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Healthcare in YemenMany consider Yemen, a country located in the Middle East, to currently be undergoing the worst humanitarian disaster in the present time. Before the start of the war, which broke out in 2015, Yemen was already struggling to control the health crises that were plaguing the country. Violence and other aspects of war resulted in an emergence of even greater needs for healthcare in Yemen. An estimated 100,000 Yemeni people died due to war violence alone. Conflict and war have killed 100,00 people in Yemen while “indirect causes such as starvation and disease” have resulted in the deaths of an additional 131,000. Here are four facts about healthcare in Yemen.

4 Facts About Healthcare in Yemen

  1. Civil War: Yemen’s healthcare system was already in a fragile state before the civil war and ultimately collapsed as a result of the war. The collapse of the healthcare system left the country in a state of desperation for humanitarian aid. There are an estimated 24 million people out of a population of 29 million that are in need of some sort of medical aid. Another 14.4 million people are in an acute need for aid. The failed system resulted in a major decline in the number of operable facilities for healthcare in Yemen, with less than half of the previously functioning facilities still operating. This, in combination with extensive damage to the country’s infrastructure, has left 80% of the Yemen population without sufficient access to healthcare services.
  2. Malnourishment: Yemen’s already existing struggle to fight malnourishment became an even greater challenge due to the war, which has worsened the food insecurity crisis. About 56% of Yemen’s population is currently experiencing crisis-level food insecurity. Thus, malnourishment is one of the biggest health issues plaguing the country, creating an even greater need for access to healthcare in Yemen. Children are by far the most vulnerable to suffering from malnourishment. In fact, 2 million Yemeni children, all less than 5 years old, suffer from acute malnourishment.
  3. Disease: In 2017, Yemen experienced the largest cholera outbreak in recent history. Cholera is a bacterial infection that emerges from people ingesting water or food that the feces of an infected person has contaminated. The spread of this disease occurs more rapidly in areas without access to adequate sewage systems and sources of clean drinking water. Since 18 million people in Yemen are unable to access clean water and sanitization services, they face an increased vulnerability to contracting and spreading cholera. As a result of this heightened risk, reports estimated that there were one million cases of the disease in the country in 2017 alone. An additional estimated 991,000 cases occurred between January 2018 and September 2019. The lack of access to healthcare in Yemen further exacerbated the outbreak, resulting in thousands of deaths, despite cholera being an infection that is easy to treat. On top of the cholera outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has become another threat to healthcare in Yemen with a reported 260 cases and 54 deaths.
  4. Outreach: Due to the government’s inability to support the system, healthcare in Yemen relies on outside aid. The International Organization for Migration is working to reopen and restore 86 healthcare facilities people initially deemed inoperable. The IOM also manages “nine mobile health teams” to provide healthcare to those unable to get to operable facilities, with four of those teams providing emergency health services to migrants arriving on the coast of Yemen. Another organization, The International Committee of the Red Cross, provided medical facilities with medication and emergency supplies, resulting in medical relief of 500,000 people in the first half of 2018 alone. The International Medical Corps is another organization contributing to aid by providing health professionals with training and supplies, in addition to supporting 56 health centers across Yemen. Through that support, the organization provides adequate outpatient care to malnourished children, in addition to mental health services such as counseling. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and already at-risk population, the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan received an extension from June to December 2020. The U.N. and its partners are seeking $2.41 billion solely for fighting COVID-19 while continuing to provide aid for those that the country’s ongoing humanitarian emergency has affected.

Despite barriers to outreach, such as inadequate funding, there is an ongoing effort to stabilize and improve the state of healthcare in Yemen amid the violence of civil war. Efforts by the United Nations and numerous other humanitarian organizations are occurring to combat health issues related to circumstances of war, malnutrition and disease, while also providing Yemeni people with tools and training to treat and prevent further health complications.

– Emily Butler
Photo: Flickr

children in venezuela
In a nation experiencing an economic crisis, the children of Venezuela are suffering. Poverty is on the rise, including an increase in the malnutrition of children due to limited access to resources. Families fleeing to Peru have traveled quite far. Along the way, many have faced discrimination due to their migrant status. UNICEF and Plan International have developed a strategy for aiding children who are experiencing rapid changes in their home lives. They are helping children in Venezuela find a “Happiness Plan.”

Conditions in Venezuela

At one time, Venezuela was part of a wealthier portion of Latin America. However, with new officials and underdevelopment, poverty is now abundant. A large number of resources were focused toward developing the oil industry while other developments were delayed. With the newfound prosperity that oil brought, the economic gap grew further and further apart. The consequences of such destitution can be easily seen in the adults and children of Venezuela. Food, medicine, water and other resources are greatly lacking. This leaves people desperately searching for food.

