UN Seeks $35 Million In Emergency Aid For Madagascar

In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) appealed on Tuesday for emergency aid of $35 million to fight hunger in southern Madagascar, hit by the coronavirus pandemic and a third consecutive year of drought.

“Some 1.35 million people are projected to be food insecure — 35 percent of the region’s population,” the WFP said in a statement.

“With severe malnutrition rates continuing to spiral and many children forced to beg in order to help their families eat, urgent action is required to prevent a humanitarian crisis.”

The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the hit from a long-term drought, it said.

Seasonal employment has dried up, affecting rural families who saved this income to help them through the lean season, which peaks between January and April.

“To survive, families are eating tamarind fruit mixed with clay,” the statement quoted Moumini Ouedraogo, WFP’s Madagascar representative, as saying.

“We can’t face another year like this. With no rain and a poor harvest, people will face starvation. No one should have to live like this.”

The WFP currently provides food aid for almost half a million people in the nine hardest-hit districts in the south of the island, and intends to ramp this up to nearly 900,000 by June.

It is seeking $35 million (29 million euros) for emergency food and malnutrition programmes, including an initiative to feed schoolchildren so that they can stay in class rather than leave to seek work or beg.

World Food Programme Wins Nobel Peace Prize

This general view shows the exterior of The World Food Programme (WFP) headquarters in Rome on October 9, 2020, after the announcement that the organisation had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme on Friday for feeding millions of people from Yemen to North Korea, with the coronavirus pandemic pushing millions more into hunger.

The WFP was “a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”, Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said on unveiling the winner in Oslo.

“This is a powerful reminder to the world that peace and #ZeroHunger go hand-in-hand,” the Rome-based organisation said on Twitter.

Founded in 1961, the UN body helped 97 million people last year, distributing 15 billion rations to people in 88 countries.

Whether delivering food by helicopter or on the back of an elephant or a camel, the WFP prides itself on being “the leading humanitarian organisation” in a world where, by its own estimates, some 690 million people — one in 11 — go to bed on an empty stomach.

“With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger,” Reiss-Andersen said.

“The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle: war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence.

“We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict.”

Deputy Executive Director Amir Mahmoud Abdulla gestures as he speaks to media representatives outside The World Food Programme (WFP) headquarters in Rome on October 9, 2020, after the announcement that the organisation had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. World Food Programme chief David Beasley said that the UN agency was “deeply humbled” by winning the Nobel Peace Prize, adding it had rendered him “speechless”.
Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

WFP executive director David Beasley said the agency was “deeply humbled” by winning the prize, adding it had rendered him “speechless”.

In Central African Republic — the worst country for food insecurity according to the WFP — agency spokesman Vigno Hounkanli said the prize was a “recognition for all the work the WFP does in the most difficult crises.”

“Our teams go to remote areas sometimes risking their lives… colleagues have left their lives because they want to save others,” Hounkanli said, adding: “It’s not office work, it’s on the ground, concretely.”

– Yemen worries –
Despite making progress over the past three decades, the UN’s goal to eradicate hunger by 2030 appears out of reach if current trends continue, according to experts.

Women and children are generally most at risk.

War can be caused by hunger, but hunger is also a consequence of war, with people living in areas of conflict three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries at peace, the WFP says.

“There’s no two ways about it — we can’t end hunger unless we put an end to conflict,” Beasley said in September.

Yemen, which is living through what the UN has described as the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world”, is a stark example.

Both the UN and aid agencies have repeatedly raised the alarm over the disastrous consequences of the conflict, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced three million and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

Two-thirds of Yemen’s 30 million people do not know where their next meal will come from, WFP figures show.

– ‘Biblical proportions’ –
The outlook for the world has grown bleaker this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to earnings losses, made food more expensive and disrupted supply chains.

“The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world,” the Nobel committee said.

“In countries such as Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the combination of violent conflict and the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation.”

