WHD 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mali : le CICR aide des milliers de personnes dans le nord et le centre


 Par le CICR

Ces derniers jours, le CICR a fourni de l'aide à des milliers de déplacés dans le nord et le centre du Mali. Maintenant, il s'agit de rechercher qui d'autre a besoin d'aide et où se trouvent ces personnes. Yasmine Praz est la responsable des opérations du CICR en Afrique du nord et de l'ouest. Depuis Bamako, capitale du Mali, elle décrit la situation.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interview with David Gressly, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel



Learn more about David Gressly

Latest updates on people displaced by the fighting in central and northern Mali, ways to provide humanitarian aid to cut- off communities in Mali, significant changes in the Sahel region since 2012, updates on the Sahel Resilience Strategy and main challenges as the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel.

Dernière mise au point sur les personnes déplacées par le conflit récent au nord du Mali, moyens alternatifs pour que l´aide humanitaire arrive aux communautés isolées au Mali, changements significatifs dans la région du Sahel depuis 2012, nouvelles sur la stratégie de la résilience au Sahel et défis principaux du Coordonnateur Humanitaire Régional pour le Sahel.

Interview in English

 Interview en français

International Medical Corps Conducts Emergency Assessment in the Town of Konna to Identify Critical Needs of Conflict-Affected Malians

By International Medical Corps


International Medical Corps has conducted the first rapid, multi-sectoral humanitarian assessment in the town of Konna, Mali – where a rebel takeover triggered French military airstrikes that have caused massive civilian displacement throughout the country. International Medical Corps’ Emergency Team assessed Konna's health, nutrition, water supply, sanitation and hygiene services, along with other urgent needs.

International Medical Corps’ team was allowed only four hours in Konna, which is currently under control of the Malian army. The team met with community leaders to assess the town’s current humanitarian situation and discuss its residents’ most urgent needs. All sectors of the community participated, including the mayor, women’s groups, local health associations and youth groups. International Medical Corps also visited homes in several parts of the town to see firsthand the household-level impact of the conflict.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mali conflict: We are terrified by gunshots and sight of dead bodies

By Hamidou*

A teenage boy living in Mopti ( reported by Plan International)


Displaced teenager in Mali.Cr: Plan International

Today, I caught my brother crying again.

He usually does that when he thinks he is alone in a room. Mamadou is 6 years old and he does not like anyone to see him crying lest he be teased and be called a girl. But he can’t help it. He often cries because of the fighting and what he has seen.

 A couple of days ago, we went shopping with my dad. On our way back home, as we were driving in front of the military barracks daddy shouted to us “look away now”. I immediately did but Mamadou didn’t. He looked up to see what was happening in the barracks and he has not stopped crying since.

 He told me he saw people lying on the ground beside the wall of the barracks and there was blood everywhere. My dad later said the people were shot dead. My brother is really shaken and it makes me sad. I am worried about him. I have been trying to cheer him up but it does not work.

 When I am at home, I often hear gunshots. This happens at any time of the day. Every time I hear gunfire I would rush to check on my little brother. I try to divert his attention with silly games.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bonbatu – ‘I become stronger



By CARITAS Australia  

Caritas Australia is currently supporting a resilience project in the Tillaberi region of Niger in West Africa. The project is called ‘Bonbatu’ which means resilience in Zarma, the literal translation being to ‘protect myself’ or ‘I become stronger’ which is what this project aims to do for families vulnerable to food insecurity.

The Caritas network has worked in the Tillaberi region for years, providing emergency assistance when needed. Most recently, this was urgently required during 2012 when millions of men, women and children across the Sahel, in West Africa were at risk of chronic food insecurity. Fortunately due to emergency relief interventions and the subsequent arrival of good rains, the crisis has been reduced and the region has been able to produce a good harvest for 2012. However this does not mean that problems of food insecurity will not re-emerge. Cycles of drought, extreme flooding, poor soil and locust invasions are common challenges for farmers in Niger, particularly in the Tillaberi region.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mali: I am bracing for the worst ....

By Mamadou Samba Bocoum,  Programme Unit Manager in Plan International (Ségou, Mali)

I called my brother today and it was hard.

