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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Wednesday 15th of September 2021
 
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Africa

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Check out the baltic dry index from 2008. @coloradotravis
World Of Finance


The point is not the proximate cause of inflation, the point is that inflation is what causes mass insolvency and deflation in a highly levered society.
That, plus everyone linearly extrapolating that inflation will continue.

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Today's weak core CPI - a negative surprise of 2.2 standard deviations - sent our US data surprise index crashing lower. @RobinBrooksIIF
World Of Finance


Higher-than-expected inflation was one of the few upside surprises in that index. Without that lift, our index is more negative than anything seen in 2020

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Why the Tsavo Conservation Area is such an inspiring place? @TsavoTrust H/T @uduny
Africa


The Tsavo Conservation Area, here in Kenya, is comprised of Tsavo East and West national parks, the Chyulu Hills national park, the South Kitui national reserve, and all the lands in between. 

It even stretches south and across the border into Tanzania. The two largest of these parks, Tsavo East and Tsavo West, 13,747 and 7,065 square kilometres respectively, make up nearly half of Kenya’s protected land.
That vast expanse of government protected land is home to incredible biodiversity: from big cats to hyraxes, elephant to kudu, from the fringe-eyed oryx to the critically endangered hirola.
What’s more, it’s a place of storied topographical variety. Tsavo East’s Yatta plateau is the world’s largest lava flow. 

Tsavo West’s Mzima springs are famous for their crystal-clear waters and for the insight that clarity has given us in the study of the hippopotamus’ social design.
Between these epic landmarks, over 500 bird species make their homes in a land variedly covered in acacia scrub, savanna grassland, tangling woodland and the dense greens of riverine forest.
It has many arrows to its quiver, many ways in which it inspires.

For us, at the Tsavo Trust, and for the many, varied and incredible organisations we work with, another of those arrows is the fact that it can be considered an inspirational success in many arenas of wildlife conservation.

Over the years, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in poaching as well as steady growth to the area’s elephant population. 

In the last Tsavo wildlife census, carried out in 2017, 12,886 elephants were recorded. Today, we estimate that the number is much closer to 14,000.
History of the Tsavo Conservation Area
The Tsavo Conservation Area is an example to wildlife management areas the world over. 

Africa as a whole is not presently witnessing the same positive and uplifting results as those being seen in Kenya. 

And, as Kenya’s largest wildlife protection area, Tsavo’s successes have a huge impact on the state of the nation’s wildlife conservation.
It wasn’t, however, always like this. Though the Tsavo area is now well-known for its biodiversity and the relatively large numbers of megafauna it plays host to, it was chosen as a wildlife reserve, back in 1949, not because of what it boasted but because of what it lacked.
In 1949, it was estimated that 45,000 elephant and some 8,000 black rhinos lived in what is now called the TCA. 

Despite these numbers, staggering by today’s standard, Tsavo was not considered to have anywhere near the best wildlife in Kenya. 

It was gazetted as a park because it was one of the country’s few large pieces of land as yet unclaimed by humanity.
The Tsavo area was, as it is in many parts today, too dry for farming and, in the 1940s and 50s, it was also infested with tetse flies.
These factors, as unkind to human agriculturalists as they were, have proven themselves a boon to Kenya’s wildlife. 

However, as the staggering disparity between 1949’s elephant population size and today’s stands testament, conservation is only just beginning to turn the tide on a battle that has seen an almost unimaginable loss of life.
Tsavo today: an assessment of the present state of affairs
Obviously, there have been some huge changes in Tsavo since 1949. Since the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) enforced a worldwide ban on the trade in ivory, 

in 1989, conservationists here have slowly managed to change the way wildlife is considered in Kenya.
However, preceding that ban, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, poaching and hunting for ivory was such a huge issue that it will take many generations before elephant populations have a chance to meet their 1940s levels. 

What’s more, history never stands still. Despite that we’ve witnessed here in Tsavo, nearly an 80% reduction in poaching levels since 2017, the African elephant increasingly faces new threats.
Where once Tsavo was considered too arid and insect-infested to support human life, Kenya’s rapid population growth has brought human communities inside the borders of the TCA. 

Increasingly, the earth’s largest land mammal finds its historic migratory routes clipped short or passing through human habitation.
These are new challenges that conservationists must overcome if the African elephant’s natural way of living is to be protected. 

