South Sudan: UNICEF sounds alarm on ‘catastrophic’ food insecurity in country (06.08.2016)

05-14-fao-south-sudan

5 August 2016 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that it is responding to a growing food security emergency causing malnutrition in children in both rural and urban areas of crisis-gripped South Sudan.

“The situation in South Sudan is catastrophic, and even more so for children,” UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told a news briefing in Geneva, where he also pointed out that so far this year, the agency has treated 120,000 children under age five for severe malnutrition; a nearly 50 per cent increase over the same period in 2015.

Initially, UNICEF had been planning to provide support to 166,000 children in 2016, but that figure has been revised to more than 250,000, he added.

Seven out of the country’s 10 states have reached the malnutrition-rate-emergency threshold of 15 per cent, while in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the malnutrition rate stands at 33 per cent, he explained.

UNICEF has also noted a sharp rise in malnutrition in South Sudan’s urban areas, including the capital, Juba, where the rates of children admitted for malnutrition to UNICEF-supported Al-Sabbah children’s hospitals were some 20 per cent higher in the first six months of 2016 than for the same period last year. The spokesperson cited the country’s inflation rate as one of the main reasons for the high increase, explaining that it made basic household staples too expensive for many families.

Mr. Boulierac stated that while UNICEF could not provide figures of children dying from starvation, “one quarter of a million children in South Sudan are facing severe malnutrition.”

According to the spokesperson, with a number of roads inaccessible, the ongoing conflict has further limited UNICEF’s ability to respond – leaving, in the most urgent cases, the more expensive option of air transport for delivering supplies.

Additionally, Mr. Boulierac stressed that “due to insecurity and the rainy season, UNICEF staff in South Sudan are unable to be fully mobile and deliver their goods and services.”

Mr. Boulierac said that of the $154.5 million UNICEF needs for South Sudan in 2016, the Fund had, to date, received only $52 million to assist with water and sanitation; child support services; nutrition; health; and education.

He indicated that more than 900,000 children have been displaced in the country, which – with 1.8 million children, or 51 per cent of school-age youngsters out of school – also had the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world.

“An estimated 16,000 children had been recruited by armed groups, and there were concerns that the renewed violence would lead to a further expansion of that practice,” explained the spokesperson.

He also called attention to the fact that sexual violence and rape had been used as a weapon of war, saying “all the ingredients were there to be extremely concerned.”

Between 8 and 25 July, at least 72 civilian deaths and 217 cases of sexual violence had been documented in Juba alone.

The spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), William Spindler, added that the total number of South Sudanese refugees in the region stood at 917,418 – most of whom are sheltering in Uganda.

The recent fighting in South Sudan between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice-President Riek Machar – erupted in and around Juba, on 7 July, close to the fifth anniversary of its independence.

The young country has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between the two leaders erupted into conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.

Press Statement: Unprecedented level of food insecurity in South Sudan, UN agencies warn (29.06.2016)

South Sudan Food Crisis

More than a third of the population in urgent need of food, agriculture and nutrition assistance amid risk of catastrophe in some parts of the country.

NEW YORK, United States of America, June 29, 2016Up to 4.8 million people in South Sudan – well over one-third of the population – will be facing severe food shortages over the coming months, and the risk of a hunger catastrophe continues to threaten parts of the country, three UN agencies warned today.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) stressed that while the deteriorating situation coincides with an unusually long and harsh annual lean season, when families have depleted their food stocks and new harvests are not expected until August, the level of food insecurity this year is unprecedented.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.8 million people are projected to be in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance through July, up from 4.3 million in April. This is the highest level of hunger since the conflict in South Sudan began two-and-a-half years ago. This number does not include 350,000 residents of the UN Protection of Civilians areas or other camps for displaced people, who currently are entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance.

“We are very worried to see that food insecurity is spreading beyond conflict areas as rising prices, impassable roads and dysfunctional markets are preventing many families, even those in towns and cities, from accessing food,” said FAO Country Representative Serge Tissot.

Food insecurity and conflict are also forcing many families to leave South Sudan for neighbouring countries. In the last few months alone, an estimated 100,000 South Sudanese people have crossed into Sudan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, and this number is expected to increase to more than 150,000 by the end of June.

“The levels of malnutrition among children continue to be truly alarming,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “Since the beginning of the year more than

100,000 children have been treated for severe malnutrition. That’s a 40 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, and a 150 percent increase since 2014.”

Working with a large number of international and local non-governmental organizations, FAO, UNICEF and WFP will continue to deliver life- and livelihood- saving support under these difficult circumstances.

