By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm
#Uganda, September 27, 2022 – Uganda has declared an Ebola outbreak after 23 confirmed deaths from the virus and at the case fatality rate revealed at 64 per cent. There are at least 34 others infected with the disease.
The Health Ministry in Uganda has intensified messages and information on the signs and symptoms of the disease; a help hotline has also been established, said the commissioner of surveillance.
The interventions in the district have brought new fears to the country as quarantines are government managed and can last up to 21 days; already 13 people have escaped prompting continued concern of a mushrooming of case numbers.
Uganda has been largely free of the deadly disease for over a decade, the last outbreak was declared in 2012.
The Sudan Ebolavirus has a very high death rate and in previous outbreaks it has varied between 40 to 100 per cent.
The 2014-2016 outbreak affected Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia most, causing thousands of casualties.
Named after the Ebola River in The Democratic Republic of Congo where it was first found the virus spreads between human to human and human to animal contact. Earlier this year the DRC has a small outbreak caused by animal to human contact.
Media reports now indicate medical professionals have gone on strike at a hospital where several cases were detected; the nurses, pharmacists and trainee doctors have accused the government of not providing sufficient safety against possible infection.
Putin in pursuit of Africa labelled ‘opportunistic’ and ‘calculating’
By Dana Malcolm
#Africa, October 28, 2022 – Vladimir Putin, president of Russia says he is seeking closer ties with African countries according to Russian state controlled media and the push seems to be working.
TASS says, in a recent meeting with Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Putin described the trade volume between ECOWAS and Russia as “rather hefty” citing the regions 400 million inhabitants.
The renewed and ‘up-scaled’ interest in Africa comes as the Kremlin is frozen out of Western relations because of the Ukraine invasion. Russia now has significant animosity against Britain, the EU and the United States which is certainly mutual.
“We hope that a significant contribution will be made to the development of relations—with members of the organization, and the entire African continent in general during your presidency in ECOWAS,” Putin told Embalo.
Earlier this year several African countries remained neutral to the war in Ukraine. In the UN General Assembly’s vote to suspend Russia’s membership on the Human Rights Council of the 54 African states in the UN only 10 voted in favor of the resolution, nine openly opposed, and 35 abstained or refused to turn up.
Despite worldwide condemnation of the atrocities committed in Ukraine, Europe’s long and sordid history of African exploitation is now working to Putin’s advantage. Many criticisms of African nations’ reluctance to comment on the invasion are met on social media by lashing criticisms on Europe’s own sins committed on the continent. In addition Russia is still recognized in countries like South Africa for their help in overturning European regimes like apartheid.
Germany’s embassy to South Africa criticized Russia for thanking SA for remaining neutral back in March.
“Sorry, but we can’t stay silent on this one, it’s just far too cynical. What Russia is doing in Ukraine is slaughtering innocent children, women and men for its own gain. It’s definitely not “fighting Nazism”. Shame on anyone who’s falling for this…” the Embassy said.
Replies ranged from: “How far are you with paying reparations to Namibian people?” to “Why is the Federal Republic of Germany taking more action against the invasion of Ukraine then it did against the invasion of Iraq?”
And while President Joe Biden recently hosted South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in talks at the White House regarding his neutral stance on Russia and other issues, so far South Africa and the rest of the continent for the most part has stuck to its guns.
The issue is a polarizing one though, as at the same time thousands of citizens across Africa have openly disagreed with the neutral lot cast by their countries.
Also taken into account is the fact that the Russian war has pushed several African countries further into famine faster than expected thanks to the rising prices of staples like grain.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies describes the Russian foray into the continent as:
“Expanding geo-political influence through low-cost ventures that hold economic windfalls for Moscow and President Vladimir Putin’s close associates. In this way, Russia’s strategy in Africa is both opportunistic and calculating.”
Whatever the motive, the strategy to ‘make nice’ with the continent seems to be progressing for Putin as his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov just finished a tour where he was welcomed into at least four nations to further diplomatic relations.
768 Million People and their Homelands in jeopardy says Ecological Threat Report
By Dana Malcolm
#Africa, October 28, 2022 – A great portion of Sub-Saharan Africa may become completely unsustainable in just 28 years. This prognosis is according to the Institute for Economics and Peace in their most recent Ecological Threat Report.
The Institute assesses major ecological threats of food risk, water risk, rapid population growth, temperature anomalies and natural disasters and rates countries on their Ecological Threat Resistance (ETR)
This year it identified 27 ‘hotspot countries’ across the globe that face ‘catastrophic ecological threat with extremely low societal resilience.’ It puts 768 million people at serious risk.
None of the countries identified are located in Europe or North America which have the highest ETR, instead the victims mainly spread across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and South Asia.
Seven of the eight of the most affected countries are in SSA., which also has the highest rate of food insecurity.
“Of the 52 Sub-Saharan African countries, 37 recorded an extremely high level of food insecurity in the ETR,” said the report which was published on October 19.
Extreme drought and extreme floods in the past year have caused record lows in food production with the Red Cross warning that casualties could become heavy if residents remain without food.
In addition mass migration and natural disasters will also put populations in sub-Saharan Africa at serious risk.
In order to slow the disastrous process, countries will have to fix the high rates of violence, air pollution and high birth rate, even as climate change ravages their shoes.
Only one Caribbean country, Haiti, was listed on the 27 most at risk countries.
Unrelenting floods in Nigeria; 1.4 Million homeless and 500 dead
By Dana Malcolm
#Nigeria, October 13, 2022 – Seventy-six people drowned on Friday after their boat flipped as they tried to escape floodwaters in Nigeria. Like Pakistan, Nigeria has been pounded by an overactive Monsoon season this year.
The boat was traveling through Anambra, one of the worst affected states which also includes Kogi, Lokoja , when it overturned. Aerial response has been triggered and helicopters are out looking for other trapped residents according to The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). More than 1.4 million people have been displaced and just over 500 have been killed.
NEMA representative Thickman Tanimu, told NEWS Agency of Nigeria, “Assessment teams observed that the flood has submerged houses, farmlands, schools, health centres, Police Stations, Churches and other critical infrastructure— we did the assessment tour with a boat because the access roads to the communities have been submerged by flood water” He said.
The floodwaters have brought down buildings crushing families and sweeping away others. Nigeria’s monsoon season is set to end in October hopefully bringing an end to the rain.
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