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Monday, October 1st, 2018

 

Surge in suspected cholera cases in Hodeidah

  • Save the Children’s health centres report 170 per cent spike in suspected cases.

  • Malnutrition, displacement and attacks on water supplies could spark a new wave of the disease nationwide.

  • 100,000 severely malnourished children at risk in Hodeidah.

SANAA, October 2 – Suspected cholera cases have almost tripled in Yemen’s coastal Hodeidah region since fighting escalated in June.

Health facilities supported by Save the Children across the governorate recorded a 170 per cent increase in the number of suspected cholera cases, from 497 in June to 1,342 in August.

The spike is in line with national data that also shows a steady increase of suspected cholera cases across Yemen. 30 per cent of all suspected cases are children under five years old, according to the World Health Organization.

The rise in suspected cases in Hodeidah follows a dramatic increase in fighting between the Houthis and forces backed by the Saudi- and Emirati-led Coalition since June.

Between 26 and 28 July, airstrikes resulted in the damage of a sanitation facility and water station that supplies Hodeidah with most of its water. After this incident, suspected cholera cases almost doubled between July (732) and August (1,342) in Save the Children-supported health centres.

In a recent UN survey of more than 2,000 respondents across Yemen, more than half (56 per cent) cited water supply damage as the most common form of infrastructure damage. In Hodeidah governorate this jumped to 62 per cent of respondents.

As battles have intensified around Hodeidah’s port city in September, Save the Children is warning of a humanitarian catastrophe should the ground fighting reach densely populated areas or if the city should be besieged.

Hodeidah governorate is also home to nearly 100,000 severely malnourished children – more than a quarter of Yemen’s total. Severely malnourished children are much more likely to contract and die from diarrhoeal diseases like cholera than well-nourished children.

In addition, over [half a million people have been displaced](https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/issue 27 final v3.pdf) from their homes in Hodeidah since June, forced to live in host communities in cramped conditions and with little access to clean water and sanitation. Yemen’s rainy season which runs from April to August is further compounding the crisis.

Speaking from Sanaa, Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director, said:

“Children in Yemen are experiencing severe hardships that no child should endure, facing multiple threats from bombs and bullets to disease and extreme hunger. It’s unacceptable that they’re dying from entirely preventable causes.
* “Treating cholera is straightforward providing children can get the rehydration and antibiotics they need, and hospitals and clinics are adequately equipped. But nearly four years of conflict has led to a near-total collapse of the health system in Yemen. The warring parties have repeatedly attacked medical facilities, making some of them unusable or inaccessible. If this continues many more children could die of cholera and other preventable diseases.*

“There are no aboveground water sources in Yemen so the vast majority of communities depend entirely on wells and water trucks to meet their daily needs. Even in towns and cities water systems are in a state of disrepair or damaged from the fighting. Limited availability often results in poor hygiene practices and sanitation, heightening the risk of further cholera outbreaks.

“The solution is simple. The fighting must stop and the parties to the conflict need to find a political solution. In the meantime, Save the Children will continue to distribute medicines and support clinics to reach the most vulnerable children before it’s too late.”

Speaking from Hodeidah, Dr Mariam Aldogani, Save the Children’s Hodeidah Field Manager, said:

“The situation in Hodeidah has become unbearable because of the conflict. I’m seeing more and more children coming in with suspected cholera. I met one mother of two who has acute diarrhoea and she told me her whole family is affected because they don’t have access to clean water any more. They all drink from an open well and don’t even have enough money to buy cooking gas needed to boil the contaminated water they collect. Her husband hasn’t been paid a salary since last year. She knows she’s putting her children’s health at risk. But what can she do when they cry from thirst? So they just drink, and hope for the best.”

22-year-old *Salwa and her two-year-old son *Aseel live with 13 family members in their house in Hodeidah. Both mother, who is four months pregnant, and son are suffering from cholera. When *Salwa got sick, she couldn’t afford the $4 bus fare to the hospital. After three days, her father managed to rent a motorbike and brought his daughter in critical condition to a Save the Children health clinic. Both mother and son are being treated now, but *Salwa continues to worry about the fate of her unborn child and whether she’ll be able to reach a hospital in time to give birth safely.

Salwa told Save the Children:

“Two days after I got sick, my two-year-old son got sick and joined me in the hospital. For sure, I infected him with cholera. We drink water from a well near our house. We collect the water from the well more than three times a day.

“Our life before the war was prosperous but after the war our life changed because there is a lack of fuel. Before the war I used to work in the farms but after the war work opportunities finished.

“I am four months pregnant. When I got sick with cholera I felt worried that I’d lose my baby, especially with the current bad situation. I always think about giving birth in such a bad situation.”

