Displaying items by tag: starvation
This is one of the hardest times Kenyans have experienced. Four rainy seasons in a row have failed. The government declared a national disaster after only two consecutive failed rainy seasons. Since then, the short rains and the long rains have both failed again. Water is hard to find; cattle are dying. Even camels struggle to survive. The World Food Programme says half a million Kenyans could starve. Prolonged hunger and malnutrition have made people prone to disease: their weakened bodies can’t resist infections. In Muslim-dominated areas, Christians are usually left out when government food relief is distributed. Families used to earn their living as casual labourers or through small businesses, but normal life has ended with the catastrophic drought and famine which followed a series of other disasters.
Authorities are cracking down hard to make China Covid-free ahead of the Winter Olympics. In a Maoist-style shaming stunt, four violators of Covid rules were paraded through Jingxi city wearing hazmat suits, with placards showing their names and photographs round their necks and surrounded by armed police in riot gear. At Christmas, China imposed a lockdown on Xi'an city (population 13 million) and Yuzhou city (1.2 million inhabitants) after finding three cases of Covid. Residents cannot leave home, even to buy food. Government workers have been distributing aid, but the distribution is patchy, resulting in many desperate stories leaking onto social media of residents near to starvation, bartering mobile phones for food. Some people are living on one egg or one bowl of porridge a day. 'I'm about to be starved to death,' was one message. Recently authorities turfed a thousand people out of their homes at midnight and carted them off to grim quarantine facilities. See
The start of a harsh winter is accelerating Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis. Since the Taliban’s seizure of power, and international sanctions, the economy has gone into freefall. The collapse of the previous government and the withdrawal of Western support have led to soaring unemployment. Few can afford to feed their families or heat their homes. One million children are at risk from severe malnourishment. The UN has now issued an urgent call for aid for the country, stating that 22 million people inside Afghanistan and a further 5.7 million displaced Afghans in neighbouring countries need vital relief this year. ‘A full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms. My message is urgent: don't shut the door on the people of Afghanistan,’ said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths. ‘Help us scale up and stave off wide-spread hunger, disease, malnutrition, and ultimately death.’
Afghanistan is facing the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. International funds which propped up the country’s fragile economy have stopped as the world debates how to deal with the Taliban. The UN has issued a stark warning - millions will die if urgent aid does not reach Afghanistan soon. A BBC video revealed a family forced to sell their baby to feed the rest of the family and other dire situations. 22.8 million people facing acute food insecurity. 3.2 million children under five could suffer acute malnutrition. The Taliban takeover weakened a fragile economy heavily dependent on foreign aid. Western powers, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund have suspended aid on this aid-dependent nation.
The UN warned of ‘unprecedented’ malnutrition among women and children as fears of mass starvation grow in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region. Ethiopia has expelled seven senior UN officials, including the head of UNICEF, for ‘meddling’ in its affairs. They suspended the operations of Doctors Without Borders and the Norwegian Refugee Committee, accusing them of spreading ‘misinformation’ about the war. Last November the prime minister sent troops to topple the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in response to its attacks on army camps. UN aid chief Martin Griffiths reported a three-month ‘de facto blockade’, restricting aid to 10% of what is needed for six million people. 400,000 people have ‘crossed the threshold into famine’. Federal officials blame TPLF for obstructing deliveries, but the US State Department said access to essential supplies and services was ‘being denied by the Ethiopian government’ and there were ‘indications of a siege’.
In Tigray 353,000 starving people are in phase 5 (catastrophe) and 1.769 million in phase 4 (emergency). In other words, famine, though the Ethiopian government refuses to call it famine. Huge numbers of deaths by starvation are unavoidable. In remote villages people are found dead in the morning, having perished overnight. Women who were kidnapped by soldiers and held as sexual slaves, now in hospitals or safe houses, are separated from their children, tormented by the fear they will starve without their mothers' care. Death by starvation happens when the undernourished body consumes its own organs to generate enough energy to keep a flicker of life. Most of the nation is controlled by rebels or military who do not cooperate with humanitarian agencies. Eritrean forces joined the conflict and along with the Ethiopian army they pillage, burn crops, destroy health facilities, and prevent farmers from ploughing their land. This is a man-made famine. There is no drought, and last year's locust swarms have gone.
Starvation is being intentionally used as a war tactic in South Sudan’s brutal conflict, a UN-backed human rights panel report stated. South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but descended into conflict 2½ years later, following tensions between President Salva Kiir and his deputy. Most South Sudanese are Christian, whereas the majority in Sudan belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. Religion deeply influences governance and daily life, playing a dominant role in the nation's politics. The brutal fighting has caused incalculable suffering to civilians, and resulted in staggering levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition. 7.5 million South Sudanese, in several areas, currently require humanitarian assistance. Both governments and opposition forces have deliberately used the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in these areas, sometimes as an instrument to punish non-aligning communities, as in the case of Jonglei.
Let’s be encouraged and thankful as we reflect on some positive statistics and information that Nicholas Kristoff has compiled in the New York Times.
For humanity over all, life just keeps getting better.
If you’re depressed by the state of the world, let me toss out an idea: In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.
The bad things that you fret about are true. But it’s also true that 2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating and disfiguring diseases.
