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Posts Tagged ‘International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’

Humanitarian situation deteriorates in Juba after coup attempt

Posted by African Press International on December 18, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– Armed clashes in Juba since 15 December have left hundreds in urgent need of medical care. Thousands of civilians, including women and children, have fled their homes in search of safety, taking very little with them. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is providing the city’s two major hospitals with support so that they can cope with the heavy influx of patients.

More than 300 people have been admitted to Juba Teaching Hospital and Juba Military Hospital over the past two days. The ICRC and the South Sudan Red Cross have delivered to the hospitals enough wound-dressing materials and other urgently needed medical supplies to treat up to 500 people.

“We know there are more people who need care, but they are having difficulty reaching health-care facilities because of the security situation and the lack of available transportation,” said Felicity Gapes, an ICRC delegate who is leading the medical response on the ground. “Staff in both hospitals have been working around the clock, but they are struggling because of the sheer volume of patients and the severity of the injuries.”

The ICRC is calling on the fighting parties to take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian casualties and to allow people to safely reach health-care facilities. The organization is closely monitoring needs. Together with the South Sudan Red Cross, it will take further action as the security situation permits.

SOURCE

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

 

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Norway contributes US$ 10 million to support climate services

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– The World Meteorological Organization has partnered with leading research, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa in an effort to increase the climate change resilience of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

The programme, funded by a grant of US$ 9 750 000 (NOK 60 000 000) from the Government of Norway, is the first multi-agency initiative to be implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It represents a unique approach that includes natural and social scientists as well as large development and humanitarian agencies working on the ground in a bid to ensure that climate services are tailored to the practical needs of the user community.

The challenges are huge. An estimated 70 nations, including many of the Least Developed Countries, have inadequate or no climate services and are ill-equipped to meet the challenges of both natural variations in the climate and human-induced climate change.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and State Secretary Hans Brattskar of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed the agreement today during the annual climate change conference taking place in Warsaw.

“The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is a model of how a wide range of partners can unite to ensure that the benefits of scientific advances reach those who are most at risk from weather and climate-linked hazards,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The funding from Norway will allow us to roll out climate services to help African countries adapt to our changing climate and to increase resilience to droughts and floods and other extremes.”

“Africa is the continent most vulnerable to a wide range of impacts of climate change. Africa is already facing a decrease in food production, floods and inundation of coastal zones and deltas, as well as the spread of waterborne diseases and malaria. Often it is the most vulnerable people that suffer the most, and there is an urgent need for effective and coordinated action. Norway firmly believes that with this multi-agency climate services program, we can deliver climate services to those vulnerable people and also contribute to strengthening the global framework as the knowledge and action hub of climate services,” said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende.

The provision of more and better climate services will allow farmers to fine-tune their planting and marketing strategies based on seasonal climate forecasts; empower disaster risk managers to prepare more effectively for droughts and heavy precipitation; assist public health services to target vaccine and other prevention campaigns to limit climate-related disease outbreaks such as malaria and meningitis; and help improve the management of water resources. These activities all contribute to appropriate adaptation planning to a changing climate.

The main countries to benefit initially will be Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania. The programme will build on existing climate services in food security, nutrition and health, and disaster risk reduction at national, local and regional level. It is intended that the Climate Services Adaptation Programme will become operational in other African countries in the future and will serve as a model for other parts of the world.

“The Norwegian support for the GFCS project in Malawi will enable consideration of how to better meet user needs in Malawi, and provide opportunity to make progress,” said Mr. Jolamu L Nkhokwe, Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services in Malawi. “While a great emphasis in Malawi has been placed on the ability to forecast large-scale rainfall patterns, it is a known factor that users often request tailored packages that integrate a variety of information, including more detailed features of the expected rainfall, other climate variables, and information about the consequences of the expected climate. Within this project, a number of simple methods of statistical downscaling of the large scale climate product will be turned into the type of rainfall information requested by many users in Malawi.”

