Posts tagged as: emergency

Nigeria: 56 Feared Dead in Niger Boat Disaster

Photo: Alfredo D’Amato/UNHCR

(file photo).

By Ahmed Tahir Ajobe

Minna — Fifty-six people are feared to have drowned in a boat mishap on River Kaduna between Galadiman-Kogo and Kwata-Zuma in Shiroro local government area of Niger State.

The incident happened when a big boat which was carrying 60 people capsized as a result of heavy rain storm between 10 and 11 on Saturday morning.

The Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Inga, in a phone interview with our correspondent over the incident, said that four people were rescued alive by local divers.

He said the occupants of the boat, mostly women and children, were going to Kwata-Zuma market when the incident occurred.

He said from the interaction of the agency officials with natives of both communities, majority of the occupants of the boat were from communities in neighboring Kaduna State, adding that only two Fulani from Galadiman-Kogo were confirmed to be Niger indigenes in the ill-fated boat.

He said it was too early to assume that all the 56 people died, as in some past boat mishaps, some people survived by clinging to available objects, while some strong swimmers among them swam ashore.

Inga said agency officials and those of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as well as local divers were currently searching for the victims.

“We will avail you with update from time to time,” he assured.

The Police Public Relations Officer of Niger State, DSP Babalola Adewole said the casualty figure was yet to be ascertained.

He said a rescue team had been sent to the area from the state marine police unit, and that information about the dead would become clearer when reports came from the unit.


Govt Solicits Unity, Elite Support to Develop Nigeria

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Swaziland: School Children ‘Face Starvation’ – Report

Children in Swaziland must ‘brace themselves for starvation’, according to a head teacher as once again the government has failed to deliver food to schools.

This is part of a long-running problem where government has not paid its bills to suppliers.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, reported on Monday (11 September 2017) that as the third school term opened food promised by the government had not been delivered.

The Times reported there was once again ‘a serious food shortage in most of the learning institutions’.

It added, ‘The emergency food which was delivered before schools closed for the second term has already been exhausted. The Ministry of Education and Training had promised that food for the third term would be delivered during the school holidays but none of that has happened.’

Head teacher of Emabheleni Primary School Sibusiso Ndzinisa told the newspaper some pupils were sick and on medication and depended on the food which was provided at school.

Musa Simelane, the head teacher at Maphalaleni High School, said the pupils should brace themselves for starvation because there was no available food in the school, the Times reported.

Food shortages have hit Swazi schools all this year and the government school feeding scheme known as zondle has collapsed.

In August 2017, members of parliament in Swaziland accused the Ministry of Education and Training of lying in a report on severe hunger in the kingdom’s schools.

They were told that a crisis that has continued all year was over and that school committees were stealing food intended for children.

A progress reported tabled to the Swazi House of Assembly by Minister of Education and Training Phineas Magagula was rejected. The shortage escalated after the government did not pay its bills to suppliers. The food includes rice, mealie-meal, cooking oil, beans, and peanut butter.

In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.

It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children in Swaziland aged under five.


Police Block Democracy Meeting

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Liberia: UNAIDS Reaffirms Support to Network of Persons Living With HIV

Monrovia — UNAIDS Country Director accredited to Liberia Dr. Miriam Chipimo has reaffirmed the UN coordinating body of the AIDS response support to the Liberia Network of Persons Living with HIV (LibNeP+) in the country.

Dr. Chipimo made the declaration over the weekend, during the Network’s regular Quarterly Association Meeting, hosted at UNAIDS Country Office.

The LibNeP+ Quarterly Association Meeting took place in the context of renewing, redoubling and reenergizing the efforts of the members of the Network as it contributes its quota to the newly adopted Accelerated National HIV and AIDS Emergency plan (Catch-Up plan) of the Government of Liberia which is aligned with the Political Declaration on ending AIDS by 2030 approved in June 2016 at the UN General Assembly in New York, USA.

The Political Declaration is aimed at catalyzing the country and the region on ending AIDS as public health threat by 2030.

Dr. Chipimo said UNAIDS remains fully committed to supporting persons living with HIV globally and those in Liberia are no exception.

