Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ethiopia doesn’t want you to know these things are happening in the country famine & cholera


ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — After going through its worst drought in 50 years, Ethiopia is again seeing rain. In fact, in some places, it’s falling too hard and has set off floods.
So while the number of people requiring food aid has dropped slightly from 10.2 million in January to 9.7 million, according to the latest figures, there is a new threat of disease in a population weakened by drought.
Measles, meningitis, malaria and scabies are on the rise. And most seriously, there has been an outbreak of something mysteriously called “AWD,” according to the Humanitarian Requirements Document, issued by the government and humanitarian agencies on Aug. 13.
“There is a high risk that AWD can spread to all regions with high speed as there is a frequent population movement between Addis Ababa and other regions,” it warned.
The letters stand for acute watery diarrhea. It is a potentially fatal condition caused by water infected with the vibrio cholera bacterium. Everywhere else in the world it is simply called cholera.
But not in Ethiopia, where international humanitarian organizations privately admit that they are only allowed to call it AWD and are not permitted to publish the number of people affected.
The government is apparently concerned about the international impact if news of a significant cholera outbreak were to get out, even though the disease is not unusual in East Africa.
This means that, hypothetically, when refugees from South Sudan with cholera flee across the border into Ethiopia, they suddenly have AWD instead.
In a similar manner, exactly one year ago, when aid organizations started sounding the alarm bells over the failed rains, government officials were divided over whether they would call it a drought and appeal for international aid.

Police break up anti-government protest in Ethiopian capital

Embed  Share 
Play Video0:57
Hundreds of protesters on Saturday clashed with police in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa after campaigners called for nationwide protests due to what they say is an unfair distribution of wealth in the country. (Reuters)
The narrative for Ethiopia in 2015 was a successful nation with double-digit growth, and the government did not want to bring back memories of the 1980s drought that killed hundreds of thousands and left the country forever associated with famine.
“We don’t use the f-word,” explained an aid worker to me back in September, referring to famine.
Like many of its neighbors in the region, Ethiopia has some issues with freedom of expression and is very keen about how it is perceived abroad. While the country has many developmental successes to celebrate, its current sensitivity suggests it will be some time before this close U.S. ally resembles the democracy it has long claimed to be.
Ultimately, the government recognized there was a drought and made an international appeal for aid. The systems put into place over the years prevented the drought from turning into a humanitarian catastrophe — for which the country has earned praise from its international partners.
In the same manner, even though it doesn’t call it cholera, the government is still waging a vigorous campaign to educate people on how to avoid AWD, by boiling water and washing their hands.
Yet this sensitivity to bad news extends to the economic realm as well. Critics have often criticized Ethiopia’s decade of reported strong growth as being the product of cooked numbers. The government does seem to produce rosier figures than international institutions.
After the drought, the International Monetary Fund predicted in April that growth would drop from 10.2 percent in 2015 to just 4.5 percent in 2016.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, maintained, however, that growth would be a robust 8.5 percent, despite the falling agriculture productivity and decreased export earnings.
In the political realm, news of unrest and protests is suppressed. During a weekend of demonstrations on Aug. 6 and 7, the Internet was cut, making it difficult to find out what happened.
Human rights organizations, opposition parties and media tried to piece together the toll from the deadly demonstrations, which according to Amnesty International may have been up to 100.
The United Nations has called for international observers to carry out an investigation in the affected regions, which the government has strongly rejected even as it has dismissed estimates of casualties without providing any of its own.
“That is one of the factors we are struggling against with this government, the blockade of information,” complained Beyene Petros, the chairman of a coalition of opposition parties. “Journalists cannot go and verify. We cannot do that.”
Local journalists are heavily constrained, and as Felix Horne of Human Rights Watch points out, Ethiopia is one of the biggest jailers of journalists on the continent.
“Limitations on independent media, jamming of television and radio signals, and recent blocking of social media all point to a government afraid to allow its citizens access to independent information,” he said.
Foreign journalists do not fare much better, especially if they attempt to venture out of the capital to do their reporting.
In March, the New York Times and Bloomberg correspondents were detained by police while trying to report on the disturbances in the Oromo Region.
They were sent back to Addis Ababa and held overnight in a local prison before being interrogated and released.
In a similar fashion, a television crew with American Public Broadcasting Service was detained on Aug. 8south of the capital trying to do a story on the drought conditions.
They and their Ethiopian fixer — an accredited journalist in her own right — were released after 24 hours, and they were told not to do any reporting outside of Addis.
In both cases the journalists were all accredited by the Government Communication Affairs Office, with credentials that are supposed to extend the breadth of the country but in practice are widely ignored by local officials.
The government spokesman, Getachew Reda, has dismissed the allegations about the information crackdown in the country and in recent appearances on the Al Jazeera network he maintained that there are no obstacles to information in Ethiopia.
“This country is open for business, it’s open for the international community, people have every right to collect whatever information they want,” he said.
Read more:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ethiopia will need urgent global support in race to prepare for main agricultural season – UN | Indiablooms - First Portal on Digital News Management

