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West Africa: Humanitarian situation report 31 Jul 2008

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Situation Report
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SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS

- Niger: More than 24.000 people affected by floods

- Guinea-Bissau: About 870 cholera cases recorded

- Niger: MSF-F expelled from Maradi

- Cameroon-Nigeria border: 12 persons killed in Bakassi

- Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone: more than 1 ton of cocaine captured in aircrafts from South America

- IFRC needs 730.000 US$ to face the floods in the sub-region

- The 2009 West Africa CAP will focus on the consequences of the rising prices and food crisis

1. HUMANITARIAN SITUATION

1.1 Food security and nutrition

Guinea: WFP distributes food items to the most vulnerable groups

To respond to the rising food prices, the World Food Programme (WFP) has started free distributions of food items to the most vulnerable people on 15 July 2008. 20,000 MT of cereals will be distributed during the next three months in four regions. In rural areas, about 100,000 people have been targeted in the prefecture of Pita (Moyenne Guinée), 100,000 people in the prefecture of Kouroussa (Haute Guinée) and 200,000 people in the prefecture of Lola (Guinée Forestière). The targeted beneficiaries are mainly farmers compelled to buy food during the lean season. In urban areas, particularly in Conakry (Basse Guinée), supplementary and therapeutic food rations will be distributed to patients in hospitals and health centers. People who accompany patients and convalescent children will also benefit from the food assistance. In addition to this, WFP will provide nutritional support to 25,000 under-five children and to pregnant and lactating women.

Niger: MSF-France expelled from Maradi

The private radio Anfani reported that the Niger Government has put an end to the activities of the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières-France in the region of Maradi (700 kilometers east of Niamey) and ordered the NGO to leave the area. The decision was taken on 18 July by the Minister of Interior, Albadé Abouba. Maradi has the highest fertility rate with an average of eight children per woman. In 2005, women and children in the region were severely affected by an unprecedented food crisis following the drought and a locust invasion. At that time, MSF opened treatment and re-nutrition centres for children and mothers. According to MSF-F, some 38,000 children were given care and support in 2005 alone, with a recovery rate of above 90%.

1.2 Protection and population movements

Mauritania: more than 4,600 people repatriated

The repatriation operation of refugees from Senegal is ongoing with the support of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). By the end of July, 4691 persons have reached the sites in the regions of Trarza, Gorgol and Brakna, bordering the Senegal River. The sites were established by the National Agency for the Reintegration of Refugees (ANAIR) and the local NGO Association for Poverty Fight and Under-Development (ALPD). In addition, a joint mission of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) was conducted from 1 to 8 July in Mauritania in order to assess the actions undertaken in the programme for return and reintegration of refugees.

1.3 Health

Guinea: cholera has caused 25 deaths in 2008

A cholera outbreak has caused 25 deaths and more than 400 cases since January in Guinea, according to the Government. The first cholera cases were reported in January in Boké (300 km north-west of Conakry) and the epidemic continued to spread to Boffa (200 km north-weste of Conakry). As of 18 July, 429 cases have been recorded (254 in Boké, 174 in Boffa et 1 in Dixinn, a district in central Conakry) with 15 deaths in Boké et 10 in Boffa. The situation is likely to deteriorate as the country faces issues of inadequate health infrastructures, few means and resources. The health ministry should have sufficient medication to control the epidemic provided by partners including the Canadian cooperation, the Red Cross and the World Health Organization, but there is a lack of communication in rural areas. Since 2005, Guinea has been struck by cholera every year. Last year, 8,500 cholera cases were registered with 310 deaths. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) disbursed about 12,830 US dollars to support cholera control activities through the Guinean Red Cross Society.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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