Archive for the tag 'Niger'

New HDI catalogues total failure of development in Africa

November 12th, 2010

If anyone had any doubt that Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, had not benefited from decades of emphasis on ‘development’, the new Human Development Index (HDI) published earlier this month by UNDP as part of the Human Development Report 2010 gives sadly comprehensive evidence of failure.

UNDP administrator, Helen Clark, said, “The Report shows that people today are healthier, wealthier and better educated than before.”  And that may well be true for the world as a whole but for most sub-Saharan Africans that is just not the case.

The bottom fourteen countries in the HDI are all African (taking places 156-169).  And from 139th place onwards, the litany of African countries is only interrupted by Haiti and Afghanistan.  That, surely, says it all.  With just over 50 countries in the continent, thirty eight of the bottom places in the world are taken by African countries.
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Floods hit Chad, making 70,000 homeless

September 17th, 2010

Floods have been everywhere in the news recently, and UNHCR is now reporting that 150,000 people in Chad have been affected by flooding in recent weeks, including 70,000 who have become homeless because their homes were destroyed.

They are suffering from the heaviest rains to hit that part of the country for 40 years – this rain following on from a fierce drought.  UNHCR says that, “Humanitarian access to affected areas across Chad remains a challenge due to destroyed roads and bridges in areas where populations are in need of help.”  Early in August, northern Chad was hit by what were reported to be the heaviest rains for 50 years.

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Two cheers for DEC, the least bad model for emergency funding

September 6th, 2010

The “UK provides a model for private funding of emergencies” according to a story today on IRIN News.  IRIN is a UN OCHA project.

Well, as Evelyn Waugh famously wrote in Scoop, “Up to a point, Lord Copper” which, for those uninitiated in the wonders of Scoop, was his hero’s way of saying ‘No’ to the particularly monstrous newspaper proprietor for whom he worked.

Although maybe it would be fairer to say that the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), for that is the ‘private model’ to which the story refers, is one of the least bad ways of organising private responses (i.e. responses by individuals) to emergencies.  DEC has thirteen member agencies and they are: ActionAid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.
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Will compassion stretch as far as the Sahel?

August 30th, 2010

The eyes of the world, of course, are on Pakistan and the terrible damage and displacement that the floods there are causing.  But in West Africa a crisis of similar proportions is affecting just as many people – but generating only a tiny percentage of the column inches (or the donor dollars) that accrue to Pakistan.

First, drought led to crop failures and the threat of famine – especially in Niger and Chad, where more than seven million people are affected.  Now the drought has broken, but it has been replaced by torrential rain, which has created further problems by causing flooding and destroying crops.
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DEC comes out with Pakistan appeal as 15 million are affected. But what about the starving millions in the Sahel?

August 10th, 2010

Shortly after we published the last entry on this blog, where we asked why there had been no DEC appeal, DEC announced that it was mounting a coordinated appeal for money to help the estimated 15 million people now affected by the floods in Pakistan.  You can donate here.
Pakistan floods_Aug10
The 15 million figure comes from Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) who said on Monday that, if the Pakistan government’s calculations are correct, the scale of the disaster could be worse than Haiti’s January earthquake, the 2004 Tsunami, and the 2005 Pakistan earthquake combined.
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Floods, famine, fires and full markets create a confusing picture in Pakistan, Russia and the Sahel

August 3rd, 2010

The complexities of global warming and the interconnectedness of world markets have been starkly illustrated this week.  And, as so often, the people to suffer from these random events are the poor in general and the African poor in particular.

As the worst famine for several years stalks Niger and Chad, IRIN News reports that the 2010 rainy season in West Africa has opened with hail storms in Guinea and the heaviest rain in 50 years in northern Chad.  Floods have killed at least 80 people and destroyed homes, bridges, septic tanks, livestock, crops and food stocks; dams have broken, and wells and latrines and have been submerged.
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Africa the worst continent for water insecurity

June 26th, 2010

Five of the ten countries in the world with the least secure supplies of water are in Africa.  And Africa has the unpleasant honour of taking the top four places in a new report, ‘Water Security Risk Index’ published this week by Maplecroft, a firm specialising in corporate risk intelligence.

The top ten countries with the least secure supplies of water – shown in dark blue on the map below -  are 1. Somalia, 2. Mauritania, 3. Sudan, 4. Niger, 5. Iraq, 6. Uzbekistan, 7. Pakistan, 8. Egypt, 9. Turkmenistan and 10. Syria.

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ActionAid asks “Where’s the $22 billion promised for smallholder farmers?”

June 21st, 2010

As famine closes in on Chad and Niger (and Save the Children says that nearly 400,000 children under the age of five in Niger are facing starvation) ActionAid is asking whether the G8 countries have made good on promises made last year to give $22 billion to help small farmers in developing countries.

Key to this proposal was that the money should go not in emergency food aid, or in aid to boost production of cash crops for export, but to help smallholder farmers.  The importance of smallholders is that they grow food to feed themselves and their families, with surpluses generally sold in local markets.  So this is an important step towards increasing food security and self-sufficiency in food at the local level in developing countries.
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Too little too late in Niger and Chad?

June 18th, 2010

It’s almost exactly a month since this blog first wrote about the impending famine in West Africa and the aid agencies on the ground there have been predicting it for some months more.  But in a classic example of the way that emergencies are handled, the world is only now beginning to see that something is going wrong there and it is already too late.

Credit: Cristina Vazquez Moreno/Oxfam

Credit: Cristina Vazquez Moreno/Oxfam

Malik Allaouna, regional emergency manager for Save the Children in West and Central Africa, told Reuters Alertnet, “The problem is that we are already too late. If you get the funds today, you don’t get the food in country for two to three months”.  Ten million people across the Sahel – primarily in Niger and Chad – are at risk, and the signs of that risk have been there for as long as eight months.
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Famine threatens more than 10m in West Africa

May 17th, 2010

Whilst East Africa faces natural disaster in the form of floods, West Africa is facing starvation and famine as a result of the irregularity of the rains in 2009.  So irregular were the rains, that there was flooding in some countries and drought in others.

Credit: Cristina Vazquez Moreno/Oxfam

Credit: Cristina Vazquez Moreno/Oxfam

This led to a severe lack of pasture, water and a poor harvest.  The worst affected country now, according to Oxfam, is Niger where 8 million people are at risk.  An additional 2 million people are also threatened in Chad and a substantial number of people are expected to be affected in Mali in the coming months.  Parts of Nigeria and Burkina Faso are also at risk.

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