North Korea: Head of U.N. humanitarian aid paints dire scene in North Korea October 24, 2011
SEOUL — North Koreans, especially children, urgently need outside aid to fight “terrible levels of malnutrition,” the United Nations’ humanitarian chief said Monday, in an appeal that came amid criticism that both Washington and Seoul were withholding aid for political reasons... ....“It’s all wrapped in a political process,” said David Austin, the North Korea programme director for the U.S. relief group Mercy Corps.
Libya: The end for Gaddafi; the beginning for a new Libya October 24, 2011
Earlier this week, I was in Tripoli, Libya. I arrived back home to Edinburgh on Thursday - just a few hours before news broke that Gaddafi, the country’s ruler for more than forty years, had died. In many ways, I’m glad not to be in Tripoli while celebrations take place. Colleagues who are still there tell me that with so many people firing into the air to celebrate, it’s literally raining bullets.
'In the provinces a woman has to stay at home. The insecurity makes her a paralysed person' October 24, 2011
The young woman's corpse was found stuffed in a bag in the Helmand river. But the murder inquiry was hampered by one simple fact – no-one recognised her face. She was just one of Afghanistan's invisible females, imprisoned in their homes and hidden behind the suffocating burqa. Like many village women, her birth was never recorded, she never owned an identity card and her death was equally anonymous.
We're reaching out to children traumatised by conflict in Libya October 24, 2011
It has already been used to help child survivors of the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan overcome their trauma. Now, charity workers from Edinburgh-based Mercy Corps are using the same psychological support programme - Comfort for Kids - to reach out to children in Libya. The programme combines a psychological training workshop for adults with an interactive workbook that helps children tell their story of how they have been affected by the conflict in Libya.
Pakistani prime minister cancels UN trip to deal with floods October 24, 2011
Pakistan's prime minister has cancelled a trip to attend the United Nations in New York, where he planned to rebuild frayed relations with the US, saying he needs to co-ordinate emergency aid for flood victims at home. Yousaf Raza Gilani's decision was intended to stave off criticism made last year when Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, visited a French castle as epic floods ravaged the country. But it was also testament to the seriousness of this year's calamity.
City charity worker reveals full horror of East Africa drought October 24, 2011
A worker with the Edinburgh-based Mercy Corps charity has spoken of the horror in East Africa after meeting locals in the grip of the region's worst drought for six decades. The charity's spokeswoman, Erin Gray, who lives in Southhouse, has been in East Africa for almost a fortnight, first spending time in Ethiopia's Somali region, before moving on to north-eastern Kenya. She said: "This emergency is immense and very, very serious, and the crisis extends far beyond the camps.
Give them hope October 24, 2011
In the past two weeks, I have travelled with Mercy Corps emergency teams across drought-stricken Ethiopia and northeastern Kenya. I’ve seen sights that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Scottish aid worker tells of devastating famine in east Africa October 24, 2011
A Scottish aid worker has told of the "extreme" crisis facing families in the Horn of Africa as the area struggles with its worst drought for six decades. Erin Gray, from Mercy Corps, is helping to get water to the region, where 12 million people are facing starvation. The UN has declared a famine in some parts of Somalia, and with the situation getting worse aid agencies are renewing their calls for donations. There has been no rain for three years in some parts of the drought area, which stretches across Somalia and takes in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
North Korea: Autumn harvest watched warily in food-poor N Korea October 20, 2011
Scythe in hand, a woman slices through a bright green field of rice. Oxen plod down country roads pulling carts piled high with harvested stalks of grain. This autumn, as farmers fan out into fields of corn, wheat, rice and cabbage, such evocative pastoral scenes — the stuff of centuries-old Dutch landscape paintings — also are a reminder of the challenges North Korea faces in feeding its people.
North Korea: U.S. plays politics with N. Korean food aid, NGOs say October 14, 2011
As South Korean President Lee Myung-bak continued his state visit to the United States on Friday a group of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) wants the Obama administration to explain what they call unconscionable delays in deciding whether to resume U.S. food assistance to North Korea. "There has clearly been a political lens put over a humanitarian issue," said Jim White of the international relief organisation Mercy Corps, which took the lead in prior U.S. aid efforts to North Korea.