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Archive for the tag “Dry Season”

FAO issues alert over third consecutive failed rainy season, worsening hunger in East Africa (14.07.2017)

Number of people needing humanitarian assistance on the rise.

ROME, Italy, July 14, 2017 – Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead – according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The most affected areas, which received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall, are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.

The alert issued by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) warns that the third consecutive failed rainy season has seriously eroded families’ resilience, and urgent and effective livelihood support is required.

“This is the third season in a row that families have had to endure failed rains – they are simply running out of ways to cope,” said FAO’s Director of Emergencies Dominique Burgeon. “Support is needed now before the situation rapidly deteriorates further.”

Increasing humanitarian need

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the five aforementioned countries, currently estimated at about 16 million, has increased by about 30 percent since late 2016. In Somalia, almost half of the total population is food insecure. Timely humanitarian assistance has averted famine so far but must be sustained. Conditions across the region are expected to further deteriorate in the coming months with the onset of the dry season and an anticipated early start of the lean season.

The food security situation for pastoralists is of particular concern, in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where animal mortality rates are high and milk production from the surviving animals has declined sharply with negative consequences on food security and nutrition.

“When we know how critical milk is for the healthy development of children aged under five, and the irreversible damage its lack can create, it is evident that supporting pastoralists going through this drought is essential,” said Burgeon.

Livestock prices have plummeted because of poor animal body conditions and this, coupled with soaring cereal prices, has severely constrained pastoralists’ access to food.  Rangeland and livestock conditions are expected to further deteriorate at least until the next rainy season starts in October.

Poor crop prospects

In several cropping areas across the region, poor rains have caused sharp reductions in planting, and wilting of crops currently being harvested. Despite some late rainfall in May, damage to crops is irreversible.

In addition, fall armyworm, which has caused extensive damage to maize crops in southern Africa, has spread to the east and has worsened the situation. In Kenya, the pest has so far affected about 200 000 hectares of crops, and in Uganda more than half the country’s 111 districts are affected.

In Somalia there are unfavourable prospects for this year’s main gu crops, after the gu rains were late with poor rainfall and erratic distribution over most areas of the country. In the Lower Shabelle region, the main maize producing area, seasonal rainfall was about 50 percent below- average and drought conditions are currently affecting up to 85 percent of the cropland.

In Ethiopia, unfavourable belg rains in southern cropping areas are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls. Drought is also affecting yields in Kenya’s central, southeastern and coastal areas. In Tanzania, unfavourable rains are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls in northern and central areas, while in Uganda there are unfavourable production prospects are unfavourable for first season crops in the southwestern and northern districts.

Cereal prices are surging, driven by reduced supplies and concerns over the performance of current-season crops. Prices in May were at record to near-record levels in most markets and up to double their year-earlier levels.

Bukedea district: NRM Government neglect to another level, they are stealing from their starving citizens!

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”Harry Truman (Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950).

Certainly, the National Resistance Movement and their government doesn’t seem to care how they look. None of their pledges or even written letters to the Local Government matters. Not even in the midst of famine and starvation. You would think that a government and their agencies had sense of keeping their promises to the ones who needs the most basic in life – as their plates are empty after droughts and bad governance. Therefore, the NRM has no sense, when the Bukedea district are reacting that their promised food relief is less; than promised from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda and his department. Certainly, this is disrespecting the people and the citizens of Bukedea. Take a look!

Mike Okwii, the district secretary for health and social services wants the matter investigated expeditiously before they can distribute what they have received. “According to the letter signed by the commissioner of disaster and preparedness, Bukedea was supposed to get 800 bags of posho and 400 bags of beans. But the district has received only 400 bags of posho and 50 bags of beans, which is shocking. So for us at the district leadership, we have decided not to distribute this food. Not until when OPM delivers all the food items”, he said. Okwii confirmed that as of now, nobody has given them any response as to why the Office of the Prime Minister delivered consignments that have fewer supplies that what was declared. “Nobody has given us the right answer why they delivered less food compared to what is on the delivery note. The minister for Teso Affairs is going to follow the matter because you can imagine the minister came to Bukedea to allocate food to the sub-counties. Little did she know that she allocated food which is not even there”, he added (URN, 2017).

The reason for the disrespect is staggering as the reports of termites and insects to survive, proves the lacking governance and upkeep of institutions. Also, the agricultural sector has been left behind, as the irrigation and thinking of how use water in farming. Certainly, the food relief is a way of making sure the people eat while they wait for next season and possible time to start farming again. These in regions that has been hard hit and the government had been warned by FAO and FEWSNET, so these reports should have forewarned them.

Food is required besides the medication. If someone is sick, the first treatment is food; medicine works well on a well fed body,” said Dr. Chebitai” (New Vision, 2017). Therefore, with the knowledge that the state still has the capacity to not deliver what so needed and necessary is not only a theft, but taken food of the plates of those who starve. That the NRM has the audacity to this proves how they can easily neglect their citizens. Even taking away their first treatment, that is the level of disappointment, the ruling regime can to do their own. Peace.

Reference:

New Vision – ‘Parliament staff donate food items to Teso’ (07.05.2017) link:http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1453187/parliament-staff-donate-food-items-teso

In the Teso Region they are eating termites to survive the famine!

There are something deeply wrong, so sincerely wrong when the citizens doesn’t get needed food relief and have to eat termites and insects to survive. This is the state of the famine now in Teso Region, in Katakwi, Amuria, Bukedea and Kaberamaido district.

Mr Robert Okitoi, the Amuria District council chairperson, said “The situation is bad, people are now eating termites. I think the government should just declare a state of emergency for the regions of Teso, Karamoja and Lango.” (NTV Uganda, 01.06.2017). On the 26th April 2017 the Parliament has passed a motion to declare ‘State of Emergency’ in Uganda, but the President and the State House has not done anything about it.