“We are here because of you. We will always do our best to be there to help you,” said Dr. Chipimo.

According to her, persons living with HIV are key players to the national AIDS response; noting that Liberia cannot be robust implementing its accelerated national catch-up plan of meeting the 90-90-90 target towards ending AIDS when The Network is not playing a major role.

Dr. Chipimo intoned that Liberia is one of the countries in the West and Central African Region that is behind the progress as testified in various reports.

So, for UNAIDS, she said, meeting the three 90s will be an appreciated achievement for Liberia.

To reach there, the UNAIDS Country Director challenged LibNeP+ to advance progress on reducing stigma and discrimination in the country.

She added among other things, that PLHIV should increase dialogue at the community level to develop best approach to end stigma and discrimination and end AIDS.

“You need to build on the support group discussion level to advance activities in the community where you are already. “

“Design programs that include community dialogues to generate a paradigm shift – to supportive perceptions and responses towards persons living with HIV and their families,” Dr. Chipimo noted.

Meanwhile, LibNeP+ during its meeting, agreed to advance strategies to end the epidemic despite challenges of insufficient logistics support, good roads, and frequent occurrence of stock out of drugs in rural areas, and stigma and discrimination.

The President of the Governing Board of The Network, Madam Josephine Godoe, reiterated the need for unity among members of The Network so as to overcome the numerous challenges facing The Network internally and externally, instead of “… fighting among ourselves… ” She said, “…people are dying…this is a great challenge for us…this is the time for us to come and speak out…so that our voices can be heard…let’s continue to do the good work…”

LibNeP+ Executive Director, Karl William Sr. called on The Network members to be united more than ever to achieve their overall objectives.

According to him, the current challenges confronting The Network and persons living with HIV in general are factors that must motivate all to work tirelessly in helping Liberia meet her share of the target of the global AIDS response of 90-90-90.

“We have done well but we have to do our best to get there, though it seems difficult now but we will get there, I encourage you all,” Mr. William Sr. maintained.

Govt Abandons Search for Mudslide Victims

Photo: Yahudu Kitunzi/Daily Monitor

The Minister of Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Musa Ecweru, with some of the mudslide victims at Lusabe Village, Masaba Sub-county in Sironko District last Friday.

By Yahudu Kitunzi

Sironko — A mass grave has been declared at the scene of landslide in Sironko, following government’s failure to exhume missing persons buried in the rubble, amid protest from relatives and local leaders.

Mr Musa Ecweru, the State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, said the government abandoned the search because it had proved impossible to dig for bodies in nearly 50 metres of rock rubble.

“We realised it will take longer to get all the bodies out of the rubble and it was increasingly risky for rescuers. Let’s have a mass grave for all those who perished in the landslide,” Mr Ecweru, said.

At least 10 people were reportedly buried alive after a landslide swept through Bufupa Parish, Masaba Sub-county in Sironko District a week ago.

Ms Grace Namono, who lost a cousin, blamed the government for a half-heated effort in searching for the missing persons.

“They have not been serious from the start. The government left us alone and we used hand hoes to dig [through the rubble], now they are leaving us without finding our relatives,” she said.

She said it was shameful that a government can fail to exhume victims of the landslide and prefer to declare the scene a mass grave.

“We don’t want a mass grave. We want our relatives recovered,” Ms Namono said.

But Mr Ecweru explained that the heavy rain and rock debris have hampered the excavation by the search party.

Mr Ecweru told the bereaved families at Bufupa Primary School that the government has plans of relocating them to safer areas to prevent further disaster.

“The government wants to relocate you to safer areas but you can still use this land for farming,” he said.

Mr Ecweru said more than 1,605 families in the area are at risk and should be relocated.

Brig Stephen Oluka, the Head of National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre in the Office of Prime Minister, said it has become too risky to continue the search.

Mr Charles Mafabi, who lost his siblings in the landslide, said the government should have used all available means, including modern equipment, to retrieve their relatives.

“This is denying us our right to have our relatives given a proper burial,” he said.

