Category: Africa (Page 2 of 3)

Hakainde Hichilema is elected President of Zambia.

Out of the 7 million registered voters in Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema secured 2,810,777 votes while incumbent Edgar Lungu was in second place with 1,814,201 votes.

In his opening address to the nation, Hichilema promised democratic reforms, investor-friendly economic policies, better debt management and “zero-tolerance” for corruption.

Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, saw its economy stagnate when copper prices collapsed around 2011.

Depressed commodity prices and the COVID-19 pandemic have further slowed any economic rebound.

“It is in no doubt what the instruction is to all of us,” he told supporters in Lusaka.

“We will not let you down,” he said.

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United Nations official: climate change and hunger in Madagascar.

In the south of Madagascar, known as the Grand Sud, hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from one of the worst droughts in the region in 40 years, the most senior UN official in the country has said, warning that the population is facing a severe humanitarian crisis.

The drought has gone on for longer than expected, and the funds received are insufficient to cover current and future needs.

We must act now: annual crops are a problem that will probably become a new crisis in the next agricultural season.

Resilience is the solution, and there is an urgent need to implement long-term solutions led by the government.

However, right now people need support and humanitarian assistance to get them on their feet and making a living.

The hunger season is coming.

We are in danger of seeing people who have endured the prolonged drought enter the lean season without the means to eat, without money to pay for health services, or to send their children to school, to get clean water, and even to get seeds to plant for the next agricultural season.

If we don’t act soon, we will face a much more severe humanitarian crisis”, according UN News.

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UN chief gravely concerned over ‘unspeakable violence’ in Tigray (Ethiopia).

Speaking outside the UN Security Council chamber on Thursday, UN chief António Guterres told journalists that he is gravely concerned about the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the “unspeakable violence” against women and others in Tigray.

The Secretary-General’s remarks came on World Humanitarian Day, and he recognized humanitarians “and the many millions of people they strive to help everyday”. 

He described the misery of the Ethiopian people, and the “hellish” humanitarian conditions they are facing, with millions in need and infrastructure destroyed.

The spread of the conflict, he added, has “ensnared even more people in its horror”.

Now is the time to put an end to the suffering”, stressed Mr. Guterres.

“It is time for all parties to recognize that there is no military solution, and it is vital to preserve the unity and stability of Ethiopia which is critical to the region and beyond”.

To “give peace a chance” in Ethiopia, the Secretary-General appealed for action on three fronts:

  • an immediate end to hostilities;
  • guaranteed, unrestricted humanitarian access, together with the re-establishment of public services in all affected areas;
  • and the creation of conditions that “allow for the start of an Ethiopian-led political dialogue to find a solution for the crisis”.

“Such a dialogue can contribute to addressing the underlying causes of the conflict and ensure Ethiopian voices direct the pathway to peace”, the UN chief explained, calling each of these steps “critical” to a peaceful settlement.

Mr. Guterres assured journalists that the UN continues to have a humanitarian presence in and near Tigray, although there is a lack of full humanitarian access.

The UN chief added that the UN would continue to work together with the African Union and other partners “to support the Ethiopian people on the way to peace and reconciliation”, according UN News.

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United Nations: ‘Widespread and systematic’ violence linked to clashes over gold in DR Congo.

Rival armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are carrying out horrific sexual attacks against women and girls, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned on Friday.

The alert was prompted by what UNHCR has called “widespread and systematic” sexual abuse in Tanganyika province, where thousands of people have been internally displaced this year, often many times.

“Some women and girls have been abducted and used as sex slaves by armed group members”, spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told journalists in Geneva.

‘Horrific violence’

The UNHCR spokesperson explained that in just the past two weeks, humanitarian partners in the Kongolo and Mbulula health zones, have recorded 243 incidents of rape, 48 of which involved minors, in 12 different villages.

Noting that the actual figures are thought to be even higher, as reporting of gender-based violence remains taboo in most communities, she said that amounted to an average of 17 reported attacks per day.

“Our staff have heard horrific testimonies of extreme violence”.

In addition to the huge physical and psychological trauma from being raped, survivors of sexual violence can face stigma and possible exclusion from their families.  

While the UN agency remains committed to helping the survivors, ongoing violence and the need to travel long distances for care at medical centres are hampering its work.

To protect civilians, especially women and girls, UNHCR is calling on the authorities to urgently scale up security in the so-called “triangle of death” – an area bordering several localities between Tanganyika, Maniema, and South Kivu Provinces.

The move would also allow humanitarian access as well as for investigations to be launched and perpetrators to be brought to justice.

“Humanitarian and protection needs are growing and UNHCR is seeking further financial support”, Ms. Mantoo said, informing the journalists that only 36 per cent of the $205 million required for DRC operation has been received, according UN News.

