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Archive for the category “Aid”

Nearly two-thirds of the population in South Sudan at risk of rising hunger (26.02.2018)

Sustained assistance and access critical to prevent hunger reaching its highest level ever.

JUBA, South Sudan, February 26, 2018 -More than 7 million people in South Sudan – almost two-thirds of the population – could become severely food insecure in the coming months without sustained humanitarian assistance and access, three United Nations agencies warned today.

If this happens, this will be the highest ever number of food insecure people in South Sudan. The period of greatest risk will be the lean season, between May and July. Particularly at risk are 155,000 people, including 29,000 children, who could suffer from the most extreme levels of hunger.

In January, 5.3 million people, or nearly half of the population, were already struggling to find enough food each day and were in “crisis” or “emergency” levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4), according to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released today.

This represents a 40 percent increase in the number of severely food insecure people compared to January 2017.

The report comes one year after famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February 2017.

Improved access and a massive humanitarian response succeeded in containing and averting famine later last year. Despite this, the food insecurity outlook has never been so dire as it is now.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warn that progress made to prevent people from dying of hunger could be undone, and more people than ever could be pushed into severe hunger and famine-like conditions during May-July unless assistance and access are maintained.

“The situation is extremely fragile, and we are close to seeing another famine. The projections are stark. If we ignore them, we’ll be faced with a growing tragedy. If farmers receive support to resume their livelihoods, we will see a rapid improvement in the country’s food security situation due to increased local production,” said Serge Tissot, FAO Representative in South Sudan.

A growing tragedy that must not be ignored

Overall hunger levels have risen due to protracted conflict that led to reduced food production and constantly disrupted livelihoods. This was further exacerbated by economic collapse, which impacted markets and trade, making them unable to compensate for the decrease in local food production.

Prolonged dry spells, flooding and continued pest infestation, such as Fall Armyworm, have also had a damaging impact.

“The situation is deteriorating with each year of conflict as more people lose the little they had. We are alarmed as the lean season when the harvest runs out is expected to start this year much earlier than usual,” said Adnan Khan, WFP Representative and Country Director. “Unless we can pre-position assistance rather than mount a more costly response during the rains, more families will struggle to survive.”

In areas like Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Central Equatoria, riddled by reoccurring outbreaks of violent conflict and displacement, the proportion of people suffering from extreme food insecurity ranges from 52 to 62 percent – more than half the states’ combined population. The number is expected to keep increasing unless people find the means to receive, produce or buy their own food.

Mapping hunger – projections for the first half of 2018

  • February-April 2018:  6.3 million people in IPC Phases 3 (“Crisis”), 4 (“Emergency”) and 5 (Catastrophe). This includes 50,000 people in IPC Phase 5.
  • May-July 2018: 7.1 million people in IPC Phases 3, 4 and 5. This includes 155,000 people in IPC Phase 5.

1.3 million children under five at risk of acute malnutrition

Conflict and worsening hunger have led to already soaring rates of malnutrition. Without assistance, as of May, more than 1.3 million children under five will be at risk of acute malnutrition.

Malnutrition rates are set to rise once the rainy season starts in April. Once this happens, many communities will become isolated and unable to reach medical services. The rains will make the country’s dirt roads unusable, and it will become more and more difficult to deliver supplies to medical centres.

“We are preparing for rates of severe malnutrition among children never before seen in this country,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “Without an urgent response and access to those most in need, many children will die. We cannot allow that to happen.”

Of particular concern are the areas around Leer, Mayendit, Longochuk and Renk where children under five face extremely critical levels of malnutrition.

Response to date

Last year, FAO, WFP, UNICEF and their partners rolled out their largest ever aid campaign, saving lives and containing famine. In 2017, agency partners conducted more than 135 rapid humanitarian missions to the most hard-to-reach areas, providing life-saving assistance to over 1.8 million people.

FAO provided 5 million people – many in difficult-to-reach or conflict-affected areas – with seeds and tools for planting, and fishing kits in 2017. FAO has also vaccinated more than 6.1 million livestock to keep animals alive and healthy. This has been vital as most of the population rely on livestock for their survival.

