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South Sudan conflict:Thousands flee to Uganda

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South Sudan Clashes

Thousands of people have fled conflict-hit South Sudan to Uganda following a recent clash between the rival armies in capital Juba, a media report said on Wednesday citing the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

At least 2,900 persons had crossed into the neighbouring Uganda since Friday in which more than 90 per cent were women and children, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The number of people seeking shelter and safety in Uganda from South Sudan has risen significantly in the past few days and we believe the influx will keep growing in the days ahead as tensions remain high across the border,” UNHCR said in a statement.

As the restrictions have been eased and the 200 km Juba-Nimule road has been cleared of the checkpoints, more persons were expected to flee to the East African country.

“As a result, more people are now coming by truck, and this explains the rising numbers of arrivals. Many are also bringing belongings,” said UNHCR.

The security situation remains volatile and fighting could return at any time while refugees talk of an increase in looting.

Over 6,000 South Sudanese were staying in the Pagiarinya refugee settlement in Uganda. The recent evaluation reveals the settlement has capacity for another 6,500 persons, the UNHCR said.

“An inter-agency site assessment mission, including officials from the Government of Uganda Office of the Prime Minister and UNHCR, are currently visiting sites to identify areas suitable for establishing new settlement areas,” said a statement by the UNHCR.

At least 300 persons were killed and over 10,000 fled their homes after a clash between government troops of President Salva Kiir and forces loyal Vice President Riek Machar in the capital.

“The fresh displacement will put a further strain on UNHCR’s resources for the South Sudan operation and our ability to provide timely and life-saving assistance, especially with access to Juba difficult,” it said.

On July 15, UNHCR presented a revised appeal for its South Sudanese refugee operations, seeking $701 million though the earlier appeal for $608 million was only 17 per cent funded.

Africa

Africa’s confirmed Covid-19 cases pass 1.96 million

The northern Africa region is the second most Covid-19-affected African region, according to the Africa CDC.

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Africa Coronavirus Case

Addis Ababa, Nov 16: The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the African continent had reached 1,963,702, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

The continental disease control and prevention agency said in a statement that the death toll related to the pandemic stood at 47,104 as of Sunday afternoon, the Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 1,657,142 people infected with Covid-19 had recovered across the continent so far, according to the continental disease control and prevention agency.

The most Covid-19 affected African countries in terms of the number of positive cases include South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia, figures from the Africa CDC showed.

The southern Africa region is the most Covid-19 affected region both in terms of the number of confirmed positive cases as well as the number of deaths, it was noted.

The northern Africa region is the second most Covid-19-affected African region, according to the Africa CDC.

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Africa

Millions going hungry in Africa’s Sahel zone: United Nations

“Children and young people continue to pay the highest price for a crisis not of their making. We need to act now with partners to avert a tragedy,” he added.

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Sahel zone Africa
In this photograph taken Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019 and released by the World Food Program (WFP), Zore Yusef, 61, right, and his family, join other refugees in the Pissila camp, north of the capital Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. (AP)

Rome, Feb 3: The number of people needing food aid in the Central Sahel has risen sharply over the past year to over three million and the situation owing to growing insecurity and climate shocks, the United Nations said on Monday, urging nations to prevent the situation getting worse.

“We are seeing a staggering rise in hunger in the central Sahel. The number of food insecure people has doubled after harvest time, when it should have dropped,” said Chris Nikoi, Regional Director for the UN World Food Programme in West and Central Africa.

“Unless we act now, a whole generation are at risk,” he underlined.

Despite satisfactory agricultural production, 3.3 million people need immediate aid in the Central Sahel and face a critical lack of food and livelihood opportunities WFP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a joint statement.

Experts forecast that close to 4.8 million people in the Central Sahel face hunger during the lean season between June and August this year if the international community fails to take urgent action, according to the statement.

The unprecedented escalation of humanitarian needs in the Central Sahel is a major driver of hunger in the West Africa region, where the number of hungry people could rise to 14.4 million – the highest level since 2012 – said the statement.