“We are now seeing sharp spikes of need in new areas, such as Eastern Equatoria or Western Bahr el-Ghazal, where malnutrition rates in some places are reaching dangerous levels. We have started ramping up food and nutrition support, but much more is needed to keep things from deteriorating even further during the lean season,” said WFP Country Director Joyce Luma.

In 2016, FAO is planning to provide emergency livelihood support to 3.1 million people in South Sudan. It is currently distributing over half a million crop and fishing kits and is assisting livestock production through the vaccination of some 11 million animals.

The dramatic rise in malnutrition rates, means that in the first four months of the year UNICEF has already treated 45 per cent of its planned 2016 caseload of 166,000 children.

WFP plans to assist  3.3 million people in South Sudan this year through a combination of emergency food assistance, lifesaving nutrition support for mothers and young children, community-based asset-creation projects where possible, and safety net programmes such as school meals.

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya (15.06.2016)

Uhuru Phone

NEW YORK, United States of America, June 15, 2016 Today, the Secretary-General met with H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. They exchanged views on the main peace, security and humanitarian challenges facing the region.

Regarding the decision by the Government of Kenya to close refugee camps, the Secretary-General commended the Government and people of Kenya for decades of generous hospitality to hundreds of thousands of refugees from numerous countries. The Secretary-General encouraged President Kenyatta to work with the Government of Somalia and UNHCR in the context of the Tripartite Agreement. He assured the President that the UN will continue to provide humanitarian, development, and security assistance to both Kenya and Somalia.

The Secretary-General also expressed gratitude for the continued bravery of the Kenyan troops of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and highlighted the critical importance of staying committed to AMISOM’s efforts, particularly ahead of the 2016 federal elections.

Brussels, 15 June 2016

Full Joint Communique Republic of Kenya and Federal Republic of Somalia ‘on Dadaab’ (09.06.2016)

Dadaab Refugee Camp

MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 9, 2016 – At the invitation of H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia paid a three day Official Visit to Kenya from 6th to 8th June, 2016.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Dadaab Refugee Camp on Monday 6th June, 2016 and addressed the refugees. He assured them that the Government of Somalia is committed to receive them back home to participate in the process of state building, peace building and national reconciliation. He reassured them that the repatriation will be orderly, humane and dignified as per the Tripartite Agreement. President Mohamud expressed deep gratitude for the generosity and hospitality of Kenyans for hosting his people for the past quarter of a century.

H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held bilateral talks at State House Nairobi on Tuesday, 7th June, 2016. The meeting reviewed a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues in particular peace, security and stability in Somalia, repatriation of refugees from Dadaab and economic cooperation.
In this regard, the two leaders:

1. Reaffirmed the good neighborliness, bonds of heritage, shared destiny and the cordial relationship that exists between Kenya and Somalia, which are de
2. Appreciated the contribution of African countries within the framework of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in stabilizing Somalia and commended the value of cooperation between AMISOM and the Somalia Security Forces in securing a stable environment for state building in line with Somalia’s Vision 2016.
3. Further Appreciated the key role Kenya continues to play in promoting peace, security, unity and stability in Somalia.
4. Noted the progress made in the political process and expressed confidence that the upcoming election will lead to a foundation for stable and prosperous Somalia.
5. Committed to working jointly on the orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees back to Somalia as per the Tripartite Agreement.
6. Underscored that the Tripartite Agreement provides the framework for fast-tracking orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees.
7. Noted with appreciation that this cooperation endeavour will enhance the spirit of proactive collaboration over and above the framework of the Tripartite Agreement.
8. Called upon the international community in line with the principles of burden sharing to support this process by providing adequate support to the Federal Government of Somalia to receive the returnees.
9. On bilateral cooperation, Directed/ the immediate convening of the Joint Commission for Co-operation to follow up on its implementation particularly on joint border crossing and security, trade and investment, health, education, sports and youth, culture and scientific research and communication.
10. Agreed that in the short term, the customs and immigration clearance procedures for flights from Somalia to Kenya be carried out at one point of entry to be determined soon; and, in the long term develop modalities for a direct flight between Somalia and Kenya.
11. On regional issues, Agreed, to consult the Chair of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the convening of the IGAD Summit in Mogadishu.
12. Reaffirmed their firm commitment to work together on areas of mutual interest.

President Mohamud thanked his brother and colleague President Kenyatta and his Government for the gracious invitation. He invited President Kenyatta to visit Somalia in the near future. President Kenyatta accepted the invitation.

