Nearly a year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated central Philippines, the disaster is not over. An estimated 230,000 pregnant women live in affected areas, while over 800 women, often malnourished and suffering dehydration, high blood pressure, extreme trauma, inadequate shelter and lack of transportation give birth every day. There is limited or no access to emergency obstetric care. While the Philippine Rural and Municipal Health Centers are rebuilding they are crowded with the sick and injured, charge for maternity services and many maternity patients express not having a good experience there.
Under a canvas tent, in the skeleton of a destroyed elementary school, the organizations Bumi Sehat Foundation International and WADAH Foundation came together under the leadership of an American midwife, Robin Lim, to create Bumi Wadah birthing clinic in the township of Dulag, outside of Tacloban City in the Visayas. At this time it is the only clean, free, 24 hour maternity service. Laboring mothers travel from villages often hours away. Ms. Lim, along with local Filipina midwives and a rotation of foreign midwives, offer free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid, delivering over 100 babies a month, without electricity or running water.
Reportage photographer Dana Romanoff visited Ms. Lim’s birthing clinic earlier this year, documenting their efforts to provide services in a region where infrastructure has fallen apart. See more images from this series on the Reportage website.
GlobalPost’s Ambika Kandasamy writes:
Thousands of Syrian refugees are streaming over the Turkish border this week after their towns were overrun by Islamic State militants. And millions more are enduring a brutally violent civil war, which has killed more than 191,000 civilians and displaced more than three million people from their homes, according to data from the United Nations.
In the 150 years since the signing of the first Geneva Convention, which laid the groundwork for international humanitarian laws, the world has only become more dangerous for both civilians and the humanitarian aid workers helping them.
That’s according to Martin Dahinden, director of the Swiss Development Agency in the Department of Foreign Affairs and designated Swiss ambassador to the United States.
"The number of civilian victims is frighteningly high, regardless of whether we look at the conflicts in and around Syria or elsewhere," Dahinden said during a recent talk at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Dahinden also discussed the War from the Victims’ Perspective photo exhibit featuring works by Jean Mohr, a Swiss photographer who documented lives of victims in conflict regions around the world, at the talk, which was co-organized by swissnex Boston.
At first glance, the timelessness of Mohr’s photos are striking and unsettling – the photo of a woman seated beside a row of tents near Larnaca, Cyprus in 1974 is reminiscent of a photo of a Ukrainian refugee seated beside a row of tents near Donetsk, Ukraine in 2014.
Read the full piece here: 150 years after Geneva Convention, it’s worse than ever for civilians
Photo (L) by Ambika Kandasamy/GlobalPost
Photo (R) by Dmitry Serebryakov AFP/Getty Images
Brutal, unforgiving violence has touched everyone in Malakal, a town that’s seen the worst of South Sudan’s civil war.
Read GlobalPost senior correspondent Tristan McConnell’s dispatch from Malakal, South Sudan.
Photos: Tristan McConnell/South Sudan
"On the seventh day of non-violent protest in Hong Kong, violence erupted," GlobalPost’s Benjamin Carlson writes. “Despite protesters’ fears that a crackdown would come again in the form of tear gas and pepper spray from police, it was ultimately fellow citizens who attacked, tearing down fliers, tents, and encampments, and in some cases beating the students themselves.”
Read the full story here.
Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
GlobalPost’s Tracey Shelton reports from Zakho, Iraq:
On Aug. 3, the Islamic State began a military push to take the Iraqi town of Sinjar and its surrounds. In village after village, men from Yazidi tribes were killed or captured, and women and children kidnapped.
On Aug. 11, fighters entered the village of Kocho. This is the story of what happened next.
GlobalPost’s Tristan McConnell reports from Juba, South Sudan:
“In July 1995, Nedzad Handzic survived the Srebrenica massacre. More than 100 of his relatives, friends, and neighbors did not.
When Serbian troops descended on the Bosnian city, United Nations peacekeepers who had declared it a safe haven stood by as 8,000 people were killed. It was a dark, shameful episode in peacekeeping’s short history, and one the UN has endeavored not to repeat.
But this past December, 40-year-old Handzic felt like it was happening all over — in another conflict in another city on another continent.”
Read the full piece here.