I have seven brothers and sisters and Gorou, 60, is the eldest. He lives in Sévaré in Mopti Region which is close to the area where military action is taking place.

Today when I called his voice was different. He was very emotional. I have never heard him like this.  He told me he was concerned about his children and his home. They had been hearing gunshots and heavy military vehicles were just 9 km away. They’re scared but he is determined to stay at home no matter what.

I know what this ‘no matter what’ means and I am anxious. I know he will stay put and defend his house to his last breath. This is hard but I understand and respect his choice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More than 7,500 flee new Mali offensive; refugees report food shortages 


By Helene Caux, Senior Regional Public Information Officer for West Africa in UNHCR

Almost 7,500 refugees have fled into neighbouring countries since French and Malian forces launched a counter-offensive against Islamic militants almost two weeks ago and the exodus is continuing.

In Mauritania, 4,208 Malian refugees have arrived since the latest fighting began on January 11. After being registered at the Fassala transit centre, they are being transported further inland to the Mbera refugee camp, which was already hosting some 55,000 people from earlier displacements.

In Niger there are now 1,300 new refugees, mainly from the Menaka and Anderamboukane areas. During the same period, Burkina Faso has received 1,829 new refugees. These are mainly ethnic Tuaregs and Songhai from the regions of Gossi, Timbuktu, Gao and Bambara Maoude.

Vidéo: Aide aux blessés et déplacés au Mali, alors que les combats se poursuivent


Par Jean-Nicolas Marti, chef de la délégation du CICR au Mali

Les combats dans le nord et le centre du Mali ont contraint des centaines de personnes à fuir de chez elles. Les hôpitaux font face à un afflux de blessés et un certain nombre de personnes ont été arrêtées. Malgré les combats qui se poursuivent, le CICR est présent sur ​​le terrain et opère à partir de ses bureaux de Mopti et Gao afin d'aider les personnes déplacées et de soutenir le travail accompli à l'hôpital de Gao pour sauver des vies. Depuis la capitale Bamako, le chef de la délégation du CICR au Mali, Jean-Nicolas Marti, décrit la situation au 15 Janvier et l'action du CICR.

Clickez sur l´image pour accéder à la vidéo.

Jean-Nicolas Marti Credit: ICRC

Plus d´information sur le CICR

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New E-Book on Resilience



While discussions continue to take place among the members of the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative (AGIR),  humanitarian actors in the Sahel at all levels share their thoughts on resilience through human stories, analysis and definitions of  this key term in 2013.

Click on the picture to read the e-book

Photo Gallery:  Giving Dignity to the Displaced in Mali

By Helen Blakesley, Regional Information Officer in Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

Mali, a country nestled in the middle of West Africa, is a nation divided in two. Rebel groups have been occupying the north, an area the size of Texas, aided by the instability of the country's government in Bamako. Fighting in the north has intensified with the arrival of French troops in January 2013. Reports of atrocities against northerners abound: killings, maiming, rape and the recruitment of child soldiers.

As a result, more than 200,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. Another 200,000 have moved south—many to Bamako, the nation's capital. These are some of the people Catholic Relief Services is helping with support from partners Trócaire and Irish Aid.

 Click on the image to see full gallery

Ibrahima and Baba are IDPs in Bamako. Credit: Helen Blakesley

 We invite you to make a donation to support our response to emergencies like this one.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Mali Conflict: I am tearful for Ségou

By Edwige Depagne-Sorgho, Emergency Communications Officer in Plan International

Bamako, the Malian capital, is swarming with news reporters from all over the world, each wanting desperately to get to Mopti or Ségou nearer to where the action is taking place.

I was fortunate to get security clearance to go to Ségou and spend a few days seeing how the conflict is impacting the lives of women and children and to learn how Plan International is helping them. Particularly to see how Plan is helping get them back to school in a safe environment so they can catch-up on missed classes and get emotional support as their lives have been so disrupted.

As soon as we started to work, taking pictures, visiting the wounded in hospital and schools filled with displaced children, my security officer, who is constantly glued to his communications set, said “we have go ... pack up ... max 30 minutes”.

