Towering sugar palms sway in the breeze as lean dogs scamper through overgrown fields, and voices can be heard coming from the thatched-roof houses. Located in the lush green countryside of western Cambodia an hour’s drive from the Thai border, the village of Sek Sak has spent the past 15 years trying to get back to normal.
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The independence of South Sudan may have liberated millions of people after decades of civil war, but it’s been a disaster for many of those who remained behind in the north.
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Weighted with two heavy sacks of discarded milk bags and meat bones slung across her back, a plastic bag of rotted cabbage in her hand, Rahab Ruguru walks through a smoky landscape of mountainous piles of burning waste, scavenging for a living.
“Working here is how I am able to feed my children,” says the 42-year-old mother of six, stooping to pocket a handful of discarded candy from the ground. “Of course it is not a usual job. Dodging pigs [and] used condoms, eating what I find. No, it’s not good for me. But it is a job and I have to persevere.”
The sixth-month anniversary of Haiti's earthquake is an opportunity to take stock of what was achieved on the humanitarian side, and what more could have been done. This is not a theoretical exercise. We need to make sure that, when the next major disaster happens, we improve our response.
A huge amount was achieved by the authorities and the international community in the weeks and months that followed the quake. Many lives were saved, and are being saved today, because of the relief effort.