Still, a local farmer wrote a piece to the Chimp Reports that has some valuable assessments:

The current hunger in Teso has largely been attributed to drought, while this assertion may hold some truths; there is increasingly evidence that the Ministry of Teso Affairs has not done its part. Hunger in Teso is as a result of both internal and external factors. For many years, the region has been experiencing declining productivity and this was recently worsened by drought. For districts like Ngora, Bukedia and Kumi, land fragmentation has heavily affected productivity” (…) “Clearly besides drought, Teso food systems are in a crisis and our expectation was that the Ministry of Teso affairs working with other stakeholders would work to address this problem. Our view is that hunger should be among the ‘affairs’ that Ministry of Teso Affairs should be engaged in.Agriculture remains a major livelihood for our people in Teso and therefore we require urgent response from Ministry of Teso Affairs on its plans to help our people get out of the current hunger crisis”(Akorikin, 2017).

This here proves that the drought is just the last piece of the straw in a bigger problem, that even the State Ministry has not been in-charge and had the oversight of the Teso Region. There are lacking the support they need. Still, the government still have done something now and then. Like this one relief to Kaberamaido district: “Kaberamaido district has finally received 12, 000 kilograms of relief food from government valued at Shillings 33 million. Kaberamaido is among the districts battling a severe food crisis resulting from crop failure due to prolonged drought. The most affected areas in the district are Ochero, Bululu, Kobulubulu, Kaberamaido, and Apapai sub counties. With over 5,000 households facing starvation representing about half of the total population in the district, the 12,000 kilograms of flour delivered is far from solving the food crisis” (Odongo, 2017). That means on the 30th April 2017, the government delivered 12.000kgs of flour that is estimated to be 231,000 citizens in the district alone. Therefore, you don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that this food relief to the one district isn’t enough…

The minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Hilary Onek, has offered a bit of advice to the hunger-stricken; stop selling the little food you have left. Onek said the weather has become so unreliable for Ugandans to hold on to the little hope for better yields. “They should consider family needs first before selling all the food. Districts like Lira had a lot of food but it [food] was sold to traders from Kenya, South Sudan and even Rwanda because people want money,” he said in an interview. Asked whether government would consider banning the sale of food to outsiders, Onek said they wouldn’t, in the spirit of the East African Community. “That is not an option we will consider; we only want people to behave responsibly to take care of their family needs before they sell all the food,” he said” (UMDF, 2017).

So now the Minister Onek gives advice to the impoverished citizens, so that they are careful with their food stocks, as the relief of the districts are not up-to par. Therefore, that they didn’t stock the extra foods and now they tell the families to take of it. The government could have used their resources and built food-stocks, instead of living hand to mouth. The small-time farmers in the Teso-Region certainly, needs more than fear of selling what they don’t have, they need support and food relief.

The state also has to facilitate the farmers, not in Operation Wealth Creation or Jerry-Can irrigation, but real projects, storage of food-stocks and recreate farmers Co-Ops in the districts and sub-counties to collectively earn and work together to get better yields and also productivity in general. But that isn’t a scheme and way the National Resistance Movement can corrupt or thieve the funds from. Therefore, that will not happen and is the reason why the similar institutions are gone during the decades of President Museveni.

The Teso Region and these district needs help, the man-made famine together with the drought that has worsen it. So the Government has to charge and actually make a difference, not just thieve monies away from Kampala. Peace.

Reference:

Akorikin, Francis – ‘OPINION: Government Should Review the Relevance of Ministry of Teso Affairs’ (05.05.2017) link: https://www.chimpreports.com/opinion-government-should-review-the-relevance-of-ministry-of-teso-affairs/

Odongo, Ronald – ‘Kaberamaido Receives 12,000 KGs of Food Relief’ (30.04.2017) link: https://ugandaradionetwork.com/story/govt-delivers-12000-kilograms-of-posho-worth-ugx-33m-to-famine-hit-residents

Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) – ‘HILARY ONEK TO HUNGER VICTIMS: DON’T SELL FOOD’ (01.05.2017) link: https://www.umdf.or.ug/?q=content/hilary-onek-hunger-victims-don%E2%80%99t-sell-food

The Wonderful Dictator Museveni says to his starving citizens: “that they are eating their state services!”

A dictator who is elected 5 times. That must be a wonderful dictator. That must be a special one” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (Al Jazeera Interview on the Talk to Al Jazeera, 29.04.2017).

First of President Museveni isn’t in his 5th Term, rewriting the history as they have deleted the coup d’etat in 1986 as well, as the period into the first election of 1996. Therefore, he has decade most people tries to forget, where he was “unelected” and power-grabbing. If you then count on the time and such, the right amount of terms would be that he is currently in his 7th !

Well, enough of the sadness of how many terms the 31 year long ruling and wonderful dictator has, today he had to cast his spell on the Labor Day and show his fury of his lazy citizens. Not that he is that hardworking himself, as he eats of the plate himself and empty the state reserves to buy private planes. But that is another discussion!

Therefore, here is the key parts of the speech that is important for me to discuss!

On the issue of the shortage of food in some areas that hit us last season, my advice is to use relief very carefully for two reasons. The first reason is that relief can kuremaza (disorient) our people away from production to, instead, get in the habit of waiting for relief. Secondly, Ugandans should know that when we are eating relief food, we should know that we are chewing a road, a school or a health centre. Therefore, relief should only be for the really unavoidable situations. It should not be used by politicians for cheap popularity or frivolously (let us take the government food since it is available) or even for corruption by government officials (get the food for selling claiming that it is for relief). Finally, I would like to say that work is the only way to get people out of poverty. I, therefore, urge all Ugandans to develop a positive attitude to work. The NRM government will continue to provide an enabling environment for establishing businesses and creation of employment” (Museveni, 2017).

That he has problem that people are asking and needing food relief is beyond me. Secondly calling them disoriented because of the lacking yields, the burning fire of the sun and the result of the El Nino. But that is just me. That the State and Government could have made sure the rainwater was saved and have more structure so they wasn’t starving in the first place. But then again, Mr. President is never at fault, always casting blame on someone else. Therefore, the citizens is to blame for lacking rains and yields, and also lacking government policies and will to implement some sort agency that support the farmers.

