Philippines: Joseph Cabatbat Argel – House Resolution No. 1783 – Strongly Urging President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Immediately Terminate or Withdraw Executive Order No. 134, Series of 2021, Import Duty on Rice (20.05.2021)

Ethiopia: 80% of the Tigrayan population without food – Bureau of Agriculture letter from March says so

The Law Enforcement Operation as destructible it is. The results from the conflict is now coming out. It is trickling out little by little, as the state and the Tripartite Alliance is holding the information close to their chest.

The newest revelation is a letter sent by the Interim Tigray Regional Government and the Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development who wrote this letter to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources. The letter states that the Interim Tigray Regional Government wanted a Emergency Plan and Request of funds.

It is bad when 80% of the region is going without food. When the Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development that the majority farmers doesn’t have food, seed, oxen and farm tools. Because of the warfare and the open conflicts in the region. The farmers has lost their livelihood, the loss of crops, livestock that was either destroyed or looted. This is why this is a self-inflicted crisis by the Tripartite Alliance in Tigray.

The people are suffering and lacking the ability to be self sustainable as the raving conflict is persisting. The state has made the whole region suffer, because it decided to go to war in November 2020. They are not only letting the former Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) comrades behind bars or killed. No, the Tripartite Alliance is making everyone suffer with the complete destruction of the agricultural sector.

This has been done very quickly by the Tripartite Alliance and their warfare in the region. This is the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) and Amhara Para-Military Force – Fano. These are the main culprits in Tigray region.

However, this is just one piece of devastation and destruction in Tigray since November. This is not amount of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees in Djibouti or Sudan. These are also causing prolonged harm and longer time get back to normal in the Tigray region.

The amount of massacres that has been happening on the regular. The unverified numbers of deceased and killed. The use of rape as a tool of oppression as well. All of the horrific acts done to put the people into submission. The destruction of schools, hospitals and other vital institutions, as well as looting and ravaging factories too. All of this will linger in memory and take decades to fix. The scars, the lives and stories that will be told. As the Tripartite Alliance have to take blame and pay the price of fixing it.

Nevertheless, that is the long time objective that is needed. Now the agricultural sector is broken because of the conflict and as it has been targeted. In Tigray region the Interim Government isn’t the believed rulers or representatives. They are the imposed on the general public and not their elected officials, which was deposed in November 2020.

All of the months have gone since the conflict started and now the effects of the warfare is becoming evident. Even the Interim Government states it too and asks for assistance from the Federal Government. Peace.

Somalia: Humanitarian leadership calls for urgent action to mitigate impact of worsening drought in Somalia (11.04.2021)

Malawi: Over 2.6 Million People in Need of Food Assistance in Malawi (26.01.2021)

South Sudan: Rising food insecurity pushing people into famine conditions in South Sudan, warns International Rescue Committee (IRC) – (02.02.2021)

Increasing risk of famine amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing more than 7 million people into hunger.

NEW YORK, United States of America, January 2, 2021 – The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is extremely concerned about the counties in South Sudan where an increasing risk of famine amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing more than 7 million people into hunger. Food insecurity is rising amidst massive displacement of civilians resulting from a perfect storm of crises; the effects of years of conflict, an economic crisis, recurrent flooding and COVID-19. According to the IRC’s 2021 Watchlist, the risk of famine will increase even more in 2021. With more than 60% of the South Sudanese population facing food insecurity, the IRC is calling for a scale-up in international financial support and improvements in access for food assistance for South Sudan to prevent famine.

Caroline Sekyewa, South Sudan Country Director at the IRC, said,

“People in South Sudan were already struggling to access food. This year, counties are experiencing the impact of years of conflict, and peace is still extremely fragile. Further, an economic crisis, flooding and COVID-19 is forcing more people to go hungry as they lose their livelihoods and ability to feed their families. COVID-19-induced economic downturns and drops in oil prices are constraining the new government’s ability to implement the peace deal, whose implementation is already heavily delayed. South Sudan is the tenth deadliest country for civilians in the world – though many incidents likely go unreported.”