Ms Margret Wetaka, the Masaba Sub-county chief, said the residents are unhappy that their relatives have been abandoned in the rubble.

But the state minister for environment, Dr Mary Goretti Kitutu, said: “The government responded but nature worked against its attempts to retrieve the deceased.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister is warning of more heavy and dangerous rain, massive floods and landslides in the mountainous areas until December.

Mr Martin Owor, the Commissioner, Disaster Management, advised residents in the mountainous slopes to shift to safer homes of relatives, friends, schools, churches and mosques.

Nigeria: Cholera Kills 23 in Borno, 530 Cases Recorded

By Bartholomew Madukwe

IN Borno State, cholera has claimed no fewer than 23 lives with 530 suspected cases, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said yesterday.

The UN agency added in a statement that a cholera outbreak was first reported by the state’s Ministry of Health, adding that the first case was recorded on August 16.

OCHA said: “Over 530 suspected cases had been registered as of September 5, including 23 deaths (4.3 percent fatality rate).

“The outbreak is mainly in Muna Garage, a camp hosting at least 20,000 internally-displaced persons, IDPs, on the outskirts of the state capital, Maiduguri. Although most cases have been identified in Muna Garage camp, others have been identified in Custom House, Ruwan Zafi and Bolori II, all camps located near Muna Garage.

“There have also been reports of a suspected cholera outbreak in Monguno and Dikwa Local Government areas, North-East and East of Maiduguri, respectively.”

The latest figures suggested a 4.3 percent fatality rate–well above the one percent rate that the World Health Organisation, WHO, rates as an emergency.

The short incubation period of two hours to five days means the disease can spread with explosive speed.

Control measures

However, the State Ministry of Health, the Rural Water and Sanitation Agency and humanitarian organisations, including UN agencies, are responding to the outbreak, OCHA said.

The UN agency added that an Emergency Operational Centre had been set up to manage the response, adding that the Ministry of Health has established one 30-bed Cholera Treatment Centre with the support of humanitarian partners in Muna Garage camp.

OCHA said two Oral Rehydration Points had been set up in Muna Garage, while health organisations were also carrying out risk communications, including making regular and frequent visits to households to encourage individuals with cholera-like symptoms to be screened.

It added: “By communicating at household level in this way, health partners have visited more than 1,300 households which resulted in the identification of 53 suspected cases of cholera.

“Hygiene promoters have carried out door-to-door hygiene sensitisation and have distributed chlorination tablets.

“In addition, special interventions are being undertaken to prevent spread of cholera in the markets where people buy food.”

South Africa: Michaelhouse School Bus Accident ‘Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare’

The Michaelhouse school bus accident on Tuesday afternoon, which killed one pupil and injured 45 others, is “every parent’s worst nightmare”, a parent said on Facebook.

“My daughter travels for hockey every week and I just can’t imagine what I’d do if I were to be the one receiving this call,” Luyanda Sikhakhane from Durban commented on Facebook.

“Condolences to the family, friends and school…you are in our prayers.”

In a Facebook post, Michaelhouse confirmed that Themba Dloti, originating from Gauteng, passed away in the accident when the bus carrying four under 16 soccer teams crossed the N3 barrier at Town Hill and came to rest in the way of oncoming traffic.

“We are united in our grief and shock and our prayers are extended to the Dloti family.”

KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services (EMS) spokesperson Robert Mckenzie told News24 that 45 pupils were injured. One is in a critical condition and 11 in a serious condition.

The pupils are being treated in the Greys, Medi Clinic, Hilton Life and St Anne’s Hospitals in Pietermaritzburg.

Maritzburg College, Plett Primary School, Cordwalles Preparatory School and Glenwood High School expressed their shock and sadness over the death through messages on social media.

On Thursday evening, Michaelhouse said the school’s chaplain Alan Smedley, counsellor Tim Jarvis, and psychologist Rob Pluke were counselling the pupils in the boarding school.

Maharaj’s Coaches, who operated the bus involved in the accident, said this was the “first accident of its kind” in its long association with various colleges.

