Currents

Horn of Africa Crisis Update (December 2011)

Our October 2011 issue highlighted the famine crisis as a result of the drought in the Horn of Africa. Below are the most current updates:

On Friday, November 18, FEWS NET and the UN/FSNAU released updated data and analysis on the crisis in the Horn of Africa. The latest information, which is based on retrospective data collected in October 2011, is less dire than previously projected by FEWS NET. These improvements are largely driven by humanitarian assistance, which has significantly improved household food access. Humanitarian assistance also contributes to sharp drops in food prices, which nonetheless remain above average.

This latest report is expected to state that food security conditions have improved throughout southern Somalia. In the regions of Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shabelle, food security classification has improved from Famine (Phase 5) to Emergency (Phase 4). In the Middle Shabelle region and the IDP areas in Mogadishu and Afgoye, conditions have improved but remain classified as Famine. While the number of people at risk of starvation has dropped, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance will remain at 3 million through March 2012.

With a decline in the level of international assistance and/or new disruptions to humanitarian access or trade, famine conditions could reappear. Moreover, mortality will remain high over the next six months, driven by disease prevalence such as measles, diarrhea, and malaria.

NOTE: This new FEWS/FSNAU data was collected prior to the Kenyan military’s initiative to jointly pursue al-Shabaab militants with the Somalia Transitional Federal Government

USAID Disaster Assistance: Thailand

USAID has made a second contribution to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to aid in the delivery of disaster relief equipment to Bangkok. Seasonal high tides, tropical storms, and monsoons have resulted in massive flooding in the Thai capital, killing 533 people and leaving thousands homeless and living in shelters.

“IOM will use this new funding to procure more boats, outboards, pumps, generators, water purification units and life vests to help Thailand to respond to this ongoing disaster,” says IOM Thailand Chief of Mission, Monique Filsnoel.

Widespread flooding and landslides make it difficult to evacuate a city of 12 million, and conflicts over where to channel the flood water persist. The floods have resulted in millions of acres of destroyed farmland, rendered nearly one million residents jobless, and destroyed public buildings and infrastructure

Intermittent Rice Irrigation (IRI) for Malaria Control in Peru

The Amazon Malaria Initiative (AMI) is a seven country regional program in the Amazon Basin implemented in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname with the support of the USAID. AMI was launched in 2001 with the overall goal of preventing and controlling malaria in the Amazon Basin.

As a result of the AMI program, as of November 2011, there was a 50 percent reduction in malaria incidents in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname, and some countries have even seen about a 90 percent reduction in malaria cases. For the past 10 years, the AMI has been administering new medical and agricultural treatments to help mitigate, diminish, and prevent cases of malaria in all seven countries. Despite a recent decline in prevalence, malaria continued to pose a significant public health threat in Peru, with an estimated 26 percent of Peru’s population in the coast and jungles at moderate to high ecological risk of transmission. Because of this, introducing intermittent rice irrigation (IRI) was feasible from economic, agricultural, and social standpoints. With IRI, flooded and dry periods in rice pads are alternated, reducing mosquito populations and ultimately, malaria transmission. IRI has many benefits, namely reduction in mosquito larvae, higher rice yields, decreased water consumption, increased availability of water for drinking, preservation of soil fertility, and it provides an alternative to chemical-based agricultural methods.

With its first successes in the Piura region of Peru, IRI has recently been implemented in four more Peruvian regions that have since reported positive results like those in Piura

USAID and Procter & Gamble Partnership Ensures Clean and Safe Drinking Water during Emergencies in Central America

Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program and USAID’s 4th Sector Health project have formed an alliance to improve access to clean and safe drinking water during emergencies in Central America. The alliance has pre-positioned P&G’s PUR® Purifier of Water in disaster-prone communities in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The Alliance was launched in Managua, Nicaragua, on March 22, 2010, United Nations World Water Day. Since then, alliance results include a total of 7,118 families living in disaster-prone areas received PUR® supply and information on negative effects of consuming unsafe water, appropriate water treatment, usage and storage, and related hygiene promotion topics, such as hand washing.

In October 2011, Central America was hit by heavy rain, causing widespread flooding. In Guatemala, the national emergency management agency, CONRED, reported more than 47,000 people affected by the rain, including 11,000 evacuated from their homes. Since the flooding, CRS has reported that the communities that had prepositioned PUR® under this alliance were using the product to ensure safe drinking water. The alliance partners are currently exploring ways to ensure a sustained supply of PUR® for future emergencies in the country.

