Monthly Archives: September 2008

International Medical Corps offices in Somalia’s central region looted; activities suspended

Los Angeles, Calif. – Armed men identifying themselves as Al-Shabab, a splinter group of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), invaded four International Medical Corps (IMC) offices in the Bakool and Bay regions of Somalia on Wednesday. Al-Shabab demanded keys to all offices and warehouses and in the subsequent two days looted IMC property from all four sites, including drugs, medical supplies, equipment and supplementary and therapeutic food intended for malnourished children. No IMC staff was injured during the course of these attacks.

International Medical Corps has been working in Somalia since 1991, and in the Bakool and Bay regions serves a total population of more than 370,000 persons, including 53,000 children under five years of age. Health and nutrition services are provided through 48 health posts and 16 feeding centers in the two regions. IMC provides emergency obstetric care at a clinic in Bakool for pregnant women experiencing life-threatening complications. To increase income generation and improve food security, IMC provides seeds and equipment to vulnerable communities. In addition, IMC has been working with community members to improve access to safe water and sanitation.

With its offices looted and under the control of armed militants, International Medical Corps has been forced to suspend operations in these areas, leaving over 370,000 beneficiaries without access to basic and lifesaving services.

“International Medical Corps is deeply concerned about the impact of these attacks on the health of already suffering Somali people, especially children,” said Rabih Torbay, Vice President of International Operations. “As a result of the current drought, food crisis and ongoing violence, IMC has seen the number of malnourished children in its programs more than double in recent months. These children and their families will now be left without any care.”

Al-Shabab’s attack on International Medical Corps’ offices is the latest in a growing number of security incidents that have put the lives of relief workers and the general population at risk, and have jeopardized the continuation of critical humanitarian services.

International Medical Corps implements a broad range of vital health care, nutrition, livelihoods and water and sanitation programs throughout Somalia. A country where clan rivalry, cyclical droughts, and a heavy burden of disease present ongoing perils to the population, Somalia is often called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit our website at http://www.imcworldwide.org.

Press Contact
Stephanie Bowen
sbowen@imcworldwide.org
310-826-7800

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At least 69 children dead in Sudan food crisis – UN

KHARTOUM, Sept 25 (Reuters) – At least 69 children have died from malnutrition and sickness after floods washed away crops in isolated villages in southeast Sudan in recent weeks, U.N. agencies said on Thursday.

Blocked roads and a lack of air transport are preventing the supply of emergency rations to parts of the region, the agencies added.

Aid workers fear for villagers in the Kurmuk region of Blue Nile state, where thousands of former refugees have returned home in the past few months after years of exile across the border in Ethiopia. Some remote villages unreachable by aid workers are at increased risk, the agencies said.

The U.N.’s refugee agency said villagers in the region had used up six months of emergency food given to them when they arrived in Bellila and nearby villages earlier this year.

“There is now a food crisis,” an agency spokeswoman said. “The harvest was bad and food prices in the market are very high. The seeds that were in the field have also been washed away by floods.”

The U.N.’s World Food Programme said it has a month’s worth of emergency food for the region, but floods had blocked roads and it has not yet obtained air transport to supply the aid.

Villagers who fled more than two decades of north-south civil war in Sudan have been slowly returning to the area after a 2005 peace deal, but three years on and the region has seen little development.

A report from the U.N.’s mission in Sudan, seen by Reuters, said the World Health Organisation sent a team to Bellila this month to set up a health clinic and to assess the situation.

“The findings were alarming. The returnee community had finished their six-month food ration some months ago and did not have sufficient food ever since,” the U.N. report said.

The report said 48 children died in the village of Gindi and another 21 in Borfa in August and September, all of them aged one to six. They died from malnutrition, diarrhoea and malaria.

Almost half of the 1,200 villagers needed medical treatment, a situation likely to be similar in other remote areas of Kurmuk, the report said.

Sudan, in the midst of its annual rainy season, has been hit by a series of floods in recent weeks, but the U.N.’s refugee agency said the needs were particularly acute in Blue Nile because of the remoteness of the villagers.

Villagers were also in a particularly vulnerable condition having just returned after years in refugee camps, it added.

(Writing by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum)

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Filed under Bencana Alam, Inilah dunia

UMNO LEADERSHIP TRANSITION

Supreme Council meets today on power transfer

KUALA LUMPUR:
The Umno supreme council meets in emergency session today to again thrash out the leadership transition plan, including the possibility of postponing the December party elections.

Supreme council members were notified by party headquarters around noon yesterday as speculation grew that changes could be made to the scheduled transfer of power between Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

There is no fixed agenda but members contacted said the council was expected to discuss the transition and find a resolution to the doubts hanging over the plan.

Najib, the deputy Umno president, yesterday gave a hint of what was to come when he disclosed that the meeting would be held today.

On Tuesday, he had cancelled his attendance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York just hours before he was due to depart.
“Political questions will be answered tomorrow,” he said yesterday without wanting to be drawn further into the nature of the meeting.

In recent days, Umno appeared to be torn between two views of the transition plan first outlined by Abdullah in July.

One view is for the party to stick to the plan while the other sees Abdullah leaving office sooner than the June 2010 deadline initially agreed on.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, a council member, said yesterday the meeting would most likely try to find a middle way between the two views.

“I believe the meeting will come to some kind of compromise. I believe, to accommodate both views, we will most likely cancel the coming December party elections.”

