Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Almost 2 million Indian children under 5 die annually

Almost 2 million Indian children under 5 die annually

By Nita Bhalla | 2 hour(s) ago | Comments ( 0 )
More than 1.74 million children in India die every year before they reach their fifth birthday, the government was quoted as saying by the Indian Express on Wednesday.
"As per SRS (Sample Registration System) data 2009, 17.4 lakh children are estimated to die before the age of five years,” Sudip Bandyopadhay, minister of state for health, said in a written reply in parliament. (1 lakh equals 100,000)
About 55 percent of the deaths were neonatal or deaths in the first 28 days of life, he said, adding that deaths due to pneumonia and diarrhoea accounted for 11 percent of the total.

Muslims across the world have been feeling the effects of rising food prices during Ramadan

Muslims across the world have been feeling the effects of rising food prices during Ramadan, says Oxfam and MADE in Europe

25 Aug 2011 13:22
Source: Member // Oxfam
Rising food prices and a lack of political will has affected how millions of people across the world have been breaking their fasts during the holy month of Ramadan.
Oxfam has been speaking to communities in the Muslim world as families gather together for Iftar (Breaking of the Fast) at sunset. This is the time of day when people reflect on their fast and come together as a family. Many have been speaking about how food has become much more expensive and how this has been an incredibly tough Ramadan for them.
Rising food prices are already affecting how Muslims are breaking their fasts, and with depleting land and energy resources and the gathering pace of climate change, this is likely to get worse in the future.
?For many people around the world Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and remembering those that are less fortunate and hungry. We must ensure that people always have enough to eat, especially at the end of a fast when people need to replenish themselves.? said Penny Lawrence International Director for Oxfam.
One of the starkest examples is in East Africa, where more than 12 million people are facing desperate food shortages following, in some regions the worst drought in 60 years.
For the majority of people in Kenya?s Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world, where tens of thousands of people have recently arrived fleeing the famine and conflict in Somalia, this is a trying period.
Aisha, a woman in Dadaab, told how she prepares a simple meal of maize flour paste (Ugali) and beans for her family at the end of the day. ?Every fifteen days I get a few kilos of maize flour, beans and cooking oil which I use carefully until the next distribution dates,? she says. ?I know it is important to eat well during this time (Ramadan), but this is all I have.?
In Pakistan, prices of staple food items increased by 17 percent ahead of Ramadan, making food much more expensive for people compared to last year. The price of vegetables rose by 14 percent, wheat by 3 percent, rice by 3 percent, chicken by 19 percent and milk by 1 percent in July compared to last year. As opposed to other countries, Pakistan has enough stocks of staple food but the wavering economy and rising inflation have pushed tens of millions below the poverty line. With increased poverty and hike in the food prices, more and more Pakistanis are eating less and less.
In Bangladesh food inflation was recorded as 13.4 percent in July, 2011. Since the beginning of Ramadan prices of all staples except rice have increased significantly. Because of the price hike, millions of people across the country don't have adequate food. Jamila, a vegetable vendor of Dhaka Cantonment area, says "prices of vegetables, lentils, and other necessary commodities such as date, chickpeas have risen so high in this Ramadan that I am finding it extremely difficult to manage my family expenditure".
In Yemen, families have been saying that sugar, rice and wheat are more expensive this Ramadan and for many there this has been one of the toughest Ramadans. One desperate woman Oxfam spoke to said she had been worrying about what she would be breaking her fast with that evening as she couldn't afford food. ?Everything has become expensive since last Ramadan, sugar, rice and wheat.? she said.
With one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, nearly 80 percent of people in Gaza depend on some form of humanitarian assistance to survive. Despite high levels of food aid, the World Food Programme recently found that 66 percent of families in Gaza still do not have enough food to eat. Around 40 percent of all items that Israel allows into Gaza are food items destined for grocery shelves, but this is of little help to families who cannot afford even basic food goods. The average family in Gaza spends over 60 percent of their money on food. Many families used to fish, raise sheep and chickens, or grow some of their own food, but with access to the sea and open land heavily restricted it has become increasingly difficult to undertake these initiatives under the Israeli blockade.
In Azerbaijan, Oxfam spoke to families who said that the price of mutton has increased by one-fifth since last Ramadan, which means families have to reduce the amount of mutton from their daily meals.
The UK has also seen rising food prices, with families in London saying that the prices of basic necessities such as rice and oil have increased.
With 925 million people going hungry every day and food prices predicted to more than double within the next twenty years, the food crisis is deepening.
MADE in Europe and Oxfam are both demanding a step change from governments to act and help steer us away from an age of crisis to a more sustainable and fair future by better regulating markets, tackling climate change and investing in sustainable agriculture to ensure people have enough to eat.
"Ramadan is a time when we reflect on the blessings that each of us have and experience in some small way the hunger that people around the world endure on a daily basis.� In the UK we have been fasting for 18-hour days but know that at the end of it, there is going to be enough food and water for us to quench our hunger and thirst?, said Saif Ahmad CEO of MADE in Europe.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus was eliminated

