The first three entries of a four-part series, titled “USAID in the Middle East,” have been published in the agency’s “IMPACTblog.” The first post discusses the use of data to improve water management in the region (Harris, 3/20). The second post looks at the use of the Famine Early Warning…
Water and Sanitation
In this Guardian opinion piece, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., writes that the U.N. “must face up” to a cholera outbreak allegedly brought to Haiti by peacekeeping troops in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. “More than 500,000 have been infected, and the disease — which Haiti has not had in more than a century — is now endemic to the country and will be killing people there for many years to come,” he writes.
“Haiti has seen a steady decline in the number of cholera cases, as the Caribbean nation settles into its dry season, humanitarian groups said Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports, adding, “The seasonal decline in the number of cholera cases is consistent with the findings of a report released Tuesday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.” According to the report, health officials are recording about 300 cases nationwide per day, compared with 500 cases one month ago, and the mortality rate has dropped or leveled in nearly all of Haiti’s 10 departments, the AP notes (Daniel, 12/20).
“Philippine authorities are warning of the spread of diseases in cramped evacuation centers, days after flash floods hit the southern Philippines and claimed more than a thousand lives,” ABC/Asia Pacific News reports, noting that flooding also has affected the country’s northern provinces, displacing at least 50,000 people (Escalante, 12/20). Tropical Storm Washi “hit the main southern island of Mindanao over the weekend, bringing heavy rains, flash floods and overflowing rivers that swept whole coastal villages away,” forcing 44,000 people to evacuate the area, Agence France-Presse/Inquirer News writes (Celis, 12/21). Officials say hundreds of thousands of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and the U.N. has stepped up its efforts in the area, the U.N. News Centre reports (12/20).
Scientific American examines the interface between climate change and human health, writing, “WHO research suggests that current warming of global average temperatures of just under one degree Celsius is responsible for an additional 150,000 deaths per year, largely due to agricultural failures and diarrheal disease in developing countries. … As a result, WHO — and a consortium of other public health organizations — declared climate change to be among the most pressing emerging health issues in the world at the recent climate negotiations … in South Africa.”
“In the Horn of Africa, millions of people face each day without knowing if they will have clean water to drink or food to eat,” but “American assistance to the Horn of Africa is beginning to make a difference, however, and in this series about water security in the Horn,…
Reaching the Millennium Development Goal of “[r]educing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015” likely will be reached, “but large numbers of people in the world’s least developed regions will still not benefit,” according to a report (.pdf) released Tuesday by UNICEF and the WHO, the U.N. News Centre reports (12/20). The report “found that between 1990 and 2008, the proportion of the world’s population with access to improved drinking water sources increased from 77 percent to 87 percent,” which means 1.8 billion more people have drinking water access, according to Medical Daily (Daley, 12/20).
Jason Nickerson, a respiratory therapist and doctoral candidate in Population Health at the University of Ottawa, in this Global Health Hub post, recounts recent controversy surrounding “the health and humanitarian response to the earthquake and cholera outbreaks” in Haiti, noting tension “between the provision of [a cholera] vaccine as opposed to spending…
“United Nations aid agencies said Friday more than five million Pakistanis are in need of humanitarian assistance following the floods earlier this year,” with nearly half of those being children, the VOA “Breaking News” blog reports (11/26). “UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said the most urgent risks to children are those related to safe water and malnutrition, with malnutrition rates in the affected areas already found to be high before the floods began,” according to the U.N. News Centre (11/25).
Heavy rains and flooding in Kenya, which have affected more than 40,000 people and caused at least a dozen deaths, are “complicating efforts to reach thousands of people made homeless by the flooding, an official of the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) told IRIN.” Nelly Muluka, KRCS public relations and communications officer, said on Monday that in some areas “there is the danger of waterborne diseases breaking out after latrines and boreholes were submerged and in other areas, water pipelines have burst,” according to IRIN. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said those affected by flooding “urgently require relief aid such as food, mosquito nets, tents, blankets, cooking utensils and medicine,” the news service writes, adding, “Teams comprising government, KRCS and U.N. officials are involved in rapid assessments of the flooding situation, a humanitarian official, who requested anonymity, told IRIN” (12/6).