Posts tagged africa
Posts tagged africa
Female genital mutilation
Source: World Health Organization
Map: The failures of the Arab spring were a long time in the making
Nearly 800,000 refugees in Africa have had their food rations slashed by up to 60 percent, threatening to push many to the brink of starvation, the United Nations warned Tuesday.
The cuts are “threatening to worsen already unacceptable levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anemia, particularly in children,” the UN’s World Food Programme and refugee agency UNHCR said in a joint statement.
The heads of the two agencies were in Geneva Tuesday to make an urgent appeal to government representatives for more funds to help feed Africa’s refugees.
"It is unacceptable in today’s world of plenty for refugees to face chronic hunger," said UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres.
WFP will need $186 million by the end of the year to restore full rations and prevent cuts elsewhere, while UNHCR said it needed another $39 million to fund the nutritional support it provides to vulnerable refugees across the continent.
"Many refugees in Africa depend on WFP food to stay alive and are now suffering because of a shortage of funding," Ertharin Cousin said in a statement.
The funding crisis has forced WFP to cut rations for a third of the 2.4 million refugees it helps feed in 22 African countries, with more than half of the 800,000 affected refugees seeing rations slashed by at least 50 percent.
Inside the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia’s Danakil desert, camel caravans are used to carry salt. For centuries, the essential mineral has been mined by the Afar people, known for their ability to withstand extremes. The terrain is rugged, travelers are scarce and so are motor vehicles, where the average annual temperature is the highest in the world, and can rise to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, 50 degrees Celsius.
The Afar still cut the salt by hand, loading it onto camel caravans for the two-day journey to Berahile. The slabs are then transported from there by truck to all parts of Ethiopia for sale as table salt and for use in animal feed. The salt trade, from the pans to the camels to the trucks, fuels the entire economy for the area.
Mining is done on ground up to two kilometers deep of pure salt. Workers operate in stages: Peeling the salt from the soil by sticking long thin tree trunks beneath the shell; detaching a large salt-board from the layer underneath; then breaking the salt-board into smaller ones with an axe. Gentle chiseling removes top and bottom thin layers, exposing clean salt. A final chisel slips the lateral faces for a more uniform look.
About 2,000 camels and 1,000 donkeys make the trip daily from Berahile to the quarry. Each camel can carry up to 300 pounds of salt that sells for about US $10. (Polaris)
(Photographs by Ziv Koren/Polaris)
In Photos: The Mourning “Mothers of Tunisia”
During times of conflict, it is often said that those who suffer most are those not directly involved in the fighting or the initiating of the violence.
Through the recent years of political instability and violence in Tunisia, people from all walks of life have been on the receiving end of insurmountable tragedies. These women photographed by Sophia Baraket represent a part of the population that have been directly affected by the country’s dire straits. From war to the wrecked ships, martyrdom to migration, all the women pictured are strewn together by the similar tragedies they’ve suffered involving their children.
These are the faces of loss, suffering and seemingly neverending pain. These are the mourning “Mothers of Tunisia”.
- Khemissa Oueslati is the mother of Mohamed, a policeman who was shot dead at age 23 while inspecting a vehicle at a checkpoint. Had he lived, Mohamed would have married his fiancee later this year.
- Faouzia Zorgui is the mother of Walid, who died in a detention cell in a neighbourhood police station. The police claimed he died from a “cannabis overdose”. Faouzia filed a claim against the police, and says she is being pressured by the same people she claims beat Walid to death.
- The death of Chokri Belaid was the first major political assassination since the Tunisian uprising. Chokri was shot dead early in the morning of February 6 last year. His stepmother had raised him since he was three years old.
- Jeanette Errhima is the mother of Wassim. He called his mother on March 28, 2011 to tell her he planned to take a boat to the island of Lampedusa, in Italy. After being told that Wassim had died, Jeanette spent 12 days at the hospital after attempting to burn herself to death.
- Friends and neighbours of Jeannette whose sons have also tried to make it to Europe. Most believe their sons have started new lives in Italy, though many haven’t heard from their sons since they left.
- Rebha’s son was only 18 years old when he left the house and boarded a boat. She swears having seen him on TV, but has not received any news in the past three years.
- Chelbia Zayeni has lost two sons since 2011. Khaled was shot dead when he was 18 years old during an anti-police demonstration in January 2011. His brother Mohamed el-Hedi died near where his brother was shot, in a police van after clashes between angry youngsters and security forces.
- Nabiha is the mother of Wajdi, who told his parents he found a job in Libya. Two months after his departure, he called to inform them he was joining the Jabhat al-Nusra armed group in Syria to fight against Bashar al-Assad. Wajdi was killed and buried in Aleppo on January 2, 2014.
Nigeria has arrested dozens of gay men under the country’s new anti-gay law, Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on January 7, 2014.
These camps will never be our home, we want to return to our homeland.
Saharawi Voice is a blog, news website and video hosting platform showcasing first hand testimonies of people living in the Saharawi refugee camps in Northern Africa.
75 members (including former ministers) of the ruling party in Burkina Faso have left the party to join the opposition.
The 19th Ghat Festival in Libya | December 2013
In the annual event, Tuareg tribes from the region and tourists meet to celebrate Tuareg traditional culture, folklore and heritage in the ancient city of Ghat, lies in the south-west corner of Libya.
