A greater humanitarian response is needed as crisis deepens in the Horn of Africa

By | Compassion | No Comments
Horn of Africa: “The children’s famine” (image from www.euronews.net)

Horn of Africa: “The children’s famine” (image from www.euronews.net)

NEW YORK, USA, 1 August 2011 – As the crisis in the Horn of Africa deepens, the United Nations has warned that all of southern Somalia could slip into famine in the next two months. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost already, and many more are at stake, yet the international community remains slow in its humanitarian response.

In all, more than 11 million people desperately need help in the nations of eastern Africa stricken by drought, conflict and rising food prices. If the world doesn’t act quickly enough, some 566,000 children fighting severe malnutrition could lose their struggle to survive.

Among the most urgent needs in the crisis response are therapeutic food for malnourished children, safe water for tankering in drought-stricken areas, bed nets to prevent malaria, and family kits for people on the move – like the thousands of refugees who are crossing into Kenya from Somalia. Safe havens and learning spaces for children are priorities, as well.

Funding gap

“We have a huge need right now for airlift operations to get in the ready-to-use therapeutic food,” says UNICEF’s Director of Public Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization, Afshan Khan. “So if there are in-kind donations in terms of airlift and air operations, that will be extremely helpful.”

Despite repeated warnings from many UN agencies that the situation in the Horn of Africa was critical, the response from donors – both public and private – has been limited. To date, UNICEF faces a funding gap of more than $200 million for its emergency operations in the region, including over $120 million for Somalia alone.

“Only when people started crossing the borders,” says Ms. Khan, “was the world able to see the severity of the situation that children really faced – the haunting images of children that were malnourished, dying not only from lack of food but lack of water.”

Child deaths are also occurring, she adds, “due to measles and [other] epidemics that could be easily fixed if we had sufficient resources to vaccinate children, to ensure they got appropriate nutrition … and the provision of clean water and sanitation.”

‘A moral obligation’

Droughts have become cyclical in eastern Africa, and 2011 has been the driest in 60 years. Add to that the recent sharp rise in food prices, a long-running conflict in Somalia and a lack of infrastructure, institutions and planning to prevent future crises, and you have the ‘perfect storm’ that is the current emergency.

Click to help now!

Click to help now!

“There is a lot of work to be done in the short term to help address the immediate crisis,” says Ms. Khan, “but also in the medium and longer term, to build resilience and coping mechanisms of communities who by now have been hit with a cycle of drought and floods over a number of years.”

All eyes are now on the international community to take more concerted action on behalf of children at risk in the Horn of Africa.

“Children don’t choose where they are born, to whom they are born, what type of government rules them, what type of context within which they will grow up, thrive and survive,” notes Ms. Khan. “There is a moral obligation to respond in this crisis. We are all human beings.”

By Priyanka Pruthi
[source: http://www.unicef.org/emerg/index_59445.html]

Facebook Comments

Chimp lovingly feeds tiger cub with baby bottle

By | Compassion | No Comments
Chimp lovingly feeds tiger cub with baby bottle (1/2)

Chimp lovingly feeds tiger cub with baby bottle (1/2)

Chimp lovingly feeds tiger cub with baby bottle (2/2)

Chimp lovingly feeds tiger cub with baby bottle (2/2)

There’s a good tiger cub, take a little more milk …

This sweet scene played out at the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand, where a chimpanzee helped bottle-feed a 28-day-old tiger cub.

As the young golden tiger got its fill, the chimp patiently held the bottle of milk, often nesting a hand under the cub’s chin. Interspecies love – always adorable!

[source: http://www.peoplepets.com/people/pets/article/0,,20513802,00.html]
Facebook Comments

June.July 2011

By | Life Journal, Photography | No Comments
mini

mini

Poet, Dylan Thomas said, “He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest.” I missEEd the boredom. After weeks of work, finally I got a rest today and do some write up, to make order out of chaos. Chinese says, rest is to go further..

Duanwu Festival, also known as Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 6th of June this year. It is a celebration of the life of Qu Yuan, Chinese poet from the southern Chu during the Warring States Period. Upon learning that the State of Chu had been defeated by Qin, he committed ritual suicide by drowning in the river as a form of protest against the corruption of the era in great despair and distress.

