the international humanitarian system is held in Kampala, Uganda at the initiative of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and implemented by International Medical Corps.

Participants in the Kampala workshop, who represent NGOs operating in Uganda, Somalia and the Sudan, are being afforded the opportunity to develop a better understanding of the global humanitarian setting, to familiarize themselves with key actors of the humanitarian world as well as with the principles governing the international humanitarian system.

Following the 5-day workshop, International Medical Corps will deploy subject matter experts in functional areas or domains identified by the participating NGOs to provide onsite support to further strengthen their capacities.

There is an increasing recognition in the international humanitarian community of the vital role that local and national NGOs play in the response to humanitarian emergencies. However, due to the complexities of funding, implementation, and reporting procedures inherent in working with international donors and engaging in international coordination structures, many local and national NGOs face barriers in establishing the institutional knowledge that would enable them to readily meet numerous donor requirements to secure funding of their humanitarian activities.

The workshop is part of a two-year initiative, entitled “Building Better Capacity of National NGOs for Response and Coordination in Humanitarian Crises” targeting local and national NGO partners of the OIC across Africa and the Middle East.

A similar workshop will be held in Tunisia in early May 2017 for the benefit of OIC NGO partners from Yemen, Libya, Jordan and Lebanon, who will also benefit from a post-workshop period of onsite support by subject matter experts.

Somalia: Anti-terrorism laws have ‘chilling effect’ on vital aid deliveries to Somalia

26 April 2017 - 6:54am
Source: Guardian Country: Somalia

Fear of prosecution under UK and US counter-terror laws hinders those trying to provide humanitarian assistance in areas held by Islamic militants

Strict British and US counter-terrorism laws are discouraging humanitarian organisations from delivering vital emergency assistance to millions of people facing starvation and fatal diseases in drought-hit Somalia.

Read more on the Guardian

Somalia: Somalia Rainfall Forecast Issued: 26/04/2017

26 April 2017 - 6:48am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Somalia

The rainfall forecast for the next 24 hours (Map 1) indicates light to moderate rains in parts of northern areas of the country especially in Togdheer, Sanag, Sool, Bari and Nugaal regions. Other parts of the country will remain dry within the day.

The cumulative rainfall forecast for the week which ends on 02 May 2017 (Map 2) shows moderate to heavy rains in most parts of the country including the Ethiopian highlands. Most of the rains are expected towards the end of the week. Given the forecast, cases of flash floods cannot be ruled out especially in the northern areas within the week.

The river levels are also expected to rise given the forecast. Users are advised that this is a forecast and at times there may be discrepancies between forecast and actual amounts of rainfall received. The forecast, observed river levels and rainfall amounts are updated on a daily basis and can be found in this link: http://systems.faoso.net/frrims/

Somalia: ERC sends more aid to Somalia

26 April 2017 - 5:27am
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Somalia

ABU DHABI, 25th April, 2017 (WAM) -- A ship carrying 4,259 tonnes of relief items from the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, left the UAE on Tuesday for Berbera Port in Somalia to support the people who have been displaced and affected by famine and to enhance their humanitarian situation.

The aid, which is worth AED10.3 million, includes food, shelter materials, clothes, blankets, mattresses, and children's health supplies.

The humanitarian aid shipment was sent under the directives of the wise leadership and follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the ERC, to provide assistance to meet the needs of the Somalians.

Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tunaiji, Director of Logistics at the ERC, said that the ship carried 3,819 tonnes of foodstuff, 356 tonnes of water, 51 tonnes of clothing, blankets, blankets and health supplies for children, and 23 tonnes of tents and mattresses.

The ship is expected to arrive at Berbera Port at the beginning of May.

Somalia: Somalia: Drought Emergency Response, January to April 2017

26 April 2017 - 4:24am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Somalia

Severe drought is devastating communities in Somalia dependent on livestock and agriculture, leading to increasing concerns of massive hunger across the country.

While droughts are cyclical in Somalia, this year's conditions are exacerbated by failed rains last year, raising fears of a repeat of the 2011 famine. Helping communities in need is a global priority for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which so far this year has assisted 760,000 people. To help communities access whatever water is available, the ICRC is repairing boreholes and providing water troughs for animals.

Hygiene promotion activities will prevent and assist with possible drought related epidemics.

Finally, nutritional programs are being strengthened in SRCS clinics and ICRC-supported nutritional stabilization centres in hospitals in Kismayo and Baidoa.

