Get Smarter on Agriculture and Climate

David Cleary Director of Agriculture Nature ConservancyBy David Cleary - Sep 22, 2014 - environmentalleader.com

In a somber scene-setter for the upcoming climate summit in New York, the UN’s meteorological office, The World Meteorological Organization, released a report showing that world carbon emissions in 2013 reached a record high, and atmospheric carbon is increasing at the fastest rate seen in over thirty years. Some hard questions are facing the international order, which has spent much of that period in an interminable round of meetings meant to combat climate change. Against this backdrop, the pertinent question the UN report raises is: why bother? If we appear to be losing the battle, what difference does yet another meeting and round of press conferences make, other than to traffic conditions in lower Manhattan?

Ban Ki-moon: 'World living in an era of unprecedented level of crises'

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon with actor Leonardo DiCaprio during his designation ceremony as the UN Messenger of Peace. Photograph: EPA

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon with actor Leonardo DiCaprio during his designation ceremony as the UN Messenger of Peace. Photograph: EPA

Julian Borger - New York The Guardian
21 Sep 2014 16.55 BST

More than 140 heads of state and government fly in to New York this week for the United Nations general assembly amid apprehension that international order is unraveling at an accelerating pace, while the world's leaders seem ever less willing or able to deal with the proliferating threats.

The UN's humanitarian agencies are in danger of being completely overwhelmed by the multiple crises. Ebola is spreading rapidly across West Africa, swamping rickety national health systems and a thus-far underfunded UN effort to stop its advance. The spread of Islamic State (Isis) extremists in the Middle East, feeding on the destruction of the Syrian civil war and exposing the weakness of the Iraqi state, has similarly outpaced patchy international efforts at containment.

BBC Update: Sierra Leone Lockdown Called a Success

BBC         22 September 2014 Last updated at 14:11 ET

A three-day curfew aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has been declared a success by authorities.

They say more than a million households were surveyed and 130 new cases discovered.

Sierra Leone is one of the countries worst affected by the outbreak, with nearly 600 of the almost 2,800 total deaths recorded so far.

Some health groups have criticised the lockdown, saying it would destroy trust between patients and doctors.

Nearly all of the deaths in the world's worst Ebola outbreak have been recorded in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the situations in Senegal and Nigeria have now been "pretty much contained".

According to the UN agency, the number of overall deaths from Ebola has risen to 2,793 and the disease remains "a public health emergency of international concern".

The deadly virus is transmitted through sweat, blood and saliva, and there is no proven cure.

A Spanish priest who contracted the virus whilst working in Sierra Leone was flown back to Spain for treatment

In other developments:

Liberian Minister Says Ebola Threatens Collapse of Three Nations

The Independent   Sept. 21

by Charlie Cooper

West Africa’s Ebola epidemic threatens the “collapse” of three entire states, a Liberian minister has warned. Speaking exclusively to The Independent on Sunday, information minister Lewis Brown said that the international media had failed to “appreciate” the scale of an epidemic that has gone beyond a health crisis to threaten “every aspect of [Liberia’s] national existence”.

“People need to understand, what we are dealing with has the potential to collapse our three countries,” he said, referring to Liberia and neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone. “Liberia was in its 11th year of peace. We experienced, because of our war, a 90 per cent collapse in the productive sector of our economy, we were rebuilding and our health infrastructure was not what it should have been. We were just bringing back hope and life when we were struck by Ebola. It is having terrible consequences for every aspect of our national existence.”

THE FEAR THAT KILLED 8 EBOLA WORKERS

 

 

The Daily Beast September 20, 2014
By Abby Haglage     

They were sent in to help educate villagers about how to ward off the lethal virus. Then fear took over and the machetes came out.

At the time of Wednesday’s announc

ement out of Guinea that seven of nine missing Ebola workers had been found dead, we knew little. Men with knives had abducted members of a group sent there to spread awareness about the disease. Two relief workers were missing; the rest, dead. Six suspects were in custody.

By Friday morning, we knew more. These details, the stuff of horror films. A local government group of relief workers—a mix of doctors, religious leaders, and journalists—had arrived Monday to educate the remote southeastern village of Womey about Ebola. Just 24 hours after their arrival, violence broke out, allegedly sparked by the false belief that a disinfectant being sprayed was actually the disease itself. An angry mob brandishing machetes, stones, and knives lashed out.

A New Health Crisis in Liberia

Washington Post

By Lenny Bernstein September 21, Front Page

MONROVIA, Liberia — While the terrifying spread of Ebola has captured the world’s attention, it also has produced a lesser-known crisis: the near-collapse of the already fragile health-care system here, a development that may be as dangerous — for now — as the virus for the average Liberian.

With Ebola crippling the health system, Liberians die of routine medical problems - The Washington Post

Sierra Leone Medical Team attacked

 

 

FREETOWN, Sun Sep 21, 2014 Reuters

 

 
 
 

1 of 2. Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun July 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Tommy Trenchard

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Detailed NY Times story on Sierra Leone lockdown aftermath

New York Times
 
SEPT. 19, 2014
 

Upcoming CDC estimate reportedly predicts up to 500,000 Ebola victims - Leaked

Washington Post, September 20
 

The Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa could infect up to 500,000 people by the end of January, according to a new estimate under development by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report is scheduled to be released next week, but work on it is still ongoing and projections could change, said a person who is familiar with its contents but was not authorized to speak because the report is not yet public.

Obama: U.S. military to provide equipment, resources to battle Ebola epidemic in Africa

- Sep 7 - The Washington Post

President Obama said Sunday that the U.S. military will begin aiding what has been a chaotic and ineffective response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, arguing that it represents a serious national security concern.

The move significantly ramps up the U.S. response and comes as the already strained military is likely to be called upon further to address militant threats in the Middle East. The decision to involve the military in providing equipment and other assistance for international health workers in Africa comes after mounting calls from some unlikely groups — most prominently the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders — demonstrating to the White House the urgency of the issue.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-us-military-...

Ebola Spurs A Full Public Lockdown In Sierra Leone

Hoping to stop a virus that has killed hundreds of its citizens, Sierra Leone will institute a temporary lockdown this month. This photo from August shows people walking in Kenema, in a part of Sierra Leone that's been hit hard by the outbreak. Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Imagesby Bill Chappell - Sep 06, 2014 8:57 AM ET - NPR

Sierra Leone will impose a three-day lockdown on all its citizens, as part of a plan to "deal with Ebola once and for all," the government says. The move is an effort to stop the disease that has killed over 2,000 people in five West African countries, according to World Health Organization data.

But the lockdown's effectiveness will depend on citizens buying in to the government's plan. From Nairobi, NPR's Gregory Warner reports:

"From Sept. 19 to 21, the people of Sierra Leone will have to remain in their homes so health workers can isolate new Ebola cases and prevent the disease from spreading. But the lockdown will have to be mostly voluntary. Sierra Leone does not have the police or military capacity to enforce it on 6 million citizens.

Guinean government halts Ebola Education activities in southeast region

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