“As South Korean President Lee Myung-bak continued his state visit to the United States on Friday, a group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) wants the Obama administration to explain what they call unconscionable delays in deciding whether to resume U.S. food assistance to North Korea,” Reuters reports. “Rising global commodities prices coupled with summer floods and typhoons have compounded the emergency this year, and the United Nations estimated in March that more than six million North Koreans urgently need food help,” the news agency writes.
Health In Emergency Situations/Humanitarian Assistance
In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Kasey Channell, the acting director of the Disaster Response Team for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, reports on the importance of preparing for future disasters as the world observed International Day for Disaster Reduction on Thursday, writing “Before the next disaster hits, now is the time to recommit to making smart investments that save lives, property, and money. Whether at home or abroad, measures to improve response, increase disaster management capacity, and plan and prepare, can have dramatic dividends.”
U.S., South Korea Continue To Delay Food Aid To North Korea Despite 'Proven' Ability To Monitor Food Distribution
In this Christian Science Monitor opinion piece, Jim White, vice president of operations at Mercy Corps, and Matt Ellingson, director of program development at Samaritan’s Purse, who “co-led a team from five U.S.-based aid organizations that traveled to North Korea to deliver flood relief supplies” last month, ask why the U.S. and South Korea continue to delay food aid to North Koreans affected by the country’s food crisis despite the fact that “aid groups have a proven ability to monitor the way food is distributed in North Korea.”
“Cholera cases have risen in Haiti, but the number dying from the disease is down, according to researchers from the [CDC],” CNN’s health blog â€œThe Chartâ€ reports. Robert Tauxe, researcher and deputy director at CDC said, “The number of deaths was initially way too high. But within a few weeks of the outbreak, we trained teams to treat the disease and increased access to supplies,” according to the blog. The new CDC report “lay[s] out the lessons learned since cholera emerged in Haiti and what needs to be done to sustain the progress that has been made to treat the disease and prevent deaths,” the blog notes, adding, “The most beneficial lessons may seem quite simple” and include training more health workers, educating citizens and improving sanitation systems (Dellorto, 10/13).
IRIN reports on the issue of sexual violence against men as a in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), writing, “Sexual violence against men, including rape, is under-reported, poorly addressed and has a severe impact on both men and their families, according to a presentation at the annual Sexual Violence and Research Initiative (SVRI), held in Cape Town, South Africa.” The news service writes, “The eastern DRC makes up most of the available research on sexual violence during conflict, according to Claudia Moreno, coordinator of the World Health Organization’s Department of Gender and Women.”
“The U.N. World Food Programme [WFP] said Wednesday that more Yemenis were going hungry because of rising food prices and severe fuel shortages brought about by months of political unrest,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The months of violence and instability have pushed the already stressed Yemeni economy to the brink of collapse and forced millions of families further into poverty,” the news service writes, noting that “WFP â€¦ is expanding its services to help feed some 3.5 million of the most vulnerable people in Yemen” (10/12).
Health care workers fleeing the besieged Libyan city of Sirte on Sunday said people wounded in the fighting “are dying on the operating table because fuel for the hospital generator has run out,” Reuters reports. “The fighting has entered its third week and civilians are caught up in a worsening humanitarian crisis,” the news agency writes, adding that “[a]id workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who brought medical supplies into Sirte on Saturday could not reach the hospital because of shooting.” The organization said it plans to return to Sirte and reach the hospital if security allows, Reuters notes (10/2).
“More than 12,000 have been infected and 125 people have died over the past two months in Pakistan after coming down with dengue fever, a health department spokesman said Friday,” CNN reports (Habib, 10/1). Citing the same numbers, WHO spokesperson Tarek Jasarevic said the agency is providing support for “case management, community mobilization, vector control and public awareness campaigns,” according to the U.N. News Centre. “Last year, 11,024 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 40 deaths were reported in Pakistan, but this year the number of cases has climbed to 12,466,” the news service writes (9/30).
Haitian health authorities on Friday said the death toll from cholera has risen to 6,435 since October and that “the number of people infected with cholera almost reached half a million, although the ministry repeated the epidemic was decreasing,” Xinhua reports (9/30). U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos wrapped up a three-day visit to Haiti on Friday, saying the “number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) still in camps in Haiti after their homes were destroyed by last year’s catastrophic earthquake has declined from 1.5 million to 600,000, but hardship in the settlements has not eased,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “Limited funding has led to a decline in the number of humanitarian agencies working in key sectors, such as water and sanitation and camp management. Hundreds of latrines are now unusable and overflow, especially during the current rainy season, posing significant health risks, even as efforts to keep the cholera epidemic at bay continue,” the news service writes (9/30).
“The U.N. on Wednesday said food assistance has reached nearly half the Somalis in need, [and] it warned cases of diarrhea and cholera could spike with the seasonal rains expected in October,” the Associated Press reports (9/28). “However, the report released Tuesday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that four million Somalis remain in crisis nationwide, and that 750,000 people risk death in the Horn of Africa nation within the next four months,” according to VOA News.