Somalia: Somalia: Climate Update March 2017 Monthly Rainfall and NDVI (Issued April 25, 2017)

26 April 2017 - 1:09am
Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit Country: Somalia

Highlights

The 2017 Jilal (January – March) season has been one of the harshest in Somalia.
It has been characterized by higher than normal temperatures in most areas and severe water and pasture shortages. In late March early April, moderate rains were reported in parts of northwest southern Somalia which may indicate early onset of Gu(April-June) rains. Some of the stations that received rainfall include Borama (112mm), Qulenjeed (65mm), Erigavo (41mm) and in Baidoa and Bardale in the South which received less than 5mm or rain (Map 1 and Table 1). The Ethiopian highlands have received some moderate to good rains and subsequently improved Juba-Shabelle river water to near average levels.

Satellite-derived rainfall estimates (RFE) for March indicate some rainfall activity in South Gedo, parts of Juba, and Northwest regions (Maps 2-5 and 9). The March 2017 Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), indicates modest to large deterioration of vegetation conditions in parts of Bay, Gedo, Shabelle’s and Jubas (Maps 6-8 and 10). Field reports indicate severe to extreme pasture and water shortages in the drought affected areas of the Northern Inland Pastoral of Sool,
Sanaag, Bari and Nugal regions, East Golis of (Sanag and Bari) and large parts of central and southern regions.

Drought related displacements to urban centers have slowed down land preparation activities in agropastoral areas of Bay, Bakool, Hiraan, Gedo, Middle Juba and riverine areas of Shabelle.
However, some farming activities such as land preparation, dry planting and irrigations in riverine areas is on-going in preparation for Gurains.

In drought affected areas in northern and central regions, rural pastoralists have resorted to expensive livestock supplementary feeding mainly cereal and intensive water trucking to mitigate the severe impact of hash Jilal. NOAAFEWSNET forecast for the March to June 2017 Gurains point to below average rains in large areas of the country, except in far northeastern livelihoods.
If the forecast materializes, the already prolonged drought condition could worsen with continued adverse impact on food security and livelihoods in many parts of the country.

Somalia: Somalia Market Data Update: March 2017 Data (Issued April 25, 2017)

26 April 2017 - 1:07am
Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit Country: Somalia

Highlights

Inflation:

SoSh (Somali shilling)-using areas: Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased (2-6%) in most of the SoSh using areas in March 2017 month-on-month due to mild increases in red sorghum prices.
The CPI rose (15-35%) more sharply compared to a year ago due to the same reasons mentioned above.

SISh (Somaliland shilling)-using areas: The CPI declined (7%) month-on-month due to mild decline in the price of red sorghum. Annual comparison indicates mild increase (6%) due to mild increases in cereal (red sorghum) and/or imported food items prices compared to last year.

Exchange rate:

SoSh-using areas: The exchange rates between SoSh and the United States Dollar (USD) indicated mild to moderate monthly changes in most regions of the country with the exception of Banadir (Bakara market) where moderate (12%) depreciation was recorded due to reduced post-election supply of USD. Annual comparison exhibited mixed trend patterns; specifically, mild (less than 10%) appreciation was recorded in most of the southern regions; moderate to high (10-40%) depreciations were recorded in central and northeast regions due to printing of local notes in the regions.
SISh-using areas: The SISh depreciated (9-10%) against the USD in March 2017 both month-onmonth and year-on-year due to printing of local currency notes in the region.

Local cereal prices either remained relatively stable or changed at mild rates (by less than +/- 10%) in most regions of the country with exception of Lower Shabelle where prices increased sharply (45%) month-on-month in March 2017 attributable to increased demand in the region and neighboring regions like Banadir. Annual comparison indicates higher prices for local grains in all regions of the country with the highest increase recorded in Bay (124%) attributable to reduced supply due to the poor Deyr 2016 cereal production.

Prices of imported food(rice, sugar, vegetable oil, wheat flour) mostly exhibited relative stability or mild (less than +/- 10%) monthly changes in local currency terms in March 2017 in most regions of the country. Year-on-year comparison indicates mild to moderate price increases in most regions of the country for most of the food imports in March 2017.

