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COVID-19, Extreme Weather, Locusts Create Massive Needs Gap in Ethiopia – IRC3 minutes read

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The International Rescue Committee (IRC) says it is working to safeguard the lives of affected and at-risk communities in Ethiopia from the COVID-19 pandemic by raising community awareness on COVID-19 risk factors.

COVID-19, flooding and the locusts’ outbreak are creating a humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa nation with many people unable to meet their daily food needs.

Recent heavy rainfall has led to flooding, resulting in the destruction of crops, loss of livestock and displacement. Swarms of multiplying desert locusts have also been destroying pastures and crops, leading to further food insecurity. Some areas are recording admissions for severe acute malnutrition at 50% higher than for the same period last year.

A massive twelvefold increase in Covid-19 cases between June and September is further compounding needs as families have been unable to obtain income or access food due to movement restrictions. Ethiopia currently holds the highest Covid-19 caseload in East Africa.

Concerned by the massive need in Ethiopia, the IRC says it is working to safeguard the lives of affected and at-risk communities from the COVID-19 pandemic by raising community awareness on COVID-19 risk factors, providing personal protective equipment, building and installing water points to help people practice preventive methods.

The IRC is assisting desert locusts and flood-affected households with multi-purpose cash transfer and non-food items to fill food security gaps and provide relief.

Frank McManus, IRC Ethiopia Country Director says, “the multiple issues of flooding, locusts, intercommunal violence and COVID-19 are highly concerning given the already massive humanitarian needs in the country. The slowdown of the economy and lockdown restrictions mean that people have not been able to access income and there is an upward pressure on food prices.”

“Over 19 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia. This is four times the number of people displaced in 2019, as a result of the flooding. More than 300,000 people have been displaced in 2020 and have had their homes and livelihoods lost or damaged. A total of over 1 million people have been adversely affected by the floods overall. With the spread of COVID-19, people who have been displaced are amongst the most vulnerable due to the often congested living space, compromised health conditions, and inadequate access to basic services. The IRC is providing essential support through distributions of non-food items, including emergency shelter, household goods, hygiene kits, and cash assistance to over 36,500 affected people.”

“Despite the IRC’s work, the unmet humanitarian needs are still great. With more funding for our work, we will be able to reach even more people with the critical support they desperately need after losing their homes and livelihoods.”

Ethiopia has suffered decades of drought, inter communal eruptions of violence, disease outbreaks and flooding. Whilst grappling with development and humanitarian needs, Ethiopia is also a major host country for refugees in the region. In a highly complex humanitarian setting with seven million people who are acutely food insecure, IRC is working to ramp up support to those most in need.

The IRC has been working in Ethiopia since 1999 implementing emergency and development work in rural communities and 21 refugee camps, reaching over 3.2 million clients in FY18 through programs in environmental health, health education, child protection, economic recovery and development, women’s protection and empowerment in six regions across the country.

East Africa News

Somalia Arrests 10 For Trafficking Cheetahs

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Somalia’s Somaliland on Tuesday said ten suspects who have been rounded up in two separate incidents of wildlife trafficking in the past three weeks have been arrested.

The police said some suspects were arrested in Hargeisa while attempting to sell three young cheetah cubs to the highest bidder while others were nabbed after being caught in possession of cheetah cubs.

Kayse Sudi Arale police spokesperson said in a statement “we successfully confiscated 10 cheetah cubs from a known gang of traffickers in the Xeedho area on the outskirts of Hargeisa.

“Two key suspects are in police custody, and they will be brought to justice as soon as possible.’’

The cubs from the two incidents were placed in the immediate care of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Ministry of Environment and Rural Development’s partner in the counter cheetah-trafficking project.

The CCF said its veterinarians and animal care staff examined the animals and found a host of health problems typically seen in cheetahs that have been in the hands of unskilled captors for more than just a few days.

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Uganda Establishes First Free Zone at Entebbe Airport

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The government of Uganda through the Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA) has finalised plans to establish the first public free zone at Entebbe International Airport. The free zone is projected to boost export-oriented investment in the country.

The project will be implemented by the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) on a five acre piece of land acquired from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) at the Entebbe International Airport premises.

Under the arrangement, the project targets sectors which include food processing, mineral processing, warehousing, storage and simple assembly, where all operators in the public free zone will process their products for onward export through Entebbe International Airport.

The development of the Public Free Zone projected to cost UGX 48billion will, on completion house seven production units and trade houses such as offices of the Uganda Free Zones Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, and other government offices to promote enterprise. The Government of Uganda (GoU) has already awarded UGX 12.5 Billion for the first phase of the project.

Speaking at the site handover event, Hez Kimoomi Alinda, the Uganda Free Zones Authority Executive Director, said the project is expected to contribute cargo volumes, create hundreds of direct jobs and significantly improve Uganda’s exports.

“On completion, the project will support increased production quality assurance and value addition to commodities that are widely produced by the masses to improve household incomes, create employment and eliminate poverty as well as improve the value of Uganda’s exports,” he said.

Alinda was speaking while handing over the site for the construction of the Entebbe International Airport Free Zone at which he said they had acquired five acres from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority for the development and contracted National Enterprise Corporation, the commercial arm of the UPDF for the construction.

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East Africa News

Fire On Kilimanjaro Under Control – Official

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A fire on Mount Kilimanjaro that had been raging for seven days is largely under control, the Director General of Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) said on Saturday.

“Thanks to work done by various stakeholders and rain which came in some parts of the mountain last night we have managed to contain the fire by 99 per cent,’’ Allan Kijazi said.

‘`What remains now are small patches in bushes which are still smoking and we are dealing with them as I speak,’’ he added, saying that a helicopter was being used in hard-to-reach areas.

The fire broke out on Sunday and, according to officials, has since destroyed at least 28 square kilometres of bush.

Officials have said some 500 people were working to quell the flames.

At 5,895 metres, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and also one of Tanzania’s landmarks.

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