Revelations in Myanmar
Myanmar’s government has been under siege since January by a military coup that has ousted the civilian leader of the nation, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. With most recent reporting coming from major news outlets, it appears that the military is cracking down intensely and violently against protesters as large demonstrations continue. Just this morning, AP News reported that security forces have been cracking down on the anti-coup efforts by whatever means possible, including pointing guns and attacking them with sticks. This continued tension comes as citizens have been cut off from the internet, part of the military’s plan to suppress the movement against the siege. In spite of this, the Burmese are not backing down, and are looking towards the United States for assistance. Just yesterday, protesters gathered around the American embassy and demanded that President Joe Biden send the U.S. military to put an end to the insurgency. Footage of the protests revealed people chanting “We need the U.S. army”. While President Biden did sanction top military leaders last week, this move of interventionism is unexpected from him, given that his political priorities remain largely domestic with the American Rescue plan, and other domestic economic legislation.
Violence in Darfur
Just weeks after U.N. peacekeepers pledged to end their 13-year old mission in Sudan’s Darfur region, hundreds of people were killed in the city of El Geneina. Armed militias preceded to storm the city and besiege a refugee camp. In the span of just a few days, 83 people were killed and 160 wounded, including civilians and security personnel alike. In response, the Sudanese Professionals Association which represents seventeen trade unions called on authorities to bring the terrorists to justice. The SPA (Sudanese Professionals Association) demanded that “drastic measures” be taken to prevent further violence. The government has acted in kind, instituting a curfew across the region and declaring a state of emergency. Problematically, these actions have hindered medical capacity to service those affected by the violence, leading to even more death and chaos throughout Darfur.
The efforts of doctors in the region are not entirely unproblematic either. According to the Save the Children organization, the region’s health facilities are in desperate need of reform, with injured and dying people “lying on the floors and corridors of hospitals,” according to Arshad Malik, the head of the Save the Children Sudanese chapter. The situation remains tense with the government scrambling to maintain a crisis that may have yet to reach its peak.
Action items courtesy of fastcompany.com:
Give to UNICEF, which is working to help the children displaced by the conflict. Donate here
Donate to Save the Children, which has been working in Sudan since 1984. Donate here. If you prefer the International Rescue Committee, it has been in Sudan since 1989 fighting malnutrition and helping displaced families. Donate here
This Facebook campaign aims to raise funds for food and medicine for those in Sudan. Donate here
Sign this Change.org petition demanding that “The UN must investigate the 3rd of June human rights violations in Sudan by the Military.” Sign here
Hunger in Madagascar
Madagascar is facing yet another humanitarian crisis aside from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Food Programme, the combination of drought and the pandemic have doubled the amount of people facing hunger, with severe malnutrition rates spiraling, and 1.3 million people food insecure. Lola Castro, the WFP’s regional director for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean States, has made an appeal for $35 million in funding support, to no avail. The WFP was warned that the conditions will persist well into 2021, with most of the affected population being forced to leave their homes to find food or work. Even worse, Ms. Castro finds that people have been forced to eat Cactus mixed with mud, roots, seeds, and leaves, as money has not arrived in time to procure food or provide direct cash transfers to the people. Children have been especially affected by this crisis, as the WFP found that 10.7 percent of children under five now suffer from global acute malnutrition (GAM) in the three most affected regions (Androy, Anôsy, and Atsimo Andrefana). This is the second highest GAM rate in East and South Africa combined, with over 135,000 children suffering and 27,000 classified as severe cases. As such, Ms. Castro continues that 75% of children have been forced to beg and forage for food instead of attending school. She concludes her plea by explaining that at present, over 300,000 people in Madagascar need aid critical to their survival.
Darfur: Links embedded.