In April, Beasley raised the alarm, saying: “We could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”

The global recession caused by the virus risks pushing an additional 83 to 132 million people into hunger, the UN said in a report in mid-July.

This is the 12th time the Peace Prize has gone to the UN, one of its agencies or personalities — more than any other laureate.

Amid rising geopolitical tensions and nationalistic trends including US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, Reiss-Andersen stressed “the need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more conspicuous than ever”.

The award consists of a gold medal, a diploma and a cheque for 10 million Swedish kronor (950,000 euros, $1.1 million).

AFP

WFP Warns 2.2 Million More Syrians Risk Hunger

 

 

Around 2.2 million Syrians risk joining the fast swelling ranks of the hungry and poor in war-torn Syria, the World Food Programme warned Monday.

“Without urgent help 2.2 million more could slip further into hunger and poverty,” WFP said in a statement on Twitter.

The UN agency said in May that a record 9.3 million people in Syria were food insecure, as spiralling prices and the novel coronavirus pandemic compound the damage of the country’s nine-year war.

That figure had leapt from 7.9 million six months earlier.

Most of Syria’s population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations, and food prices have doubled over the past year.

In that same period, Syrians in government-held areas have faced a fuel crisis, a plummeting Syrian pound on the black market and steep price hikes.

Damascus has blamed Western sanctions for its struggling economy.

But analysts have pointed to other factors, including a financial crisis in neighbouring Lebanon, long a conduit for dollars to Damascus-held areas under sanctions.

The conflict has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions more from their homes since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

AFP

‘Catastrophic’ Floods Could Provoke Famine In South Sudan, WFP Warns

 

Devastating flooding in South Sudan following a fierce drought could tip parts of the country into famine in the next few months, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday.

According to the UN refugee agency nearly one million people were affected by floodwaters that submerged entire towns, compounding an already dire humanitarian situation after six years of war.

The WFP said that 5.5 million people are expected to be going hungry in early 2020 — the time at which the population is generally benefiting from their harvest in October and November of the previous year.

An earlier harvest failed due to drought. This time crops have been washed away.

“The number of people in need is likely to increase because of the catastrophic level of destruction caused by floods since October following a drought that hammered parts of the country earlier in the year,” the agency said in a statement.

The floods wiped out 73,000 metric tons of potential harvests as well as tens of thousands of cattle and goats, said the WFP.

“We know the problems that we’ve been having in South Sudan, but the rains and the floods have led to a national disaster and are much worse than anyone could have anticipated,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

“In fact, if we don’t get funding in the next few weeks and months, we are literally talking about famine. We need support, we need help and we need it now.”

The agency estimated its needs at $270 million (242 million euros) for the first half of 2020.

South Sudan declared a “man-made” famine affecting around 100,000 people in 2017.

The term “famine” is used according to a scientific system agreed upon by global agencies, when at least 20 percent of the population in a specific area has extremely limited access to basic food; acute malnutrition exceeds 30 percent; and the death rate exceeds two per 10,000 people per day for the entire population.

“Famine in South Sudan was defeated after four months in 2017 by a concerted large-scale humanitarian response,” said the WFP.

“Experts now say the country’s food security outlook has never been so dire.”

Political instability is also high as President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar have again delayed their formation of a power-sharing government, this time by 100 days until February 2020.

AFP

UN Condemns Boko Haram Attack On Food Convoy In Borno

FILE PHOTO of an IDP Camp In Borno State.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria has condemned Saturday’s attack on a food convoy in Borno which left four people dead.

Mr Edward Kallon said in a statement on Tuesday that the attack put many lives at risk as it may cause limitations on the delivery of life-saving supplies to victims of the insurgency.

His comments come three days after suspected Boko Haram terrorists ambushed a food convoy of one of its agencies, World Food Programme, which was taking food to Internally Displaced Persons in Ngala, Borno State.

