A United Nations emergency relief co-ordinator has said if international aid is not sent quickly to Somalia by the end of summer, more than 2 million men, women, and children could starve to death because of drought.
U.N. Undersecretary-General, Mark Lowcock says about $700 million is needed after a rainless season that has killed both livestock and crops.
On Tuesday, Lowcock said U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund had allocated $45 million to cover water, food shortage and other daily needs in Somalia as well as parts of neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya that were also affected by drought.
He also said more than 3 million out of Somalia’s 15 million people are struggling to meet up to minimum food requirements, and the shortages have worsened now than this past winter.
“What was forecast to be an average rainy season in Somalia is now one of the driest on record in over 35 years,” he said. “Communities that were already vulnerable due to past droughts are again facing severe hunger and water scarcity and are at risk from deadly communicable diseases.”
Aid by the U.N complements combined government efforts from the three countries to assist their people, with emphasis on internally displaced persons, and those living with disabilities.
Somalia currently has a depleted humanitarian fund, and if financial aid is delayed, the cost of saving lives on the margin of death will get higher, Lowcock said, adding that the next option then will be to turn to expansive, therapeutic feeding programs.
Lowcock said; “We could have a quick response now, which would be cheaper, reduce human suffering and more effective, or we can wait for a few months until we get all those horrible pictures on our TV screens and social media of starving kids.”
Lowcock, who heads the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs, said that in past decades droughts came about every six years but recently they have hit every two or three years.
“There’s not really any question in my mind that these more frequent droughts are related to global warming and climate change,” he said. “So the only middle- and longer-term response is to look at alternative livelihoods — a different way to make a living.”
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed collects Nobel Peace Prize
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was on Tuesday handed his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
The event was attended by the Norwegian royal family, government officials and public figures. Ironically, the prize-giving happened at a time ethnic violence was rising in the East African country.
However, the 43-year-old Prime Minister and former Intelligence Chief reaffirmed his readiness to face the challenges that come with peace.
“For me, nurturing peace is like planting and growing trees. Just like trees need water and good soil to grow, peace requires unwavering commitment, infinite patience, and goodwill to cultivate and harvest its dividends.” Ahmed said.
Following the Nobel Committee’s announcement in October that it was honouring Ahmed for his efforts to decisively resolve the long-running conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Ethiopians have expressed their concerns over the decision to honour him the prestigious award with many saying it came too early to the Prime Minister who only assumed office in April 2018.
Few months after the announcement by Nobel Committee, Ahmed shocked many, including the Committee itself when he disclosed that he was not going to grant interviews to international media or even field questions from young students who are usually given such opportunity at an event hosted by Save the Children.
Following a meeting held in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital on 9 July 2019, between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki the 20-year-old cold war between the two countries was formally brought to an end.
Recall that the two countries plunged into prolonged hostility following the 1998-2000 border conflict.
The historic achievement happened barely three months after Ahmed assumed office as Ethiopian Prime Minister and was largely due to his diplomacy in tackling the issue.
Ahmed also showed his eagerness to boost the nation’s democracy when he released dissidents from jail, apologised for state brutality, welcomed home exiled armed groups, established a national reconciliation committee and lifted the ban on some political parties.
Notwithstanding all the laudable reforms, Ahmed still faces some major challenges.
His commitment to hold the first “free, fair and democratic” elections since 2005 is being threatened by ethnic violence.
About 80 people have been killed in protests in the country in less than two weeks after his Nobel Peace Prize announcement.
On arrival in Oslo, Ahmed told a Norwegian journalist that:
“The situation in Ethiopia has… new challenges but without challenges, there is no way that we can do something new,”
“We consider those challenges as a great opportunity to do something positive.”
Austrian, Rosenberger, Triumphant at 2019 Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally
After 9 exhilarating race days across Kenya and Tanzania, Kris Rosenberger emerged as the new Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally champion, after powering his Tuthill Porsche 911 to victory in Mombasa on Saturday.
The Austrian and co-driver Nicola Bleicher finished ahead of 2015 Safari Classic champion Stig Blomqvist, also in a Porsche 911. Rosenberger held a 1 minute 19.40 seconds advantage over Blomqvist before the final stage and went on to finish second in the final Mombasa Cement stage. The Austrian, who last rallied in Kenya in 1989, cruised to the finish of the 9-day endurance rally to claim victory by 13:01:48.
“It was a fantastic rally, our tactics were 100% right. We know Stig, he is obviously the best and we knew if we stay close to him and we had the pace and as we rallied through the last stage we pushed really hard. We also know that it’s really hard to beat Blomqvist and we are aware of that for sure. He had more problems than us and we still think he is the man and we are happy to be here”, said Rosenberger.
Blomqvist, navigated by compatriot Jorgen Fornander, applied his extensive experience in endurance rallying when things got tougher in the last two days of the rally. In the last section on Friday, his Porsche 911 steering dumper broke 50Km into the last stage, while on Saturday, he had a soft roll in the last Mombasa Cement stage thus losing some time and ultimately placing second.
Kabras Sugar Racing’s Onkar Rai completed the podium dash, finishing third in a Porsche 911 navigated by Drew Sturrock. Onkar managed to post the fastest times in 6 out of the 20 run competitive stages.
“I span in this last stage and luckily we are here. To be honest, it’s been a quick safari and to be able to beat people like Stig is a pretty big achievement for me. Drew has been on the notes and I have been on the pace. We had a bit of bad luck, it’s part of rallying and we get over it and we would like to be back in 2021, Onkar said.
Other best placed Kenyans include Onkar’s older brother Tejveer Rai/Gavin Laurence who finished 8th, ALS Motorsports Aslam Khan/Imran Khan who finished 11th,, while Kabras Sugar Racing’s Baldev Charger/Ravi Sini finished 14th.
Another notable driver who emerged as the new driver to watch was 27-year-old Welshman Osian Pryce, navigated by fellow countryman Dale Furnish. Osian set the quickest time in the prologue and went on to rack up the fastest times in 4 stages, including the 14Km last stage at Mombasa Cement in Kenya’s Kilifi County.
Local rally ace Baldev Charger was the events front runner in the early days, before falling behind. He did however, manage to post fastest times in 4 stages. Out of the 20 competitors that started the 3,390km journey, 17 survived the demanding course across Kenya and Tanzania. Italy’s Gilberto Sandretto navigated by legend Fabrizia Ponz, was forced to end his run, citing important personal reasons back at home that he had to attend to. Another exit was Kenya’s Rommy Bhamra who left the rally unexplained.
staying true to the nature of the safari classic rally, the weather played a
major role in the cancellation or revision of several stages: The Day 3
itinerary was cancelled after torrential rain and subsequent flash floods
rendered several sectors of the stages impassable, forcing the organizers to
give the competitors a near full extra day service in Arusha, Tanzania.
Six-storey residential building collapses in Embakasi, Nairobi
Access to the scene by emergency responders was hampered by the poor state of the roads in Tassia
A six-storey building in Tassia, Embakasi, a suburb in Nairobi, has collapsed with scores of people inside it. According to the residents of the building, the structure began sinking at around 5:00 am this morning and eventually collapsed. Eyewitnesses at the scene say that three bodies had been retrieved as of 1:00 pm EAT.
Access to the scene by emergency responders was hampered by the poor state of the roads in Tassia estate and made even worse by the ongoing heavy rains being experienced in the city and across the country.
The Kenya Red Cross, St. John’s Ambulance, Emergency Plus Medical Services (EMS Kenya) and the Kenya Police are at the scene and are being aided by the area residents.
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