Ethiopia will need urgent global support in race to prepare for main agricultural season – UN

New York, Aug 15 (Just Earth News): Seasonal floods, resulting in crop damage and inundation of pastures, following a severe El Niño-induced drought in Ethiopia may be further exacerbated by its cool weather counterpart, La Niña, expected from October onwards, the United Nations agricultural agency has warned.
In a news release late last week, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) highlighted that if the floods worsen later this year, there could be outbreaks of crop and livestock diseases, further reducing agricultural productivity and complicating recovery.
“The situation is critical now,” Amadou Allahoury, FAO Representative to Ethiopia, said.
El Niño is the term used to describe the warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs, on average, every three to seven years. It raises sea surface temperatures and impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all, often in a reversal of their usual weather pattern.
While El Niño, and its counterpart La Niña – which is caused by cooler waters in the Pacific Ocean – occur cyclically, in recent years, mainly due to the effects of global climate change, extreme weather events associated with these phenomena, such as droughts and floods, have increased in frequency and severity, according to UN agencies.
“We must make sure that farmers will be able to plant between now and September and grow enough food to feed themselves and their families thus avoiding millions of people having to rely on food assistance for another year,” added  Allahoury.
According to FAO, the urgency is due to the country’s main agricultural season, meher, that produces up to 85 per cent of the nation’s food supplies. The season starts as early as mid-June for some crops, with planting ongoing until August for others.
To ensure the last remaining planting window of the year is met, an estimated $8.8 million is needed to provide root crop planting materials, legumes, vegetable and cereal seed to 530,000 households.
“Ethiopia needs urgent global support to respond to its humanitarian needs, we have no time to procrastinate,” stressed  Allahoury.
Additionally, according to the recently released Mid-Year Review of the Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements Document, developed jointly by the Government of Ethiopia, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and other development partners, some 900,000 additional households need urgent agricultural support bringing the total number to 2.9 million in August.
It added that the overall food security situation has improved only slightly, with the number of people requiring emergency food assistance having decreased from 10.2 million to 9.7 since the beginning of the year.
FAO has estimated that meeting additional agricultural sector needs will require $45 million bringing the total requirement for the agriculture sector to $91.3 million for 2016.
Approaching La Niña
According to meteorological reports, a La Niña event is 55 per cent likely for October to November.
According to the UN agricultural agency, it will have two major impacts on the country: flooding in the dominantly highland areas and additional drought in the lowland livestock-dependent areas of Oromia and Somali regions.
In response, the agency is supporting the Government to prepare a contingency plan to address the upcoming needs.
Furthermore, in its response to the ongoing food security crisis in the horn of Africa country, FAO has already provided agricultural inputs to 127,000 households, number some 635,000 people, in drought-affected regions. It has also provided critical support to livestock-owning families: providing livestock feed, fodder seed to rejuvenate pasture, and rehabilitated water points for livestock.
The agency has also supported the Government to vaccinate and treat some 1.4 million animals. However, large numbers of animals has been weakened by the drought and are exposed to diseases as the result of the recent floods. The organization is planning to expand the vaccinations and treatment campaigns.
In order to increase the coverage of both farmers and livestock keepers affected by the drought and current floods, FAO requires $10 million by the end of September 2016.
Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Famine, Drought Grips Africa, Central America, India

Extreme Climate Change Pictures 2016: Amid Hottest Year On Record, Famine, Drought Grips Africa, Central America, India

