Posted by: africanpressorganization | 17 March 2009

Africa / Significant Funding from Japan Allows IOM to Tackle Various Impacts of Food Crisis



Africa / Significant Funding from Japan Allows IOM to Tackle Various Impacts of Food Crisis


TOKYO, Japan, March 17, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Notes


A donation of 16 million US dollars from the Japanese government to IOM will help the Organization counter some of the many impacts of severe food insecurity on migrants and migration in the Horn, East and Southern Africa.

Conflict, natural disasters, environmental degradation and climate change, rising agricultural costs, food prices and food shortages have all led to deepening food insecurity for millions of poverty-stricken people across Africa in recent years.
For many, the food crisis has been a root cause for migration, particularly to urban areas or abroad, while for others, displacement caused by conflict, natural disasters or climate change has led to extreme food insecurity. Women and children in particular have been made more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and human trafficking through displacement, internal migration or irregular migration to another country.  

The Japanese funding will target various activities in Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and Mozambique to address these multiple challenges.

In Sudan, 6.5 million dollars will be used in finding environmentally sustainable solutions for internally displaced (IDPs) and vulnerable populations made even more food insecure from environmental degradation, climate variability, depleting resources such as water, and conflict. Rapid environmental assessments for community action plans will be carried out as a first step in mapping and addressing livelihood vulnerabilities, identifying crop seeds and tree varieties most suited for an area and avoiding flashpoints over natural resources such as water between IDPs and host communities and semi-nomadic pastoralists. About 160,000 people will be assisted through the programme.

Host communities along Kenya’s borders with Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda have witnessed large influxes of refugees and migrants, affecting the livelihood of host communities while pastoralists in the north-west of Kenya have been affected by slow onset disaster due to drought and pasture loss. A subsequent outflow of migrants from rural to urban areas has not only put greater stress on destination towns and cities, but has also increased people’s vulnerability to human trafficking in the desperate search for a job so as to put food on the table.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Kenyan government, there are more than four million people in extreme food insecurity due to rising food and non-food prices and the post-election violence last year. Nearly 1.5 million people are receiving direct food assistance.

IOM’s programme in Kenya will help 3,000 crisis-affected families and vulnerable communities through the re-establishment or creation of livelihoods in food-starved communities and among communities where there is little to no access to efforts to stabilise the population.  

In Mozambique and Tanzania, IOM efforts will primarily target human trafficking as a direct consequence of food insecurity.  Young, unemployed women, particularly in rural areas and those displaced by floods in Mozambique will be helped with agricultural assistance and grants so they can provide for themselves. The focus in Tanzania will be on preventing child-trafficking in rural areas and in assisting child victims of trafficking, particularly those who cannot be reunited with families. Food shortages and lack of rain in rural areas largely made up of small-scale farming has increased the risk of farmers giving their children away to people in urban areas in order to have less mouths to feed and in the hope that they will be well taken care of. But often, the children are exposed to the risk of trafficking.

With food insecurity along with conflict a major reason as to why tens of thousands of Somalis and Ethiopians risk their lives each year with human smugglers in a bid to reach Yemen and beyond, with many thousands dying en route and most subjected to abuse and violence, IOM will work with partners and communities in Ethiopia and Somalia to promote greater protection of migrants and asylum-seekers.


SOURCE : International Office of Migration (IOM)



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