FRW news in brief

    | October 6, 2014

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    1-West Africa: Radio informs public about Ebola

    Radio Kintoma has been dispelling the rumours that Ebola is a plot by the government to frighten the population.

    The community radio station in Voinjama, a Liberian town just south of the border with Guinea, has been broadcasting messages about Ebola since the outbreak began in May.

    Mary is a small-scale farmer from northern Liberia’s Lofa Province. She says, “I now believe Ebola is real and it kills people every day.”

    Radio Kintoma is providing crucial education on how Ebola is transmitted from one person to another. People have learned to stop burying their own dead, to wait for health workers to come and tend to sick people, and to stop shaking hands and engaging in other everyday social rituals which increase the risk of transmission.

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    2-Nigeria: Ebola and the media

    Nigeria reportedly has the eighth largest Internet population in the world – 67 million users. There are also nearly 166 million mobile phone subscribers in a population of 175 million.

    With so many Nigerians online, websites such as and have become important channels for providing accurate information to help people stay safe. They complement telephone hotlines and more traditional public health approaches.

    According to UNICEF Communications Specialist Geoffrey Njoku, over a six-week period, nearly 60,000 people received more than 3.6 million texts with key messages about Ebola and how to stay protected.

    Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu has declared survivors of Ebola to be the “safest people to be around,” given their new immunity to the virus.

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    3-Great Lakes: Experts warn of ‘dire consequences’ as Lake Victoria’s water levels drop further

    Climate experts say the rise in global temperature is affecting rainfall patterns over Lake Victoria.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report states that increased warming and rainfall in the western Indian Ocean will lead to climate extremes in East Africa.

    Professor Hannes Rautenbach from the University of Pretoria says, “The rain belt over Uganda will shift.” The report argues that Lake Victoria, which has been receiving high volumes of rain, will soon experience a 20 per cent drop in rainfall.

    This decrease, coupled with increased evaporation due to higher air and water temperatures, will cause a drop in water levels in the near future.

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