By Samuel Hauenstein Swan
“I came to listen and learn from you responding to the needs of mothers, fathers and their children in Yemen,” said Rory Stewart MP, UK Minister of State for International Development. This was back in January, Now that the United Nation has announced that there is a Famine looming in Yemen will the United Kondome act on what the minister heard. Priorities what is morally the right thing to do over economic gains from selling arms that are used in this war?
Nearly three hundred delegates participated in the civil society conference on Yemen organised by Action Against Hunger with six other NGOs delivering assistance to civilians affected by the conflict. Donor officials, government representatives, UN delegates and development practitioners, followed the call by Yemeni civil society and aid agencies working in Yemen, to urgently discuss humanitarian challenges and possible options for scaling up humanitarian response.Delegate urged officials to do everything in their power to stop the vicious campaign in Yemen that has cost tens of thousands of lives and left a country in ruins. With some of the biggest powers complicit in the tragedy by supporting armies on all sides. Support that comes with huge economic gains
Nearly three hundred delegates participated in the civil society conference on Yemen organised by Action Against Hunger with six other NGOs delivering assistance to civilians affected by the conflict. Donor officials, government representatives, UN delegates and development practitioners, followed the call by Yemeni civil society and aid agencies working in Yemen, to urgently discuss humanitarian challenges and possible options for scaling up humanitarian response.
Delegate urged politicians and officials to do everything in their power to stop the vicious campaign in Yemen that has cost tens of thousands of lives and left a country in ruins. With some of the biggest powers complicit in the tragedy by supporting armies on all sides. A support that comes with huge economic gains for wealthy nations and their arms industries.
The conference participants urged stakeholders to revert current tactics and instead invest in peace. Yet, even if negotiations progress it is likely that the crisis will continue. There was an urgent call therefore for donors to increase funding and address the overwhelming needs spelt out in the Humanitarian Response Plan. The conference heard from Yemeni local NGO partners how an aerial campaign has left much of the infrastructure in rubbles and created a climate of fear whereby civilians no longer dare to seek assistance in hospitals, public buildings or schools for fear of these being targeted. Food and economic activities have collapsed, the central bank has no cash to pay public sector workers, and parents have no means to care for their children.
The systematic embargo imposed and enforced by regional and global their global allies mainly the UK and the US, in a country greatly dependent on food imports, triggered high commodity prices resulting in a profound deterioration of the nutritional situation, and hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk. An estimated 1.5 million children have fallen ill with acute malnutrition – 370,000 of whom are suffering from its most severe form. One of the leading causes of civilian deaths in Yemen’s conflict are mothers and children dying due to lack of routine health and nutrition services and lack of safe drinking water.
In the midst of violence Action Against Hunger’s team on the ground has scaled up its programmes, reaching an increasing number of children with nutrition stabilisation centres in four governorates. Our teams are running mobile clinics in the worst affected areas where health post and hospitals have stopped functioning. We are not the only international organisation to do so; nonetheless what is clear to us and other aid agencies operating in these dangerous conditions is that there is a need to increase the humanitarian capacity and diplomatic commitment on the ground.
We heard and praised the courage of the Dutch and Swedish representatives to conduct official visits to Sana’a, the principal city in North Yemen. Civil Society invites more diplomatic dialogue to explain to regional and local leaders the humanitarian principals and reach a diplomatic consensus on the engagement of aid agency and aid delivery with Yemen’s leaders.
The only UK official visiting Yemen in years is Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP and former Secretary of State for International Development who shared his thoughts with the participants. He summarised what he saw with the following lines: “Yemen is not starving, Yemen is being starved”. He concluded by suggesting that the UK’s inconsistent policies towards Yemen could be transformed into a force for good: “The UK can play a leading role in finding political solutions to the conflict in Yemen and to address the humanitarian crisis.”
The conference concluded with four direct calls to actions:
The international community and in particular the United Kingdom should redouble its efforts to reinvigorate the peace process, stop fueling the conflict with arms sales and press for meaningful inclusion of civil society voices at all levels to ensure any deal reached is understood and supported especially inside Yemen.
Political will must be found and implemented at all levels to ease restrictions on the flow of goods into and around the country. The cranes for Hodeidah port should be allowed into the country, commercial airspace should be reopened, and approval processes for the movement of humanitarian goods and personnel should be streamlined.
The Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan needs to be fully funded. 2016 ended with an unacceptable shortfall of 40% of the needed resources. Funding needs to be flexible and responsive to the challenges of the ground and longer-term development needs.
Donors and governments should engage inside Yemen as well as with regional governments to increase their understanding of the realities of delivering humanitarian assistance but also allow them to build the relationships needed to apply diplomatic pressure in support of the humanitarian response and international humanitarian law.
