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Eating Leaves, and Other Ways Besieged Syrians Try to Survive - March 8th 2016 - Rick Gladstone

Medical workers in parts of Syria have been forced to let the wounded bleed to death for lack of bandages, and have opted to use catheter bags meant for urine to administer intravenous fluids to newborns because proper drip bags are gone.

Expectant mothers in areas vulnerable to shelling and bombing give birth by cesarean section rather than risk natural childbirth in an attack. Malnourished children are eating animal feed and leaves, in some cases only miles from warehouses full of food.


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How to Survive a Global Disaster: a Handy Guide


Ubisoft’s role-playing shooter The Division wouldn’t be as much fun if players followed Nafeez Ahmed’s advice and stayed rural.  Photograph: Ubisoft

Whether it’s a natural disaster, bioterrorist attack or pandemic, experts reckon society as we know it will collapse within 13 days of a catastrophic event. So what do you do next? - by Keith Stuart - February 10, 2016

On 22 June, 2001, Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, organised a war game like no other. The two researchers, working with an array of bodies such as the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security, set out to simulate the effects of a biological attack on the US. The project was called Operation Dark Winter.

What they discovered was that the country was ill prepared to cope.



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Aid Convoys Reach 3 Syria Communities Besieged for Months


Madaya Syria: Aid convoy reaches besieged town - - Associated Press - January 11, 2016

Aid convoys delivered long-awaited food, medicine and other supplies to three besieged communities Monday, part of a U.N.-supported operation to help tens of thousands of civilians cut off for months by the war in Syria.

Reports of starvation and images of emaciated children have raised global concerns and underscored the urgency for new peace talks that the U.N. is hoping to host in Geneva on Jan. 25.

The U.N. Security Council took up the issue Monday. The U.N. says 4.5 million Syrians are living in besieged or hard-to-reach areas and desperately need humanitarian aid, with civilians prevented from leaving and aid workers blocked from bringing in food, medicine, fuel and other supplies.

It will take several days to distribute the aid in the town of Madaya, near Damascus, and the Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya in northern Syria, and the supplies are probably enough to last for a month, aid agencies said.



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Madaya: Syria Allows Aid to Reach City Facing Starvation, Says U.N.

PHOTO: A boy in Madaya is heard saying he has not eaten properly for seven days during the video.  ABC News

U.N. to send food to Syria's town facing starvation

CLICK HERE - UNOCHA - Joint Statement on hard-to-reach and besieged communities in Syria

CLICK HERE - MSF - Syria: Siege and starvation in Madaya; immediate medical evacuations and medical resupply essential to save lives - Khushbu Shah, Nick Paton Walsh and Peter Wilkinson
January 7, 2016

Children and skeletal old men drinking soup made from leaves and grass. A kilo of rice costing more than $100. People said to be dying from starvation. The accounts could be of a World War II death camp, but they are not. This is Syria in 2016.

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We Are Literally Farming Ourselves Out of Food


NICOLAS ASFOURI via Getty Images - by Joel K. Bourne, Jr. - July 29, 2015

. . . an article in London's Independent newspaper headlined, "Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says study." The study, based on a model created at Anglia Ruskin University's Global Sustainability Institute, forecasts that if global emissions continue unabated, plausible climate trends will lead to catastrophic crop failures and food riots around the globe. "In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption," Aled Jones, director of the Institute, told reporters. The study echoes a similar, peer-reviewed report from Lloyds of London, which found the probability of a major food crisis "significantly higher" than the insurance industry's benchmark return period of 1:200 years.


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South Sudan Food Crisis Deepens Amid Tanking Economy


Almost 700,000 South Sudanese now live as refugees in neighbouring countries. The vast majority fled their homes since civil war broke out in December 2013.  Photo: UNHCR - by Andrew Green - June 1, 2015

Through 17 months of conflict, tens of thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan and two million more displaced. Schools, health centres and markets have been looted and destroyed. It took a $1.8 billion humanitarian response last year for the country to avoid a famine.

And it’s about to get even worse.


CLICK HERE - Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) - The Republic of South Sudan
(5 page .PDF report)



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At Least 21 Dead, 37 Missing in Landslips

by Ananda Gautam, June 12, 2015 |

TAPLEJUNG article photo

TAPLEJUNG, JUN 12 - At least 21 people died and 37 others went missing in landslides triggered by heavy rainfall at several places in Taplejung district on Wednesday night.

Chief District Officer Damaru Prasad Niraula said seven men, eight women and six children died in landslides at Liwang, Santhakra, Khokling, Thinglabu and Lingtep VDCs. 

(Read Complete Article)

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U.N. Climate Deal in Paris May Be Graveyard for 2C Goal

reuters - by Alister Doyle and Bruce Wallace - June 1, 2015

BONN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.N.'s Paris climate conference, designed to reach a plan for curbing global warming, may instead become the graveyard for its defining goal: to stop temperatures rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Achieving the 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) target has been the driving force for climate negotiators and scientists, who say it is the limit beyond which the world will suffer ever worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas.

But six months before world leaders convene in Paris, prospects are fading for a deal that would keep average temperatures below the ceiling.


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The Swift Unraveling of Fragile Peace in Burundi


Refugees from Burundi arrive at the Mahama camp in Rwanda. The political crisis in Burundi has driven thousands to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Photo by: Thomas Conan / ECHO / CC BY-ND - by Andrew Green - May 25, 2015

A failed coup and ongoing political conflict in Burundi have sparked a regional refugee crisis and stalled much-needed development projects in one of the world’s poorest countries.

This after Burundi spent the past decade attempting to overcome a post-independence period marred by a brutal civil war played out largely along ethnic lines. . . .

. . . The 10 years of relative peace allowed humanitarian partners to transition from emergency relief to long-term development projects in a country consistently ranked among the five poorest in the world. Now many of those partners have evacuated, as the country’s political situation has unraveled over the past month.


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Amazon Deforestation ‘Threshold’ Causes Species Loss to Accelerate


Corn plantation nearby remaining forest in the Amazon region.  Credit: Jose Manuel Ochoa-Quintero

One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that a third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging. Researchers call for conservation policy to switch from targeting individual landowners to entire regions.

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH STUDY - Thresholds of species loss in Amazonian deforestation frontier landscapes

University of Cambridge - - March 4, 2015

One of the first studies to map the impact of deforestation on biodiversity across entire regions of the Amazon has found a clear ‘threshold’ for forest cover below which species loss becomes more rapid and widespread.    

By measuring the loss of a core tranche of dominant species of large and medium-sized mammals and birds, and using the results as a bellwether, the researchers found that for every 10% of forest loss, one to two major species are wiped out.

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