“In so far as the vehicle and driver involved in the accident are concerned, we can give you, the public, the assurance that the vehicle was well maintained and the driver highly experienced,” spokesperson Dev Maharaj said in a statement to News24.

“The incident is truly a blemish on our impeccable safety record and we have no doubt that the investigation will reveal that this was a freak incident that could not have been foreseen or avoided.”

Maharaj said the company’s management team was at the scene on Tuesday afternoon to assist the injured.

“We convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of the student who tragically lost his life and our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those students who were injured in the accident.”

Source: News24

South Africa

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Somalia: Acute Malnutrition On Steady Rise in Somaliland Amid Aid Delays

press release

The UN’s Food Security and Analysis Unit in Somalia latest data on the food security situation that indicates that while the number of people severely food insecure has slightly dropped to 3.1 million people, the overall nutrition situation in Somalia has continued to deteriorate, especially in northern and central parts of Somalia.

Oxfam’s Acting Country Director for Somaliland, Harrie Oostingh said: “The increase in acute malnutrition, particularly in the hardest hit Sool and Sanaag regions in Somaliland, is deeply worrying. Over 380,000 children under five are at risk of dying from a lethal combination of severe hunger and deadly diseases such as measles and cholera. Given that we are in the middle of the lean season when food is scarcest, there will be no respite unless more aid is delivered quickly.

“Donors have been swift and generous in pledging funds to help, but the repeated calls to deliver on all the money promised cannot become a broken record. Any further delays will leave many people without life-saving assistance.”

Notes to editors:

The UN’s Food Security and Analysis Unit in Somalia latest assessment shows that 3.1 million Somalis are categorized in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 & 4) and require interventions aimed at reducing food consumption gaps, reducing acute malnutrition, saving lives and protecting and saving livelihoods.


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Authority Says Marsabit County Still Experiencing Drought

By Irene Mwendwa

Marsabit County is still experiencing the intense effects of the drought that has persisted since early 2017.

The county lost more than 60 percent of its livestock last season before the subsequent erratic rains wiped out more of those that had remained.

Speaking to Nation Wednesday, National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) boss in Marsabit Golicha Guyo said that North Horr and Laisamis sub-counties are still at a risk of losing more livestock.

Mr Guyo warned residents saying that the drought might be severe beginning September, although the rains experienced in Saku and Moyale constituencies had improved the situation a little.

“We have been [providing] locals with human and livestock food as well as water since the year began.

“However, the drought in some parts of the county is still severe even after the short rains (fell) last month because local dams are drying up due to overuse,” said Mr Guyo.


NDMA has been renewing its register of local households in preparation for a national net programme. The registration is underway in Laisamis Constituency.

Nevertheless, Mr Guyo said once the register is complete, they will have all the elderly, the disabled and people most vulnerable to the drought recorded.

He noted that the record keeping will help them manage the little resources even as assistance to locals continues.

“We had removed 2,800 households from the emergency assistance (list) but soon we might return them to the programme.

“We have increased the funds given to over 20,000 locals and there are plans to increase more as from next month,” said Mr Guyo.

According to a report by Unicef dated August 3, 2017, Marsabit County has 30 percent acute malnutrition cases as a result of the drought.

Malnutrition raises the risk of increased mortality especially of children below five years of age.

The report noted that up to 11 people were reported dead previously following the effects of the drought.


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Nigeria: Another Building Collapses in Lagos

Photo: Vanguard

(file photo).

By Abel Ejikeme

A three-storey building located at 31 Ilufe, Ojo Alabama, Lagos collapsed on Tuesday morning.

The incident which occurred around 7 a.m. had given signs of an imminent collapse the night before, residents said.

According to one of the residents who would not want his name in print, “we noticed the building bending and the doors became stiff, we had to struggle to open the doors, when the doors were open we carried some of our belongings and vacated the house that night.”

Residents living around the collapsed building said “we heard an explosion which caused everyone to take to their heels, only to discover later that it was a building that collapsed. But we thank God no life was lost.”

It was also gathered that it was only the landlord that slept in the building, and it was not up to 10 seconds the landlord left the premises, that the building collapsed.

