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  • Canada provides $30M emergency assistance to drought-stricken Ethiopia

    Canada is contributing $30 million to several United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations working to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to millions of people in drought-stricken in Ethiopia, federal minister of international development and La Francophonie announced Thursday.

    Marie-Claude Bibeau made the announcement in Tokyo as she met with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    The crisis, which is expected to affect up to 20 million people in Ethiopia, is the result of drought caused by a particularly strong El Niño event warming the Pacific Ocean and affecting global weather patterns, according to background documents released by Global Affairs Canada.

    Canada’s funding for Ethiopia will help meet critical food, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation needs in response to the deteriorating situation throughout the country, the document said.

    “Ethiopia can count on Canada’s continued engagement and support. We are concerned by the food security situation in Ethiopia and will continue to monitor it and act quickly to protect the poorest and most vulnerable,” Bibeau said in a statement.

    Read more at Radio Canada International

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  • Ethiopia: Facing the Challenges of Climate Change

    This week, as global leaders meet in Paris to discuss climate change, poor rural families in Ethiopia will be dealing with the harsh realities of extreme weather.

    Those in the north are currently going hungry after two seasons of poor rainfall. Those in the rest of the country – including the central and southern areas where we work – are struggling with unusually heavy rains: in some areas the army has been deployed and children sent home from school to harvest crops before the rains destroy them. Already, around 10% of Ethiopia’s population is receiving emergency food aid, and that figure is expected to double by early 2016.

    The cause this time is the El Nino phenomenon. Although it occurs naturally, it seems that man-made climate change is exacerbating the situation. Of course, the problem needs political, global solutions of the kind to be discussed in Paris – but the farmers we support have to feed their families now.

    Our work in the southern highlands helps them do just that. Recent independent research showed how families are farming in a way that helps them become resilient to weather shocks such as absent rainfall, or stresses such as the increasing unpredictability of the planting seasons.

    It’s all about better management of their existing resources. So for example, farmers learn to compost their livestock manure and use it to improve soil structure, so it can absorb rainfall and retain moisture during the dry season. They diversify their crops, so their risks are spread and biodiversity is improved. They plant trees, which provide shade for seedlings, fix nitrogen in the ground, and absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the air.


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  • Israel to make massive push to promote Ethiopian integration

    PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu participates in a ministerial committee meeting aimed at promoting the integration of Ethiopian immigrants. (photo credit:AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)

    The ministerial committee to promote the integration of Ethiopian citizens into Israeli society today approved three hundred million shekels in spending toward the goal of bridging the gap between Ethiopians and the rest of Israeli society.

    According to plans presented by Prime Minister’s Office director-general Eli Groner, programs for Israeli-born Ethiopian citizens will be moved to the relevant ministries from the Immigrant Absorption Ministry.

    The government will seek to improve Ethiopians’ access to education and healthcare, and to provide services at a higher level, the government announced.

    The number of Ethiopian teachers will be increased, and the number of students who graduate from high school will be raised, the government said. Schools in which there is a high proportion of Ethiopian students will receive budget increases.

    Many of the changes will be overseen by a committee whose members will be at least half Ethiopian.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chastised Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz for showing up only shortly before the end of the meeting.

    “Where is he, in the protest tent?” Netanyahu said in a reference to Katz’s participation last week in a demonstration held outside the prime minister’s residence organized by settlement leaders who have set-up a protest tent outside his home.

    “It is a disgrace that the welfare minister does not come to this discussion,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying.

    Ethiopian MK Avraham Neguise said that while he approved of the effort, he was concerned about its implementation, stating that he wanted to see ”detailed plans rather than just lines and rules presented.”

    MK David Amsalem, chairman of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, on Sunday connected the issue of Arab unrest in Israel to that of immigration from Ethiopia.

    “I am currently in Gondar, Ethiopia in order to regulate the emigration of thousands of Ethiopian Jews so desperate to reach their homeland and reunite with their families.

    The solution to terrorism is to encourage the immigration of Diaspora Jews and massive construction in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria communities,” the lawmaker said.


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  • EU plans 1.8 billion-euro migrant, border fund for Africa

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is planning to set up a 1.8 billion euro ($2 billion) fund to help Africa nations better manage their borders and help reduce the number of migrants heading for Europe.  

    The EU's executive Commission is also expected to publish on Wednesday a list of "safe countries" including Albania and Kosovo, from where thousands of people have fled this year. A safe country endorsement would mean that few asylum applications by people originating from those countries are likely to succeed, as their nationals would be hard pressed to justify violence or persecution against them. 

    "The aim is to improve stability and address root causes of irregular migration flows," the Commission says of the fund, in a draft text obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. 

    The money would focus on northern Africa and Horn of Africa countries like Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. 

    Around 100,000 migrants have been rescued so far this year crossing the central Mediterranean from northern Africa. 

    The draft text says the EU also expects the 28 member states to provide money for the plan. 

    The full list of "safe countries" is Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. 

    Almost 50,000 people from Kosovo applied for asylum in the EU in the first three months of this year. More than 21,000 did so in Germany, which is welcoming thousands of Syrian refugees. 

    Thousands of Albanians have also sought asylum in recent months. 

    The Commission is also set on Wednesday to propose sharing 120,000 people in need of international protection between EU countries, as well as an additional, permanent plan obliging countries to share refugees in times of future emergency. 

    A large majority of member states would have to accept the plans. 

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