Displaying items by tag: deaths
On 6 November more than twenty people, including women and children, were killed in an attack by English-speaking separatists in western Cameroon. Since the end of 2016, this area (populated mainly by the English-speaking minority) has seen a deadly conflict between pro-independence armed groups and the security forces. Each side has been accused of crimes against civilians by international NGOs and the UN. The government said that the ‘terrorists’ attacked using firearms and traditional weapons, and burnt down around ten houses. A resident thought the attack was probably made on that day because it was the anniversary of Paul Biya's accession to power as president; he added that a meeting of the RDPC (the all-powerful presidential party) had been scheduled to take place nearby. Cameroon, which has a population of nearly 30 million, has been ruled with an iron fist for 41 years by Biya.
Children were the first to be starved to death in the final days of a Christian doomsday cult in the vast Shakahola farm, near Malindi. Police investigating mass suicide have exhumed 201 bodies so far. A former deputy preacher of the cult, Titus Katana, said children were killed first, ‘ordered to fast in the sun so they would die faster.’ Women and men were next in the suicide plan. Katana, who is helping police with the investigation, described the brutal treatment of children who were shut in huts for five days without food or water: ‘Then they wrapped them in blankets and buried them, even the ones still breathing.’ Cult followers were told they would reach heaven faster if they starved to death. Official autopsies found signs of starvation, suffocation and beatings. Over 600 members of the cult are still missing.
People having a pre-Lent holiday at San Sebastiao beach had two feet of torrential rain. Sao Paulo state’s floods also claimed lives on carnival weekend. TV and social media showed entire areas under water, hillside houses swept away by mud, flooded highways, cars destroyed by fallen trees and more. By 23 February dozens were missing, 48 had died and rescue crews were scrambling to provide necessities, but the logistics of reaching the isolated towns was creating difficulties. Not all aid has reached survivors. Criminals taking advantage of the chaos are looting trucks carrying donations. Pray for the 1,730 displaced people in churches, schools and kindergartens and the 1,810 left homeless, the injured, and those looking for the missing. Pray for those mourning the dead. Amid such devastation a two-year-old boy was rescued from a sea of mud, as was a woman giving birth. See
11-year-old Dahir's brother died of hunger. His two sisters are fighting sickness and malnutrition caused by drought. Authorities want the international community to recognise the crisis as a famine. ‘I'm worried about my sisters. I wash them. I wash their faces’, says Dahir, glancing at six-year-old Mariam, coughing hoarsely and complaining of headache, and four-year-old Malyun, lethargic with sunken eyes. Measles and pneumonia are rampant, killing many younger children with immune systems weakened by malnutrition. At hospitals’ intensive care wards, doctors and nurses insert fluid drips into emaciated infants' arms and oxygen tubes into tiny nostrils. Children's limbs are dark and blistered as if severely burnt - a painful reaction to prolonged starvation. The hospital's head doctor said, ‘The world is paying attention to Somalia's drought now. We see visitors from international donors. But that doesn't mean we are getting enough support. I hope it will come soon. It is a desperate situation.’
Unprecedented famine grips parts of Africa. Four years of droughts, Covid-19, and the Ukraine war have created dire conditions. In Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, one person dies from hunger every 48 seconds. Water sources and wells have dried up. Crops have failed, livestock have died, and 22 million people may starve. Many farmers only grow enough to feed themselves. Many relying on livestock see their animals die. Families forced to flee looking for food embark on very perilous journeys. The level of pain and suffering is devastating. Half of Somalia’s population are experiencing crisis hunger levels. One in three children face chronic malnutrition. Before Ukraine’s war Somalia imported 90% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, Ethiopia imported 42%. Kenya 44%, plus oil, iron, steel, and fertilisers. In late August, the first grain shipment from Ukraine brought 23,000 tons of wheat - enough for 1.5 million for a month, a drop in the bucket for needy millions. See also the Europe article on Ukraine cargo ships leaving.
About 60 people were killed and dozens wounded on 21 February in an explosion at an informal gold mining site in Burkina Faso. TV images showed a site of felled trees, destroyed tin houses and bodies covered in mats. The country is home to major gold mines run by international companies, but also to hundreds of smaller, informal sites that operate without oversight or regulation. Children frequently work in these so-called artisanal mines; accidents are common in one of the world's least developed countries. Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda and IS seek control of mining sites to fund their violence and turmoil. Burkina Faso already struggles with political stability, rebel groups, and ethnic tensions. It can barely cope with additional religious terrorist attacks on both Christians and Muslims. See
Since the start of the pandemic 200,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses, an alarming increase over previous years. Numbers for 2021 are not yet released but look to be higher still. The crisis is driven by a new, ultra-potent drug called fentanyl. Only two milligrams are lethal. It is the most powerful painkiller on the market, and 100 times more potent than morphine. In 2021 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized over 11,000 pounds of fentanyl, enough to kill 2.5 billion people. Fentanyl is being laced into less potent drugs like marijuana and heroin, often without the knowledge of the user. CBP said, ‘Almost every methamphetamine positive also has a fentanyl positive. Once that first high occurs, nothing after that compares.’ Pray for the pandemic casualties, now experiencing depression, to turn to Christ for inner peace and avoid illegal substances. Pray for God to touch the lives of the families of addicts.
On the last day of 2021 two teenagers were murdered in London in the space of an hour, bringing the number of teenage homicides in the capital to 30 - the highest ever recorded. Less than an hour after a teenager was murdered in Croydon, a 16-year-old in Hillingdon died from a puncture wound. Pray for the victims’ next of kin as they begin 2022 without their sons, brothers, nephews. Knife crime offences are rising across the UK, but data shows that London consistently suffers the highest number of knife crime offences per capita of any region. Pray for youth teams, teachers, social workers, churches, charities, police and parents to work together and develop solutions that reduce knife crime. May young people feel secure and protected without the need to carry a knife. See also
The number of deaths of people treated under the Mental Health Act in England rose during the coronavirus pandemic. The Care Quality Commission's findings come amid concerns over staff shortages in psychiatric units. 490 people died while detained under the act in the year to March 2021, 324 of them for non-Covid reasons. The average overall figure between 2012 and 2019 was 273. Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that shortages of doctors and nurses were now compromising patient safety ‘in every part of the NHS’. Mr Hunt, who now chairs the Commons health and social care committee, said ‘We still put far too many people into secure accommodation when they haven't committed any crime, just because it's the only option left.’
This year’s rainy season in Chennai is as heavy as 2015, when 200 people died in floods. Fortunately, the death count is lower this time, but heavy rains are still pounding the area, so the danger continues. Uprooted trees block roads, cars are damaged, and people wade through knee-high water. The rains are taxing the infrastructure. To avoid the danger of electrocution, the government shut down the power grid in some areas. If the rains continue, other low-lying areas of Chennai will be in danger. Pray for God's mercy for those who are most vulnerable to flooding, cholera, and electrocution. Illegal building has left Chennai vulnerable to flood damage; pray for God to raise up righteous decision-makers. Pray for those suffering amid days of stagnant waterlogging and no power. ‘Drainage water is mixed with rainwater, causing odour, and a lot of insects and snakes are coming into the house,’ said a local.