Millions in southern Angola on brink of starvation after long drought
By Gistflash News
July 22, 2021
Millions of people in southern Angola are facing an existential threat as drought aggravated by climate change continues to ravage the region, Amnesty International has warned.
The organization highlighted how the creation of commercial cattle ranches on community land has driven pastoralist communities from their land since the end of the civil war in 2002.
This shift has left huge sections of the population food insecure and paved the way for a humanitarian crisis as the acute drought persists for over three years when drought struck over three years ago, the human rights watchdog said on Wednesday.
As food and water grow increasingly scarce, thousands have fled their homes and sought refuge in neighbouring Namibia, Amnesty International added.
“Millions of people in southern Angola are on the brink of starvation, caught between the devastating effects of climate change and the land diversion to commercial cattle farming,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
He said this drought – the worst in 40 years – has torn through traditional communities who had been struggling to survive since they were dispossessed of vast swathes of grazing land.
Muchena said the Angolan government must take responsibility for its own role in this dire situation, and ensure reparations to affected communities, and to take immediate steps to address food insecurity in the rural areas of Cunene and Huíla provinces.
Amnesty International said Angolans living in the Cunene and Huíla provinces have been especially hard hit by the persistent drought.
It noted that the 2020/21 rainy season was abnormally dry, meaning the situation is likely to get far worse in the coming months.
And according to the World Food Programme (WFP), the lack of rainfall in the period between November 2020 and January 2021 has already caused the worst drought in the last 40 years.
The WFP has observed that as a direct consequence of the drought, malnutrition is peaking, and access to water, sanitation and hygiene are increasingly precarious with negative impacts on local communities’ health and nutrition.
In May 2021, the WFP estimated that 6 million people in Angola had insufficient food, with food insecurity most prevalent in the south of the country.
It also noted that more than 15 million people are using crisis or emergency livelihood-based coping strategies, such as spending savings or reducing non-food expenses.
The drought has made the lives of traditional pastoralist communities very difficult and hunger has driven thousands across the Namibian border since the start of March 2021, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has observed that “frequency and intensity of droughts has increased in some regions” including in southern Africa since pre-industrial levels due to global warming.
It said that “the frequency and intensity of droughts are projected to increase particularly in the Mediterranean region and southern Africa”.
Amnesty International called on Angolan authorities and the international community to ramp up their relief efforts, including providing sustained and regular emergency food assistance and access to clean and safe water for domestic use and consumption in the rural areas of Cunene and Huíla provinces.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits Greek island of Crete
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
A magnitude 5.8 strong quake hit Greece’s Crete island on Monday, according to the Geodynamics Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.
The tremor’s epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km, some 25 km south of the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, while aftershocks up to 4.3 magnitude have followed, according to Greek scientists.
Material damage has been reported, with no injuries until now, local officials told Greek national news agency AMNA.
Earlier, the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the quake’s magnitude at 6.2, which was later revised to 6.0.
WHO investigators seeking COVID-19 origin going back to China
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19, months after an earlier probe ended without drawing firm conclusions, according to a report published.
WHO was putting together a team of some 20 scientists, who will be charged with finding new evidence in China and other locales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group will examine whether the virus emerged from a laboratory, a theory that has been angrily rejected by China.
In December 2020, WHO investigators began visits to Wuhan, China, where the first known outbreak of the virus took place.
But their March 2021 report said they had gotten insufficient information from Chinese scientists to answer key questions about COVID-19’s origin.
In August, U.S. intelligence agencies issued a separate report saying they also could not make firm conclusions about COVID-19’s origins.
Florida Gov. appoints Nigerian-American, Joseph Ladapo Surgeon-General
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, U.S. has appointed a Nigerian-American, Dr Joseph Ladapo, as Florida Surgeon-General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
DeSantis in a statement posted on the Florida Department of Health website, stated that he was pleased to announce Ladapo for the position.
“I am pleased to announce that Ladapo will lead the Florida department of health as our state’s next surgeon-general
“Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with a superb background.”
According to him, Ladapo has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research.
The governor said: ” Ladapo will bring great leadership to the department of health, ” thanking both Dr Scott Rivkees and Dr Shamarial Roberson for their hard work on behalf of all Floridians.
Lieutenant-Governor, Jeanette Nuñez described Ladapo’s as, “an excellent choice to serve as our next surgeon general.
“Ladapo has impeccable credentials and a strong vision to effectively serve the people of Florida at the helm of our public health agency.
“Through his service to our state, we will continue Florida’s work to advance our public health goals,” Nuñez said.
Ladapo said he is honored to have been chosen by DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next surgeon-general.
“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.
“From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by DeSantis’ leadership and determination,” he said.
The new surgeon-general said he was impressed by DeSantis’ leadership to ensure that Floridians were afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.
“It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida,” he said.
Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.
Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),caring for hospitalised patients.
He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, who also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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