Sunday, April 21, 2024

WFP appeals for more Ethiopia humanitarian needs funding

UN World Food Program (WFP) faces a funding shortfall of USD 219 million, hindering its humanitarian response in Ethiopia.

As a result, WFP has reprioritized 50 percent of the targeted beneficiaries for nutrition activities. Ethiopia has been grappling with conflict, displacement, and drought, exacerbating food insecurity.

WFP data reveals that 15.1 million people required emergency food assistance in Q3 2023. WFP and its partners prioritize supporting 11 million individuals, including food-insecure, internally displaced persons, and returnees.

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The 2023 humanitarian response plan focuses on the most vulnerable, including those affected by violence, conflict, and extreme drought.

The peace agreement ending the conflict in northern Ethiopia has brought improved stability to Afar and Tigray regions.

However, armed conflict in Amhara region is impacting WFP operations in nine zones.

Recently, WFP resumed food distributions to nearly 900,000 refugees in Ethiopia. This resumption follows significant enhancements to safeguards and controls in refugee operations, addressing previous food aid diversion since June.

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(Xinhua)

Ethiopian flight declares emergency, lands minutes after takeoff

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET3840, operated by a Boeing 737-800F with registration ET-AVX, experienced an emergency and had to return to Kinshasa, its departure point, according to the information provided by Planespotters.net,.

ET3840 took off from Kinshasa and was heading towards Addis Ababa when it made a U-turn and declared an emergency. After holding in the air during its descent, the aircraft successfully landed at 05:43, approximately 30 minutes after departure.

The cause of the emergency is not yet known, but it was significant enough to necessitate a return to Kinshasa instead of continuing to Addis Ababa.

ET-AVX is a 24.6-year-old airframe that was originally in service with Air Berlin from April 1999.

After its time with Air Berlin, the aircraft was transferred to Turkish carrier Corendon Airlines in April 2010. It was then returned to the lessor, GECAS, in May 2016.

Following its conversion into a cargo aircraft, it was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in March 2019, where it has been in service since. Ethiopian Airlines currently operates four units of these cargo aircraft.

The aircraft has departed again, indicating that the issue has been resolved and the aircraft is attempting to reach its destination in Addis Ababa.

(AviationSource News)

ISU professor recognized for efforts to boost Ethiopian milk production

Iowa State University’s Professor Curtis Youngs played a crucial role in improving dairy cattle genetics in Ethiopia, addressing the country’s low milk production.

Collaborating with Ethiopian researcher Tamrat Degefa, Youngs initiated a project that involved crossbreeding Ethiopian Borena cows with high-yielding Holstein bulls.

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The results have been remarkable, with cows now producing nearly 30 liters of milk per day, a significant increase from the typical 1-2 liters in Ethiopia. The success of the initiative has garnered attention from local farmers and additional support from the national government.

In recognition of Youngs’ contributions, a research facility in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, has been named the Professor Curtis R. Youngs Assisted Reproductive Technologies Laboratory.

The project’s objective is to enhance milk yields, benefiting farmers economically and improving nutrition in the community. The initiative considers environmental sustainability, as increased productivity allows for smaller herds, reducing resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

(Iowa State University)

Galway hurling legend to auction off memorabilia for Ethiopian school

Galway hurling legend, Iggy Clarke, is auctioning off his cherished memorabilia from the seventies and eighties to support a Galway charity called Building for Children.

The charity, active since 2006, focuses on constructing and refurbishing children’s accommodations in orphanages, hospitals, and schools abroad. Their current project aims to renovate two dormitories for the Sebeta Blind School in Ethiopia, benefitting 80 blind and visually impaired children.

To aid this cause, Clarke and his wife, Mariel Forde Clarke, have organized a Golf Classic this month and a Festival of Dance and Music in November. Alongside these events, Clarke is parting with precious items, including a 1980 number seven jersey signed by most of the team, an All-Stars jacket and tie from 1975 acquired during a trip to New York, and a Hurley featuring signatures of all the All-Stars players and recorded scores from a game.

 The funds raised will support the Building for Children group’s upcoming trip to Ethiopia in January. This initiative seeks to improve the living conditions of visually impaired children at the Sebeta Blind School, providing them with better facilities and opportunities.

(CONNACHT TRIBUNE)

Kenyans top visa applicants from Eastern Africa region in 2022

Kenyan nationals dominated visa applications in the Eastern African region, accounting for almost one-third of the total applications in 2022.

Out of 48,892 applications, 114,282 were approved, indicating a higher-than-average rejection rate of 24 percent.

Compared to other Eastern African countries, Kenya ranked third in terms of visas issued per 100,000 people, with 65 visa holders per 100,000. Kenyans spent €3.9 million on visa application fees, which amounts to over 18 percent of the average annual wage in the country.

Overall, Eastern Africa received 153,757 visa applications, with a rejection rate of 21.8 percent.

Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy were the top destinations for Kenyan applicants, with the highest number of applications filed.

Ethiopia had the second-highest number of applications, with 21,099, and a rejection rate of 28.9 percent. Mozambique and Madagascar also had significant application rates, with relatively low rejection rates of 8.9 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, South Sudan, Mauritius, and Eritrea recorded the fewest visa applications in the region, with less than 2,000 applications combined.

(Schengen visa)

Abbas, foreign heads of state to attend ‘peace summit’ in Cairo Saturday

An international meeting is set to convene in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The war, which presents a risk of further escalation, has already witnessed exchanges of fire with Lebanon and the interception of missiles from Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen.

This situation has raised concerns among the international community and the Middle East region.

Egypt holds a crucial position in the conflict as it shares a border with Gaza, alongside Israel. Due to Israel’s near-total siege on Gaza, Egypt serves as the sole point of entry for goods and people into and out of the territory.

However, the Rafah crossing has remained closed since an Israeli air strike early in the war.

Notable participants confirmed for the meeting, often referred to as a ‘peace summit,’ include Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. There is a possibility that French President Emmanuel Macron may also attend.

(The Jerusalem Post)

A stampede in Kenya leaves 4 dead, about 100 injured

A stampede in Kenya during celebrations to mark an annual public holiday killed at least four people on Friday and injured 100 others, authorities said.

The stampede happened when thousands of people struggled to get inside Kericho stadium in western Kenya at dawn, police said. The stadium was the venue for this year’s Mashujaa Day, which means Heroes’ Day in Swahili.

President William Ruto, who addressed thousands of people at the stadium about four hours later, didn’t mention the stampede. He instead dedicated his speech to his plans on a universal health care plan.

It wasn’t clear if Ruto was aware of the stampede when he delivered his remarks.

(AP)

Project to create the largest database on the African genome afoot

Scientists are embarking on an ambitious project to address the underrepresentation of people of African descent in genetic studies.

The initiative, launched by Meharry Medical College, aims to collect genetic material from 500,000 individuals of African descent to create the world’s largest database of population genomic information.

By building a comprehensive “reference genome,” researchers hope to gain insights into genetic variants that affect Black people, leading to the development of new drugs, diagnostic tests, and a reduction in health disparities.

Pharmaceutical companies including the Regeneron Genetics Center, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Roche are providing funding for the project. The Diaspora Human Genomics Institute, a nonprofit established by Meharry, will manage the data.

Currently, less than two percent of genetic information studied comes from individuals of African descent, highlighting the need to close this gap.

Participants will donate blood samples, which will be sent to the Regeneron Genetics Center for genetic sequencing.

The database will be exclusively available to participating institutions, enabling collaborations with other academic institutions.

(Africanews)

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