Hunger levels soar in Horn of Africa as region faces driest summer in over 35 years

Source: Save The Children

Save the Children warned of a major emergency in the Horn of Africa, as nearly 13 million people face critical levels of hunger following a succession of failed rains. Half of the affected people, an estimated 6.5 million, are children. The region is now experiencing the lowest cumulative rainfall totals since 19811.

Despite efforts by aid agencies and the governments of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, the hunger situation in the Horn of Africa is rapidly deteriorating, with fears families might soon face an even worse situation than the food crisis of 2017. Although the number of food insecure people across the Horn of Africa is currently lower than at the height of the 2016 -17 drought, the situation looks set to deteriorate with drought anticipated in the coming months2. Somalia has already seen an increase of 36% of food insecure people compared to late 20183.

Save the Children’s teams on the ground are seeing communities struggling to regenerate pastures, replenish water supplies and restore livestock herds, fuelling displacement and forcing families to seek out new livelihoods.

Between January and May 2019 alone, an estimated 59,000 people were displaced in Somalia as a result of drought4. In June 2019, across the Horn of Africa the total number was an estimated 1.8 million people that fled drought5. These families are among the 11.6 million people that had to leave their homes in the East and Horn of Africa as the result of drought, floods, and conflict6.

Children are suffering disproportionally, with the agency gravely concerned of the risk of spiking malnutrition. Malnutrition as a result of food insecurity is one of the biggest risks for children under five, with severely wasted children 11 times more likely to die than those with a healthy weight. Undernourished children also catch infections more easily and have a harder time recovering because or weakened immune systems7.

  • In Kenya, an estimated 2.6 million people face acute food insecurity and are in need of humanitarian assistance. Another 6.8 million are one step away from reaching crisis levels of food insecurity. Across the country, over 600,000 children already require treatment for malnutrition8.
  • In Somalia, 2.1 million people face critical food shortages and require humanitarian support to meet their basic food needs, and an additional 4.2 million people are on the verge of critical shortages. More than one million children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition. The current food crisis in has led to acute levels in most parts of the country. At least 178,400 children are facing severe malnourishment9
  • In Ethiopia, 8.1 million people are in need of food assistance and there are growing fears that these numbers will continue to grow with the upcoming post-rains assessment due to take place in December 10. Save the Children, through its household economic analysis project, has been closely working with the Government of Ethiopia to assess the level of needs at the household level and will continue to do so.

Save the Children’s Regional Director in East and Southern Africa, Ian Vale, said the international community must step up now to avert mass displacement and loss of life.

“Over the past year we have repeatedly called for a dramatic increase in funding, and to date this has largely fallen on deaf ears. As a result, children are facing hunger now. Across the Horn of Africa, Save the Children needs an additional 100 million dollars to meet people’s daily nutritional requirements, lifesaving health provision as well as bolster systems to support them to adapt to their climate-affected world.


“The current funding gap and the failure of the international community to step up have created the conditions for this region-wide emergency. While national governments are working hard to respond to the needs, we fear the situation will only get worse in coming months, with the upcoming El Nino weather event likely resulting in another massive spike in the number of malnourished children.


“The impact of climate change on the lives of Ethiopians, Kenyans and Somalis is becoming more intense every year. We cannot expect children and their families in this poverty-stricken region to bear the impact of the climate crisis. This is a global issue, and we have a global responsibility to support the most vulnerable.”

Across the Horn of Africa, Save the Children is implementing resilience programs to address the longer-term impacts of climate change. In Somalia, Save the Children is supporting the establishment and training of community-based disaster management committees who can develop their own plans and strategies to adapt to disasters according to their local needs and contexts. 

In Ethiopia, Save the Children supports unemployed young ‘pastoralist drop-outs’ who were forced by the circumstances to give up the cattle farmer trade. Save the Children works to get them a training that suits their interests and skills, and that will give them sustainable incomes in the future. In Kenya, we are supporting women-led loans and savings groups, so families can start small scale businesses, run sustainable kitchen gardens, and raise livestock appropriate for drought-conditions. 



[1] [2] United Nations [June 2019] Horn of Africa: A joint call for action before a major regional humanitarian crisis

[3] SOMALIA Humanitarian Dashboard – August 2019 [As of 1 October 2019]

[4] Between January and May, UNHCR estimated about 162,000 displacements in Somalia caused by insecurity (56%), drought (37%) and floods (3%).