“It is estimated that 11,000 people are experiencing famine and this is likely amongst households where recent conflict and two consecutive years of severe floods are exhausting coping capacity. Due to the combined impact of devastating floods, conflict, and worsening economic conditions, most households are not able to meet their basic food needs or are using extremely detrimental strategies to cope. Amongst the 7 million people going hungry, 1.7 million people are estimated to be battling emergency levels of hunger across 35 counties, with areas of greatest concern concentrated in Jonglei, Unity, Lakes, Warrap, and Upper Nile.”

“Going into 2021, the 2018 peace deal remains fragile and even if it holds, conflict will continue, with civilian populations and humanitarians caught in the middle. Civilians and aid workers continue to face harm. Experts recorded over 500 fatalities in “violence against civilians” incidents in the first nine months of 2020. COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate the country’s health crises, given its extremely low coping capacity. More than half of the population has no access to primary health services, which, alongside limited access to clean water, poor sanitation services and extremely low immunization rates, has left the population highly susceptible to diseases like COVID-19. IRC calls on more support and funding for people in South Sudan as food insecurity threatens lives. ”

The IRC is one of the largest aid providers in South Sudan, operating there for over 30 years and delivering emergency assistance and supporting vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach areas. Our health response includes capacity building in state clinics, training of local health workers, nutrition programs, and sanitation services. We also provide support to survivors of sexual violence and child protection services. Community leaders and government officials are trained on the importance of upholding human rights. The IRC helps empower people through cash assistance, job and livelihoods training. Learn more about the IRC’s South Sudan response.

Zimbabwe: Press Statement by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resslement, Hon Dr A.J. Masuka, on Enchanching Production, Productivity and Profitability on A2 and A1 Farms 18 December 2020 (18.12.2020)

Somalia: Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS Net) – Somalia Seasonal Monitor (15.12.2020)

South Sudan: Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security – Statement on the food security in South Sudan (13.12.2020)

Ethiopia: A new generation of desert locusts, flooding and COVID-19 threaten food security in Ethiopia (28.10.2020)

The Afar region has faced an unprecedented locust invasion since August this year.

AFAR, Ethiopia, October 28, 2020 – Mohammed Ali, 30, a pastoralist, is visibly tired, but relentlessly searching for pasture for his cattle under scorching sunshine. He leads over 400 head of cattle from Ewa to Asayta Woreda in the Afar region. Although pastoralists like Mohammed are accustomed to making the annual 200 km trek in January when the rains stop, they were compelled to make the journey in October – three months early.

“Desert locusts destroyed all the natural pasture including green vegetation cover. Our livestock would starve to death if we did not move,” he said.

According to Ayalew Shumet, the Afar region’s coordinator of desert locust operations, about 10 million head of livestock in the region are currently affected by the scarcity of natural pasture. Because pastoralists rely on the weather and environment to secure livestock feed for their livestock, they are heavily impacted by the damage desert locusts have caused on pasture.

Desert locusts have also destroyed entire crop fields leaving farmers, and local authorities worried. Hussein Hundolpe vividly remembers the day locusts invaded his six-hectare maize field in Afambo Woreda with sadness.

“My family and I worked hard to clear the field. I bought an irrigation pump and fuel and ensured that my maize crop received enough water. When the plants were about one meter tall, locusts devoured everything in a few hours”, he said.

Recounting the incident, Ahmed’s neighbor, Fatouma, said a large swarm covered their village’s sky.

“We threw objects at them, but nothing helped. Although the government moved swiftly to spray the swarm, the damage was already done. Every single farmer in our village lost all their maize and sorghum crop”, she said.

The Afar region has faced an unprecedented locust invasion since August this year. Despite ongoing control efforts, numerous hopper bands have caused immense damage in 33 out of 34 Woredas of the region.

