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Life Expectancy in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country that used to be torn by civil war. Now, thanks to peace and foreign investment, the country is making major strides towards improving the lives of its citizens. Below are seven facts about how life expectancy in Sri Lanka is improving.

7 Facts about Life Expectancy in Sri Lanka

  1. Life expectancy in Sri Lanka is currently 77.1 years. The life expectancy for males is 73.7 and is 80.8 for females. This is an increase of more than seven years from 20 years ago.
  2. The country’s three-decade civil war resulted in thousands of deaths including more than 7,000 in the final months. However, since the war ended in 2009, the country has been able to stabilize and improve economic conditions.
  3. Since 2006 the percent of people living in poverty has decreased from 15.3 percent to 4 percent. This decrease in poverty has been in large part due to the improving economy in Sri Lanka which registered an average economic growth rate of 5.8 percent from 2010 to 2017. The correlation between poverty and life expectancy is clear. When one is out of poverty and has more resources, they are able to live longer lives.
  4. Children are being immunized against disease at a 99 percent rate. Children have access to immunizations leading to a lower rate of children dying of preventable diseases. They can live longer and happier lives without worrying about diseases such as measles, hepatitis and DPT.
  5. Sri Lanka is focused on educating its youth, by seeking foreign investment. For instance, in 2017, the country secured a $100 million loan from the World Bank in order to enhance the quality of degree programs and boost STEM enrollment and research opportunities at the university level. The country’s investments are paying off as Sri Lanka has the highest reported youth literacy rate in South Asia at 98.77 percent versus India (89.66) and Bangladesh (83.2 percent).
  6. The under-5 mortality rate is less than 10 percent. The under-5 mortality rate broke below 10 percent in 2014 and has been declining since 2005. In fact, the under-5 mortality rate stood at more than 20 percent less than two decades ago. CARE and the Red Cross are two organizations that have been especially focused on improved health care services since the 1950s.
  7. The U.N. projects that the life expectancy rate will exceed 80 years within the next 20 years. However, as the Minister of External Affairs noted at a U.N. conference in 2014, “with…increased life expectancy, we are facing new challenges, namely the incidence of NCDs, a growing aging population by 2030, addressing issues facing young people and containing the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

Sri Lanka is a great example of a country that shows what can happen with peace and investment. Their economy is growing and with it, the people’s lives are improving not only in quality but also in length.

– Josh Fritzjunker and Kim Thelwell
Photo: Flickr

dengue fever in the Philippines

The Philippines Department of Health declared a national dengue fever epidemic. The southeast Asian nation is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in years with over 160,000 cases this year. This is an increase of 97 percent from this time last year. The surge in cases has caused over 600 deaths, already doubling the amount from 2018.

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes mosquito that lives primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. Once bitten, it takes four to seven days before flu-like symptoms set in. These symptoms include headaches, joint and muscle pain, rash and fever. If left untreated, some severe cases can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which can lead to death. The median age of those infected in the Philippines is 12 years old. Most of the deaths in the Philippines are children between the ages of 5 and 9.

There is no known cure for dengue fever, once infected a person can only manage the symptoms until they dissipate. This is done by keeping a patient well hydrated with IV fluids and the use of pain medications with acetaminophen. Dengvaxia, a vaccine for dengue was discovered in 2016 but it is currently not licensed in the Philippines.

Philippines Hospitals Overwhelmed

With 1800 hospitals taking care of a population of over 108 million people, the Philippines struggles to deal with the rising cases of dengue fever. Of those hospitals in the Philippines, there are only 19 in the five regions that have been hit hardest by the epidemic. Southern Tagalog, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao are past the epidemic threshold. West Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Bicol Region are also three of the poorest regions in the Philippines and struggle with the cost of care for its citizens.

Over the past 50 years, dengue fever cases rose, according to the World Health Organization(WHO). In the past five years, there have been over 200,000 cases of dengue fever in the Philippines. This includes just over 1000 deaths in that same time period. The country may exceed these numbers by the end of 2019 alone.

Global Forces Rally Against Epidemic

The European Union donated 100,000 euros in humanitarian aid to help treat those already infected and to help with prevention. These funds will help the Philippines Red Cross to provide emergency medical units, nurses and wards at hospitals specific to treating dengue fever in the Philippines. It is expected that this funding will benefit 300,000 people that are living in some of the poorer and infected areas.