The popularity he speaks of it the ones that want the President to act and declare an emergency, as the volatile and dire situation, as so many people in the hurt districts are eating less a meal a day! Still, he claims people are trading and selling the food without giving it away for relief. Like they sometimes do with clothes, the secondhand rule that some is given, but other is traded away for profits on the secondhand markets. If it was so, shouldn’t the president set his standard and authority to stop this men and woman from thieving the food from the ones in need? I guess he is lazy and disoriented, eating of the licensed roads and royalties of oil prospects instead of really feeding the ones in need.

This isn’t about poverty itself, it is the core mismanagement of his 7th term government, the lack of institution and the lack agricultural oversight, as the jerrycans into prosperity is a lie. That the starvation and famine is about attitude and not about lacking government oversight. If it was the latter and not the first, he was to blame; since he is the kingpin on the top and should have acted before the famine occur, but that had happen if he was legitimate leader. Nevertheless, he is self-made, self-righteous, individual who doesn’t care how ruthless and inconsiderate he is. This wasn’t words uttered for the betterment of the Republic of Uganda, it was to wash to hands of his sins and walk away from the problems. That because the famine and the food insecurity was made of lazy Ugandans and not because of drought…

Well, the wonderful dictator has hands in the state reserves and dislike that he cannot expand his ranch as much usual, pay of his daughters travels expenses or Lady Janet luxurious footwear. Who knows where all the confidential funds go, but certainly not drip-drop/bottle irrigation scheme. Certainly, this President isn’t worried about district roads, which is nearly impossible to travel through in Abletong on anywhere else for that matter. So when he says that the public is eating of roads and other infrastructure projects when they are starving during droughts and famines. Shows little mercy, this little despot with no empathy… it is gone with all the souls he has captured and stolen their future from by staying in power, I guess.

That President Museveni trying to put a spell on the people for trying to survive in hard-times, in times of tribulations and drought, as the state as struggling to give them a decent food relief. The man in charge is saying they are the reason for lacking roads and infrastructure projects because of that! Than, he also says the ones who stands firm in Parliament, asking for him to humble himself and stand down. To beg for mercy and help, to gain extra support and tell that he has mismanaged the Republic with a “State of Emergency” proves true leadership. They want their leader to take responsibility!

If he was truly elected 5 times, wouldn’t he offer more to the ones that he needed their support? Alas, it isn’t so, because he knows he rigs and put fear into the public… instead of having their real support and getting their votes. If he had so, he might have showed some flair and said he would help them because it was his duty. Not that the people are eating of the infrastructure budget.

Me translating so anyone really understand what he is understating in his speech today:“You lazy bastards are eating of government money because you are starving, you should be able to dig roots and eat rats, not eat of the state reserves. The sun didn’t burn that hard and you didn’t collect enough water with your bare hands. While I am driving 30 cars convoys and flying overseas to be a VIP. How dare you insult these foreign investors by eating my road money, aye?”. That is what you can take from the speech of this wonderful President and wonderful dictator Museveni! Peace.

Reference:

Museveni, Yoweri Kaguta – ‘SPEECH ON THE OCCASION TO MARK INTERNATIONAL LABOUR DAY’ (01.05.2017) link: https://www.yowerikmuseveni.com/speech-occasion-mark-international-labour-day

Up-North: 5,400kgs rice supposed to feed 879,000 people!

This morning, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commissioned Dokolo water supply system. (National Water and Sewerage Corporation – NWSC) – 8th March 2017

I don’t know about you but this story should horrify you, as the concern of the citizens is clearly lacking, as their food insecurity is not well taken care off. The Ugandan Government clearly has maladministration or lacking resources, or only funds to Presidential Handshakes and the Presidential Jet. Because the districts of Lira, Dokolo and Alebtong isn’t getting their needs fulfilled. Just take a look!

Government has delivered 5,400kgs of rice as relief for vulnerable communities faced with food shortage in Lango sub region” (…) “The relief supplies were delivered to Lira, Dokolo and Alebtong districts on Thursday evening. Each district will receive 1,800 kilograms of rice in the distribution. Lira district secretary for production Anthony Ojuka says the supplies will be distributed to extremely vulnerable families comprising of widows, persons living with HIV/Aids and the elderly, among others” (URN, 2017).

To put the whole food delivery and relief supplies into context!

Lira district: The Water Supply Atlas claims in Lira District that it lives about 442,128 people there (Water Uganda, 2017). The Water Supply Atlas claims in Dokolo District it lives about 196,591 people in the district (Water Uganda, 2017). The same Water Supply Atlas claims in Abletong District to be living there about 241,596 people (Water Uganda, 2017). A rough estimate would say that in these three district there are living about 879,000 people!!!

Out of the rice donated, let’s do some math:

Out of the 5,400kgs supposed to be divided on 879,000 people is equal to 0,00614kg per person. So it means measly 0,006kg rice each. That is not even a handful a piece. People are already struggling to eat and the sum of food is insane. If they would deliver anything serious, it should be tons upon tons.

Each district we’re getting 1,800kgs rice is really depressing, especially thinking of the amount of people living there. Just think about it 1,800kgs rice to be shared in Lira district on 442 thousand people, 1800kgs to the amound of 196 thousand people in Dokolo district, 1800kgs shared on 241 thousand people in Abletong district!

There is something seriously wrong with the math-squad of the NRM and their willing people to deliver this sort of relief. Therefore, the first relief to Lira district we’re more sincere: “On March 31, Lira received 25 tonnes of food supplies which was distributed to those in dire need of food” (URN, 2017). That is something fruitful and profound from the government. Still, a month ago, but proves some willingness to make the people survive. Since in Lira District there are 442,128 people and seriously 1,800kgs rice cannot be sustainable, that is measly meals for kingpins of the NRM leadership in Lira town, but not for the whole district even. The same can be said abot the Dokolo District and the Abletong distict!