Dr Agnes Kijazi, Director General of the Tanzania Meteorological Agency, said “The Programme will be a significant opportunity for enhancing availability of wide range of data and assuring better access to all available data and information. Furthermore, the programme will empower the meteorological agency to better serve our key customers, in particular the agriculture sector and the authorities responsible for disaster management in the country. This in turn will contribute to improved food security and disaster management for the country.”

The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is implemented by seven partner organizations: WMO; the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO); the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); the World Food Programme (WFP); and the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is growing momentum towards the provision of climate services in both developed and developing countries alike within the context of the Global Framework for Climate Services. This is a country-driven initiative to provide accurate and accessible climate services to users such as disaster management authorities, water and energy utilities, public health agencies, the transport sector, and farmers, as well as the community at large.

This new programme is building on achievements made under another Norwegian supported programme. The GFCS Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa programme started in 2011 with the aim of contributing to the amelioration of weather and climate related disasters and to climate change adaptation in Africa through operationalizing the Global Framework for Climate Services. Tangible impacts obtained so far with Norwegian support include the holding of roving seminars for farmers in 17 different African countries, during which the farmers have received information about weather and climate, future climate change and the implications in their region, climatic risk in production of different crops in their region and better risk management.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

 

SOURCE

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

 

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Wounded soldiers treated at Gisenyi hospital

Posted by African Press International on November 10, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Following the latest clashes between government forces and armed group M23 in North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 76 wounded soldiers have crossed the border into Rwanda and been admitted to Gisenyi hospital.

A surgical team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was immediately sent to provide urgent support to the facility’s medical staff as of 8 November. “Our medical teams are now assessing the urgency of each case,” said Georges Paclisanu, head of the ICRC delegation in Rwanda.

The ICRC worked with Rwandan Red Cross volunteers to transfer the war-wounded from Kinigi to Gisenyi hospital on 5 and 6 November. Nineteen people with battle injuries had already been admitted to the hospital the previous week. “We’re also making sure the patients are getting enough food,” added Mr Paclisanu. The hospital has been supplied with medicines and medical equipment.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, the ICRC continues to bring aid to those affected by the recent fighting. In Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, an ICRC surgical team is treating people wounded in combat at Ndosho hospital. Meanwhile, in Uganda, delegates have registered over 100 children who became separated from their families as they fled the hostilities. With the support of Uganda Red Cross volunteers active in the refugee camps, the ICRC is offering families the chance to get in touch with their loved ones.

 

SOURCE

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

 

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Kenya: Westgate Attack: Security agencies response – Al Shabaab takes the blame

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2013

It has been reported that the AL Shabaab is responsible for the attack

President Uhuru speaks to the Nation:

End

 

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Flood victim in Sudan says his house has completely collapsed

Posted by African Press International on August 25, 2013

KHARTOUM,  – More than half a million people in 16 of Sudan’s 18 states have been affected by flooding since early August. The worst affected is Khartoum State, where some 36,000 homes are thought to have been destroyed or damaged.

Among those to lose their house is Mohannad Hamdnallah, a 36-year-old construction worker from Marabie al-Shareef in Sharq al-Nile locality, in the east of Khartoum State.

“I was left here alone, as you see, to rebuild the house, because the only assistance we have got so far is a tent from the Red Crescent, and it’s not safe for all of our [12] family members to stay in.

“Our father is getting old. He worked as a labourer, but doesn’t work now because he is diabetic. I am staying here in this tent, along with some of my friends, so as to rebuild the house, which we only built six months ago.

“There is a complete absence of officials, and they only focus on appearing in the media and making promises; we cannot wait for a long time.

“Our house consisted of two bedrooms, a guest room and two latrines; all these have completely collapsed.

“I just got married three months before the floods. My wife and I live together with my family, parents, brothers and sisters.

“I’m a construction worker. Now I’m forced to stop work to rebuild our own house and in the meantime we have no other income.

“We are planning to build one room first so as to be able to complete the rest of the house, but I’m not sure if we can.”

ai/am/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

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Egypt: In the line of fire to save lives

Posted by African Press International on August 18, 2013

An injured Morsi supporter is carried away following clashes with policemen in protests in late July (file photo)

CAIRO,  – The killing and bloodshed was already well under way when Salma Bahgat, a Red Crescent volunteer, arrived at Rabaa Al Adawia, one of two sites of support for ousted president Mohamed Morsi raided by the Egyptian authorities yesterday.