Increasingly, we at the Trust have found that Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) over security fears, crop-raiding or as it relates to habitat and migratory route loss is the new battleground for elephant conservation.
With Kenya’s human population still rising and with the desire that its elephant population rise also, inventive solutions are necessary if we are to address this issue.
An example of how the uncomplicated method often seems to complicate issues further is seen all too often in the erection of fences for conservation. 

As fences are erected to protect certain agricultural land, elephant and other wildlife are diverted from these areas and sent along new routes. 

Often, in their novel, disorientated meandering, these creatures are distressed and in greater likelihood of causing destruction.
This inevitably exaggerates the potential for conflict.
Tsavo Trust’s 10% fence project and Save The Elephants’ beehive fences
The 10% fence project was invented with the Kamungi Community’s specific situation in mind. The members of Kamungi are a part of the wider Wakamba tribal group. 

The Wakamba, or Kamba, are traditionally organised into flexible social groups with equally flexible territorial bounds. 

These groups are called Mbai and are based largely on paternal lineage.
Traditionally, within Kamba social structures, male elders oversee and govern the Mbai. Several Mbai in the same area often form into villages or Utui.
The Kamba have always been successful, and long-distanced traders. They are well-known for their artisanal craft industries: for the sale of wood carvings, ornaments, pottery and basket weaving. They are also renowned bee-keepers.
Though long-established modes of existence and social organisation are changing, traditionally, men were charged with economic activities and the responsibility of farming the family’s plot of land was the purview of women. 

Nowadays, roles are less tied to gender but the produce farmed is largely the same. 

The Kamba’s farmed plots are tailored to the produce of maize, millet, sorghum and cassava, amongst other things.
Perhaps because of their itinerant nature and their traditional adaptability but also because of very tangible land pressures the country over, the Kamungi contingent of the Wakamba are pressing increasingly closely into the northern boundary of Tsavo West. 

This community has formed themselves into a conservancy and they live in what is known as the TCA as a Wildlife Friendly Zone (WFZ), a buffer area for wildlife.
The 10% fence plan was developed by Tsavo Trust in 2019, as an innovative model that prevents crop raiding and livestock predation, and with this increase’s food security. 

This builds on Tsavo Trust’s existing beehive fences, which deter crop raiding elephants (who actively avoid bees). 

Phase 1 of this project was completed in 2020 with support from the Tofauti Foundation.

Many Kamungi households own large plots of land (between 20 and 150 acres) within the WFZ. 

These plots are regularly used by roaming wildlife and any farming previously conducted on them was subject and unprotected from these roaming creatures. 

The damage to subsistence-abetting crops often inspired a rivalrous relationship between this community and local wildlife.

The 10% fence project, however, has reduced wildlife crop-raiding and improved community perception of it. 

As the name suggests, the project protects 10% of a plot with electrified, porcupine fencing and that 10% of land goes toward subsistence farming. 

The other 90% is left for the marginal environment and for the grazing of livestock.
The 10% fence project completed its pilot stage with astounding results. Two out of the three plots which took part in the pilot scheme witnessed a huge increase in crop yield. 

The third listed limited rainfall as the reason it did not see similar results. And all three said that crop damage as a result of wildlife was dramatically reduced.

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The Xi personality cult is a danger to China @FT @gideonrachman
Law & Politics


Chinese children as young as 10 will soon be required to take lessons in Xi Jinping thought. 

Before they reach their teenage years, pupils will be expected to learn stories about the Chinese leader’s life and to understand that “Grandpa Xi Jinping has always cared for us.”
This should be an alarm bell for modern China. The state-led veneration of Xi has echoes of the personality cult around Mao Zedong — and with it, of the famines and terror unleashed by Mao during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. 

From Stalin’s Russia to Ceausescu’s Romania to Kim’s North Korea and Castro’s Cuba, the combination of a personality cult and Communist Party rule is usually a recipe for poverty and brutality.
These comparisons may seem far-fetched, given the wealth and sophistication of modern China. 

The country’s economic transformation in recent decades has been remarkable — leading Beijing to promote a “China model” from which the world can learn.
But it is important to make a distinction between the “China model” and the “Xi model”. 

The China model of reform and opening, put in place by Deng Xiaoping, was based on a rejection of the cult of personality. 

Deng urged officials to “seek truth from facts”. Policy should be guided by a pragmatic observation of what works, rather than the grandiose statements of Chairman Mao.
To allow officials to experiment with new economic policies, it was crucial to break with the fear and dogma associated with an all-powerful leader. 