Livestock prices exhibited mixed trend patterns; specifically, increases (mild to moderate) in goat and camel prices were recorded in most parts of the country due to reduced supply of saleable livestock; exceptions are in Mudug, Togdheer, Woqooyi Galbeed and Sannag regions where goat, camel and/or cattle prices declined month-on-month in March 2017 due to further deterioration of livestock body conditions. Milk prices (camel and cattle) generally exhibited monthly increases in most regions of the country due to limitted supply. Compared to a year ago, livestock prices for all species were significantly lower across the regions of the country in March 2017 attributable to deteriorated livestock body conditions. On the other hand, milk prices (camel and cattle) increased from moderate to high levels annually in most regions of the country in March 2017.

Labor (unskilled) wageseither remained relatively stable or changed mildly (by less than +/- 10%) month-on-month in most regions of the country in March 2017. Annual comparison indicates declines of labour wages in most regions of the country with the highest decline (49%) reported in Banadir (Bakara market). The declines is attributed to increased competition for available labour in urban areas as a result of increased in-migration from drought affected rural areas.

Terms of Trade (ToT) between daily labor wage and local cereals either remained stable month-on-month or changed at mild rates (by 1-2kg of cereals/ daily labor wage) in most parts of the country in March 2017. ToT between local quality goat and cereals exhibited mild to moderate monthly increases in most regions of the country except Togdheer region where the ToT declined by 12Kgs/local goat as a result of decline in local quality goat prices. Annual comparison indicates the ToTs are lower across the country due to declines in labor wage rates and goat prices and/or increase in local grain prices compared to a year ago (March 2016).

Yemen: Yemen: FAO Director-General calls for urgent action to avoid famine

26 April 2017 - 1:02am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

25 April 2017, Geneva - A combination of food assistance and food production assistance is the only way to avoid famine in conflict-ridden Yemen where two-thirds of the population - 17 million people - are suffering from severe food insecurity, FAO Director-General José Graziano said today.

"As the conflict continues, food security and nutrition will also continue to deteriorate," Graziano da Silva stressed in his address to a United Nations High-Level Pledging conference for Yemen organized in Geneva and co-hosted by the Governments of Switzerland and Sweden.

"To put these figures (the 17 million) into perspective, we are talking about the double of Switzerland's population being unable to meet their basic daily food needs," the FAO Director-General said.

He stressed how livelihoods support, especially for agriculture and fishing, must be an integral part of the international community's response to the crisis in Yemen.

In 2016, agriculture production in Yemen and the area under cultivation shrank by 38 percent due to the lack of inputs and investments. Livestock production fell by 35 percent.

"Agricultural assistance in a humanitarian crisis can no longer be an afterthought," the FAO Director-General said. "We need to seize every opportunity to support communities in Yemen to continue producing food, even under difficult circumstances."

FAO is working on the ground

Graziano da Silva noted how FAO "is on the ground" in Yemen, constantly working, together with its partners, to deliver emergency livelihood assistance to kick-start food production.

So far this year, FAO has reached almost 300 000 people through a combination of interventions that enable them to produce nutritious food for their families and for sale. Almost 2 million households are in need of emergency agricultural support in Yemen.

FAO is also supporting efforts to revive livestock production, which is critical as a source of food and livelihoods for many people in Yemen. The agency is aiming to vaccinate or treat over 8 million animals in 2017.

FAO stresses how livelihoods are people's best defence against hunger and catastrophe. Assisting people to maintain their livelihoods will allow them to defend themselves against hunger, and recovery will be both faster and cheaper.

Enabling local food production is crucial in that it is cheaper to buy locally grown food than imported food, it helps create and sustain jobs and it benefits the rural population which is difficult to reach with humanitarian assistance.

The United Nations in Yemen has repeatedly appealed for all parties to the conflict to facilitate unconditional and sustained access so humanitarian organizations can scale up their assistance to meet the growing demands of people in the most acute need.

South Sudan: #FacingFamine: Update on Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Northeast Nigeria - 24 April 2017

25 April 2017 - 4:58pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

Key Messages

  • Twenty million people in 4 countries - Northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen - are at an elevated risk of famine, and a further 10 million are in crisis. Famine has already been declared in two counties in South Sudan, affecting 100,000 and with another 1 million on the brink of it.

  • Some of the most vulnerable people in the hardest-hit areas are already dying from starvation and disease in the four countries.

  • It is vital to act before famine is declared. In Somalia, half of the 260,000 people who perished between 2010 and 2012 had died before famine was declared in July 2011.

  • Prevention works. Malnutrition rates have declined where we or partners had sustained access and delivered food and nutritional supplies for children under age five.