The WHO and the government of the Philippines are currently taking the steps needed to prevent the increase in fatal cases. The government also tries to educate its citizens on what they need to do to prevent the Aedes mosquito from continuing to breed and how they can protect themselves. This includes cleanup efforts that help reduce the stagnant water areas where the mosquitoes breed. The WHO advised the people to wear insect repellant and long sleeve pants and shirts at all times. The organization also recommends fitting every bed and crib with mosquito nets to provide protection while sleeping.

Despite the ever-growing danger imposed, the fight continues around the world to protect and prevent dengue fever in the Philippines. Simple measures can be put into place at home and around communities that can minimize those who are infected and provide a safe and healthy environment.

– Sam Bostwick
Photo: Flickr

Fighting Global PovertyPeople helping people. Country helping country. Giving back to the world is not a strange concept and is a welcomed idea in most societies. A popular form of global help is foreign aid. The umbrella term commonly refers to monetary assistance provided by outlying or foreign governments. The funds are generally distributed through humanitarian organizations, non-profit groups or directly from a foreign government. As such, the aid is given to citizens in an abundance of forms, such as money, food or shelter. While some can afford to provide more than others on a purely numeric comparison, the amounts are measured or valued differently depending on the country’s economic standing. This list consists of five countries fighting global poverty who outshine the rest.

Top Five Countries Fighting Global Poverty

  1. Norway begins the list as it provides the largest amount of foreign aid in comparison to its GDP. The government put 1.11 percent of its GDP towards global humanitarian aid, spending NOK 455 million as of 2018. The country utilizes organizations such as the U.N.’s CERF (Central Emergency Response Fund), the Red Crescent Movement and the Red Cross. Recently, Norway channeled much of their funds into CERF in order to assist Venezuela in its growing refugee crisis. Norway’s contributions towards these programs effectively fight against global poverty and prove the nation should be in the top five, as its generosity in comparison to its national budget is the highest in the world.
  2. Luxembourg also contributes a significant portion of their GDP towards humanitarian and foreign affairs. Approximately 1 percent of their national budget, or about USD 413 million, is used for aid. Some of Luxembourg’s projects include poverty reduction through community development in Laos, education improvement in Burkina Faso and health care in Nicaragua. These countries receive specific help from various agencies and organizations like LuxDev and the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. These groups and projects, though just a few select examples, show how much effort Luxemborg puts in fighting poverty.
  3. Sweden comes forward as another example of a smaller country with a smaller budget who still makes a grand impact in the world. As about 1.04 percent of its GDP, or about USD 5.8 billion, is used for humanitarian and foreign aid, Sweden holds a top ranking. While the money touches on a broad range of topics, from civil rights to education, specific Swedish projects focus on poverty issues. For instance, Sweden recently provided aid to Somalia for drought relief through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund. Sweden makes a mark on the world by not only tackling larger, conceptual issues, but by also responding quickly to disasters and world events. Such assistance highlights the country’s proficiency in the fight against global poverty.
  4. The United States is a leader in fighting global poverty as it contributes the most money towards humanitarian and foreign aid. Within the past few years alone, the U.S. contributed USD 30 billion towards various forms of international aid. The nation utilizes several different federal agencies, non-profit groups and other organizations to distribute aid. The U.S. commonly works with popular organizations such as UNICEF or the Red Cross. A prime example of the U.S. effect on the world is with the sheer number of countries it provides for, as it touches nearly 40 different nations, including Pakistan and Mexico.
  5. Germany also provides a significant amount of aid with nearly USD 20 billion contributed towards humanitarian projects in recent years. This accounts for nearly 0.70 percent of the national budget. Popular organizations and agencies include the World Food Program, which Germany utilized to provide relief to Africa. In addition to such organizations, Germany is known to donate large amounts of money to other countries, a notable example being Syria in recent years due to their ongoing crisis. Germany’s monetary generosity also makes it the second-largest donor in the world to foreign aid, falling in just behind the U.S.

Whether it’s a natural disaster or political turmoil, when a country is in need, surrounding neighbors will often step up to help.

