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Eating Leaves, and Other Ways Besieged Syrians Try to Survive

nytimes.com - 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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Aid Convoys Reach 3 Syria Communities Besieged for Months

         

Madaya Syria: Aid convoy reaches besieged town - bbc.com

nytimes.com - 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

cnn.com - 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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El Niño Strengthens Amid Warning Millions Could Face Hunger and Disease

             

Sea surface temperatures in October -- orange-red colors are above normal.

cnn.com - by Brandon Miller and Nick Thompson - December 30, 2015

If you're wondering why your white Christmas didn't arrive as scheduled this year, meteorologists have a two-word answer: El Niño.

This year's El Niño weather event -- characterized by warming waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean -- is already one of the three strongest ever recorded. NASA says El Niño conditions are still strengthening, and it could even rival the intensity of the record 1997 event that wreaked worldwide weather havoc.

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Syrian Civil War Prompts First Withdrawal From Doomsday Seed Vault In The Arctic

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was opened on Feb. 26, 2008. Carved into the Arctic permafrost and filled with samples of the world's most important seeds, it's a Noah's Ark of food crops to be used in the event of a global catastrophe. AFP/Getty Images

Image: The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was opened on Feb. 26, 2008. Carved into the Arctic permafrost and filled with samples of the world's most important seeds, it's a Noah's Ark of food crops to be used in the event of a global catastrophe. AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - September 23rd, 2015

A tall rectangular building juts out of a mountainside on a Norwegian island just 800 miles from the North Pole. Narrow and sharply edged, the facility cuts an intimidating figure against the barren Arctic background. But the gray building holds the key to the earth's biodiversity.

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Ocean Fish Populations Cut In Half Since The 1970s: Report

CLICK HERE - Living Blue Planet Report 2015

Populations of some commercial fish stocks, such as a group including tuna, mackerel and bonito, had fallen by almost 75 percent.

huffingtonpost.com - by Andy Campbell - September 16, 2015

A disturbing new report published by the World Wildlife Fund found that the world marine vertebrate population declined by 49 percent between 1970 and 2012.

The Living Blue Planet Report -- analyzed by the Zoological Society of London and issued as an update on our oceans' health -- also found that local and commercial fish populations have been cut in half, tropical reefs have lost nearly half of their reef-building coral, and there are 250,000 metric tons of plastic in our oceans.

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422,000 Besieged Syrians Didn't Get Food Aid In July, It's World's 'Largest Humanitarian Crisis:' UN

      

BARAA AL-HALABI via Getty Images

There were challenges due to conflict, insecurity and deliberate obstructions.

huffingtonpost.com - AP - by Edith M. Lederer - August 26, 2015

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused all parties in the Syrian conflict of "indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks" on civilians and said the U.N. and its partners couldn't deliver food to 422,000 people in besieged areas in July.

Ban said in his monthly report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Tuesday that access to the 4.6 million Syrians in hard-to-reach areas - most controlled by Islamic State extremists - remains a critical concern with extremely limited humanitarian access.

He said U.N. agencies and their partners reached only 29 of the 127 hard-to-reach locations last month, and in the besieged areas, the only aid that arrived was a trickle of health assistance to 1.8 percent of the population.

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Food Security in West Africa

From WFP and FAO . . .

FAO – July 2015 – Food and nutrition situation at the beginning of the hunger gap period and agricultural outlook in the Sahel and West Africa (see number 5)
http://www.fao.org/emergencies/resources/documents/resources-detail/en/c/296696/

FAO – Sierra Leone – Food Security and Safety
http://www.fao.org/countryprofiles/index/en/?iso3=SLE&paia=2

FAO in Emergencies – Sierra Leone (see list of reports at the bottom)
http://www.fao.org/emergencies/countries/detail/en/c/161501/

FAO – Liberia – Food Security and Safety
http://www.fao.org/countryprofiles/index/en/?iso3=LBR&paia=2

FAO in Emergencies – Liberia (see list of reports at the bottom)
http://www.fao.org/emergencies/countries/detail/en/c/161431/

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Study calls humans unsustainable “super predators”

A hunter in camoflauge, sitting next to another hunger, takes aim with a firearm.

Image: A hunter in camoflauge, sitting next to another hunger, takes aim with a firearm.

slashgear.com - August 21st, 2015 - Chris Burns

A ten-year study is published on "the unique ecology of human predators", showing mankind to be an unsustainable threat to all wildlife on our planet. This paper, authored by C. Darimont, C. Fox, H. Bryan, and T. Reimchen, compares the predatory patterns of humans to all other predators on the planet. They show that humans kill adult prey at a median rate up to 14 times higher than other predators, with "particularly intense exploitation" of terrestrial carnivores and fish.

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Laws Prohibiting Bush Meat Are Actually A Boon For The Bush Meat Biz

The dik-dik is a small antelope that is hunted as bush meat. This picture was taken in Voi, a town in southern Kenya. Courtesy of Marcus Bleasdale

Image: The dik-dik is a small antelope that is hunted as bush meat. This picture was taken in Voi, a town in southern Kenya. Courtesy of Marcus Bleasdale

npr.org - August 14th, 2015 - Emily Sohn

Note: This post contains a photo of a monkey carcass, on sale at a bush meat market, that may be disturbing to some readers.

What's for dinner?

Porcupines, giant squirrels, dwarf crocodiles and a variety of primates, including golden-bellied crowned monkeys and Bioko black colobus monkeys.

Those are some of the bush meat offerings at the outdoor covered market in Malabo on Bioko Island, part of Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa.

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