  • Conflict is the principal driver of the crisis, sparking food insecurity, disrupting markets, limiting trade, destroying assets, leaving households without income or means to access food and displacing whole communities. Eight million people have been displaced as a result of these conflicts.

  • An associated problem is humanitarian access. A key trend is that the most vulnerable, displaced people are frequently the hardest to reach. For example, in March, Rapid Response teams from WFP-UNICEF could not reach an estimated 100,000 people in NE Nigeria, due to insecurity.

  • Humanitarian agencies need the international community to exert political pressure to secure full and sustained access to all those in need.

Funding Needs

In recent history, the world has not faced this number of multiple food security crises, with four countries facing famine all at once.

Famines can be averted. When they occur, they are an acknowledgement of collective failure by everyone: the United Nations, partners, donors and governments. It is much less costly to avert famine, than to respond to it. Additionally, long-term development gains are lost.

Conflict and denial of access prevents aid from reaching many people in need, but a lack of funds also has a major impact on lives, forcing WFP and partners to ‘prioritize’, essentially deciding who among the most vulnerable receives limited aid, and who does not.

An immediate injection of funds is required to avert a catastrophe; otherwise, many thousands of people will die from hunger, livelihoods will be lost and communities destroyed.

WFP is grateful to all donors for their contributions towards efforts to avert or alleviate famine in the four countries. These donors include: the European Commission, USA, UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and UN CERF.

Yemen: Famine in Africa and in Yemen

25 April 2017 - 2:36pm
Source: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Switzerland, Yemen

South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen have been facing famine conditions since February 2017. A total of 20 million people are threatened by food insecurity brought on by armed conflicts and the climatic impacts of El Niño. The SDC, which already operates in these four countries, has released additional funding to deliver emergency aid and to expand its development assistance activities.

The situation is especially serious in South Sudan where almost five million people are already facing hunger. In Nigeria too, over five million people have no food security and suffer from malnutrition. In 2015 and 2016, the Horn of Africa was hit by a major drought which was exacerbated by El Niño, causing serious crop failures and livestock losses. Since then, more than 11 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are suffering from serious malnutrition.

Consolidation of current activities

Switzerland responds to provide aid for people suffering from famine. On 24 February 2017, Swiss Humanitarian Aid made an additional CHF 15 million available from its reserves for humanitarian emergencies to help countries severely affected or threatened by famine. This new contribution is in addition to the SDC’s current activities [in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen]. It has also carried out and supported various projects in these regions for a number of years, in particular aimed at fighting food insecurity, improving means of subsistence, access to water and sanitation and protecting civilians. Experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) are also deployed in the field on behalf of the UN agencies and the SDC.

In anticipation of this looming catastrophe, the SDC regularly stepped up its efforts in the above-mentioned countries and provided a budget of CHF 48 million at the beginning of the year. The new funding therefore takes its contribution to humanitarian operations and development cooperation activities in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen to CHF 63 million in 2017. Switzerland also contributed CHF 5 million to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for 2017 to enable it to fund emergency action in these countries.

Support for the World Food Programme’s operations

The central partner of Swiss Humanitarian Aid in the global fight against hunger is the World Food Programme (WFP), to which it gave CHF 69 million in 2016, its biggest contribution to any UN humanitarian organisation. Switzerland is not only a major donor to the WFP but also an important partner in the secondment of experts.

Swiss Humanitarian Aid regularly seconds members of the SHA to the WFP. In addition to its financial commitments, Switzerland is active in coordinating donors in the field. As a member of the humanitarian teams for these countries and as chair of the donor coordination groups in Somalia, Switzerland is involved in ensuring the efficient use of resources, crisis-response coordination and other activities.

Somalia: Somalia crisis: One by one my children slipped away

25 April 2017 - 2:02pm
Source: Save the Children Country: Somalia

The first to die was little Isse Salat, aged eight. She was followed by her siblings Noor, 12, Sangabo, nine and Alio, just five.

Their parents endured the unimaginable ordeal of seeing all four children dehydrated and destroyed by cholera in the space of four days.

“The only medicine I had for them was anti-worm tablets,” whispered their father, Mohamed, his face gaunt with grief.

“There was nothing I could do at any stage. It was their destiny but it was terrible for us.”

Walking for days

Mohamed and his wife, who were 30km from a clinic but had no way of getting there, resolved to save their four surviving children, aged nine to 18, from a similar fate.

They walked 80km in seven days to Baidoa, Somalia’s second city, where they now occupy a tent within yards of a clinic run by Save the Children.