READ ALSO: No UN Official Was Killed In Borno Food Trucks Attack – Nigerian Army

WFP Communication Associate, Adedeji Ademigbuji on Sunday said four people, including the driver of a WFP-hired truck and a driver’s assistant, were killed in the incident.

Kallon in the statement strongly condemned the ambush saying violence attack against aid workers is unacceptable and should be avoided.

“Violence against convoys carrying humanitarian aid is unacceptable and can result in concerning limitations in our ability to provide life-saving relief to those who need it the most.

“We must ensure the safety of aid workers and aid convoys across the north-east of Nigeria, so people in need of assistance can access it in a timely manner and in sufficient quantity. Many lives are at risk,” he said.

The Nigerian Army on Monday, December 18 also reacted to attack noting that those killed in the attack were civilians and that no United Nations staff were killed in the attack.

READ ALSO: Four Killed During Attack On WFP Food Trucks In Borno

Kallon said further that the United Nations and its partners operate in the north-east of Nigeria in order to provide life-saving assistance to 6.9 million people affected by the brutal conflict. Humanitarian operations are carried out following the four basic humanitarian principles of operational independence, humanity, impartiality and neutrality and should be respected as such.

Since January 2017, despite major challenges, humanitarian operations in north-east Nigeria have managed to assist over 5 million conflict-affected people in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, including 3 million with food security interventions, 936,000 with nutritional support, 5 million with health care assistance, and over 1.3 million with safe drinking water.

Four Killed During Attack On WFP Food Trucks In Borno

 

The World Food Programme has confirmed an attack on its food convoy which was taking food to Internally Displaced Persons in Ngala, Borno State on Saturday, December 16.

WFP Communication Associate, Adedeji Ademigbuji confirmed the incidence to Channels TV in an email on Sunday evening.

“WFP can confirm that a convoy escorted by the Nigerian military including WFP hired trucks was the subject of an attack by armed groups 35km southwest of Ngala in Borno State on Saturday (16 December),” the email read.

According to Ademigbuji, four people, including the driver of a WFP-hired truck and a driver’s assistant, were killed in the incident.

He also said the WFP is working with the authorities to determine the whereabouts of trucks, which the attackers made away with.

Meanwhile, the WFP has extended its condolences to the bereaved families.

DR Congo Crisis: Millions Face Starvation In Kasai – UN

The World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed for aid to avert a humanitarian crisis in the Kasai province of Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been ravaged by conflict.

The head of the UN Food Agency, David Beasley said more than three million people, including hundreds of thousands of malnourished children risk starvation.

He warned that those children could die in the coming months if aid was not delivered.

Violence erupted in Kasai in August 2016 after the death of a local leader during clashes with security forces.

1.5 million people most of them are children and they have been forced to flee from their homes.

WFP Calls For Improved Humanitarian Efforts In North-East

WFP Calls For Improved Humanitarian Efforts In North-East
File photo

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday commended the joint push by the Nigerian Government and humanitarian workers to save lives in the North-East.

This follows a meeting of the WFP Executive Director David Beasley with top officials and people left destitute by the Boko Haram insurgency in the troubled region.

Beasley, however, warned that the momentum must continue in the face of a complex and challenging emergency.

“We are seeing the power of humanitarian assistance,” said Beasley after a trip to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, adding “It has changed the lives of malnourished children whose mothers once worried about whether they would survive.”

“It is giving hope to many displaced and hungry people, and to others who are now returning home. Together, we are making a difference, but we must build on these fragile successes.”

Beasley’s two-day visit to Nigeria — his first since being appointed to head WFP in March — included meetings with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Borno State Deputy Governor Usman Durkwa.

He also spoke with community leaders and young mothers at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp in Maiduguri, a city that shelters hundreds of thousands fleeing hunger and conflict.

According to a statement from the agency, WFP, through its partners, has been delivering monthly food and nutritional assistance to more than a million extremely vulnerable people across the North-East in 2017.

