Tag Archives: Uganda

EU allocates €3.5 million to Ebola emergency

As the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues, with the first cases emerging in neighbouring Uganda this week, the EU has announced further emergency funding of €3.5 million, of which €2.5 million is for Uganda and €1 million for South Sudan. The aid package will strengthen rapid detection and reaction to Ebola cases. Today’s funding comes on top of the EU support for the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevention and preparedness actions in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis management and EU Ebola coordinator said: “We are doing all we can to save lives and stop further Ebola cases. Today, our main task is not only to help the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also assist neighbouring countries like Uganda. Here, our funding is helping with surveillance, work with local communities, and boosting local capacities for these countries to take timely and effective action. We are committed to continue our assistance to bring this outbreak to an end, for as long as it takes.”

In co-ordination with other international donors and in line with the World Health Organization’s Regional Strategic Ebola Response and Preparedness Plans, EU funding is contributing towards measures that include mainly:

  • the strengthening of disease surveillance at community level, health facilities and points of entry (border crossing points);
  • the training of rapid response teams;
  • the training of healthcare and frontline workers on contact-tracing, infection prevention and control measures, psychosocial support, and safe and dignified burials;
  • local capacity-building by equipping medical treatment facilities; and
  • community awareness-raising.

EU humanitarian health experts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the region are coordinating the response and they are in daily contact with the health authorities in these countries, the World Health Organization and operational partners.

WHO declines Ebola global alert

In a controversial decision, the World Health Organization (WHO) has again declined to declare Africas latest Ebola outbreak global alert, although the desease has killed more than 1400 people and just crossed into a new country.

It was the view of the committee that the outbreak is a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region, but it does not meet all criteria,Preben Aavitsland, acting chair of an expert committee convened by WHO, said at a press conference  in Geneva, Switzerland.

The committee gathered for the third time after news emerged this week that the virus had spread from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to neighboring Uganda, so far claimed lives of two people there—a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother—who had crossed the border.

Many infectious disease experts and public officials had expected, and called for WHO to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) when Ebola broke out of the DRC.

*I’m baffled and deeply troubled by this decision,Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. “The status quo is no longer tenable. It is time to sound a global alert.”

Uganda kidnappers demand $500,000 ransom

An American citizen who was kidnapped with her driver at Uganda’s most popular wildlife park by gunmen had failed to take an armed ranger as required by the park’s regulations, a spokesperson for the wildlife authority said.

Four armed men in Uganda‘s Queen Elizabeth National Park. according to CNN have used the victim’s phone to demand $500,000 ransom.

We strongly believe this ransom is the reason behind the kidnap,” a police officer said to CNN TV channel. They were ambushed and kidnapped near Katoke Gate between 5 pm and 7 pm on April, 2. “Other four tourists who were left abandoned and unharmed later contacted the base (lodge) and were quickly got safely out of any danger,” a press release said.

The Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is Uganda’s most visited wildlife attraction.

Kimberley Sue Endecott (35), and Ugandan driver Jean Paul were on a game drive in the Park when four gunmen ambushed their vehicle in evening hours, police said. However, an elderly couple also at the scene were not taken and raised the alarm.

Militant groups as Somali Islamists or Congolese-based rebels operate in Uganda, but none of the group claimed responsibility for the armed incident. At present the regular crime is regarded as a privileged version of the assault.

There is ongoing police operation, however for the evident reasons, the details are not revealed.

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

Uganda women as “tourist attraction” scandal

The initiative proposed in Kampala, Uganda, by Tourism Minister Godfrey Kiwanda adds curvy and sexy women to the list of attractions for tourists. Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo says the tourism minister is “misguided” and has other options to use instead of women’s bodies.

The fascination by curves of African women is reminiscent of a two centuries old story of the ‘Hottentot Venus’ Sarah Baartman who was exhibited (1810) at a venue in London’s Piccadilly Circus after her arrival from Cape Town. “You have to remember that, at the time, it was highly fashionable and desirable for women to have large bottoms, so lots of people envied what she had naturally, without having to accentuate her figure,” said Rachel Holmes, author of ‘The Hottentot Venus: The Life and Death of Saartjie Baartman”.

BBC journalists arrested in Uganda

Police arrested a team of the BBC journalists in Uganda for illegal possession of prescription drugs, but the country’s government spokesman said the reporters had been helping to expose corruption, and demanded their immediate release.

Patrick Onyango, the police spokesman, said five suspects had been detained overnight. They included two Ugandans and one Kenyan, the wife of a local journalist from NBS Television who was working with them, and a driver.

Fourteen boxes of tablets had been seized, along with other vaccines.

Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the journalists had been cooperating with the State House Health Monitoring Unit to investigate the theft and sale of Ugandan government drugs in  South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I am yet to find out the logic why police arrested these journalists, who in my view were helping government to unearth the rot which is in the system,” said Opondo. “They should be released unconditionally.”

The BBC confirmed it was in contact with the authorities over the case.

AMENDED: 8/02/2019 

Uganda police frees BBC journalists arrested over possession of drugs.

EU programmes for Horn of Africa

The European Commission has adopted eleven new programmes for the Horn of Africa under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

 

“These new EU programmes, worth over €134 million in all, will help to create lasting solutions for refugees and internally displaced people, as well as support vulnerable host communities in a region that hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa – 4.5 million. Our existing programmes have already yielded substantial results, but the Trust Fund’s resources are quickly depleting. If we want to keep delivering, its resources have to be replenished.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said.

Six programmes, worth €65 million, have been approved to support the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This initiative is being piloted by several countries in the region; it helps refugee populations become self-sufficient and supports host communities.

  • In Djibouti, an €8 million programme will help integrate refugees into the country’s social protection systems, which cover health, education and employment rights.
  • In Kenya, a €17.8 million programme will boost asylum management, bolster economic self-reliance among refugees and host communities in Garissa County, and further support the development of the Kalobeyei settlement.
  • A €10 million programme in Sudan will fund educational support for refugee children, most of whom come from South Sudan.
  • A second programme, worth €3 million, will provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In Uganda, an €18 million programme will improve people’s access to reliable information, training and to the justice system, including legal aid, counselling services and mobile courts.
  • In Ethiopia and Uganda, an €8.2 million Urban Displacement Pilot will encourage regional exchanges of experience and expertise to tackle the rising challenge of urban displacement.

Four national programmes have also been approved.

  • A new programme in Ethiopia worth €33.5 million will make households, communities and local authorities better equipped to manage, respond and adapt to disasters like drought and conflict.
  • In Sudan we are working to link humanitarian and development activities closer together to respond better to protracted crises. A €10 million programme will support forcibly displaced people and host communities in West Kordofan, building on the Commission’s existing humanitarian activities.
  • Another €15 million programme will address nutrition and food security issues in Sudan’s Red Sea State.
  • In South Sudan, a €5 million programme will contribute towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in the country.

Last but not least, a new €5 million regional programme will make better use of financial investigation and anti-money laundering tools to disrupt human trafficking and smuggling networks.

Two existing programmes have received additional funds: The Research and Evidence Facility will receive an additional €2.5 million, and an extra €3 million will be channelled into budget support for Somalia.

The total number of programmes adopted since December 2015 for the Horn of Africa region now comes to 69, with an overall value of €1.28 billion.

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