This is a meager attempt of food relief, if they want to serious with the 879,000 living in this area, they better come with tons of rice and food supplies, that would last and would give more than a handful to chosen few. The NRM cannot be proud of this attempt of needed relief here. Better man-up and ask for State of Emergency, as the NRM cannot have enough funds or manpower to relieve the district in dire need food. Peace.

Reference:

URN – ‘Govt delivers 5400 Kgs of relief food to Lango sub-region’ (29.04.2017) link:http://observer.ug/news/headlines/52605-govt-delivers-5400-kgs-of-relief-food-to-lango-sub-region.html

Uganda Travel Guide – ‘ Lira District’ link: http://www.ugandatravelguide.com/lira-district.html

Water Uganda – ‘Dokolo District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/31

Water Uganda – ‘Abletong District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/108

Water Uganda – ‘Lira District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/45

10th Parliament pass a Motion urging President Museveni to declare “State of Emergency” concerning the Food Insecurity!

Prime Minister Rukana Rugunda in Parliament as the motion went to the plenary: “There are hospitals that have no drugs” (Parliament Watch, 26.04.2017)

Today the 10th Parliament passed a motion made by Hon. Monica Amonding (Kumi District), Hon. Felix Ogong Okot (Dokolo South) and Hon. Silas Aogon (Kumi Municipality). They urged the President to declare the Republic are in a “State of Emergency”. This would be done over the famine and influx of refugees, that the Ugandan Republic would naturally both struggle with. As the Government have not functioning structures to fulfill the disasters at this rate, neither the over a 1 million of South Sudanese refugees.

The Minister can be quoted in the motion saying this:

WHEREAS objective XXII of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy states that the State shall take appropriate steps to encourage people to grow and store adequate food, establish national food reserve and encourage and promote proper nutrition through mass education and other appropriate means in order to build a health state;” (…) “AND WHEREAS OBJECTIVE XIII urges the State to institute effective machinery for dealing with any hazard or disaster arising out of natural calamities or any situation resulting in displacing of the people or serious disruption of their normal life;” (…) “NOTHING THAT Article 110 (1) (b) provides that the President may in consultation with cabinet, by a proclamation, declare that a state of emergency exists in Uganda or any parts of Uganda if he satisfied that the security of economic life of the Country or a part of the Country is threatened by natural disaster” (…) “FURTHER NOTHING THAT most parts of Uganda has this year suffered prolonged drought and famine which has not allowed people to plant on time, while what has already have been planted have dried up and has not yielded any fruits;” (…) “NOTHING THAT the prolonged drought has become a big threat to the lives of both people and animals since Uganda largely depends on agriculture for both food and income;” (…) “REALIZING THAT as a result of this drought and famine, a number of people have been taken ill and others have died of starvation;” (…) “COGNISANT THAT food insecurity has escalated and it’s believed to be the major reason behind the wave of criminal activities which has swept the country and caused mayhem through the country, since people are desperate to get what to feed on;” (…) “AWARE THAT Members of Parliament have on several occasions alerted government of the looming dangers that the Country faces it stringent measures are not put in place to arrest the level of famine in the country” (…) “NOW THEREFORE this motion if moved urging – The President to declare a state of emergency in the country to address the food insecurity” (Motion for a Resolution of Parliament Urging the President to Declare A State of Emergency to address the Alarming Food Insecurity in the Country, 26.04.2017 – Uganda Parliament).

That the MP’s Amonding, Okot and Aogon are doing this in good faith, as they have fate that the President and his cronies will address the Food Insecurity and take care of the citizens. That the President who not to long ago, claimed there we’re no famine in Uganda. There are clearly lacking of food and the reports of the dire situation in many districts are clearly not encouraging. The bleak situation have not changed.

That the State and have significant works to do, not only to declare, but facilitate and make sure the famine struck areas get funding, secondly get food delivery to patch up the hurt. Than the education and useful technique’s for farmers and citizens to take of the water in the seasons, then to reuse it when the dry-seasons are coming. This is certainly something that the citizens know and the state as well. So the government, departments, agencies and the local government should have measures and plans to tackle the famine and the high levels of food insecurity. Also, look to their donors and multi-national organizations that they have gotten help from in the past to support extra in the time of need.

This can be done if the President Yoweri Museveni, actually cries out for help and that he can have the guts to say: “…I have managed the country for 3 decades, the famines was worse under Obote and Amin, but now for the first time as President, I have to say, I have not done my duty, neither has the Movement. We are living in troubling times, the government was not prepared for El Nino and neither was the peasant farmers and villagers. The NRM, I the President as the Ugandan, will now declare State of Emergency. We are not at fault, the climate change and weather is the reason for this….”. If he would have uttered words like this, because I don’t expect the old man with the hat, to ask for forgiveness or say he is at fault. Still, if he proves that the Republic are in trouble and say it to the world. It should be understood.

The FAO, FEWSNET and other has established it and warned for months, while the Republic and the State didn’t act upon it. They we’re lacking procedures and ways of allocating funds for food delivery and steady organization to give relief to the starving citizens. Therefore, the need for declaration is great way of showing to the world and get donations to direct aid on it. But to build structures and disaster relief should have been made by the Ministry for Relief and Disaster Preparedness and the State Minister Musa Francis Ecweru. That Department or Ministry should have the mandate and the needed funds to commit to help the citizens who are barley having one meal day or two, depending on which hurt district it is about right now.

That the MP’s are now tabling and urging the President to act upon it and to declare a Stat of Emergency because of the concern of the agricultural output and the food insecurity. The State could have acted earlier, they could have pledged to this and been upfront, as they have added their own tally with massive flood of refugees combined with drought. The world would have reacted or we could have hoped they had reacted to it, that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and others could have made efforts to salvage the dire situation. The food insecurity is high and the state has to act. Peace.

Mogadishu Declaration on Regional Cooperation on the Current Drought (22.02.2017)

East-Africa

Mogadishu – Wednesday, 22 February 2016The following joint declaration was made in Mogadishu by H.E. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

1. We have come together as the heads of government of four countries in a region facing significant stress as a result of the current drought. Multiple seasons of failed rains and global weather patterns have, yet again, negatively affected the resilience mechanisms of millions of our people. This is evident in the immediate humanitarian crisis facing us today and will show up in longer term socio-economic vulnerability in communities that today are selling all their assets and uprooting their families for survival.

