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23 Aug 2017 description
report Inter Press Service

By Ngozi Cole

FREETOWN, Aug 23 2017 (IPS) - In the early hours of Monday morning, August 14, torrential rains hit Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city. Several areas of the city were flooded, as houses were either partially submerged under water or destroyed.

In Regent, a mountainous community on the outskirts of Freetown, extreme flooding triggered a mudslide on Mount Sugar Loaf, burying several houses and underneath dirt and rubble. Some families were completely wiped out, and in some cases, only one family member survived.

18 Jul 2017 description
report Inter Press Service

By Busani Bafana

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Jul 18 2017 (IPS)

Southern African countries have agreed on a multi-pronged plan to increase surveillance and research to contain the fall army worm, which has cut forecast regional maize harvests by up to ten percent, according to a senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) official.

12 Apr 2017 description
report Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 11 2017 (IPS) - The Group of 77 has pointed out that the Ebola crisis of 2014-2015 proved that “no country is immune from a disease outbreak, no matter where it emerges”

The Group has argued that the world is now a big village, where the borders between countries are crossed by millions every day for different reasons– a better life for some, a migration for others, all due to different factors, including climate change and the outbreak of fast-spreading diseases.

24 Jun 2016 description
report Inter Press Service

By Thalif Deen

NEW YORK, Jun 23 2016 (IPS) - The United Nations claims it is doing its best to curb widespread sexual abuses in its peacekeeping operations overseas – from Haiti all the way to the Central African Republic.

But the UN’s best is just not good enough, says Ian Richards, President, Coordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations.

14 Jul 2015 description
report Inter Press Service

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 13 2015 (IPS) - When international donors pledge millions of dollars either for post-conflict reconstruction or for humanitarian aid, deliveries are rarely on schedule: they are either late, fall far below expectations or not delivered at all.

The under-payment or non-payment of promised aid has affected mostly civilian victims, including war-ravaged women and children in military hotspots such as Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and most recently Yemen.

04 May 2015 description
report Inter Press Service

DAKAR, May 4 2015 (IPS) - As Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia work to end Ebola, critical healthcare services damaged by the epidemic are beginning to be revitalised.

Supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the three countries worst-hit by the disease have begun a campaign to immunise three million children against preventable illnesses like measles and polio.

05 Dec 2014 description
report Inter Press Service

By Lansana Fofana

FREETOWN, Dec 1 2014 (IPS) - The outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has dwarfed the campaign against HIV/AIDS, to the extent that patients no longer go to hospitals and treatment centres out of fear of contracting the Ebola virus.

“It is a big challenge for us. HIV/AIDS patients now fear going to hospitals for treatment and our workers, who are also government health officials, are also afraid of contacting patients for fear of being infected,” Abubakar Koroma, Director of Communications at the National AIDS Secretariat, told IPS.

26 Aug 2014 description
report Inter Press Service

MATTRU JONG, Sierra Leone, Aug 26 2014 (IPS) - Emmanuel is a male midwife.

At the age of 26, he lives and works on one of eight islands off the southwest peninsular of Sierra Leone, an hour by speedboat from Mattru Jong, the capital of Bonthe District.

On a particularly hot Wednesday morning, IPS joins Marie Stopes, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health to go and visit a population on one of the Turtle Islands that is practically untouched by modern civilisation.

26 Aug 2014 description
report Inter Press Service

By Marc-Andre Boisvert

KANDOPLEU/ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, Aug 26 2014 (IPS) - The nurse carefully packs the body into a plastic bag and then leaves the isolation tent, rinsing his feet in a bucket of water that contains bleach. Then he carefully takes off his safety glasses, gloves and mask and burns them in a jerry can.

Behind a cordon, hundreds of people are watching, including Ivorian Health Minister Raymonde Goudou Coffie and several local media.

26 Aug 2014 description
report Inter Press Service

NEW YORK, Aug 25 2014 (IPS) - An airlift of emergency supplies needed for those treating Liberians with the virus Ebola was launched last weekend by the U.N. children’s fund, Unicef.

“The largest component of the supplies was chlorine,” for disinfection, said Unicef’s representative in Liberia, Sheldon Yetts. Other supplies in the airlift were oral rehydration salts and sodium lactate to help ensure people are rehydrated, and about 900,000 gloves for infection control.