Term limits for the Chinese presidency were introduced in 1982, restricting any leader to two five-year terms. 

In the post-Deng years, China has managed two orderly leadership transitions — from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao, and from Hu to Xi in 2012.
Term limits were also intended to solve the succession problem that often plagues one-party states. 

Henceforth, the party’s collective leadership would matter more than the charismatic leadership of a single man.
But, in the Xi era, the Chinese Communist party has once again embraced a personality cult. 

It incorporated Xi Jinping thought into its constitution at a congress in 2017. 

This was an honour previously granted only to one other leader, while still in power — Mao. 

In 2018, the Deng-era term limits for the Chinese presidency were abolished — setting the stage for Xi to rule for decades, if not for life.
The current intensification of the Xi cult, looks like preparation for next year’s party congress — at which the Chinese leader’s desire to stay on in power indefinitely, will have to be rubber-stamped by the party he controls.
Xi is almost certain to get his way. His supporters and organised sycophants will hail the move. How could they not? 

The Chinese leader is meant to be a “good emperor” — a wise leader, who is making all the right moves to modernise the country.

It is certainly possible to make a case for Xi’s signature policies — such as a crackdown on corruption and a more assertive foreign policy. 

The current campaigns to reduce inequality, and to control the power of the big technology companies, can also be justified.
But all of these policies could also easily go wrong. Intimidating Taiwan could lead to a needless confrontation with the US. 

Cracking down on big tech could frighten entrepreneurs and hobble the private sector.
The real difficulty is that if things do go wrong, it will be very hard for anybody to say so openly. 

All personality cults are based on the idea that the great leader is wiser than everyone who surrounds him. He cannot be acknowledged to have made mistakes. 

Chinese critics of Xi’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic have been sent to prison. 

There will be no public inquiries or parliamentary hearings into the pandemic in Xi’s China.
The Xi cult is also intrinsically humiliating for China’s educated middle-class and senior officials — who have to study Xi thought daily on a special app. 

They are expected to express reverence for the leader’s musings and to parrot his favourite phrases, such as “green mountains and clear water are equal to mountains of gold and silver”. 

Anybody who finds this ritual objectionable or laughable, would be wise to keep their thoughts to themselves. The Xi cult means that insincerity and fear are now baked into the Chinese system.
Extending Xi’s leadership long into the future is also a recipe for a future succession crisis. 

The Chinese leader is 68 years old. At some point, he will no longer be fit to govern. But how will he be removed?
Xi’s creation of a cult of personality and his moves to become, in effect, “ruler for life” are part of a disturbing global pattern. 

In Russia, Vladimir Putin is also pushing through constitutional changes that will allow him to remain as president well into his eighties. 

Donald Trump used to “joke” enviously that the US should emulate China’s abolition of presidential term limits.
But the US has checks and balances, which have so far managed to thwart Trump’s worst instincts. 

In a country such as China — without independent courts, elections or a free media — there are no real constraints on a leadership cult. That is why Xi is now a danger to his own country.

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They now turn to rule over the people by means of what could be dubbed "big data totalitarianism" and "WeChat terror." @ChinaFile #COVID19 #
Law & Politics



You will all be no better than fields of garlic chives, giving yourselves up to being harvested by the blade of power, time and time again. @ChinaFile #COVID19 
[ “garlic chives,” Allium tuberosum, often used as a metaphor to describe an endlessly renewable resource.]
What is thriving, however, is all that ridiculous ―Red Culture and the nauseating adulation that the system heaps on itself via shameless pro-Party hacks who chirrup hosannahs at every turn 

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Putin meets Assad in Moscow, takes swipe at US and Turkish forces in Syria @MiddleEastEye
Law & Politics



Russian President Vladimir Putin received Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in Moscow for the first time since 2015 on Monday, criticising foreign forces that are in Syria without a UN mandate in a rebuke of the United States and Turkey.
Assad's most powerful ally in the decade-long Syrian conflict, Putin last received the Syrian leader in Russia in 2018 at his summer residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Russia's air force played a critical role in turning the tide of the Syrian conflict in Assad's favour after it deployed there in 2015, helping him recover most territory lost to rebels.
However, significant parts of Syria remain out of state control, with Turkish forces deployed in much of the north and northwest - the last major bastion of anti-Assad rebels - and US forces in the Kurdish-controlled east and northeast.
"The main problem, in my view, is that foreign armed forces remain in certain regions of the country without the approval of the United Nations and without your permission," Putin told Assad during their meeting, according to a Kremlin statement.