UNICEF and partners admitted some 208,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in 2017 and plan to reach 215,000 this year. Together with WFP, UNICEF took part in 51 rapid response missions in 2017 to reach communities cut off from regular aid assistance. The Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) will remain a key means of accessing conflict-affected communities in the coming months.

At the peak of its response this year, WFP aims to reach 4.4 million people with life-saving food and nutrition assistance. WFP is pre-positioning food in areas likely to be cut off during the rainy season, so people will not go hungry. WFP plans to pre-position 140,000 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies – 20 percent more than in 2017 – in more than 50 locations across the country.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees steps up support for Uganda’s refugee programme (20.02.2018)

The data verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by September 2018 – including introduction of biometric checks at food distribution sites.

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 20, 2018/APO Group/ —

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today new measures to support the government of Uganda’s refugee programme, including through a major biometric data verification exercise.
“We are taking extremely seriously recent developments in Uganda. The refugee programme in this country is of critical importance, given the scale of the emergency and the role model played by Uganda in welcoming and receiving so many people seeking international protection,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, George Okoth-Obbo.

“On 1 March, in support of the Ugandan government, we together with our partners are launching a massive biometric verification exercise of all refugees in Uganda. This nation-wide re-enrolment and verification process will be key to help the government in fixing discrepancies in refugee data,” added Okoth-Obbo.

UNHCR has already deployed staff, with partner emergency teams, to start the exercise. In total, more than 400 staff will register refugees.

The data verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by September 2018 – including introduction of biometric checks at food distribution sites. The tried and tested UNHCR biometric system has already been used in 48 countries across the world and helped register some 4.4 million refugees.

In parallel, UNHCR’s independent Inspector General’s Office is rigorously pursuing its own oversight and due diligence measures, including investigations of several serious allegations received in 2017 on fuel embezzlement, one allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse, irregular tendering of water trucking, and fraud in procurement and food distribution.

Uganda initiated a probe in January after reports received by UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) alleged corruption and grave misconduct by government officials involved in refugee assistance.

“Let me be crystal clear: the allegations reported so far are not focused on UNHCR. Our investigations aim at supporting the recently launched probe by the Ugandan prime minister to fight corruption and grave misconduct by its officials,” said UNHCR’s Okoth-Obbo.

“At UNHCR, we have zero tolerance for misconduct, abuse and exploitation. Every possible report or allegation is thoroughly assessed,” stressed Okoth-Obbo.

Allegations concerning other UN agencies or implementing partners have been referred to the respective organizations for internal investigation, and those concerning government staff or entities have been referred to authorities in Uganda. UNHCR is closely monitoring the outcomes of these investigations and is closely cooperating with the Ugandan authorities and other partners.

UNHCR is also strengthening its monitoring and oversight to prevent a reoccurrence of the events, including the deployment of more senior staff to help put in place additional safeguards.

These new measures are being implemented as the current Representative is reaching the end of his term and a more senior replacement is about to arrive.

“Throughout his time in Uganda, Mr Bornwell Kantande has demonstrated deep commitment, steering the UNHCR operation in a particularly challenging environment characterized by multiple refugee influxes, with Uganda now hosting the largest number of refugees of any country in Africa. After almost three years as Representative, he will shortly move to a new assignment and in the meantime continues to enjoy my full support and trust,” said UN High Commissionner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Uganda provides protection to well over one million refugees, keeping an open-door policy for people fleeing conflict and persecution.

“We need a strong and collective response which aims at strengthening the refugee programmes in Uganda, while drawing lessons from the current situation,” concluded UNHCR’s Okoth-Obbo.

World Food Programme Broadens Operation to Stem Severe Hunger in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai Region (16.02.2018)

Assessments showed that 3.2 million people, a quarter of the region’s population of mostly subsistence farmers, were desperately short of Food.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 16, 2018 -In the face of escalating violence, daunting logistical challenges and insufficient funding, the United Nations World Food Programme is energizing two key elements of its emergency operation to prevent famine in war-ravaged Kasai: cash distributions to the most vulnerable and specialist support to check acute malnutrition in women and young children.

Since the launch last week of the cash initiative – a cost-efficient alternative to in-kind support that allows beneficiaries to buy what they want in recovering local markets – 38,000 people have received the equivalent of US$15 each for a month, enough to meet their basic food needs. The intention is to more than double that reach in the coming weeks.