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today urged heightened preparedness and surveillance amid signs that a mutant strain of the deadly bird flu virus is spreading in Asia and beyond.
While the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006, it remained endemic in six nations. Outbreaks have risen since then, with almost 800 cases recorded between 2010 and 2011
The agency’s chief veterinary officer, Juan Lubroth, said that migrations have helped the virus travel over long distances and expand geographically. In the past two years, the H5N1 virus has shown up in poultry or wild birds in countries that had been virus-free for several years.
Areas recently affected by the virus are found in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal and Mongolia.
Mr. Lubroth said another cause for concern is the appearance in China and Viet Nam of a variant virus that is able to bypass the defences provided by existing vaccines.
Most of the northern and central parts of Viet Nam, where H5N1 is endemic, have been invaded by the new virus strain, known as H5N1 – The country had suspended its springtime poultry vaccination campaign this year.
Viet Nam’s veterinary services are on high alert and reportedly considering a targeted vaccination campaign this fall. FAO noted that virus circulation in Viet Nam poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia as well as endangering the Korean peninsula and Japan. Wild bird migration can also spread the virus to other continents.
Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Viet Nam, where the virus is still firmly entrenched, are likely to face the biggest problems but all countries need to be vigilant, said Mr. Lubroth.
“Preparedness and surveillance remain essential,” he stressed. “This is no time for complacency. No one can let their guard down with H5N1.”
Speaking to UN Radio, Mr. Lubroth said that there is no indication that the new virus strain will behave differently than the previous one or that it is more dangerous to humans. He also noted that all countries, and not just those where the virus is entrenched, should be concerned that it has not been possible to eliminate and contain the H5N1 virus.
Poultry production and marketing will determine how the disease will spread, he pointed out. “Production practices and marketing practices should be better regulated and more hygienic, as the consumer needs to be protected as well as the production facilities because so many people’s livelihoods depend upon poultry and poultry rearing,” he stated.
Since 2003 the H5N1 virus has killed or forced the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry and caused an estimated $20 billion of economic damage across the globe before it was eliminated from most of the 63 infected countries.
It has infected 565 people since it first appeared, killing 331 of them, according to the UN World Health Organization( WHO). The latest death occurred earlier this month in Cambodia, which has registered eight cases of human infection this year – all of them fatal.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The high of dope and drug

The high of dope and drug is much lower then the high of fighting for the people's right. Want a high ? Fight for people's right " Happy Independence Day "  Jai Hind 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Focus on concrete action on Horn of Africa

 FAO is to host a high-level operational meeting on 18 August 2011 to agree on urgent measures in response to the worsening crisis in the Horn of Africa. FAO has also issued a road map for its support to short-term agricultural recovery in the region, requiring immediate funding of about $103 million.

The meeting, to which agriculture ministers of all FAO's 191 member countries have been invited, will take stock of the evolving situation, needs and shortfalls in the crisis and identify concrete programmes, projects and other actions by governments in the Horn of Africa and their humanitarian and development partners to address both immediate requirements and underlying causes.

It follows up on the Emergency Ministerial-level Meeting on the Horn of Africa held in Rome on 25 July and sets the scene for the pledging Conference called by the African Union in Addis Ababa on 25 August.

From crisis to recovery

The follow-up Rome meeting will discuss how to help populations recover from the crisis — in complement to dealing with immediate food shortages.  It will consider measures such as cash for work for agricultural and water harvesting, seed and inputs distribution, support to vaccination and animal feeding, irrigation, storage of food at village level and rural infrastructure. These urgent actions will smoothly transition into FAO and development partners support to governments' medium- to long-term plans.

The meeting will focus on a twin-track approach to resolving the famine in Somalia and the broader emergency in the Horn of Africa, building resilience over the long haul and supporting livelihoods over the short, medium and long-term.

"When you see the sheer numbers of animal dead bodies along the road you know that this means that people have less capacity to buy their food today and tomorrow. FAO is concerned that support to incomes and safeguarding people's assets has so far been largely overlooked and this will make recovery slower," said Cristina Amaral, Chief of Operations in FAO's Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division.

Lives and livelihoods
FAO had asked for $161 million to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers and pastoralists across the drought-struck Horn of Africa and has received or had commitments for around $57 million.

"FAO's current funding gap stands at around $103 million to provide immediate support to crisis-affected populations," FAO said.

The agency's road map details FAO's short term strategy in the region, focussing on actions to save lives and livelihoods both at regional and country level.

Of the funds being sought, $70 million is intended for Somalia where planned interventions include distribution of seeds and other inputs, provision of animal feed, livestock vaccination and treatment, cash-for-work schemes and infrastructure improvement.

