In these times, it has become clear we need to look out for each other. Charity is up (thankfully), food programs are expanding, neighbors are helping neighbors. In our household, at least six working days a month are devoted to just helping neighbors. Me? Other than time, one thing I can do is share information – information the mainstream, advertising-managed media may not be giving you.
"The people of South Sudan have simply suffered far too much for far too long and we must not take their resilience against incredible odds for granted," Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council. More than 2,000,000 people have fled South Sudan as refugees over the past four years of conflict, 7,000,000 displaced people inside the country – that is almost two-thirds of the remaining population – still need humanitarian assistance, he said, adding that as the end of 2017 approaches, 1,250,000 people are just one step away from famine, almost doubling from a year earlier.
In Syria, the "epicenter" of the suffering, Jan Egeland, the UN Senior Advisor said, is eastern Ghouta, where some 400,000 are besieged, cut off from aid and medical help. "Children are dying. 439 died…" last week alone.
"From my perspective, the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is worse than it's ever been since the onset of conflict in 2014," said Neal Walker, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine. Of the 4,400,000 affected people, some 3,400,000 require humanitarian assistance and protection – 2,300,000 of whom are considered to be the most vulnerable, including the elderly, women and children. "While Ukraine may no longer be front page news, millions of men, women and children urgently require our help," he underscored.
The United Nations Security Council condemned the slave trade of African migrants in Libya as "heinous human rights abuses which may also amount to crimes against humanity," and called on those responsible to be held to account. The 15-member body expressed "grave concern" at reports of migrants being sold into slavery in Libya.
Also… "Ongoing conflicts continue to be a key driver of severe food insecurity, having triggered near-famine conditions in northern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as widespread hunger in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and Syria," the UN Food and Agriculture Agency stated. In Africa, the report details that urgently in need food of assistance are about 1,100,000 people in the Central Africa Republic; some 7,700,000 million in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which hosts more than 200,000 refugees and 4,000,000 internally displaced persons; over 3,000,000 in northern Nigeria; some 4,800,000 in South Sudan; and 3,100,000 in Somalia – a number that has tripled over the past year. In addition, chronic hunger or food insecurity is confronted by 7,600,000 in Afghanistan; 3,200,000 in Iraq; and 6,500,000 in Syria. Not least, in Yemen 17,000,000, or 60% of the population, are believed to require urgent humanitarian assistance. A severe summer drought has also cut Mongolia's wheat harvest by almost half. Consecutive unfavorable rainy seasons have curtailed crop and livestock production in Kenya, leaving about 2,600,000 people severely food insecure.
Your take-away from all this? Such need breeds instability. What the US needs to do is avoid any additional instability caused by reckless amateur or corrupt decisions on an international scale (not to mention local election stupidities which undermine our credible voice in these matters). People will die and we will be held at least partly responsible for doing nothing. Why? Because these are our neighbors because the rest of the world is no longer a place "far away."