Our Perspective

      • Cote d’Ivoire: Working towards recovery

        28 Sep 2011

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        Internally Displaced Persons in Côte d'Ivoire. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

        Since re-opening the UNDP office in Côte d’Ivoire some four months ago, we have been working together with NGOs along the western border with Liberia, assisting recently-returned internally displaced people who had moved following a political crisis triggered by the disputed December 2010 election. More than 20,000 people now have better access to water through rehabilitated water pumps and water treatment of 100 wells. Almost 5,000 youth are engaged in some UNDP-supported income-generating activity related to agricultural processing, small trading initiatives, among others. In addition to reintegrating hundreds of thousands of displaced people, Ivoirians face other urgent challenges, including rebuilding trust among the population, and restoring security and rule of law. The economy, historically one of West Africa’s strongest, was also disrupted. The government, the UN and other local partners cannot do it alone, and the gaps are huge. As of 22 September, the Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan for Côte d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries affected by the crisis is funded at 28 per cent with some US$81 million contributed against a total requirement of US$ 291 million. Going forward UNDP’s main focus will be to support the government to restore security and institutions of governance, and find ways to generate jobsRead More

      • Drought in Kenya: Current Crisis Calls for Long-term Solutions

        25 Aug 2011

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        A Somali woman holds a malnourished child, waiting for medical assistance. Somalia and Kenya are two of the most affected countries by the drought in the Horn of Africa. UN Photo/Stuart Price

        Only minutes after our take-off from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, the landscape below us starts changing from lush green to arid brown and yellow, seemingly devoid of life. We are heading to the dry rural regions of Wajir and Turkana in northern Kenya. With me on board are the World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran and the Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf. We set out to hear directly from those most affected by the unfortunate drought and famine unfolding in the region. Kenya has been hit especially hard by the crisis, with a food-insecure population of more than 3.5 million due to the drought. One farmer reports that in his village, close to the three-way border shared with Ethiopia and Somalia, it has not rained for almost two years and that there have been no harvests at all since 2009. Most families and communities in Wajir rely on goats and cattle for their survival, but with the severity and duration of the crisis, their livelihoods are now threatened. The people we meet during our tour are tough, and so is their livestock. But we can tell they have reached the limit of what they can take. Sadly, this crisisRead More

      • The Epicentre of a Crisis

        09 Aug 2011

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        Humanitarian aid workers are working hard to assist the IDPs through the distribution of corn-soya blend to assist the malnourished children as well as the elderly. (Photo: OCHA/Abdi Noor Yussuf)

        Almost two million Somalis have left their homes in search of food and tens of thousands have died from hunger.  And the numbers continue to rise. I went to Dollow on the Somali side of the Ethiopian border to see for myself what was happening. What I saw and heard was alarming. About 150 families a day were arriving and all of them told the same story. They were running out of resources and knew they could not survive much longer. They had walked for three to four weeks, often leaving relatives too weak to follow by the roadside. After my trip we began to collate the information and the latest round of surveys was horrifying. In some areas over 50% of children were classified as being acutely malnourished— these are globally unprecedented figures. The mortality figures were just as grim with four to five children under five years-old per 10,000 dying each day. The declaration of famine was not a decision taken lightly and demonstrates the severity and urgency of the crisis. The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was asked to validate the findings.   In the next few weeks other areas of southern Somalia will slide intoRead More