Thousands of people driven from their homes by the worst drought in living memory are arriving in Baidoa every day.

Old men, pregnant teenagers and couples who have carried small children 100km or more are descending on bleak stretches of stony wasteland on the outskirts of the city.

Graves by the roadside

More than 150,000 in all have abandoned villages that have run out of food and made the perilous journey to the city, only to find that there is not enough water for them there.

The only shelter they have been offered from the near-40C heat is a few sheets of plastic held up by sticks.

Many of these patient, dignified people have buried loved ones who succumbed to cholera or starvation at home.

Some have watched malnourished toddlers perish en route, and had to dig their graves by the roadside.

Thousands may yet die

Across Somalia, the country worst affected by the Horn of Africa’s escalating food crisis, more than half a million people are on the move in epic scenes that show not only the desperate urgency of fundraising appeals but also, sadly, the limits of the aid agencies’ reach.

Hassan Noor Saadi, Save the Children’s director in Somalia, estimates that 200,000 lives will be saved by the generosity of donors ranging from the UK’s Department for International Development, which pledged £110 million for the country, to schoolchildren who raised a few pounds for last month’s £50 million Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for East Africa.

However, more than 60,000 starving people may yet die, Saadi believes, mainly in villages to which western charities and the United Nations have little or no access. This is because the rural areas are largely controlled by the Islamic militant group, Al-Shabaab.

On the brink of a catastrophe

As the cholera spreads, claiming far more lives than official figures suggest, and spiralling deaths from starvation prompt warnings of a full-scale famine within two months, President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed has warned Al-Shabaab to lay down its weapons in 60 days or face ‘war’.

The newly elected president, who wrote a thesis on ‘US strategic interest in Somalia’ for his master’s in political science at the University of Buffalo, is reflecting the muscular military stance of Donald Trump, but the timing of his statement has caused concern among aid agencies.

Saadi, of Save the Children, said: “We are on the brink of a massive catastrophe in Somalia, with the death of three-quarters of the livestock, a rapid increase of children suffering extreme malnutrition and the depletion of water stories in dozens of communities.”

Adnan’s tragic story

The ‘catastrophe’ is summed up by the poignant story of Adnan Muktar, a softly spoken, 36-year-old farmer.

When drought killed his three cattle he decided the best chance for his family lay in a 90km journey to Baidoa by donkey and cart.

But the donkey died and the family’s water soon ran out. Adnan watched the life drain from his two-year-old; then, five days later, from a second child, aged three.

“I buried them by the side of the road,” he said, flinching at the memory. His wife Fiday, 24, who was eight months pregnant, somehow walked to the camp just in time to give birth last week.

The couple are left with three other children as well as the new baby. “It is God’s will,” Adnan said.

New cholera cases

One of the deadly consequences of the exodus from the countryside has been a steady stream of new cholera cases in Baidoa.

Of 1,800 people carried into Save the Children’s cholera treatment centre since it was set up in February, 19 have died. Almost all came from outside the city and arrived too late to be saved. Two children – one of them under five – were dead before they could even be examined.

Last week, the lucky ones were lying on canvas ‘cholera beds’, groaning wide-eyed at parents who fanned them with cardboard as drips delivered the fluids and antibiotics they needed. Mobile health teams have saved another 750.

Weakened by malnutrition

The doctors stress that cholera can kill within hours of the first signs of vomiting and diarrhoea. It is especially lethal in children who are malnourished – and the numbers identified with ‘severe acute malnutrition’ are rocketing at Bay Regional Hospital in Baidoa.

Among them is five-year-old Hakima Lam, who weighed only 8.3kg when she arrived. Her mother, Fardosa, who already has three children at the age of 18, has seen her gain 3kg but she still looks emaciated and her eyesight may have been permanently damaged by measles.

Little water, no food, no latrines

Cholera also appears to be taking hold in Mogor and Manyo camp, one of 155 for displaced people dotted around the city.

Here, 7,000 souls have arrived in a month. The UN is delivering water, but only enough for half of them.

They are crammed into stifling little makeshift tents with nothing to eat. There are no latrines. The first suspected cases of the disease are already being reported.

Even the rains due this month will provide little immediate relief.

Crops will take months to grow, cows will take up to a year to produce milk and human waste contaminating water supplies will give the cholera precisely the conditions it needs to thrive.