– Eleanora Kamerow
Photo: Flickr

Cyclone Effects on Mozambican Students
Six weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped through central and southern Mozambique in March, Cyclone Kenneth added further destruction in the northern portion of the country. Having these consecutive disasters is highly abnormal in the region, and the impact of both storms has left over 650 people dead in Mozambique alone. Time Magazine reported that Mozambique would need $3.2 billion in order to recover after the damage caused by the storms.

The Cyclones

Mozambique is already a developmentally challenged country, suffering from high poverty rates due to high population growth, low agricultural productivity, illnesses and unequal distribution of wealth. These storms have left many citizens with nothing, further impoverishing the country. One of the most impactful yet overlooked aspects of the storms is the influence they have had and will continue to have over students. Cyclone effects on Mozambican students have made it difficult — and sometimes simply impossible — for the young population to continue their educations.

Impact on Students

More than 600 schools in Mozambique were damaged, impacting more than 300,000 students’ access to education. School records have been destroyed, roofs are missing from schools, and the water damage to classrooms is significant. School supplies have also been destroyed, meaning students have no access to notebooks, textbooks or writing utensils. Because of the damage to many classrooms, students are being forced to overcrowd classrooms, forcing multiple teachers to use the same room. This has proven to be highly distracting for students, and their focus is not fully on the content they are learning.

Along with schools being damaged and inadequate, other cyclone effects on Mozambican students come from the storms’ impact on their lives outside of school. With the devastation of the cyclones, many students come from families who have lost their homes, or even someone who had lived with them. As a result, children are unable to attend school, and both the ones who do and don’t attend school are suffering from lack of proper food and water — often going without either.

Additionally, the psychological toll that these storms have taken on kids has led to disruptions in their learning abilities. Many kids have seen the effects of the storms firsthand, having lost family members, neighbors and friends in the floods. School attendance rates are already low, with less than half of children under 15 fulfilling the country’s mandatory primary school program. That number decreases to less than 20 percent when it comes to high school attendance because many families cannot afford to pay school fees.

Aid Organizations

Various organizations have stepped up to provide relief and spread awareness about the disastrous effects of the storms, both in general and specifically for students. The Red Cross was among the first groups to arrive in areas of Mozambique severely affected, providing immediate aid to people in need. World Vision is another organization that has been active in its media coverage of what’s going on within Mozambique, in addition to its relief efforts. In Mozambique specifically, its focus is on providing food, water, child protection services and further education. It has also established two Child-Friendly spaces where kids are sheltered and given activities to do.

Save the Children, an organization based in the U.K., has consulted children and their families on their experiences with the storms. Affected children have shown varying sign of psychological stress, ranging from general anxiety that another storm will come to bedwetting. The organization has been in Mozambique since before the first cyclone made contact, and it has been providing child protection, emergency shelter and healthcare.

Overall, there is much to be done in terms of relief when it comes to Mozambique’s recovery. Much of the aid will go toward providing people with the essentials: food, water and shelter. However, attention should be paid particularly to the cyclone effects on Mozambican students. Access to education should be afforded to all children, regardless of socioeconomic status. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations that recognize that education needs to be prioritized in the aid they give.

— Emi Cormier
Photo: Wikimedia Commons


There are no concrete numbers or official statistics that show how many people are homeless and what is the real situation with homelessness in Bulgaria. However, there is a trend that can be observed – the numbers are increasing. As of 2013, as many as 1,370 people have been registered in temporary accommodation facilities. The real number is likely much higher since this only accounts for people with government-issued IDs who have signed up in those facilities.

Urban Nomads

There are many reasons and circumstances that lead to people losing their home. The most vulnerable groups of people that end up without shelter are refugees, the Roma minority, elderly people who have become a burden to their families or young adults who have previously been in foster home facilities.

Most of the participants of a survey that Urban Nomads, a project that is aiming at improving living conditions for the homeless in Bulgaria, conducted stated that what they really hope for is a job and a place to stay, contrary to stereotypes some still believe in. The organization believes in the value that homeless people can give to society and are dedicated to helping them by constructing tiny portable houses from recycled materials. People do not just choose to live on the streets and those who are in that situation have been through a lot to end up like that.