The two Presidents rededicated themselves and their Governments to enhance and further deepen the cordial relations that exist between Kenya and Somalia.

Nairobi, Kenya
8th June 2016

UNHCR and FAO help vulnerable refugees and South Sudanese families strengthen their food security (02.06.2016)

05-14-fao-south-sudan

ROME, Italy, June 2, 2016The UN Refugee Agency and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have distributed seeds and agricultural tools to 200,000 refugees and their host communities across South Sudan to help them become more self-sufficient in a country facing a serious food crisis.

Assessments have shown that the food and nutrition security situation is worrying in many parts of the country, including in Upper Nile – a region hosting four refugee camps and South Sudan’s largest refugee population of 134,000 Sudanese refugees. A nutrition survey, conducted in late 2015, found that Upper Nile’s Maban refugee camps registered higher levels of malnutrition compared to 2014. This was particularly the case in Doro camp, where the rates of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) were respectively 15.5 percent and 2.6 percent – above UNHCR standards of 10 percent and 2 percent.

“To quickly respond to high malnutrition rates we are distributing nutritious food for children under five years and all pregnant and breast feeding mothers. We are pleased to announce that these interventions are working well, but we are also looking beyond quick-fix solutions that help refugees become more self-reliant and less dependent on humanitarian assistance in the long run. This is the essence of the UNHCR-FAO partnership,” says Ahmed Warsame, UNHCR Representative.

This year, the two UN agencies have jointly contributed 186 tons of crop seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, hand tools and fishing kits for refugees and local communities in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria. This donation will enable communities to start planting their cereals and replenish their stocks, in so decreasing food shortages.

“People here lack the resources to buy the things they need to start planting and need support to be able to produce their own food. These distributions have been very timely since the planting season has just started,” says Serge Tissot, FAO Representative. “It is vital to strengthen the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the long-term so that they can become more resilient, absorbing shocks and increasing their access to food through their own means.”

While many have received assistance through direct distributions in the past, in 2016 refugees in Central Equatoria were invited to attend seed fairs for the first time. With this FAO, in partnership with UNHCR, strives to help transform agriculture in South Sudan by facilitating the sale of high quality local seeds instead of imported seeds. At the fair, vulnerable farmers were issued with vouchers to be exchanged with local traders for seeds which directly injected cash into the local economy.

“Without seed distributions we cannot survive. Not all of us are able to maintain seeds for next year, some people do, but because of a lack of food, sometimes we are forced to eat the seeds maintained for planting,” Michelle, Sudanese refugee from Blue Nile State. “We hope for peace so that we can return home, where we can be free,” she added.

FAO and UNHCR are committed towards increasing refugees’ access to livelihood opportunities and reducing dependency on humanitarian aid. Of late, a joint livelihood strategy for South Sudan was launched looking to address this issue with a clearly defined action plan. The strategy targets both refugees (70 percent) and local communities (30 percent) in refugee-hosting areas across the country.

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. William Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya (24.05.2016)

Dadaab Refugee Camp

NEW YORK, United States of America, May 24, 2016 – The Secretary-General met yesterday with H.E. William Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya. They exchanged views on the main peace, security and humanitarian challenges facing the region, including recent developments in Somalia, South Sudan and Burundi.  They also discussed the assistance of the United Nations to regional efforts aimed at addressing these challenges.

The Secretary-General expressed his concern about the intention of the Kenyan Government to end the hosting of refugees in Dadaab citing economic, security and environmental burdens. He recognized the extraordinary humanitarian role Kenya has played over the years as one of the world’s foremost refugee hosting countries, but pointed to the potentially devastating consequences of prematurely ending refugee hosting for hundreds of thousands of people.  The Secretary-General noted the upcoming visits of the Deputy-Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Refugees to Kenya which will provide another opportunity to further engage on this issue.

The Deputy President and the Secretary-General also exchanged views on current developments in Kenya including preparations for the 2017 elections.  The Secretary-General underscored the need for a peaceful election process with full respect for human rights.

Istanbul, 23 May 2016

Readout of the Secretary-General’s phone call with H.E. Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya (18.05.2016)

Ban Ki Moon Phone

NEW YORK, United States of America, May 18, 2016The Secretary-General spoke today by telephone with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya following the Kenyan Government’s decision of 6 May 2016 to close the Dadaab refugee camps. He expressed deep appreciation to President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya for decades of generous hospitality to significant populations of asylum-seekers and refugees. The Secretary-General assured President Kenyatta that he appreciated the enormous task and responsibility involved in hosting large numbers of refugees, amidst daunting security challenges.