Two million out of reach

More than two million are thought to be beyond western help in Al-Shabaab territory. Nobody is counting the bodies in these rural areas, but the number of cholera victims is thought to be several times higher than the official toll of around 500, and the signs are that the deaths linked to malnutrition are rising fast.

Thirty people gathered around an aid official at Mogor and Manyo camp, including a heavily pregnant woman who had not eaten for three days.

When they were asked who had lost a member of their family, every hand shot up.

Somalia: Measles vaccination campaign launched in Somalia

25 April 2017 - 12:48pm
Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia Country: Somalia

Baidoa, 24 April 2017 - Somalia today launched a measles immunization campaign that seeks to vaccinate 110,000 children under the age of five against the deadly disease in the southern and central regions of the country.

The campaign is being conducted by the federal ministry of health with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other humanitarian partners. It will also provide vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets to children who have been severely affected by Somalia’s devastating drought.

The launch was held at the Beerta Muuri camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Baidoa, the capital of South West State where more than 100,000 people have arrived in search of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 30,000 children are expected to be vaccinated in Baidoa this week.

“This campaign is urgent. Among vaccine preventable diseases, none is more deadly than measles. We already know of at least 16 suspected cases in Baidoa, which means that the true numbers are surely much higher,” said UNICEF programme manager Jayne Mbakaya.

Nearly 5,700 cases of suspected measles have been reported nationwide since the start of 2017, which surpasses the total number for all of last year.

Present at today’s launch were the South West state Minister of Health Isak Ali Subag, the state Minister of Information Ugas Hassan, and the state Minister of Youth Abdullahi Ali.

Minister Subag thanked the UN and humanitarian partners for their support of the vaccination campaign and appealed for more assistance to enable South West state health officials to reach vulnerable communities in rural areas of the state.

He noted that most of the beneficiaries targeted by the vaccination campaign are IDPs who fled drought-stricken areas only to be exposed to various communicable diseases in the overcrowded settlement camps.

“The major challenge in the health sector is that our current medical facilities were not prepared to deal with the problem of this magnitude, and as such they are overwhelmed. There is an increase in the number of IDPs coming in every day, every week and every month so every facility is overwhelmed,” the South West state health minister observed.

He emphasized the need to increase the capacity of medical staff, which could extend to the establishment of temporary medical facilities and mobile clinics to address the health emergency.

According to the latest drought response report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), around 599,000 people have been displaced in Somalia due to drought since November 2016. Over half of Somalia’s entire population – about 6.2 million -- is facing acute food insecurity, and water-borne and infectious diseases like cholera and measles are spreading.

Kenya: UNICEF Kenya Humanitarian Situation Report, 20 April 2017

25 April 2017 - 9:58am
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Kenya, Somalia

Highlights

  • With ten new cases of cholera reported in Dadaab camps, active cholera transmission in Tana River County, diarrheal outbreak in Lamu county and start of rains, cholera cases are likely to increase.

  • During outreach activities conducted in first half of April in Turkana County and in North Horr (Marsabit County) 8,738 children were screened for acute malnutrition with over 40 per cent identified as acutely malnourished (35.6% moderately and 4.6% severely). All affected children were immediately admitted for treatment.

  • With UNICEF support 37 of 48 planned water points in droughtaffected counties of Turkana, Garissa and Marsabit have been repaired benefitting 70,558 people including 4,789 school children

  • During the reporting period, 2,413 cartons of RUTF were dispatched to Wajir, Garissa, Tana River and Turkana counties. From January to March 2017, UNICEF and partners reached over 14,500 severely malnourished children with lifesaving nutrition treatment.

  • UNICEF received generous contributions from the UK Government, Dutch National Committee, ECHO and CERF in support of the humanitarian response in Kenya. UNICEF has only 35.8 per cent of the humanitarian funds available.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

  • Despite delayed onset, the long rains started in various parts of Central, Eastern and North-Eastern Kenya which temporarily eased dryness and water shortages. However, decreased rains are forecasted across most drought affected counties and outlook is not expected to improve seasonal dryness. In the drought-affected counties of Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir and Tana River rains eased tension over resources, mainly water and pasture, and community members displaced from Garissa because of drought are slowly returning In Dukana (Marsabit County). Heavy rains left over 13,000 goats dead as the animals were already weakened by ongoing drought and unable to withstand heavy rains.

  • In Tana River County, flooding was reported with river water levels going up to 4.95 m (above flood mark of 4m) and community members living along the river were advised to move to higher grounds. This is likely to exacerbate risks of active cholera transmission in Tana River County.