2. This situation, which may worsen in Somalia and result in a renewed famine over the coming months, could also have security and political implications in our region and beyond, as coping mechanisms are eroded and tensions over dwindling resources risks sparking conflict. Scores of people are moving both within countries and across borders in the hope of increasing their chances of survival. This upheaval is taking a particularly heavy toll on children and women, and makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks. Drought-related disease outbreaks and inter-communal conflict are already on the rise.

3. While each of our governments is mobilising to respond, the dire situation calls for international collaboration and regional partnership between governments, civil society, aid organisations, business and international donors.

4. We commit ourselves to regional cooperation to facilitate a more comprehensive response and strong partnership.

5. We commit to strengthening our cross-border collaboration and our efforts to establish security and stability in Somalia to ensure an effective response to the drought and to enable further progress in peace building and state building in Somalia. We further commit to the provision of appropriate protection and assistance to those compelled to leave their areas of origin as a consequence of the drought, including those who have fled to neighbouring countries.

6. We will be consulting on a regular basis to review progress on these issues, and to agree upon any necessary collective action that will help our countries and region respond to this emergency. Furthermore, we have instructed our respective foreign ministers and drought response teams to work together and keep us briefed.

7. In the longer term, we commit to working together bilaterally and through existing regional bodies such as IGAD, the African Union as well as the United Nations to address the underlying structural issues that commonly affect our economies, environments and communities, including cross-border rangeland and water resource management.

END

FAO reports on the souring food prices in the East African Countries!

eldoret-cereal-warehouse

“In pastoral areas of Kenya, Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia, the widespread drought had a severe impact on pasture and water availability, and prices of livestock sharply decreased in recent months to very low levels, as livestock body conditions dramatically deteriorated. In these areas, the resulting sharp decline of terms of trade for pastoralists is severely constraining food access for large numbers of households” (FAO, P: 10, 2017).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has this month released a report that assessed the prices and the issues concerning food prices in the nations around the world. This is the droughts, lack of rain and the problems occurring after the El Nino that hit the African continent. Therefore, the sad reality with the influx of issues and variables, the food markets in different nations has hit a snag and they have gone up. At levels that are worrying, as the markets they haven’t had the same rise in added income compared to the prices of staple foods. This hits the poorest the most and gives them a harder day to day, as their added prices makes the cost of living even more turbulent and hazardous than it already is.

Like the Maize and Beans prices in Kenya:

“Maize prices increased in January by 9-14 percent in most monitored markets, as the output of the short rains harvest, currently underway in eastern and coastal lowlands, was sharply reduced due to insufficient rainfall. Prices of maize in January were 20-30 percent higher than 12 months earlier in several markets, also as a result of a below-average long rains harvest, recently completed in high potential western areas of the Rift Valley. Sustained imports from neighbouring Uganda contained the increased in maize prices. In drought affected coastal counties, sharper year-on-year price increases are recorded, and in December 2016 prices of maize in Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taraka Nithi and Embu counties were up to 40 percent higher than a year earlier. Prices of beans are also at high levels and in January they were up to 40 percent higher than their year-earlier levels. Most pastoral areas were affected by drought, and prices of livestock declined in recent months as animal body conditions deteriorated. For instance, in Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa and Tana River counties, prices of goats in December 2016 were 15-30 percent lower than 12 months earlier” (FAO, P: 3, 2017).

That the prices of maize had added about 20-30 percent in a year time is worrying for the region, as the Kenyan market and the current state before the elections. The Kenyan state is borrowing at a steady haste for bigger infrastructure investments, but isn’t using funds to secure the agricultural output. This is lacking initiative or use of government subsidises to secure enough production, as much as there are droughts that has hit areas, where the prices has risen as a cause of lacking output or none as the climate has deteriorating the soil. That not only Maize has risen on higher prices, also the hiking of prices of beans shows the incapacity of agricultural output in general and also securing cheap government imports.

Like the prices of Maize and Sorghum in Somalia:

“Prices of locally-produced maize and sorghum continued to soar in January as the output of the 2016/17 secondary deyr harvest was affected by a severe drought and is estimated at 25 percent of last five-year average. In Mogadishu, prices of coarse grains increased up to 35 percent. In most markets of key maize producing region of Lower Shabelle, maize prices surged in January by 32-41 percent. Overall, prices of coarse grains in January in key markets of central and southern Somalia were up to twice their levels of 12 months earlier. Prices are likely to further escalate in the coming months, as an earlier than usual stock depletion will be compounded by concerns over the performance of the 2017 gu harvest. In pastoral areas, drought caused shortages of grazing resources, with deterioration of livestock body conditions. Livestock prices sharply declined in recent months, especially in the south, and are at very low levels, up to 60 percent lower than 12 months earlier. As a result of declining livestock prices and increasing cereal prices, terms of trade for pastoralists sharply deteriorated over the last 12 months. The equivalent in maize of a medium size goat declined in Buale market from 114 kg January 2016 to just 30 kg in January 2017. The severe drought has also caused a sharp decline in milk production and surge in milk prices” (FAO, P: 5, 2017).

So Somalia who has just gone through an election, has had a heavy affected by the drought, as the grains and food production has been hit by it. As proven with the rising food prices in Mogadishu and the prices has doubled in Central and Southern Somalia, in only a year! That proves the dire food situation, as the fierce internal fighting, the federation food production combined with the military fighting together with a drought has the food markets and food productions. Therefore the citizens and farmers are the losers, as they cannot have peaceful production, lacking rains and also insecurity of their own safety. All these things combined with the uncertainty of the electorate and the new administration. The steady rise of food prices has surely hit a population that did not need another crisis.