Recent airlifts from France of Plumpy’Sup, a micronutrient-rich ready-to-use supplementary food, have enabled a significant scale-up of WFP’s nutrition interventions in Kasai: 56,000 malnourished children treated in January, up from 21,000 in the final quarter of last year. The number is to grow by 20,000 a month, to 140,000 in June.

“The nutrition and cash programmes are life-saving, and must quickly expand”, said Claude Jibidar, WFP’s Representative in DRC. “We’re not doing nearly as much as we could in Kasai because the obstacles are huge. But unless we collectively rise to the challenges, many more people, including the weakest women and children, will die”.

WFP launched its assistance programme following the eruption of brutal political and ethnic violence in mid-2016 that claimed countless lives, razed entire villages and forced hundreds of thousands of families from their homes. Assessments showed that 3.2 million people, a quarter of the region’s population of mostly subsistence farmers, were desperately short of food.

Without a prior presence in Kasai, between September and December last year WFP achieved a tenfold increase in the number of people receiving food rations, to 400,000. But lagging donations forced a heavy reliance on scarce internal funds, and a halving of those rations – of cereal, beans, vegetable oil and salt – in November.

Continued funding constraints, an upsurge in fighting between pro- and anti-government forces and a rapid, rainy season deterioration of the already poor road network saw the number receiving half-rations drop to 130,000 in January.

“That reversal has to be corrected, and quickly”, said Jibidar. “We’ve shown we have capacity to deliver, but to reach sufficient scale we need the fighting to stop and donors to step up”.

Limited funding is also a major challenge in the eastern DRC provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu, where WFP is scaling up to meet the needs of growing conflict-displaced populations as part of a broad push by UN agencies and NGOs.

Opinion: OPM “Ghosting” Refugees are following a long-history of “ghosts” from the Ministry!

I wish I could make this up, but there are to coincidences that just doesn’t happen, that the Prime Minister of Uganda Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi meets on the 2nd February 2018 and just mere days after the sources are revealing to the Daily Monitor about Ghost Refugees. Because the PM went into agreement of monitoring and scaling the Refugees after UNHCR standards.

As the official note of the meeting said:

Rugunda said the Government is committed to the noble cause of supporting refugees in the country, adding that government has agreed to embrace the UNHCR registration system to enhance its work in the refugee settlement areas. “Government has accepted to use the UNHCR system of registration for refugees to enable proper identification of refugees which will enable us to serve them better. The system will also enable collection of reliable data and records of refugees,” Rugunda said.” (OPM, 2018).

It is just so fitting that it happens just day before these ghosts was revealed on the 5th February:

Our sources said a number of spot-checks were made to test the accuracy of the refugee numbers that have been reported. Daily Monitor understands that one spot-check was conducted in Kampala. When the more than 26,000 refugees, who were purportedly receiving provisions were asked to physically turn up and collect their share, only about 7,000 showed up, suggesting that about 19,000 were “ghosts” whose monies and other resources had been pocketed by some individuals in OPM. The sources also pointed to collusion between OPM officials and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to steal the monies and other resources meant for refugees” (Serunjogi, 2018).

That means the UNHCR and OPM had no problem to fix funding for 19,000 ghosts in their systems. This meaning both the government and the UN Body in Uganda used the Refugee crisis to eat the money. They was initially eating on the people fleeing civil war in South Sudan and Internal Conflict (silent war) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These individuals needs shelter and support until they can return home to their war-torn regions.

This means that the fleeing people are used in schemes to gain fortunes. You have merchants of death, selling weapons to warlords. Then you have boosters of the aid-industry to create crisis to get careers by the misfortune of people. This is what the latter did, made fortunes and crimes against refugees for their own benefit. It’s sick and disgusting.

The OPM and the Ugandan authorities accepted the UNHCR methods days ahead, but their where people on the inside of UNHCR who accepted ghosts. However, the OPM have had similar scandals with cars, civil servants, teachers, schools, “air supply” and students. All of the been ghosting and even phantom projects, which only exists on paper, but not in reality. This is scandals only going back to 2012, 2013 and thereabouts. It isn’t ancient or back to the stone-age. The OPM is known for this and has done it under the PM Mbabazi and now under PM Dr. Rugunda. Different childhood friend, but the same narrative.