12 Jul 2014 description
report Inter Press Service

By Mohamed Fofanah

KENEMA, Sierra Leone, Jul 12 2014 (IPS) - Adikali Kamara is a 36-year-old student nurse working in the government hospital in Kenema, a sprawling town on the fringe of the Sierra Leone’s Gola tropical rain forest.

On June 19, he began feeling unwell, complaining of fever and a headache, and went to a chemist near where he lived to buy anti-malaria drugs and antibiotics to treat typhoid fever. “I thought that my symptoms indicated either malaria or typhoid because these are the most common ailments suffered by everybody here,” said Kamara.

11 Jul 2014 description
report Inter Press Service

By Adebayo Fayoyin Reprint

This is part of a series of special stories on world population and challenges to the Sustainable Development Goals on the occasion of World Population Day on July 11.

JOHANNESBURG, Jul 10 2014 (IPS) - An African proverb says “a child that we refuse to build today will end up selling the house that we may build tomorrow.”

The moral of this is clear. Unless we invest in our children and young people today, they might become a threat or a burden in the future.

07 Jun 2013 description
report Inter Press Service

By Tommy Trenchard

FREETOWN , Jun 7 2013 (IPS) - On a street corner in downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city, 12-year-old Kaita sits with a friend on a peeling steel railing watching the headlights of motorbikes cruising through the otherwise silent streets. It is after midnight, and motionless human forms lie curled up in doorways or stretched out on pavements nearby. For Kaita, these streets are home, and have been for almost six years.

14 Sep 2012 description
report Inter Press Service

By Rousbeh Legatis

Rousbeh Legatis interviews TARJA TURTIA of UNESCO's Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 14 2012 (IPS) - Conflicts of interest can be viewed as drivers of societies and human development, although recourse to violence has destroyed millions of people’s lives and leaves generations wounded for decades and even centuries.

28 Jun 2012 description
report Inter Press Service

By Carlota Cortes

Carlota Cortés interviews RADHIKA COOMARASWAMY, U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 27 2012 (IPS) - Radhika Coomaraswamy has been the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict since April 2006.

She has visited Uganda, Central African Republic, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines and Iraq among other countries to see first-hand the situation of children there.

Excerpts from the interview follow.

31 May 2012 description
report Inter Press Service

Rousbeh Legatis interviews MOHAMED BÉAVOGUI of the International Fund for Agricultural Development

UNITED NATIONS, May 30, 2012 (IPS) - As Africa's Sahel region faces a new food crisis, smallholder famers hold the key to making future development policies sustainable.

25 Apr 2012 description
report Inter Press Service

By Mustapha Dumbuya

FREETOWN, Apr 25, 2012 (IPS) - When the verdict against Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor for war crimes in Sierra Leone is handed down on Thursday, it will be of no help to the many former combatants of the country’s brutal civil war who have not been reintegrated into society. Instead, they will continue to pose a threat to Sierra Leone’s future stability.

13 Apr 2012 description
report Inter Press Service

By Damon Van der Linde

LAMBAYAMA, Sierra Leone , Apr 19, 2012 (IPS) - In the eastern Sierra Leonean community of Lambayama, rice paddies are carved far into the landscape before being abruptly halted by distant hills. Aside from a paved road that draws a grey line through the green, swampy valley, it looks much as it did a century ago.

But under the sound of leaves rustling in the wind and chirping insects is the distant low hum of tilling machinery, a signal of the gradually changing way farmers are growing and selling this West African nation’s staple food.

08 Feb 2012 description
report Inter Press Service

By Tamba Tengbeh and Damon van der Linde

FREETOWN, Feb 8, 2012 (IPS) - Fifty years ago when Sierra Leone gained independence after 150 years of colonial rule, with it came a feeling of optimism that along with a newfound control of its governance, the country would profit from its ample endowment of natural resources, like timber, fish, minerals and oil. Instead, in the last 50 years, the country has had 13 military coups and an 11-year civil war that left the economy in ruins and the country heavily reliant on foreign donor funding.

01 Feb 2012 description
report Inter Press Service

By Dumbuya Mustapha and Damon Van der Linde

FREETOWN, Jan 31, 2012 (IPS) - The launch of Sierra Leone’s first online mining database in West Africa comes with a promise to increase transparency and accountability in the country’s rich natural resource sector.