Cholera is an infectious disease transmitted through contaminated food or water. Access to clean water is crucial for bringing a cholera outbreak under control. But Yemen is the most water-scarce country in the Arab world. Even before the war began experts feared Yemen could become the first country in the world to run out of usable water. Nearly four years of conflict have only made matters worse.

ENDS

Visit our Yemen Crisis Appeal page here.

For free-to-use multimedia content including stills, GVs and case studies click here.

SPOKESPEOPLE AVAILABLE IN SANAA, AMMAN AND LONDON

To arrange an interview please contact:

Bhanu Bhatnagar in Amman B.Bhatnagar@savethechildren.org.uk +962 79 145 2375 (SMS and calls) +44 7467 096788 (WhatsApp only)

24-hour press officer in London:
Media@savethechildren.org.uk +44 7831 650 409

NOTES TO EDITORS

• Hodeidah is the epicentre of Yemen’s cholera outbreak with a cumulative total of more than 23,000 suspected cases so far this year, 7,000 of them children under five years old, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

• Other parts of Yemen are also reporting an increase in cholera. Suspected cholera cases nearly doubled in Save the Children-supported health facilities in Ibb governorate between June (383) and August (746) this year.

• According to the WHO’s epidemiological bulletin on cholera in Yemen for week 36 (Sept 3-9), the cumulative suspected cholera cases from 1 January to 9 September this year, is 154,527 with 197 associated deaths. The cumulative suspected cholera cases from 27 April 2017 to 9 September 2018 is, 1,176,963 with 2,435 associated deaths.

• One in four children under five years in Hodeidah governorate are malnourished. One in 20 suffer from severe acute malnutrition – the deadliest form of extreme hunger. Hodeaidah has a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 25.2% and a Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rate of 5%.

• Severely malnourished children (SAM) are 12 times more likely to die from diarrhoeal diseases like cholera than well-nourished children. For more see here.

• In 2017 Yemen witnessed the worst recorded cholera outbreak since records began with well over one million suspected cases, 600,000 of them children.

• During last year’s cholera outbreak, Save the Children supported 15 Diarrheal Treatment Centres (DTCs) and Oral Rehydration Therapy points across Yemen. As cases decreased after the second wave, Save the Children closed these DTCs but continued to monitor the situation very closely. With the renewed increase of cholera cases this year, Save the Children has reopened several DTCs, including three in Hodeidah governorate.

• The number of people lacking adequate access to healthcare increased from 8.8 million before the escalation of the conflict in March 2015 to 16.4 million in 2018, of whom 9.3 million are in acute need of assistance to health care. For more see here.

• As of 24 September this year, more than 78,400 households have been displaced from their homes in Hodeidah since June. With an average household size of seven individuals, that’s a total of 548,800 people displaced since June.

• The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is widely acknowledged as the worst in the world. According to UNICEF, 22.2 million people – including 11.3 million children – are in need of humanitarian assistance. Sixty per cent of the country’s population is hungry, including 8.4 million acutely food insecure people who do not know where their next meal will come from, half of them children under 18 years. An estimated 400,000 children under the age of five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

• Save the Children has over 50 years of experience working in Yemen. Operational in the country since 1963, the charity was the first international aid group in Yemen. We work nationally and locally to promote and protect children’s rights, with programmes in education, protection, health, nutrition, water, livelihoods, and food security. For more see here.

• Save the Children stand side by side with children in the toughest places to be a child. We do whatever it takes to make sure they survive, get protection when they’re in danger, and have the chance to learn. Together, we fight for children every single day. Because every child should be able to make their mark on their world, and help to build a better future.


First lady Melania Trump departs on four-country trip to Africa

WASHINGTON, Oct 1 (Reuters) – U.S. first lady Melania Trump departed for Africa on Monday for a four-country trip that serves as her first major solo sojourn abroad on behalf of her husband President Donald Trump’s administration.

Mrs. Trump is scheduled to make stops in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt in a nearly week-long trip to focus on children’s issues. She is due to arrive in Accra on Tuesday.

President Trump has not visited Africa since entering office in 2017, but he has garnered sharp criticism for reportedly referring to immigrants from African countries with a derogatory term. (Reporting by Jeff Mason Editing by Toni Reinhold)


Ogiek are not evicting anyone from Mau, they are also victims

By LETTER
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The article only presents one side of the story. We agree that there are many factors contributing to violence in the Mau region. But the writer evidently spoke to many sources among non-Ogiek people.

