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Uganda: DR Congo Refugees Escaping Violence Risk Spreading Ebola to Uganda

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People fleeing violence in an Ebola-hit region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are being forced to cross the border illegally into Uganda, risking the virus spreading into the neighboring East African nation, aid groups said on Friday.

More than 60,000 people in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Beni region in North Kivu province have left their homes since the latest wave of armed attacks began on March 30.

While some have found legal refuge in Uganda, others are being used as human shields by armed groups who prevent them from reaching official border points to be registered, screened for Ebola and given sanctuary.

Uganda will continue to keep its doors open to refugees as this is our policy. We must allow those people who need refuge to come to Uganda, but we must also be vigilant not to compromise the health of the people of our country.

As a result, some displaced people are forced to cross illegally into Uganda – trekking through dense forests or taking boats across a shared lake – raising the risk of the virus spreading undetected.

“These unofficial crossings are placing people in search of refuge at an increased and totally unnecessary risks of sexual exploitation and abuse,” said Francis Iwa, executive director of Care for Forced Migrants (CAFOMI), a Kampala-based charity.

“Once they enter Uganda, they also are avoiding official immigration procedures and registration as refugees – which means they may not be screened for Ebola and will be unable to access the very services prepared to assist them.”

CAFOMI is one of 18 charities, including Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, Care, Catholic Relief Services, Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children, warning Congolese and Ugandan authorities of a potential humanitarian crisis.

Musa Ecweru, Uganda’s minister for disaster management and refugee affairs, said surveillance teams and authorities along the border were on red alert for suspected cases of Ebola.

“Uganda will continue to keep its doors open to refugees as this is our policy,” Ecweru told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Kampala.

“We must allow those people who need refuge to come to Uganda, but we must also be vigilant not to compromise the health of the people of our country.”

Congo’s Beni region has been at the epicentre of an Ebola outbreak since August 2018. It has infected an estimated 1,495 people and killed 984 in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The outbreak of the virus, which causes severe vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding, is the second largest behind the 2013-16 West African epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people.

Attacks by armed groups on civilians, Congolese soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers have hampered efforts to contain the epidemic.

Congolese officials blame rebels from a Ugandan Islamist group in the area for dozens of attacks that killed hundreds of civilians over the past five years.

Independent experts say other factions and Congolese soldiers are also responsible. The charities said tens of thousands of displaced people were trapped between Uganda and Beni by armed groups.

“The fighting makes it very difficult, if not impossible sometimes, for our teams to reach some of these areas of displacement,” said Dana Hughes, East Africa and Great Lakes regional spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

 


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Plastic Bag Ban,”Ensure Smooth Transitioning for Small Businesses”

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temple obike speaks on bill against nylon bags

The house of representatives on Tuesday passed a bill banning plastic bags in the country. We appreciate a cleaner environment, freer water-ways and animals without plastic bags in their ducts. However, plastic bags have always been a ubiquitous feature of Nigerian life. I thought a level of public consultation was required for passing such laws to ensure a smooth transition through the ban to implementation of this bill. Banning plastic bags is a big win, but it’s just the beginning as it involves a lot and if not properly handled, could mis-fire. Ask Kenya and South Africa, two countries who i know are attemtping to solve this riddle. More investments will have to go into waste management if Nigeria is to be guaranteed a healthier environment.

On the downside, we should expect knock-on effects on businesses, consumers and even jobs. How many would loose their jobs? What are the overheads for an average struggling satchet water company moving from the use of plastic bags to plastic bottles(which may be banned next)? This entire “ex post facto law” approach without prior plans needs to be looked into. One day you have a decent job , the next you and your entire firm have become fugitives who operate outside of the law. When the case gets extreme, you loose your job. Crime is on the increase, Youth joblessness is at an all-time alarming high and yet these laws keep coming?

Amazing ideas come, the government like a reckless lover turns us all on and then at the point of conclusion leaves everyone hanging.

To entrepreneurs and business elites, an opportunity beckons but i daresay that we need to remove ourselves from a perspective for once and get a spherical view of this situations that keep coming and what it’s ramifications hold for our country. People with access to the corridors of power need to start speaking about certain things because one day, this fat chicken that the government and certain factions have been feeding will come home to roost & that day might just be easter.

Nigeria we hail thee! goodness grief!

https://antvt.com/nigeria-reps-adopt-bill-banning-use-of-plastic-bags/ #plasticbags #reusable

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24 Hours Across Africa

Kenya: Popular author and gay activist dies.

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Kenyans prolific writer Binyavanga Wainaina, who was born in Nakuru in Rift Valley Province has died after a short illness in Kenya.

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He is popularly known for his debut book, a memoir entitled One Day I Will Write About This Place, was published in 2011.

Image result for binyavanga wainaina

In January 2014, in response to a wave of anti-gay laws passed in Africa, Wainaina publicly announced that he was gay, first writing a short story that he described as a “lost chapter” of his 2011 memoir entitled “I am a Homosexual, Mum”, and then tweeting: “I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homosexual. Gay, and quite happy.

Prize-winning Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina has died in Nairobi after a short illness at the age of 48.

Wainaina was also named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014 for his gay rights activism.

He “demystified and humanized homosexuality” author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote at the time.

Wainaina was one of the first high-profile Kenyans to openly declare he was gay and “he felt an obligation to chip away at the shame” that people felt about being gay, Adichie added.

Wainaina challenged Kenyans to rethink their negative stereotypes about homosexuality, Nyabola added.

“Inasmuch as homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, there are people who are very comfortable with their identity… but the public space for acceptance and respect has always been lacking and even characterised by violence,” Nyabola said.

“What he said is ‘look I’m here and I’m still the same person that you know and love and respect ‘… I think it’s incredibly powerful,” she added.

Homosexual relations are currently illegal in Kenya but the Supreme Court is due to rule on Friday whether to overturn the law banning them.


@ Anttention Fresh,                
We work hard to ensure that any news brought to you is legitimate and valuable so we leave out the noise. This material, and other digital content on this website, may be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part BUT give us credit as your source. 

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