Therefore, it’s nothing new that the OPM are ghosting in Uganda, it is just demeaning and disgraceful that they do this to refugees. And on the payment of foreign donors and after pleas of pledges during the Refugee Summit last year. Where Museveni felt they should get funds for local development too, not only benefit the refugees. When that sentiment is clear, showing that ghosts are made to benefit the locals and not only the refugees. The leaders are eating on the misfortune of the fleeing individuals.

That should be sickening. Clearly its not for the OPM and UNHCR. Peace.


OPM – ‘UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES VISITS UGANDA’ (02.02.2018) link. http://opm.go.ug/2018/02/02/united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees-visits-uganda/

Sserunjogi, Eriasa Mukiibi – ‘OPM hit by refugee corruption scandal’ (05.02.2018) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/OPM-hit-refugee-corruption-scandal-/688334-4291600-13m30m6z/index.html

DR Congo: Call for an International Donor Conference (09.02.2018)

By Samy Badibanga, former Prime Minister of DRC.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 9, 2018 – The political conundrum of the elections has blinded us all: the emergency in DR Congo is political as much as it is human and humanitarian. Of course, everything must be done so that the Congolese people can choose their leaders at the end of 2018. But, at the beginning of 2018, the top priority is to protect the lives of 13 million people threatened by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Kasai, Kivu, Tanganyika and other provinces of the Congo. And this requires an International Donor Conference in order to raise the $1.68 billion for the United Nations humanitarian response plan for the Congo.

This crisis kills every passing second. It kills women, children, and men who have fled the violence, hidden in the forest or even further away, and have nothing left when they return. This disaster could soon claim between one and two million lives if humanitarian aid is not funded. These dizzying figures are a poor reflection of the reality of a child or a woman taking their last breath. Not killed by violence, but by famine or disease.

The Congo crisis has been neglected. Today, it is the largest humanitarian crisis on the planet, and it is also the least funded, despite being classified at the maximum level of humanitarian emergency by the United Nations. The conflict between the Pygmies and Bantu in Tanganyika alone has already displaced 500,000 people – as many as the Rohingya crisis in Burma. According to UNOCHA, as well as those in Tanganyika, there are 1.5 million displaced in Kasai and more than 950,000 in Kivu and other provinces, making a total of 4.35 million people. In Uganda, 238,000 Congolese have sought shelter to escape the violence in Kivu, and a thousand more arrive each week. 7,000 people have taken refuge in Burundi and 33,000 in Angola, to name but a few. In fact, the total population displacement in the Congo today comes to more than that in Syria, Iraq and Yemen combined. How many of these 4.35 million displaced people are joining the migration routes from the Horn of Africa to the Libyan slave camps?

Whilst the conflict born in Kasai in August 2016 has killed 5,000 people so far, two million more could die of hunger. These populations survived the conflict, and returned at the end of the violence only to be unable to find food, water, toilets, clothes, roofs or shelter, work or school or any public services, and finding in their place villages burned to the ground, health centres looted, roads destroyed, agricultural plantations ravaged and cholera?

This is the plea for help from the churches where people are taking refuge that we have been proclaiming since the beginning of November 2017 on behalf of the Hope coordination, led by Cardinal Mosengwo for the Catholic Church and the Rev. Bokundoa, President of the Protestant Church, to the United Nations, the European Union, France and the entire international community. It is on behalf of this wounded, violated, displaced and abandoned population that we are calling for the urgent organisation of an International Donor Conference.

On 17 November 2016, the International Conference for the Central African Republic raised $2.2 billion. According to the United Nations, the humanitarian funding needs in the DRC for 2018 amount to $1.68 billion. The Congo, whose population is close to 90 million, twenty times more than the CAR and its 4.59 million people, is in great need of the same level of global solidarity.