[5] [Including Uganda] UNOCHA Horn of Africa Drought Snapshot [June 2019]

[6] As of June 2019, the East and Horn of Africa region recorded 8.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 3.5 million refugees and asylum-seekers. IOM Mid-Year Mobility Snapshot January to June 2019

[7] WHO Malnutrition in Emergencies [2017]


[9] Post Gu FSNAU FEWS-NET Technical Release [1 September 2019];

[10] 2019 Ethiopia Humanitarian Needs Overview, OCHA Situation Report for Ethiopia June 2019

Police enquiries ongoing into Te Atatu incident

Source: New Zealand Police

Attribute to Detective Senior Sergeant Kim Libby, Waitemata CIB:

Police are continuing its enquiries into an incident in Te Atatu where a person sustained critical injuries following a report of an attempted van break-in early Sunday morning.

The injured man remains in hospital in a critical condition.

A scene examination of the Te Atatu Road address was completed yesterday.

Police have spoken with the van owner, who was released from hospital yesterday, and a number of witnesses have also been spoken to as part of our enquiries.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kim Libby says Police are still seeking a second man also reportedly involved in the vehicle break-in who fled from the scene in a vehicle.

“We need to locate this man as part of our enquiries and we urge this man to come forward to Police.

“We also encourage anyone who saw any suspicious activity on Te Atatu Road around 3.50am on Sunday morning to contact Police if they are yet to do so,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Libby.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Waitemata Crime Squad on 09 839 0697 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Nick Baker/NZ Police

Get ShakeOut ready this week

Source: Auckland Council

New Zealand ShakeOut, our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi (a communal walk), is taking place on Thursday 17 October at 1.30pm

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management is encouraging all schools, businesses and households to sign up, conduct a Drop, Cover and Hold drill, and plan a tsunami hīkoi if they are in a coastal area.

All of New Zealand is at risk of earthquakes and all of our coastlines are at risk of a tsunami. We can’t predict when they will happen, but we can protect ourselves and those we care about. Last year more than 800,000 people took part, mostly from schools, preschools and tertiary organisations.

This year more than 700,000 people have already registered across New Zealand, with more than 700 businesses, schools and organisations in the Auckland region set to participate in the drill.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime and without warning. ShakeOut is an opportunity for everyone to think about their preparedness and have a conversation with family and friends about what to do in an emergency and how to stay informed.

If you have not done so yet you can still register yourself and your workplace/organisation at

[embedded content]

Sign up for alerts

In the event of an emergency, Auckland Emergency Management will communicate to the public about what to do and where to go. This will typically be done via social media, news media and radio station broadcasting.

Emergency Mobile Alert is a way of receiving information about emergencies in your area.

Emergency Mobile Alert is broadcasted to all capable phones and doesn’t require you to download an app or subscribe to a service.

To check if your phone is capable to receive these alerts visit the Get Ready website.

Workplace fatality

Source: Worksafe New Zealand

If someone has been seriously injured or become seriously ill as a result of work, you must notify us.

Not sure if you need to notify us? If you’re unsure of what needs to be notified please read our guide What events need to be notified?

Our ‘Notify WorkSafe now’ tool will guide you through the process.

Notify WorkSafe now 

If someone has died as a result of work, please call us immediately on 0800 030 040 (24/7).

Revitalised Papatoetoe Mall attracts investment

Source: Auckland Council

If you haven’t been to Papatoetoe’s shopping strip along St Georges Street in a while, you might be surprised to find a new energy zipping through the iconic town centre.

Meander down there today and you’ll find a newly upgraded mall, modern supermarket and large public space where people can soak up the sun’s rays, hang out with friends and make new connections.

Come summer there’ll be a pop-up coffee cart and possibly markets on weekends too. When we visited, locals were enjoying sushi and sandwiches in the courtyard at lunchtime.

This renewed energy is a result of Panuku Development Auckland’s regeneration activity in the town centre, exciting local investors too.

Significantly, the upgraded Papatoetoe Mall has recently been purchased by local businessman Billa Singh.

“Moving to the neighbourhood from India 30 years ago, not much has changed over this time until Panuku came and pulled down the old mall,” says the mall’s new owner Billa Singh.

