Mark Bowden, who leads the UN relief efforts in Somalia, says many people remain in a precarious position and would need assistance on a regular basis. Bowden said last year’s aid enabled relief agencies to reduce the number of people at risk of outright famine from 750,000 to 150,000, and prevented the spread of diarrhoeal illness and other infectious diseases through chlorination of water and increased health services.
After an intense year of diplomacy sparked by revolution and repression across the Arab world, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is taking stock this week of an entirely separate democratic advance a half-continent away in West Africa.
Recently, after travelling on the bumpy to non-existent “roads” of South Sudan, I came away impressed — impressed with the hopeful vision of a country that has enormous potential to move quickly into a state of relative food self-sufficiency, perhaps within less than a generation. While on my field visit to the Eastern and Central Equatoria states, I witnessed the collective efforts of FAO and WFP.
Distribution of food, seed, and medical relief intended for drought victims in Somalia has been suspended, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced Thursday. The aid intended for up to 1.1 million people has been held up because local authorities blocked distribution of ICRC food and seed relief in the Middle Shabelle and Galgaduud regions in central and southern Somalia.
Hundreds of armed attackers from a South Sudanese tribe that suffered a devastating assault last month charged into three villages, burned them to the ground and killed 57 people, an official said Friday, an act that perpetuates a cycle of revenge attacks in the world’s newest nation. The UN mission in South Sudan estimates at least 60,000 people have been affected by the on-going violence.
Food Inflation Abates As Grain Stocks Rise –The Financial Times
FAO said on Thursday its food index had fallen last month to its lowest level in more than a year, reflecting reduced inflation across Asia. The drop in corn, wheat, rice, soyabeans and other agricultural commodities’ prices pushed the FAO food index in December to its lowest since October 2010.
There are concerns over hunger as Kenya enters what is traditionally the driest season on the calendar. “High levels of food security remain for poor and very poor households with non-self supporting livelihoods,” says the October 2011 to March 2012 report by Famine Early Warning Systems Network, WFP, and the Ministry of Agriculture.
FreeRice.com Reaches 1 Million Users —Huffington Post
FreeRice.com, once a small seedling, has sprouted into something huge. The online game that allows players to donate grains of rice for correctly answered trivia questions announced it had reached 1 million registered users since its founding in 2007.
Hunger Can’t Wait —Huffington Post
This year, the traditional year-end exercise of reflecting on the successes and failures of the past 12 months, and looking ahead to the coming ones, holds special significance for Jose Graziano da Silva. Last June marked a turning point, with his election as director-general of FAO.
Sudan of 3,000 Deaths in Ethnic Violence —The New York Times
More than 3,000 villagers were massacred in the recent burst of communal violence in South Sudan, with the fledging South Sudanese government, which just won its independence six months ago, seemingly unable to stem the bloodshed.
The coming of the rainy season and a lack of pit toilets in rural areas exposes many people to waterborne diseases. Since the rains began several weeks ago, dirty water has been accumulating on the settlement, now home to hundreds of former farmworkers and others displaced during Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.
Should We Worry About Redefining Aid? —The Guardian
The definition of what counts as “aid” drawn up by the donors, has always included debt cancellation, regardless of whether or not it will make any more money available to the recipient country. Should we go back to the drawing board and write a better definition of what should and shouldn’t be called aid?
WFP expressed deep concern today about the deadly ethnic violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, where thousands of people have had to flee their homes in recent days. WFP has started rushing in supplies to Pibor residents, with enough emergency rations to feed more than 1,000 people for two weeks. The agency has also pre-positioned food in the town of Boma, where hundreds of displaced people have gathered and continue to arrive.
The UN has defended the role of its peacekeepers and South Sudan government soldiers after deadly ethnic clashes near Pibor town in Jonglei state. Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator in the region, told the BBC the town had been successfully defended from some 6,000 Lou Nuer fighters.