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Archive for the tag “Lower Shabelle”

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.

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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)

The numbers game on the actual fallen soldiers after the Al-Shabab attack on the AMISOM military base of Janaale in Somalia on the 1. September 2015

ALJAZEERA Somali AMISOM

There been righteous ways of seeing this and also the flabbergasting way as well. The sadness of it all it’s a lot of lives been lost for the security of Somalia and the central area around Mogadishu which the AMISOM and the African Union Mission in Somalia is keeping. They have gotten setbacks before while being on the mission and it peaceful efforts in the country. It’s not the mandate I will discuss in this piece. This piece will show the numbers are of the fallen are not structured. There are reasons to believe that Al-Shabab want as great numbers as possible to prove it was worth for their cause. Secondly it’s natural that AMISOM and the UPDF want as little loss of lives as possible and also keep mouth shut about the actual number since that might have a backlash in Uganda. That’s the reason why I question it today. What I will comment on is the different numbers of fallen soldiers. We can also question the accuracy since even the reports they have named the military base of Janaale/Janale which is it? Another thing is the kilometer length from Mogadishu to the base is from 45 kilometers to 100 kilometers depending on which report. I will not mention who says what, but it seems strange that the place will be that far apart in distance from Mogadishu in one report and 50 kilometers less in another one. But the real issue is how many soldiers did fall in the mercy of the Al-Shabab in the military base. Here is the different reports form the 1st September to the 3rd September, both in media and of official sources:

But this story is about the attack that AU Chairman condemns on 1. September 2015 that was in Janaale which is 65 kilometers from Mogadishu. “Gunmen attacked the base at Janaale in the Lower Shabelle region with a car bomb at about 4:30 a.m. local time Tuesday. Al-Shabab gunmen then entered the camp, triggering a gunfight with AU soldiers”. They reported in VOA on the 1. September said that there were 19 killed in the attack (Joseph & Hannas, 2015).

In the Kenyan Newspaper Daily Nation their reports was this: “”It is assessed that at least 50 Amison troops died,” said a briefing note sent to diplomats by Western military officials” (…) “”They were collecting dead bodies, I saw nearly 30 soldiers killed during the fighting,” said local resident Hussein Idris” (Daily Nation, 2015).

Haberler.com had on the 2nd September unconfirmed reports they said from anonymous source to the Anadolu Agency the source said that “18 bodies have been recovered from the Janaale military base” (Haberler.com, 2015).

On the 2nd September Henry Obbo of the UPDF tweeted: “Alshabaab has not overrun AMISOM base in Janaale nor has AMISOM lost such huge numbers of soldiers. That is mere propaganda”.

On the 3rd September Mr. Paddy Akunda said:

“The names of the dead will be published now that the next of kin have been notified as per our policy”(…)” The 10 peacekeepers , whose bodies were returned today are:Leutenant David Etua Ondoma, Sergeant Charles Outa, Sergeant Charles Ojange, Sergeant Eddy Kakaire, Sergeant Abubaker Mugumya, Sergeant Emmanuel Wanyama, Lance Corporal Andrew Engema, Lance Corporal Phinius Ochowun, Private Isaac Okidi Lotyang and Private Geoffrey Kintu” (…)”​This attack is a game changer, Al-shabaab can only expect an appropriate response from UPDF.We will not relent in our efforts to help in the pacification of Somalia despite the attack” . The total number that the spokesman says was deceased in the attack was 12 men from the UPDF” (Anyoli, 2015).

CNN reports this numbers on the 3 September:

“At least 37 African Union soldiers were killed in an attack by Al-Shabaab militants in southern Somalia on Tuesday, according to military sources in Uganda and Somalia” (Kriel & Duggan, 2015).

Witnesses and Al-Shabab claim on the 3rd September:

“No official death toll has been given but Somalia’s extremist insurgents al-Shabab claimed that 50 soldiers were killed” (SomaliAgenda, 2015).  Amhed Yasin eyewitness said this: ““After almost one hour the gunfire stopped and al-Shabab fighters started transporting armaments and troops’ belongings into awaiting cars” (…)”Al-Shabab later abandoned the base after emptying it of all belongings. I could see men in soldiers’ dress being forced into vehicles who might have been soldiers taken captive”.  Another man who also is a witness to the attack said this: “blood and soldiers’ uniforms everywhere” he was Hashi Sheikh Elmi. Maalin Muhummed Nur said this:“One commander said, ‘You have to know that we are always around and will get any apostates among you … working with the enemy.’”(SomaliAgenda, 2015).

Gen Odong Jeje statement in Parliament on the 3rd September:

“On the morning of 1st Sept 2015 at 5:30 am, Alshabab attacked a UPDF unit at Janale approximately 90 km South East of Mogadishu. Janale is in the Shabele province. The result of this attack so far are as follows:

Own side: 10 dead

Enemy side: 46 dead, 2 captured alive.