The writer completely fails to mention that there is an ongoing legal eviction of irregular settlers from Mau Forest, carried out by government agencies and targeting anyone, regardless of ethnicity, who does not have a right to settle there.

However, politicians have portrayed these legal evictions as ethnic discrimination.

INHABITANTS

The article plays right into the hands of these politicians as it merely reiterates the ethnic rhetoric being propagated in the Mau region and makes no attempt to investigate the root of the crisis.

The writer says, “It is said that the Ogiek were the original settlers in the eastern periphery of Mau Forest.”

If he had done even basic research, he would know that the Ogiek are, indeed, the original inhabitants of not just the eastern periphery but of the Mau Forest as a whole.

It is also misleading to claim that the Ogiek sold their land when it is well-documented that non-Ogiek were settled on degazetted land excised from Mau Forest and irregularly allocated by the then government while the Ogiek were supposed to be the beneficiaries, rendering them landless.

And if residents of Nessuit claim that they do not have title deeds, how is that the responsibility of the Ogiek?

The claims that the Ogiek have formed armed gangs operating from the forest is hearsay. Some of the reported statements from residents are essentially incitement and hate speech.

The article also conflates language and culture. Speaking the same language does not make all the speakers to have the same culture.

The Ogiek are a distinct ethnic group with their own culture and customs. Attempts to subsume them within the Kalenjin are nothing new, and we have always opposed them.

Also, we object in the strongest terms possible to the use of the term “Ndorobo” to describe the Ogiek.

The outdated and derogatory label has been placed on the Ogiek by other people. The Ogiek refer to ourselves as “Ogiek” and we expect everyone else to do the same.

The Daily Nation has a good record of covering issues in the Mau. A case in point is, Mau settlers given notice to vacate the water tower (DN, June 1), which comprehensively addressed the issues and noted that illegal settlers, including Ogiek, were to be evicted by the government.

Ogiek Council of Elders, Nakuru.


Curb road project losses

By EDITORIAL
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Road construction is an area in which the government has lately won accolades all around.

Good roads ease transportation of goods and passengers and cut costs, boosting business.

The good roads that have sprang up across the country are also a reflection of development and prosperity. However, when roads are shoddily done, the benefits end up being short-lived.

A key indicator of the premium attached to good roads is the high number of national and local agencies involved in the construction and maintenance of roads.

The major ones are the Kenya National Highways Authority, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority and the Kenya Rural Roads Authority.

And, of course, every county has its own roads department to manage the colossal local and national resources channelled into these projects.

SUPERVISION

These agencies are not just custodians of the standards in construction and maintenance; they also have the expertise, personnel and accumulated experience to monitor and ensure that contractors do what is expected of them.

It is, therefore, disappointing to note that some road construction firms are fleecing the country of billions of shillings under the very nose of these professional organisations.

We have cases where some contractors start with a flourish only to later abandon projects or just do shoddy work.

This boils down to lack of proper supervision. It’s inconceivable that, with all the scrutiny and approvals, a contractor would just, soon after beginning work on a project, abandon it, alleging financial difficulties.

Of course, such projects end up being awarded again at an extra cost. This wastefulness is unforgivable.

The Auditor-General’s report on Kerra for last year details how billions of shillings allocated for building rural roads have gone to waste.

The supervision of road projects must be enhanced so that the public gets value for money from these undertakings.


Let us not change the Constitution so soon

By EDITORIAL
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What started as isolated calls for a referendum to change the Constitution are steadily gaining momentum and, although the default reaction would be to ignore them, doing so may be imprudent.

We acknowledge from the outset that no Constitution is perfect. Ours has very positive reviews and is characterised as robust and progressive.

Even so, it has deficiencies, some of which were identified before its passage in 2010.

But the framers of the Constitution were alive to the fact that a Constitution should not be subjected to whimsical changes and provided, first, a long implementation period and, second, stipulated a high threshold should the necessity for revision arise. But the mounting calls are not inspired by altruism.

On the contrary, they are triggered by selfish interests, driven by politicians either for self-preservation or to create opportunities for personal gain.

First, a narrative is being peddled that the Constitution is too expensive, that it is the reason for increasing taxes, hence the need for a review to chop excess fat.

That is not an honest discussion. A critical review of the Budget shows that we suffer due to poor planning, poorly thought-out political decisions, an irresistible appetite for borrowing, inefficiency, pilferage and outright theft.

Kenyans had a reason for creating many institutions of governance. Precisely, the objective was to disperse power from the centre.

This was informed by the experience of the Independence Constitution that, because of colonial heritage, inherited institutions that essentially lorded over citizens and which, with time, became too oppressive and suffocating.

Democracy cannot be cheap. At any rate, the alternative is catastrophic.