“Farmers need urgent support to re-plant their crops and pastoralists require emergency feed supply otherwise, the food security in the region is at risk,” said Wogris Hafa, the Head of the Livestock, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Office of Chifra Woreda.

Ethiopia has been battling locusts since June 2019. Up to October 21, 2020, over 607 000 hectares of land had been sprayed through aerial and ground operations. Despite these efforts, the desert locust threat prevails due to cross-border movements and prevailing conducive breeding conditions in the country. Numerous immature adult groups and swarms are still moving in the Amhara/Tigray highlands and Somali region (Desert Locust situation update: 19 October 2020).

Floods exacerbate the risk

Between June and September 2020, heavy and prolonged rains led to flooding in the Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Gambella, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples (SNNP)’, Sidama, and Somali regions, affecting over one million people, with about 350 000 displaced.

In Aysaqita Woreda in the Afar region, Medina Solea recounts how floodwaters overflowing from the Awash River washed away all her household property, livestock, and crops.

“We ran to the mountains from where we were rescued by a helicopter.”

Now living in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp with her family of 10, Madina says, “We have nothing to start with.”

Although the Awash River frequently floods in August/September following heavy rains in the eastern highland and escarpment areas, this year’s flooding is unmatched, according to Aydahis Yasin, the Early Warning and Emergency Response Director, Afar Region.

“Over 46 000 hectares of cropland and 26 000 hectares of pasture in Afar were destroyed by floods, “he said.

Food security at stake

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, about 6.7 million people (in seven regions) are expected to be highly food insecure, in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), or worse between October and December 2020.

However, the new wave of desert locusts, exacerbated by economic hardships resulting from COVID-19 restrictions, and flooding will likely amplify food insecurity unless urgent action is taken, to assist the affected communities.

FAO’s response

Alongside efforts to control desert locusts, FAO is implementing a programme to safeguard productive assets and livelihoods of the affected population in Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somalia, SNNP, and Tigray regions. The Organization is supporting over 70 000 households with agricultural inputs (seeds, tools, livestock feed, and veterinary drugs), cash transfers, training, and extension support. These interventions were informed by the May-December 2020 funding Appeal of $79 million, which is now 60 percent funded.

“With the growing humanitarian needs, we require more funds to support additional households”, said Fatouma Seid, the FAO Representative in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia: Will the World Bank accept the blocking of the funding of the Safety Net Program in Tigray?

The World Bank together with development partners has supported a Safety Net Development projects since the financial year of 2018 and it’s supposed to end by 31st December 2020. It is called by them Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). This is supposed to support farmers and secure food security across the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE).

Clearly, the fallout between the Tigray and Addis Ababa. The result of the political stalemate between Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Prosperity Party (PP) has yet another financial implication. The PP have already blocked Federal Support of the Regional Government of Tigray. Also, collaboration between the House of Federation (HoF) and Regional Government of Tigray has ceased.

Today, the news that the Federal Government are now blocking the funds and support through the World Bank Program of PSNP. A program made for farmers, secure livelihood and give the farmers social accountability. Latest support from the World Bank was in September 2020. The Federal Government got $66m USD allocated to PSNP. The funds now blocked has to be from this.

This means the state is deliberately blocking one region from accessing funds given to the whole Republic. It wasn’t given to just Amhara or Oromia. No, it was given to the government representing the whole Republic. That means, the altering of the funding, which was intended to them all.

The funders of the PSNP should react to this. Especially, if they care for the livelihood of the farmers in Tigray. If the state had blocked farmers in Ogaden or in Oromia. There would be the same reason to cry havoc. This is wrong on all basis and only done because the PP is punishing the Tigray for not following the “orders” from Addis.

The Federal Government is punishing the farmers of Tigray. That is the reality of this. The foreign donors are blocked from giving needed aid to Tigray. Just because the PP and Federal Government isn’t friendly with Mekelle at the moment.

This is tragic that foreign aid can be used like this and be suspended, because of the Napoleon Complex of the Prime Minister. Peace.