Over US$1.4 Billion Needed for South Sudan Refugees in 2017

The UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme today urged donors to step up support for desperate refugees fleeing South Sudan. Humanitarian agencies are seeking USD 1.4 Billion to provide life-saving aid to South Sudanese refugees in the six neighbouring countries until the end of 2017 – according to an updated response plan presented in Geneva on Monday.

The South Sudanese refugee response plan so far remains only 14 per cent funded.

“Bitter conflict and deteriorating humanitarian conditions in South Sudan are driving people from their homes in record numbers,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

The situation in South Sudan continues to worsen – with a combination of conflict, drought and famine leading to further displacement and a rapid exodus of people fleeing one of the world’s most severe crises.

“The suffering of the South Sudanese people is just unimaginable” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “They are close to the abyss. Violence is at the root of this crisis. Aid workers often cannot reach the most vulnerable hungry people. Many are dying from hunger and disease, many more have fled their homeland for safety abroad.”

South Sudan has now become the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis with more than 1.8 million refugees – including one million children, having sought safety in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, DRC and CAR.

The current rate of people fleeing South Sudan exceeds the humanitarian community’s already pessimistic estimates. For example, the number of people fleeing to Sudan in March surpassed the expected figure for the entire year. Uganda is also seeing higher than expected arrivals and at this rate is likely to soon host over one million South Sudanese refugees.

“Our funding situation forced us to cut food rations for many refugees in Uganda,” Beasley said. “I find that unacceptable, and I hope you do too. These are families like yours and mine, our brothers and sisters, and the world must help them now — not later. Please help us do the job these people need us to do.”

UNHCR welcomed the outstanding generosity refugees have received in South Sudan’s neighbouring countries, but is alarmed by a situation which is now critical.

“Countries like Uganda have done all one could expect, but won’t be able to sustain support for refugees unless the rest of the world steps up,” warned UNHCR’s Grandi while presenting the revised needs to donors in Geneva.

With acute underfunding, humanitarian agencies are struggling to provide food, water, nutrition support, shelter and health services to refugees.

Communities hosting refugees are among the world’s poorest and are under immense pressure.

“Helping refugees is not just about providing emergency aid,” said UNHCR’s Grandi. “It also means supporting governments and communities in neighbouring countries to shore up services and economies in the areas receiving them.”

UNHCR coordinates the overall response with Governments, humanitarian agencies as well as with refugees and host communities. Currently Uganda hosts some 898,000 refugees, with 375,000 in Sudan, 375,000 in Ethiopia, 97,000 in Kenya, 76,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 2,200 in Central African Republic (CAR).

WFP provides food and cash assistance to more than 1.8 million refugees in the neighbouring countries.

The updated response plan does not cover humanitarian needs of around two million people displaced internally in South Sudan.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Source:: Over US$1.4 Billion Needed for South Sudan Refugees in 2017

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FAO addresses Pan-African Parliament on unlocking Africa’s agriculture potential

Africa accounts for 45 percent of the world’s surface area suitable for agricultural production. Even with some large arid and semi-arid areas, the continent’s vast water resources are, on average underutilized, with only about 2-3 percent of renewable water resource in use, compared to five percent worldwide. Africa is also home to an abundant supply of labour for agriculture-related products and services.

However, 153 million individuals in sub-Saharan Africa, about 26 percent of the population above 15 years of age, suffered from severe food insecurity in 2014/15 and one in three children under the age of five are presently stunted (State of Food Insecurity 2016: Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2016).

“Unlocking the enormous potential of Africa’s agriculture to significantly contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth as well as to peace, security and prosperity, is key to achieving the ‘Africa we Want’ as espoused in the Africa’s Agenda 2063”, said FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, in his address to the Fourth Session of the Pan-African Parliament that met on 11 May 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The address was delivered on his behalf by Lewis Hove, FAO Representative, a.i., for South Africa.

Youth employment

According to FAO, sound rural development policies and programmes for young people are needed, to strengthen their capacities and facilitate access to productive resources needed to drive broad-based growth in the agricultural sector and rural economy.

With almost 200 million people between 15 and 24 years of age, Africa has the youngest population in the world.

FAO informed the Pan-African Parliament of a new FAO Special Programme, entitled “Youth Employment: enabling decent agriculture and agribusiness jobs”. This programme will support the continent in harnessing its huge demographic dividend, while contributing to the rejuvenation of the aging farming population.

Women empowerment

Another important aspect in unlocking the potential is to accelerate the enhancement of gender equity and women empowerment. FAO called for policy changes to be directed towards tackling discrimination against girls and women in educational systems, encouraging greater participation of women in productive and remunerative economic activities and increasing their voice in making decisions at all levels of society.

