domingo, 27 de agosto de 2017

BioEdge: How much have we done for ‘the world’s largest humanitarian crisis’?

BioEdge: How much have we done for ‘the world’s largest humanitarian crisis’?

How much have we done for ‘the world’s largest humanitarian crisis’?
Here’s what the United Nations has to say about Yemen, which is in the grip of a civil warbetween Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government, with ISIS and al-Qaeda doing their best to add chaos to the chaos:

“This is the world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. In the last three months alone, 400,000 cases of suspected cholera and nearly 1900 associated deaths have been recorded. Vital health, water and sanitation facilities have been crippled by more than two years of hostilities, and created the ideal conditions for diseases to spread.
“The country is on the brink of famine, with over 60 per cent of the population not knowing where their next meal will come from. Nearly 2 million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished. Malnutrition makes them more susceptible to cholera; diseases create more malnutrition. A vicious combination.”
The Lancet’s editorial for World Humanitarian Day, on August 19, decried the inability of the world community to quench the cholera outbreak. “As a collective humanity, the shame is ours to bear.” It argues that this tragedy could have been avoided:

Cholera has been ravaging communities for two centuries. Yet in 2017, outbreaks are entirely containable early with coordinated efforts to implement water, sanitation, and medical rehydration treatment. There is a vaccine and antibiotics exist...
Containing the cholera crisis and reinstating health and personal security for 27 million Yemeni people is the high stakes sustainable development test for how humanity can and will organise around vocalised commitments to protect the most vulnerable among us today.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

One unfortunate consequence of the omphalocentric state of American politics is that cries for help from the rest of the world are a mosquito’s buzz in a theatre full of bellowing politicians. President Trump’s antics suck all the air out of media interest in overseas tragedies.

One of these, as reported below, is a cholera epidemic in Yemen which has affected half a million people and killed about 2,000. The medical system in this country of 27 million has all but collapsed. About 10,000 civilians have died. Seven million are close to famine.

The United Nations has described Yemen as “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis” and The Lancet has compared Western indifference to its slowness in responding to the Rwandan genocide.

Notwithstanding his “America first” policy, Donald Trump promised that his country would “continue and continue forever to play the role of peacemaker”. Of course, the war in Yemen is a complex conflict in which the two sides are proxies for the Shia state of Iran and the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But surely the US could help engineer a solution – if its president was not so busy arguing over Civil War statues and sacking his closest aides.

Michael Cook
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BioEdge: How much have we done for ‘the world’s largest humanitarian crisis’?

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