I am tearful. I feel angry and frustrated. I only arrived last night after a six-hour long drive on a bumpy road  which felt like hours of turbulence on a plane. I had high hopes of documenting the humanitarian impact of this war on women and children and sharing it with the world. But now I am running for my life.

I am bitterly disappointed.

I feel I have broken a promise to myself but worst of all to these children, women and men I met in or around Ségou.

My consolation is that the time I spent in Ségou, I met so many people with compelling stories, such as 25-year old Aminata who fled Konnan a few days ago with her three children. She became separated from her husband and is spending sleepless nights, worried and fearing that he has been killed.

Break time at Ecole Mission in Ségou. Credit: Plan International

Fourteen-year old Issa from Timbuktu remains in a state of shock. He just stares. He struggles to speak.

I am fortunate because I can leave Ségou which has just been designated as a “red zone” by the military and flee to safety. But these people have nowhere to go. I am leaving them all behind.
It’s déjà vu all over for me – just a different country.

The anxiety I feel now is the same that I felt for my loved ones when the big earthquake hit Haiti three years so. For days I didn’t know what happen to them. I scanned the internet looking for clues that will give me hope. I rationally thought about the situation and concluded that it was bad news for some, if not all, the four members of my family in Port-au-Prince. But then the good news came. They all escaped the earthquake unharmed and were quickly transferred to safety in Paris.
I am hoping for the same miracle for those I am leaving behind in Ségou. I am praying they will be fine until I return.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Child combatants in Mali need urgent protection 

 By World Vision

 Protection for child combatants fighting with rebel groups must be at the heart of any training given by EU troops to Malian forces, says World Vision UK.

Earlier today the EU announced a training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) which is intended to help improve the military capacity of the Malian Armed Forces.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to recruitment into Militia groups as well as various forms of sexual violence, including forced marriage. They are therefore in urgent need of protection” said Chance Briggs, director of World Vision Mali.

Child soldiers in Mali. Copyright: IRIN

 Earlier this week the United Nations warned of  serious human rights violations in Mali including summary executions, rapes, acts of torture and the recruitment of child soldiers by rebel groups.
Justin Byworth, Chief Executive of World Vision UK, said: “We are calling on the UK government to take the lead and ensure child protection is built in alongside combat training. This is especially important when child combatants are captured. They must be dealt with according to International humanitarian law.  It's important to work with Malian troops and the Malian legal system to ensure that all grave violations of the rights of civilians, especially those of children, are identified, prevented and stopped.”

Photo story: NGO BWEF in Burkina Faso.

Investing in higher education in the Sahel region. 


By Frederick Eckhard, President of NGO  Burkina Women´s Education Fund (BWEF) and former Spokesperson of Koki Annan.  

How the story of BWEF begins

When I retired as Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Spokesperson in 2005, my wife Kathryn, who is a Scot, proposed that we move to Brittany, in northwest France, where the weather is a bit like Scotland-windy, rainy, changeable—but nicer. We found a dream house with a view of the sea. I thought I was in Paradise.But I developed this gnawing feeling that it was time to give something back.

 And, as so often is the case, circumstance came into play. The woman we bought our house from, Gilberte Saint Cast, had started a humanitarian organization about ten years ago to help girls in need in Burkina Faso. (For the story, as I described it in an Op-Ed in the International Herald Tribune.

I traveled with Gilberte and her husband to Burkina Faso in 2009 and 2010, each time for a couple of weeks. What struck me most was, yes, these were among the poorest people on earth, but they were brimming with optimism and ready to work hard.

Girls face the same challenges in Burkina Faso as in many other parts of the world, but the Government is striving to meet a target set by my former boss, Kofi Annan, in his Millennium Development Goals—namely equal educational opportunity for boys and girls. A little financial push from Gilberte was helping about 45 girls finish secondary school or get training in vocational school.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Humanitarian situation in Mali deteriorates after latest wave of fighting

By the UN News Center

The latest round of military clashes over the weekend between the Malian army and radical Islamist groups have sparked a new wave of displacement and led to a worsening of the humanitarian situation in the North African country, the United Nations warned today.

