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Starving girl shows impact of Yemen war, economic collapse

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2019

12-year-old Yemeni girl Fatima Qoba’s legs | Reuters

Displaced by war, starving and living under a tree, 12-year-old Fatima Qoba weighed just 10kg when she was carried into a Yemeni malnutrition clinic.

“All the fat reserves in her body have been used up, she is left only with skin and bones,” Makiah al-Aslami, a doctor and head of the clinic in northwest Yemen.

Qoba’s slide into starvation is typical of what is happening in much of Yemen, where war and economic collapse have driven around 10 million people to the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

Aslami said she is expecting more and more malnutrition cases to come through her door. This month she is treating more than 40 pregnant women with severe malnutrition.

“So in the coming months I expect I will have 43 underweight children,” she said.

She said that since the end of 2018, 14 deaths from malnutrition had occurred at her clinic alone.

Qoba, her 10 siblings and father were forced from their home near the border with Saudi Arabia and forced to live under a tree, Qoba’s older sister, also called Fatima, told Reuters.

She said they were fleeing bombardment from the Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore the internationally recognised government ofYemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthi-movement ousted it from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014.

“We don’t have money to get food. All we have is what our neighbours and relatives give us,” the sister said. Their father, in his 60s, is unemployed. “He sits under the tree and doesn’t move.”

“If we stayed here and starved no one would know about us. We don’t have a future,” she said.

After trying two other hospitals which could not help, a relative found the money to transport Qoba to the clinic in Houthi-controlled Aslam, one of Yemen’s poorest districts with high malnutrition levels.

Lying on green hospital sheets, Qoba’s skin is papery, her eyes huge and her skeletal frame encased in a loose orange dress. A health worker feeds her a pale mush from a bowl.

Aslami said the girl needed a month of treatment to build up her body and mind.

The United Nations is trying to implement a ceasefire and troop withdrawal from Yemen’s main port of Hodeidah, where most of Yemen’s imports come from. But violence continues to displace people in other parts of the country, and cut access routes for food, fuel and aid.

There is food in Yemen, but severe inflation has eroded people’s ability to buy it, and the non-payment of government worker salaries has left many households without incomes.

“It’s a disaster on the edge of famine … Yemeni society and families are exhausted,” Aslami said. “The only solution is to stop the war.” — Reuters

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Diphtheria kills 48, infects more than 500 in Yemen – WHO

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

At least 514 people in Yemen are believed to have been infected with diphtheria, with the disease killing 48 of them since the outbreak began in mid-august, as reported by the World Health 0rganization (WHO) on Tuesday.

“We need to highlight that the age group that has been hit most is the young adults particularly the age group between five and 15 years of age and children under five years of age,” said Dr. Nevio Zagaria.

Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, is embroiled in a proxy war between the Houthi armed movement, allied with Iran, and a U.S.-backed military coalition headed by Saudi Arabia.

The United Nations calls Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 8 million people on the brink of famine and a failing health system.

WHO Representative Dr. Nevio Zagaria warned that the spread of diphtheria was significantly more dangerous than the already widespread cholera because of its higher fatality rate.

“Cholera is also a very serious disease. We expect a maximum of case fatality rate of below one percent of the [cholera] cases. But just to give a comparison of how much serious is the disease and more difficult to treat the disease. The expected case fatality rate of diphtheria is between five and 10 percent of the cases,” said Zagaria.

Almost 100 districts in Yemen have reported at least one diphtheria case with a heavy concentration in the province of Ibb, which reported approximately 50 percent of the total infections across the country. — Reuters

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Scientists puzzled over a hundred dead seals wash up on Baikal shore

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, November 6th, 2017

Local environment officials reported that over 140 carcasses of Baikal seals have washed up on the shores of the world’s deepest lake in Russia’s Siberia over the last week.

According to the scientists, the seals had died in water and their carcasses did not have any injuries or signs of disease or starvation.

Russian media reported that according to the country’s veterinary watchdog, the seals have had died of heart attack, the cause of which remains unclear to the experts.

Dozens of dead seals were found ashore at the end of last month and more carcasses were found later by local residents and rangers. Many of the dead seals were pregnant females.

Irkutsk Regional Environmental Prosecutor’s Office is investigating several possible causes of seals’ mass death, but according to the scientists, it can be natural selection.

“At the moment the prosecutor’s office is looking into various versions [of what happened to the seals] including disease of Baikal seals, an attempt of illegal hunting on seals as well as human-caused disturbance. But taking into consideration earlier incidents of seal mass death, the main version is naturally occurring wildlife cycles,” said West Baikal District Asst. Environment Prosecutor Ivan Zolotukhin.

Baikal seals as species are not currently considered under threat, according to biologists. Despite hunting and pollution of Lake Baikal, the seal population is believed to be equalling the carrying capacity of the lake.— Reuters


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U.S. Supreme Court tosses one travel ban ruling

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out an appeals court ruling that struck down President Donald Trump’s previous temporary travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority nations countries that have now expired.

“This is the protection of the nation from foreign terrorists entering the United States. We all know what that means,” said Trump.

The court acted in one of two cases pending involving a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which had sued to stop the ban contained in a March executive order.

The court did not act on a separate challenge brought by the state of Hawaii, which the court had also agreed to hear. That case also features a challenge to a separate 120-day refugee ban, which has not yet expired.

The expired ban had targeted people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan.

The new open-ended ban, scheduled to take effect on Oct. 18, removed Sudan from the list while blocking people from Chad and North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela from entering the United States. — Reuters

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