The desperation associated with poverty was significantly increased in March due to a five-day blackout. Resources like food and water were even more scarce than usual. Some resorted to collecting water from sewage pipes. Multitudes of people were left without food. People rushed to stores to find food but discovered that the stores were already stripped. Some stores were even trashed and burnt in the chaos that ensued with riots. The riots were also the cause of several deaths from untreated medical conditions to gunshot wounds. Hospitals operated under less than ideal conditions, with limited access to electricity and supplies, such as soap.

The Effects of This Crisis On Children

In a press release, UNICEF stated, “ While precise figures are unavailable because of very limited official health or nutrition data, there are clear signs that the crisis is limiting children’s access to quality health services, medicines and food.” Statistics about conditions in Venezuela can be hard to come by, and the ones that are available are often disheartening. Malnutrition is becoming a larger issue for the children of Venezuela. While the government has attempted some measures of addressing the problem, such as monthly packages of food for sale, more still needs to be done to provide for the Venezuelan people.

As a result of the continued crisis in Venezuela, many have fled the country. As of 2018, two million people had already left Venezuela; without a doubt, numerous others have left since. For those who are awaiting refugee status or to be reunited with lost family members, UNICEF has created a safe place to help children with this difficult time.

The Happiness Plan

The “Happiness Plan” is a safe space for children that has been set up in a tent in the country of Peru. Filled with games, coloring pages and books, this tent provides an outlet for children to be children while awaiting their official entry into Peru. In addition to the fun activities, the “Happiness Plan” offers psychosocial support from professionals for children struggling with these difficult transitions they are facing.

Some of the children passing through the tent have been separated from their families. They are awaiting the chance to rejoin their families in Peru. Others are with some members of their nuclear family but had to leave the rest of their family and friends behind them in Venezuela. One survey taken by UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration stated that 73 percent of Venezuelan families in Tumbes, Peru, had to leave behind one or more of their children.

In such a dismal time for Venezuela, it is reassuring to know that organizations such as UNICEF and Plan International are implementing programs to help these children who have experienced such abrupt change. They will undoubtedly need physical and psychological support to heal from the trauma they have experienced in their home country.

Carolyn Newsome
Photo: Flickr

Organizations Helping Climate Refugees
In 2017, nearly 18 million people were displaced due to natural disasters. This was roughly 7 million more than there were people displaced by violence or conflict. This number is also expected to grow to 143 million people by 2050 if actions are not taken against climate change.

All of these people represent climate refugees. They represent a growing phenomenon that lacks a formal definition.

There are several nongovernmental organizations that are working to help these people. In the text below, top organizations helping climate refugees are presented.

Climate Refugees

Climate Refugees is an organization that aims to raise awareness about climate refugees through field reports and social media. With the information that they have gathered, Climate Refugees meets with governments and the United Nations to prioritize policies that protect climate refugees.

In 2017, they released their first field report on the connection between climate change and displacement in the Lake Chad Basin.

The Environmental Justice Foundation

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is one of the many organizations helping climate refugees. It works to help create a more sustainable world through film and photography. The EJF started in 2000 and is based in eight countries around the world.

The EJF also provides activist training that helps the organization research and document human rights abuses. The EJF directs it work towards climate refugees in several ways and one of the most prominent is through video.

It released one video titled “Falling Through the Cracks,” that explains what climate refugees are, why they matter and how to help solve the growing problem of climate refugees.

The EJF also released an exhibition on climate refugees and their stories. Both of these projects aim to humanize the effects of climate change.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Founded in 1950, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) works to protect and advocate for refugees around the world. The UNHCR works in 128 countries around the world and has helped 50 million refugees find a new life since its creation.

The UNHCR started its work with climate change and disaster displacement in the 1990s but expanded its scope in 2000s due to the growing need of working with climate refugees.

The organization’s work is broken down into four categories: operational practices, legal development, policy coherence and research.

Since 1999 the UNHCR was involved in 43 disasters that led to the displacement of people. The range of what UNHCR provided depended on the country and disaster.

International Organization for Migration

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization that works to ensure a process of migration that recognizes human rights around the world.

Since 1998, IOM worked on nearly 1,000 projects responding to migration due to environmental disasters. In 2015, the IOM founded the Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division (MECC), that specifically focuses on the connection between climate change and displacement.

MECC works in several countries around the world including Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. In all of these countries, MECC is working on research that tracks climate-related migration.

This research will help the IOM support policy development, in order to directly address the needs of climate refugees.

Refugees International

Refugees International (RI) is an independent organization that works to advocate for refugees through reports and analyzes. The organization analyses work done by other nongovernmental organizations and governments.

