On the heels of ethnic violence, U.N. fears hunger in Kyrgyzstan: After the ethnic violence that took place in June, malnutrition now threatens the country. The WFP reports that in July 1.4 million people (over 25% of the population) was at risk of malnutrition and hunger and that is when food was easily available. Hundreds of thousands more are at risk in the coming months. WFP is beginning an initiative to deliver monthly rations of food to 300,000 people by the end of the year.
However, Pakistan is not the first humanitarian crisis the world has ignored. UN Dispatch came out with a list of the 5 most ignored humanitarian crisis in recent times. Some of them are quite surprising too. (read the full article)
#1 - Iraqi refugee crisis
According to the UNHCR, the U.S. occupation and invasion has resulted in 1.7 million refugees living in Jordan and Syria and 1.5 million IDPs in Iraq. The U.N. has declared that over 30,000 youth in Iraq have not had the opportunity to attend school because of the war. The funding needed to provide assistance to these refugees is also greatly lacking.
#2 Guatemala; Tropical Storm Agatha
Little is known about tropical storm Agatha that hit Guatemala at the end of May right after a volcanic eruption. Perhaps the image of the gigantic sinkhole that was 200 feet deep is recognizable by a few people, but other than that, it was off our radar. 200 people died during Agatha and thousands of others were displaced. Of the $15 million that was needed to rebuild after the storm, only $5 million was donated.
#3 - Uganda
|Source: New York Times|
#4 - Central African Republic
C.A.R suffers not from its own issues, but those of its neighbors. LRA attacks occur in border towns in C.A.R, the Darfur conflict is spilling over the boundaries as well as refugees from the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last year 18,000 refugees from DRC crossed over the border into the Central African Republic.
#5 - Kyrgyzstan
The violence earlier this summer in Kyrgyzstan was severely underreported. In the span of a few short days, 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks were driven from their burning homes and forced to flee into Uzbekistan where they were not received well. Now they are returning home to nothing and the world still doesn't know. To date, only 36% of the funding needed to provide assistance has been received.
The September campaign is raising money to give the people of C.A.R. access to clean drinking water and you can help in three ways: to give up your birthday, donate money to the campaign, or start your own fundraiser. The goal for this September campaign is to raise 1.7 million dollars which would give the 16,000 Bayaka people clean water as well as 74,000 other people living in C.A.R. That is 90,000 people who will be impacted because of donations from people like you! The need for clean water in C.A.R. is clear - in a population of 4.3 million people, 1.5 million don't have access to clean water (that is 34%!). Having clean water could improve the health for millions.
Just $20 can give a person clean water, so it's clear that the money you would raise from your birthday or campaign can impact several people. Start September off on the right foot by donating to Charity: Water's September campaign and providing thousands of people with the gift of clean water.
Sudan - Aid agencies granted access to Kalma amid expulsions: The largest IDP camp in South Sudan, the Kalma camp, was cut off from all aid for 14 days. Finally, three aid agencies have been allowed access into the camp (the UN Children’s Fund, World Food Programme and OCHA) to deliver fuel for the water pumps and medicine. As access was granted to this camp, other aid agencies were again expelled from the Darfur region and international aid workers were kidnapped (and later released), so the problems are still far from over.
Niger - Food hoarding ‘puts children at risk’: The World Food Programme recently called the Niger food crisis as the worst in its history. The food shortage is being exacerbated by people who are hoarding food and taking advantage of the market fluctuations to make a profit by selling their grains at extreme prices that the average person cannot afford.
Israel - New Peak in Arbitrary Razing of Palestinian Homes: The Israeli government continues to demolish homes in the West Bank and Palestine at new, faster rate. In July alone, Israeli authorities destroyed 141 Palestinian homes which is the largest number since 2005.
Niger - Hunger 'worse than 2005': 7.3 million people in the West African nation of Niger are in need of food. The World Food Programme's threshold for declaring a emergency is when 15% of children are acutely malnourished, and currently in Niger 17% are malnourished. At first there were droughts in the area and recently there was severe flooding. The droughts ruined the first set of crops and now the flooding has destroyed the second crops as well as livestock, making the situation only worse. Aid agencies are utilizing the various Plumpy'doz products to help combat malnutrition in children (read more).