“I wormed my way through dead bodies and the screams of injured people who were desperate for treatment,” Bahgat, 29, a dentist by profession, told IRIN. “I heard the sounds of bombs and gunfire above my head. Most of the time I felt that my own life was in danger.”

As the authorities clashed with supporters of the former president, rescue workers, medical officials and volunteers tried to help the thousands of injured.

About 525 people were killed, according to the Health Mhadinistry, most of them followers of the Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood. About 3,572 other people were injured in the clashes; 43 policemen were killed, according to the Interior Ministry.

Medical responders struggled to get access to the main site for hours, with the police using live rounds and armoured vehicles against the supporters of the deposed president, who also responded with gun shots.

“There was gunfire everywhere,” said Ahmed Faleh, a first aid responder working for the Egyptian Ambulance Service. “I was fully sure that some people needed help out there, but I could not reach them because of the violence.”

Throughout the day, a media battle raged on TV stations and online with each side accusing the other of brutality and citing the most favourable fatality numbers.

Hundreds of metres away from Faleh, Magdy Abdel Hady, a Morsi supporter, attempted to help doctors inside a makeshift hospital in the square treat the growing number of casualties.

“Some of these people could have been saved. They could have been saved if there was somebody to save them”

Abdel Hady, in his late twenties, saw the bodies piling up inside the hospital. A man who stood three metres away was shot in the head and died on the spot, he told IRIN.

“We cried for help, but ambulances were not allowed into the square,” he said. “We carried some of the injured people for long distances to reach the rescue workers.”

Abdel Hady was told later that people who received minor injuries were arrested by police as soon as they reached the hospitals by ambulance.

A friend of his, Ahmed Gad, also at the site, said many of the protesters could have been saved if there had been better access for rescue workers. He saw shrouded bodies of Morsi supporters lying on the ground inside Al Iman Mosque near Rabaa Al Adawia Square.

“Some of these people could have been saved,” Gad said. “They could have been saved if there was somebody to save them.”

Red Crescent workers biased?

Despite the dangers, some aid responders risked their own lives in order to do their job, and in Egypt’s increasingly polarized political climate even aid workers can be accused of partiality.

The Egyptian Red Crescent sent teams to the centre of the action in Cairo, but some of them were given a hard time.

 Menan Samy: “I don’t know how people will go back to living together after what happened”

Among at least 525 people killed yesterday when Egyptian security forces moved to clear a weeks-long sit-in were two members of a civil society group promoting non-violence, called La Lil Onf (No To Violence in Arabic). full report

“Some people think the Red Crescent has links to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Marwa Alaa, a communications officer at the Egyptian Red Crescent. “This is why they think we are biased, which is not true. We save human life, regardless of any political affiliations.”

When Bahgat arrived at Rabaa Al Adawia, the crackdown on Morsi supporters was already well under way. She was the target of verbal attacks from protesters and people on the streets. Some called her and her team “careless”; others accused them of being late “on purpose”.

“I think there is not enough awareness about what aid workers are there to do,” Bahgat said.

Faleh says he never does his job without being blamed or accused of working for one party or another. Yesterday, he was accused of working with policemen when he took some of the injured and carried them to nearby hospitals.

“Some injured people were afraid to get in the car,” Faleh said. “They said they were afraid that they would be arrested. People need to know that we have nothing to do with politics.”

ae/jj/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

 

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Severe drought is killing everything

Posted by African Press International on August 14, 2013

Kariamakuju Kauta’s plot of land has turned to dust

OPUWO,  – The arid hills of Namibia’s northwestern Kunene Region make for a harsh environment at the best of times. With agriculture limited by the region’s dry, sandy soil, most of the local population rely on livestock farming, leading a semi-nomadic existence dictated by the search for fresh pasture for their cattle and goats. But following two years of failed rains, pasture is almost non-existent; where there used to be grass, there is now little more than dust.

