Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia: Three stories from Africa's drought, famine July 21, 2011
Editor's Note: Joy Portella is communications director for Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization. She recently visited parts of Africa suffering from drought and famine. The following includes some excerpts from her blog at MercyCorps.org that she wrote during her journey. I recently visited Garissa, Kenya -- a city of at least 180,000 people not far from the border with Somalia -- and areas to the north to see how this year's drought has impacted families in the area.
Indonesia: Soaring food costs hit Indonesian families' budgets July 21, 2011
The price of rice has risen 25 percent in less than a year in Indonesia, and more families have stunted or malnourished children as a results of soaring costs. Mercy Corps is offering a healthy, affordable alternative to street food through their food cart program, Kebal.
Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya: Somalia parched by drought and politics July 10, 2011
A drought has led to widespread hunger in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and especially Somalia. The UN has said 10 million people face severe food shortages in the region. But politics have kept food aid from reaching the hungry. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks about the challenge with Mercy Corps Co-Director of Policy and Advocacy Jeremy Konyndyk.
South Sudan: South Sudan: Independence is just the beginning July 9, 2011
On Saturday, southern Sudan will become the independent country of South Sudan. This will be an historic event: the culmination of a six-year process that ended a long, brutal civil war that caused the deaths of millions. Although the road to independence has been hard, people look toward the future. This was a joyful week in the nation-to-be, and thousands of global dignitaries and well-wishers travelled to the capital city of Juba for celebrations. But after July 9 comes the tough work of building a country that already faces significant obstacles.
South Sudan: Q&A: South Sudan faces tough road after gaining independence July 7, 2011
South Sudan's separation from North Sudan, which becomes official on Saturday, is the cause for major celebration among the millions who voted for secession, but those monitoring the humanitarian situation are wary of what might happen after the revelers return home. Almost 99 percent of 3 million Southern Sudanese voted for independence in January. The referendum was promised under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, which ended a 22-year civil war between the mostly Arab Muslim North and Christian and animist South.
Sudan: Opinion: Four ways to help new nation of South Sudan to succeed July 7, 2011
JUBA, South Sudan — This week, Americans celebrated their Independence Day. After years of being under the thumb of the British empire, our forefathers fought to determine the destiny of their own country. Two-hundred-and-thirty-five years later, another young nation is about to be born — this time in Africa.
Somalia: Will the U.S. stand by as famine looms in Somalia? July 7, 2011
"The drought has gotten so bad that we have seen camels dying of thirst," recounted a Mercy Corps colleague during my recent visit to Somalia. While crises in Sudan, Libya and Japan may get the headlines, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today -- by a long shot -- is taking place in the Horn of Africa. Experts in the region say that the drought is the worst the Horn has seen since the 1950s. The U.N. estimates that more than 10 million people face severe food shortfalls.
Indonesia: New Indonesia law: Allow breastfeeding, or face punishment July 5, 2011
In the United States, the breast milk versus formula debate tends to center on what works best for the mom and what is most nutritious for the baby. In many impoverished parts of the developing world, the stakes are even higher -- and breastfeeding can be a matter of life or death.
Japan: Three months after the twin tragedies hit Japan June 15, 2011
Anchor Marco Werman gets an update from Mercy Corps’ Malka Older on how communities in northeast Japan are coping three months after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the region. Older has been working in Japan since the quake hit.
Indonesia: In ‘food deserts,’ oases of nutrition May 23, 2011
Poor urban neighborhoods in America are often food deserts — places where it is difficult to find fresh food. There are few grocery stores; people may do all their shopping at bodegas, where the only available produce and meat are canned peaches and Spam. If they want fruits and vegetables and chicken and fish, they have to take a bus to a grocery store. The lack of fresh food creates a vicious cycle; children grow up never seeing it or acquiring a taste for it. It is one reason that the poor are likelier to be obese than the rich.