The conference was a loud call to action. The many contributions throughout the day were a show of unity among humanitarian organisations and local civil society for donors and governments to raise their game and stand by the victims of this war.
Rory Stewart MP, UK Minister of State for International Development, asked to hear more about the challenges faced by the humanitarian sector and how UK Aid particular and the British Government as a whole could assist and inconsistent policies could be resolved. Conference participants spoke about the many innovative solutions that they are implementing and proposing. Rory Stewart said he will have the opportunity to bring the outcome of this meeting to his counterparts in Spring 2017 when donors and governments will meet to discuss Yemen and the looming Famine. Conference participants expressed their hope that besides a generous pledge and support for humanitarian action, the high-level Spring meeting will renew political will for a process to end one of the four most deadly conflicts worldwide.
In this March 22, 2016 photo, infant Udai Faisal, who is suffering from acute malnutrition, is hospitalized at Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Udai died on March 24. Hunger has been the most horrific consequence of Yemen’s conflict and spiraled since Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the U.S., launched a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade in 2015. #
Maad al-Zikry / AP
A nostalgic look at the crisis in South Sudan by photographer Ugo Borga has spent the last 15 years in Africa, the Middle East and Europe documenting places devastated by war. In March, he traveled to South Sudan to cover the ongoing conflict that’s been plaguing the country since officially declaring its independence from Sudan in 2011. link
Ongoing insecurity, high food prices, and major food deficits have pushed large numbers of already vulnerable people in South Sudan over the edge, leaving them struggling to meet their basic survival needs.
Powerful first voice video Link
all Video and photos: Guy Calaf for Action Against Hunger-USA
A malnourished child lies in a bed waiting to receive treatment at a therapeutic feeding center in a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, on January 24, 2016. This child is one of millions of people across countries mired in conflict like Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, gripped by hunger, struggling to survive with little help from the outside world.
David Shields analyzed over a decade’s worth of front-page war photographs from The New York Times and came to a shocking conclusion: the photo-editing process of the “paper of record,” by way of pretty, heroic, and lavishly aesthetic image selection, pulls the wool over the eyes of its readers; Shields forces us to face not only the the media’s complicity in dubious and catastrophic military campaigns but our own as well. Photos taken from the front page of The New York Times and arranged thematically: Nature, Playground, Father, God, Pietà, Painting, Movie, Beauty, Love, Death, leads the reader to conclude “a chaotic world is ultimately under control,” link
At the same time Tim Parks asks in his review:
Is there any way out of this? Is there any way at all to represent war, even to ourselves, that would be free of this aestheticizing process? link
An aid worker recounts entering Madaya and discusses the power of the graphic visuals that have emerged
The Syrian town of Madaya, along the border with Lebanon, was pitch dark by the time aid workers arrived on Jan. 11. It took more than eight hours for their convoy to travel from Damascus; the town lacked electricity and it had begun to rain.
He took a picture and “just realized that for a very, very long time, we have been the only physical persons that have been there from outside, able to listen to their problems, able to listen to their suffering. It was very, very important, even if we didn’t really have the solutions to all of their problems,” link
Conflict is again on the rise after a major decrease following the end of the Cold War. Today’s wars kill and displace more people, and are harder to end than in years past. these are the top 10 conflicts to watch according to foreignpolicy.com :
1 Syria, Iraq, and the Islamic State 2. Ukraine 3. South Sudan 4. Nigeria 5. Somalia 6. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 7. Afghanistan 8. Yemen 9. Libya and the Sahel 10. Venezuela
The picture that emerges from this survey of conflicts is grim. There is, however, one glimmer of hope — the increasing fragmentation of the world also means that there is no overarching divide. Even if the deepening crisis between Russia and the West is unsettling Europe, the last remnants of the Cold War are disappearing as Cuba and the United States normalize their relations. Many conflicts can now be dealt with on their own merits, and the growing role of regional powers — while adding complexity and, in some cases, new antagonisms — also creates opportunities for more creative diplomacy. foreignpolicy.com
picture: Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images
BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN – MAY 2014: An Internally displaced girl stares at a severely malnourished government soldier, Jay Thiep, who was found unconscious near the airport when he was brought to the clinic at the base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Bentiu, South Sudan, May 6, 2014. Thiep was thought to have been hiding without food for roughly three weeks in the bush following a retreat of government soldiers from Bentiu. Roughly twenty-five thousand IDPs live at the UNMISS base in Bentiu, and one million Southern Sudanese have been displaced from their homes since the start of the civil war in December 2013, pitting ethnic Nu’er against Dinka. Because of continued fighting, many have been unable to plant crops to harvest the next season, and aid organizations have been unable to preposition food in anticipation of the rainy season. According to the United Nations official coordinating humanitarian aid in South Sudan, if the civil war doesn’t stop, and the country does not receive international aid, South Sudan will face the worst starvation in Africa since the 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of people died in Ethiopia’s famine. see more Photograph by Lynsey Addario/Reportage by Getty Image
A recent slew of situations resulting in catastrophic violence and death, including the Israel-Gaza war, the armed expansion of the Islamic State, the downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane in the Ukraine, the ongoing conflict in Syria, and also the spread of the Ebola virus, has led to a renewed debate as to what kinds of imagery media outlets should be expected to show.
