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About 2.2 million Somalis facing severe food insecurity as drought conditions worsen

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Between July and September 2019, 2.2 million people, almost 18 percent of the total population, are expected to face severe food insecurity.

The projected food insecure caseload is 40 percent higher than the estimate at the beginning of 2019, as drought conditions are severely affecting crop and livestock production and disrupting livelihoods.

Household resilience has been undermined by recurrent climatic shocks, overstretched social support networks and declining humanitarian assistance.

Urgent life saving and livelihood support, including cash and food assistance, are needed to prevent a further worsening of the current humanitarian situation.

In southern key cropping areas, the establishment and development of “Gu” (April-June) season crops, to be harvested in July 2019 and accounting for about 60 percent of the country’s total annual cereal output, have been severely impacted by drought conditions in April and early May.

In the Lower Shabelle Region, which on average accounts for more than 60 percent of the total maize “Gu” output, severe dryness prevailed so far, with scattered below-average rains received only in late April and early May. Vegetation conditions are very poor and, according to FAO’s Agricultural Stress Index (ASI), severe drought conditions are currently affecting between 45 and more than 85 percent of the cropland. In the “sorghum belt” of Bay Region, which on average accounts for about 55 percent of the total sorghum “Gu” output, rains started in the third dekad of April with a delay of more than two weeks and cumulative seasonal precipitations have been so far about 60 percent below average. Here, drought is now affecting 25-55 percent of the cropland. Severe dryness prevailed also in other cropping areas, including the “cowpea belt” in Middle Shabelle, Galgadud and Mudug regions, where cowpea is intercropped with sorghum and 25-85 percent of the cropland is currently affected by severe drought, according to ASI.

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In addition, very low water levels in the Shabelle and Juba rivers affected the irrigation of the maize crops in riverine areas. As of late April, according to the FAO Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU)

Somalia and FEWS NET, proper germination occurred only in less than one-third of the area planted to cereals. Precipitations in April and early May are crucial for the performance of the “Gu” crops as, in southern Somalia, they account for more than 50 percent of the cumulative seasonal rains. Rainfall for the remainder of the season, forecast at near-average to average levels, is therefore not expected to significantly improve crop prospects and, according to FSNAU and FEWS NET, the aggregate “Gu” output is forecast to be 40-50 percent below average. The poor 2019 “Gu” harvest would be the second consecutive season with a reduced cereal production, as the 2018/19 “Deyr” harvest, gathered last January, was more than 20 percent below the average due to inadequate precipitations.

Southern agro-pastoral areas and central and northern pastoral areas have been severely affected by the cumulative impact of poor 2018 October-December “Deyr” rains, followed by a harsh January-March 2019 “Jilaal” dry season and by severe dryness during April and early May. Southern Lower Juba, Middle Juba, Gedo and Bakool regions received below-average rains only in late April, while most central and northern regions received almost no precipitations. As a result, rangeland conditions are very poor, widespread pasture and water shortages are reported, and livestock body conditions have declined to poor levels. In central and northern regions, severe animal emaciation prevails and drought-induced livestock diseases, abortions and deaths are reported in central Galgadud and in northern Bari and Sanaag regions. In these areas, herders are unable to provide feed and water for their animals and are culling offspring to save milk-producing females.

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Early depletion of cereal stocks, declining employment opportunities and low wage rates in crop-producing areas, shortages of livestock products in pastoral areas, heightened conflict and a reduction in humanitarian assistance since early 2019 are resulting in a sharp deterioration of the food security situation in Somalia. According to FSNAU and FEWS NET, about 2.2 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”) between July and September 2019. This figure represents almost 18 percent of the total population and is more than 40 percent higher than the estimate of food insecure people at the beginning of 2019. The areas with the highest levels of food insecurity are central Galgadud and Mudug regions and northern Nugal, Bari, Sool, Sanag, Awdal and Woogoyi Glbeed regions, where IPC Phase 4: “Emergency” levels are expected to prevail.

A deterioration of the nutritional status is also of major concern. In several central and northern areas, the nutrition situation worsened from “Alert” (Global Acute Malnutrition, GAM 5-9.9 percent) to “Serious” (GAM 10-14.9 percent), while in the southern Bay region it deteriorated from “Serious” (GAM 10-14.9 percent) to “Critical” (GAM 15-29.9 percent). In addition, abnormal increases in admissions of acutely malnourished children to therapeutic feeding centers have been reported in several districts of Galgadud, Hiran, Middle Shabelle regions and in the capital, Mogadishu. Recurrent climatic shocks during the last several years, particularly the extended impact of the 2016/17 drought, have undermined households’ resilience and social support networks have become overstretched.