WASH Success in Guatemala

For over five years, USAID has been assisting vulnerable rural families in obtaining access to potable water through a variety of programs. In FY 2011, the Multisector Alliance Program – funded with USAID resources and funds leveraged from the National Association of Coffee in Guatemala – forged a number of public-private partnerships to address this issue. As a result, USAID funded the distribution of 5,000 filters to families without access to clean water. In addition to distributing the filters, USAID also ensured their correct use and maintenance through supporting home monitoring visits to the beneficiaries. The combination of the filter distribution and education regarding proper usage of the filters subsequently led to nine million liters of water being disinfected.

According to testimonies from the beneficiaries, water-borne diseases have been reduced. “In the past, we didn’t drink water; what we drank all the time was coffee,” said Yolanda González Vásquez. “Every time my family and I drank water, we’d get a stomachache, while coffee didn’t do that to us, as it was always made with boiled water. Once we got the filter, we started drinking water as it is clear, clean and fresh and no longer gives us a stomachache.”

Reports from the project show that as a result of using the filters to treat water for consumption and meal/beverage preparation, cases of diarrhea decreased from three per household per month to one per household per month. By reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases that are caused by ingesting contaminated water, this activity also addresses one of the causes of chronic malnutrition in children – the poor absorption of nutrients because of diarrheal disease, helping to achieve USAID’s goal of reducing chronic malnutrition in children under five. In addition, the Coffee Foundation, through a social behavior change communications program, has carried out extensive education and communication campaigns on key interventions such as hand washing to reduce high rates of diarrheal diseases in children. These interventions were being implemented in the area of the country known as the ‘Dry Corridor,’ the region most affected by droughts and reporting most of the cases of acute malnutrition.

Briefing: Increasing Access to Water and Sanitation: Building on Success for Greater Aid Effectiveness

Today, nearly 900 million people lack access to an improved source of drinking water and 2.6 billon people do not have access to improved sanitation. With the large amount of assistance needed and the forthcoming federal budget constraints, leveraging development, innovation, technology, and partnerships is essential to help reach the billions in need.

Congressmen Blumenaur, Fortenberry, and Poe spoke to an audience in October 2011 on the importance of providing WSSH assistance to the developing world. A major component in achieving the ability to provide this assistance is to come up with new, cost-effective ways to deliver it. Pradeep Ramamurthy, senior deputy director for the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances (IDEA) stressed the importance of investing in innovation, trying solutions, evaluating the outcomes, and investing in those that succeed. Jeff Brown, division chief for Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) announced that $14.6 million will be awarded in

DIV grants to help find solutions to development challenges and foster long-term economic, health, and food growth in developing countries. By investing in problem solving, these new ideas and programs have the ability to change millions of lives.

Turning poop into power: DIV announces first WASH for Life grant to Sanergy

At an event at MIT’s Media Lab on November 30th, USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) awarded its first WASH for Life grant to Sanergy: a dynamic startup social enterprise, launched from an MIT classroom into an award-winning business that “turns poop into

power.” The young company runs a network of pay-per-use sanitation centers in Kenyan slums. Each day local employees collect and transport the waste from the latrines to a processing facility, where Sanergy engineers turn it into fertilizer, biogas, and biochar—a byproduct of combustion that sequesters carbon dioxide and acts as a fertilizer.

Designed by MIT engineers and architects, the modular hygienic toilets cost just $500 to fabricate and can be assembled in one day. The sanitation centers are franchised to local entrepreneurs and local youth groups, who earn income through fees, membership plans, and sales of complementary products. The 10 million residents of Kenya’s slums create a potential $72 million annual market. Within five years, Sanergy will expand to 3,390 centers, reaching

600,000 slum dwellers – creating jobs and profit, while aiming to reduce the incidence of diarrhea by 40 percent. The $100,000 stage 1 grant from DIV will help Sanergy build its network of sanitation center franchises and support the construction of Sanergy’s specially designed waste processing facility for the fertilizer and biogas production.

USAID encourages partners with innovative and cost-effective projects to apply.

Last updated: September 23, 2013

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