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Imagine every Calgary kid dying of hunger before turning 5. Then, look at Yemen – National




Imagine every kid under five years old in Canada’s third most populous city, dying of hunger amid a war that has dragged on for almost four years.

Yemen is approaching that mark as Houthi rebels, allegedly backed by Iran, continue to fight a war against a Saudi-led coalition supported by the United States, a new report from international charity Save the Children shows.

Coverage of Yemen on

An estimated 85,000 children under five years old may have died due to starvation between April 2015 and October 2018, the report said.

The charity arrived at these figures by looking at data around Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) that was compiled by the United Nations (UN).

Their analysis found that approximately 84,701 who had SAM could have died in that time frame.

READ MORE: IN PHOTOS — Yemen’s civil war pushing families to live off leaves, bread crumbs

To put that in perspective — that’s nearly as many children under five years old who were living in Calgary as of the 2016 Census.

And it’s more than the under-five population of girls or boys in Toronto or Vancouver at that time.

Young children have died under conditions in Yemen that have seen kids subsist on as little as boiled leaves and moldy bread crumbs.

As many as 14 million people are at risk of famine in the country, a number that has only grown after the coalition imposed a nearly month-long blockade on Yemen in November 2017.

The average amount of food that has entered Yemen’s ports on a monthly basis doesn’t meet national requirements — although imports fluctuate from one month to the next.

READ MORE: 7-year-old girl whose haunting picture put spotlight on Yemen famine dies — NYT

On average, Yemen needs to import 350,000 metric tonnes of food every month, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The ports were taking in an average of 335,185 metric tonnes of food between July 2016 and October 2017.

That amount dropped to 279,377 metric tonnes of food following the blockade, though food imports exceeded national requirements by 24 per cent in September — they failed to meet national requirements in October.

Yemen is, however, far from meeting its national requirements for fuel, and has been since before the blockade, as this infographic shows:

This infographic shows food and fuel imports to Yemen before and after a blockade that happened in November 2017.


Save the Children developed its estimates for starvation deaths by looking at malnutrition estimates between 2015 and 2018.

In that time, 1,314,679 have had to be treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition.

The estimate of 84,701 deaths represented the midpoint of estimates contained in four historical studies that examined the connection between severe malnutrition and death, and a Middle Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) of children who were seriously undernourished in Yemen.

READ MORE: Yemeni father pleads for an end to air strikes after losing four children in renewed fighting

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen, said in a news release.

“Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop. Their immune systems are so weak they are more prone to infections with some too frail to even cry.

“Parents are having to witness their children wasting away, unable to do anything about it.”

Yemen is supplied by the ports of Saleef and Hudaydah, and the coalition is controlling supplies to the country, Jamie Graves, field manager for Save the Children in Yemen, told Global News earlier this month.

Rebels, however, currently control the port at Hudaydah, and the military has not been able to take it over, Graves noted.

The country, he said, is dependent on imports to feed as much as 80 per cent of its population.

WATCH: Saudi Arabia beefs up troops in Yemen, despite U.S. calls for truce

Graves did see some hope in efforts by the United States to seek peace in Yemen and said that the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has “changed the political dynamic in the region.”

Canada, meanwhile, has called on “all parties to bring a permanent end to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.”

Matters have changed around the Khashoggi situation since he spoke with Global News, however.

The CIA has since concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump responded by extolling support for Saudi Arabia and defending its role in the Yemen war.

“Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave,” he said.

  • With files from Maham Abedi, Robin Gill and the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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