Border fighting broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea on the eastern Bure front on Wednesday morning, both governments reported. The clashes coincided with the latest diplomatic effort to break the stalemate in peace efforts, stalled since the August release of a third OAU peace document, the 'Technical Arrangements'. US special envoy Anthony Lake met Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki on Wednesday, and was also due to meet the Ethiopian authorities, along with Algerian OAU envoy Ahmed Ouyahia. Wednesday's "skirmishes" subsided the same day, according to Ethiopian spokeswoman Selome Tadesse, while Eritrean spokesman Yemane Ghebremeskel told news agencies the attack was "on the "extreme left flank" of the Bure front, which is near the Eritrean port of Assab and both countries' borders with Djibouti. Both sides blame the other for starting the clash which, according to Eritrea, left 200 Ethiopian troops dead. Selome declined to comment on casualties. [Full story available at: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN/cea/countrystories/ethiopia/20000224.htm]
ETHIOPIA: WFP to launch emergency operation
WFP was set to launch a nine-month emergency operation for Ethiopia on Friday at a cost of over US $136 million, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard announced at UN Headquarters on Thursday. The emergency operation is part of the overall UN country team appeal for US $190.7 million issued towards the end of January. WFP said the number of vulnerable persons has dramatically increased since last year when it distributed food to 1.2 million people. A recent WFP and FAO food and crop assessment indicated that there are some 7.8 million people in need of food aid. For the last two decades there has been a shortage of food in Ethiopia caused largely by unfavourable weather conditions. Food security remains chronic due to limited availability and access by the majority of the population. "It is hoped that by acting now, we can prevent a human catastrophe from developing in the near future," WFP said.
ERITREA: Implementation of emergency activities "slow" - UNICEF
Implementation of several emergency activities in Eritrea has been slow, while others have not taken off at all due to lack of funds, UNICEF said. In a recent donor update on Eritrea, the agency said the most affected interventions include education, where a project proposal for over US $2.8 million prepared and submitted in June is yet to receive donor response. The other critical sector is supplementary feeding and nutritional assessment, UNICEF said. The 1999 funding was only able to meet the requirements of the children under-five, pregnant and lactating women, up to December. UNICEF says it needs over US $8.2 to be able to fulfill its responsibilities in Eritrea.
SOMALIA: Security Council concerned over arms flows
Members of the Security Council on Wednesday expressed concern over the continuing flow of arms into Somalia, in violation of the UN embargo, and condemned those supplying the weapons. In a press statement, the Council also condemned recent attacks on UN and other humanitarian personnel in Somalia. The Council was earlier briefed on the latest situation in the country by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, who covered recent peace efforts, including the Djibouti initiative, as well as humanitarian issues.
SOMALIA: Task force reports 28 cholera deaths
Between 1 January to 18 February, 28 people died from cholera in parts of Somalia. A total of 326 cases were reported. An update from the Somalia Aid Coordination Body's (SACB) Cholera Task Force (CTF), received by IRIN on Thursday, said the worst affected area was Qoryoley district in central Somalia, particularly Gaywarow village. There are no international NGOs in the area, the report noted. WHO has so far provided medical supplies and on-site training for case management has been given to health workers.
KENYA: "High alert" on Somali border
Kenyan security forces in the Northeastern province have been placed on high alert following threats from Somali militia that they would attack Kenyan border settlements which they claim are "harbouring" rival groups. The Kenyan 'Daily Nation' quoted Northeastern Provincial Commissioner (PC) Maurice Makhanu on Thursday as saying the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) had warned it would attack Kenya in search of Auliyahan clan militia. He denied Kenya was "harbouring" Somali militiamen and vowed to "fight back any militia incursion from Somalia". "We have tolerated them for too long and Kenya will from now on safeguard its territorial sovereignty," he was quoted as saying. "Any attempt from any quarter to abuse it will be dealt with the necessary force." Heavy fighting between two rival clans for control of the Somali border town of Doblai last week left more than 50 dead and scores of others seriously wounded, the 'Daily Nation' said.
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