West Africa

Rising Ebola cases strain health workers

KENEMA/KAILAHUN/FREETOWN/MONROVIA, 31 July 2014 (IRIN) - A shortage of trained health workers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who can treat Ebola victims and prevent further spread of the deadly disease is hampering response efforts, say Health Ministry and NGO staff, who say their efforts are at “breaking point”. full report

Is the UN peacekeeper selection process flawed?

BANGKOK, 29 July 2014 (IRIN) - Reports on Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Nigeria released in July 2014 at the Open Society Institute in New York reveal failures in human rights vetting for soldiers in countries that contribute to UN peacekeeping operations. full report

Boko Haram steps up Cameroon raids

YAOUNDE, 24 July 2014 (IRIN) - Nigerian radical Islamist group Boko Haram’s free-wheeling ruthlessness is increasingly troubling the remote Far North Region of Cameroon, which has seen several attacks in recent months, with foreigners also abducted for ransom. full report

Rosewood plunder in Guinea-Bissau

BISSAU, 22 July 2014 (IRIN) - During the March-May cashew nut harvesting season, it is normal to see heavy trucks line Amílcar Cabral Avenue in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau’s capital, waiting to offload their cargo onto ships. But when they line up all year long, suspicion is raised, especially when demand for the country’s cashews has plummeted. full report

Tackling Liberia’s high rape rate

MONROVIA/DAKAR, 18 July 2014 (IRIN) - Rates of sexual violence in post-war Liberia are still “extremely high” according to a recently published report by UK-based think tank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). full report

Fighting Ebola “by the grace of God”

MONROVIA, 15 July 2014 (IRIN) - Panicked and shocked Liberian health workers who have seen their colleagues die of Ebola, which has killed more than 500 people in West Africa since January, are abandoning their work stations, hoping to resume only when the disease subsides. full report

Breaking the poverty trap – the power of cash grants

NEW YORK, 10 July 2014 (IRIN) - A cash injection of as little as US$12 per month for an impoverished family could determine whether a child eats properly or goes to school or not. With cash transfer programmes around the world now having a profound impact on the lives of poor people, the debate is less about whether to implement them than how to do so. full report

Analysis: Adversity in northern Mali

GAO, 10 July 2014 (IRIN) - Only just recovering from a brutal Islamist occupation, residents of northern Mali are facing further devastation following recent clashes between separatist rebel forces and government troops. The violence has heightened insecurity, throttled an already difficult aid operation and driven up hunger. full report

A Sierra Leone hospital battles Ebola

KENEMA, 9 July 2014 (IRIN) - Hasan Kamara patiently labels blood samples at the government hospital in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone. The country, alongside neighbouring Guinea and Liberia, is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of Ebola on record, with 481 people having died from the incurable disease in the three countries as of 2 July. full report

New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, 7 July 2014 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have launched an urgent appeal to address a funding shortfall that has already resulted in food ration cuts for a third of all African refugees. As of mid-June, nearly 800,000 refugees in 22 African countries have seen their monthly food allocations reduced, most of them by more than half. full report