Residents, however, kept lamenting over their belongings that were still trapped as most of them came out with just their phones.

The cause of the collapse could not be immediately ascertained as rescue operators among whom were officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA; Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Red Cross; Lagos State Ambulance Service, LASAMBUS, Lagos State building control agent and police officers were seen evacuating residents from other buildings that are likely to be affected by the collapsed building.

The collapsed building has, however, been sealed.

Details later…


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Africa: No Water, No Space – Dire Living Conditions in Kalémie

press release

Tanganyika province in south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been plagued by intercommunal violence for over a year now. With a resurgence of old conflicts forcing people from their homes and the arrival of the rainy season, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is growing increasingly concerned about the living conditions of those displaced around Kalémie.

More than 500,000 people are currently displaced in Tanganyika province. Around half of them are living in and around the town of Kalémie. In the last month, some people in settlements outside Kalémie were forced to flee due to violence and sought safety in the town. Those who had no relatives or friends to stay with are now in the school buildings or compounds of Moni, Filtisaf, Hodary and Lubuye.

Living conditions are unacceptable, with many people sleeping on the ground under mosquito nets.

“They have survived several attacks and have been forced to abandon their previous shelters. Each time, they lose some possessions and many have nothing left,” says Stéphane Reynier de Montlaux, MSF emergency coordinator.

The authorities want the displaced living in and around the school buildings to be relocated before classes resume, and their future remains uncertain.

MSF has been running mobile clinics since April. Teams are providing medical assistance at 17 unofficial sites that are host to approximately 210,000 internally displaced people. MSF has provided 16,410 consultations in the last three months, the majority for malaria, malnutrition and measles in children under five.

Nearly half of all patients seen by the mobile clinic staff are suffering from malaria.

“Our teams are providing 60 consultations per day on average, which shows that there is a high demand for healthcare. For this reason, we will soon start providing care in fixed health posts that will be open five days a week,” says Reynier de Montlaux.

MSF teams offer primary healthcare, as well as maternal and reproductive health consultations, and those who are seriously ill are referred to Kalémie hospital. There are also significant mental health needs as a result of the violence, and MSF has started offering psychological support. In the five weeks since support began, there have been 576 consultations.

Access to safe water is a major challenge

Even though access to healthcare is being improved, there is still a lack of safe water and consequently a risk of water-borne diseases and epidemics.

In order to prevent epidemics, the displaced people living in the settlements in and around Kalémie would need to receive 20 litres of water per person per day. In order to achieve this, four million litres of water would have to be distributed daily.

“This is just under what we have managed to distribute in one month,” explains Ivan Quentin, emergency logistics coordinator for MSF. “Even if we added all the water distributed by other organisations present here, the total is still completely inadequate. The quantity of water available is under the emergency thresholds for the first days of a crisis. Without significant involvement from other organisations, it will be extremely difficult for MSF to address the needs in the months to come.”

Precarious shelters putting people at risk

The displaced are living in shelters made of straw that are built very closely together because of lack of space. This, coupled with inadequate site management, has meant that fires have broken out and have spread rapidly. There have been fires on at least five sites in the past month, including at Moni, Lukwangulo, Kabubili, Kateke and Katanyika.

“The recent fire in Katanyika could have been catastrophic if it had happened at night. It’s a wonder that only a few people were slightly hurt when nearly three-quarters of the camp went up in flames in less than an hour,” continues Reynier de Montlaux. MSF is planning to distribute some basic relief items to 4,630 Katanyika households that lost everything. However, similar fires will continue to occur as long as nothing is done to improve the living conditions.

Overcrowding could lead to disease

With the rainy season fast approaching and people living in overcrowded conditions without access to enough clean water, a cholera epidemic is feared. The disease is endemic in this area and MSF is preparing to provide medical support in case of need. A vaccination campaign is also planned.

The security situation in the area is unpredictable, and people continue to flee violence and gather in and around Kalémie for safety. The living conditions for the displaced remain deplorable, and more assistance is needed from both the authorities and the international community to provide solutions.

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