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HHS Sponsors Contest To Develop Public Health Emergency Facebook Application

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is trying to harness the power of social media to respond to public health emergencies through a contest, titled “Lifeline Facebook Application Challenge,” that asks application developers to “provide actionable steps for Facebook users to increase their own personal preparedness and strengthen connections within their social networks for the sake of personal preparedness and community resilience,” Kaiser Health News reports. The competition runs through the end of hurricane season on November 4, the news service notes (Kulkarni, 8/23).

IRIN Reports On HIV-Positive Kenyans' Struggle To Reach Food Aid

IRIN reports on the difficulties some people living with HIV in Kenya face in accessing food. “Partly because of a prolonged dry spell, some 3.6 million Kenyans need emergency food assistance,” and, while there is food aid available in Kenya, poor roads prevent the aid from reaching some villages, according to IRIN.

U.S. Offers North Korea Flood Assistance, Considering Food Aid Separately

“The United States has offered North Korea up to $900,000 in emergency flood assistance but has made no decision yet on a broader request for humanitarian food aid for the isolated country, the State Department said on Thursday,” Reuters reports. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland “said the flood assistance would not include food, and was considered separately from a standing appeal by North Korea for food aid to offset bad harvests that a U.N. report said earlier this year had left millions hungry,” according to the news agency (Quinn, 8/18).

FAO Holds Second Emergency Meeting On Famine; WHO Warns Of Cholera Spread; Turkish PM Visits Mogadishu

For the second time in one month, representatives of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held an emergency meeting on Thursday in Rome “to take stock of the humanitarian disaster” in the Horn of Africa, the Guardian reports (Tran, 8/18). The officials “called for a twin-pronged approach to tackle the food crisis, stressing immediate relief and the strengthening of the resilience of affected communities to enable them to cope with future shocks in the drought-prone region,” the U.N. News Centre reports (8/18).

World Humanitarian Day Honors Workers' Service

August 19 is recognized worldwide as World Humanitarian Day, when “[w]e honor … those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions,” a Manila Bulletin editorial states. “World Humanitarian Day is a collaborative global celebration of humanitarian aid work joining the United Nations and over 500 national and international non-governmental organizations aimed at engaging and inspiring the general public to get involved,” the editorial notes.

White House Holds Call To Discuss Famine In The Horn Of Africa

A post in the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog highlights a White House call “with faith-based organizations Wednesday afternoon to discuss efforts in the Horn of Africa to combat the extensive famine brought on by a severe drought in the region, the worst seen in decades.” The…

Guardian Focus Podcast Examines Unfolding Crisis In Somalia

In this month’s Guardian Focus global development podcast, the newspaper “look[s] at the unfolding crisis in the Horn and focus[es] in on Somalia, where conflict and political instability pose steep challenges for short-term relief and long-term development … To discuss these issues, Madeleine Bunting is joined in the studio by…

Violence And Displacement In Yemen Exacerbate Child Malnutrition

UNICEF has warned that “[c]ontinuing fighting in various parts of Yemen, which has recently displaced thousands of people especially in Abyan Governorate and the Arhab District of Sana’a, could compromise the nutritional status of those affected … potentially increase[ing] morbidity and mortality rates, especially among children under five,” IRIN reports. While “[t]he International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reported in December 2010 that Yemen had the highest prevalence of child malnutrition among all Middle East and North African countries … the condition of many children had been worsened by displacement,” Geert Cappelaere, a UNICEF representative in Yemen, told the news service.