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UN relief chief: ceasefire in Tigray (Ethiopia) more urgent than ever.

A ceasefire in Tigray (Ethiopia) on humanitarian grounds is needed now more than ever if a massive aid operation across frontlines is to succeed, the UN’s emergency relief chief said on Friday.

Speaking in Geneva, Martin Griffiths highlighted the urgency of the situation for all those affected in the northern Ethiopian region, after eight months of fighting between Government forces and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Earlier this week, the UN senior official warned that 200,000 people had been displaced by fighting in neighbouring Amhara region, along with more than 50,000 in Afar.

“This war has to stop, this war has to end; we will all of us continue to try to make sure that those 100 trucks a day reach Mekelle, reach the beneficiaries”, Mr. Griffiths insisted.

“We will do everything we can to help the people affected in Amhara and Afar, while continuing the work in other parts of Ethiopia.”

Highlighting the logistical challenge of negotiating aid access into Tigray while the violence continues, the UN emergency relief chief said that he had “no reason to doubt” the ceasefire announced by Ethiopian premier Abiy Ahmed, who he met in the capital Addis Ababa earlier this week, along with other senior government leaders.

“The Prime Minister has issued a unilateral ceasefire, he repeated his commitment to it on the two occasions that we met, and I have no reason to doubt that at all.

For the Tigrayans who are spreading the war into the south and east, into Afar and Amhara, they need to take into account that without that ceasefire, we will try to get those 100 trucks in, but it’s going to be easier for the Tigrayan people if the war is stopped.”

400,000 face famine

Since conflict erupted last November, humanitarian needs have grown, amid killings, looting and destruction of health centres and farming infrastructure, including irrigation systems that are vital to successful harvests.

Some 400,000 people face famine in Tigray, UN humanitarians have warned repeatedly, in recent weeks.

“They need food, the harvest which has recently been planted is likely only to produce between a quarter, and maximum a half, of its likely production.

So, the need for food is going to go right through until next year,” said Mr. Griffiths, according UN News.

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UN: call for urgent action following ‘alarming’ 80 per cent rise in sexual violence in Somalia.

An “alarming” 80 per cent increase in sexual violence in Somalia, as documented in two recent reports by the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has been described as “appalling” by two UN Special Representatives.

“We urge all parties to the conflict in Somalia to immediately cease these violations”, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten said in a statement. 

The reports (the Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict and the Report of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.) documented that in 2020, 400 civilians, primarily girls, were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

This represented an almost 80 per cent increase compared to 2019.

More than 100 cases of sexual violence against girls were verified by the UN in the first quarter of 2021.

Perpetrators often exploited the vulnerability of displaced girls, targeting them when they left camps to perform domestic chores, the reports noted. 

The report linked sexual violence to the prevailing conditions of insecurity in Somalia.

This was marked by political tensions in the run-up to national elections, inter-communal clashes related to land-based disputes, and a surge in extremist militant group Al-Shabaab’s activities, which intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the temporary suspension of security and judicial services, the pandemic also disrupted access to education and services for survivors.

Cases of sexual violence ​​attributed to Al-Shabaab has doubled, the report found, describing how the Islamist militant group continues to use sexual violence and forced marriage to dominate areas under their de facto control.

Violations carried out by clan militia has also almost tripled over the past year. These have been linked to a proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

In the vast majority of cases, the culprits remain unidentified, which perpetuates the cycle of impunity.

The two senior UN experts also expressed serious concern that over 15 per cent of all cases of sexual violence verified, were attributed to the government security forces.

Both the Somali National Army and the Somali Police Force, as well as regional forces, committed acts of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and children, according UN News.

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United Nations: COVID-19 vaccine shipments boost for Africa.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) nearly four million doses of coronavirus vaccines from the UN-partnered COVAX initiative arrived in Africa last week, compared with just 245,000 for all of June. 

Reminding that the continent is still “in the throes of the pandemic’s third wave”, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, told a virtual press conference with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, “we are not out of the woods yet”. 

WHO said that it hoped COVAX would ship 520 million doses to Africa by the end of 2021, in addition to more shots from other sources, including deliveries from the African Union, which is expected to supply around 45 million jabs by the end of the year. 

In total, almost 79 million vaccine doses have reached Africa but only 21 million people, or just 1.6 per cent of Africa’s population, are fully vaccinated.  

“We are beginning to see positive signs as vaccine deliveries to Africa are picking up pace after nearly coming to a halt”, said Dr. Moeti. 

Around 30 countries have used more than three-quarters of the vaccines they received, according to WHO. 

Despite the vaccine supply crunch, seven countries, including Equatorial GuineaMauritius, Morocco and Seychelles, have reached vaccination rates significantly above the continental average. 