Uhuru Phone

The Secretary-General urged President Kenyatta to continue to use the Tripartite Agreement, signed in November 2013 with the Federal Government of Somalia and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), as a basis for the voluntary return of Somali refugees in safety and dignity. He expressed the United Nations support to Kenya, including the proposal by the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, that a high-level bilateral review on the refugee situation in Kenya be conducted by the Government of Kenya and UNHCR.

The Secretary-General mentioned that the Deputy Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Refugees would visit Kenya at the end of May. They look forward to discussing this issue forward with the Government of Kenya, and will underline the readiness of the United Nations to garner the support of the international community in addressing Kenya’s refugee challenges, with consideration for the host communities in Kenya as well as the sub-regional security concerns.

Press Statement: “Federal Republic of Somalia wishes to express its grave reservation on the closure of Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camp (12.05.2016)

Somalia 12.05.2016

My letter to the Minister of Interior Affairs of Kenya Hon. Joseph Nkaissery on the planned closing of Daadab Refugee Camp

Nkaissey 2016

Dear Sir Honorable Joseph Nkaissery!

I write to you again, I know it’s been a month or so, but the actions have to be questioned and the liability of the actions you do Honourable Minister or Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Coordination of National Government. You have an ability of making decisions that area allowed to be questioned.

I am not writing to you because I am not defending terrorism, because I am not, the Garissa University attack, the Lamu Attack and Westgate attack in Nairobi was sad and unfortunate as innocent Kenyans died while Islamist, went in and killed without impunity; that has to be answered and those actions should not control the agenda of the country, but give way to the liberties and freedoms that the citizens are rights to have. While the Government finds ways of charging and hunting down the men who are behind these hideous crimes.

Dadaab Refugee Camp

But, the use of Terrorism to close down Daadab Refugee Camp seems a bit premature.

As this was even stated by academics on the matter in 2014:

“The speaker said that the Dadaab Camp is not an engine for radicalization; rather, it is an engine of moderation. Poverty and displacement do not automatically lead to radicalization. There is a growing need for more anthropological research on the topic. An entire generation has grown up in peace; it is not scarred by war” (…)”More political and economic analysis is needed on this issue. The Kenyans claim to be in charge but al Shabaab remains everywhere. The Kenyans do not have the level of control that they claim. A lot of the radicalism that is currently being seen in Mombasa is very local. Al-Shabaab is also present in Nairobi. Many al-Shabaab suspects are Kenyan nationals. Terrorism is a wider, urban East African problem” (Rawlence, 2014).

So if the man behind Open Society have claims two years ago that can counter your arguments now for closing, can you bring evidence can show that Rawlence is totally wrong, please honourable Sir?

Hon. Joseph Nkaissery I hate to do this as this is your set of laws and the ones that set the guidelines for your government until you get the National Assembly or Parliament to change it with a general vote.

Kenya Parliament

So for now the law of Kenyan Refugee Act of 2006 says this:

“18. No Person shall be refused entry into Kenya, expelled, extradited from Kenya or returned to any other country or to subject any similar measure if, as result of such refusal, expulsion, return or other measure, such person is compelled to return or remain in the country where –

  • The person may be subject to prosecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or public opinion;
  • The person’s life, physical integrity or liberty would be threatened on account of external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in part of whole of that country”.

The law is clear and doesn’t seem that it is too important for you, if these laws is still applied then the closure still gives them rights as Refugees or as legal persons in the territory where you are the Cabinet Ministry Nkaissery. I know that shouldn’t be too much to ask that the Kenyan Government are following the laws of the land? Of does this not apply to the refugees and the ones that have left Somalia, Ethiopia or South Sudan because of oppression and aggression there?

In 2015 John Kerry and the United States pledged $40m directly to the Refugee Camps, so they must have had a say in the planned closure you had of the camps last year, with the new idea of trying to do it again.

John Kerry ABC

Here is his latest statement to you Hon. Nkaissery:

“We strongly urge the Government of Kenya to maintain its longstanding leadership role in protecting and sheltering victims of violence and trauma, consistent with its international obligations. We call on Kenya to uphold these international obligations and not forcibly repatriate refugees” (…)”We call on Kenya to continue its support for refugees and voluntary return efforts, and to continue to work with UNHCR and partner nations to find durable solutions that respect humanitarian standards and uphold international law. We also urge the Government of Kenya to honor its responsibilities, including the 2013 Tripartite Agreement on the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees living in Kenya” (…)”We remain committed to working with Kenya to support voluntary returns that are safe, dignified and consistent with international law, as well as helping Kenya to address security concerns presented by al-Shabaab and other extremist groups” (Kerry, 2016).