I am giving you these figures so that you are informed and not swayed by the outrageous stories in the media” (Gen Odong Jeje, 2015).

CDF Gen Katumba Wamala statement on the 3rd September:

He said: ““My visit was prompted by what happened here in Janaale, where we are now, where our base was attacked by the Al Shabaab using a vehicle bomb IED to breach the defense and where we incurred some casualties; some of our friends lost their lives. I came one, to assess how the situation was and to get a clear picture; how the whole thing happened, and also establish whether they were any flaws in terms of the response. I am convinced that the boys put up a good fight” (…)”I just want to give assurance to our partners and also the other soldiers that all is under control and definitively nothing much to worry about. Our hearts go out to the galant soldiers who lost their lives as they were executing this noble task of defending and protecting the civilians in this country against the bad fellows Al Shabab” (AMISOM, 2015).

Afterthought:

This here is massive and no matter how you look on it’s a sad event. Too many people lost their lives on this base. The issue is that the report from all the sources and witnesses doesn’t add up. I could have looked into what the military explained about the explosion and the eyewitness accounts on the actual attack. This has also a detail that doesn’t add up. There are so many numbers, accounts and sources that make the facts on the ground a worrying account. Especially to all those families who has soldiers in the AMISOM brigades of UPDF that are stationed in the area. There been released ten names. There been numbers up to 50 dead UPDF soldiers. Other official sources say Gen Odong Jeje said 10 soldiers; Lt. Col. Paddy Akunda the military official said 12 peacekeepers. The other once goes from 18 soldiers to the Anadolu Agency, VOA reported that it was 19 Soldiers, local resident and eyewitness Hussain Idris said 30 soldiers, CNN reported said 37 soldiers.   

No matter if it is 10, 12 or 37 Soldiers in the UPDF that has fallen in the battle of military base. It should be sure every single one of them is one to many. That I think we all are on accord with. The loss of these men is a sad thing for the AMISOM, the UPDF and the Republic of Uganda. For the loss of their men in Somalia in the African Union mission. I personally wished that the actual number would appear and that the difference between the CNN and the military sources wasn’t that big as it is. There is all the reasons in the world to believe that the Al-Shabab would juice their numbers up to prove that their attack had effect. So it’s the difference between the military, other sources and the media that are staggering and makes people like me wonder and question it all. That the attack appeared and that are people who has lost their lives is something we can be sure about. Since the pictures of the fallen and caskets with the Ugandan flags has been released as they have been flown home. The thing we have to question, which sources are true here? Who tells the actual facts on the ground? What is reality and what is spiked up? Feel me?

In the end I will do the same as Gen. Odong Jeje did in parliament today: “May I request we rise in a minute of silence in honor of our dead comrades”. Peace.

Reference:

AMISOM – ‘STORY: Ugandan, CDF Visits and Commends Frontline Troops in Janaale, Somalia’ (03.09.2015), AMISOM PUBLIC INFORMATION

Anyoli, Edward – ‘UPDF loses 10 soldiers in Somalia attack’ (03.09.2015) link: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/672966-updf-loses-12-soldiers-in-somalia-attack.html

Joseph, Dan & Hannas, Chris – ‘19 AU Soldiers Killed in Somali Al-Shabab Attack’ (01.09.2015) link: http://www.voanews.com/content/al-shabab-militants-attack-amisom-base/2940387.html

En.Haberler.com – ‘Shabaab Kills Dozens Of Ugandan Troops İn Somalia: Reports’ (02.09.2015) link: http://en.haberler.com/shabaab-kills-dozens-of-ugandan-troops-in-somalia-794252/

Kriel, Robyn & Duggan, Briana – ‘Military sources: Al-Shabaab attack in Somalia kills dozens of AU troops’ (03.09.2015) link: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/03/africa/somalia-al-shabaab-attack/

Nation.co.ke – ‘Al-Shabaab kills ‘over 50’ Amisom soldiers, say Western sources’ (02.09.2015) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Al-Shabaab-kills-over-50-Amisom-soldiers-say-Western-sources/-/1056/2855476/-/g0cs33z/-/index.html

SomaliAgenda – ‘RESIDENTS: DEAD BODIES LAY INSIDE AFRICAN UNION MILITARY BASE AFTER SOMALIA ATTACK’ (03.09.2015) link: https://somaliagenda.com/residents-dead-bodies-lay-inside-african-union-military-base-after-somalia-attack/

Statement to Parliament on the unfortunate attack of UPDF detachment at Janale Somalia by Gen Odong Jeje, 3rd September 2015, Uganda.

Press release: Fresh Amisom Ugandan battle group arrives in Somalia (18.06.2015)

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