Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ethiopia: Meeting deadly disease head-on - Ethiopia | ReliefWeb

from UNOPS

Published on 26 Jul 2017 View Original
Ethiopia is one of the countries hardest hit by the strongest El Niño event in history. The natural hazards that followed have left more than 5 million people in need of life-saving emergency assistance.
Amidst the worst drought in decades, the people in the Somali region of Ethiopia watch their crops die and their livestock starve. With reduced access to food, clean water and sanitation facilities, as well as the inevitable lowered household incomes - thousands of people are falling victim to diseases like measles and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), which in turn can lead to conditions like malnutrition. The poorest women, men and children are the most vulnerable.
Since 2015, there has been a surge in cases of AWD. Caused by bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms, the disease spreads through contaminated food and water, particularly in areas with poor sanitation facilities. AWD can last for days and the disease causes severe dehydration and fluid loss. The body is left drained of water and salts crucial for survival. Unfortunately, when food is scarce, people do what they must to survive.
Consider the community of Gabagabo kebele in the Tuli Guled district, which is all too familiar with AWD. A small local health centre is separated from the main road by 10 km of rough track that is hard to navigate on both wheels and foot. This stretch is even more daunting for someone in the throes of illness.
Patients who managed to make it to the centre found an under-resourced facility overwhelmed by the ever-growing number of AWD cases. "The Health Centre didn't have the required personnel or the supplies to treat cases," explained Mr. Mohammed Ahmed, Head, Gabagabo Health Centre .
There was just one ambulance and five workers on site.
In a joint response to the problem, a Case Treatment Centre (CTC) was set up within the grounds of the existing health centre. Five additional health workers and one vehicle were deployed to the facility. The CTC was equipped with medicine to treat AWD, water and sanitation supplies, and other items to support raising awareness in the communities.
Kelsuma Abdulahi, a mother of six, was unconscious when she was driven to the CTC. She had contracted AWD after consuming contaminated water. Kelsuma stayed in the centre for five days. However, the very next day her 20–year-old pregnant daughter got sick, which brought Kelsuma back to the centre, as a caregiver this time.
"The problem is affecting everyone in my family and I am forced to leave my home," she said.
She is not alone. Many around the country are faced with the same challenges.
The effort to mitigate the problem and prevent the spread of disease is an on-going priority for the Government and humanitarian partners alike.
About the project
In an effort to address the issue of AWD, the government deployed some 900 health workers to eight affected zones in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, which were fiercely hit by the disease.
In support of the government's effort, UNOPS signed a $1.7 million project agreement with the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund, managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) .
UNOPS support comes in three main ways. First, the provision and management of an efficient and timely payment system to benefit some 300 health care workers, who look after communities in remote and under-served areas. Second, the management of a 42-vehicle fleet that helps ferry staff and medicines to remote locations. And third, a supply chain management system that uses five heavy vehicles to move supplies from warehouses.
This 'common services' approach enhances and enables the overall AWD response in Ethiopia, which is a collaboration between Ethiopia's Region Health Bureau, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), UN Regional Coordination Office, OCHA, and international and national NGOs.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Charity groups unite to tackle hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa - ABC News

Eight U.S.-based international relief groups have joined forces to desperately urge the public to donate to a new relief fund aimed at addressing looming famine and hunger in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and neighboring nations.
"In the 21st century, innocent children should not be dying from hunger. People caught in this crisis are generously opening their homes and sharing what little they have, but they have run out of time and resources -- they need our help now," said the groups making up the Global Emergency Response Coalition in a news release Monday.

VIDEO: Dr. Yousef Ali speaks with ABC News David Muir about Somalias famine crisisPlay
Dr. Yousef Ali speaks with ABC News' David Muir about Somalia's famine crisismore +

On Monday, the coalition -- made up of CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision -- announced its Hunger Relief Fund. The groups said the coalition was the first of its kind.

The Global Emergency Response Coalition said that its groups were working in 106 nations and that donations made to the fund would "help those already going hungry and on the brink of famine survive and lay the groundwork for recovery."


Its partners, which are helping to bring awareness and monies to the effort, include Google, Twitter and Visa.

Recently, ABC News anchor David Muir and his team traveled with Save the Children as it traveled to the deserts of Somaliland to identify children suffering from malnutrition.
Carolyn Miles, the CEO of Save the Children, told Muir the malnutrition crisis was one of the worst she'd seen since World War II.
"We really need people to realize what's going on. ... We can actually make a difference for these kids if we act now," she said.
More than 20 million people are at risk of starvation, the coalition said. The groups also said that without immediate help, 1.4 million severely malnourished children could die.
According to the Global Response Coalition, $10 can get:
1. A month's worth of water for a child at school.