A displaced Malian woman prepares dinner for her family in the capital, Bamako. Photo: UNHCR/H. Caux

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 30,000 people fled their homes over the weekend, coinciding with the declaration of a state of emergency by the Government and the beginning of a French air operation in support of the Malian army, bringing the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to over 200,000.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Map: Plan´s humanitarian response to Mali conflict

By Plan International

Hundreds of people - mainly children and women - have been displaced by the military offensive in Mali. This map shows Plan's emergency response, including food distribution, education, child protection, water and sanitation.

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 VIDEO: Sahel calling 

By the Sahel calling initiative


Can music help stop human rights violations? And demand more relief for refugees? "Sahel Calling"
is a film about how musicians affect the crisis in Mali and the Sahel. 

 More information on the Sahel calling initiative

Monday, January 14, 2013

 Alarming Malnutrition and Mortality Among Malian Refugees in Mauritania. 

Interview to Karl Nawezi, Head of MSF's activities in Mauritania

By Doctors without Borders (MSF)

 One year after the start of the political crisis in Mali, insecurity resulting from the military coup, the Tuareg rebellion, and the presence of armed Islamist groups in the north has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Some 55,000 refugees are still living in difficult conditions in the Mbera camp in Mauritania. A nutrition and retrospective mortality survey by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontères (MSF) has revealed critical mortality and malnutrition rates. In this interview, Karl Nawezi, head of MSF's activities in Mauritania, explains why the situation in the camp—which is located in the middle of the desert a few kilometres from the Malian border—has reached such an alarming point.

Mauritania 2012 © Lynsey Addario/VII
Malian refugees wait in Fassala to be registered by Mauritanian officials and a local NGO after fleeing Mali for the border

What is the situation in the Mbera camp?

MSF’s nutrition survey revealed that the nutritional situation in the camp has not improved since January 2012 when the first refugees arrived. Nearly one in five children, or 17 percent, is malnourished, and 4.6 percent are suffering from the most severe form of malnutrition and are in danger of dying. This medical data reveals the difficult conditions in which the refugees in the Mbera camp are living.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Photos:  WFP Responds to Emergency Food Needs in Mali


Click on the photo to see full gallery

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 Things You Need To Know About Hunger In 2013



How many hungry people are there in the world and is the number going  down? What effect does hunger have on children and what can we do to help them? Here is a list of 10 facts that go some way to explaining why hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today.

1. Approximately 870  million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. That means that one in every eight  people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night. (Source: FAO, 2012)

2.The number of people living with chronic hunger has declined by 130 million people over the past 20 years. For developing countries, the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen from 23.2 to 14.9 percent over the period 1990–2010 (Source: FAO, 2012)
Credit: WFP

3. Most of the progress against hunger  was achieved before 2007/08. Since then, global progress in reducing hunger has slowed and levelled off.  (Source: FAO,  2012)

4. Hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. (Source: UNAIDS, 2010; WHO, 2011).

5. A third of all deaths in children under the age of five in developing countries are linked to undernutrition. (Source: IGME, 2011)

6. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from pregnancy through age two, are the critical window in which to tackle undernutrition. A proper diet in this period can protect children from the mental and physical stunting that can result from malnutrition. (Source: IGME, 2011)

 7.  It costs just US $0.25 per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy. (Source: WFP, 2011)

8.  If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, the number of hungry people could be reduced by 100-150 million. (Source: FAO, 2011)

9. By 2050, climate change and erratic weather patterns will have pushed another 24 million children into hunger. Almost half of these children will live in sub-Saharan Africa. (Source: WFP, 2009)

10. Hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today. Here are eight effective strategies for fighting hunger. Learn More

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Learn more about WFP www.wfp.org

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The most under-reported humanitarian disasters of 2012

By David Bull, Executive Director UNICEF UK

Every year, humanitarian disasters take a devastating toll on the lives and futures of millions of children around the world, and 2012 was no exception. The numbers of children affected are staggering, so much that it is hard to comprehend why so many of these disasters rarely make the headlines.