The debate over the legitimacy of climate change and its effect on the planet is one that has been raging for years, but many people point to tangible proof — and scientific evidence — in all corners of the globe to show how warming temperatures have forced widespread instances of drought and consequent famine.
People have to look no further than in parts of Africa, Asia, Australia, the Arctic as well as the Americas, including the unlikely location of the U.S. state of California.
Below is a glimpse in pictures of the environmental issues that a handful of countries are grappling with as 2016 shapes up to be the hottest year on record, according to a prediction from NASA.
An El Niño climate pattern in various African countries has resulted in extreme drought conditions that have cause a food crisis that could leave more than 50 million people hungry and in a perpetual state of famine, the United Nations has said.
From Kenya in the country's west to Ethiopia in the north to South Sudan in the east to South Africa, parts of literally every corner of the continent have been suffering from a deadly combination of drought and famine for years now.
ethiopia waterChildren wash their heads with rain water in Kobo village, one of the drought stricken areas of Oromia region, in Ethiopia, April 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERI
africaA displaced woman and her children wait for assistance at Habaas town of Awdal region, Somaliland, April 9, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/FEISAL OMAR
goatsHerdsmen feed sheep affected by the El Nino-related drought water at a temporary shelter in Marodijeex town of southern Hargeysa, in northern Somalia's semi-autonomous Somaliland region, April 7, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/FEISAL OMAR
Amazon Rainforest
The combination of high ocean temperatures in the Amazon, an extremely dry rainy season and the largest moisture deficit in nearly two decades has left the area "primed to have record fire activity" because of the El Niño and La Niña weather patterns, the science journal Nature reported late last month. If the prediction comes to fruition, it would be the region's third extreme drought in the past 11 years with the Amazon rainforest being its driest at the start of a dry season since 2002.
RTX1TMD7Dead fish are pictured near a fisherman on the bottom of Solimoes river at Sustainable Development Reserve of Piranha in Manacapuru, Amazonas state, Brazil, Oct. 27, 2015. A severe drought has pushed river levels in Brazil's Amazon region to lows.PHOTO: REUTERS/BRUNO KELLY
RTX1TMCDA spectacled caiman is pictured on the bottom of Solimoes river at Sustainable Development Reserve of Piranha in Manacapuru, Amazonas state, Brazil, Oct. 27, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS/BRUNO KELLY
amazon fireSmoke billows during a fire at an area of the Amazon rainforest at the Xingu National Park, Mato Grosso, Brazil, Oct. 4, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER
The Arctic
Arctic sea ice levels have been on the decline for some time now, with this summer culminating in a 40 percent decline compared to levels from the 1970s and 1980s, according to NASA. That's 13.4 percent less Arctic sea ice than each subsequent decade since then. The phenomenon is directly related to climate change and global surface temperatures.
arctic iceThe crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission, retrieves supplies for some mid-mission fixes dropped by parachute from a C-130 in the Arctic Ocean in this July 12, 2011 NASA handout photo.PHOTO: REUTERS/KATHRYN HANSEN/NASA

Arctic sea ice extent now in virtual tie with worst years so far. Already below 1980s September minimum.

An ongoing drought in Australia is adversely affecting the country's farmers, whose livestock are dying off at record rates because of the dry conditions. The drought conditions there have reportedly gripped parts of the country for the past three years. 
australia droughtA river can be seen flowing through drought-affected farming areas in the western region of New South Wales, a southeastern Australian state, March 19, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY/FILE PHOTO
droughtDams containing small amounts of water can be seen in drought-affected farming area located west of Melbourne, Australia, in this picture taken Jan. 12, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY
Severe drought conditions throughout Colombia have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of children over the past five years, with climate experts putting the blame squarely on the El Niño weather pattern, Adventist Review reported. As a result, about 3.5 million people there are in need of food aid, according toVoice of America
colombiaA fisherman stands on the shore of the Magdalena river, the longest and most important river in Colombia, in the city of Honda, where there was a severe drought, Jan. 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/JOHN VIZCAINO.
colombiaLow levels of water are seen in the Magdalena river, the longest and most important river in Colombia, in the city of Honda, Colombia, Jan. 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/JOHN VIZCAINO
About 330 million people have been affected by drought conditions in India, where the water shortage is coinciding with extended heat waves that are helping to cause deadly cases of heat stroke, dehydration and hunger, the BBC reported.
indiaResidential apartments are seen next to the dried-up Ratanpura lake on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, May 9, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
india2Residents wait to fill their containers with water in a field in Latur, India, April 17, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/DANISH SIDDIQUI
The U.S.
An extended drought in California has wreaked havoc on the state's trees and other plant life thanks in part to the resulting wildfires that have consumed parts of the state this summer, ABC News reported. The developments are not good news for the state's future. "The drought has some momentum, there could be a wave of mortality that continues for the next several years," researcher David Schimel told ABC News.
caliA worker adjusts a water irrigation system in a field near San Ysidro, California, March 31, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE
californiaThe water level of Folsom Lake is pictured near Folsom, California Feb. 11, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/JANE LEE

About Me

My photo

Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.