Government Addressing Homelessness in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in the European Union. According to Eurostat statistics from 2015, 40 percent of the country’s citizens live at risk of poverty or social exclusion. In 2013, there were 13 centers for temporary accommodation in the country that served 442 people, as well as six shelters and 13 centers for homeless children.

The policies designed to tackle the problem operate mainly on the municipal level but there are problems that prevent their success. The major issue with the social services available is the lack of adequate funding and good financial management. To add to this, the coordination and project management also need improvement. As a result, the needs of people exceed what is provided by the country, affecting homelessness in Bulgaria.

Initiatives that Help Homeless People in Bulgaria

Winter, the most difficult time for people who live on the streets, is here,  and there are several initiatives that aim to alleviate homelessness in Bulgaria in these times. Caritas is a nonprofit organization that works with homeless people in Bulgaria. Their goal is to help those who are most vulnerable: refugees, migrants, the elderly and the homeless are helped to lead a fair and dignified life. Along with social centers in major cities they provide mobile services- domestic care for elderly and support for people on the streets. Caritas has helped over 4,000 people in Sofia and provides food, hygiene kits, medicine and assistance.

There are also other initiatives. In Sofia, a restaurant will donate food to those who are in need during the winter. Volunteers from the Bulgarian Red Cross opened a winter dining room in the town of Ruse. They expect to provide warm meals, a bath and clothes to around 40 people in need every day. In Pernik, two rooms from the hospital will be given to homeless people during the cold months, according to the mayor. Dobrich opened the doors to its house of temporary accommodation. The house for homeless people will be open 24 hours a day and has the capacity to house eight people.

These organizations and initiatives, along with government activities, help people who do not have access to the basics of living a dignified life and improve the situation of homelessness in Bulgaria. And truly, everything to make these people suffer less helps, but the issue of homelessness should be tackled on a more structural level by reintegrating these people into society and helping them find a sustainable way of providing for themselves.

– Aleksandra Sirakova
Photo: Flickr

Top Malaria Nonprofits
Malaria is the most deadly disease facing the world’s poor today. In 2016, roughly 445,000 people died due to malaria, and the illness still remains in 91 countries and threatens half of the world’s population. The fight against malaria is far from over, and many nonprofits are still working on achieving a world without malaria. Here are five of the top malaria nonprofits to be aware. 

Malaria No More  

Malaria No More (MNM) launched in 2006 alongside the President’s Malaria Initiative. The goal of the organization is to create “a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite.” MNM aims to end malaria by mobilizing advocates and securing funding to combat malaria. Their work focuses on three countries, including Kenya.

MNM started work in Kenya in 2014, and their work’s focus is to protect pregnant women and babies who are both at a higher risk for contracting malaria than any other populations. In Kenya, MNM partners with several other nonprofits to make malaria a top political priority. MNM also spreads awareness about malaria through meetings with politicians and events with celebrities.

As a result of MNM’s work, roughly 1,800 mothers and pregnant women received mosquito nets, two Kenyan counties increased funding for malaria elimination and millions of people received information on malaria treatment and prevention via radio.

The International Committee of the Red Cross

Another one of the many nonprofits combating malaria is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Since its inception in 1863, the goal of ICRC is to assist victims of war and poverty. Since malaria threatens so many impoverished nations, the organization aids in combating malaria.

The ICRC also focuses on encouraging and assisting communities to band together and fight malaria. In 2008, the organization and its partners distributed 60,000 nets to Burkina Faso and helped educate its people on the importance of nets and how to hang them properly.

The President’s Malaria Initiative

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) started in 2006 with the goal of reducing the malaria death rate by 50 percent. The PMI offers several services to the people of sub-Saharan Africa, including insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying, intermittent preventative treatments for pregnant women, and seasonal chemoprevention treatments.

Since the formation of the PMI, more than 5 million houses received an indoor residual spraying, which protects more than 20 million people. The PMI also distributed 40 million treated nets. Overall, the malaria rate in sub-Saharan Africa dropped 54 percent in the past 17 years.

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the many nonprofits combating malaria. Founded in 1948, WHO oversees international health through the United Nations and aims to improve health systems and respond to health crises all over the world. Their oversight and work includex fighting to eradicate malaria.