Without an International Donor Conference, the United Nations humanitarian response plan for 2018 will not be even half funded. At the end of January 2018, it was 2% financed, and the plight of the people of the Congo forgotten by a planet in crisis. Yet, strong humanitarian action can still save millions of lives and give hope for a new future for the Congolese. By adding emergency aid to action for the post-conflict rehabilitation of socio-economic infrastructure, it will be possible to envisage progress towards sustainable development goals in a country of nearly 100 million people, where any progress can have a major impact. This is where the International Donor Conference for the Congo, which we call upon the international community to organise as quickly as possible, should lead us.

The DRC crisis can no longer be neglected: goo.gl/QtAawq

Local EU Statement on Alleged Fraud and Corruption Cases in Refugee Settlements in Uganda (05.02.2018)

Duterte’s Administration is relentless: Since the Philippines declined EU Aid today out of Sovereignty!

Today, the European Union’s grants through the EU-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance IV, the fourth project and continuation of state aid between them was declined today. The Southern Asian State protested the language and certain parts of agreement, that the EU was proposing. The republic of Philippines has declined it, because they feel the money is tainted and belittling them. That is why the Rodrigo Duterte administration has decided to leave the money on the table and not take it.

This sort of act is something the EU isn’t used too. It is rare, but the State Aid in the Program of TRTA-IV has its bounds and they setting the score for what and how the Philippines can act. It put boundaries and levels to how it can act, as the EU will monitor and check if the state is complying directly with UN Conventions.

That is putting the granted money in a possible questionable state and insult the Asian counterparts, even if they not even signed into UN Conventions that they could be breaking. This is the sort of attack on the sovereign will the Duterte Administration doesn’t want to comply too. That should be respected, since the EU is also right to put strains on their given funds, but then they shouldn’t expect the receiver to just take it anyway.

Expected results:

– EU-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance IV The project contributes primarily to the progressive achievement of SDG Goal 8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth” but also promotes progress towards Goal 1 “No Poverty” and Goal 10 “Reduced Inequalities”. It will support the uptake of GSP+ preferential tariffs by Philippine exporters therefore offering incentives to comply with UN Conventions on Human Rights which are a prerequisite before GSP+ can be granted (and maintained). The EU monitors compliance with HR Conventions annually. Besides, the action is expected to support FTA negotiations including on labour rights with a view to align the Philippine legislation and enforcement on international best practices” (EU, P: 4, 2016).

As we sees in the documentation of 2016, is really compelling what the EU expect to do. They are really telling that the incentives are made for them to follow UN Conventions, if not the grants will not be maintained or granted the development, nor the projects in the TRTA-IV. The Philippines are in their right mind, to not take the money that would put strains and also be monitored. So if the Philippines wouldn’t comply to the demands of the grants, they would be withheld. Secondly, that meaning, that if the Philippines took the money. They could possibly loose them if the EU doesn’t think they are following the right UN Convention on any given day or by any evidence of violence. Without taking the context or the reason for it. Because that would play to European narrative of the violence and the Drug War, not the basic understanding or the popularity of the war against the political and drug-infested triad’s, that has been in Philippines. So the Duterte administration has their reasons for doing it, not that its beautiful or a success story, but a needed remedy for a already problematic state of drug triad’s in certain parts of the Republic.

So I was happy, when I heard!

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines formally rejected at least P380 million (6.1 million euros) in aid from the European Union, Ambassador Franz Jessen confirmed Wednesday, January 24. Jessen, head of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, was referring to the EU-Philippine Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) worth 6.1 million euros, or around P383.64 million. Asked if the Philippines has ever formalized the rejection of EU aid, Jessen said: “It was formalized in the sense that we had, for example, the TRTA, a document that actually had to be signed by the end of the year. And that has been returned to us unsigned.” In an interview with reporters after the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay, Jessen said the TRTA “was rejected at the end of the past year.” The Philippines earlier said it is rejecting all forms of aid that come with conditions, such as respecting human rights” (Esmaquel III, 2018).

That the EU Ambassador Jessen feels slapped in face and humiliated is natural in the circumstances. He should know how Duterte defended his nation in 2017. This isn’t news, they are not accepting to be belittled and told by foreign powers how to act and do. Neither does the EU want to be played second fiddle by the United States or Russia. Neither wants the Philippines. TRTA-4 are now suspended or never unleashed, since the EU-Philippines has had this formal agreements and grants for decades. So the previous government of Philippines has accepted the contracts and Memorandum of Understandings in TRTA to TRTA-III. Now the TRTA-4 had different sorts of things to achieve and projects to support. All from Electricity and Power projects in Mindanao to other sustainable initiatives.