Food and nutrition security

In order to achieve the developmental objectives of Africa, da Silva called for the positioning of food security and nutrition at the highest level of political and legislative agendas.

“Parliamentarians are encouraged to take a lead and work closely with other stakeholders to advance food security, nutrition, and agriculture initiatives”, echoed Lewis Hove, reminding them of the new Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and the Pan-African Alliance, which provides a framework for continuing collaboration on activities of common interest in order to jointly advance legislative and budgetary frameworks for sustainable food security and nutrition in Africa.

Africa for Africa

The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) – an innovative Africa-led fund to support Africa for African development initiatives. The Fund was officially launched during the 38th Session of the FAO Conference in June 2013, with funding totaling over US$40 million and has been made possible thanks to African partnership with Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Cameroon as well as a group of civil society organizations in the Republic of Congo.

The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) with its partnership approach has supported over 36 countries to tackle hunger and poverty, and in so doing is making an important contribution to the Malabo Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals.

African countries are encouraged to scale up Africa-wide cooperation and South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention activates the Emergency Operational Centre to monitor the Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday activated the Emergency Operational Centre to monitor the Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and developed a concept of operations for the emergency.

‘The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has activated its Emergency Operation Centre to closely monitor the situation. A team of experts is on standby for deployment to respond to the emergency based on the needs on the ground as we work on the modalities with the government authorities in the DRC and coordinate with the WHO and partners’ said Dr. John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa CDC.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Surveillance and Response Unit is an Africa wide mechanism to monitor disease outbreaks on the continent. Since 22 April 2017 the ministry of health of the DRC reported 11 suspected Ebola cases in the Likati health zone, Bas Uele Province in the north, bordering the Central Africa Republic. The National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa on 11 May 2017 confirmed one positive case among the five samples collected. The first suspected case is of a 39-year-old male who presented onset symptoms on 22 April 2017 and died on arrival at a health facility. The DRC has reactivated the inter-agency national committee against Ebola that is meeting every day to coordinate the response. Strengthening of surveillance and investigation including contact tracing are ongoing.

The DRC has experienced Ebola outbreaks since 1976. The previously reported outbreaks in the DRC include in 2014 where 66 cases of Ebola including 49 deaths occurred in the Equateur province; 2012 where 36 cases including 13 deaths were reported in Orientale province; 2008 to 2009 were 32 cases including 15 deaths were reported in Kasai; 2007 where 264 cases including 187 deaths were reported in Kasai; 1995 were 315 cases and 250 deaths occurred in Kikwit and in 1976 where 318 cases including 280 deaths were reported in Yambuku.

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic poses a public health emergency that can affect the whole world and affect the socio-economic and structural transformation of Africa. The first human outbreaks occurred in 1976 in northern DRC in Central Africa, then in South Sudan and recently in 2014 Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea faced the most acute Ebola epidemic. Worldwide, more than 28,600 people were infected and 11,300 died. The countries at the epicentre of the epidemic then have all been Ebola-free since at least June of last year. The virus is named after the Ebola River, where the virus was first recognized in 1976, according to the United States Center for Diseases Control (CDC). Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons. Humans can also be exposed to the virus, for example, by butchering infected animals.

Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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May 17 Press Briefing with co-hosts of the African Air Chiefs Symposium 2017

EVENT:

Please join us on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at 11:00 GMT/13:00 CET for a telephonic press conference with U.S. Air Force Col Ricardo Trimillos, Air Forces Africa International Affairs division chief, and Botswana Defence Force Air Arm Col Hendrick Rakgantswan, Thebephatshwa Air Base commander and key leader and planner of the African Air Chiefs Symposium 2017. The speakers will discuss the importance of the symposium, U.S. and African air forces partnership, and U.S. commitment to strengthening security and stability across the continent.

BACKGROUND:

The African Air Chiefs Symposium (AACS) is an annual conference that brings together air chiefs from across Africa for candid dialog to discuss and develop cooperative solutions to regional and continental challenges and threats. Air chiefs from 30 nations will gather in Kasane, Botswana for the largest African Air Chiefs Symposium in its seven-year history. U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa commander, Gen. Tod D. Wolters will co-host the symposium with Botswana Defence Force Air Arm commander, Maj. Gen. Innocent Phatswane. This year’s symposium will focus on the training aspect of force development.

