Sunday, October 25, 2009

Northern Uganda: Dispute and warnings over DDT-spraying

Email received today, addressed to Uganda Watch:
DDT: Government puts the people in Northern Uganda on dangerous health risks

Dear Sirs,

I'm a science journalist of ugandan origin based in Cologne, Germany. I have a PhD in Genetics and worked for six years at the University Hospital in Cologne.

Please inform the people of Uganda that the government puts people in Northern Uganda on dangerous health risks - especially the children.

Quote:

“I would like to assure organics farmers in Apac that DDT is not bad as some people might think, and it is going to be sprayed inside the house but not in the field.” he said. The farmers however said they will not allow their houses to be sprayed with the DDT because of its toxicity and economic effects on their products.”

The director of the Research Triangle Institute Dr. John Bahana said this program of indoor residual spraying will cover districts like Apac, Oyam, Kitgum, Pader, Gulu and Amuru.

Source:

Lango farmers oppose minister in dispute over DDT-spraying

(adungu, News and backgrounds by young radio journalists in Northern Uganda)

http://www.adungu.org/?p=70#more-70


I wrote a commentary to this article which was deleted less than two hours later. I don’t know why.

Here is my commentary:

The farmers in Apac are right. DDT is harmful.

Researchers led by the University of Pretoria in South Africa studied 3,310 boys born to women from the Limpopo Province, where DDT spraying was carried out in high-risk areas between 1995 and 2003 to control malaria. The two-year study included 2,396 boys whose mothers had been exposed to DDT and 914 whose mothers had not.

The study compared boys born to women in the 109 villages that were sprayed, with those born to women from the 97 villages that were not.

Women who lived in villages sprayed with DDT to reduce malaria gave birth to 33 per cent more baby boys with urogenital birth defects (UGBD) between 2004 and 2006 than women in unsprayed villages, according to research published online by the UK-based urology journal BJUI.

And women who stayed at home in sprayed villages, rather than being a student or working, had 41 per cent more baby boys with UGBDs, such as missing testicles or problems with their urethra or penis.

Science Daily, October 23, 2009

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023093221.htm


Journal reference:

Bornman et al. DDT and urogenital malformations in newborn boys in a malarial area.
BJU International, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2009.09003.x


Best Regards,

Joe Otim Dramiga
[end of email]

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

African leaders meet in Uganda to sign treaty on the plight of 17 million refugees and displaced Africans

The Convention on the Protection and Assistance of the Displaced People in Africa is the first of its kind aimed at internally displaced people, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

On Wednesday, the AU executive council adopted the draft convention which calls for the prevention of forced displacement, protection of refugees and the internally displaced and helping victims of conflicts and natural disasters.

Under the convention, the draft of which was seen by AFP, countries will be required to provide special assistance for IDPs with special needs, including the elderly.

From AFP by Emmanuel Goujon, 22 October 2009:
African leaders to sign treaty on refugee plight
KAMPALA — African leaders gathered on Thursday in the Ugandan capital for a two-day summit aimed at agreeing a treaty on improving the plight of the continent's 17 million refugees and displaced.
The Convention on the Protection and Assistance of the Displaced People in Africa is the first of its kind aimed at internally displaced people, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"The summit is aimed at pursuing durable solutions to the root causes and challenges of Africa's 17 million IDPs and refugees," Ugandan Minister for Refugees Tarsis Kabwegyere said ahead of the meeting.

Political upheaval, conflicts and natural disasters have left Africa with the world's highest number of refugees and displaced.
"Internal displacement is one of the most daunting humanitarian challenges of our day, and no one would deny that Africa is the hardest-hit continent in terms of numbers of IDPs," ICRC chief Jakob Kellenberger said in a statement.

Somalia's long-running conflict, instability in DR Congo's eastern region and recent political violence in Kenya as well as other hotspots such as northern Uganda and south Sudan have caused massive population displacements.

Around a third of Somalia's 10 million people are in need of relief aid due to a prolonged drought that has plunged the Horn of Africa country into its worst humanitarian crisis in 18 years.

Close to a sixth of the population is displaced.

Even as the summit got under way, at least 17 civilians died in an exchange of mortar and artillery fire in Mogadishu, the latest in a string of such incidents that have sent tens of thousands fleeing the city in recent months.