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The humanitarian situation in Somalia is extremely critical and an urgent scaling up of life saving and livelihood support, including cash and food assistance, is needed to prevent a further worsening of the current humanitarian situation.

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Makinde flags off construction of ultra-modern local govt service commission secretariat

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Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Friday, flagged off the construction of the office complex for the Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board, noting that those opposed to the project would be silenced when they see the outcome.

 

Governor Makinde, who maintained that the state government has commenced a gradual rehabilitation of the secretariat complex which, he said, had been left to degenerate over the years, added that the process would not abate until the entire structure was given the desired face-lift.

 

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying these while unveiling the 3D design for the office complex.

 

The governor maintained that the idea of the office complex came from the Local Government Service Commission itself, while he also noted that in 11 months when the project would be completed, opposition members criticizing the government would be silenced.

 

He said: “It is my pleasure to be here today to flag off the office complex for the Local Government Service Commission and the Local Government Pension Board.

 

This was not my idea but that of the Permanent Secretary of Local Government Service Commission.

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“We thought we should lay our own foundation and start a campaign of regenerating the secretariat. Oyo State had the opportunity of having the very first modern secretariat then and, several years later, it is still those structures that we keep seeing. They were not even renovating them, they were just painting the exterior, only.

 

“We did not do anything for the 100 days in office of this administration but, much later, we released 15million Naira to each ministry to renovate their offices. And I am glad, indeed, that the Secretariat is wearing a new look, not only from the outside but even from the inside. Renovation work is also going on at the Governor’s Office.

 

“In about 11 months, we will be coming back here to commission the edifice. So, I thank the chairmen and chairpersons of the local government areas and the local council development areas, because everybody came together to buy into the vision. And by that your singular action, we were able to raise a substantial amount that is needed for the construction of this structure.

 

“Where I was coming from, we played a little bit of politics but this is governance. When we initially came up with this idea, some people said we were taking money from the government’s purse. I think they will shut their mouths permanently in another 11 months.

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“I congratulate the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Pension Board. It is your idea and baby and we will support you to see to its completion.”

 

In their separate speeches, the chairman of the Oyo State Local Government Service Commission/Local Government Staff Pension Board, Honourable Aderemi Ayodele, and the secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Oyo State Council, Comrade Olusegun Abatan, described the flag off of the office complex as historic.

 

Abatan, who praised Governor Makinde for seeing to the payment of about N5 billion in gratuities to retired workers of Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals,  said that Makinde’s administration was purposeful.

According to him, the administration has so far paid  N1.98 billion to retirees of primary schools while local government retires have got about N3.2 billion.”

 

While speaking, Ayodele commended Makinde for granting the approval to begin work on the office complex, noting that the governor has restored the glory of the local government service commission and pension board through training and retraining.

 

He said that his commission and its pension board had been tenants in the Water Corporation Building for 40 years without any administration deeming it worthy to construct an office complex.

 

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He further stated that in the last one year, the administration, apart from paying 100 per cent pensions to retirees, has been releasing N274 million monthly for the payment of gratuities of retired Primary School teachers and Local Government staff.

 

He noted that so far, the sum of N3.5 billion has been paid as gratuities to retirees by the administration, noting that the efforts of the Makinde government have culminated in the socio-economic development being witnessed in the state.

 

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COVID-19: SON moves to harmonise locally produced ventilators to meet global standards

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Wednessday disclosed that it has begun harmonising the production of ventilators developed across the country to conform with the international standards toward containing COVID-19 pandemic.

SON’s Director-General, Osita Aboloma, made this disclosure in a statement in Lagos, following the unveiling of locally manufactured ventilators produced by Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro in Ogun.

SON’s DG, who was represented  by its Ogun Office 1 Coordinator, Mr Jerome Umoru, was at the unveiling.

SON urged various inventors to ensure compliance with ISO 5080601/2/12/3020 and Medical Electrical Equipment part 11 for clinical care.

He noted that adherence to the standard will ensure ease during the process of conformity assessment and product certification.

