Yearly Archives: 2005
“Obstetric Fistula is a childbearing injury, caused by long, obstructed labors without recourse to Caesarean sections. The consequences, left untreated, can be devastating, usually including both the death of the child and the incontinence of the mother. And women in the developing world, particularly Africa, rarely get the treatment they need…. Here, then, is a classic opportunity for worldchanging action: an entrenched problem, which could be largely addressed by more funding for medical care and education, largely ignored by big international NGOs and development agencies. In short, this is a place where a small group of people could make a big impact.”
“Typhoon Damrey, which came ashore on the eastern coast of Viet Nam one week ago, prompted the evacuation of some 600,000 persons and caused extensive damage throughout the country. At least 59 individuals in the country were killed as a result of the typhoon, and 13 others were injured.
Storm surges broke several sea dykes in Nam Dinh and Thanh Hoa provinces, and seawater penetrated inland some three to four kilometres in coastal provinces. Flash floods damaged more than 11,000 dwellings, destroying more than 1,000. More than 130,000 hectares of rice fields due for harvest have been submerged. Damage to roads, bridges and telephone lines has left several villages inaccessible. Including damage to transport, power supply, education and health infrastructure, the total destruction has been estimated at approximately $5.3 million.” [More]
“Facing dire warnings of an impending global pandemic of avian influenza, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today announced the appointment of a United Nations system coordinator for the virus, which is presently decimating poultry stocks in Asia and could cross over to humans to deadly effect.
“We expect the next great influenza pandemic to come at any time now,” David Nabarro, a senior public health expert in the UN World Health Organization (WHO), told a news briefing, recalling that the 1918 flu pandemic had killed over 40 million people.” [Full story]
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Outside the Beltway: “The UN is warning that the Asian bird flu could spread to humans and kill up to 150 million people.”
Fed Blog: “John Bolton made clear Wednesday that he believes the United Nations has systematic management problems, but the new U.S. ambassador to the world body said he held out hope that those problems could be fixed.”
American Future: “Reassuring words from Tony Blair’s speech at the Labour Party Conference: “British troops whose bravery and dedication we salute, along with those of 27 other nations, have been in Iraq with full United Nations authority and in support of the Iraqi Government.”
Balloon Juice: “I am a little fuzzy on the science of this: “Capturing and storing the carbon dioxide generated by power plants and factories could play an important role in limiting global warming caused by humans, says an international climate research group associated with the United Nations. In a new report the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says doing so could cut the cost of stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere as much as 30 percent compared with other options, like switching to cleaner technologies.” So they will capture it, pipe it somewhere, and store it in big tanks and wells forever?”
Centerfield: “Reuters: With Katrina and Rita dominating the news recently, there’s a good deal of talk out there about the relationship between hurricanes and climate change (or global warming). And it comes down to this: Are these larger, more powerful hurricanes related to climate change, or not? Reuters: “Scientists say it’s not easy to tell if global warming caused hurricanes Katrina and Rita but on Monday they forecast more unpredictable weather as Earth gets hotter. ‘Global warming, I think, is playing a role in the hurricanes,’ said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. ‘But a lot of what is going on is natural. What global warming may be doing is making them somewhat more intense,’ said Trenberth, a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.’”
Nuno Macedo: “Today was the first day of the UNHCR annual consultations with NGOs that will last the whole week. As intern of the UN Liaison Office of the General-Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, I could not miss it! So there I go to the plenary session… We then had a very inspirational speech from Gil Loescher, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Relations of Notre Dame University, who was nearly killed in the bombing at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003. At a moment of the speech he said something that made the entire assembly hold its breath, more or less like this: …it was with them (speaking about refugees) that I learnt how to survive and live under difficult conditions which, ultimately, has been very useful for my own recovery (he made his speech in his wheel chair).”
New York Times: “Dr. Kees Waaldijk began surgery shortly before 10 a.m. one recent Saturday in a cement-walled operating room in this city near Nigeria’s northern border. More than five hours later, orderlies carried the last of four girls to the recovery ward. In the near-90 degree heat, Dr. Waaldijk’s light blue surgical garb had turned dark with sweat.
What brings the girls to Dr. Waaldijk – and him to Nigeria – is the obstetric nightmare of fistulas, unknown in the West for nearly a century. Mostly teenagers who tried to deliver their first child at home, the girls failed at labor. Their babies were lodged in their narrow birth canals, and the resulting pressure cut off blood to vital tissues and ripped holes in their bowels or urethras, or both.
Were it widely available, the United Nations agency states, a $300 operation could repair most fistulas. But Mozambique, with 17 million people, has just three surgeons who consistently perform those operations. Niger, population 11 million, has but six, the organization reported in 2002.”
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To support UNFPA’s campaign to End Fistula, visit One By One Project. One By One is a volunteer-led initiative that enables people to make a difference by creating giving circles to raise enough money to cover the cost of fistula surgery, post-operative care and rehabilitation for one woman.
To learn more ways to get involved, visit The Woman Tour
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
Annan Urges All Sides to ‘seize opportunity’ of Northern Ireland Disarmament: “United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all sides in the Northern Ireland dispute to seize the “unique opportunity” offered by the decommissioning of weapons by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to advance the 1998 Good Friday agreement laying out a framework for a peaceful and democratic settlement.”
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.