Secondly, and quite ominously, the push is driven by succession politics. Those seeking to ascend to power or rooting for self-preservation are pulling everyone else into the noise, which is unnecessary.

It is not lost on us that even as the calls grow louder, the Constitution has not been fully implemented.

Several provisions, like the gender equity law, have not come to pass. In other words, it is premature to contemplate constitutional changes.

Thirdly, the timing and circumstances are not right. A referendum is very explosive, more so when laced with succession politics.

The country is still reeling from rancorous elections last year that created deep divisions that are yet to heal.

It is injudicious to contemplate a referendum so soon. Not only will it raise temperatures, but also entrench divisions and create new fault lines. We cannot afford that.

This is the time for economic recovery, political reconciliation and forging social stability. Calls for referendum are premature as they only serve to divert attention from what matters to the citizens.


UN Emergency Fund allocates US$80 million to support underfunded crises

(New York, 1 October 2018): The Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) has finalised allocations totalling $80 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for humanitarian response to some of the UN’s least well-funded 2018 response plans across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The decision confirms provisional allocations the ERC made earlier in the year. The funds will sustain and scale up aid operations across 9 countries, providing support to approximately 2.8 million people displaced by internal or international conflict or suffering from food security or health crises. Funds will be allocated to UN agencies who will be responsible for implementing agreed programmes.

In confirming the allocations, the ERC said: “I am extremely grateful to all our donors, who have already contributed $422 million for CERF in 2018. While two thirds of CERF resources are used to deal with new or escalating crises during the year, the remainder is dedicated to improving funding for many of the UN’s least well-funded humanitarian programmes. This year we are allocating more than previously from the CERF to underfunded crises – and we can only do that because our donors voluntarily and generously provide us with the necessary resources”.

Approximately half the resources under these allocations will be allocated to programmes in Sudan and to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Commenting on these allocations, the ERC said: “The plight of the Rohingya refugees, and the exceptional generosity of Bangladesh in hosting them, has unfortunately not attracted as generous an international response so far in 2018 as we would have liked. The UN appeal for 2018 is currently less than 25% funded. I hope this new CERF allocation will prompt further consideration from other donors of additional funding. On Sudan, I was struck visiting Khartoum and South Kordofan in May at the scale of humanitarian need, among host communities, among displaced people but also among the refugee populations, largely from South Sudan and the growing gap between lifesaving needs and the resources available to meet them. Sudan has been generous in its approach to receiving people fleeing from South Sudan and it is important that it does not have to bear this burden alone, not least given the number of Sudan’s own citizens who need humanitarian assistance.”

This second round brings the total allocations from CERF’s underfunded emergencies window in 2018 to US$180 million – the highest annual amount ever allocated to underfunded crises since the fund’s inception in 2005. As the UN and humanitarian partners work tirelessly to assist the most vulnerable, and with the humanitarian funding gap growing year after year, it is vital that resources are available for future life-saving response. In addition to the allocations for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Sudan, which account for $38million of the $80 million now allocated, other, smaller, allocations have been made for needs in seven additional countries: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Libya, the Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 as a global fund ‘for all, by all’ CERF is a critical enabler of effective, timely and life-saving humanitarian action, helping frontline partners on the ground to kick start or reinforce emergency activities. Since its inception, the fund has assisted hundreds of millions of people with more than $5 billion across 100 countries and territories due to the generous and consistent support from its donors.

For further information, please contact:
Jessica Bowers Kiyanja, CERF secretariat: bowers@un.org


Reed slams US team selection after Ryder rout

By AFP
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Patrick Reed has criticised the leadership of the United States’ Ryder Cup team in the wake of their thrashing by Europe.

In comments reported by the New York Times on Monday, Reed slammed the decision to split up his previously successful partnership with Jordan Spieth and suggested that “egos” had scuppered the US challenge in France.

The USA were thrashed 17.5 to 10.5 on Sunday, ensuring that the long wait for an American victory on European soil would continue.

As Europe basked in the afterglow of victory, however, Reed took aim at the “buddy system” which he claimed influenced the US loss.

The 28-year-old Masters champion said he had wanted to play with Spieth but saw his wishes go ignored.

“The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” Reed told the Times.

“I don’t have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me, as long as it works and sets up the team for success.

“He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done.”

Spieth, 25, was paired with close friend Justin Thomas, and they went 3-1 while Reed went 0-2 in two outings with Tiger Woods.

Reed was left out of the pairings in the Friday and Saturday afternoon sessions by captain Jim Furyk.

“For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice,” Reed complained.

Reed said the Americans had failed to take heed of their own inspirational messages pinned up in the team room.