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28 OCT 19 :: discreetly showing his visitors a photo of a dead Gaddafi and maybe he dwelled a little on the bottle and then a Photo of a spritely Bashar Assad
Law & Politics


Putin’s linguistics is an art form and I imagine he buttressed the above points by discreetly showing his visitors a photo of a dead Gaddafi and maybe he dwelled a little on the bottle and then a Photo of a spritely Bashar Assad and would surely not even have had to ask the question; what’s the difference?

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24 OCT 11 :: Gaddafi's Body in a Freezer - What's the Message?
Law & Politics





The image of a bloodied Gaddafi, then of a dead Gaddafi in a meat locker have flashed around the world via the mobile, YouTube and Twitter.

Marshall McLuhan’s prediction in The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) that ‘The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village’ has come to pass. 

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19-JUL-2021 :: COVID-19
Misc.


The Virus remains unresolved.

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23-AUG-2021 :: But Holmes was startled. “This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year and that, I think, was the biggest surprise to me”
Misc.



But Holmes was startled. “This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year and that, I think, was the biggest surprise to me”
The 1918–19 influenza pandemic also appears to have caused more serious illness as time went on, says Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at Roskilde University who studies past pandemics.

 “Our data from Denmark suggests it was six times deadlier in the second wave.”

“Many still see Alpha and Delta as being as bad as things are ever going to get,” he says. 

“It would be wise to consider them as steps on a possible trajectory that may challenge our public health response further.”
Some dangerous variants may only be possible if the virus hits on a very rare, winning combination of mutations, Eugene Koonin told me. 

“But with all these millions of infected people, it may very well find that combination.” @kakape 


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The National Health Commission said 59 new locally transmitted cases were reported for Sept. 13, up from 22 infections a day earlier. All of them were in Fujian
Misc.


In just four days, a total of 102 community infections have been reported in three Fujian cities, including Xiamen, a tourist and transport hub with a population of 5 million.

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"Analysis of over 2 million #SARSCoV2 genomes to determine which mutations drive contagiousness". @TWenseleers
Misc.


Multinomial mixed models applied to infer the relative transmissibility of different SARS-CoV2 lineages & mutations that underlie transmissibility. 

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―They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences
Misc.


―In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.
A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.
But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions

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I'm going to share a hypothesis that is not mine, but we should consider it. @fitterhappierAJ
Misc.



RNA viruses like cov2 may enter a low replication state in tissues like the brain.
They may (likely imo) contribute to long-term issues like MS and parkinson's.

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The problem I see is that cov2 has a superantigen. @fitterhappierAJ
Misc.



This means in the low replication state, cov2 can shed a hyperinflammatory payload.
This would, in my opinion, accelerate disease processes.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1815
Dollar Index 92.528
Japan Yen 109.46
Swiss Franc 0.9194
Pound 1.3832
Aussie 0.7328
India Rupee 73.369
South Korea Won 1169.055
Brazil Real 5.2403
Egypt Pound 15.7000
South Africa Rand 14.2940

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BIG jump in UK CPI inflation. Up from annual rate of 2% in July to 3.2% in Aug. @EdConwaySky
World Of Finance


Not just the highest level of inflation since 2012, it’s also the biggest month-on-month change in the level in the history of this inflation measure (going back to 1997)

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The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Africa



Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

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What is clear is that Abiy’s campaign to centralize power in the capital is in tatters.
Africa



With many regions seeking more devolution, the conflict threatens the integrity of the state, according to a key Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Abiy’s authority is at serious risk unless he can find a way to force the Tigrayans back. The Nobel peace prize winner has awakened more enemies than just the TPLF.
“We have one thing in common and that is we are fighting the same enemy,” said Kumsa Diriba, the commander-in-chief of the Oromo Liberation Army.

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Sudanese inflation slowed for the first time in more than a year to reach 387.6% in August @markets
Africa


The deceleration from 422.8% in July came as costs for foodstuffs and imported goods both saw slowdowns, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday in a report.

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10-JUN-2019 :: The ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating.
Africa



As I watched events unfold it felt like Sudan was a portal into a whole new normal.

Hugh Masekela said ‘’I want to be there when the people start to turn it around.’’ Sudan is a Masekela pivot moment.