Why focus then on the imagery of war, but circumvent so much of the enormous day-to-day suffering among both humans and animals? //
read full articel by Fred Ritchin in Light Box
In an effort to reach hundreds of thousands of starving and malnourished people in South Sudan, the first air drops by the International Red Cross in nearly two decades took place in Leer on July 5. Thousands of people waited in the hot sun for emergency food supplies and seed. NBC NEWS
Since fighting broke out in mid-December between rival army factions in South Sudan, plunging the new country into widespread conflict pitting communities against one another, thousands, perhaps as many as 30,000 people, have died; 1.5 million have been forced from their homes and around four million require humanitarian assistance, with food insecurity the main concern. Link
photographer Daniel Berehulak visting Inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ITFC) wards, at the Bost Hospital, a Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) assisted hospital in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Read more: Daniel Berehulak the Freelancer’s Way
A South Sudanese child displaced by the fighting in Malakal, and suffering from malnutrition, cries as he is washed by a nurse at a feeding center run by Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF) in Kodok, Fashoda county, on May 28, 2014. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
WAU SHILUK, South Sudan — Five months of war in South Sudan has led to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of more than one million people. But officials warn that the tragedy could just be beginning. A serious food crisis is looming over the country, and the United Nations says that if action is not taken immediately, the consequences could be dire.
Fighting breeds hunger.
In South Sudan, thousands have been killed in political and ethnic fighting since December. The fighting has disrupted much of daily life and left nearly 7 million at risk of hunger and 3.7 million facing starvation, according to the United Nations. Last week, Peter Biro of the International Rescue Committee visited the northern town of Ganyliel, South Sudan. Link
Now, fewer than 1,000 remain in the city, the rest having fled amid a veritable pogrom carried out in reprisal for atrocities committed by an alliance of mainly Muslim rebels who had seized power in March 2013.
Those left behind are stuck in ghettos or makeshift camps, protected by African Union troops but still surrounded by units of hostile anti-balaka militiamen. Link
LINING UP: South Sudanese refugees waited in line for food at a refugee camp in Adjumani, Uganda, Friday. The president of neighboring Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, recently admitted that he is helping South Sudan President Salva Kiir fight rebel forces.
Hungersnot bedeutet der Verlust der Ostprovinzen! … Deutsche! Rettet den Osten! Freiwillige vor!. LOC Summary: Poster shows a gaunt, starving, seated woman with three starving children huddled near her and one starving or dead child(?) on her lap. Text exhorts people to volunteer for the local militias and protect the eastern German provinces, proclaiming that half the bread ration comes from the eastern provinces and half the coal ration from Upper Silesia, and without these provinces, Germans will have no heat, no light, no work and no life. LOC Notes: Forms part of: Rehse-Archiv für Zeitgeschichte und Publizistik. Date Created/Published: Berlin : Wilhelm Greve, ca. 1919. WW1 recruitment poster provided by LOC. Original medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 90 x 63 cm. link
Hunger – For three years America has fought starvation in Belgium Will you eat less wheat, meat, fats and sugar that we may still send food in ship loads?. LOC Summary: Poster showing starving women and children. LOC Notes: No. 12. Date Created/Published: Chicago : Edwards & Deutsch Litho. Co., 1918. World War One poster provided by LOC. Original medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 74 x 54 cm. link
COLOMBIA – NOVEMBER 2007: A father displays the body of his dead son in his arms. Fighting in the area meant that the child could not be evacuated from the village for medical treatment, so died of hunger and diarrhea. The presence of the different active armed groups within local communities is one of the main reasons for the displacement of civilians. (Photo by Alvaro Ybarra Zavala/Edit by Getty Images)
Mali, a West African nation of 15 million people, is facing serious hardship following a March coup d’etat that has since collapsed. Islamist militant groups have filled the void, forming an extremist mini-state in northern Mali, resulting in sanctions imposed by other African nations. The collapse of state governance has chased away foreign investment, and tourism has dropped precipitously. Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, saw its annual tourist count drop from more than 10,000 to fewer than 20 total foreign visitors this year. Although Mali’s cotton and gold industries appear to be weathering the insecurity well so far, future development is on hold as the interim government in the south works to resolve issues with the patchwork of militant Islamists and Tuareg separatists who rule the north. Reuters photographer Joe Penney has spent months in Mali this year, returning with many photos such as these collected here. [28 photos] link