The agency attributed the success to generous donor contributions, saying “our steady support helps to stabilise lives.”

It, however, said the overall situation remained extremely worrying and that the June-September lean season had worsened malnutrition in many places.

“Insecurity, poor roads and a backup at Lagos port are thwarting WFP’s current ability to reach more remote areas and deliver imported specialised nutritional supplements to some of the children who need it,” the WFP chief said.

Beasley also warned of the broader impact of the crisis that goes beyond Nigeria which he said spread across Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

“This is a major crisis that needs a security, humanitarian and development component — these are key to resolving it in the short and long term,” he said.

“The international community cannot afford to ignore this problem, or it risks getting much worse.”

Beasley noted the Federal Government’s significant hunger-fighting commitments, which include a recent donation of 5,000 mt of rice to WFP’s operations.

He said authorities have launched a separate relief initiative aimed to distribute 30,000 mt of rice to hungry people in six states.

“WFP has purchased nearly $95 million worth of locally grown food for its operations, and injected an overall $212 million into the Nigerian economy if cash transfers, transport, local salaries and other expenditures are taken into account,” the statement said.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.

World Food Programme Targets 1.8million People

World Food Programme Targets 1.8million PeopleThe World Food Programme (WFP) has announced plans to scale up food assistance across Borno and Yobe states from one million persons to 1.3 million beneficiaries monthly.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Executive Director of the WFP, Ertharin Cousin said that the programme aims to reach 1.8 million persons who urgently need food assistance in the northeast.

According to statistics from the World Food Programme, over 1.7 million people are displaced in northeast Nigeria, 4.4 million suffer food insecurity while 1.8 million people urgently need food assistance.

On November 7, 2016, the World Food Programme launched its special operation to support the federal government in addressing the humanitarian challenges.

The initial project duration of six months from November 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017 has now been extended to December 31, 2017.

This, according to the Executive Director of the programme will enable the programme meet its monthly target of providing food assistance to at least 1.3 million people on a monthly basis.

She also announced plans by the programme to provide cash assistance to Internally Displaced Persons to enable them purchase their own foodstuff.

EFCC Acknowledges Corruption At IDPs Camp, Promises Transparency

EFCC, Senate, Magu
Ibrahim Magu of the EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria, has assured the World Food Programme (WFP) of its support to ensure transparency in the administration of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the northeast.

The commission’s acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, pledged the anti-graft agency’s support on Friday in Abuja.

A statement by the agency’s spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said the commission’s boss also acknowledged evidence of corruption at the IDPs camp in Maiduguri.

Mr Magu said the Commission would dedicate a desk for the WFP in order to facilitate unhindered administration of its intervention efforts.

Cash Transfer

Earlier, the Assistant Executive Director of the WFP, Roberto DaSilva, had urged the EFCC to ensure transparency, credibility and accountability in the disbursement of funds and purchase of food items to the northeast.

Silva, who led a delegation on a courtesy visit to Magu in Abuja, said: “The Programme focuses on food assistance with humanitarian and social objectives.

“We were in the process of identifying where the World Food Programme presence could support Nigeria, but the situation in the North-East of Nigeria changed our plans. However, we are back now”.

He added that the Programmes was targeted at over 700,000 individuals, including 20, 000 children.

According to him, “as a result of the commitment we have undertaken, we are introducing a series of food assistance, one of them is where a financial transfer takes place to enable them buy food or where we admit any need for assistance in purchase of food.

“We will be disbursing millions of dollars to Nigeria. Half of it will be a cash transfer and the other half is to purchase food items for the two states: Borno and Yobe. It is on this note that we have reached out to the EFCC”.

Silva, who stated that the collaboration between the EFCC and the WFP would ensure the prevention of fraud, added that “there is a need to scale-up and maintain integrity so that more work can be achieved.