UNICEF began the year having issued a stark warning in December 2011 that more than one million children would suffer from severe, life-threatening malnutrition in the Sahel region of West Africa and would need specialist treatment. This nutrition crisis, caused by a combination of drought and high food prices, would require an unprecedented response by governments, UNICEF and other UN agencies, and humanitarian organisations if we were to avert a catastrophe.

It was not a famine, but we were talking about a huge number of very young children at risk of starvation, and the lack of media interest in this crisis was both surprising and incredibly frustrating. When fighting escalated in Mali (one of the nine affected countries in the Sahel region), the number of people needing emergency assistance increased not just in Mali, but also in neighbouring countries that were hosting refugees. The conflict and the political crisis sparked some media interest, but once again, there were hardly any reports of the situation of people being forced to flee their homes, or of the worsening nutrition crisis.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mali: Boats Take Food To Families Fleeing Fighting




 Click on the picture to watch the video


Conflict in the north has forced thousands of families to flee their homes, uprooting half a million people. It's placing added pressure on vulnerable host communities who have not yet recovered from the Sahel drought. The conflict and population movement also complicates matters for agencies like WFP providing humanitarian assistance. WFP is sailing boats up the River Niger in order to bring food to families affected by fighting.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Souffrir de la malnutrition n’est pas une fatalité : la guérison d’Abdoul Aziz

Par Téning SENGHOR, Chargée de Communication Croix-Rouge Française

Dans le Sahel en 2012, 1,1 million d’enfants présentent un risque de malnutrition aiguë sévère et 3 millions un risque de malnutrition aiguë modérée. En 2012 la Croix Rouge (CR) française, avec le soutien financier de la Direction Générale de l'Aide humanitaire et Protection civile (ECHO) et en partenariat avec la CR nigérienne, a mis en œuvre un programme de lutte contre la malnutrition. Outre les activités de prise en charge d’urgence, des interventions à long terme sont nécessaires. L’objectif est de prévenir la malnutrition à travers l’éducation nutritionnelle de la mère et un paquet minimum  d’interventions sanitaires de qualité. Renforcer la résilience nutritionnelle du couple mère-enfant leur permettra de surmonter les situations d’urgence et de retrouver durablement une vie normale.

Lorsqu’on se rend dans les structures de prise en charge des différents cas de malnutrition (modérée, sévère, sévère avec complications médicales), le nombre de mères et d’enfants en attente de soins interpelle. En période de soudure cette l’année avant les récoltes, le personnel des centres de santé, aidé par les volontaires de la Croix Rouge, s’activent à apporter une aide vitale aux enfants malnutris avec l’appui des partenaires qui fournissent les équipements, aliments thérapeutiques et médicaments nécessaires.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

From early warning to reinforcing resilience: 

Lessons learned from the 2011-2012 Sahel response

By UN-OCHA Evaluation Section

Guiding principles for coherent resilience approaches:

Resilience is a multi-level and multi-stakeholder endeavor. This resilience has to encompassindividuals, households, and communities. A resilient international aid system (able to engage strategically, with flexibility and in a sustained manner) and well prepared national institutions (equipped, trained and able to plan ahead) are critically needed. This will create an environment enabling prevention and reduction of structural vulnerabilities, anticipation of risks, timely and effective delivery of humanitarian aid and linkages between emergency response and recovery.

Context matters: “one size fits all” approach to be avoided. The region is very diverse and only customized solutions can work. However, sharing of information and experiences within the region and with areas with similar characteristics (Horn of Africa) will increase understanding of response options.

Pro-resilience strategies of governments and regional institutions must be supported by development agencies and donors. The 3N initiative in Niger, the recently prepared rural strategy in Chad, the intersector Emel project in Mauritania, Senegal’s resilience approach, the ECOWAS emergency stock project and AGIR-Sahel are important initiatives that help frame the international response. They show that governments are addressing the growing vulnerabilities in a landscape of frequent shocks.

Proactive interaction between humanitarian aid and development. There are growing efforts to ensure that planning goes beyond the short term funding framework. The AGIR-Sahel initiative, the UN Sahel Resilience plan and donor, agency and organization specific strategies are milestones in that direction. Development donors should be encouraged to engage more strategically with humanitarian

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