Of greatest concern are Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where conflict and its impacts on communities have become the main cause of food scarcity. The three countries are experiencing a rise in the number of security incidents, including attacks by armed groups and local conflicts that often force people to flee their homes, the statement said.

In Burkina Faso, the number of internally displaced people has risen six-fold since January 2019 when it stood 90,000. Widespread insecurity is significantly hindering the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition among mothers and young children. Nutrition among children under five in the country has sharply deteriorated, according rapid nutrition assessments carried out in municipalities with high numbers of IDPs.

Throughout the region, climate change is disrupting already fragile livelihoods and causing early departures of transhumance herds. Meanwhile armed and community conflicts, theft, and banditry are worsening the situation. These security threats disrupt the mobility of animal herds, access to fodder and water resources and cause a concentration of animals in some of the more secure areas, which can stoke farmer-pastoralist conflicts.

Overall, the increasing vulnerability of rural populations, a lack of security and conflict over resources, are weakening social cohesion among communities and deepening the crisis in the Sahel long-term.

To reinforce social cohesion and lay the foundations for peace in the region, emergency humanitarian assistance must go hand in hand with substantial investments in rural livelihoods and social services, the statement said.

“Unless we address these crises at their roots, millions of vulnerable pastoralists and agro-pastoralists will continue requiring urgent assistance each year, as it was in 2019 and as it will be in 2020,” said Robert Guei, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for West Africa.

Household food scarcity compounded by population displacement, limited access to health services and safe drinking water, as well as poor knowledge on optimal child feeding practices will have a serious impact on child nutrition. The ability of communities to bounce back from adversity will also be harmed if nothing is done now to make sure young children are adequately nourished and to prevent life-threatening acute malnutrition, the statement warned.

“The conflict in the Central Sahel is a cascading crisis sweeping across the region, putting a whole generation of children at risk. Hundreds of thousands of children are deprived of education, vulnerable to exploitation and at risk of malnutrition,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, Regional Director for UNICEF.

“Children and young people continue to pay the highest price for a crisis not of their making. We need to act now with partners to avert a tragedy,” he added.

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Gayle, Russell highlight West Indies squad for World Cup

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Chris Gayle

Barbados, April 25 (IANS) The Windies announced their World Cup squad late on Wednesday as Andre Russell and Chris Gayle were named in the 15-member squad for the showpiece event in England and Wales. While the senior campaigners were named in the squad, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine were the notable absentees.

Jason Holder has been expectedly named the skipper of the team which has the perfect mix of youth and experience with the likes of Shimron Heymyer being given a go alongside the likes of Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach.

Commenting on the selection, interim chief selector Robert Haynes said: “Based on the new selection policy approach which allowed us to consider a number of players that have not regularly appeared in the side over the last two years, we had a wide base of talent from which to choose.

“There were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15, including ensuring there was some continuity in the side, but we believe we have chosen a strong squad of players taking into consideration such factors as experience, fitness, team balance, current form and conditions.”

Haynes said that Narine and Alzarri Joseph were not considered due to finger and shoulder injuries respectively.

Haynes also spoke about having the likes of Gayle and Russell to provide the boost the team needs with bat in hand. “To have a player the calibre of Chris in the side to lead the batting with his vast experience and his ability to play match-winning or game-changing innings is a blessing for us and the motivation of becoming the leading scorer for West Indies in ODIs is something which I think he will relish.

“Looking at the condition of pitches in ODIs over the last few years in England and Wales, it appears that big totals will be the order of the day, so we believe we have a line-up that can put big totals on the board or chase them, as we have seen from recent matches. With players like the captain, Holder, as well as Russell in the lower middle-order, we believe we have good depth to our batting which will allow us to play the brand of cricket that will give us the best of chance of winning the World Cup,” he explained.

Squad: Jason Holder (c), Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Gayle.

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