West Africa: Humanitarian situation report Aug 2007
- More than 65 000 people are victims of floods in West Africa
- There is an urgent need for relevant safety measures in Iferouane (300 km from Agadez in northern Niger) to facilitate humanitarian assistance
- Food situation is globally satisfactory in West Africa, even though pockets of food insecurity risks have been identified
- Persistence of cholera in Guinea, where over 500 cases are reported within a week
- The United Nations resolved to apply the tolerance zero policy, following sexual abuse allegations levelled against the UNOCI Moroccan contingent deployed in Bouake
- Planning the start of the return of Mauritanian refugees established in Senegal, in October 2007 and continuation of the return of Togolese refugees from Benin.
1- SOCIO-POLITICAL AND SECURITY SITUATION
Niger: insecurity slows down humanitarian interventions in the North
The security situation in northern Niger continues to deteriorate. In addition to the frequent attacks and kidnappings reported, corroborating sources reveal the presence of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in certain areas in the North. As a result of this insecurity, the populations are said to have started leaving Northern Niger to find refuge in the safer parts of the country. Insecurity causes real access problems: 1) to the vulnerable populations affected by food insecurity and malnutrition during this lean period 2) and to the populations affected by floods, notably in Iferouane (300 km from Agadez). The floods make access more difficult because they could draw the buried mines to the surface and thus increase the risks of accident. This raises the issue of protection of civilian populations and humanitarian organisations. The resurgence of insecurity in Northern Niger was first observed in February 2007 with the attacks and kidnappings claimed by the "Mouvement Nigerien pour la Justice".
Sierra Leone: Peaceful conduct of elections
The Sierra Leonean electorate voted on 11 August 2007. These presidential and parliamentary elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere, despite the violent incidents that marked the beginning of the election campaign. Seven candidates are vying for the succession of outgoing President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who has been in power since 1996. The Sierra Leoneans are expecting the results of these elections.
Workshop on light weapons in Togo
On 11 and 18 July 2007, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), based in Togo, organised a two-day information workshop on the contribution of young political leaders and the media to the promotion of peace and security. The Regional Centre also prepared a draft «Guide for the control of civil disturbances in the election period by security forces » and designed a trainers' training curriculum in practical disarmament and the institution of peace to strengthen the capacities of Civil Society organisations in West Africa.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.