Less than 6 months from the vote, the authorities in South Sudan are becoming optimistic and released the plans to turn the major southern cities into the shapes of animals and fruits - yes...animals and fruits.
Despite the large oil reserves in the South, 90% of the South Sudan lives on less than a dollar a day. However, the authorities revealed a 10 billion dollar plan to transform Juba (the southern capital) into a rhino, Wau into a giraffe, and another into a pineapple. The plans for the cities are well thought out and quite frankly amusing - In Juba, the regional president's office is located near the eye, in Wau the sewage plant is under the tail (ha ha clever...), and there are even amusement parks in ears and residential areas on legs.
|Photo via WFP|
With the possibility of the situation in Pakistan getting worse and not better, it is becoming crucial to get food aid to those in need immediately. Since the beginning of the flooding, WFP has given a 1 month supply of food to 1.2 million people; however, there are still millions in need of food aid (they estimate about 6 million people are in need of food assistance). Children and women often times suffer the most in disasters like these, so to ensure that children are receiving proper nutrition, WFP has distributed extra stocks of plumpy doz and high-energy biscuits. Up to today, WFP has distributed enough biscuits to feed 350,000 children for a month (read more).
By the end of next week, the World Food Programme hopes to bring food aid to 2 million people which is nearly 1/3 of the total number of people in the country who are in need of food assistance. So far WFP has reached 430,000 people in the hardest hit areas of Pakistan and is preparing to feed 825,000 more in areas where the flood waters are heading next (read more about their distribution efforts).
Over 15 million people have been affected by the floods which leaves them without any food, clean water, or shelter. People have been forced to become refugees inside their own country - left completely helpless until aid finally reaches them. With livestock killed and farmlands destroyed, the possibility of a worsening food situation is likely.
The crisis in Pakistan is far from over and the need continues. WFP has received 46 million dollars so far for a needed 150 million dollar food assistance operation. For the 13.9 million dollars needed for logistics operations, they've only received 1 million dollars. Donations are greatly needed to help assist those in Pakistan. You can help by clicking on the widget in this post or by donating $5 by texting AID to 27722 (only for people in the U.S.).
Thanks for helping out and I'll continue bringing updates on the crisis in Pakistan as the situation unfolds.
Credit: Mk Chaudhry/European Pressphoto Agency (found via NY Times)
...68 percent of Pakistanis have an unfavorable view of the United States. American officials hope that images of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters ferrying supplies and plucking people from rain-swollen rivers will at least begin to counteract the bad will generated by American drone strikes against militants in Pakistan...“If we do the right thing, it will be good not only for the people whose lives we save but for the U.S. image in Pakistan,” [said] Richard C. Holbrooke.
Donations from governments for the victims of that disaster [the 2004 flood in Haiti] topped $495 per affected person, according to Oxfam. The floods in Pakistan have been making headlines worldwide for more than two weeks and yet so far donations are only around $3 per person...Maybe one problem is that there are so many bomb blasts, terrorist attacks, conflicts and natural calamities these days that it is difficult for any one disaster to grab our attention and open our pockets.
It looks like I'll be doing another 4 years of coffee shop work, which I actually like! I practically live at Caribou Coffee now, so I'm pretty happy to be working for them finally. The thing I'm most excited about is that Caribou sells Project 7 merchandise and the shop that I'm going to be working at sells artwork where the proceeds go to building a school in Haiti! It looks like this couldn't be a better fit for me!
The biggest relief is knowing I can walk on campus next week and not have to worry about finding a job. That is a huge relief!
I'm just 6 days away from moving out of my small town to the big city of Chicago, which means I have lots of packing to get accomplished these next couple days and many 'goodbyes' to say - so I apologize in advance if my posts are not as frequent as I move out and settle in to my new home. Life will be pretty crazy until around September 7th for me, but I'm going to try to get updates out as much as possible!