“Our expectation is that we establish a Memorandum of Understanding that clearly outlines how we can cooperate together to ensure integrity and deter fraud from happening”.

He disclosed that offices had been set up in Abuja and Maiduguri “with hopes of bringing in 80 to 100 professionals from Nigeria to run the offices in Borno and Yobe”.

Malnutrition-in-northeast-Nigeria-Unicef

The United Nations had raised concerns of acute malnutrition in the northeast ravaged by over six years of insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists.

UNICEF said it feared 49,000 children, pregnant women and nursing mothers may die before the end of 2016 if nothing was done to remedy the already dire situation.

The agency had called for more nutritious food and community mobilisers that would go from door to door in the affected region to get the affected children to places they could be treated are some of the aid UNICEF said would help address the situation triggered by Boko Haram insurgency.

‘Skin Over Bones’

The Chief Nutrition Section of UNICEF Nigeria, Arjan De Wagt, told Channels Television that aid to the malnourished children had been hampered by insecurity in the region.

Arjan-De-Wagt
Arjan De Wagt believes there is still hope for the severely malnourished children if aid would come fast

According to him, 240,000 children are severely malnourished with their ‘skin over their bones’.

“They are so severely malnourished that if nothing is being done they are at a very high risk of dying.

“About one out of five of these children will die if they don’t receive these special support that they need,” he stated.

Mr Wagt said a total of 49,000 persons, including some pregnant and nursing mothers, could die before the end of the year.

Yobe Govt. Lauds WFP, UNICEF Partnership To Aid IDPs

Yobe, UNICEF, IDPs, WFPThe Yobe State government has expressed delight at partnering with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), to address the plights of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The government reveals that the collaboration is aimed at providing food and rehabilitative services to the IDPs in Yobe State, being one of the troubled states by the Boko Haram insurgents in northeast Nigeria.

The Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, made the remarks when he met with representatives of the humanitarian organisations on Thursday, to discuss the future of the partnerships.

Giving an account of their largesse, Mr Aliyu said that since peace began to return to the troubled region, humanitarian agencies have increased their activities.

He added that at least 300,000 persons displaced by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists had received aid in the form of food, water supply and medical attention.

The Deputy Governor also commended the humanitarian organisations for their assistance in increasing their capacity for further humanitarian works in Yobe State.

In their responses, the Director of UNICEF, West and Central Africa, Gianfranco Rotigliano, and the WFP Director of Emergencies, Denise Brown, commended the initiative.

They said they were impressed with the state government’s data gathering and promised to scale up assistance to the IDPs.

Unrest In Ethiopia Delays Aid To Malnourished Children – U.N.

united nations, Nigeria's economyPolitical violence in Ethiopia has delayed the distribution of aid to four million people hit by drought and floods, including malnourished children, the United Nations said on Monday.

Anti-government protests over disputed provincial boundaries and allegations of human rights violations have riven Ethiopia’s north-central Amhara province and central Oromiya province over the past three months.

“The ongoing situation in Oromiya and Amhara has slowed down dispatches and distributions of targeted supplementary feeding commodities from the Government’s main warehouse in Nazareth, Oromiya,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest update.

“The situation also affects dispatches and distributions in Afar, as a large proportion of the commodities allocated to the region are dispatched from the WFP (World Food Programme) warehouse in Kombolcha, Amhara.”

Children under five and pregnant and nursing women with moderate acute malnutrition receive specialised nutritious foods for about six months, or until they return to health.

Those with life-threatening severe acute malnutrition were not affected, the U.N. said, as there were sufficient stocks in health posts.

Ethiopia was hit in 2015 by one of the worst droughts in decades, with 10 million requiring emergency aid, which ended when the spring rains arrived in March.

The rains have brought flooding, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people while others fled their homes due to communal conflict in Oromiya and Somali regions.

In June, Human Rights Watch said security forces killed at least 400 people in Oromiya protesting at government plans to allocate land surrounding the regional capital for development.