Daily Archives: April 13, 2017

UN: Cholera Spreading in Drought-stricken Somalia

GENEVA � United Nations and international aid agencies warn that cholera is spreading in drought-stricken Somalia as hunger grips that nation and the threat of famine inches closer.

The World Health Organization reports more than 21,000 cases of cholera, including 533 deaths, in Somalia since the beginning of the year.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also reports that an outbreak of the deadly disease in the self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland has killed 28 people in just the last week-and-a-half, and hospitalized nearly 170 others.

Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says the case fatality rate of cholera in Somalia is about 2.3 percent, with an emergency threshold of 1 percent. He says two regions, Middle Juba and Bakool, exceed those rates.

“We have accumulative case fatality rates of Middle Juba, 14.1 percent and in Bakool, 5.1 percent. So, at least in one area, Middle Juba, 14 times the emergency threshold,” he said.

The United Nations reports 6.2 million people, more than half of Somalia’s population, urgently need humanitarian assistance. Of these, 2.9 million are suffering from extreme hunger.

Laerke tells VOA that many of those desperately needy people have been reached with aid, but many have not.

“Clearly, if we do not reach them for whichever reason, given that we are providing life-saving assistance, I think there should be no doubt that people will die; particularly, children are extremely vulnerable. Things such as cholera/acute watery diarrhea are killers of kids,” he said.

Cholera causes acute watery diarrhea.

Separately, Laerke says, measles is once again threatening young children. He says more than 3,800 suspected cases have been reported across the country this year, and the disease appears to be on an upward trend.

Source: Voice of America

South Africa: Radio Stations Instructed to Play Birthday Song for Zuma

The DA has learnt that various public radio stations, including Ukhozi FM, Phalaphala FM, Ikwekwezi FM and Ligwalagwala FM, have received instructions “from above” to play a special happy birthday song for the President’s birthday today.In light of the…

Western Cape tallies agriculture fire damages

Cape Town � The Western Cape provincial government has put the fire damage price tag caused by devastating fires, which ripped through the agricultural sector this year, at just under R200 million.

The provincial Department of Agriculture conducted a survey of 79 farms to assess the impact of the fires, which swept through parts of the province. The estimation was drawn from questionnaires distributed by the department to local farmers.

Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said damages of R192.3 million were reported in the Hessequa and George regions in the Southern Cape.

In total, we received feedback from 79 farms. The data shows that infrastructure, crops, livestock, natural vegetation, grazing, fencing and water pipelines have been destroyed, MEC Winde said.

The information received indicated that about R22 million worth of damages was not covered by insurance, including damage to grazing, fences, pipe lines, watering points for animals and irrigation systems.

The region’s agriculture sector is already under pressure in terms of fodder for grazing due to the ongoing drought gripping the province.

The fire damage adds to this burden and farmers will have to purchase additional fodder where there has been significant damage to grazing. This will have to continue until the rains start and the veld has recovered. Added to this is the cost of replacing infrastructure such as farm buildings, fences and watering points for animal and irrigation systems, MEC Winde said.

According to the MEC, the department’s Sustainable Resource Management Programme was allocated R86 million in the current financial year, in part to assist with disaster management in the agriculture sector.

The Sustainable Resource Management Programme works with farmers to reduce the risk of damage in the case of a disaster. In terms of fires, this includes regular clearing of alien vegetation to limit the spread of fires, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

DEBATE ON MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE IN SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT POSTPONED PENDING COURT RULING

CAPE TOWN, April 13 (NNN-SABC) — The debate on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma has been postponed by the South African Parliament until the Constitutional Court decides whether votin gon the motion should be conducted by secret ballo…