In 2015, the E-2020 plan, which aims to eliminate malaria in 21 countries by 2020, began. WHO is one of several supporters of this initiative and works with 21 countries to reach the elimination of malaria.

Comoros is one of the countries that WHO works with. In 2014, the number of reported indigenous malaria cases reached 53,000; in 2016, that number fell to 1,066. This decrease was the result of a treatment campaign, indoor spraying and the delivery of insecticide-treated nets by WHO.

Nothing But Nets 

Nothing but Nets supplies nets to areas that are vulnerable to malaria. The organization also raises awareness about malaria and mobilizes citizens to take action by contacting their representative or starting a fundraising campaign.

Nothing but Nets raised $65 million for 12 million mosquito nets to be sent to families all over the world. Most of these nets go to sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is most common and deadly. In 2000, only two percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa owned mosquito nets; in 2017, 53 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa possessed a net.

As you can see, these top malaria nonprofits have made it their mission to put a stop to this disease sooner rather than later.

–  Drew Garbe

Photo: Flickr

help Guatemala
Currently, in Guatemala, 200 people are missing, 110 people are deceased and more than 1.7 million people have been impacted by the eruption of the Fuego volcano that began on June 3. It was the nation’s most severe volcanic eruption in 45 years and the size of this disaster has compelled many around the world to act.

Images of the volcano’s victims and its devastating impact are easily accessible on social media, as are advocacy and volunteer opportunities. Keep reading for a few examples of how to help Guatemala’s Fuego victims and bring awareness to the crisis.

Advocacy on Social Media

Social media has made advocacy from home possible and is one of the easiest ways to get involved in a cause. Several hashtags have popped up on social media platforms since the eruption began as a way to raise awareness along with fundraising and donation opportunities. With a simple search on Instagram or Twitter for any of the hashtags mentioned below, users can see pictures and updates on life in Guatemala after the volcano.

Examples of popular hashtags include:

  • #PrayForGuatemala
  • #GuatemalaEstoyContigo
  • #TodosPorGuate
  • #VolcanDeFuego
  • #FuerzaGuatemala

Finding Volunteers on Facebook

Another social media site that has offered ways to help Guatemala is Facebook. Beyond matching donations, the Crisis Response page on Facebook for the volcanic eruption has become a way for locals to find and give help. Facebook users can post to the page and list what they are offering or need, their location and how to get in contact with them.

Scrolling through the page shows people offering food, shelter or supplies, requesting help and asking for volunteers in specific locations. What is even more impressive is the number of posts that have already been completed or closed. This is yet another example of a relatively easy and effective way to help victims of Fuego’s eruption.

Red Cross Volunteers Working Hard

The Red Cross, led by the CruzRojaGT or Guatemalan arm of the organization, has been working tirelessly to provide rescue operations and support to Guatemalans. This organization has no intention of leaving soon and is putting long-term plans into place in order to keep helping survivors of this crisis.

The organization administered an emergency appeal to maintain programs in Guatemala to support 6,000 vulnerable people for at least a year. More than two weeks after the initial eruption, there are still 1,600 volunteers helping families evacuated during the eruption.

The American Red Cross is offering help as well, with programs set up to help people find loved ones they may have lost contact with in Guatemala. Beyond donating to the cause, sharing this information and keeping up to date on the current conditions are great ways to get involved with the Red Cross efforts.

Donations Flow In to Help Guatemala

In horrible times of crisis, sometimes the only positives are outpourings of support from the global community. There are many organizations and nonprofits accepting donations to provide help to burn victims, shelters, supplies and future rebuilding. GoFundMe set up a page with verified campaigns aiming to raise money to help Guatemala. Many of these funds were started by Guatemalans or people with ties to the country and some have already raised over $100,000.

This is partially made possible by the thousands of social media users who have used hashtags and posts to bring awareness to these causes and the ongoing impacts of the eruption. After the dust settles in Guatemala, it is important to keep sharing and being advocates for the millions of people impacted by Fuego’s eruption and to bring awareness to this crisis.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr

venezuela refugee crisisCurrently, the world remains in the midst of the most calamitous refugee crisis since the ending of the Second World War in 1945. Owing to the escalating long term economic crisis in Venezuela, there has been a lesser known but equally grave humanitarian emergency plaguing Latin America countries.

