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OCHA Humanitarian Newsmaker: Vol 1, Issue 3 - May 2007


Central and East Africa:

United Nations Humanitarian Chief to Visit Uganda

John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is expected to undertake his second mission to Africa since taking office on 1 March 2007, including visits to OCHA offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Uganda.

While in Uganda, John Holmes is expected to meet with senior Government officials and members of the United Nations and wider humanitarian community. He is also expected to travel to the north of the country to assess the humanitarian situation there.

The mission comes at a time of renewed hope for the peace process in Uganda. On 14 April, the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from August 2006 was extended to 30 June 2007. The coming months are considered critical to the humanitarian situation and the future of the process to end 21 years of conflict between the LRA and the Ugandan Government (see page 3).

Rift Valley Fever in Tanzania:

Government Ready with Emergency Response Plan

While Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is largely under control in Kenya, the disease still claims lives in Tanzania.

Since January human and animal cases of RVF have been reported in 9 and 13 regions respectively of Tanzania. A total of 248 human cases including 88 deaths have been reported to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Furthermore, the incidence of the disease in humans may well be higher, as some less severe cases may remain unreported.

Animal cases have been confirmed in 13 of Tanzania's 21 districts and there is concern about a potential spread to currently unaffected areas. In addition, the ongoing heavy rains have the potential to further aggravate the situation.

The Government of Tanzania is concerned that the disease could have a negative effect on long term food security and on the livestock industry in addition to the short term effects on human and animal health. Pastoralists are particularly vulnerable as a high risk group for RVF infection and because

their nutrition and livelihoods depend on their livestock.

Other groups at risk are those who are malnourished - particularly children under five years of age - and groups in close contact with potentially infected carcasses in for instance slaughterhouses.

The Government has developed an inter-ministerial Emergency Response Plan for Rift Valley Fever to address the problem.

The United Nations System in Tanzania together with partner organizations have also outlined response plans in support of the Government strategy.

These programmes include animal and human health interventions and as well as public awareness campaigns at national and community level - the latter particularly among health care professionals and livestock keepers. The United Nations System in Tanzania has urgently requested US$ 1.2 million to undertake essential emergency response activities.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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