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15 to 20 million people facing acute food insecurity in Eastern Africa, UN body warns

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The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), says between 15 to 20 million people in Eastern Africa are currently facing high levels of acute food insecurity and severe water shortages due to drought.

In a statement on Wednesday by Martin Griffiths, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator ahead of a two-day visit to Nairobi, Kenya, the agency said about half of Zimbabwe’s entire population faces severe hunger amid a devastating drought and economic collapse.

The statement added that already, more than 15 million people are facing food crises across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

“Across the three countries, about 5.7 million children are acutely malnourished, while more than 3 million livestock – which pastoralist families rely on for sustenance and livelihoods – have died,” Griffith said.

Griffith’s visit to Kenya which begins on Thursday, is aimed at Nairobi drawing international attention to the severe climate-induced humanitarian emergency in Eastern Africa and the need to scale up a robust response to save lives and livelihoods before it is too late, OCHA said in the statement.

It added that communities in the Horn of Africa are experiencing one of the most severe droughts in their memory and something must be done before it gets out of control.

“In Kenya alone, some 3.5 million people are severely food insecure, and acute malnutrition rates in some areas are more than double the emergency threshold,” it added.

According to his itinerary while in Kenya, Griffiths will meet with representatives of the government, people on the front lines of the crisis, local authorities, and national and international humanitarian partners.

Metro

Tragedy as 22 die in South African night club

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At least 22 people have died from exposure to poisonous substances in a popular nightclub in East London, South Africa.

Bodies of the victims were said to have been found on chairs early on Sunday morning at the scene occurred at Enyobeni Tavern in the city.

Siyanda Manana, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department, told Reuters: “We are going to immediately be embarking on autopsies so we can know the probable cause of death. We are talking 22 bodies right now.”

Police spokesperson, Tembinkosi Kinana, said “the incident is still under investigation, we do not want to make any speculations at this stage.”

Meanwhile, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his condolences to the families affected.

The president in a statement said he was worried about the circumstances under which young people, potentially under the age of 18 years, were allowed to gather at the tavern but said the law must take its course once investigations conclude.

Night life is a big part of South Africa’s entertainment industry with is the largest market for food and drink in sub-Saharan Africa, and a large and competitive hospitality industry.  According to a study by Statistics, South Africa, spending on alcoholic drinks such as Wine and Beer trumps that on other beverages such as Tea and Coffee.

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Gabon, Togo become newest members of Commonwealth group of nations

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Gabon and Togo have become the latest countries to be admitted into the Commonwealth Group of Nations following their acceptance at the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.

The two African Francophone nations were formally admitted to the group after years of trying to join the 54 nations bloc, bringing the number to 56, the first since Rwanda joined in 2009.

The admission of Gabon and Togo by the Commonwealth on Saturday, which was the highlight of the summit as it drew to a close, sees a continuing expansion of the group of nations beyond ex-British colonies as smaller states seek to benefit from the group which is projected to bring $2 trillion in trade by 2030.

While welcoming the new nations in his closing remarks at the summit, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said:

“We have admitted Gabon and Togo as new members, and we all welcome them to the Commonwealth family.”

Togo’s Foreign Minister Robert Dussey said the membership of the country has opened the door to 2.5 billion consumers in the Commonwealth realm, offered new education opportunities, and tapped a craze for English among his countrymen.

“Togo’s membership is motivated by the desire to expand its diplomatic, political, and economic network… as well as to get closer to the English-speaking world,” he told a news conference.

On his part, Gabonese President Ali Bongo said his country was “making history” by joining the group after 62 years of its independence.

“Sixty-two years after its Independence, our country is getting ready to breakthrough with a new chapter. It’s a world of opportunities for Gabon on the economic, diplomatic & cultural levels,” Bongo said in a statement on Twitter.

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