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Lady Tee Thompson, David Adeoye Filmo, Odion Ikyo advocates women’s reproductive health rights in conflict

In recent times, Nigeria has experienced conflicts in its 6 geopolitical zones. At the center of conflict are women and children who are most vulnerable. From rape to abuse, women face a lot of reproductive healthcare challenges. In the context of humanitarian conflicts, are women’s rights to reproductive healthcare valid? And if yes, how does this promote gender equality and equity? What policies are in place to safeguard women’s reproductive health rights in conflict? Are there even policies in the first place and if there are how effective are they? How do these policies affect service delivery to women in conflict and host communities and IDP camps?

These are the issues raised and addressed at the stakeholder’s consultative meeting on Addressing Gaps in Policy and Access to Reproductive Healthcare for Women in Conflict Context (project AGRIC) which is powered by Theodora Anavhe Adamu Foundation (TAAF), held on the 29th of September 2023 at the Grand Pela Hotel Abuja.

In her opening remarks, Lady Tee Thompson, (UNA-USA Women Group Chairperson and International Gender Equality Advocate) said reproductive care is a fundamental human right and every woman deserves a healthy and fulfilling life.

“The pursuit of gender equality in healthcare, and particularly in reproductive care, is not just a matter of justice but of fundamental human rights. Every woman, irrespective of her background or circumstances, is entitled to comprehensive and respectful health care as her birthright. A gender lens in healthcare ensures that every individual, regardless of their gender, has an equal opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) plays a pivotal role, especially in regions like Nigeria. It serves as a beacon, guiding nations to commit to removing barriers and ensuring that all women experience the care, respect, and opportunities they deserve.

“We all have a stake in this. Gender equality benefits societies at every level, fostering growth, stability, and prosperity.” Lady Tee said

While addressing the stakeholders, the  Executive Director of Theodora Anavhe Adamu Foundation and the convener of the Addressing Gaps in Policy and Access to Reproductive Health Care for women in conflict project, Mrs Odion Ikyo calls for cooperation of stakeholder and action plan to engage goverrment and international agencies.

” We can’t talk about closing reproductive healthcare gaps for women in humanitarian conflict without asking what policies are in place to safeguard women’s rights in conflict. We hope that by working together with stakeholders represented here, we will come up with an implementable action plan for further engagement with legislators, the government and UN agencies.” ikyo said

The three key points reached by stakeholders are

  1. There has to be more synergy and coordination by the government, international organizations, UN, and CSOs.
  2. More accountability in funding for reproductive health care programs for women in conflict context
  3. Review policies protecting and promoting women’s reproductive health rights in conflict

Stakeholders represented at this event were representatives of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Health, Humanitarian Affairs, Nigeria Youth Parliament, Foreign Affairs, Senator Adams Oshiomole, FIDA, ARFH, NGOs, CSOs

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UNGA78: Ambassador Hugues Sanon advocates for permanent seat for Africans

The general debate of the seventy-eighth session of the General Assembly was held from Tuesday,  September 19, to Saturday, September 23, and on Tuesday, September 26, 2023 to discuss Global issues under the theme, “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.”

This provides an opportunity for world leaders to deliver a statement on global issues and explore solutions to the intertwined global challenges to advance peace, security, and sustainable development.

During UNGA78, Global Peace Ambassador Hugues Sanon alongside his wife Emmanuella Sanon and his New York City team which includes Mr. Hans Garry, Judge Octave Saint Juste, and others took part at various high-level side events held at the UN  and at some other venues to continue to advocate for peace and reconciliation and advocate for Africa to have a permanent seat at UN Security Council to adequately represented in the discussions and decisions taking place at the UN, advocating for women to take part in decision-making positions across the globe for sustainable leadership and high performance in government; also, Mr. Sanon also demands urgent Global solidarity for Haiti.

He stressed that Haiti has faced numerous challenges, including, coups riots, natural disasters, and political and economic interference, leading to its current status as one of the poorest countries in the world.

Speaking of the conflict between Haiti and Dominican Republic, Hugues Sanon said, “This is not the time for war, this is the time to use diplomacy, sitting down together to identify the problems, and together to seek for the solution.” “Let us put our differences aside and sit down to the table of love and peace and Consciousness and surely we will have a sustainable world.”