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Angola Eurobonds Surge as @MoodysInvSvc Lifts Ratings For First Time @markets
Africa



Angola’s bonds surged after Moody’s Investors Service raised the country’s credit rating for the first time, citing improved governance and debt metrics.

The company upgraded its assessment of Africa’s second-largest oil producer by one level to B3 from Caa1, it said in a statement on Monday

It was the first time since Moody’s initial evaluation in 2015 that the rating was increased, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“If any country out there has deserved a ratings upgrade it is Angola,” said Simon Quijano-Evans, chief economist at Gemcorp Capital LLP. 

“Rarely has one seen a country push ahead with reforms at the most difficult of times, helping secure future growth and stability.”
Moody’s cited rising oil prices and Angola’s improving fiscal position as reasons for the upgrade. 

The International Monetary Fund, which approved a $772 million disbursement to Angola in June, expects the $62 billion economy to expand for the first time this year after years of contraction. 

“Stronger governance, in particular in the quality of the country’s executive and legislative institutions, albeit from weak levels, is reflected in various aspects of the credit profile,” Moody’s said in the statement. 

“Higher oil prices compared to last year, and a stable exchange rate, will allow the positive impact of fiscal consolidation efforts.”

The yield on Angola’s 2025 Eurobonds dropped 12 basis points to 6.11% by 10:03 a.m. in London, the lowest on a closing basis since February 2020. 

The yield has declined by more than 200 basis points this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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Lagos, Nigeria (@AP) -- Nigeria is seeing one of its worst cholera outbreaks in years, with more than 2,300 people dying from suspected cases as Africa’s most populous country struggles to deal with multiple disease outbreaks @business
Africa



This year’s cholera outbreak, with a higher case fatality rate than the previous four years, is worsened by what many consider to be a bigger priority for state governments: the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nigeria faces a resurgence of cases driven by the Delta variant, and less than 1% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
At least 69,925 suspected cholera cases were recorded as of Sept. 5 in 25 of Nigeria’s 36 states and in the capital, Abuja, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control. 

Children between 5 and 14 are the most affected age group and the overall case fatality rate is 3.3%, more than double that of COVID-19′s

At least 2,323 people have died from suspected cholera this year, but there are concerns that might be an undercount given that many affected communities are in hard to reach areas.

States in Nigeria's north where flooding and poor sanitation increase the risk of transmission are the hardest hit. 

The 19 states in the north account for 98% of the suspected cases.
Cholera is endemic and seasonal in Nigeria, where only 14% of the population of more than 200 million have access to safely managed drinking water supply services, according to government data from 2020, which also shows that open defecation is still practiced by at least 30% of residents in 14 states
Nigeria also continues to see regular outbreaks of yellow fever, Lassa fever, measles and other infectious diseases.

“We must remain conscious that these multiple outbreaks can further strain our health system,” outgoing Nigeria CDC director-general Chikwe Ihekweazu told The Associated Press.

But he and other officials say the experience from those health crises has helped Nigeria prepare for the worst.

“Prior investment in diagnostic capacity, case management, electronic surveillance systems, event-based surveillance, risk communication, logistic management systems and national/subnational workforce development have paid off significantly during COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
That has not contained cholera, however, and in some states, authorities have said COVID-19 has taken center stage.
In Kogi State, which has Nigeria's second-highest cholera case fatality rate at 24.5%, top health official Saka Haruna told the AP the rate is high because of the difficulty in accessing care in hard-to-reach areas.
Even in the capital, finding care has been challenging. Ese Umukoro said she had a “very difficult” experience when her brother, Samson, had cholera and was rejected at three hospitals before being admitted at the fourth. S

he asked the government to “try their best to at least give us good water to avoid that kind of sickness."

Sokoto State has Nigeria's fourth-highest count of suspected cholera cases, and its health commissioner told the AP that 22 of the 23 Local Government Areas have been hit by the outbreak.

“What is driving the infections is lack of good sanitary conditions in our villages and open defecation, aggravated by heavy rainfall,” said Ali Inname.
It's a common problem. Government data from a study supported by UNICEF found access to safely managed sanitation services at just 21% nationwide.
Engineer Michael Oludare, an Oyo-based water scientist, said it is "very important” for authorities to provide basic water and sanitation. 

He said the poor, women, children and internally displaced people are among “those that will have problems when it comes to cholera.”

Moreover, Nigeria still grapples with the challenge of inadequate vaccines and trained manpower to cover all Local Government Areas where the cholera outbreak has been recorded.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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September 2021
 
 
 
 
 
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