"It is vital that we not only save lives today but also save the livelihoods on which people's lives depend tomorrow," said Rod Charters, Senior Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator for the Region. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

UN urges rapid response to measles outbreak in Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia

The United Nations on Saturday voiced alarm at the plight of Somali refugees in the Dollo Ado camps in south-eastern Ethiopia following an outbreak of suspected measles, and called for urgent action to assist an already vulnerable population.

So far there have been 47 official cases and three deaths from suspected measles in the Kobe camp of 25,000 people over the past week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a news release.

Other suspected cases have been reported in the other two refugee camps in the area, as well as in the transit centre where there are just over 15,000 refugees awaiting relocation to the newly-opened Hilaweyn camp.

“This situation is alarming and we cannot afford to wait. We must act now, urgently and decisively, to arrest and turn around this situation,” said Moses Okello, UNHCR's Representative in Ethiopia, following a visit to Dollo Ado.

UNHCR noted that the health of the refugees, who fled the famine in their homeland, is already fragile. “The mix of measles and high levels of malnutrition can be fatal,” the agency warned.

Health experts said high rates of acute malnutrition, low vaccination coverage in Somalia and overcrowding in the camps are some of the aggravating factors associated with this outbreak.

Mr. Okello, who said he was “shaken” by the situation in Dollo Ado, held an urgent meeting today with Ethiopian Government officials and UNHCR health partners to agree a plan of action.

He said the first priority is a mass vaccination campaign, calling on all UNHCR partners to scale up their capacity to meet the “extremely serious public health challenges.”

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), through Ethiopia's Ministry of Health, are providing the needed vaccines. Vaccination of all children between the ages of six months and 15 years of age was started Friday for all refugee children being transferred from the transit centre to the Hilaweyn camps.

UNHCR and the Ethiopian Government will lead a team of health experts to Dollo Ado tomorrow to support the roll-out of an action plan that includes the preparation of a mass vaccination campaign to begin on 9 August for all children aged six months to 15 years in Kobe camp – the most affected camp.

As of 5 August the number of Somali refugees in the Dollo Ado camps had reached 118,400. Nearly 78,000 of them arrived this year. This is in addition to more than 41,600 Somali refugees in the Jijiga area of the Somali region. Ethiopia hosts a total of 237,500 refugees, mainly from Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Breastfeeding can save your baby’s life

1 August 2011 – 
The United Nations and its partners are promoting the use of all possible means of communication, including social networking, blogs and even flash mobs, to get the message out on the benefits of breastfeeding beyond clinics and delivery rooms to the wider public.Breastfeeding is directly linked to reducing the death toll of children under five, yet only 36 per cent of infants below the age of six months in developing countries are exclusively breastfed, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“With so much at stake, we need to do more to reach women with a simple, powerful message: Breastfeeding can save your baby’s life,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated from 1 to 7 August.

Famine is spreading, says U.N.

Another three regions in Somalia are in famine, the U.N. declared on August 3 as it warned that the international humanitarian response to the crisis has been inadequate.
The U.N. said the prevalence of acute malnutrition and rates of mortality surpassed the famine thresholds in areas of Middle Shabelle, the Afgoye corridor refugee settlement and internally displaced communities in Mogadishu, the capital. The U.N. last month said two other regions in southern Somalia — Bakool and Lower Shabelle — were suffering from famine, defined as when acute malnutrition exceeds 30 per cent and when the death rate exceeds two per 10,000 a day.
About 450,000 people live in Somalia's famine zones, said Grainne Moloney, Chief Technical Adviser for the U.N.'s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.
The U.N.'s food arm, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said famine is likely to spread across all regions of Somalia's south in the next four to six weeks, with famine conditions likely to last until December.
A humanitarian emergency exists across all other regions of southern Somalia, and there have already been tens of thousands, according to the U.N.
Till December
“The current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling up emergency assistance programmes, as well as funding gaps,” said the U.N.'s famine early warning system network. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large-scale, and comprehensive response are needed.” Aid efforts have been hampered in the south as elements of al-Shabaab, the Islamist insurgents, have refused access to western relief agencies. Throughout Somalia, 3.7 million people are in crisis, with 3.2 million people in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance, 2.8 million of whom are in the south.
A senior U.N. official, on August 3 appealed to all Somalis, both inside and outside the country, to work together to support the peace process and alleviate the plight of those suffering from famine.
“This is a time of great crisis, but also of rare opportunity. It is a time for everyone to pull together to help those suffering and to work towards a better future for all,” Augustine Mahiga, the U.N. Special Representative for Somalia, said in a letter to the Somali diaspora. “I appeal to all those who are able — Somalis and the international community alike — to give as much as they can during this holy month (Ramadan) to feed the hungry, heal the sick and prevent the famine spreading further.” Mahiga noted that one of the contributing factors to the famine has been the fighting in the country and he criticised extremists for preventing the movement of people from the worst-hit areas.
“We call for the humanitarian agencies to be given unhindered access to all areas to provide desperately needed help,” he said.