In the same vein, during the ceremony of the 2023 World leaders summit, the President lifetime achievement Award was presented to top model Emmanuella Sanon by Ambassador Monica Sanchez on behalf of the voiceless institute of public policy and diplomacy found by Ambassador Andrice Bass for her lifetime commitment and service to her community and the world  and also  the United States of Kailasa , through its Delegate, BhaktiVasya Nithyananda presented a special gift to Global Peace Ambassador Hugues Sanon, the Bhagavad Gita Decoded book which is the preamble to Kailasa’s Constitution, Kailasa country also presented the coffee table book which explains the Revival of the ancient enlightened Hindu Civilizational Nation by the Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism, Bhagwan Sri Nithyananda ParaMaShivam. -The Sovereign Order of Kailasa’s Nithyananda (SOKN) is  a typical government, simultaneously functioning as the supreme governing body of Hinduism and a sovereign entity under international law. This mirrors the unique status of The Holy See, which is an atypical government as well, as it serves as both the supreme governing body of the Catholic Church and a sovereign entity under international law.

Ambassador Sanon also met and had a productive discussion with the Royal Prince of Thailand, second oldest son of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Prince Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse at the UNGA78, His Excellency Mr. Muhammad Jallow, Vice President of the Gambia, Dr. Ken Giami, President and Publisher of African Leadership Magazine at the African Leadership Forum, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, who is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and in 2006 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ambassador Dr. Hugues Sanon also had a productive meeting with many interfaith leaders on how to inspire other religious leaders to join the movement to achieve the sustainable development goals in our communities and around the world and to coordinate a Global Interfaith Summit at the United Nations Headquarters to highlight different challenges encountering the faith based community and to inspire action on sustainable development; Mr. Sanon also met his long-time friend, Guru Dr. Dileepkumar Thankappan, a prominent interfaith leader and consultant and one of the leading interfaith advocates for sustainable development

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US, Kenya sign defense agreement ahead planned Haiti deployment

Kenya and the US signed a defense agreement Monday that will see the East African nation get resources and support for security deployments as it is poised to lead a multi-national peacekeeping mission to Haiti to combat gang violence.

Kenya’s Defense Minister Aden Duale and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed the accord at a meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The agreement guides the countries’ defense relations for the next five years as the war in East Africa against the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab extremist group intensifies.

Austin thanked Kenya for volunteering to take the leadership of the Haiti multi-national force and reiterated that the U.S government would work with Congress to secure the $100 million in funding that it pledged on the sidelines of the U.N General Assembly.

Kenya in August pledged to send 1,000 security officers to Haiti to combat gang violence in a mission that is pending the U.N Security Council’s formal approval but has received support from the U.N. and U.S.

Duale said his country is ready to deploy to Haiti and cited Kenya’s “very long history of global peacekeeping” in Kosovo, neighboring Somalia and Congo.

Human rights activists, meanwhile, have expressed concerns over the deployment, citing a history of human rights abuses during security operations in the country.

Some security analysts have expressed concerns that there will be a language barrier between the deployment from Kenya, an English- and Swahili-speaking country, and the people of Haiti, where the official languages are French and Creole.

On the regional fight against al-Shabab, Austin said he had met with Somalia’s president and that both agreed that the country had made “significant progress in the last year against al-Shabab.” But Austin also said that “progress is not always a straight line so we may see things improve significantly on one day and maybe we’ll see challenges on the next day.”

Somalia last week asked the U.N. to pause for three months the withdrawal of 3,000 troops in the second phase of drawdown to allow the country’s forces to regroup. Somalia is expected to take up its full security responsibilities by end of 2024.

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Unstoppable Africa 2023: Shaping a Future of Prosperity and Innovation

Unstoppable Africa 2023 has concluded, leaving a profound mark on the African continent. The two-day Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI) event aims to boost Africa’s standing in the global economy and establish the continent as the foremost destination for business, trade, and investment. This transformative gathering on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly has not only chartered the course for economic growth but has also solidified GABI’s pivotal role as a catalyst for change and progress.

On the second day of the event, Caroline Wanga, CEO of Essence Ventures, emphasized the importance of authentically portraying African narratives. She highlighted that the continent’s rich heritage has traditionally been expressed through its unique storytelling methods. Wanga stated, “In discussing Africa, it’s vital to engage in genuine dialogue. We’ve celebrated our heritage through our distinct method of storytelling, which the world is longing for now more than ever. As the overseer of Essence Ventures and other platforms, I am committed to ensuring our tales are told from a position of strength and authenticity.”