Photo by Tristan McConnell/GlobalPost
JALAWLA FRONT LINES, Iraq — As the world tries to cobble together a coalition of the willing to fight the Islamic State (IS), there’s already an unlikely alliance of front-line forces working to hold back the violent extremists.
Watch GlobalPost’s On Location video by Tracey Shelton:
What the front-line fight against the Islamic State looks like
“One of Prayuth’s fellow junta chieftains insists they saved Thailand from turning into Libya or Syria.”
Songwriter. Public servant. Litter picker-upper. Democracy slayer?
Meet Asia’s newest strongman: Thailand’s General Prayuth Chan-ocha
GlobalPost’s Tracey Shelton reports from Zakho, Iraq:
A little more than a week ago, 23-year-old Assad Haig’s life took a nightmarish turn.
Islamic State (IS) militants captured 63 of his relatives, members of the persecuted Yazidi community, when the extremist fighters overran the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar.
One of the militants notified Haig, who works in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, about the harrowing kidnapping spree by phone.
Only two of Haig’s family members managed to evade capture — his father, who fled to Mount Sinjar, and his 84-year-old grandmother, who was left behind by the militants in the family home with the grim warning that she would be executed if she didn’t convert to Islam.
Here’s her amazing story of survival.
LAKE TURKANA, Kenya — Lake Turkana is the world’s biggest desert lake, a vital source of life for humans and animals alike. But its lifeline is about to be cut by a push for development. Ethiopia, which borders Kenya, is building Africa’s largest hydro-electric power project, damming the Omo River, Lake Turkana’s primary source of water.
VIDEO: Africa’s most ambitious dam project could destroy its biggest desert lake
This man has lost 63 relatives to the Islamic State
“On Friday, Assad Haig received a call from his mother’s phone number. On the other end was a militant of the Islamic State. Haig’s family, the man said, were going to be executed.
Haig is 23 years old. He works in the Kurdish capital of Erbil. He comes from Sinjar, a town that was overrun by Islamic State militants on Aug. 3. Almost every relative he has ever known — 63 in total — was in Islamic State custody at the time he got the call. Most of them are, or were, women and small children,” writes GlobalPost’s Tracey Shelton.
Read the full story here.
Photo by Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost
GlobalPost senior correspondent Simeon Tegel writes from Lima, Peru:
It was a momentous day for Latin America: On March 11, 1990, Augusto Pinochet, the region’s last military dictator, finally handed power to an elected civilian president.
Since then, democracy has put down roots in the Americas to such an extent that few expect a repeat of the bloody coups that frequently punctuated the region’s history.
But now, across Latin America, the military is flexing its muscles once again and taking on more central roles in society, including in ways that experts warn are posing subtler risks to constitutional rule.
Read the full story here: Latin America’s military is making a comeback
Photo by AFP/Getty
NEW DELHI, India — One talks about being beaten up. Another describes how people humiliate her. Many more speak about rape — a common danger facing women of India’s lowest caste.
Meet the dalits, better known in the West as “untouchables” — an Indian caste so denigrated that they suffer explicit discrimination and abuse.
This YouTube channel shows what it’s like to be an ‘untouchable’
Photo by AFP/Getty
BEIRUT, Lebanon — As the Iraqi government struggles to contain a Sunni militant advance on Baghdad and hold the country together, more and more Iraqis are blaming Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki for their country’s increasing resemblance to neighboring Syria.
Maliki isn’t just responsible for the Iraqi army’s poor showing against the Islamic State, critics say: Like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, he’s responsible for the violence itself, for having ordered a military crackdown on a public demonstration, triggering the recent wave of unrest. And now, he’s relying on a military strategy that guarantees high civilian casualties.
Is Iraq’s Maliki taking a page out of Assad’s playbook?
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — If Zoya Kolosovksaya had her way, the national anthem would be ringing out each morning from the central square of this tattered former rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine.
Now that security forces have chased out the armed separatists who’d made this provincial outpost of around 120,000 their nerve center, the 51-year-old resident believes the anti-government hysteria that was recently so prominent here should quickly fade.
“People are capable of getting used to anything,” Kolosovskaya said. “They should get used to the fact that Ukrainian statehood exists.”
In ‘liberated’ eastern Ukraine, the hard work lies ahead
Photos by Dan Peleschuk/GlobalPost