FRW news in brief

    | May 19, 2014

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    1-Nigeria: Humanitarian response needed in north
    Nigeria’s disaster management agencies − NEMA (the National Emergency Management Agency) and SEMA (the State Emergency Management Agencies) − are calling for immediate international aid to three northern states.

    According to figures released by NEMA, nearly a quarter of a million people were displaced from Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states between January and March 2014 as a result of ongoing violence by the Boko Haram group. About six million people, half of the population in this part of the country, have been affected by the violence.

    Many in the area live in a state of fear. In Borno state, Boko Haram militants recently kidnapped 200 girls from a schoolhouse, and most are still missing. The healthcare system is on the verge of collapse; nearly four in ten health centres have closed. NEMA has promised to distribute food aid to 200,000 people in the northern states, but at least 50,000 have yet to receive any help.

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    2-Zimbabwe: Disaster preparation

    The aging Kariba dam, constructed in 1954 on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe, is worrying engineers.
    Structural problems caused another dam, the Tokwe-Mukosi in southeastern Zimbabwe, to flood recently, displacing thousands of local residents. The Zimbabwean government declared the flood a national disaster.

    If the 128-metre-high Kariba Dam collapses, 3.5 million people in Zimbabwe and Zambia would be seriously affected. The fallout would also affect neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Mozambique.

    Kariba Dam holds one of the world’s largest man-made bodies of water, and provides hydro power to millions. Communities which depend on the dam for tourism and fishing are concerned that their livelihoods could be affected if structural problems are not fixed soon.

    Zambian and Zimbabwean authorities have begun a joint fundraising effort to support major repairs to
    the dam.

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    3-Kenya: Livestock scheme incorporates Islamic principles
    An insurance scheme based on Islamic sharia law is gaining ground in Kenya’s arid northern regions, where frequent severe droughts challenge pastoralists.

    The Islamic Takaful insurance policy (from the Arabic word kafalah, meaning “helping one another”) compensates herders for losses of livestock or reductions in the value of livestock. The policy employs data provided by the International Livestock Research Institute, or ILRI, which uses satellites to survey grazing land and gauge the severity of droughts.

    ILRI says that insurance can make livestock keeping more effective by cushioning household assets and income during drought-induced losses.

    Livestock insurance schemes have been tried with these Kenyan communities in the past, but to no avail. But the current scheme, with its religious precepts, is attracting previously skeptical herders to insure their herds.

    Over a hundred livestock keepers have received payouts under the Takaful pilot program, which has helped build confidence in the scheme.

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