The townspeople, hearing of Qu Yuan’s fate, rushed to their boats to try to save him. Since he was much loved, they tried to prevent the fish from eating his body by throwing rice dumplings (Zongzi) into the water. They beat drums to keep evil spirits away. In commemoration of Qu Yuan, people still eat Zongzi and hold dragon boat races annually on the day of his sacrifice.

This year I managed to watch the race of dragon boats at the water front of Case del Rio Hotel Melaka. Together with the racing event, a Chinese calligraphy competition was held at the site. When I went for shooting the dragon boats, I met some old friends, little Tang and father Tang, and other Chinese calligraphy teachers, which was first after many many months. It was great to get to see them and know that they were well doing.

And last month I celebrated the 2nd birthday of my buddy 500D camera but also grieved the end of its shutter life after a month. The tigers shot in Melaka Zoo below was the last click from the camera. Now it’s in the service center waiting for its repair. There won’t be any shooting until its return, while I’m considering of getting a new buddy to join the family, to take photography a step further.

May all bEEings happy. Sharing the snapshots taken in Melaka within these two months,

"someone call for the taxi?" (taxi stand of Melaka Sentral)

"someone call for the taxi?" (taxi stand of Melaka Sentral)

save tigers (tigers in the Zoo of Melaka)

save tigers (tigers in the Zoo of Melaka)

O

O

"emmm..."

"emmm..."

dragon boats racing on Melaka River

dragon boats racing on Melaka River

monks

monks

DO NOT CROSS

DO NOT CROSS

fatherly bond

fatherly bond

three chances

three chances

Facebook Comments

Mirrored Melaka River at night

By | Beautiful Melaka, Photography | No Comments
mirrored Melaka River

mirrored Melaka River

Few days ago, I took a slow drive around the town for relaxation on my way back after a full working day. It was midnight and I passed through the bridges in Melaka heritage city. I noticed the water of Sungai Melaka (Melaka River) was so calm and so its surface appeared mirror-like. Glad that I had my camera with me, however the bad news was I left the tripod at home.

To get steady night shots without tripod, it was challenging. I had to relax my body, hold the camera tight to solid surface and pressed the shutter softly. And it was lucky that the traffic was minimal in the middle of night which made the shooting easier, or else each time traffic came across the bridge it shook.

The night atmosphere was calm and quiet, and I was enjoy capturing the reflection.

May all beings be happy. Sharing the results,

view from Jambatan Tan Kim Seng (Tan Kim Seng Bridge)

view from Jambatan Tan Kim Seng (Tan Kim Seng Bridge)

view from the other side of Tan Kim Seng Bridge

view from the other side of Tan Kim Seng Bridge

Jambatan Chan Koon Cheng (Chan Koon Cheng Bridge) built 1908

Jambatan Chan Koon Cheng (Chan Koon Cheng Bridge) built 1908

Chan Koon Cheng Bridge

Chan Koon Cheng Bridge

old building by the river of Melaka

old building by the river of Melaka

Discovery Cafe of Melaka

Discovery Cafe of Melaka

new boutique hotel, Casa Del Rio Melaka

new boutique hotel, Casa Del Rio Melaka

Facebook Comments

Let’s go Cambodia – Russian Market

By | My journey, Photography | One Comment
the joy of Phnom Phen's Russian Market

the joy of Phnom Phen's Russian Market

The first morning in Phnom Penh, we went to Russian Market, the place where the Russians would hang out during the Vietnam war. The market has been known by its English name since 1980s, and is popular shopping heaven in Phnom Phen among tourists, local expatriates and Cambodians alike.

Russian Market is really big and is the place we could find all manner of hardware goods, antique furniture, traditional carvings and handicraft, hand-woven silk, music, movie and computer CDs, silverware, gems, books and maps, backpacks and bags and shoes and clothing, drinks and cooked food. You name it, you get it.

for Japan earthquake relief

for Japan earthquake relief

Here, some basic bargaining and haggling skills will be needed as nobody pays the first price. Of course it was not difficult for us as we practice it most of the time in Malaysia.

A wide range of real and fake items sold in the market. Some authentic branded shoes and clothing, though not all, can be found at very inexpensive price, as they are manufactured in Cambodia somehow rejected due to quality control issues.

Most of our friends purchased souvenirs here, and some had their shirt, pant or dress tailor-made here at very reasonable price and thumbs up quality. They purchased the fabric there, handed to the tailors and had their clothing picked up on the following day.

The place was flooded with tourists and locals. Please be warned of the market’s heat and narrow passageways in search for shopping buys. So those who are claustrophobic might find it difficult to survive the market. The conditions add to the ambiance of an Asian market however.