Finally, yesterday I got some information about my first class in college: Discovering HIV/AIDS, which I'm so thrilled about! It looks like during the first week of school we'll be talking with youth who have HIV and visiting prevention and treatment services through the city. I'm looking forward to learning a lot about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the coming semester!
Thanks for sticking by me as my schedule gets a little bit more hectic! Let the journey begin!
Besides the obvious reasons for wanting to become an aidworker (helping those in need, bringing peace to unstable areas, and so on), I've come up with some other viable reasons I want - no, need - to become an aidworker. So to pay homage to Peter's hilarious posts, I will periodically be doing my own "Why I Need to Become an Aidworker" posts as I think of more and more reasons why aidwork is the only career that's fit for me.
Reason #1 why I need to become an aidworker: I can't cook or bake to save my life. The bowl of fruit that's pictured above is about as fancy as I get. I tried baking muffins and cooking potstickers the other day, but all that resulted was a floury goop for muffins and hot cooking oil splattered on my arms from the potstickers. Needless to say, it wasn't a success. The good thing I've come to find about aidwork is that there are people who cook for the expats, or at least that's the impression I get. Even if there is no cook, at least the one thing I know how to make is rice - and that I could live on for years.
|Source: Ads of the World|
Back in May, Shell's shareholders met in London for their Annual General Meeting and Amnesty International did not pass up the opportunity to spread the world on Shell's true actions in the Niger Delta. According to Amnesty International, over 9 million barrels of oil have been spilled in the Niger Delta over the last 50 years, 75% of the local population have no access to clean water, and Shell continues to use gas flaring (despite it being declared illegal in the '80s) which poses serious health risks to the population (read their full report on Shell's activities in the Niger Delta).
|Photo via Zoriah War Photographer|
I'm against war of any kind. No surprise there. I think that no matter what, it will involve civilians and that's wrong. If two leaders what to shoot at each other, be my guest, but don't get innocent people involved. Especially recently, I've become extremely critical on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although I believe the idea of 'hunting down terrorists' was originally a nice plan, it clearly isn't working.
Being an American, it's almost heresy to go against a war that your country is involved in. I'm thankful for the soldiers that have given their lives, really, I am. But there has to come a time when a country realizes it's doing more harm than good. After reading the book Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees, I've come to realize that the presence of foreign soldiers also has grave implications in ways that many of us don't realize.
Anyways, I'm rambling. With the recent Wikileaks report in the news lately, the war in Afghanistan has been getting some opposition and questioning. One of TIME magazine's recent issues features an 18-year-old Afghan women who's ears and nose have been cut off by the Taliban for fleeing her abusive in-laws (read the full article here). This issue that TIME seeks to illuminate is the situation of women in Afghanistan at the moment. It serves as a 'what will happen if we pull out' sort of message. The TIME editor said,
The much publicized release of classified documents by WikiLeaks has already ratcheted up the debate about the war. Our story and the haunting cover image by the distinguished South African photographer Jodi Bieber are meant to contribute to that debate. We do not run this story or show this image either in support of the U.S. war effort or in opposition to it. We do it to illuminate what is actually happening on the ground.Although the editor said that, I still can't help but to notice a 'pro-war-in-Afghanistan' slant to the article.
The Tailiban attack on the young girl in the picture occurred only a year ago, not before the US invasion/occupation. This shows that the Taliban stills has a strong presence in Afghanistan (and Pakistan as the wikileaks point out).
So did all the bombing really help? Will more bombing really help these women? I understand their point - if the US pulls out now then the Taliban and current Afghan government will have to compromise, but has our presence there made the situation any less grave than what it would be without us there? The article Time, Photography, Propaganda? does a great job at analyzing the situation of women in Afghanistan, TIME's article, and a possible better approach than bombs: real aid. And although I don't believe that handing money to governments is always the best approach (it sure hasn't gotten Haiti very far yet), I agree with the author that it would be a whole lot better than bombing the entire country.