It works in 14 countries and climate displacement is one of the two issues that RI dedicates itself to. One of the main efforts that RI does to help climate refugees is conducting fieldwork every year. The data that is collected from this work is then used to lobby policymakers and aid agencies that help climate refugees.

While the climate refugee still lack a formal definition and while their number is expected to expand in the next 40 years, there are still several organizations helping climate refugees and ensuring that their voices and needs are heard.

Among others, the most important organizations that tackle this issue are Climate Refugees, the Environmental Justice Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration and Refugees International.

– Drew Garbe
Photo: Flickr

Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

During the past month, Bangladesh and the world have watched in horror as 400,000 refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar in the wake of an increase in military crackdowns among Muslim Rohingya villages. Many have lost family members in the violence and all have lost their homes. In the wake of the catastrophic events that have unfolded, Bangladesh has been forced to absorb a majority of the shock as ad hoc camps have been built along the borders. With 31.5% of its population already living below the national poverty line, aiding the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh may prove difficult for the Bangladeshi government.

Myanmar has made international headlines over the past month as images surfaced of entire villages being burned and destroyed. Beginning in August of this year, Rohingya militants executed a series of attacks in Rakhine State, where a majority of Rohingyas reside. The Rohingya people are known to be one of the most persecuted communities in the world. They suffer from systematic discrimination by both the government and fellow citizens because they are seen as illegal.

The government of Myanmar responded to the attacks with what is considered by U.N. officials to be “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Thus far, the operation has killed more than 1,000 and forced over 400,000 from their homes.

While Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said last week in a televised broadcast that the country was ready to welcome back the refugees, there has been skepticism about how welcoming the country will actually be, considering its history of Rohingya mistreatment. Furthermore, she stated that the Rohingya refugees would be allowed back in via a “verification” process. It remains to be seen what that verification process would entail.

Considering the uncertain future for the Rohingya refugees, organizations and countries have already stepped up to not only help the refugees but also the country of Bangladesh, particularly since the economic burden of hosting 400,000 refugees has been great. While Bangladesh has been focusing on its own impoverished citizens, the U.N. has estimated that nearly $200 million will be needed to aid the Rohingya refugees for a period of just six months. Bangladesh has urged the international community to put pressure on Myanmar to halt the influx of refugees, and it has seemed to help.

The U.N. has reported a drop in Rohingya refugee arrivals to Bangladesh since the end of September. While the International Organization for Migration claims that this is “too soon to say that the influx is over,” it is still a small victory for both Bangladesh and the international community. Likewise, Bangladesh has received significant aid from surrounding countries, including 53 tons of relief materials from India. Those materials included rice, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oil, tea, ready to eat noodles, biscuits and mosquito nets. Additionally, this week, the U.S. agreed to give $32 million in humanitarian aid in the form of food, medical care, water, sanitation and shelter. This comes at a crucial time, as the Bangladeshi government has agreed to build 14,000 temporary homes. This aid will go a long way to support the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh while their future in Myanmar is still unclear.

Sydney Roeder

Photo: Flickr

Ten Facts About the Iraq War
The Iraq War, also known as the Third Gulf War, began on March 20th, 2003. Causes of the war are the Global War on Terrorism in response to the attacks on September 11th, the intention to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and the intention to arrest Saddam Hussein and then abolish his regime.

Here are 10 facts about the Iraq War:

  1. The Domino Effect: Iraq has the world’s second largest reserves of oil, which makes it a very influential country in the middle east. President Bush hoped that toppling Hussein’s government would catalyze change for the surrounding countries.
  2. Iraqi Casualties: According to a 2011 Iraq Body Count, between 103,013 and 112,571 Iraqi civilians died in the violence.
  3. American Casualties: Four thousand four hundred and eighty-three American soldiers were killed and 33,183 were wounded.
  4. Journalist Death Toll: One hundred and fifty reporters and 54 media support workers were killed throughout the course of the war, the majority of which were deliberately targeted. This is higher than any other wartime death toll for journalists on record.
  5. Bloody Period: March 2003 was a period of invasion that resulted in the highest number of deaths for Iraqis. According to IBC, 3,977 were killed in March and another 3,437 were killed in April.
  6. IDPs: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that as many as 1.6 million Iraqis, or 5.5 percent of the population, were internally displaced. This means that they were forced to leave their homes but remained within their countries.
  7. Money Lost: The Iraq War cost the U.S treasury 1 trillion dollars, excluding benefits and long-term care for the wounded. Taxpayers collectively spent 1 trillion dollars — $3,200 per citizen — on the war between 2003 to 2011.
  8. Debt to Veterans: $490 billion of war benefits were owed to veterans following the war.
  9. Debt to Iraq: The U.S owed Iraq 4 billion dollars before the invasion and 7 billion dollars after.
  10. State of U.S soldiers after the Iraq war: Twenty percent of wounded U.S soldiers had serious brain or spinal injuries. Thirty percent of soldiers developed serious mental health problems within four months of returning home.