“The drought is killing everything,” said Teemuime Mbendura, who lives in a Himba homestead, about one hour’s drive north of the regional capital, Opuwo.

The Ovahimba have largely managed to maintain their traditional way of life in northern Namibia, including the women’s practice of applying a mixture of animal fat and ochre to their skin and hair to achieve a distinctive reddish hue. But increasingly erratic rains – which are expected to grow even more variable in the future, according to climate change predictions – are threatening the sustainability of their pastoral existence.

Mbendura does not know her age – “Maybe a thousand years,” she says – but she is certain this is the first time in her life that the rains have failed for two consecutive years. “The old men used to consult the ancestors to ask for rain, but now there are no old men left at the homestead, and the younger ones don’t do this,” she told IRIN.

The younger men are noticeably absent from the homestead, which consists of huts encircled by a makeshift fence. Most have taken their cattle to distant patches of pasture in an effort to keep them alive.

“My husband is at the cattle post,” said Maikotoka Mbendura, pointing towards some mountains on the horizon. “He’s been gone two months. He left us with some maize meal, but it’s not enough. The children are hungry.”

Mbendura is preparing a watery porridge for her three year old, using what is left of the maize meal purchased from the sale of a few cattle. “We’re worried the rest will die from the drought; some have died already,” she said, adding that the starving cattle no longer produce milk.

National emergency

Although northern Namibia has been hardest hit by the current drought, the entire country has been affected, according to Hellen Likanda, deputy director of the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management, which is coordinating the drought response. “People did not harvest enough food in all the regions,” she said.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba declared the drought a national emergencyon 17 May after an initial assessment found that 331,000 people were in need of food aid. That figure has since climbed to over 460,000 and continues to rise, said Likanda, who admitted that the 52,000 metric tonnes of maize meal already distributed by the government was not enough.

Click to view more photos

Following the emergency declaration, the government allocated 200 million Namibian dollars (US$20.1 million) to the drought response, but Likanda said that more funding was needed and that the government was currently drafting a gap analysis that would be used to appeal to international donors to help meet the shortfall. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched its own appeal to raise $7.4 million to respond to the needs of women and children while the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is appealing for $1.48 million.

Current assistance insufficient

The government’s initial procurement of maize meal came from local small- and medium-sized millers that lacked the capacity to fortify it with much-needed nutrients. Likanda noted that future procurements would stipulate that maize meal be fortified and supplemented with rations of meat, fish and pulses.

Kunene’s governor, Joshua Hoebeb, said that the 49,000 bags of maize meal the region had so far received did not match the numbers of people registered for food aid, which was in the 70,000s and increasing on a daily basis. “We need to provide aid until the first harvest [in March] next year,” he told journalists gathered at his offices in Opuwo, “and we don’t know where the next shipment of maize is going to come from.”

None of the households that IRIN interviewed in Kunene had received food assistance. “The government promised food, but it hasn’t come,” said Teemuime Mbendura. Her extended family at the homestead is now largely dependent on the 500 Namibian dollars ($50) a month one or two family members receive in old-age pensions. The men are reluctant to slaughter or sell their cattle to buy food, partly because the meat is fetching significantly less than it would in a normal year, even with the additional 300 Namibian dollars ($30) per cow that the government is offering as an incentive for destocking. Cattle also represent a Himba man’s pride and prosperity.

Kapara Mbinge, 35, has returned to the homestead for a funeral, following a three-day journey from a cattle post 140km away. So far, he has lost six animals to the drought and sold two, but he still has a herd of 65. “I don’t normally sell them,” he told IRIN. “They are my wealth.”

The Zemba, another traditional group in the region, depend less on livestock farming and more on cultivating crops, but they are faring no better. Kariamakuju Kauta, 55, estimates that she has enough maize left from this year’s meagre harvest to feed her family of 12 for one more week. The parched soil did not yield any vegetables, and the family’s six cattle have all died. “For now, we are eating once a day,” she said. “The children are going to bed hungry, and when they wake up, there’s nothing to give them.”

“The children are going to bed hungry, and when they wake up, there’s nothing to give them”

Five of her family members have gone to Opuwo in search of work, an increasingly common response to the drought, according to Kakarandua Mutambo, regional manager for the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS).