I chose to take photos rather to shop. Few minutes of walk I got so sweaty even wearing a thin t-shirt. However I loved weaving my way around the market with my camera and finding lots of interesting people and things to shoot.

Few hours of walk, I did not finish even half of the market. We had to leave to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum as schedule and many were still demanding for more time extension. Therefore the guide took us there again on the following day for last minute shopping, just before we headed to Phnom Penh International Airport.

Russian Market is simply crowded, cheap and a lot of fun!

May all beings be happy. Sharing some photos I captured back there after the click:

Read More

Facebook Comments

Lorna go bald: I’ve touched base with humility

By | Compassion | No Comments
HELLO THERE: Lorna having a light moment with a patient at the child cancer unit of the Sarawak General Hospital yesterday. Earlier, Lorna had her head shaven. (Photo courtesy of Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon)

HELLO THERE: Lorna having a light moment with a patient at the child cancer unit of the Sarawak General Hospital yesterday. Earlier, Lorna had her head shaven. (Photo courtesy of Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon)

KUCHING: Going bald for charity has been a “life-changing” experience for Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon, who has had long hair since she was two years old.

Speaking to The Star after shaving her head, the social worker was in good spirits, starting off talking about how she looked like a Shaolin monk.

“All I need is a yellow robe. But on a serious note, even after this, I can’t say I can ever fully understand what kids with cancer have to go through. But I feel so touched.

Source of courage: Lorna meeting a child in the Sarawak General Hospital before she shaved her head. (photo: The Star)

Source of courage: Lorna meeting a child in the Sarawak General Hospital before she shaved her head. (photo: The Star)

“They’ve given me courage. This experience has made me better. I’ve touched base with humility.”

Lorna said she did it because she believed understanding the plight of others was best learnt through personal experience.

“I really wanted to be with these children. I say it again and again that I cannot fully understand their emotional turbulence. I know, at the end of the day, I’m only shaving my head. I know that is a very different experience.”

Asked if she felt Malaysians were caring enough, she said she believed so.

“A lot of people do charity. I think it’s great. We must always remember to support one another.”

And how does being bald feel like?

“Good question! Well, so far people say I look younger. I’ve never had a bald head since I was a baby. But I don’t mind.”

For Naza Group chairman, Datuk Wira SM Faisal, who sponsored Lorna RM50,000, the work of cancer non-governmental organisations, like the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS), was especially meaningful.

His father, the founder of the company, died of lung cancer in May 2008.

“Any charity is good, but for today, I’m donating to SCCS because I truly believe in good cancer care for society’s most vulnerable,” Faisal told The Star.

“My own dad passed away at just 53 years old so I sort of understand how much cancer takes out of patients and their families.”

Children have amazing fighting spirit, Faisal said. All they need was care and love, and children would face cancer as well as any adult, he said.

“I’m really hoping to see the society’s centre when it is done. I want to see the playgrounds. My other wish is that maintenance is constantly carried out.”

Faisal was one of seven donors, who each pledged RM50,000 to Lorna’s donation drive. Three weeks ago, Lorna announced her intention to join the wildly popular Go Bald event.

“Lorna and I are old family friends. Once we heard about her intention, there was no question we would chip in,” Faisal said.

Lorna’s other big donors include the Bollywood superstar Datuk Shah Rukh Khan, Teo Ah Khing Foundation, Tan Sri Ling Chiong Ho (Shin Yang Group executive chairman), GLC Foundation and Island Circle Development Sdn Bhd.

At a total of RM500,000, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pledged a ringgit-to-ringgit matching grant, doubling the amount.

Personal sacrifice: Lorna posing for a photo with children undergoing cancer treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching yesterday after she shaved her head for the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society’s Go Bald campaign. In an exclusive interview with ‘The Star’ on page S3, Lorna said going bald was a life-changing experience. (Photo courtesy of C M Leong)

Personal sacrifice: Lorna posing for a photo with children undergoing cancer treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching yesterday after she shaved her head for the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society’s Go Bald campaign. In an exclusive interview with ‘The Star’ on page S3, Lorna said going bald was a life-changing experience. (Photo courtesy of C M Leong)

[source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/6/26/sarawak/8977605&sec=sarawak]

Related story: Lorna ‘heads in’ RM1mil for Go Bald

Facebook Comments