Postponement is possible as the party has until next June to conduct the elections.

The party elections were supposed to have been held last year but the supreme council decided to put them off in order to focus on the general election.

Nazri said postponing the December elections would not be a problem as it would allow matters to cool off for a few months before office-bearers were chosen.

He said a postponement was the most realistic option.

However, councillor Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad is not happy with any arrangement that allows elections to be postponed.

He said the decision should be left to the party grassroots.

“We should leave it to them. Moreover, everyone has been preparing for December.”

Wanita chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said the wing had long decided that any transition plan for the president’s post should be left to Abdullah and Najib.

“Wanita Umno will support any decision made by them on the plan.

“All we ask is that the decision take into account the role to be played by Umno, the future of the party and the country, and the image of the leaders.”

Tan Sri Annuar Musa said it was not right to speculate about today’s meeting.

“The supreme council will deliberate. It will be a final solution not just for the transition plan but what is best for our recovery,” Annuar said.

Other members who spoke anonymously said the party also needed to hold the meeting quickly as council members would be busy with Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations next week .

“Umno members will be going to the open house hosted by menteris besar and party leaders. They will want answers.

“This is our last chance to sort this out before the festivities and division meetings begin on Oct 9,” said a supreme councillor.

Another member said the meeting would not just resolve the transition plan but could also determine if the division meetings would be carried forward.

SHAHRUL PESHAWAR – UMNO is getting nearer to the end and definately it is not a happy ending.

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Filed under Anwar Ibrahim, Inilah dunia

For the sake of Ramadhan – freed RAJA PETRA and other ISA detainees

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Filed under Di Minda Saya, Inilah dunia

The worst place in the world to give birth – exclusive pictures from Afghanistan

24 September 2008
Alixandra Fazzina/Oxfam

Afghanistan needs another 8,000 midwives

“In Afghanistan, a woman dies every 27 minutes due to pregnancy-related complications.”

When the UN meets this week to discuss the Millennium Development Goals maternal mortality will be high on the agenda. The target to cut the rate by three quarters by 2015 is the most severely off-track of all the MDGs and every year half a million women are die in childbirth – most of them needlessly.

Afghanistan is one of the countries which is unlikely to meet the target. A woman dies there every 27 minutes thanks to pregnancy-related complications. There are 1,600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births but in the remote mountainous province of Badakhshan the rate is 6,500 per 100,000 – the highest recorded rate of maternal mortality in the world.

Oxfam took top photojournalist Alix Fazzina to Badakhshan, where she met and photographed the families behind the statistics and the doctors, midwives and traditional birth attendants trying to save women’s lives.

The stories available include that of nineteen year old Harakat. Whilst she was heavily pregnant she endured a night of heavy bleeding before being taken to a clinic two hours away. When she arrived her blood pressure barely registered and the clinic realised there was little they could do. Harakat had to go to the nearest hospital, seven hours away, for an emergency caesarean section. After an hour of traveling Harakat gave birth in the car, and had to endure the rest of the journey with her dead baby girl still attached to her because they could find nothing to cut her away.

Harakat was stabilized at the hospital and was lucky to be alive.

“When I left my house I thought I would die,” she told Oxfam. Her daughter was buried in a nearby children’s cemetery.

In Afghanistan:

  • 25,000 women die every year
  • Over 90% of deliveries take place at home and only 9% of deliveries are attended by skilled health personnel.
  • Since 2002, over 2,000 formal midwives have been trained but Afghanistan requires another 8,000 to 10,000 midwives to reach its target of one midwife per 2,500-3,000 people.

Notes to editors

Afghanistan: maternal mortality slideshow

The full set of pictures and captions are available here:

http://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/?c=3878&k=e85f1ccf29

Contact information

For more information, please contact:

Sean Kenny, UK, +44 7766 443 506, skenny@oxfam.org.uk

Louis Belanger, US, +1 202 321 2967, louis.belanger@oxfaminternational.org

SHAHRUL PESHAWAR – My personal experience in Peshawar – the poor will be left behind and the rich will have better chances as they have money to spend for better health services and facilities.

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Ramadhan Appeal

Mr. President, United States of America

Do not torture these prisoners. Do not abuse the privileges given to you.

Visit these websites to find more…

http://www.wiolawapress.com/campxray.htm

http://www.campxray.org/

http://geocities.com/torturevictim/cuba.html

http://www.angelfire.com/empire/preshezmuslimah/camp_x.htm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/americas/2002/inside_camp_xray/default.stm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detainment_camp

http://www.rotten.com/library/crime/prison/camp-x-ray/

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SHARING OBSERVING RAMADHAN

Muslim faithful throughout the world are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan. Observant Muslims participate in fasting (sawm), one of the five pillars of their faith, this entire Lunar month (this year it extends from September 1st to the 30th). Eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity is prohibited from dawn until sunset, when the fast is broken with the evening meal called Iftar. Local customs define varying traditions, including differing types of food used to break the daily fast. The fasting is meant to teach a person patience, humility and sacrifice, to set aside time to ask forgiveness, practice self-restraint, and pray for guidance in the future.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/09/observing_ramadan.html

Shahrul Peshawar – I got email from Bro. Shahran Kassim about this very beautiful and wonderful collection of photos Muslim celebrating Ramadhan around the world and I wanted to share it with you.

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