The final day featured a chorus of leading private sector voices. Notably, leaders from the business and media world such as Jeff Wong, EY Global Chief Innovation Officer; Niraj Varia, CEO of iProcure Ventures; Lakeshia Ford, Founder of Ford Communications; Claudia Kwarteng–Lumor, Founder of Kollage Media, producers of GLITZ AFRICA Magazine; Somachi Chris-Asoluka and CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). Complementing these luminaries were esteemed figures from government and international organizations, including President Masisi, H.E. Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Adebayo Olawale Edun, Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy for Nigeria, Joy Basu, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs at the US Department of State.

Also speaking were NBA stars Bismack Biyombo and Gorgui Dieng from the sports world and Senegalese singer Baaba Maal. Assistant Secretary-General Sanda Ojiambo, CEO of the United Nations Global Compact, the entity that coordinates GABI, underlined the critical importance of unleashing Africa’s green potential. Ojiambo’s message stressed the urgent need for businesses to expedite and amplify their efforts toward achieving “just, inclusive, and sustainable growth.”

Assistant Secretary-General Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre extended an invitation to businesses to participate in the ITC SheTrades network. This flagship program for women’s economic empowerment has already made a substantial impact, offering vital support to over 200,000 women entrepreneurs since its inception in 2015. The ITC SheTrades initiative plays a pivotal role in maximizing the boundless opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

With over a thousand attendees, GABI’s influence is gaining momentum across Africa, setting the stage for a future defined by opportunity and sustainable development. The vibrant exchange of ideas, the engaging, thought-provoking discussions, and the connections forged during the event solidify its position as a premier convening for those invested in Africa’s growth and economic future.

UNDP’s Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator, and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, announced the Timbuktoo initiative, an ambitious movement dedicated to harnessing Africa’s rich heritage of innovation and knowledge. Ms. Eziakonwa stated, “Inspired by the historical heartland of civilization, ‘Timbuktu’ is our commitment to bridge the gap between the burgeoning talent in Africa and global opportunities that await. We envision tearing down barriers that have historically limited Africa’s vast potential, creating a future where the continent’s talent seamlessly connects with global prosperity.”

The event concluded with inspiring remarks from UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, highlighting the importance of collective action in realizing Africa’s potential and achieving sustainable development. She called for unity and support from the global community and the private sector. She closed by emphasizing that this is just the beginning of a new chapter in Africa’s story, one marked by sustainable economic growth, empowerment, and the realization of the continent’s full potential.

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Military junta announces postponement of presidential election in Mali

The ruling junta in Mali announced on Monday the postponement of presidential elections scheduled for February 2023.

In a statement, government spokesperson Abdoulaye Maïga told journalists in Bamako that the dates initially scheduled for the two rounds of voting, February 4 and 18, 2024, would be “slightly postponed for technical reasons”.

Among these technical reasons, the authorities cited factors linked to the adoption of a new constitution earlier this year and the revision of electoral rolls. They also cited a dispute with French company, Idemia, which they say is involved in the census process.

Mali held a referendum in June 2023, on a new constitution that strengthens the president’s powers and gives pride of place to the country’s military. Despite criticism of the draft constitution, the “yes” vote won, with 96.91 percent of the votes counted backing the plans.

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Foreign forces in West Africa (See List)

France will pull its troops out of Niger by the end of the year following a coup in the West African country in July, dealing a huge blow to French influence and counter-insurgency operations in the West Africa Sahel region.

Niger, a key ally of Western countries against Islamist insurgencies in the Sahel, is host to a number of foreign forces. Those numbers have increased over the past two years following coups in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, which soured relations between the countries and their Western partners.

Following is a list of Western countries with troops in the West and Central Africa region.


France has 1,500 troops in Niger, with support from drones and warplanes.

It had counter-insurgency troops in West Africa for a decade but turned to Niger to base the bulk of its forces following coups in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The junta that ousted Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 has revoked a raft of military agreements with France

Prior to the coup, France had sought to avert potential criticism of its role in the Sahel and minimise anti-French sentiment by shifting its focus to supporting local forces, rather than having Western soldiers doing much of the leg work on the ground.