“When it was rebuilt and then went on the market, I knew I wanted to keep it local. I’m excited to be able to give something back to a community that has given me so much.

“It’d be really great to start some markets here, and this is such a great space to run movie nights as well – maybe show a film like The Lion King, something that the community would enjoy.”

Lynette O’Brien, the pharmacist who co-owns the local Unichem is optimistic about the town centre’s future and is delighted with the mall’s modernisation.

“Our pharmacy has been here since the mall opened in 1971. Compared to what was here before, it’s magical. The light now filters through the trees and building canopy which makes it really nice to sit outside. This mall is in a great location to connect the community with everything in walking distance including the supermarket, library and train station.

“A lot of people cross paths here and it’s great to be able to have a space where people can come together and soak up the energy of this place. I’m really looking forward to seeing people come and enjoy this space a lot more.”

Meanwhile, New World owner Max McDermid is busy working up ideas to bring the community together in the large public space recently completed next to the supermarket and mall.

“As part of our supermarket upgrade we partnered with Panuku to create a large public space where people can hang out and the community can come together. Now that the construction is complete we just have to put it all into action.

“At the moment I’m working on a plan to open up a coffee cart in partnership with the Papatoetoe Food Hub, the community cafe which has opened up across the car park. The food hub is a great initiative and this move will help expose the new business to more customers while providing a café offering in a great location so people can linger and enjoy the space a bit more.”

He’s already driven all the way down to Wellington to collect the ‘cute’ little cart and bring it back up to Auckland where it’s currently being fitted out.

“I’m also looking at running market days out front, although this is just an idea at this stage – we should start to see it all come together nicely in time for summer.”

Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board was a key partner on this upgrade and provided valuable input and direction particularly around place making, ensuring the resulting improvements were something locals could embrace.

MPI Postgraduate Science Scholarships – applications open

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries


Media contact: MPI media team

Applications are open for Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Postgraduate Science Scholarships for PhD and Masters students undertaking primary sector research.

MPI chief science adviser Dr John Roche says the scholarships are an investment in New Zealand’s future and will help build science and technology capability and promote the exciting range of science careers on offer across our primary industries, from fisheries to forestry, agriculture to food and biosecurity.

“This scholarship programme is aiming to encourage PhD and master’s students to pursue research within the primary industries, particularly where there are science and skills gaps. Innovation is vital to capitalise on the opportunities and mitigate the challenges our primary industries are facing.”

Dr Roche says New Zealand’s primary industries offer potential to work in an incredibly diverse range of areas that are important to building New Zealand’s sustainable future. These include protecting and sustaining land and water resources, innovating through genetics, harnessing the value and power of data to develop production systems that have a positive impact on the environment, and responding to changing consumer food preferences.

The total value for each PhD scholarship is up to $50,000 and each master’s scholarship is up to $12,000. Successful recipients will also benefit from mentoring from MPI scientists and career development opportunities to fast-track their career in the primary industries.

Applications close 8 December 2019. Scholarship winners will be announced in early 2020.

Marine Electrification Fund Recipients Announced

Source: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

Low-emission marine transport projects are receiving a boost to the tune of $800,000, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) announced today.

Four successful recipients of the special investment-focused technology demonstration fund have been announced, with the fifth project currently in the process of being confirmed.

“We have approved funding for projects that will demonstrate the viability of electric marine passenger vessels in New Zealand,” EECA Board Chair Elena Trout said.

“Finding ways to move away from fossil fuels for transport is essential if New Zealand and the world is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.”

“The marine electrification funding round was established due to increasing interest in the technology and demand by industry.

“EECA’s existing Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund is restricted to road transport and associated infrastructure and therefore did not cover marine technology.

“We recognised that there is potential for a number of existing marine passenger vessels and also personal watercraft to convert to electric propulsion,” Elena Trout said.

Total EECA funding available for each successful project was limited to $200,000, and up to a maximum of 40 per cent of the incremental cost of the marine electrification project.
EECA funding contributes to the cost of demonstrating proven technology or an innovative process improvement opportunity that has yet to be widely adopted in New Zealand. Successful applicants had to prove the potential of the project to improve energy efficiency and/or reduce carbon emissions.