Consequently, the Venezuela refugee crisis is contributing to a great deal of destabilization in the region and is putting insurmountable pressures on food security, education, healthcare, and land. However, at present, international aid seems to be more majorly directed toward addressing important issues of the Syrian and Rohingya crisis.

The dictatorial nature of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s government is largely blamed for the debilitating state of the Venezuelan economy, especially with the rise in government debt, plunge in oil prices and the 2600 percent inflation rate that hit the country in the 2017. The illiberal policies of the government have been criticized for the financial mismanagement, economic misallocation, and political turmoil impacting the country.

Moreover, the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, is vulnerable to the threat of becoming the breeding ground for an increase in trafficking and organized crime owing to the recent succession of violent clashes and demonstrations.

Due to the Venezuela refugee crisis, over 10 percent of the population has already left the country, with a large number fleeing to neighboring countries like Colombia and Brazil. In turn, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has had to block informal refugee routes and deploy troops to stem the rapid influx of refugees. 600,000 individuals have been displaced, and a record number of individuals are crossing the border every day. A further 60,000 people are also currently seeking asylum in the United States.

According to a recent report by The Hill, the Venezuela refugee crisis could grow to be more severe than the Syrian crisis this year.

At this juncture, it is necessary to mitigate the short term problems of the Venezuela refugee crisis. In 2017, the Red Cross set up a reception facility next to the Simon Bolivar Bridge, an important landmark in the Colombia- Venezuela border, to help contain the massive influx of refugees. A number of first aid tents were also set up to prevent the further spread of chronic diseases in the area. Many Venezuelans are also subscribing to the migration card which enables them to cross the border to get daily rations of food, water, and other important necessities.

Additionally, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid pledged that the EU would be allocating 3 million euros toward helping Venezuela, and a further 6 million euros toward assisting Colombia cope with the problem.

A majority of the aid and cooperation is being spearheaded by neighboring countries like Colombia and Brazil. Given the scale of the problem, a regional approach is of vital importance.

Colombia is trying to work in collaboration with the Venezuelan government to deal with the surge in the number of refugees sustainably. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recently declared that the country is prepared to receive international humanitarian assistance in dealing with the Venezuela refugee crisis. He also proposed that an estimate $30 million would be needed to build an assistance center to house refugees

Hopefully, over the course of the year, international organizations like the Inter- American Development Bank, and the World Bank will amplify efforts in providing more financial aid to sufficiently mitigate the crisis.

Overall, the Venezuela refugee crisis is significant as it addresses the wider context of the political and social ramifications entailed by the refugee debacles in countries like Syria, Lake Chad, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. Solutions are primarily embedded in solving the impacts of mass migration and its associated issues in a more sustainable manner suited to the sheer gamut of the problem.

– Shivani Ekkanath

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Facts About Humanitarian Aid

Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century, the global community has made a concentrated effort toward ending world poverty. Very often, Americans hear of the term “humanitarian aid” without a transparent knowledge of what that aid does or who and where it goes to. Below are nine interesting facts about humanitarian aid, including some of the origins of organized aid, countries and organizations that provide aid and the countries that benefit from humanitarian aid provisions.