2. Basic health services for a child in Somalia.

3. One week's worth of highly nutritious peanut paste for a malnourished child. (Brand name: Plumpy'Nut)
Save the Children said that $2 in Somalia can provide a child with water at school for one month; $23 in Ethiopia can provide one child with lunch at school for a month; and $5 in South Sudan can buy medicine to treat 10 children suffering from malaria.
Dr. Yusef Ali, the regional director of health in Somaliland, told Muir during his visit to the region that the country was on the verge of famine.
"We're seeing it [famine]," Ali said. "It's here. ... We 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Aid Groups Marshal Scarce Resources to Save Ethiopian Children

FILE - A woman holds her child as they wait to receive treatment in Kobo health center in Kobo village, one of the drought stricken areas of Oromia region, in Ethiopia, April 28, 2016.
For 12 years, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has worked in Ethiopia's Somali region, providing medical care during droughts, floods and other types of emergencies that made food scarce and left people hungry.
But MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, says it has never seen malnutrition levels spike so high in the region as during the current drought. Thousands of acutely malnourished children have been admitted to hastily-established feeding centers in hopes of staving of starvation and death.
MSF reports that 68 children suffering from severe malnutrition died in the Somali region's Doolo zone last month despite receiving care at the organization's clinics.
"Everywhere in the world, the children under five years of age are always the most vulnerable, and they're the ones that always succumb to disease and malnutrition first," says Tara Newell, an MSF emergency coordinator.
Ader Ali Yusuf, center, a mother of 12 who was displaced from her village due to the drought in Ethiopia, sits among a group of women as an international delegation visits the Warder town of Ethiopia's drought stricken area, June 9, 2017.
Ader Ali Yusuf, center, a mother of 12 who was displaced from her village due to the drought in Ethiopia, sits among a group of women as an international delegation visits the Warder town of Ethiopia's drought stricken area, June 9, 2017.
Uphill battle
MSF, along with the Ethiopian government and other aid agencies, is trying to prevent more kids from dying but they face an uphill battle against a drought that began last year and is predicted to run until early 2018.
From March until May – the rainy season in the Horn of Africa - large parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya experienced less than 70 percent of usual cumulative rainfall, according to FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
In many parts of the Horn, rainfall totals in 2017 have hit 36-year lows.
The drought has had a devastating effect on the region's nomadic communities. Without rain, crops have dried up and livestock have died, depleting food supplies and disrupting livelihoods. Without clean water, disease has spread. Acute watery diarrhea, cholera and measles have affected thousands.
FILE - People wait for food and water in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Jan. 28, 2017.
FILE - People wait for food and water in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Jan. 28, 2017.
Aid dwindling
The U.N. World Food Program and other aid agencies have responded, but growing need and funding shortfalls are undercutting their efforts. An estimated 7.8 million Ethiopians are in need of humanitarian aid, an increase of more than 2 million since the start of the year.
The WFP has warned that its food stocks could run out this month, and that even with immediate new funding, assistance won't reach those who need it most until August or September.
That may be too late for many Somali region residents who have used up all of their resources, says MSF's Newell.
"A vast majority of the livestock has already died," Newell said. "Things don't change overnight. Even with massive rains in the coming weeks, it doesn't change the situation of malnutrition because the livestock take a long time to rebuild in those communities, and people need food now."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mass collections as famine threatens 25m in East Africa - Derry Journal

Antal Abdi Haji has her severely dehydrated son, Rahma, examined by personnel at Akara CTC. Photo: Amunga Eshuchi.Antal Abdi Haji has her severely dehydrated son, Rahma, examined by personnel at Akara CTC. Photo: Amunga Eshuchi.

Antal Abdi Haji has her severely dehydrated son, Rahma, examined by personnel at Akara CTC. Photo: Amunga Eshuchi.
Antal Abdi Haji has her severely dehydrated son, Rahma, examined by personnel at Akara CTC. Photo: Amunga Eshuchi.

Special Mass collections will take place across the north west next weekend in aid of 25 million people facing a hunger crisis in Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference made the announcement that the collections will take place across Ireland on the weekend of July 22 and 23.
The money raised will go towards Trócaire’s life-saving aid for people currently affected by the devastating hunger crisis in east-Africa.
Trócaire is the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, which is delivering emergency food, water, and health care to the millions affected.
Archbishop Eamon Martin: “The large number of people affected may shock us, but we must realise that behind these stark numbers are real people: mothers and fathers unable to provide for their hungry children.”
Severe drought, driven by climate change, is currently affecting Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia and this has resulted in failed harvests and the widespread death of livestock.
Conflict has exacerbated the effects in South Sudan and Somalia, with areas in both countries now on the verge of famine.
Archbishop Eamon Martin said the situation is critical and has urged support for the collection from parishioners,
Donations to Trócaire’s east Africa hunger crisis appeal can be made at or by phoning 1850 408 408 (Republic) or 0800 912 1200 (north).