Fund recipients:

The successful recipients of the fund are Explore Group, Black Cat Cruises, Ngāi Tahu Tourism (Shotover Jet) and Petroleum Logistics (GoFuel).

Co-funding has been approved for the following projects:

  • Viaduct Harbour water taxis and tours: 100% electric retrofit. The Explore Group plans to convert two existing ferries to battery electric propulsion for harbour tours and taxi service. The conversions will use tried and tested components used extensively overseas. Explore Group is a very experienced marine tourism and transport business and having had a long association with the America’s Cup is gearing up for the upcoming America’s Cup regatta. It will receive $158,070 co-funding (17% of total projects costs).
  • Diamond Harbour Electric Passenger Ferry. Black Cat Cruises will receive $200,000 co-funding (6% of total project costs) to build a new 70 seat electric ferry for contracted public passenger ferry service between Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour. The state of the art electric ferry will replace an existing smaller diesel fuelled boat. The company operates over 8,400 return crossings per year.
  • Ngāi Tahu Tourism will receive $200,000 co-funding (36% of total project costs) to convert a V8 petrol powered jet boat to 100% electric twin motor propulsion for on river trial and testing. Once the trials are successfully completed it will then look to introduce the electric jet boat technology into its world recognised Shotover Jet tourism operation. In the future, the company plans to take this demonstration further with conversions through its fleet of jet boats in Queenstown, Glenorchy, Hollyford Valley and Taupō.
  • Petroleum Logistics (GOFuel) will receive $76,065 co-funding (40% of total project costs) to retrofit its current marina work boat used for towing and water taxi service with a commercially available electric outboard motor and a fast charge capable battery pack. It will also install New Zealand’s first public marine fast charger at Westhaven Marina to provide charging services to future electric boat operators.

Details of the fifth project will be available when an agreement is finalised between EECA and the applicant.

For more information about the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, visit

For information about EECA’s Technology Demonstration fund, visit

Media enquiries:

Workplace incident, Te Kuiti

Source: New Zealand Police

Workplace incident, Te Kuiti

Monday, 14 October 2019 – 1:32pm


Emergency services are responding to a workplace incident on Waitete Rd, Te Kuiti, where a man has died.

Police were called about midday.

The death has been referred to WorkSafe and the Coroner.


Issued by Police Media Centre

Protecting yourself by being cyber smart

Source: Employment New Zealand

Cyber Smart Week starts today and runs until the 18th October 2019.

It’s time for both employers and employees to think smart, review their policies and practices to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.

This year, CERT NZ — a government agency that helps New Zealanders identify their cyber security issues and guides them in resolving them — encourages people to make sure they are free from cyber-attacks. People should ‘make sure of it’ through the four simple security measures:

Set up a password manager — (external link)

Turn on two-factor authentication — (external link)

Update your device software — (external link)

Protect your privacy — (external link)

Report it

It is important to report your online incidents to CERT.

Your report is confidential but the lessons from it can be shared with other New Zealanders. This helps raise their awareness of cyber security and they can learn to protect themselves from incidents like yours.

Report an issue — (external link)

Action needed on dodgy tourist tax websites

Source: National Party

The Government’s clumsy implementation of its tourist tax has resulted in unofficial foreign websites popping up that could be misleading visitors and causing them to shell out even more than they need to because its own app is too difficult to use, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Kelvin Davis promised to make it easier for people to visit New Zealand, but his rushed implementation of the tourist tax has instead led to unofficial websites and a clunky app.

“Unofficial visa and tax payment services are charging tourists huge fees to get approval to visit New Zealand. That’s on top of the new taxes and fees the Government has already put in place for visitors.

“Meanwhile, the Government has released an official app, but each visitor has to use it separately, so families cannot pay the tax in one simple transaction. It’s bureaucratic and a hassle for travellers.

“MBIE is correcting as many as a thousand applications each week made through the app because it’s poor at reading passport numbers and names.

“The Government was warned its new tax would mean fewer visitors and a loss of up to $70 million for small businesses. Mr Davis ignored this advice and pushed ahead with his new tax under urgency in Parliament, and we’re already seeing the consequences of that with falling visitor numbers from major markets like India and China.

“Unofficial sites and an app that doesn’t do its job will only put tourists off even more.

“Kelvin Davis needs to sort out his app and shut down the websites which take advantage of tourists.”