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2.3m Ethiopian Children In Need Of Humanitarian Assistance – UN

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Extended conflicts in Tigray region, Northern Ethiopia have put 2.3 million children in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Tigrayan and Ethiopian forces have been locked in conflicts since November 4, when Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed ordered the launching of military operations against the powerful region.

Inside the Tigray region, restricted access and the ongoing communication blackout have left an estimated 2.3 million children in need of humanitarian assistance and out of reach,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said.

A dramatic escalation of hostilities between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has seen hundreds of locals dead while thousands have fled for safety to neighbouring Sudan.

The UN agency said those taking refuge in Sudan are also in dire need of assistance with about half of them being children.

The agency said some 12,000 children – some of them without parents or relatives – are among those sheltering in camps and registration centres and are at risk.”

UNICEF has charged the warring parties to leave children out of their conflict and protect them as much as possible.

“Every effort should be made to keep children out of harm’s way, and to ensure that they are protected from recruitment and use in the conflict,” she said.

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Three-Year-Drought Pushes 1.5 Million People Into Hunger In Southern Madagascar

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UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) says a three-year drought in southern Madagascar has pushed 1.5 million people – over half of the population – into crisis and in need of emergency food and nutrition assistance.

Those affected include 75,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women. Also, 100,000 children aged under 5 are in danger of acute malnutrition with about 19,000 appearing to be in a ‘severe’ situation.

The WFP said the number of people in need of assistance had tripled in the past few months.

In the worst-hit area of Amboasary, three-quarters of children have dropped out of school to help their parents look for food.

Some people are exchanging essential household items, such as cooking utensils, for food.

The WFP said about $35m is needed to avert catastrophe in the area in the coming months

WFP’s Aina Andrianalizaha, who is visiting affected areas, said people are digging into the sand to find water “but rarely find any”, adding that “they have to walk several kilometres from their villages or hamlets to fetch water”

She added: “They can no longer plant and have, as a result, come to offer to exchange their scarce cooking utensils for a piece of cassava.”

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COVID-19: Kenya Reduces Number Of Guests At Wedding To 50

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The Kenyan government has reduced the number of guests allowed to attend weddings to 50 over rising coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

The reduction comes three months after President Uhuru Kenyatta increased the number of guests allowed at weddings to 100 as he eased restrictions, but stricter new guidelines were announced on Thursday.

Kenya’s Inter-Faith Council said the food at weddings will only be served to the parents and siblings of the marrying couple.

Funerals are also subject to new restrictions – no more than 100 guests are permitted to attend; food is banned, and ceremonies may not last longer than an hour.

Church services in Kenya are now limited to a maximum of 90 minutes.

The inter-faith council’s chairman, Anthony Muheria, was last week treated for coronavirus at a hospital in the capital, Nairobi.

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Popular Rwandan Soldier-Cum-Musician Flees To Uganda, Alleges Threat To Life

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Rwandan soldier and popular musician, Sergeant Major Robert Kabera, who is the subject of a defilement investigation, has fled the East African nation to Uganda.

Sgt. Maj. Kabera is seeking asylum in Uganda and has cited threats to his life as the reason for leaving Rwanda, local media quoted sources close to the soldier.

Earlier this week, the Rwanda Defence Force announced an investigation into “defilement allegations” made against Kabera, renowned solo singer and member of the Rwandan military band.

The RDF said the crime was alleged to have taken place on November 21 in Kigali, and that it was working “to trace the fugitive”.

However, Sgt. Kabera dismissed the allegations as false, insisting there was no way he could have committed the crime, as he had crossed into Uganda on 19 November.

He said he was being tracked because he knew something about the death of gospel singer Kizito Mihigo, who died in a police cell earlier this year.

“Some of the officers in intelligence that I have trained over the time intimated that I was being targeted. I got another warning via a phone call and on 18 November, I fled,” he said.

He said he fled with his wife but left behind three children – one of them aged seven months – as it was too risky to swim across the river on the border with the child.

In August, another soldier attached to Rwandan military intelligence, Lieutenant Gerald Tindifa, was reported to have fled to Uganda earlier in the year.

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