Rising prices in South Sudan:

“In the capital, Juba, prices of sorghum and maize declined in January by 6 and 10 percent, respectively, partly as a result of the harvesting of 2016 second season crops in southern bi-modal rainfall areas, which improved the domestic supply situation. Prices of other staples, wheat flour, cassava and groundnuts, followed similar patterns. In markets located in central and northern uni-modal rainfall areas, prices of sorghum increased by 15-20 percent in December 2016 and January 2017, after having declined in previous months with the harvesting of 2016 crops. In January, food prices in nominal terms were between 2 and 4 times above their levels in January last year, due to insecurity, a tight supply situation, hyperinflation and a significant depreciation of the local currency” (FAO, P: 5, 2017).

In South Sudan the new crisis of internal battles hit, even after the long term peace-agreement was fresh and the battles that started in July 2016. The continued escalation has hit the country. South Sudan administration has been busy fighting the SPLM-IO. The SPLM-IO has also been busier fighting the SPLA/M. Therefore the engagement with trying to get people to live in peace and fresh produce to happen in the country has stopped. That together with the civil war the agricultural output has been lost with the fleeing civilians and burning villages. Therefore in this current state, the food prices rise as the lacking food stocks of internal produced are dwindling, as the state needs more import of foreign food. Not only the inflation rates of the currency, the food production has been unstable. Therefore the rising prices and the armed situation create the rise of food prices. So the stability of the nation will also secure the currency and also the agricultural output, as of now is more or less in need of food aid because of the current in-fighting and lack of government oversight. This is unhealthy and makes even the security of food into a limbo.

Rising prices of Maize in Uganda:

“Prices of maize followed a sustained upward trend in recent months, increasing in all monitored markets by 33-58 percent between August and December 2016. Subsequently, prices followed mixed trends in January, declining in the capital, Kampala, as the second season harvest increased supplies, remaining firm in Lira market, located in a major cereal producing area, and continuing to increase in Busia, a key cross-border hub with Kenya. Overall, maize prices in January were up to 75 percent higher than a year earlier and at near-record to record levels, as the upward pressure exerted on prices by a reduced second season harvest, affected by poor rainfall in southeastern parts bordering lake Victoria, was compounded by a reduced first season harvest gathered last June/July and by sustained export demand from neighbouring countries, mainly Kenya and South Sudan. In Kampala, prices of beans and cassava flour, important staples, are also at high levels, and in January they were about 25 percent higher than 12 months earlier” (FAO, P: 6, 2017).

Ugandan government has already showed lacking instruments to the current drought and the lesser output during the election and campaigning of the current leadership. This is proven now with the monetary issues that are in dire straight in republic. The proof of the rising prices as the export of maize and others to South Sudan, as the added refugees who also needs foods and are also supported aided food. The government needs to secure added food production and development of bigger yields of the staple foods. That the food prices have sky-rocketed as the region has all been hit in corridors and districts where the dried lands have killed of livestock and others. Government has showed lacking oversight and mechanism from the government has not helped the dry-lands and the aftermath. Because of this with the added strains of a cash-strapped government after a heavy-burden state after elections, has not stagnated or had initiatives to stop the growing prices of food.

Maize prices are rising also in Tanzania:

“Prices of maize continued to increase in January in all monitored markets, as production prospects for the vuli harvest, currently underway in northern and eastern bi-modal rainfall areas, are unfavourable due to poor and erratic rainfall. Further support to prices was provided by concerns over the performance of the msimu harvest, to be gathered from May in central and southern uni-modal rainfall areas, as early-season dryness affected planting operations and crop establishment. Prices of maize in January were almost twice their year-earlier levels in Arusha, located in the northeast, while they were about 25 percent higher than in January 2016 in Dar Es Salaam, the largest urban centre” (FAO, P: 6, 2017).

That President Magufuli and his party like to be the example of the East Africa. Here the Tanzanian government are delivering the same sort of levels of rising prices. The maize prices are affected by drought and the Tanzanian government also have had to take in the refugees from other nations of late. This together with the less rainfall has pushed the prices on maize in Tanzania. Certainly the prices that doubled shows signs of lacking agricultural output and less yields as the rains and drought has happen during the last 12 month.

The numbers of rising food prices together with the lacking yields shows the worrying signs of lesser rain and longer dry seasons. This all hurt the citizens and the customers in the central regions or in urban areas who buys the foods from the agricultural districts, as much as the violence and the crisis in South Sudan and long term effects of the civil war in Somalia. This happens after the drought and other political issues, together with little efforts to add the yields, shows in the rising prices of staple foods. So now the people have to pay more for the same food they would have bought last year, in some places not only 20% added, but up to double or tripled. This is certainly added strains on the personal economy of the citizens in these nations. Peace.

Reference:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – ‘Food Price Monitoring and Analysis – Bulletin’ (14.02.2017)

United Nations Security Risk Assessment of South Sudan by September 2015

df26UNMISS

Today is a day where I will discuss and show findings for certain UNMISS report that is from UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) its numbered: ST/SGB/2007/06. It is the United Nations Security Risk Assessment – South Sudan. It was approved 11th September 2015! And here are some interesting findings. I think the quotes speak for themselves!

“Following the onset of the conflict in December 2013, UNMISS could not fully perform its mandate given it under Security Council resolution 1996 (2011) because of the security situation and the need to maintain impartiality. Subsequently, Security Council resolution 2155 (2014), 27 May 2014, fundamentally shifted the basis of UNMISS’ mandate from support of the Government in capacity-building in traditional UN peacebuilding areas to four key areas. In the line with the UN Security Council resolution 2223 (2015), UNMISS activities are:

  • Protecting the Civilians
  • Monitoring and investigating human rights
  • The Creation of conditions conducive for humanitarian assistance
  • Supporting the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement” (UN SRA SS P: 2-3).

“Despite the attacks on the Akobo CSB and the BOR PoC in April 2014, that were more linked with the ethnic based targeting of South Sudanese sheltering within UN premises, generally speaking the UN is not a primary target for hostilities. Moreover, the UN is more often caught in crossfire during armed conflict and access is affected as a result of armed conflict. This will continue to be a risk”(…)“The fact that UNMISS hosts over 166,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) increases the UN’s operational risk profile and reputation” (…)”PoC sites are volatile with the potential that the high level of tension amongst the IDPs may spill over in violent clashes. Staff members are therefore at a higher risk working within these sites” (UN SRA SS P: 3).