But the 6.1M Euros was the price and the loss for the Philippines. But they would have been monitored and checked their grants by EU Monitors. It wasn’t just the use of Human Rights, but the continues checks to be allowed to get the grants. That is the paternal instinct of a more powerful ally. That is what the EU would have done to the Duterte Administration. Rodrigo Duterte didn’t accept this, neither did his closest allies. Clearly, they didn’t want to risk the embarrassment or being questioned for their internal affairs. Especially not a grant of 6 million euros. That would be a cheap trade for what sort of behavior the EU could do and that should be insulting for any statesman. Peace.


European Union (EU) – ‘Annual Action Programmes 2016 Part IV and 2017 Part I in favour of the Asia region to be financed from the general budget of the European Union’ (05.07.2016)

Esmaquel III, Paterno – ‘Philippines formally rejects P380 million in EU aid’ (24.01.2018) link: https://www.rappler.com/nation/194426-philippines-formally-rejects-european-union-aid

Urgent livestock vaccination campaign in South Sudan in jeopardy without more support (24.01.2018)

Keeping animals alive and healthy is vital to combat hunger – Donor appeal.

JUBA, South Sudan, January 24, 2018 – The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is seeking $7.5 million to roll out a critically needed emergency livestock vaccination campaign in South Sudan.

FAO aims to protect nearly 9 million animals (30 percent of the country’s livestock) – scaling up from 6 million in 2017 – to combat increasingly frequent outbreaks of animal diseases. To date, FAO has only a quarter of the funds it needs ($2.5 million out of $10 million).

Keeping animals alive and healthy is vital in a country where most of the population relies on livestock for their very survival, and half of the population is grappling with acute hunger.

“In most parts of the country, FAO and its partners are the main provider of vaccinations. We are trying to reach as many animals as possible now. If we wait for two more months, the rains will start taking over; half of the country will soon be completely cut off or extremely difficult to access, and a huge number of animals risk being trapped in an impossible situation,” said Serge Tissot, FAO Representative in South Sudan.

“We vaccinated 300,000 animals so far against prevalent diseases such as black quarter, haemorrhagic septicaemia and anthrax, in Aweil state, in the north-west of the country. Famers there told us that their cattle have been sick for months, and we reached them just in time to check the situation, provide necessary heath care and start vaccinations to protect their livestock against major diseases. Yet, unless more funds come in, we are unable to reach other farmers facing the same fears – losing their livelihoods,” added Tissot.

“When my animal got sick, I used some herbs from the bush because there are no drugs in this area. But this didn’t help. The animal lost weight and its coat doesn’t look ok. Now it has stopped eating. I’m afraid it will soon die,” said Kiir Mawein, a cattle keeper from Aweil.

People in rural areas are forced to feed herbs to their sick animals or to go into the nearest town – often a trip of several days on foot – only to find out that there are no veterinary drugs, or that they are too expensive.

The $7.5 million that FAO still requires would not only cover vaccination costs but would also build three new cold chain hubs in remote areas. This would help to address some major setbacks when it comes to delivering animal health care services and medicines in South Sudan: distance, hot climate (average temperature is 30°C, up to 45°C during the hottest months), lack of infrastructure and health services.

“For people in South Sudan, cattle means life. They “chase away hunger”, as farmers put it. They don’t only provide an important source of nutritious food, but also act as a safety net; when faced with an emergency, farmers can turn to selling one of their animals to cover other urgent needs,” added Tissot.

To build resilience and ensure a better delivery of animal health care services, FAO has set up a network of community-based animal health workers.

To date, 1,000 community-based animal health workers have been trained and are carrying-out routine check-ups and vaccinating livestock as part of FAO’s Emergency Livestock Response Programme.

Supporting a sustainable community-based animal health workers’ system has significantly contributed to delivering adequate animal health care as well as preventive and emergency vaccination campaigns.

In 2018, FAO aims to train an additional 1,000 community-based animal health workers to spread the reach of veterinary services. FAO also continues to work with women groups to reinforce small-scale businesses – supplying and selling animal products like milk and other milk products.