“Government aid is taking time,” Mutambo said, adding that it is only targeting rural households. With more families move closer to town in the hope of earning an income, NRCS is about to open a soup kitchen there that will initially feed 200 children once a day.

UNICEF is also partnering with NRCS to provide funding and technical support for the training of volunteers in four of the most affected regions, including Kunene. They will be deployed to communities to educate residents about basic health and hygiene practices and to screen vulnerable children for signs of malnutrition. A pilot health extension workers programme in Opuwo District, also funded by UNICEF, has similar goals of providing basic health services and information to under-served communities.

Malnutrition rates rising

Nhamoinesu Mudadi-Benhura, acting principal medical officer at the Engela District Hospital in hard-hit Ohangwena Region, said that admissions for paediatric malnutrition had increased by 76 percent since March, with 30 cases recorded in June and eight deaths. Nationally, a total of 46 malnutrition-related deaths had been recorded by July this year, but how many of the deaths were directly linked to the drought is difficult to determine.

Namibia is classified as an upper middle-income country by the World Bank, but malnutrition remains a chronic problem in many poor households, with 29 percent of children affected by stunting, according to UNICEF. Children are often only diagnosed after the malnutrition has become severe and follow-up is frequently lacking, said Mudadi-Benhura.

“The problem is support after they leave hospital,” he said. “Even if you give Plumpy’nut [a peanut-based paste used to treat malnutrition], that child has siblings, and it will be shared.”

Mudadi-Benhura noted that the majority of malnourished children admitted to his hospital came from makeshift settlements on the outskirts of towns, where there is no space to grow crops and poor sanitation causes diarrhoea and other illnesses that contribute to the problem.

Riondjovi Mupia, 28, and her three children moved to one such settlement near Opuwo four months ago, when the vegetable patch she had relied on for an income failed due to lack of rain. For a few weeks she earned a small income working in a shop in town, but that job has since ended. There was nothing to feed the children besides a few maize kernels, which she was toasting over a fire when IRIN arrived.

“I registered for food aid, but I haven’t received anything,” she said.

ks/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

 

 

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Kenya: The Catholic University of Eastern Africa donates drugs worth Ksh 210.000 to help flood victims in Kisumu County

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2013

  • By: Maurice Alal, API – Kenya

A great gesture of good-will for the benefit of flood victims has been realised. The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) has donated drugs worth Ksh 210,000 to for evacuation centers in Kisumu County where flood victims have been camping after floods invaded their homes.

The University’s Community Service Deputy Director Phyllis Gichimo who toured the area to assess the flood situation said they have provided the drugs to for evacuation centers in Kisumu County to assist the victims of floods who have been affected after the River Nyando burst its banks causing major floods in the areas.

The Centers are Sango Rota, Asawo Urudi, Gem Rae and Nyakwere all in Nyakach Constituency in Kisumu County.

She said about 1300 flood victims from the four evacuation centers have benefited from the program which is part of the University’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

The Kenya Red Cross Assistant Secretary General Emmanuel Owako said the situation had been overwhelming but they are monitoring it for any eventuality.

He said already teams were dispatched to the various evacuation centers where the society has donated food and other essential items to the flood victims.

Owako said the number of families who have been affected as a result of the flood is increasing in the region thus making the society to be overwhelmed in its volunteer work of helping the flood victims

Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga who assessed the flood situation in the region said the County Government of Kisumu will work to ensure that the issue of flooding in the region is fully addressed.

She said the County Disaster Management Team will ensure the various regions within the county which are normally affected by the flood are looked into properly.

The flood situation in Kisumu County has led to closure of a secondary school in Nyando District making its nearly 1,000 students sent home as the floods continue to cause havoc in Western Kenya Region.

The Management of Ahero Girls Secondary School was forced to shut it down after River Nyando burst its banks and its waters submerged the institution.

The residents also said they lost many properties including livestock as a result of the floods.

 

END

 

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Millions displaced by floodwaters

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2012

Women with a dug-out canoe in front of their flooded homes in Sagbama area of Bayelsa state.

