UNICEF: Some African children just ‘one disease away from catastrophe’

UNITED NATIONS— UN Children’s Fund UNICEF warned that children in the Horn of Africa and the vast Sahel region “could die in devastating numbers” without urgent intervention and support.


In the last five months, the number of people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia without reliable access to safe water has risen from 9.5 million to 16.2 million


Children in Sahel are also facing water insecurity. This crisis has led to the proliferation of severe malnutrition and increased the risk of serious water-borne diseases.


“When water either isn’t available or is unsafe, the risks to children multiply exponentially,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, millions of children are just one disease away from catastrophe.”


In Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, drought, conflict, and insecurity are driving the water insecurity problem as World Water Week gets underway in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.


According to WHO data, 40 million children face high to extremely high levels of water vulnerability. More children die due to unsafe water and sanitation in the Sahel than in any other part of the world. The nascent crisis will only heighten this, said UNICEF.


Most people in the Horn of Africa rely on water delivered by vendors on trucks or donkey carts. In areas worst hit by drought, water is no longer affordable for many families, said UNICEF:


In Kenya, 23 counties have seen significant price hikes, topped by Mandera at a 400 per cent increase and Garissa at 260 per cent, compared to January 2021 figures.

In Ethiopia, the cost of water in June this year has doubled in the Oromia region and 50 per cent in Somali, compared to the onset of the drought in October 2021.

In Somalia, average water prices climbed 85 per cent in South-Mudug, and 55 and 75 per cent, respectively, in Buurhakaba and Ceel Berde, compared to prices in January this year.

Furthermore, in Kenya, over 90 per cent of open water sources – such as ponds and open wells – in drought-affected areas are either depleted or dried up, posing a serious risk of disease outbreak.


Across the Sahel, water availability has also dropped by more than 40 per cent in the last 20 years. This drastic decline in water resources is largely due to climate change and complex factors such as destructive conflict patterns.


The effect of this insecurity also facilitated the region’s worst cholera outbreak in the last six years, leading to 5,610 cases and 170 deaths in Central Sahel.


Specifically, outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea and cholera in Somalia have been reported in almost all drought-affected districts. 8,200 cases were reported between January and June 2022, more than double the number of cases reported during the same period last year.


In a region already burdened with 2.8 million malnourished children, water vulnerability makes children 11 times more likely to die from water-borne diseases than those well nourished, said UNICEF.


Almost two-thirds of these affected are children under the age of five. Between June 2021 and June 2022, UNICEF and partners treated more than 1.2 million cases of diarrhoea in children under five in the worst drought-hit regions of Ethiopia’s Afar, Somalia, SNNP and Oromia.


To combat this crisis, UNICEF provides life-saving aid and resilient services to children and their families in dire need across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.


Schemes include improving access to climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services; drilling for reliable sources of groundwater and developing solar systems; identifying and treating children with malnutrition, and scaling up prevention services.


UNICEF’s appeal to improve families’ long-term resilience in the Horn of Africa region – and stop drought devastating lives for years to come – is currently just three per cent funded.


Almost no money has been received for the section devoted to water, sanitation and climate resilience. The appeal for the Central Sahel region to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families with water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes is only 22 per cent funded.


Russell, at the beginning of this year’s World Water Week, appealed for better funding: “Families across drought-impacted regions are being forced into impossible choices. The only way to stop this crisis is for governments, donors, and the international community to step up funding to meet children’s most acute needs and provide long-term, flexible support to break the cycle of crisis.”


Source: Nam News Network

Rwanda, DR Congo differ on M23 threat, offer parallel solutions in French mediation

NEW YORK— Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo agree that M23 and other armed militia are a major security threat and are hurting bilateral ties. However, the two countries are prescribing different solutions to the problem.


This week in New York, presidents Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame met under the mediation of French President Emmanuel Macron. They agreed to resume talks on how to tackle the M23 threat.