This is the seventh AACS. Previous hosts and topics of the AACS include Addis Ababa, Ethiopia focused on Safety (2011); Dakar, Senegal focused on Building Operational Frameworks for Cooperation (2012); Accra, Ghana focused on Counter Terrorism (2013); Douala, Cameroon focused on Air Operations (2014); Nouakchott, Mauritania focused on Promoting Airpower for African Challenges (2015); Ramstein, Germany focused on Mobility (2016).

DETAILS:

Speakers: Representatives from the co-hosts of the African Air Chiefs Symposium 2017: U.S. Air Force Col Ricardo Trimillos, Chief of international affairs for Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa; Botswana Defence Force Air Arm Col Hendrick Rakgantswan, Thebephatshwa Air Base commander
Date: May 17, 2017
Time: 11:00 GMT/13:00 CET
* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language: English. French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.
Ground rules: On the record
Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP
RSVP: RSVP to afmediahub@state.gov. Please indicate if you will dial in (specify English/French/Portuguese line), or request that we dial out to you (provide the phone number and language to be used).
Twitter: We will use the hashtags #AFAfricaPress for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub and @hqusafepa

LOGISTICS:

  • Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early.
  • When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller’s name, press affiliation, and location. When an embassy dials in, the operator will ask the embassy’s name and location.
  • The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers. Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE: You can press “*1” at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion. We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question and indicate to which speaker the question is directed. Journalists can also submit questions in English to afmediahub@state.gov prior to or during the call.

BIO:

Col Ricardo Trimillos, Air Forces Africa International Affairs division chief

Colonel Trimiilos is the Chief of the International Affairs Division for United States Air Forces in Europe and Africa. He is responsible for executing over $4 million in military-to-military engagements, coordinating over $1 billion dollars in foreign military equipment and training sales, and leads a team of 33 country desk staff officers operating in three locations.

Colonel Trimillos is an Eagle Scout and a 1995 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. His prior assignments include serving as Deputy Division Chief for Mobility Forces and Director of Irregular Warefare Integration at USAF Headquarters, Air Force Intern for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for European Policy and Headquarters Air Force, RQ-4 test pilot and NASA DC-8 Earth Science Mission Commander at Edwards AFB, CA, Commander of the 314th Recruiting Squadron in New Jersey, Deputy Combat Plans Division Chief for the 613 Air Operations Center and KC-135 air refueling aircraft our of RAF Mildenhall, England and Altus AFB, Oklahoma where he was a flight instructor/evaluator and supported combat flight operations over Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan in support of Operations Allied Force, Northen Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle.

His awards and decorations include meritorious service medal with oak leaf clusters, air medal, aerial achievement medal, air force commendation medal with oak leaf clusters, army commendation medal, and army achievement medals.

Botswana Defence Force Air Arm Col Hendrick Thuthu Rakgantswan, Thebephatshwa Air Base commander

Col Hendrick Rakgantswan is the commander of Thebephstahwa Air Base in Botswana. He joined the Botswana Defence Air Arm Force in 1986 and commissioned as a pilot to the rank of second Lieutenant in 1987 upon graduation from the Botswana Defence Force in Gaborone, Botswana.

Following his commission, he was trained and qualified on the BS 120 (Bulldog) as a basic pilot, and on the BN 2 Islanarder as an operational pilot. Following that, he undertook a wide variety of military and non-military flying operations. From 1989 to 1997, he undertook anti-poaching operations in the Chobe/Kasane/Maun area where he conducted aerial patrols, aerial logistical resupply as well as search and rescue operations. Thereafter, he became a BDF Air Arm pilot instructor for a variety of aircraft including the Bombardier Global Express XRA, C-130, Gulfstream-IV, CASA 212, and BN 2 Islander. In 2006, he became a lieutenant colonel and was assigned to the VIP pilot for the Botswana Presidential Flight and then served in first command position as the squadron commander of the BDF Air Arm Military Transport Squadron. Prior to his current assignment as a base commander, he served as the Director of Air Operations for the entire Botswana military air and coordination civil-military operations.

Col Rakgantswan has over 6400 total flying hours and extensive international education and training. He became a qualified flying instructor at the Air Force Station in Tambaram, India, attended flight safety international training through aviation programs in Arizona and Georgia, completed C-130B pilot training at the CAE Tampa Training Center in the U.S., attended command in staff course at Arusha Staff College in Tanzania, pilot training on Bombardier Global Express at CAE in Montreal, Canada, completed his national security studies at the National Defense College in Kenya, and received his post graduate diploma in international studies through the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies program at the University of Nairobi.

Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: May 17 Press Briefing with co-hosts of the African Air Chiefs Symposium 2017

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