Category: Africa


One year ago today, the world watched in horror as one the single bloodiest days in modern protest history took place in Cairo, Egypt.

On August 14, 2013 Egyptian security forces opened fire at a sit-in protest in Rabaa Al Adawiya Square, killing more than 800 people opposed to the ousting of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi.

A few weeks earlier the reign of Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, was cut short after only one year in power. Morsi’s ouster was announced on July 3 2013 by the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who later became the president of Egypt. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-u6 – Michael’s Blog

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It’s 10 in the morning and hundreds of women and children have formed a long line through the bush or stand huddled under trees. I’ve seen many food distributions—but never in one place so many children with the tell-tale, orange-tinted hair and pot bellies of malnutrition. A gangly, 20-something man in a red t-shirt and ragged grey trousers walks up and down the line, snapping a thin branch stripped of leaves to stop children jumping the queue.

It is April 1998 and Sudan is still one country in the midst of a civil war between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the government in Khartoum. I’m in Bahr el Ghazal, a region gripped by one of Sudan’s worst famines. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-u4 – Michael’s Blog

As the world scrambles to stem the rapid spread of the killer Ebola virus, the World Health Organization hosted a meeting on Monday to discuss the ethics of using experimental drugs.

The talks come as countries ravaged by the tropical disease in west Africa were gripped by panic, with drastic containment measures causing transport chaos, price hikes and food shortages, and stoking fears that people could die of hunger.

Liberia, where Ebola has already claimed over almost 370 lives, placed a third province, Lofa, under quarantine on Monday after similar measures in Bomba and Grand Cape Mount. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-sE – Michael’s Blog

Patient Zero in the Ebola outbreak, researchers suspect, was a 2-year-old boy who died Dec. 6, just a few days after falling ill in a village in Gueckedou, in southeastern Guinea. Bordering Sierra Leone and Liberia, Gueckedou is at the intersection of three nations, where the disease found an easy entry point to the region.

A week later, it killed the boy’s mother, then his 3-year-old sister, then his grandmother. All had fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but no one knew what had sickened them. [Read more]

 

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http://wp.me/p4sUqu-s8 – Michael’s Blog

It’s still not clear exactly what happened on December 15 in the Juba barracks of South Sudan’s presidential guard. The government claimed it was an attempted coup, but has struggled to provide any evidence. Others say soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, a Dinka, disarmed soldiers loyal to the former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer. What we do know is that the presidential forces split – broadly down the lines of Dinka and Nuer, South Sudan’s two largest ethnic groups.

They fought furiously, plunging Juba, the capital, into violence. The conflict spread like wildfire, and two weeks later much of the eastern part of the country had unraveled into deadly fighting. Thousands of civilians have been killed, often because of their ethnicity, and an estimated 1.5 million have been displaced. Now, South Sudan faces a new imminent threat – famine. Researcher Skye Wheeler speaks with Amy Braunschweiger about her new report, how alleged war crimes have contributed to this humanitarian disaster, and how the lack of justice after South Sudan’s recent civil war brought us to where we are today. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-rv – Michael’s Blog

On return from his recent reporting trip to Africa, Nick Turse told me the following tale, which catches something of the nature of our battered world.  At a hotel bar in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, he attended an informal briefing with a representative of a major nongovernmental organization (NGO).  At one point, the briefer commented that just one more crisis might sink the whole aid operation.  He thought she was referring to South Sudan, whose bottomless set of problems include unending civil war, no good prospects for peace, impending famine, poor governance, and a lack of the sort of infrastructure that could make a dent in such a famine.  Nick responded accordingly, only to be corrected.  She didn’t just mean South Sudan, she said, but the entire global NGO system.  Given the chaos of the present moment across the Greater Middle East and elsewhere, global aid operations were, she insisted, on the brink. They were all, she told him, just one catastrophe away from the entire system collapsing. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-rp – Michael’s Blog

The first case of Ebola in Sierra Leone was reported in Kailahun district in May. It has since spread to Kenema district, which is now the worst-hit area in the country. There are more than 45 patients inside the Kenema treatment centre, which is stretched to capacity. Like many communities in Sierra Leone, the people of Kenema are trying to understand the disease and decipher the rumours, myths and misconceptions surrounding it. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-qT – Michael’s Blog

Three of Britain’s leading Ebola specialists have said experimental treatments for the deadly Ebola virus must be offered to the people of West Africa, after two US aid workers were administered with the “cure” in Liberia.

The two missionaries, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, are alive and now being cared for at a specialist isolation unit in Atlanta. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-pt – Michael’s Blog

President Barack Obama’s summit with African leaders is the largest gathering of the continent’s heads of state with a sitting US leader. As its official website declares, in Obama’s words: “I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children.”

The statement is laudible. However, that so many African leaders have turned up – representing all bar Zimbabwe, Sudan and Eritrea, who have poor relations with either the US or the African Union – should not obscure the fact that under the Obama presidency there have been significant setbacks for the African cause. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-p7 – Michael’s Blog

An ongoing epidemic of the Ebola virus disease has spread throughout Guinea and beyond the nation’s borders in West Africa. The outbreak, which began in Guinea in February 2014 and has spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, is the most severe in recorded history, both in the number of cases and fatalities.[1] A suspected 1440 cases with 826 deaths have been reported as of 30 July 2014, with 953 cases and 532 deaths confirmed to be Ebola.[2] Various organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and European Commission have donated funds and mobilized personnel to help counter the outbreak; charities including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross,[3] and Samaritan’s Purse are also working in the area. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-o7 – Michael’s Blog

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