“Considering a two-dose schedule, as is the case with most COVID-19 vaccines, 820 million vaccine doses are needed to reach the target of fully vaccinating 30 per cent of Africa’s population by the end of this year”, explained the UN official.

Africa still needs more than 700 million doses to reach this target. 

To this end, COVAX has sealed deals with Sinopharm and Sinovac to immediately supply 110 million doses to low-income countries, of which 32.5 million are destined for Africa.  

“These doses have been allocated to countries this week and will be delivered as soon as countries are ready to receive them”, said Dr. Moetim, according UN News.

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Africa: COVID-19 ‘third wave’ not yet over, while vaccine inequity threatens all.

Although new COVID-19 cases in Africa have slowed following an eight-week surge, this “small step forward” could be short-lived, the Regional Office of the World Health Organization said on Thursday. 

Cases on the continent fell by 1.7 per cent this week to nearly 282,000, largely due to a sharp decline in South Africa, home to the bulk of reported infections.

However, removing the country from the data would show an 18 per cent increase, or more than 182,000 cases: what the UN agency called a uniquely steep and unbroken nine-week surge. 

“Be under no illusions, Africa’s third wave is absolutely not over.

This small step forward offers hope and inspiration but must not mask the big picture for Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso MoetiWHO Regional Director for Africa.   

“Many countries are still at peak risk and Africa’s third wave surged up faster and higher than ever before.

The Eid celebrations which we marked this week may also result in a rise in cases. We must all double down on prevention measures to build on these fragile gains.”  

WHO said 21 African countries have seen cases rise by over 20 per cent for at least two consecutive weeks, which is three more than in the previous week. 

The highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 26 countries, while the Alpha and Beta variants have been reported in 38 and 35 nations, respectively.  

The WHO has been urging Governments to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as the squeeze on vaccine shipments eases.   

Some 60 million doses should be arriving on the continent in the coming weeks, including from the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom and through the COVAX global solidarity initiative.  

COVAX is also expected to deliver over half a billion doses alone this year. 

“A massive influx of doses means that Africa must go all out and speed up the vaccine rollout by five to six times if we are to get all these doses into arms and fully vaccinate the most vulnerable 10 per cent of all Africans by the end of September,” said Dr. Moeti.  

Around 3.5 million to four million vaccines are administered weekly in Africa, but numbers will have to rise to 21 million weekly at minimum to reach the September goal. 

So far, the continent has received just 1.7 per cent of the world’s 3.7 billion doses, and 20 million people there, only 1.5 per cent of the population, have been fully inoculated according UN News.

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United Nations: 4.4 million Nigerians facing ‘catastrophic food conditions’

Some 4.4 million people in Nigeria are facing what the UN humanitarian office, OCHA, is describing as “catastrophic food conditions”.

A combination of insecurity caused by terrorist groups, the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, have meant that people in the northeast of the country are struggling to get enough to eat; OCHA says 775,000 are at “extreme risk”.

Many are farmers but are unable to grow their crops fearing for their personal safety, and so rely on humanitarian support “as their only lifeline”.

Read more here about how humanitarian agencies continue to face up to the increasing challenges of getting aid to the people who need it most.

Food insecurity in Nigeria

Find out more about OCHA’s work in Nigeria and we thank UN News for providing this information about the current situation in Nigeria.

The World Government Movement believes we need to help each other in situations like these.

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United Nations warns of more violence famine worsening in the region in Tigray.

UNITED NATIONS/ADDIS ABABA, July 2

The United Nations said on Friday conflict could rapidly flare again in Ethiopia‘s Tigray and that famine was worsening in the region, where local fighters declared victory this week after an eight-month war with central government and allied forces.

Recent fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has resulted in a famine that is now affecting more than 400,000 people, UN officials say.

In its first public meeting on the crisis, members of the UN Security Council warned that as many as 33,000 children were severely malnourished.

Officials said that a further 1.8m people were on the brink of famine as a result of the eight-month conflict.

They also warned of further clashes despite the declaration of a ceasefire.

The Ethiopian government, which has been fighting regional forces in Tigray, declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday.

However, rebels vowed to drive their “enemies” from the region and there have been reports of sporadic clashes as pressure builds internationally for all sides in the conflict to pull back.

Flag of Ethiopia

The fighting between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government forces has already left thousands of people dead and more than two million people have been displaced.

All sides in the conflict have been accused of carrying out mass killings and human rights violations.

Fighting must stop

“All groups must stop fighting to allow humanitarian aid to get through unimpeded and to protect civilians…It is essential that we act fast and without any further obstruction,” Mr. Rajasingham said.

Both officials strongly condemned targeted attacks which have taken the lives of at least 12 humanitarian workers, including three from Médecins Sans Frontières staffers, just last week.

We thank Reuters News and UN News for poviding this news.

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