Humanitarian Aid Facts

  1. One of the less well-known facts about humanitarian aid is that it is thought to have originated toward the tail end of the nineteenth century. The first global aid relief effort came about during the Great Northern Chinese Famine of 1876-79 that killed nearly 10 million of China’s rural population. British missionary Timothy Richard called attention to the famine and raised what is valued at $7-10 million today in an organized relief effort to end the famine.
  2. Modern western imagery of humanitarian aid came about during the 1983-1985 Ethiopian famine. BBC reporting from Michael Buerk showcased imagery of the “Biblical famine” that shocked the world.
  3. The publicity surrounding the Ethiopian famine led to a worldwide western effort to raise money and bring an end to the plight. Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof organized the Live Aid event that raised over €30 million and set the precedent for humanitarian aid fundraising events across the globe.
  4. Every year, the amount of humanitarian aid contributed by developed countries to places where aid is needed has increased. In 2017, the global community contributed $27.3 billion of foreign aid toward humanitarian relief efforts.
  5. According to Development Initiative, approximately 164 million individuals are in direct need of humanitarian aid. Those in the direst need of relief include the 65.6 million individuals displaced from their home countries and individuals that live in the world’s most dangerous countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
  6. Another interesting fact about humanitarian aid is that the largest humanitarian aid organization fighting world hunger is the World Food Programme (WFP). Each year, the WFP reaches about 90 million individuals in approximately 80 countries.
  7. Humanitarian aid is also donated in large quantities toward natural disaster relief. To illustrate, Red Cross relief efforts toward the tragic 2010 earthquake in Haiti raised approximately $488 million.
  8. In 2014, United States spent about $2.7 billion of its foreign aid budget on humanitarian aid. This money is mostly used to care for refugees who have been displaced from their home countries.
  9. One of the more serious facts about humanitarian aid is that relief workers have a tough and dangerous job. In 2017, over 150 employees were attacked while trying to conduct their work. However, many would argue that the risk is worth the lives that these individuals save.

Based on these facts about humanitarian aid, it is clear that global aid is vital to creating a global community of countries that care about one another. The global aid network creates a myriad of positive outcomes in global health, development and politics, truly saving the lives of many.

– Daniel Levy

Photo: Pixabay

Humanitarian Aid to Comoros Assists the Poor and the Needy
One of the least developed countries in the world, the Republic of Comoros has one of the highest population density in Africa. The three-island archipelago is located between Madagascar and Mozambique in the Indian Ocean, with a population of about 800,000 people.

A Country Hungry for Change

Between the 1997-2014 period, Comoros was the third country on the list of world’s hungriest countries. The Borgen Project reported in 2014 that Comoros was “one of nineteen nations still labeled as ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’ on the Global Hunger Index, leaving 870 million without food.”

According to the Index, countries with the lowest levels of food security (such as Comoros) are either engaged in or have recently emerged from war. Interestingly, Comoros ranked 159 (out of 188) on the United Nation’s Human Development Index in 2015.

Humanitarian Aid to Comoros

Aid organizations have aimed to provide health, relief and other humanitarian aid to Comoros. The Islamic Relief International Organization has assisted over 1 million people from 2006-2018, giving almost $3 million to uplift the poor and the needy. Almost $2 million has gone to establish health dispensaries and centers for men, women and especially malnourished children in the country.

Last year, Tadateru Konoé, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), visited Comoros and emphasized the development of humanitarian assistance efforts to bolster Africa’s island nations prone to natural disasters.

“More efforts should be made to boost domestic resource mobilization, building community resilience, and country-level policy dialogue between governments and local actors such Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,” he said.

Earthquake Aftermath

After a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Anjouan island in March 2014, heavy rains and deep fissures caused heavy infrastructure damage and cordoned off supplies from tens of thousands of people. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) partners delivered emergency hygiene, water and sanitation supplies that provided relief to those displaced by the disaster.

In its Country Strategy Paper for Comoros (2008-2013), the European Union (EU) provided €63 million in total to tackle three major priorities as part of the 10th European Development Fund: governance, transport and education. Cyclonic rehabilitation was also added to the entire agenda, which comported Comoros’ development strategy as defined in the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Document.

Aid for Children

Humanitarian aid to Comoros is also needed to protect children against sexual violence from their teachers in religious schools. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has supported legislation in the area of children rights, the fight against child labor and violence against women.

Grants from Global Partnership in Education and Education a Child have led to the rehabilitation of dozens of classrooms and construction of schools for children. UNICEF has also supported the government’s response to emergencies and ensured safe drinking water supplies, devising development plans that protected against possible outbreak of Ebola.

Reforming the Nation

The economy of Comoros is highly dependent on subsistence fishing and agricultural production. As the country lacks natural resources and a well-educated labor force, fiscal and structural reforms are necessary to promote the population’s long-term welfare.

The World Bank predicts that political stability in Comoros after the 2016 presidential elections will lead to increased economic growth and opportunities. As part of that effort, humanitarian aid to Comoros will be critical in both maintaining stability and prosperity in this burgeoning country, and benefitting the poor and the needy.

– Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr