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Authorities warn Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia over worst drought in decades

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Authorities in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia have warned that higher temperatures and less than normal rainfall were recorded by weather agencies in March and April this year which could result in severe drought.

According to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, rains will likely fail for a fourth consecutive year, triggering fears of increased cases of malnutrition, threats to livelihoods, and severe risks for 29 million people in the region.
The recurring and severe droughts and other natural disasters between 1974 and 1984 caused widespread famine, ecological degradation, and economic hardship in the Eastern Africa region.
Although individual countries made substantial efforts to cope with the situation and received generous support from the international community, the magnitude and extent of the problem argued strongly for a regional approach to supplement national efforts.
“Approximately, we have 29 million people who are facing high levels of food insecurity according to the latest experts’ estimates. Already, 15.5 – 16 million of our sisters and brothers are in need of immediate food assistance due to this drought,” said IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu.
For Dr Mahamed Shafi, Director at Gode Hospital in Ethiopia, this is the worst drought they have witnessed in 20 years.
“This drought is the worst drought that we have seen for the last 20 years. It affected the whole community, especially children, especially the under-five children. So we are getting here a lot of malnourished children, more than the children that we have seen six months ago, you know the number of admissions have increased from five patients per day to 15 patients per day,” he said.
In November 2021, scientists at the Famine Early Warning System Network sent out a warning that an unprecedented drought in the Horn of Africa was imminent if poor seasonal rainfall continued into 2022. Tragically, their prediction is turning out to be prescient.
East Africa is experiencing the driest conditions and hottest temperatures since satellite record-keeping began. As a result, as many as 13 million people are currently experiencing acute food and water shortages and a projected 25 million will face a similar fate by mid-2022.

Metro

$5m forfeited to govt in seized plane scandal that rocked Zambia

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The Zambian government has been made $5 million richer following a court ruling that ordered the forfeiture of the sum seized in a gold scam scandal that rocked the nation last year.

The same ruling also mandated the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to release the plane involved in the scandal to its owners after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, and other interested parties in the criminal case entered into a consent judgment.

The Global Express T77WSS Jet, was confiscated at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka last year on suspicion of ferrying gold from the country worth millions of dollars after landing from Cairo, Egypt.

In the consent judgement signed on April 10, the owner of the disputed jet, World Aviation Sinai International Mountains Limited, through one of its Directors, Michael Adel Michel Botros, an Egyptian, agreed to surrender the $5 million to the Zambian government in exchange for the plane.

The DPP, Gilbert Phiri, on the other hand, consented to the immediate release of the the aircraft to its owners

The jet was reportedly hired by a management company known as Ibis Air PTY Limited.

The parties further agreed on the other properties seized comprising of 602 pieces of brass pellets, a combination of Copper and Zinc metals, weighing 127.28 kilograms purported to have been valued at about $7,636,800 from Zambia to Egypt.

The consent judgement read:

“That DEC shall release the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet, to the first and second interested parties forthwith:

“That the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros shall surrender the sum of $5,000,000.00 only to the government of the Republic of Zambia.

“That the sum of $697,700.00 be released to the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros through his advocates to cover some of the attendant costs of facilitating and servicing the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet in order for it to achieve optimal airworthiness.

“All other items seized by DEC be surrendered to the State: and we consent to the order in the terms herein set out.”

In an affidavit in opposition to the DPP’s application filed last year, Ibis Air (PTY) Limited director, Baher Fawzi Mohamed Aldamasy, an Egyptian and a resident in South Africa had stated that the State’s procedure of seizure was irregular as the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act describes the Jet as premises and not property.

Aldamasy had argued that the owner or Ibis was under no obligation to inquire into the work history or activities of the client beyond that which is necessary to determine the rates, safety of the jet and operation as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He stated that the jet was hired to be used for three hours with the flight plan indicated Cairo to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Cairo.

Botros had also argued that he was a victim of a gold scam which also involved government officials but the DPP wanted an order to have the jet used in the gold scam scandal forfeited to the State.

Five Zambians, business man Sedrick Kasanda, Patrick Kawanu Jnr(Pilot), Jim Belemu(Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer), Robson Moonga, and Francis Mateyo, are currently undergoing trial in the Lusaka High Court on charge of espionage.

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Tanzania, Rwanda others recall Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup

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As a safety step, drug regulators in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe have called back a batch of Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup after their counterparts in Nigeria said that lab tests showed high levels of toxicity.

These countries are the fourth and fifth to recall the same batch of syrup. The syrup is used to treat children with coughs, hay fever, and other allergic responses. South Africa has also called back another group.

Nigeria’s health regulator, NAFDAC found a high amount of diethylene glycol in the syrup. This chemical has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia, Uzbekistan, and Cameroon since 2022, in one of the worst waves of poisoning from oral medications in the world. Diethylene glycol is dangerous for people to eat or drink and can cause sudden kidney failure.

J&J made the recalled batch of Benylin Paediatric syrup in South Africa in May 2021. However, the brand is now owned by Kenvue (KVUE.N), which split off from J&J last year. The Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) said the recall began on April 12 after learning about the test results in Nigeria.

“This is an exercise that does not involve investigation but rather monitoring to ensure that those affected drugs are removed from the market,” TMDA spokesperson Gaudensia Simwanza told Reuters on Monday.

A spokesperson for Kenya’s drug regulator said its test results on the syrup would likely be ready on Wednesday. “A review of our safety database doesn’t reveal any adverse events reported,” the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority said in a statement dated April 12. “However, Rwanda FDA issues the present recall for precautionary measures.”

The Medicines Control Agency of Zimbabwe said it didn’t know when the product was brought into the country, but it was worried that the syrup could get into the market without permission. In this case, it said it would do more checks.

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