“Almost a quarter of a billion people moved out of slum conditions in the past decade,” but the number of people living in shantytowns around the world “increased by 55 million to 827.6 million as population growth and migration from the countryside outstripped the effect of upward mobility in cities,” according to a U.N. Habitat report, released Friday, in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the five-day World Urban Forum “on the state of the world’s cities,” Reuters reports (3/19).
Water and Sanitation
Former U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are visiting Haiti on Monday “to spotlight the dramatic need ahead of a critical March 31 U.N. donors conference in New York, where Haitian officials will ask for $11.5 billion in reconstruction help,” the Associated Press/New York Times reports. “It is the first joint visit to the impoverished Caribbean nation for the two former leaders, who were tasked by President Barack Obama with leading the U.S. fundraising effort” after the January 12 earthquake according to the news service.
In an interview with Reuters, Haitian President Rene Preval on Tuesday said that the U.S. State Department Human Rights report, which says corruption is “widespread in all â€¦ levels of government” in Haiti, is “arrogant” and that Haiti should have the final say in approving plans to rebuild the country after the January earthquake, the news agency reports.
A report released Monday by the WHO and UNICEF documents mixed progress in improving drinking water and sanitation conditions worldwide, VOA News reports (Schlein, 3/15). “The report â€“ presenting the latest data on improved sources of sanitation and drinking water in 209 countries or territories â€“ is aimed at assisting policy-makers, donors, government and non-governmental agencies decide what needs to be done,” U.N. News Centre writes (3/15).
Also In Global Health News: WFP In Somalia; Ugandans Displaced By Landslides; Polio Vaccination Campaign In Nigeria; Famine In Chad
Nearly 50% Of Food Aid Sent To Somalia Never Makes It To People In Need “As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff members, according to a new Security…
“Chile launched a hepatitis and tetanus vaccination campaign Friday and doctors warned of outbreaks of diarrhea and infection among thousands of people displaced by the earthquake and the tsunami that heavily damaged or destroyed 36 hospitals and made garbage dumps of coastal towns and cities,” the Associated Press reports. So far, no dysentery outbreaks or other communicable diseases had been reported, Chile’s health ministry said, adding that it believed it had adequate amounts of tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations.
Haitian President Rene Preval is expected to meet with President Barack Obama Wednesday in the U.S. to ask for “billions of dollars to rebuild” Haiti, Agence France-Presse reports. The White House said that Obama will emphasize that the U.S. is a “friend and partner” to Haiti and discuss ways the international community could aid Haiti (Burleigh, 3/7).
During a sanitation conference being held in Kampala, Uganda, this week, “experts have urged regional countries to prioritize programs aimed at increasing access to safe water and sanitation” to move them closer to reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target in 2015, New Times/allAfrica.com reports. “According to Water Aid, an international NGO, one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water while 2.4 billion lack adequate sanitation,” the news service writes.
WHO Bulletin Examines Communicable Diseases In Southeast Asia The WHO’s March Bulletin is a special themed issue focusingÂ on communicable diseases in Southeast Asia. The publication addresses tuberculosis, cholera, neglected tropical diseases and family planning in the region (March 2010). Ahead Of International Women’s Day, Lancet Editorial Calls For Increased Investment…
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday that the country has enough food and fuel to meet citizens’ needs, Dow Jones Newswires reports. She said the government has adequate resources to enable business recovery and to help rebuild houses, and she wants the private sector to play a major role in the rebuilding effort. “Soon it will be the time to get back on our feet and entrepreneurs will be up to the challenge,” she said, according to the news service.