“The armed conflict, which is now in its second year, followed last year’s pattern where the dry season was fighting season enabling forces to take control of vast areas of the country. During the rainy seasons (July-Nov) the roads become impassable curbing direct clashes for the period. Even with the IGAD peace agreement signed in Juba on 26. August 2015, assessment is that the country security situation in 2015/16 will remain unsecure” (UN SRA SS P: 4).

“Currently there is no mainstreaming of Security within the UN activities/ programmes. Therefore, the policy that defines that security needs to be involved at all levels of management to ensure security is considered/ mainstreamed into all the activities or programmes is not applied, specifically in UNMISS” (…)”Maintaining security training would enhance the functional expertise of all international and national staff although programme managers would need to receive training in order to learn the identity inherent and associated risks in a timely manner” (UN SRA SS P: 5).

Peace Operation: To help implement the mandated tasks, UNMISS will consist of a military component of up to 12,500 troops of all ranks and a police component, including appropriate Formed Police Units, up to 1,323 personell” (UN SRA SS P: 9).

“Humanitarian programme assessments have indicated that, as the violence deepens, the humanitarian needs and risk to aid workers increases. 27 aid workers are presumed to have been killed in South Sudan since December 2013 and over 150 NGO staff are unaccounted for” (…)”In Juba, there have been a growing number of armed attacks against humanitarian compounds” (UN SRA SS P: 10).

UNMISS Report P11 P1UNMISS Report P11 P2UNMISS Report P12

“At the height of the conflict large numbers of people split over the borders into neighboring countries seeking refuge in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Abyei; these numbers stand at approximately 510,000 individuals” (UN SRA SS P: 13).

“The increased risk specifically in Malakal and Bentiu would require an increase in the deployment of security staff and expansion of the collective security posture” (…)”As the rains of 2015 began to cut off supply lines, military offensives increasingly used riverine methods of transporting goods and fighters to the frontline. The method of delivery was also being used by humanitarian agencies to transfer large quantities of food to communities in need. In April 2015 a barge convoy hired by UNMISS to carry food and fuel supplies for the base in Malakal was attacked by RPGs and small arms fire , injured four persons. In July the government gave strict warnings that all river transportation should stop, further restricting aid delivery around the country. In September there have also been reported incidents of alleged attack on government owned barges and gunboats in Upper Nile State, the SPLA-io claimed responsibility ahead of verification” (UN SRA SS P: 14-15).

“Since the beginning of the conflict (December 2013) until June 2015, there were a total of 594 security incidents involving IDPs in UNMISS PoC sites. Cases include serious assaults, civil unrest, mob violence, robbery, death threats and harassment, and several locations have also recorded serious disruption to humanitarian operation” (…)”Continued accusations by the government actors or affiliates that the PoC sites are a sanctuary for supporters of the SPLA in Opposition also make the PoC sites a target; this point was actively demonstrated in the attack in the Bor in April 2014 resulting in the death of 55 IDPs within the UNMISS site. Similar incidents have occurred near PoC sites in Juba, Bentiu and Malakal” (…)”An outbreak of cholera started in South Sudan on 18 May 2015 reaching total of 1718 cases [dates 4 September 2015], this rapid spread is largely affecting areas of the state capital Juba and also a separate smaller spread in Bor. One death have been reported at the PoC site in Juba with a total of 76 cases of people who contracted cholera inside the site” (UN SRA SS P: 16).

UNMISS Report P16

“UNSMS will have to work much closer with the GoSS security agencies to ensure an improved  security response to UN security related incidences” (…)”In Juba a “blue zone” was implemented to manage the locations which were approved by UN security for International UN staff to reside in based on accessibility to the area, crime rates and distance to UN base in case of relocation and emergencies” (…)”Where the UN has a presence Operational Zones have been created where security clearances are not required in all main urban areas to allow for improved access. This approach is underscore by risk management as opposed to a risk adverse approach, this concept needs to be maintained and where possible further enhanced or monitored” (UN SRA SS P: 17).

The disruption in oil revenues and devaluation of the currency as a result of the fighting has had a detrimental effect on the already weakened economy; government, civil servants, armed forces and police are having their salaries delayed. The breakdown in social infrastructure has reduced employment opportunities; creating desperation which has translated into crime” (…)”For example, the on-going cattle raiding and inter-clan revenge clashes that has been served in retaliation have devastated Lake States” (…)”Government officials have sometimes exacerbated tense situations with alienating remarks on their perception of the UN, often with accusations that the UN is favoring one side over the other within the conflict itself” (UN SRA SS P: 19).

Animosity grew when the government made accusations that the UN was harboring rebels within its Protection of Civilian (POC) sites. Direct and veiled threats to attack POCs became widespread” (…)”The effect of this was in April 2014 when “armed youth” attacked the UNMISS base in Bor resulting in the deaths of 55 IDPs and injuring many others including UN peacekeepers” (…)”On 26 August 2014 under suspicious circumstances a UN contracted helicopter crashed near Bentiu in Unity State, killing three (3) aircrew and injuring one (1) other underlining the threats involved in working within South Sudan. Investigations into the cause of the crash were inconclusive” (…)”In the middle July 2015 there are approximately 166,142 people saying in seven (7) UNMISS bases (UN SRA SS P: 20).