“Every day, I saw ‘Leave your egos at the door,'” Reed said. In a reference to the victorious Europeans, he added: “They do that better than us.”


Madrid star left out of CSKA trip

By AFP
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Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has been rested for the Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow because of fears of burnout, coach Julen Lopetegui said Monday.

“Sergio Ramos didn’t come because he’s played more than any other player in the league and he has to keep some energy in reserve for the rest of the season,” Lopetegui explained at a press conference.

“That’s all it is, simply management,” he added. “He’s not here in Moscow because I made the decision.”

Madrid, who have won the past three Champions League titles, started this campaign with a 3-0 win over Roma.

They will face CSKA also without Welsh winger Gareth Bale, who was left out by Lopetegui having suffered a thigh injury in a scoreless draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Lopetegui, who was sacked as boss of Spain on the eve of the World Cup in Russia, will also be without Isco (appendicitis) and Marcelo (calf).


Guardiola says Manchester City face 'five finals' in Europe

By AFP
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HEIDELBERG

Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City side effectively face the first of “five finals” in the Champions League group stages at Hoffenheim on Tuesday following defeat in their opening game.

City’s 2-1 loss to Lyon in Manchester a fortnight ago meant they arrived in Germany desperate for a win over Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, who are hosting their first ever Champions League home match.

“We have five finals now. We lost the first game, so now we must win each one — tomorrow is the first final,”

Guardiola said when asked about the Lyon defeat.

“Maybe we need to suffer a bit.

“It (the Champions League) is a top quality level competition, each team is so good and it makes things complicated.

“We weren’t so good against Lyon in the first half.

“Since I have been here, we have always qualified comfortably (for the knock-out stages) and maybe this shows what a tough competition it is.”

Kevin de Bruyne trained with the City team before they left Manchester on Monday, for the first time since suffering a knee injury in August, but the Hoffenheim game comes too soon for the Belgium playmaker.

Guardiola will be back on the touchline again after serving a ban for the Lyon game following his sending off in last season’s quarter-final defeat to Liverpool.

“I prefer to be on closer to my players, rather than in the stands,” he said at a press conference in Heidelberg, neat Hoffenheim.

The Spaniard poured praise on opposite number Julian Nagelsmann, 31, the youngest coach in Champions League history, who counts Guardiola as one his inspirations.

Nagelsmann took charge aged just 29 in February 2016 and has steered Hoffenheim from the brink of relegation to the Champions League inside two years.

“We are in contact through other people, I am really impressed, he took over Hoffenheim in a bad situation and every year he is getting better,” said Guardiola.

“Tomorrow is the first time his team will face mine and I am looking forward to it.

“He is only 31 and already managing a team in a good competition, I am happy to see a manager of his quality to produce some nice football and he will have a good career.”


Botswana-based Choppies snaps up Uchumi’s Rongai space

By DOREEN WAINAINAH
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Botswana retailer Choppies is expanding to Ongata Rongai, taking over the space previously occupied by Uchumi Supermarkets.

Choppies will be joining Tuskys, Tumaini and Cleanshelf in the race to capture the populous Rongai as part of its Kenya expansion plan.

In its second half for 2017 results, the retailer indicated that it would invest Sh237 million ($2.27 million) on new Kenyan stores.

Uchumi’s branch in the town was shut down following a Sh21 million default on rent.

Choppies also opened a new store in at South Field Mall in Embakasi, Nairobi and plans another in Kiambu Mall, on the outskirts of the capital city, taking up space that was previously meant for Nakumatt.

The retailer has also put up ‘coming soon’ signs in Nanyuki as it eyes the space that hosted Nakumatt, before the latter was evicted from Cedar Mall.

Choppies’ move to replace Uchumi replicates similar actions by Naivas, Carrefour and Tuskys who have stepped in to occupy spaces from which the financially-strapped retail chains Nakumatt and Uchumi have been kicked out.

The spirited entry into Kenya by multinational chain stores is stiffening competition, pitting new players against the local family-owned retailers.

The South Africa and Botswana-Choppies in March last year said it would spend $2.5 million (about Sh250 million) in refurbishing the eight branches of Ukwala Supermarkets, which it took over in December 2016.

It currently has 12 stores in Kenya.

One time leader Nakumatt, now in administration, and cash-strapped Uchumi, have shut several of their branches in Nairobi while Tusky’s, with 63 stores, recently shut its Sheikh Karume branch in Nairobi.

Naivas has 45 outlets.

Choppies managed to enter the Kenyan market through acquisition of Ukwala Supermarkets in 2016 after a Sh946 million claim by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had earlier halted the deal.