BAYELSA/WARRI/DAKAR,  – Efforts to repair infrastructure and restore livelihoods destroyed by Nigeria’s recent flooding – the worst in five decades – require urgent funding and will take six months or longer, say aid agencies. Flooding between July and October affected seven million people, displaced 2.1 million and killed 363, according to the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA). “Never before has there been a disaster of this scale or magnitude,” said Oxfam’s deputy regional humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Dierdre McArdle. “Finding partners who have the capacity to deal with it is challenging.”

President Goodluck Jonathan is channelling US$110 million to the 33 affected states. He also set up a committee on flood relief and rehabilitation and is holding a fundraising event today. But he was late to declare a state of emergency, which many observers and some aid agencies say slowed down the response and hampered coordination. “Assessments were delayed. The scale of it is enormous… We had a lack of data, so no one has known how many were affected until now… There is a lack of technical knowledge on emergency response here,” said McArdle.

  • Plan insufficient

Olusoji Adebowale Adeniyi, of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), told IRIN the scale of the disaster caught everyone off-guard. “It is because it is so vast that it could not be addressed quickly,” he said, adding that the government has a disaster preparedness plan in place, but that it addresses the needs of 500,000 people rather than 2.1 million. Coordination is now improving. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has sent a small emergency response team to support NEMA’s coordination of information on the flood’s impact, and a humanitarian country team is working with the government’s flood committee. “We now have a plan to work to,” said Adeniyi. “We know what we need to do.” He welcomed the funding from the government but noted that its disbursal has been delayed by bureaucracy.

  • Food needs

A joint NEMA, UN and Oxfam emergency conducted across 14 states called for $38 million to address education, health, water, sanitation, food security and protection needs.   Sixty-three percent of those displaced in the 14 states were staying with family and friends; the rest were camping out in temporary sites or public buildings such as schools. Over half the schools in these states are unusable because of damage. Responding agencies are particularly worried about food insecurity, which is estimated to be “severe or very severe” in 82 percent of the communities visited, said OCHA.

People in most camps are receiving food rations, but these are irregular and do not meet international norms. Food prices in many flood-hit zones have risen by 30 to 70 percent, said survivors in Warri, a town in Delta State. A trader in Warri, Angela Ikede, told IRIN a bag of rice now sells for $70, up from $57, and a bag of ‘gari’, or tapioca flour, now costs $44, up from $25. In the Delta State community of Iyede Ame, residents of Oleh Camp complained that relief food is being intercepted by staff working in the makeshift kitchen.

  • Poor shelter conditions

Some 2,000 displaced people in Warri are sheltering in a primary school said, Chaplain Funge Owe. “The sleeping conditions in this camp are pathetic – most people sleep outside, which is infested with mosquitoes,” he told IRIN. Residents share just 20 toilets, he added. Residents are demanding more police protection, and the assessment team has noted that camp layouts do not account for protection concerns. Thus far, there have been unconfirmed reports of 19 rapes in camps in Benue State, noted Oxfam. Almost all of the flooded communities in the 14 states lack clean water; residents rely on streams or open wells. With a cholera outbreak still persistent in West Africa, Oxfam’s McArdle says clean water and sanitation is a priority to avoid an outbreak.

  • Future uncertain

The extent of the damage to this year’s harvest is not yet known, but NGO Friends of the Earth in Bayelsa State called the impact “catastrophic to crops”. NEMA’s southern coordinator, Emenike Umesi , says a post-disaster assessment on agriculture will be conducted with partners as the floodwaters recede. President of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, John Onuora, worries the flood may cause a “massive U-turn” in the country’s strategy to boost agricultural production and to lower reliance on imported rice through tariffs. Several agencies are delivering aid: UNICEF for instance has distributed hygiene kits to 250,000 people; Médecins sans Frontières is operating mobile health clinics; and the Nigerian Red Cross, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is helping 10,000 households in Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Bauchi, Katsina, Cross River, Jigawa, Benue and Edo states, mainly with shelter, hygiene materials and non-food items.

hu/em/aj/rz

source http://www.irinnews.org

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