While the number of polio cases is at a historic low, new obstacles are delaying global eradication. The three remaining endemic countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – are hampered by insecurity that makes it difficult to vaccinate all children against the disease.
The World Food Program is running out of money in northeastern Nigeria, leaving millions of people on the brink of famine there in one of the most threatening positions among the world’s various crises.
The U.N. again warned that as many as 20 million people are at risk of famine in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. Warnings in February were not enough to raise the money needed to prevent a global hunger crisis. So, new attempts are being made to convince donor countries to do more.
Boko Haram is increasingly using children in suicide attacks in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The number of child bombers tripled in the first quarter of this year to 27 as compared to the same period last year, according to UNICEF.
The Disasters Emergency Committee said it raised £50 million in three weeks to support humanitarian aid for people in East Africa. While it is good news in the short term, there is concern that the constant cycle of these emergency appeals fails to help address underlying issues.
Nigeria launched a vaccination campaign to stop the meningitis outbreak responsible for killing more than 300 people. Health workers will administer some 500,000 vaccinations in the northwest part of the country to protect people against the deadly disease. Another 800,000 vaccine doses are expected to arrive from the U.K. to be distributed throughout the country.
In war-torn countries across Africa and the Middle East, it is more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier. International organization Women for Women International works to empower these women in an effort to rebuild their lives, families and communities.
In the midst of a water crisis, the government of the Nigerian state Lagos made it illegal for people to fetch water. A bill passed last week bans the digging of new boreholes and criminalizes selling or transporting water. Nigerian activists condemned the rules saying that they prioritize efforts to privatize water in the city.
As many as 1.4 million children in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are at risk of dying from famine, according to UNICEF. U.N. agencies are appealing for emergency support to help tens of millions of people suffering from hunger across the four countries, before they descend into famine. Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan on Monday. Formally invoking the world famine for the northern-central part of the country means that hunger is starting to kill people and will continue if nothing is done.
More than 20 million people – greater than the population of Romania or Florida – risk dying from starvation within six months in four separate famines, U.N. World Food Program Chief Economist Arif Husain said.