FAO’s work in South Sudan is possible thanks to support from: USA, European Union, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Norway, World Bank, UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, South Sudan Humanitarian Fund and Kuwait.

Democratic Republic of Congo: UN Agencies in Urgent Bid to Prevent Famine in Kasai (18.01.2018)

Only 400,000 out of the 3.2 million severely food insecure people in Kasai received assistance in December.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 18, 2018 – In a stark warning, three UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) – say time is running out to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Farmers  – who fled due to conflict – have missed three consecutive planting seasons. This has left people with almost nothing to eat. Food assistance is failing to fill the gap. Only 400,000 out of the 3.2 million severely food insecure people in Kasai received assistance in December. More than 750,000 are still displaced. Around 630,000 people have returned to their burned down villages after hiding in the forest, they must be helped to resume food production. Over ninety percent of rural communities depend entirely on agriculture.

“Agriculture is the only way to become productive again. Not only does it generate food and income for families, but it restores hope, dignity and self-reliance”, said Alexis Bonte, FAO Representative ad interim in the DRC.

The nutritional status of children is particularly critical. “At least 400,000 children under five have severe, acute malnutrition,” said UNICEF’s Acting Representative in the DRC, Tajudeen Oyewale. “They are likely to die unless they urgently receive health, water, sanitation and nutrition support. Longer-term food security must be restored and feeding and care practices improved so that children can have access to the adequate quality food they need.”

The UN and its partners are racing against time to feed the people of Kasai, fight malnutrition among its children and build resilience. But the odds are stacked against them: infrastructure is limited, security poor and the cash short.

“There are signs that donors are beginning to respond, but resources are woefully inadequate given to the scale of human suffering”, said WFP’s Country Director in DRC, Claude Jibidar.  “The Congolese government and the international community must re-engage on all fronts to prevent a major famine in Kasai. Failure to do so, immediately and collectively, means many people will die.”

Somalia: US$1.6 billion urgently needed to save and protect 5.4 million lives from unprecedented drought (18.01.2018)

Food security needs have nearly doubled the fiveyear average, with an estimated 2,444,000 people in crisis and 866,000 in emergency.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 18, 2018 – The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia, which calls for $1.6 billion to protect the lives of 5.4 million Somalis, was launched today by the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq.

In his remarks, De Clercq said: “Working together with the Somali authorities and with historical levels of support from the international community, I am proud that we averted a possible famine last year.

“Lasting solutions to drought, conflict and displacement remain, however, out of our reach, and much more must be done to eliminate the looming threat of famine in this country. We must tackle the humanitarian needs while simultaneously looking at longer-term solutions. If we do not continue to save lives and in parallel build resilience, then we have only delayed a famine, not prevented one,” warned de Clercq.

The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is an extension of the 2017 famine prevention efforts. It prioritises immediate relief operations in areas with significant numbers of people living in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4). The HRP now also includes a strategy to address protection gaps, particularly during humanitarian crises and for those most vulnerable, such as the internally displaced, women and children.

2017 was one of the most challenging years for Somalia, with the country precariously close to famine after several failed rainy seasons. Hundreds of thousands of people were driven from their homes as a result of the drought and persistent conflict, resulting in unprecedented levels of displacement. Food security needs have nearly doubled the fiveyear average, with an estimated 2,444,000 people in crisis and 866,000 in emergency — that is, one step away from famine — throughout Somalia. The number of Somalis on the brink of famine has grown tenfold since this time last year. An estimated 1.2 million children are projected to be malnourished in 2018, 232,000 of whom will face life-threatening severe acute malnutrition.

To mitigate future crises, humanitarians are working with development partners and Somali authorities to address the underlying causes of recurring crises, including food insecurity and mass displacement, through the development of a Recovery and Resilience Framework informed by a Drought Impact Needs Assessment. “With important progress made on the political and governance fronts, Somalia is on a positive trajectory, despite ongoing crises. The country has more effective institutions than it has for decades. However, these gains are reversible and must be protected. With continued international support, we can break the cycle of recurrent crises that undermine the peacebuilding and State-building process in Somalia,” De Clercq concluded.

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