African Union political affairs commissioner Julia Dolly Joiner called for political and economic stability for the continent's trouble spots.

"Improvements in governance, rapid economic development and more appropriate food security strategies are among the actions that will ensure that the root causes are addressed," she said.

On Wednesday, the AU executive council adopted the draft convention which calls for the prevention of forced displacement, protection of refugees and the internally displaced and helping victims of conflicts and natural disasters.

Under the convention, the draft of which was seen by AFP, countries will be required to provide special assistance for IDPs with special needs, including the elderly.

Leaders at the Kampala summit will also set up an action plan to implement the resolution which emerges from the meeting.
Last year, the 53-member bloc resolved to bolster the protection of refugees and displaced people, a move that was lauded by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as historic.

"But some African countries are reluctant to ratify the convention which would be restrictive and have legal consequences," an African diplomat told AFP.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Operation Natural Fire 10: Oct. 16-25 joint military exercise in N. Uganda involving about 450 U.S. troops

Here is some news of operation Natural Fire 10, a joint military excercise in northern Uganda involving about 450 U.S. troops, from Peter Eichstaedt's blog:

Boots on the ground
By Peter Eichstaedt, October 12, 2009
"... There's an interesting article in The East African, written by Keven Kelley, about the joint military exercise in northern Uganda involving about 450 U.S. troops.

According to Kelley's article, total troops will be about 1,000, with Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi each sending 150 soldiers to join 450 US military personnel in Kitgum for the October 16-25 event.

Labeled as operation Natural Fire 10, it is reportedly the U.S.'s largest African exercise this year. While this is clearly an exercise loaded with significance, it is the not the first such military exercise. Such joint maneuvers began across Africa in 1998, hence the name Natural Fire 10 -- this being the tenth.

The US Army describes it as “a regularly scheduled training exercise, which offers an opportunity for East African partner nations and the US military to work together to increase regional capabilities to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies.”

What is most interesting is the location: northern Uganda. It is a message not only to Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, but also Sudan.

That message being, of course, that a multi-national force of 1,000 -- an effective number for a fighting force anywhere in the world -- can be assembled in this strategic location with relative ease.

Such a force would be a huge problem for someone like Kony, should he think about a return to northern Uganda. It shows that Uganda has allies who are willing not only to donate moral support and money in the fight against Kony and his maniacal militia, but are willing to put boots on the ground.

This is an acknowledgement that Kony is much more than Uganda's problem, and has become a regional nightmare. Though Kony's precise whereabouts are not known, the latest information is that he has been operating in the remote eastern regions of the Central African Republic. Uganda's army has permission from the CAR to chase Kony and has been doing so with their typically limited results.

The biggest regional concern, however, is not the CAR, but widely-rumored support that Kony once again is getting from Sudan as we slowly but surely approach the coming election cycle in Sudan and South Sudan.

Since Sudan has effectively backed off its offensive in Darfur, this has freed up personnel and resources for coming confrontations in South Sudan, which is fully expected to vote for independence in 2011 -- an eventuality that Sudan does not want.

Preparing for an expected battle, South Sudan has been arming itself as we know from the famous shipment of weapons that was temporarily delayed off the coast of Somalia by Somali pirates last year. Feisty publications such as Jane's have been following the progress of the weaponry to Juba, South Sudan.

However, should Kony be added to the mix in any pending chaos in South Sudan, the Sudan People's Liberation Army will need some help. What better than an integrated, multi-national force from regional powers, aided and equipped by the U.S.?

There are strategic advantages for the U.S., of course, which has rarely had a good relationship with Sudan, ever since the militant and fundamentalist Islamic takeover of the government a couple decades ago.

We hardly need to mention Sudan's hosting of Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s or the U.S.'s condemnation of Sudan's so-called war in Darfur which the U.S. has labeled a genocide.

The U.S. quietly has been supporting South Sudan's drive for independence, knowing that a staunch ally in Sudan's back yard will give the U.S. a firm foothold in the region and first-hand chance to keep an eye on Sudan.

Among other things, the U.S. very much wants to see the expected revenues from South Sudan's vast and untapped oil reserves to fill the pockets of an ally, rather than antagonistic Sudan.