“There is also notable internal political  friction between the Central Government and the Equatoria States who have been calling for the greater autonomy via a federal government system. This has lead to local Equatorian communities feeling threatened and evacuating their families from the area” (…)”In Jonglei state” (…)” During rainy season in 2014 there were major skirmishes between the SPLA and SPLA-io reported in Jonglei. The SPLA-io has continued to threaten to fire upon aircraft flying in the areas, which were seven of the eleven counties during this period; the last threat was on 17 July 2014” Upper Nile” (…)”Several major clashes between the SPLA and SPLA-io have occurred; during one heavy exchange some stray bullets entered the UNMISS camp killing and injuring IDPs and causing structural damage to UN resources. All UN personnel remain concentrated in UNMISS camp including several agencies who had to abandon their own compounds” (…)”Unity State” (…)”To the west of Bentiu, UN staff previously based in the former Mayom UNMISS County Support Base (CSB) regularly were “caught in cross fire” incidents when the parties to conflict attempted to take control of the strategically important town, which is principally inhabited by Bul Nuer. UN Mission and Agencies Funds and Programme (AFP) staffs have become the target with regular ambushes, the demand for their trucks, and/or fuel and the forceful attempt to board UN flight by military” (UN SRA SS P: 22). “Also in the Upper Nile UNICEF reports that 89 boys were forcibly recruited by an unnamed armed group in late February 2015. They were takin in an area currently under government control, which is defended by government-allied Shilluk militia commanded by Maj Gen Johnson Olony” (…)”There are reports of an LRA attack in Western Equatoria State in March 2015 when one person was killed, the village was looted and eleven people were abducted but four were later released. This resuming of LRA attacks has increased fear amongst the population as the last attack in the 2012” (UN SRA SS P: 23).

“The oil pipelines exit South Sudan in both Unity and Upper Nile State, oil is refined in Sudan before being exported. The potential loss of oil revenues affects both nations so good trade relations’ remains key to maintaining income” (UN SRA SS P: 23).

Currently the flow of refugees is affecting both countries as fighting affects the communities and so they move on, in Sudan the fighting in South Kordofan has created an influx of refugees into South Sudan and the fighting in northern Unity State in South Sudan has meant many refugees travelled north to refugee sites within Sudan” (…)”Cross border grazing & migration rights also areas of dispute as they host well-armed Sudanese Misseriya cattle herders who move around South Sudan in search of feed for their animals” (UN SRA SS P: 24).

South Sudan lacks an adequate air traffic control system, countrywide. The government took control of the country’s airspace from Sudan in 2011, but to date has not issued any “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAMs), There are areas, however, that the government has declared a “no fly zone” (i.e. over the Presidential Palace in Juba), suggesting that the government reserve the right to fire upon an aircraft that violates this airspace” (UN SRA SS P: 25).

UNMISS Report P24UNMISS Report P25

“Use of the River Nile for transportation of UN supplies and fuel has proved difficult with the government threat against all river travel by humanitarian agencies. With military supply vessels regularly travelling the river to the frontline it is not a safe option for delivery of humanitarian provisions” (UN SRA SS P: 26).

Communicable diseases in South Sudan constitute a major cause of morbidity and morality largely due to the limited access to clean water and sanitation being extremely poor with open defection rates, which reaches 60% in urban areas and 80% in rural areas” (UN SRA SS P: 29).

Salva Kiir Cartoon

“In regards to infrastructure, the entire country remains underdeveloped. Road and air mobility is seriously jeopardized especially during the rainy season where whole regions are cut off. Electricity, food and clean water supplies are scarce and seriously impact UN operations in remote duty stations” (…)”Due to poor road conditions in both dry and rainy season and lack of infrastructure there is a heavy reliance on UNMISS and UNHAS air assets for the delivery of humanitarian aid” (UN SRA SS P: 30).

“The existing EU sanctions delivered in July 2014 had little impact on the de-escalating of the crisis, however further extensive UN sanctions were delivered in a tough UN Security Council Resolution on the 3 March 2015, the decision affects individuals through the freezing of their bank accounts and travel bans will affect all players who do not work towards peace and security. There is also an African Union (AU) report which has investigated human rights abuses last dry season which is completed but yet to be published” (UN SRA SS P: 41).

There is an increase of visible signs of South Sudan being a failing state: there is no free media, intimidation, by government security is commonplace, economy close to collapse and lack of provision or accountability of the civilian population by the state with most funds diverted to fund the war effort. Law and order is collapsing too, in some states wages have been stolen or simply delayed for months on end, in urban area reports of police becoming active criminals, local courts do not function and reports that crimes are committed due to perpetrators acting with impunity” (…)”Large numbers of IDPs rely on the security of UNMISS peacekeeping forces for their protection, however crowd control measures can never maintain order if the IDPs turn on their protector if the tensions rise inside the confines of the POC sites, the numbers are simply overwhelming” (UN SRA SS P: 42).

South Sudan Cartoon

Afterthought:
It is all worrying even with the Peace Agreement between the SPLA/M and SPLA-IO which signed a deal with amendments and tokens taken off. The worrying path is the records and analyses that the UN and UNMISS is delivering in this report. The numbers of people that are fleeing from South Kordofan in Sudan and the ones fleeing South Sudan to neighboring countries like Ethiopia, Uganda and DRC is massive! Should be worrying and the way the air-space is not secured. Also the reports on how the seasons are changing and making it difficult to spread necessities like food through air should be seen as a GIANT sign that something has to change. Infrastructure that is gone during rainy season and the air-drops has to happen for no open roads. River Nile isn’t safe and is in the front-line and dangerous travel with transportation of necessities though that path.

There are the issues with the skirmishes in different areas and also military assaults in the various states. Both between SPLA and SPLA-IO but they are not alone. There other military groups making it worse, also the report of even LRA has done damage in the country. Those also innocent children have been abducted and all the weakness of the security issues together with the fractions inside the SPLA making the reports and data on the ground more worrying.

On top of it all the sanctions that has been put on the Government of South Sudan and it hasn’t hit the ground running, but been useless and if it does anything it’s been just a certain individuals that has lost bank accounts, but it hasn’t stopped the fighting or stopped small-arms coming to the country!

There is so much more I could have put into ink and discussed because its powerful to see what the UNMISS is writing and discussing in the report. I have taken what I seen as main issues and fresh insights. I am sure somebody else would have taken more of the context and background into it, but that you can read somewhere else. Peace!

Reference:

United Nations Security Risk Assessment South Sudan – September 2015 – UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) & UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – Approved 11. September 2015 – (Given out 15.09.2015)

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