UN funds deficit stalls urgent food aid to Guinea Bissau

Updated 27 March 2013

UN funds deficit stalls urgent food aid to Guinea Bissau

GENEVA: The United Nations said yesterday that it had been forced to delay desperately-needed food aid to nearly 300,000 people in Guinea Bissau since it so far had received no donations to support the operation.
“The assistance was due to start on March 1, 2013, but operations are stalled because, so far, (we have) not received any donor support for the operation,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN’s World Food Program, told reporters in Geneva.
The WFP was urgently seeking $ 7.1 million to provide food and nutrition aid to 278,000 people across the troubled west African nation this year, “including young mothers and children at increased risk of malnutrition,” she said.
“But we can’t buy food without paying for it,” she said.
The country is considered one of the world’s poorest, with a full 69 percent of the 1.6 million inhabitants living on less than two dollars a day, and 33 percent living on less than one dollar, Byrs said.
A coup last April caused further turmoil in the country, which has suffered chronic instability since independence from Portugal in 1974 due to conflict between the army and state.
No president has ever completed a full term in office.
“Over the past few years, Guinea Bissau... has suffered a series of shocks resulting in a worsened food and nutrition situation for many vulnerable people,” she said, pointing out that the situation had gone downhill after a recent poor harvest of cashew nuts, the country’s main export good.
“Many households have no choice but to sell their livestock and other essential assets to put food on the family table,” she said.
Byrs said a full six percent of the country’s population was suffering from acute malnutrition, with the rate rising to eight percent in some regions.
The WFP aims to provide meals to 85,000 children through school feeding programs, including take-home rations to girls to help boost their access to schooling, she said.
It also wants to provide food supplements to some 5,000 malnourished children under the age of five and for 1,960 malnourished pregnant women and new mothers, she said
In 2012, the UN agency reached 211,300 people through school feeding, health and nutrition and community projects using food assistance in exchange for labor, she said.


Global civil unrest and violence in quarter of countries in 2019, expected to rise in 2020: Report

Updated 27 min 2 sec ago

Global civil unrest and violence in quarter of countries in 2019, expected to rise in 2020: Report

  • Identified Sudan as most troubled and “extreme risk” country in the world
  • According to the report, 2019’s biggest flashpoint locations were Hong Kong and Chile

LONDON: Nearly a quarter of the world’s nations witnessed a rise in unrest and violence in 2019 with the figure expected to rise in 2020, according to a study released earlier this week.
Verisk Maplecroft, a socio-economic and political analysis company, said in its index of global civil unrest that 47 of the world’s 195 countries were affected and that the number could hit 75 in the year ahead.
The UK-based consultancy firm identified Sudan as the most troubled and “extreme risk” country in the world, which had previously been held by Yemen.
According to the report, 2019’s biggest flashpoint locations were Hong Kong and Chile and neither is expected to be “at peace” for at least two years its researchers claim.
“The reasons for the surge in violent unrest are complex and diverse. In Hong Kong, protests erupted in June 2019 over a proposed bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China, However, the root cause of discontent has been the rollback of civil and political rights since 1997,” the firm said.

“In Chile, protests have been driven by income inequality and high living costs but were triggered by a seemingly trivial 30-peso (USD0.04) increase in the price of metro tickets,” it added.
Other countries now considered hotbeds unrest include Lebanon, Nigeria and Bolivia. Asia and Africa are disproportionately represented with countries such as Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe also coming under the “extreme risk” label.
Since authoritarian leader Omar Al-Bashir was overthrown in April, Sudan was gripped by protests, violence and killings as armed forces battled democracy supporters for control of the new government.
The index predicts that a further 28 countries examined will see a “deterioration in stability,” suggesting that nearly 40% of all countries will witness disruption and unrest at some point in 2020.
Ukraine, Guinea Bissau and Tajikistan are all expected to see the sharpest rises in unrest, but the report highlights growing concern in the world’s biggest and most powerful countries as well.

Countries identified include the hugely influential nations of Russia, China, Turkey, Brazil and Thailand.
Maplecroft says there will be increased pressure on global firms to exercise corporate responsibility, especially those in countries “rich in natural resources where mining and energy projects often need high levels of protection.”
“However, companies are at substantial danger of complicity if they employ state or private security forces that perpetrate violations,” the report added.