So Honourable Minister CS. John Nkaissery, you have lots of responsibility and have to swallow lots of crap in your days in office, while Deputy President William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta got to do the fun stuff and sign decrees and words into laws. You have to clean up behind the scenes and act upon the ideas these two men have. So I am sure the stress is coming to you and therefore is so seldom that the pundits and public see you charming smile.

John Nkaissery

We are not at the point that the Terrorism claim, I don’t feel you can validate that as a reason for the closure of the camp, unless you have evidence you send to me Hon. Nkaissery. I am an advisory, but until I am proven wrong, I will not change my mind. As you are playing your cards this way, is to try filtering the world away from assassination plot that we’re on Jacob Juma or is the something else you want the world to forget? The Pre-Election violence twice in Nairobi under Nairobi Metropolitan Police Commander Japhet Koome towards the Cord Demonstrations, is this right or am I wrong hon. Nkaissery?

But to get back to reality and not the conspiracies that might run as the Kenyan Government said they would close the Refugee Camps last year in 2015. When as I said United States Government pledged more money to run them and filter it through the United Nations programs.

Seems more like this is a way of scaring the international groups, multinational organizations and all to give direct funds to Kenyan Government instead of taking it direct to the Refugee Camp. If not I hope you get a Task Force that really looks into your allegations and also delivers the findings so they can be looked through and are more believable than the financials from Donald Trump.

There are questions that remains Hon. Nkaissery because the issues and the rights, even the laws that are still viable and official guidelines for the refugees and citizens in Kenya, make a brother like me question the rhetoric you have used and arguments. So please take care of the action you do. This here will be greater stain on the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP), and you don’t want that as a Cabinet Secretary that creates tensions with the allies abroad that both gives your army funding and equipment together with direct budget aid. That would not be wise… Though I understand Hon. Nkaissery that you care about the refugees and their safety even if you close them; because for many of them have been living there for a long time and they could be by many means Kenyan citizens with Somali ethnicity for instance.

Kibera Golf

Would you clear the Kibera slum and the areas around as the Rawlence claimed that the terrorist and extremist was more likely in Urban areas, and Kibera is Urban and also uncontrolled in some ways. So why are you not focused on the development of Kibera that you have Dr. Evan Kidero, the loyal Governor can access the situation for you and find ways to monitor the extremist that might be trained there? Because, if a so-called expert Rawlence can be some people who becomes violent in urban areas, and that is not politely the Dadaab Refugee Camp. So it must be more political than actual be the reason for the closing as they either want to show character or independence over the Multi-National Organization and the International donors, as a sovereign state.

Hon. Nkaissery, we both know that Kenya is a Sovereign State and because of that have freedoms to do what they want on their territory, but they have international obligation. You and I know that Kenya has internal laws and also have to keep their international laws considering the rights of refugees. Still, you can act this way, but will you consider the implications and the ramifications of this. Even if the European states are considering and signing agreements to ship the Syrian Refugees from Greece, to Turkey; that does not send direct flight back to Palmyra, Syria, as much as you don’t want to be remembered for sending back Somali Refugees from Dadaaab Refugee Camp to hostels in Mogadishu, Somalia. Or will you?

Mogadishu 9th May

I am just worried for these innocent fleeing human beings who has fled their homeland for safety in Kenya, as much as I am worried for the Syrian who are fleeing to Greece and being transported to Turkey. I condemn that and would condemn if the Kenyan transport these men and woman to Mogadishu in the midst of fighting and continuation of AMISOM mission in Somalia.

I know I am nobody, but I had to address it and ask you why you want to, as I also question quickly the biggest argument for closing. As I don’t believe until there are serious report and evidence of the terrorism threat from Dadaab Refugee Camp, and why you don’t check more Kibera slums of Nairobi, but that would hurt your pride, right? Wouldn’t it Hon. Nkaissery, or am I wrong?

Peace. 

Best Regard

Write of Minbane.

Reference:

Rawlence, Ben – ‘Somali Refugees in Kenya: The Case of the Dadaab Camp’ (08.05.2014) link: https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/2014Somali%20Refugees%20in%20Kenya.pdf

Kerry, John – ‘On Kenya’s Announcement to End Hosting of Refugees’ (11.05.2016) link: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/05/257113.htm

UNHCR – Burundi Situation – 2016 Funding Update as of 14 March 2016

UNHCR Burundi 14.03.2016