Both the U.S and Iraq suffered severe financial and human life losses by the time the war officially ended in December 2011. Although Saddam Hussein’s government was officially overturned, no weapons of mass destruction were found. Nevertheless, the war has made lasting impacts on U.S. and Iraqi relations for years to come.

Liliana Rehorn

Photo: Flickr

Malnutrition_in_Nigeria
Nearly 250,000 children under five years old suffer from severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria. Conflict in northeastern Nigeria has displaced 2.4 million people and pushed food insecurity and malnutrition to emergency levels. According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), over half a million people need immediate food assistance.

On June 27, 2016, The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund released a total of $13 million to help provide health services, food, nutritional supplements, cash for food purchases and protection to the most vulnerable people in Nigeria.

When people do not consume or absorb enough food daily, they fail to receive essential nutrients and become malnourished. When children are affected by malnutrition, their growth becomes stunted — they suffer from poor physical growth and slow brain development. Malnutrition in Nigeria has affected more than 11 million children.

Almost 20% of Nigerian children are underweight. Malnourished children are also more likely to die from illnesses due to their lower resistance to infection. “Unless we reach these children with treatment, one in five of them will die. We cannot allow that to happen,” said UNICEF Nigeria Representative Jean Gough.

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund provided funds to U.N. agencies in Nigeria to allow them to create and carry out a plan that would address the challenges the country faces. The funds will provide immediate life-saving nutrition, protection and food assistance to 250,000 people in northeast Nigeria.

Since mid-2016, donors have contributed $248 million to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund. Donors pool their money and are in control of funds; as a result, money is available immediately to start relief operations.

UNICEF has also provided safe water, health and nutrition support to Nigeria, while the International Organization for Migration has provided household and other relief items. Others should strive to resemble such incredible organizations like these two who are paving the way in malnutrition and relief reform.

Jackie Venuti

Photo: U.N. Multimedia

Immigration_Report_International_Organization_Migration
GENEVA, Switzerland – The first ever global report on the well-being of international migrants has just been released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). While other reports on migration have focused on the broad socioeconomic aspects of migration, none have focused on how the lives of migrants have been affected by migration, for better or for worse.

The main conclusion of this unprecedented report is that while migration may lead to personal economic gains, it does not necessarily lead to mental, emotional and physical well-being.

First of all, it makes clear that migration is not just a phenomenon centered on poor individuals from low-income countries traveling to high-income countries, but that it can be categorized in four main pathways: migration from developed countries to developing countries (North-South); from one developed country to another developed country (North-North); from one developing country to another (South-South); and from developing countries to developed ones (South-North).

Surprisingly, South-North immigrants comprise less than half of all international migrants, representing only 40% of the total 232 million in the world.

Meanwhile, more than half of the top 20 migration corridors are accounted for by people migrating from South to South, which represent 33% of all international migrants.

“Most international migrants originate in developing countries but in recent years they have been settling in almost equal number in developed and developing regions,” said John Wilmoth of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

The most traveled South-South pathways are from Ukraine to the Russian Federation; Bangladesh to Bhutan; Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation; and Afghanistan to Pakistan. The next most popular migration pathway is from North to North. According to the report, 22% of all international migrants travel from one developed country to another. The most notable corridors are from Germany to the U.S.; from the UK to Australia; and from Canada, Korea, and the UK to the U.S.

Compared to other regions of destination, Asia saw the largest increase of international migrants since 2000, adding some 20 million migrants in 13 years. Migrants’ well-being, however, differs in each of these four different pathways. In North-North pathways, for example, migrants experienced overwhelmingly positive outcomes in all the dimensions of well-being, including financial, relational, physical, emotional, and career-related aspects.

The same cannot be said for South-North migrants, who often responded that they had made gains in their economic situations, but at the cost of their emotional well-being and personal status. South-south migrants perhaps had the least to gain, with little economic progress to show and finding themselves in a similar situation or worse than if they had not migrated.

Those who migrated from North to South – only 5% of the total immigrant population – had differing experiences, depending on their motivations for relocating. These range from looking for business opportunities in expanding markets to seeking retirement.

The authors of the report hope to lead the way in redefining the Post-2015 Millennium Goals, which in their view should not focus solely on economic growth and poverty reduction in poor countries, but on human-centered development and progress measured as well-being.

– Nayomi Chibana
Feature Writer

Sources: International Organization for Migration: WMR2013 Factsheet, International Organization for Migration: WMR 2013 Overview, International Organization for Migration: , UN News Centre
Photo: How Stuff Works