It still maintains military bases Chad (1,000 troops), Ivory Coast (900 troops), Senegal (350 troops), Gabon (400 troops), some of which are being transformed into co-managed operations with national armies, to play down Paris’ role


There are about 1,100 U.S. troops in Niger, where the U.S. military operates out of two bases. In 2017, the government of Niger approved the use of armed American drones to target militants.

It is unclear how much the United States has given in security assistance. The U.S. embassy in Niamey in 2021 said the Pentagon and State Department had provided Niger more than $500 million in equipment and training since 2012.


As of Sept. 20, Germany, which is withdrawing its troops that were deployed to Mali for the United Nations peacekeeping operation MUNISMA, said 887 troops were still in Mali including 755 in the northern town of Gao, and others in the capital Bamako. Around 110 German troops are in Niger’s capital Niamey.


Italy had about 300 soldiers in Niger before the coup, according to the country’s defence ministry.

On Aug. 6 its defence ministry said 65 Italian soldiers had left Niger by military plane, as it sought to make room in its military base for civilians who may need protection. That left about 250 troops deployed for counter-insurgency and military training missions remaining in Niger.


The bloc has 50-100 troops for a three-year military training mission it set up in Niger in December to help the country improve its logistics and infrastructure.


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AFRICA: Sudan’s War Could Spread To Neighbouring Countries – General Abdel Fattah

Sudan’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has warned that the war he leads against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in his nation poses a threat to other African countries.

Sudan’s de facto leader, as a result, requested the UN and the international community to classify RSF as a terrorist organization.

Burhan stated this during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday in New York, United States.

According to the BBC, RSF leader Hamdan Dagalo stated that he was ready for the first truce since the war in Sudan began in April, which has killed thousands of people.

The two generals staged a coup in 2021, but a power struggle between them has resulted in their soldiers taking up guns against one another in recent months.

Burhan told the United Nations on Thursday that his party was open to peace talks and wants to “put an end to this war and alleviate the suffering of our people,” but that the RSF refused.

In a rare video message to the UN, his opponent, Gen Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, stated that he was willing to participate in talks.

In his address to the UN, he also alluded to the RSF’s ties to Wagner, a Russian mercenary outfit active in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, Mozambique, and Mali.

“The danger of this war is now a threat to regional and international peace and security as those rebels have sought the support of outlaws and terrorist groups from different countries in the region and the world,” he said.

Burhan also argued the RSF should be considered a terrorist group as they had “supported killing, burning, raping, forced displacement, looting, stealing, torture, trafficking of arms and drugs, bringing mercenaries or recruiting children”.

He stated that these offences demanded accountability and retribution.

However, Gen Burhan has been chastised for his military conduct during the conflict

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EU suspends food aid in Somalia after UN finds widespread theft

The European Union executive has temporarily suspended funding for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia, two senior EU officials told Reuters on Monday, after a U.N. investigation found widespread theft and misuse of aid meant to avert famine.

The European Commission gave more than $7 million in aid to the WFP’s operations in Somalia last year, a fraction of the donations of more than $1 billion it received, U.N. data shows EU member states gave much more money on a bilateral basis. It was not immediately clear whether any would also suspend aid.

Balazs Ujvari, a spokesman for the European Commission, neither confirmed nor denied specifically a temporary suspension but said: “So far, the EU has not been informed by its U.N. partners of a financial impact on EU-funded projects.

“Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor the situation and abide by our zero-tolerance approach to fraud, corruption or misconduct.”
The WFP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One senior EU official said the decision was taken after the U.N. investigation concluded that landowners, local authorities, members of the security forces and humanitarian workers were all involved in stealing aid intended for vulnerable people.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the aid would be restored after the WFP met additional conditions, such as vetting of partners on the ground in Somalia. The second senior EU official confirmed that.

A third source, also an EU official, said the Commission was “cooperating actively with WFP to resolve systemic defects” but said no aid was suspended at this stage.

The July 7 report, marked “strictly confidential,” was commissioned by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters.

Its contents were first published on Monday by Devex, a media outlet focused on international development.

It cited internally displaced persons (IDPs) as saying they were coerced into paying up to half of the cash assistance they received to people in positions of power in the face of threats of eviction, arrest or de-registration from beneficiary lists.

Three months ago the WFP and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) suspended food aid to neighboring Ethiopia in response to the widespread diversion of donations.

The European Commission contributes 10 million euros ($10.69 million) to Somalia and Ethiopia via the WFP, with the suspension covering part of that, according to one of the senior EU officials.