Photos by Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters
Most African countries still suffer frequent power outages which inhibit economic growth. They are not, however, lacking in resources. This post outlines some of those least known in Africa.
Yahya Khedr has travelled for more than two years, through five countries and with six forged passports to get his family from the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs to Europe.
"People make it to Melilla hoping to find Europe," said Khedr, who before his country’s war owned a successful European truck-parts import business. "But here, it’s an open-air jail."
Armed guards and razor wire lining the 12-km (7.5-mile) frontier around the town have long discouraged Africans fleeing poverty and conflict from seeing Melilla as a gateway to Europe, 180 km (110 miles) away across open water.
But desperation has driven hundred of Syrians like Khedr to brave long journeys - and Moroccan crime gangs that prey on migrants - to fetch up at the gates, turning the port town of 80,000 into a new pressure point for waves of destitute people struggling to reach the safety and prosperity of Europe.
As the United Nations marked International Migrants Day on December 18, 2013 drawing attention to governments’ obligations toward people on the move, European Union leaders were preparing for a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday that is likely to approve tougher ways to keep immigrants out. Before an EU summit in October more than 360 people drowned within sight of Lampedusa, an Italian island off Tunisia that has long been a magnet for migrants.
The EU found over 72,000 people entering the bloc illegally last year, including a fivefold rise in Syrians, to 8,000.
While the likes of Yahya Khedr managed to sneak his family into the town, and so to its hostel for refugees, by using fake passports, hundreds of less well-off people, mostly Africans from south of the Sahara, camp outside, looking for a chance.
"In our countries, we live with less than one dollar a day," said Serge, 30, from Cameroon, who has been surviving on the hillside outside Melilla for months. "Africa needs to be fixed if the immigration is to slow down. If nothing is done, it will only increase."
Spain, where more than one worker in four is out of a job, has responded by reinforcing Melilla’s 6-metre (20-foot) border fence with razor wire. That drew criticism from human rights groups when migrants trying to climb over it were left slashed and hanging on the barrier.
Yahya Khedr is despairing of ever getting there, however.
Three years ago, Khedr, now 43, was living well from his business importing European truck parts to Syria. He would spend several months a year in Murcia, in southern Spain, where he also owned a bar and ran his trading business. He travelled elsewhere in Europe, too, taking his family to Disneyland in Paris or visiting a daughter who lives in Italy.
Now, much of his home city of Homs is rubble. Some of the first bombing of the civil war in 2011 destroyed his house and Khedr joined a Syrian refugee exodus now 2.3 million strong.
Holding a Spanish residence permit for himself only, he and the family flew and drove via Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and Algeria to Morocco. There he bought forged Moroccan passports for his wife and children to get them into Melilla in mid-October under Spanish rules that allow entry to Moroccans living nearby. Typically, Syrian refugees say, Moroccan gangs charge $1,500 or more for a passport. Khedr did not say what he paid.
His family now live with about 900 other migrants in the low-rise compound that forms Melilla’s immigration holding center - designed to house little more than half that number.
He himself saves money by living for $12 a day in a hotel in the nearby Moroccan town of Nador. Using his Spanish permit, he is able to travel every week to visit his family in Melilla.
With no sign of being allowed to cross over to the Spanish mainland, however, Khedr now wonders whether he might even start heading back home: “It’s a catastrophe,” he said. “The Europeans say they’re weeping for Syria but it’s all fake.” — Read More
Photos by Juan Medina/Reuters
An unknown future
A new law in Israel allows the government to keep migrants, including those seeking political asylum, in jail indefinitely. Activists who helped organize a protest on Tuesday say migrants risk their personal safety if they return home. The Israeli government says the “infiltrators” — mostly from Sudan and Eritrea — threaten the state’s social makeup.
Police and immigration officers broke up the demonstration and loaded them on to buses headed for prison. A police spokesman said there were some minor scuffles at the scene, but no one was hurt.
Read the full story on Tuesday’s protest: http://reut.rs/1dkgjfV
Photos by REUTERS/Ammar Awad.
Death Toll Surges in Crisis-Hit Central African Republic
The death toll from last week’s bloodshed in Central African Republic has topped 500, aid groups said on Tuesday as France’s expeditionary forces spread out on a mission to restore law and order in its former colony.
Photo by William Daniels / Panos for TIME
Read more here.
The water and sanitation crisis in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, places millions of residents at risk of waterborne disease. Five years after cholera killed over 4,000 people and sickened 100,000 more, the conditions that allowed the epidemic to flourish persist in Harare’s high-density suburbs.
A recent HRW report describes how residents have little access to potable water and sanitation services, and often resort to drinking water from shallow, unprotected wells that are contaminated with sewage, and to defecating outdoors. The conditions violate their right to water, sanitation, and health. The report is based on research conducted in 2012 and 2013 in Harare, including 80 interviews with residents, mostly women, in eight high-density suburbs.
Photo: Children play in a in refuse dump in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. © 2013 Reuters
Congolese refugees in the Nyakabande refugees transit camp in Kisoro, Uganda | November 9, 2013
Photos by James Akena/Reuters