One year on, S. Sudan faces worst health crisis

Updated 07 July 2012

One year on, S. Sudan faces worst health crisis

GENEVA: South Sudan declared independence almost a year ago but its problems are getting worse, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday.
“Many humanitarian needs remain unmet. Communities lack access to basic health-care services,” the ICRC said in a statement ahead of the country’s first birthday on Monday July 9. 
With an escalation in fighting on the northern border regions between the two Sudans and rising food prices, children are in an increasingly malnourished state when they came to be treated at the few medical centers available, the ICRC added.
“In Malakal Teaching Hospital, there has been a dramatic rise in child malnutrition admissions over the past three months, since fighting escalated. Children are also arriving in a much worse condition,” said Melker Mabeck, ICRC head of delegation in South Sudan.
South Sudan has an estimated 120 doctors and 100 nurses to treat a population close to nine million people, according to the country’s ministry of health. This is 10 times lower than the patient to doctor ratio in neighboring Kenya, according to the ICRC statement.
The country is also prone to diseases such as meningitis, measles, yellow fever, and whooping cough, all of which are endemic in many areas. 
Preventable diseases such as malaria and acute respiratory infections are the leading causes of ill health. River blindness, sleeping sickness, and cholera are also common.
An estimated 50,000 people also suffer from long-term injuries linked to the armed conflict. Landmines, already common in the pre-independence armed conflict between the north and the south, are still used today, said the ICRC.


Lebanese lawmakers to defy naming of new PM

Updated 07 December 2019

Lebanese lawmakers to defy naming of new PM

  • Saad Hariri submitted the resignation of his government on Oct. 29 as a result of ongoing mass protests against corruption

BEIRUT: Three lawmakers and members of Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s parliamentary bloc will not abide by its decision to name a new prime minister on Monday. 

Meanwhile, activists in the civil movement are holding meetings to announce a general strike and the blocking of roads on Monday in protest over reports that the new government will not include technocrats.

Samir Al-Khatib is considered the most favored candidate after preliminary consultations conducted by Aoun with his allies prior to setting the date for binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a Sunni prime minister, as required by the Lebanese constitution.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri submitted the resignation of his government on Oct. 29 as a result of ongoing mass protests against corruption. He later said he would not agree to head a new government unless it consisted of technocrats.

Lawmaker Neemat Frem urged citizens to provide him with the name of their favorite candidate to head the new government, “for you are the primary source of authority, and it is my duty to convey your voice in the binding parliamentary consultations.”

Lawmaker Chamel Roukoz said he will not nominate anyone for the position of prime minister.

Lawmaker Michel Daher declared his intention to boycott the parliamentary consultations if Al-Khatib is the only candidate.

Aoun assured a delegation of British financial and investment institutions, and US bank Morgan Stanley, that binding parliamentary consultations will take place on Monday to form a new government, which will help Lebanon’s friends launch agreed-to development projects.

“The new government’s priority will be to address the economic and financial conditions as soon as it is formed,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

Samir Al-Khatib is considered the most favored candidate after preliminary consultations conducted by Aoun with his allies prior to setting the date for binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a Sunni prime minister, as required by the Lebanese constitution.

On Friday, Hariri sent letters to the leaders of a number of countries with good relations with Lebanon. 

He asked them to help Lebanon secure credit to import goods from these countries, in order to ensure food security and availability of raw materials for production in various sectors.

His media office said the move “is part of his efforts to address the shortage of financial liquidity, and to secure procuring the basic import requirements for citizens.”

Among the leaders Hariri wrote to are Saudi Arabia’s King Salman; the presidents of France, Russia, Egypt and Turkey; the prime ministers of China and Italy; and the US secretary of state.

On Dec. 11, Paris is due to host a meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon. Reuters quoted a European source as saying: “France has already sent invitations to attend the group meeting.”

Protesters continued their sit-ins in front of government institutions in Nabatieh, Zahle and Saida.

In Tripoli, protesters blocked the city’s main roads, which were eventually reopened by the army.

In Akkar, protesters raided public institutions and called for an “independent government that fights corruption, restores looted funds, and rescues the economic situation and living conditions from total collapse.”

Lebanese designer Robert Abi Nader canceled a fashion show that was due to be organized in Downtown Beirut, where protesters are gathering. 

Abi Nader said he intended through his show to express support for the protests by designing a special outfit called “the bride of the revolution,” and revenues were to be dedicated to families in need.