  • Drought-induced displacements continue in northern parts of the country. In Garbatulla (Isiolo County), over 13,400 people have been displaced due to drought and 8,650 due to conflict over scarce resources. In East Pokot approximately 1,806 households (10,597 people and 6,018 children) are still displaced residing in 23 safe sites in Baringo North and Marigat sub-counties. Through integrated outreach activities in the first half of April in Turkana County and in North Horr (Marsabit County), a total of 8,738 children were screened for acute malnutrition with 40.2 per cent identified as acutely malnourished (35.6 per cent moderately malnourished, and 4.6 per cent severely malnourished) and immediately admitted for treatment. The data highlights that ongoing treatment for moderate acute malnutrition is likely cushioning the incidence of severe acute malnutrition, although of concern are the increasing numbers of moderately acutely malnourished children, therefore, highlighting the urgent need for increased household food access. The planned start-up of Blanket Supplementary Feeding Program (BSFP) by WFP in late April in most affected parts of Turkana and Marsabit will address this need. However, WFP is struggling to raise funds for full coverage and tens of thousands of vulnerable children are at risk of moderate malnutrition.

  • Disease outbreaks continue to be reported in the country with ten (10) new cholera cases reported in Dadaab Refugee Complex between 2 and 17 April – two cases each in Dagahley and Hagadera and six in Ifo 2 camps. Cases were referred and treated/managed at the Cholera Treatment Centers set up in the camp health facilities, and discharged. All the cases were from the recently arrived refugees from Somalia. In Lamu County, an upsurge of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) cases was reported in Mpeketoni Division, with a total of 27 cases line-listed, including one hospitalbased death and three community deaths. Laboratory specimens were shipped to National Public Health Laboratories (NPHLs) for testing and confirmation of causative organism. Cholera outbreak in Tana River County is still active.

  • In the crop-producing areas of Kenya, an outbreak of new devastating pest is threatening the yields and livelihoods of farmers. Due to infestation of army worms, there is uncertainty over yields among maize farmers in the North Rift region leading to increased cost of production and anticipated low harvest this season. The army worms have destroyed hundreds of acres of maize crops in the country’s food basket, with most farmers complaining of incurring huge costs to contain them and with likelihood of worsening food security situation in the country

  • The National Drought Management Authority estimates that current milk availability is at an all-time low of 3-8 per cent of normal in the arid lands. This highlights a major nutritional risk factor given that milk is the main source of nutrition for young children in pastoral /arid areas.

  • In Baringo, health service provision is negatively affected by insecurity and ongoing military interventions especially in Pokot East sub-county. Health workers are staying away from work in most of the facilities in Pokot East, with Chemolingot Hospital not fully operational and only with skeletal staff.

  • While military interventions in Baringo and Laikipa counties have reduced violent intercommunal conflicts, clashes over water resources were reported in Marsabit County. Between 10 – 13 April, in Qubi Kallo and Shurr areas (about 30 kms from Marsabit town), three children (one 10 year old and two 17 years old) and 6 men were killed due to resourcebased conflict over access to a water-point in Qubi Kallo (Gabra/Borana communities).

  • Women and children in North Pokot Sub County are still traveling long distances to access water and thereby being at risk, as all the water pans had dried up and 90 per cent of boreholes are not working and require to be repaired. The County Water Department is trucking water using three water trucks for Pokot North, Central, part of the West and lower Pokot South.

  • Kambioos camp, the smallest of five refugee camps in Dadaab, was closed with the 6,435 refugees in Kambioos moved to Hagadera camp. According to IOM’s DTM4 about 500 individuals from Bay and Middle Juba regions of Somalia have crossed the border and reached Dadaab (Kenya). These are spontaneous returnees from drought affected areas in Somalia that reportedly returned to Kenya due to the severe conditions in Somalia because of the drought.

United States of America: 'Everything is tough': the soccer refugees threatened by Trump's travel ban

25 April 2017 - 7:53am
Source: Guardian Country: Iran (Islamic Republic of), Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, United States of America, Yemen

Sport lies down the list of concerns after President Trump’s attempted travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries, but soccer has not emerged untouched. An MLS club is reported to have missed out on a Muslim player in part because of the ban, while Columbus Crew forward Justin Meram pulled out of the Iraq national team squad for reasons related to the ban.

Read more on the Guardian.