The United States is by far Somalia’s biggest humanitarian donor. Last year, it contributed more than half of the $2.2 billion of funding that went to the humanitarian response there.

USAID spokesperson Jessica Jennings said in a statement the United States was working to understand the extent of the diversion and was “already taking steps to protect beneficiaries and ensure taxpayer money is used to benefit vulnerable persons in Somalia, as intended.”

An official of the agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the situations in Ethiopia and Somalia were different and USAID was not planning to pause food assistance in the latter.

A U.S. Congressional source said the decision to suspend aid in Ethiopia was, in part, related to the uniquely hands-on role of the federal government there in distributing food assistance, which has long made donors uneasy.

“The widespread theft of food assistance in Ethiopia was abhorrent, but was also an opportunity to change the way it is provided,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Somali Disaster Management Office, which coordinates the government’s humanitarian response, said in a statement on Monday that Somali authorities were committed to investigating the U.N. report’s findings, while adding that current aid delivery systems operate “outside of the government channels”.

Guterres’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Donors boosted funding to Somalia last year as humanitarian officials warned of a looming famine due to the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in decades.

Famine was averted, official data shows, but as many as 43,000 people, half of them children younger than five, died last year as a result of the drought, researchers estimate.

The U.N. report did not attempt to quantify the amount of aid diverted but said its findings “suggest that post-delivery aid diversion in Somalia is widespread and systemic”.

Investigators found aid diversion at all of the 55 IDP sites in Somalia from which they collected data, the report said. Some 3.8 million people are displaced in Somalia – one of the highest rates in the world.

Aid distribution has been a problem in Somalia for decades, complicated by weak government institutions, widespread insecurity stemming from an Islamist insurgency and marginalization of minority clans.

Since revelations of aid theft during a 2011 famine, humanitarian agencies have converted most of their assistance to cash-based transfers that some officials have presented as less vulnerable to corruption.

The U.N. report was the latest evidence that cash-based systems can be exploited too. It identified a variety of perpetrators, led by so-called “gatekeepers,” powerful individuals from dominant local clans.

These gatekeepers leverage their influence over access to camp sites and food beneficiary lists to coerce payments from IDPs, the report said.

Members of security forces also play a role by intimidating and sometimes arresting those who refuse to pay, while some humanitarian workers collude with gatekeepers to pocket stolen funds, the report said.

While famine has been averted for now, the report warned that inadequate humanitarian funding could imperil fragile progress.

Aid budgets are under strain globally, with just 36% funded to date of the $2.6 billion the U.N. says is needed this year for Somalia’s humanitarian response.

($1=0.9355 euros)

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Flooding Death Toll Rises to 11,300 in Libya’s Coastal City of Derna

The death toll in Libya’s coastal city of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts continue following a massive flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains, the Libyan Red Crescent said.

Marie el-Drese, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Libya secretary-general, said another 10,100 people are reported missing in the Mediterranean city. Health authorities previously put the death toll in Derna at 5,500. The storm also killed about 170 people elsewhere in the country.

The mayor of Derna, Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi, said the tally could climb to 20,000 given the number of neighborhoods that were washed out.

The flooding swept away entire families in Derna on Sunday night and exposed vulnerabilities in the oil-rich country that has been mired in conflict since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-ruling dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

“Within seconds the water level suddenly rose,” recounted one injured survivor who said he was swept away with his mother in the late-night ordeal before they both managed to scramble into an empty building downstream.

“The water was rising with us until we got to the fourth floor,” the unidentified man said from his hospital bed, in testimony published by the Benghazi Medical Center.

“We could hear screams. From the window, I saw cars and bodies being carried away by the water. It lasted an hour or an hour and a half – but for us, it felt like a year.”

The storm also killed about 170 people in other parts of eastern Libya, including the towns of Bayda, Susa, Um Razaz and Marj, Health Minister Othman Abduljalil said.

Emergency workers sifting through the mud and rubble are still hopeful of finding survivors, IFRC said on Friday.

“The hope is there, is always there, to find people alive,” said Tamer Ramadan, head of the group’s rescue effort in the North African country.


Bodies buried as search mission continues

Derna has begun burying its dead, mostly in mass graves, said Abduljalil.

More than 3,000 bodies were buried by Thursday morning while another 2,000 were still being processed. Most of the dead were buried in mass graves outside Derna, while others were transferred to nearby towns and cities.