When push comes to shove in the next year or two, the current joint military exercise taking place just 30 miles from the South Sudan border shows how that support could take a very dramatic step."

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Tullow Oil: Oil Discovery In The Ngara-1 Exploration Well

AUGUST 4, 2009 LONDON (Dow Jones)--
Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN), an oil and gas company, said Tuesday that the Ngara-1 exploration well, which is located in the Butiaba region of Uganda Block 2, has encountered over 8 metres of net oil pay.

MAIN FACTS:

-Located one kilometre from the crest of the structure, the well was drilled to a total depth of 741 metres and has been successfully logged and sampled.

-Good quality basal sands were encountered with over 8 metres of net oil pay in a 17 metre gross reservoir interval with additional potential up-dip.

-The Ngara-1 well is located 3 km south of the Ngege-1 discovery and de-risks two adjacent traps within the Ngara fault block.

-Consideration will be given to these and other prospects as part of the next Block 2 drilling campaign which is expected to commence early in 2010.

-The well is now being suspended as a future oil producer. The Ngara-1 well and the other discoveries made in Uganda will form part of the detailed basin development plan which the integrated project team is currently working on.

-Preparations are now under way to commence a new drilling programme with partner, Heritage Oil PLC (HOIL.LN), in Block 1 in the fourth quarter of this year. We are also looking forward to the results from the Ngassa-2 well which remains on track to reach Total Depth in August

-By London Bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; Contact Ian Walker; +44 (0)20 7842 9296; ian.walker@dowjones.com
Further reading:

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Sudan Govt: ready to cooperate with Uganda over oil production - LRA's Kony not in Darfur

Sudan is ready to resolve outstanding border disputes with Uganda. Uganda has discovered huge oil reserves in the Albertine rift. The Albertine rift stretches from southern Sudan through the lake Albert valley to southwest Uganda. The northern part of Albertine rift has been unstable for many years due to the rebel insurgency of Lord’s Resistance Army. The Sudanese government has denied reports that Joseph Kony, the LRA’s leader, had sought refuge in Darfur.

Excerpt from Sudan Watch, September 28, 2009: Would it make sense for the oil wells in Southern Sudan to be connected to Uganda?
It might make sense if you had a central hub for distribution in Uganda and have other countries linked to that central hub. That would be a cost-effective way of doing it. It would be great to have the cooperation between all the countries in the region through a central hub. That is one option. That would require the various governments talking to each other and putting together a central hub. If that is the way the governments want to go, we will work with that.
Report from Dow Jones Newswires, October 1, 2009:
Sudan Govt: Ready To Cooperate With Uganda Over Oil Production
KAMPALA, Uganda (Dow Jones) – The Sudanese government is ready to offer maximum cooperation to Uganda as the latter moves closer to start oil production in the Albertine rift, a diplomatic official said late Wednesday.

Ali Hussein Award, Sudan’s ambassador to Uganda, said in remarks broadcasted live on the national television that Sudan was ready to share its expertise in oil production with Uganda, which has discovered huge oil reserves in the Albertine rift.

“The Sudanese government is ready to cooperate with Uganda in developing its oil sector, including establishing a refinery,” he said.

Hussein said Sudan is also ready to resolve outstanding border disputes with Uganda along the common border to ensure peace and stability.

The Albertine rift stretches from southern Sudan through the lake Albert valley to southwest Uganda.

The northern part of Albertine rift has been unstable for many years due to the rebel insurgency of Lord’s Resistance Army.

The Sudanese government has also denied reports that Joseph Kony, the LRA’s leader, had sought refugee in Darfur, seeking protection from the Sudanese army.

France-based Total SA (TOT), which operates in Sudan, has expressed interest in investing in Uganda’s downstream oil sector, according to sources.

Total’s potential production in southern Sudan could be tied to the Ugandan oil pipeline project, which is expected to connect the Albertine rift to the Kenyan port of Mombasa about 1,300 kilometers away.

Total officials declined to confirm the company's interest in Ugandan
Oil exploration companies already operating in Uganda include U.K.-based Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN), Heritage Oil PLC (HOIL.LN), Tower Resources PLC (TRP.LN) and Dominium Ltd
-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires ; +256 75 262 4615; bariyonic@yahoo.co.uk
Cross-posted from Sudan Watch.

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