Every single day in recent years, another 325,000 people got their first access to electricity. Each day, more than 200,000 got piped water for the first time. And some 650,000 went online for the first time, every single day.
Perhaps the greatest calamity for anyone is to lose a child. That used to be common: Historically, almost half of all humans died in childhood. As recently as 1950, 27 percent of all children still died by age 15. Now that figure has dropped to about 4 percent.
“If you were given the opportunity to choose the time you were born in, it’d be pretty risky to choose a time in any of the thousands of generations in the past,” noted Max Roser, an Oxford University economist who runs the Our World in Data website. “Almost everyone lived in poverty, hunger was widespread and famines common.”
But … but … but President Trump! But climate change! War in Yemen! Starvation in Venezuela! Risk of nuclear war with North Korea. …
All those are important concerns, and that’s why I write about them regularly. Yet I fear that the news media and the humanitarian world focus so relentlessly on the bad news that we leave the public believing that every trend is going in the wrong direction. A majority of Americans say in polls that the share of the world population living in poverty is increasing — yet one of the trends of the last 50 years has been a huge reduction in global poverty.
As recently as 1981, 42 percent of the planet’s population endured “extreme poverty,” defined by the United Nations as living on less than about $2 a day. That portion has plunged to less than 10 percent of the world’s population now.
Every day for a decade, newspapers could have carried the headline “Another 170,000 Moved Out of Extreme Poverty Yesterday.” Or if one uses a higher threshold, the headline could have been: “The Number of People Living on More Than $10 a Day Increased by 245,000 Yesterday.”
Many of those moving up are still very poor, of course. But because they are less poor, they are less likely to remain illiterate or to starve: People often think that famine is routine, but the last famine recognized by the World Food Program struck just part of one state in South Sudan and lasted for only a few months in 2017.
Diseases like polio, leprosy, river blindness and elephantiasis are on the decline, and global efforts have turned the tide on AIDS. A half century ago, a majority of the world’s people had always been illiterate; now we are approaching 90 percent adult literacy. There have been particularly large gains in girls’ education — and few forces change the world so much as education and the empowerment of women.
You may feel uncomfortable reading this. It can seem tasteless, misleading or counterproductive to hail progress when there is still so much wrong with the world. I get that. In addition, the numbers are subject to debate and the 2019 figures are based on extrapolation. But I worry that deep pessimism about the state of the world is paralyzing rather than empowering; excessive pessimism can leave people feeling not just hopeless but also helpless.
Readers constantly tell me, for example, that if we save children’s lives, the result will be a population crisis that will cause new famines. They don’t realize that when parents are confident that their children will survive, and have access to birth control, they have fewer children. Bangladesh was once derided by Henry Kissinger as a “basket case,” yet now its economy grows much faster than America’s and Bangladeshi women average just 2.1 births (down from 6.9 in 1973).
Yes, it’s still appalling that a child dies somewhere in the world every six seconds — but consider that just a couple of decades ago, a child died every three seconds. Recognizing that progress is possible can be a spur to do more, and that’s why I write this annual reminder of gains against the common enemies of humanity.
So I promise to tear my hair out every other day, but let’s interrupt our gloom for a nanosecond to note what historians may eventually see as the most important trend in the world in the early 21st century: our progress toward elimination of hideous diseases, illiteracy and the most extreme poverty.
When I was born in 1959, a majority of the world’s population had always been illiterate and lived in extreme poverty. By the time I die, illiteracy and extreme poverty may be almost eliminated — and it’s difficult to imagine a greater triumph for humanity on our watch.
By Nicholas Kristof, Opinion Columnist, NY Times
More at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/28/opinion/sunday/2019-best-year-poverty.html
Pray: giving thanks for the positive steps that are being made across the quoted areas including life expectancy, poverty, literacy, education, health and access to utilities.
Pray: that these advancements will not falter and that governments will continue to invest in improvements in the quality of life of their people.
Yemen has suffered a three-year civil war. Over 10,000 people have died, and three million have been displaced. Many are starving or on the verge of having nothing to eat. Malnutrition and infant mortality are becoming normal. Pray that ships, aeroplanes and trucks will be given permission to bring the abundance of food and supplies that are needed. Pray that those who seek to exploit others due to high prices will be led by God to put aside greed and help the many who are battling poverty. Pray that those who are fighting one another will put aside their differences and go to the negotiating table to work together for peace. Roads, houses, schools, factories, oil fields, and hospitals are destroyed. Pray that peace will come so that rebuilding can begin.
Food is rotting in refrigerators, people needing dialysis die as hospital equipment shuts down. Diabetics pick leaves, high in sugar, from neem trees amid fears for insulin supplies which must be kept refrigerated. Venezuela has frequent power cuts. It is illegal to fill jerry cans - so people resort to the black market for fuel for generators. ‘The government calls it contraband - we call it survival,’ said a resident. Recently an electrical substation caught fire in unexplained circumstances, which added to the sense of desperation in a neighbourhood experiencing outbreaks of looting. Citizens have mounted lookouts to warn of government security forces and paramilitary gangs called colectivos, who they fear will take down their jerry-rigged homes where residents pump water from a well and take turns carrying supplies to elderly neighbours on higher floors. Analysts and engineers say underinvestment in a network mismanaged by soldiers rather than qualified technicians has caused the power cuts. See