Abduljalil said rescue teams are still searching wrecked buildings in the city centre, and divers are combing the sea off Derna.

Untold numbers could be buried under drifts of mud and debris, including overturned cars and chunks of concrete that rise up to 4 metres (13 feet) high. Rescuers have struggled to bring in heavy equipment as the floods washed out or blocked roads leading to the area.

“This disaster was violent and brutal,” said Yann Fridez, head of the Libya delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which had a team in Derna when the floodwaters hit.

“A wave 7 metres [23 feet] high wiped out buildings and washed infrastructure into the sea. Now family members are missing, dead bodies are washing back up on shore, and homes are destroyed.”

ICRC is distributing 6,000 body bags to help authorities and the Libyan Red Crescent Society “ensure dignified treatment of the dead”.

The World Health Organization and other aid groups on Friday called on authorities in Libya to stop burying flood victims in mass graves.

“We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations,” said Dr Kazunobu Kojima, medical officer for biosafety and biosecurity.

INTERACTIVE – Libya Floods Before After-1694592948
Libya’s floods before and after in the city of Derna [Al Jazeera]
Poor maintenance, bad infrastructure
Access to Derna remains severely hampered as roads and bridges have been destroyed and power and phone lines cut to wide areas, where at least 30,000 people are now homeless.

The United Nations said, “with the collapse of most roads, the municipality [of Derna] is urging relevant authorities to establish a sea corridor for emergency relief and evacuations”.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization chief Petteri Taalas said many deaths could have been avoided if early warning and emergency management systems had functioned properly in the war-scarred country.

With better coordination, “they could have issued the warnings and the emergency management forces would have been able to carry out the evacuation of the people, and we could have avoided most of the human casualties,” said Taalas.

Earlier this week, Derna’s Deputy Mayor Ahmed Madroud told Al Jazeera the dams had not been properly maintained since 2002.

Anas El Gomati, founder and director of the Sadeq Institute, blamed the eastern authorities for neglecting the city’s critical infrastructure and maintenance.

“Corruption and financial mismanagement are the cause behind failing infrastructure that has plagued Libya for decades,” he said.

“But the successive regimes are culpable, and it is the military investment authority that has cannibalised Libya’s public infrastructure in the east, destroying it to be smuggled and sold for scrap metal.”

Members of the rescue teams from the Egyptian army carry a dead body as they walk in the mud between the destroyed building in Derna, Libya
A search team from the Egyptian army carries a body in Derna [Ahmed Elumami/Reuters]


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Visa scam: Nigerians stranded in UK cries out -Report

A new report has revealed that a rising number of Nigerians are falling victim to a deceitful scheme that involves paying substantial amounts in naira for job opportunities that do not actually exist within the United Kingdom’s skilled worker visa system.

The recent investigative exposé by Sky News, released on Wednesday, highlighted the distressing situation of Nigerian migrants coerced by “traveling agents” into paying exorbitant sums to enter the UK, only to find themselves stranded and without the promised employment upon their arrival.

According to the report, a Nigerian woman, who paid £10,000 to an “agent” for a skilled worker visa that was supposed to secure her a job as a carer in the UK, has been left stranded.

The unnamed woman said she arrived only to find out the job did not exist upon her arrival.

The report showed “how the skilled worker visa system is being abused, with middlemen allegedly being paid huge sums of money to arrange jobs in the UK as carers that do not exist. Many of those who can’t get work are struggling to survive, turning to food banks and even sleeping rough.”

The founder of the Nigerian Community Centre in Rochdale, Mary Adekugbe, says those on skilled worker visas now needing support is a big issue that is increasing her workload—something she describes as “shameful”.

“About 15 of the 35–40 people who generally come to the weekly food bank have skilled worker visas. We are overwhelmed. People are desperate. It’s so worrying,” she said.

Also, a community volunteer, Jones Adekube, lamented the situation of another homeless lady who was too shy to speak with the correspondent.

Adekube said, “Last week we gave her bread and tuna because she can eat quickly without cooking or warming.

“She did some work when she came in. Initially, they gave her one shift a week, which is 12 hours a week. As time went on, there were no shifts.”

According to the report, in the 12 months to March 2023, 170,993 skilled worker visas have been awarded. In the health and care sector alone, grants have increased over two and a half times and represent over half of all work visas issued in the same period.


Source: Barristerng

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