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Getting the World Focused on Famine Relief - The Takeaway - WNYC

Getting the World Focused on Famine Relief

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People line up to be registered with the World Food Programme (WFP) for food distribution in Old Fangak, in Jonglei state, South Sudan.
From  and 
In the past, global famines used to get a fair amount of attention, particularly in the West. Remember Band Aid in the 1980s and the focus it brought to the devastating famine in Ethiopia? Back in March, the United Nations' humanitarian chief, Stephen O'Brien, delivered a dire warning to the security council in New York.
O'Brien said the world was “facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations,” and he warned that more than 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and northeast Nigeria were at risk of starvation and famine. He added that, while it would be possible to stop catastrophes from developing in these countries that have all been plagued by conflict, urgent funds of $4.4 billion would be needed by July.
Donations for famine relief have been slow in coming, according to David Beasley, the executive director of the U.N. World Food Program. Beasley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina, discusses some of the recent challenges his organization has faced.
 This segment is hosted by Todd Zwillich.

Eradicating hunger requires greater investments in agri & rural devpt | FNB News

Achieving the international community’s goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2030 is indeed possible, but this requires a scaling up of action, including greater investments in agriculture and sustainable rural development.

This was stated by José Graziano da Silva, director general, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), at a side event on Zero Hunger at the United Nations’ agency’s Conference, where he pointed to some stark facts and figures.

“Today, more than 800 million people are still chronically undernourished, and unfortunately, the number has started to grow again,” he added.

“Around 155 million children under five - close to a quarter of the total - are stunted, while 1.9 billion people are overweight. Of this, at least 500 million are obese and two billion suffer from micronutrient deficiency,” Graziano da Silva said.

“While progress in combating the related scourges of poverty and hunger has been made in recent decades, these achievements are at risk of being reversed as conflict, population growth, climate change and changing dietary patterns, all pose new challenges,” he added.

Graziano da Silva noted that the world was facing one of the largest humanitarian crises ever, with more than 20 million people at risk of famine in four countries - North-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

An enabling policy and institutional environment
The FAO chief noted that the 2030 Agenda called for strong commitment to national decision-making and greater self-reliance by member states, underscoring how “we are seeing this happen with regional initiatives and organisations playing a substantial role.”

He cited the Malabo Declaration adopted by African Union leaders to end hunger in Africa by 2025, and also referred to the strong commitment to food security made by countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Turning political will into action requires a stronger focus on national strategies, including to those relating to nutrition, health and education policies. Graziano da Silva called for enhancing governance and coordination mechanisms to facilitate dialogue and create incentives for different sectors and stakeholders to work together and to sharpen the focus of Zero Hunger initiatives. “For that, decision-makers need solid and relevant evidence, including statistics and monitoring data,” he added.

“And last but not least, we have to significantly increase investments,” Graziano da Silva said.

“Hunger is often due to poverty and inequality. It is the result of the exclusion of small-scale producers from large-scale food systems,” said Gilbert Houngbo, president, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), at the event.

He warned that at the current pace, quite frankly, the international community is not on track to meet its commitment to Zero Hunger by 2030, but noted that the goal can be achieved “if we act now to establish inclusive and sustainable food systems and to build the resilience of poor rural people and the ecosystems that they depend on.”

Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 “has zero chances of succeeding in the environment we are living in today,” said David Beasley, executive director, World Food Programme (WFP). He added, “Governments have to take actions to reduce conflicts, which are man-made dead-ends on the road to Zero Hunger.”

Beasley noted that FAO, IFAD and WFP were “working together in a perhaps unprecedented way, both because the stakeholders want them to and because the situation calls for it.”

Investments are critical
Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, who delivered the keynote address at the Zero Hunger side event, noted that to fuel the growth of Africa’s economy, investments are needed.

“Neither Official Development Aid nor remittances can provide sufficient resources. Private investment is required - indeed it is already the biggest source of development funding,” he added.

“A further key to growth is generating increased value addition for African products, coupled with better access to higher-value markets. Young African agri-entrepreneurs need quality products to sell, better production methods to grow them and access to good markets upon which to sell them,” Hogan said.

Today’s side event also included a panel discussion, titled Zero Hunger - Global, regional and national synergies to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2.

The panellists included Hugo Roger Martinez Bonilla, minister of foreign affairs, El Salvador, and Chair of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC); Eyasu Abraha, minister for agriculture and natural resources, Ethiopia, Liane Thykeo, minister for agriculture and forestry, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Amira Gornass, ambassador of the Republic of Sudan, and Chair of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).