“The two presidents agreed to act together to obtain, as soon as possible, the withdrawal of the M23 from all occupied regions and the return of displaced people to their homes, with the support of the United Nations and their partners in the African Union, the East African Community and the Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR),” the DR Congo presidency said in a statement.


The dispatch said Kagame and Tshisekedi “have also agreed to intensify their co-operation in the long term to fight against impunity and put an end to the activities of armed groups in the Great Lakes region, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). These efforts will take place within the framework of existing regional peace initiatives, including the Nairobi process.”


Kigali did not release the “joint statement” but indicated that the leaders had discussed solutions to the conflict in DR Congo’s eastern region.


The New York meeting, however, was preceded by harsh words for Rwanda by President Tshisekedi in a speech on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly.


He said that Rwanda was undermining peace efforts in the DRC.


“Despite my goodwill for the search of peace, some neighbors have found no better way to thank us than to aggress and support armed groups that are ravaging eastern Congo,” he said.


Tshisekedi added: “In defiance of international law, [Rwanda] has once again not only interfered in DR Congo since March by direct incursions of its armed forces but also occupies localities in North Kivu province by an armed terrorist group, the M23, to which it provides massive support in terms of equipment and troops.”


Kagame hit back a day later, noting that the insecurity situation in eastern DRC had exposed Rwanda to “cross border attacks that are entirely preventable”.


“The blame game does not solve the problems,” he said in his speech to the UN General Assembly.


“There is an urgent need to find the political will to finally address the root cause of instability in eastern DR Congo. These challenges are not insurmountable and solutions can be found. This would ultimately be much less costly in terms of both money and human lives,” Kagame added.


Kinshasa sees Rwanda as a state aggressor, particularly with the capture of Bunagana town by the M23 rebels in June. Rwanda sees the DRC as a supporter of former genocide masterminds FDLR group, which is hiding in DR Congo.


“Bunagana has to be free for RwandAir to be allowed to resume flights to DR Congo. This is DR Congo saying, ‘M23 is Rwanda’,” a DRC official told The EastAfrican.


The advance of M23 culminated in the suspension of RwandAir flights to the DRC, as well as the shelling of rockets into Rwandan territory by the Congolese army.


This week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told France 24, that the only way to achieve peace is through “serious” discussions between DR Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda.


“We need to have a joint perspective to avoid this situation that always takes us back when we make progress.


“These countries need to understand each other. These countries must co-operate effectively for the security of the Congo and also guarantee security in Rwanda and Uganda.”


The DRC and Rwanda had opened dialogue under a Joint Commission. But the two countries have only had one meeting, in late July. Previously, the Joint Commission had not met for 10 years.


After the resurgence of the M23 rebels, this year the DRC accused Rwanda of supporting the Congolese rebels militarily and in the supply of arms.


Source: Nam News Network

African Court Judges to visit three European courts

ARUSHA— The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Judges will undertake a five-day peer-to-peer visit to the European Court of Human Rights, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court.


The visit which is fixed for Sept 26 – 30 is aimed at exchanging experiences, and enhancing cooperation among the continental judicial fraternity, a statement signed by Dr. Robert Eno, African Court Registrar.


The African Court statement explained that the purpose of the visit was also to generally engage with global judicial institutions, whose mandates stood at the intersection between public international law, and human rights justice.


The African Court’s delegation which includes seven Judges, Legal Officers, and Registry Staff, would be led by its President Lady Justice Imani Daud Aboud.


According to the statement, the visit is part of the African Court’s long-standing endeavour to pursue cooperation with peer institutions involved in human rights adjudication in a bid to reinforce judicial dialogue and exchange practices pertinent to international justice.


The African Continental Court is composed of eleven Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.


The African Court was established by pursuant to Article one of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Protocol) which was adopted by Member States of the then Organisation of African Unity in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on Jan 25,2004.


Source: Nam News Network

‫Vantage تفوز بثلاث جوائز في جوائز Forex العالمية 2022

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Stephen Solares and Raymond Okafor, Business Associates for Vantage, at the Global Forex Awards Ceremony, Limassol, Cyprus, on 22 September 2022

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