Archive for the tag 'Kenya'

East African famine blame game begins

August 2nd, 2011

Sadly for the people suffering in the Horn of Africa, the famine there is destined to become a case history of international inaction in advance of a known disaster, a ‘How not to do it’ of emergency preparation and response. And all of the key players – governments, aid agencies, UN organisations – are already lining up to say that it was not their fault, even before the much-needed aid has really begun to arrive.

The first jolt to the emergency relief system was delivered by the Tsunami at Xmas 2004 when the existing systems were found wanting.  In particular, too many organisations turned up to help with little or no coordination.  Chaos ensued.

Some progress had been made on this front by the time the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, but there was still a fair amount of chaos.

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Drought warnings in the Horn of Africa ignored for a year – now 747s have to fly in with emergency goods

July 18th, 2011

‘Communication problems’ meant that warnings one year ago forecasting a drought in the Horn of Africa were ignored by planners who could have prepared a timely response.  The result is a massive airlift costing huge sums of money.

No one is in any doubt that the drought that is hitting the Horn of Africa at the moment is a major humanitarian crisis but compare and contrast these two stories that relate to it.

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Partnership launched with World Vision and Agility

June 15th, 2011

It’s a big day today for Advance Aid as we launch our partnership in Nairobi with World Vision and Agility.

You can read the full press release here but what that does not say is that this is the culmination of many months’ work by everyone involved in this partnership.  It also does not say that this is really only the beginning.
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Drought in the North East, floods in the South West as La Nina tail wags hard across Africa

April 19th, 2011

Extreme weather events continue to hit Africa, with more than eight million people affected by drought in East Africa and 60,000 displaced by floods in Southern Africa, floods that are not likely to dissipate for up to six months.  Both are said to be tail-end effects of the latest La Nina – which should start to fade in May this year.

Drought, food shortage and water shortage follow on from the failure of the rains in late 2010 across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the Karamoja region in Uganda. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is reporting  that the drought has led to substantial harvest failure, deteriorating pasture conditions, decreased water availability and livestock losses. Lack of access to affected areas, high food prices, human and livestock diseases and the ongoing insurgency in Somalia are all exacerbating the situation.

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African poverty is all the NGOs’ fault – or is it the journalists’?

March 21st, 2011

The Columbia Journalism Review is not the place that one normally looks for incisive comment on aid, development and emergencies, but there’s an interesting article published online that casts some light into the slightly murky world of the way that things get reported – or, in some cases, don’t get reported.

Author Karen Rothmyer comes with considerable credibility as she is a former managing editor of The Nation, was a Peace Corps teacher in Kenya in the 1960s and has lived in Kenya full-time since 2007.  So she has seen the NGO/journalist interface from both sides.
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DFID review leads to increased Africa focus

March 2nd, 2011

DFID yesterday announced the results of its bilateral aid programme and the decision that has been made is that it will be focussing its money on 27 countries, many of them in East Africa.  The review says that it wants to target support “where it will make the biggest difference and where the need is greatest”.

These 27 countries, according to DFID, account for three quarters of global maternal mortality and nearly three quarters of global malaria deaths.  And seventeen of them are in Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda , Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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Business opportunities at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Literally

March 1st, 2011

The second of Advance Aid’s monthly columns – View from the Middle – has now been published on Ethical Corporation magazine’s website and you can read it here.

Inspired by a recent visit to Kibera in Nairobi, this column is about the commercial opportunities offered by the lowest common denominator of human experience – defecation.
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Climate change scientists predict that droughts in East Africa will increase

February 15th, 2011

Sometimes it does seem that the link between global warming and actual climate change is hard to establish.  We know from the massive evidence of the scientific literature that the earth is warming.  We know from our own experience that the climate is changing, but tying the two together can be hard.

But now Nature Climate Change has reported on an academic study that shows that spikes in Indian Ocean sea-surface temperature have changed the region’s weather patterns and triggered more frequent droughts in East Africa in recent decades.
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Baroness Amos gives $84m to ‘neglected’ emergencies

January 17th, 2011

We write a lot on this blog about disasters that are perceived not to have happened because they are not covered on CNN – or in the British papers.  Amongst the pernicious effects of this ‘not on CNN’ syndrome are not just the under-resourcing of smaller (and not so small if they are in Africa) emergencies, but the over-funding of the ones that do generate all of the media coverage.

But last week Valerie (Baroness) Amos, who took over as head of OCHA in July last year did something about this by allocating around $84m, as part of the first round of allocations for 2011 from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), to assist people affected by hunger, malnutrition, disease, displacement and conflict in 15 ‘neglected’ emergencies around the world.

Nearly three quarters of the $84m is going to ‘neglected’ emergencies (as defined by OCHA) in Africa.  And, to some extent, the locations of these emergencies will not surprise – Somalia receives $15m, the largest single allocation, with $11m going to Ethiopia.  Agencies working in Chad will receive $8m, while humanitarian partners in Kenya will receive $6 million to start up programmes for 2011.
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Maersk Line donates 300 containers, worth $500,000, to Advance Aid

November 24th, 2010

Maersk Line is donating up to 300 forty-foot containers to Advance Aid for us to use for storage of non-food items for emergencies across Africa.  If we had had to buy these containers on the open market – and this is something that we were looking into – it would have cost approximately $500,000, so this is a truly wonderful gift-in-kind.

The containers we are being given have been used for sea transportation for around ten years and are now being de-commissioned.  Maersk is going to deliver them for us to a number of African ports from where we will deploy them to our various warehouse hubs.  Once there, they will be loaded with NFIs – tarpaulins, nets, blankets, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, buckets, stoves – manufactured by African companies, that can be used to service African emergencies.

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