He stressed  that the certification of locally produced ventilators, air purifiers and hand sanitiser machines would put the nation in its pride of place globally.

“We are partnering with the institute in ensuring that various machines produced in the country meet the required standards so as not to end up in the shelves,” Aboloma said.

He also added that the standards body of the unification was also aimed at saving the nation’s foreign exchange spent on importation of ventilators to fights against COVID-19.

Aboloma advised private sector investment in such innovations to enable inventors to go through the next stages of clinical trials and obtain the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) mark.

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He reiterated SON’s support toward sustaining local production of essential materials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through quality assurance.

“In our efforts to address the ongoing pandemic, we have diligently assigned officers to inspect the ventilators and alcohol-based hand sanitisers under production.

“We have one common standard for each product. We want to ensure that what we are producing meets the standard and once it does, we will certify it.

“We will also continue to monitor activities so that they do not rest on their oars in producing quality goods.

“I have presented a copy of the Standard to the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, and it is the ‘golden rule,” he said.

SON promised that the moment the institute was able to meet the basic parameter on requirements, certification of the innovations would be fast tracked.

“SON is ready to partner with all technical institutions, especially those involved in the production of life saving equipment and materials at this time.

“This is so that their products will meet minimum requirements of the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS), and undergo certification under the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) scheme,” he said.

The SON director-general revealed that in no distant time, consumers would be empowered through product authentication scheme to determine the quality and conformance of products at the point of purchase.

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He said that those without necessary certifications would be rejected.

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Just In: Makinde distributes palliatives to persons living with disabilities

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Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Wednesday distributed palliatives to persons living with disabilities in the state, declaring that his administration will ensure that they are not short-changed in the scheme of things.

The governor, who stated this at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan during the distribution of palliatives to PWDs, maintained that pretenders and impersonators will never again be allowed to take what rightly belongs to PWDs in the state.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the distribution of palliatives to PWDs is the third phase of the palliatives distribution in the state, with the state having distributed palliatives to 90,000 poorest of the poor households as well as the distribution of seedlings, herbicides, pesticides  and other farm inputs to 10,000 farmers in the first and second phases.

In his speech, the governor reiterated his promise to set up an agency for persons with disabilities, noting that his administration has not forgotten its commitment in that regard.

He added that the agency will be in place before the administration’s second anniversary in office.

He said: “When I walked in here this morning, I thought of the pictures in my archive. We have all met. We have all taken pictures together. So, you are not new to me and I am not new to you. It is just the continuation of the relationship that we started, even before I became the governor of this state.

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“The bottom line is that, before now, we went into the records and we saw that every time you say you are putting up a programme for the people living with disabilities, you only have 20 per cent of the data being correctly presented. About 80 per cent will just be able-bodied people taking benefits that belong to the people living with disabilities. But we have been able to crack that and solve it. So, never again will pretenders or impersonators in Oyo State take what rightly belongs to people with disabilities.

“When we said they should bring names of persons living with disabilities for them to be included in the administration at the local level, some people thought we would not check. So, they brought the names of able-bodied people. We called and asked around and discovered that it was the names of able-bodied people that were submitted. So, we removed their names.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank you for your support during the election and the present administration. We made promises during the electioneering and promised to involve you in every facet of this administration and we are on that path.

“This is the third phase of palliatives distribution. The first stage is for the poorest of the poor amongst us. We distributed palliatives just like this to 90,000 households. Some who are farmers called me and said we should give them seedlings to increase their productivity when they get to their various farms. We listened to them and, in the second phase, we distributed seedlings to the farmers.

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“Now, this is the third phase, which is for the vulnerable within us and it will be for 30,000 households. So, we are flagging it off with yourselves because you are among the vulnerable in our society.”

Governor Makinde, who stated that he was aware that his promise to set up an agency for PWDs has not been fulfilled, said the promise will come to fruition, as he has kept a record of all the promises he made during the electioneering.

He implored the PWDs to continue to adhere to the directives of the Oyo State Task Force on COVID-19.

Speaking in the same vein, the Executive Adviser to the governor on Agribusiness, Dr. Debo Akande, said the event was a reflection of Governor Makinde’s commitment to ensuring equity and equality in the running of the state, adding that with the governor, all citizens and residents of the state are equal.

He maintained that the food security and emergency committee, which is in charge of palliatives distribution, did due diligence to ensure that all persons present at the event had their data checked and clarified.

 

 

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