From the escalating violence in Gaza and the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, to the growing influx of unaccompanied migrant minors entering the US and the rise of the Super Moon, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.
"Children are especially vulnerable."
Thousands of people in South Sudan are being put at risk by a cholera outbreak, says international aid group Save the Children. Cholera has infected 2,600 people in 9 of the the country’s 10 states, according to the group, leaving 60 dead since cases were first reported in May.
“Save the Children’s feeding clinics are dealing with an influx of severely malnourished children. We urgently need to further funds to provide families with life-saving food supplements,” said Save the Children’s Country Director Pete Walsh in a statement Friday.
The cholera outbreak is tied to an ongoing conflict in the country. South Sudan is home to a long-standing civil war, with the most recent violence escalating in December after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy of attempting to launch a coup.
Aid agencies are struggling to receive needed funding even as the fighting has pushed the country to famine. Save the Children says the seven major international aid agencies operating in the country face closure, currently short an excess of $92 million.
“We are seeing a lot of cases of malnutrition at our treatment centers,” Save the Children Director Francine Uenuma tells TIME. “Children are especially vulnerable.”
Save the Children is working closely with local treatment centers, hoping to develop assessment plans and prevention education. However, with the rainy season approaching, conditions are only expected to deteriorate further. Walsh says that flooded roads will only slow down the delivery of life-saving drugs.
Down and out in Paris and London? Try spending a year in the world's biggest cost sinks, Venezuela, Angola or South Sudan
A new ranking of the world’s most expensive cities for expats knocked the usual candidates — New York, Tokyo and London — off of the list. The true epicenters of sticker shock were Venezuela, Angola and South Sudan.
Global staffing firm ECA International surveyed prices in 440 cities, focusing on items that expats were most likely to buy on a daily basis, including groceries, clothing and bar tabs. The cities that topped the list tended to fall in one of two areas: Wealthy swathes of Scandinavia and economies coming apart at the seams.
Caracas, Venezuela topped the list after runaway inflation hurdled the city from 32nd place to 1st in one year. Surveyors found price levels 40% above the second costliest city: Oslo, Norway. Luanda, Angola came in third partly due to import tariffs that have hiked the price for a half-liter tub of vanilla ice cream to $31. Rounding out the list was Juba, South Sudan, where a 90 kilometer drive along one of the only continuous roads to the outside world can take upwards of 24 hours to navigate, according to the World Bank.
The list offers a stark reminder that outside of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, the real sticker shock tends to hit the people who can least afford it.
|Global Rank 2014||Country||City|
Source: ECA International
From the Santa Barbara drive-by shootings and Ukrainian presidential elections, to martial law in Thailand and Kim and Kanye’s wedding extravaganza, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.
The death sentence for a pregnant Sudanese woman who refuses to renounce her Christian faith shows that the government's depravity extends far beyond religion and deep into the heart of humanity.
The world was shaken by the news Thursday that a pregnant woman was sentenced to death for apostasy. Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is eight months pregnant, and because she will not renounce her Christian faith, she will be hanged soon after she gives birth. In Sudan, children must be raised the religion of their father. The government claims that because Ibrahim’s father was a Muslim, she must remain so and her marriage to a Christian man is invalid.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim’s story resonates with everything I’ve experienced in my 10 years of working in Sudan and South Sudan. Ibrahim’s story reminds me of a dear friend of mine, Mary Achai, whose Muslim slave master set her on fire, along with three of her children, because she ran away when she learned that he planned to sell her 10-year-old daughter as a virgin bride. Although Mary is permanently marred inside and out, she survived the fire. Her 10-year-old daughter, toddler and nursing baby did not.
Rightly so, much emphasis is being given to the fact that Ibrahim’s sentence of death is in retaliation of her choice to be Christian. However, fundamentally, the crisis in Sudan is not one of religion but rather a complete disregard for the dignity of life, especially female life.
I know Muslim women in South Sudan who the Islamic Janjaweed raped with sticks as they mocked, “This is so you cannot make black babies.” I know men who’ve been beaten, had their teeth knocked out and forced to swallow them and had limbs hacked off as they watched their wives and children dragged behind the tail of a horse into slavery because their skin was black instead of the beautiful bronze color of their Arab-descendant fellow countrymen. I know a beautiful young schoolteacher whose father forced her to leave her job to marry a man who already had four wives so that he could garner a few more cows. I’ve sat through bomb blitzes targeted at the indigenous people of the Nuba Mountains, which is largely Islamic, simply because they are black and yet dare to proclaim their right to life, liberty and the use of their homeland’s natural resources.
The depravity of the Sudanese government extends far beyond religion and deep into the heart of humanity. A people will not truly have freedom of religion unless it is built upon a foundation of the sanctity of life.
I find myself cheering for Ibrahim as a thundercloud of hope, proclaiming “Life is worth dying for.” Mohamed Jar Elnabi, her attorney, echoes the sonorous claps of Ibrahim’s life as he endures death threats, social castigation, and financial hardship for defending her.
From half a world away, it is tempting to turn our faces away from Ibrahim and Elnabi, but in so doing we would be turning our backs upon our own human dignity. There may be no financial incentive to pursue the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president who sets the pace for this human debasement and who the International Criminal Court has indicted for war crimes against the indigenous people of Sudan; in fact, it would cost us something. But I find myself wondering what cost we pay by not demanding the pursuit of justice beyond our political or personal gain.
To date, the embassies of Britain, the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands have called on Sudan to respect Ibrahim’s right to change her faith. Isn’t this woman’s life, and the principle for which she is willing to lay it down, worth more than a “call”?
Kimberly L. Smith is the president and co-founder of Make Way Partners, the only indigenously operated relief organization providing orphan care and anti-trafficking efforts in the Sudan and South Sudan. Smith has been serving alongside the Sudanese people for 10 years. Make Way Partners currently provides complete care to 1,100 orphans and employs 300 Sudanese, many of whom are former victims of sex trafficking. Smith is also the author of the award-winning book Passport through Darkness, which chronicles much of her experience in the Sudans. For more information on Kimberly L. Smith and Make Way Partners, please visit www.makewaypartners.org.
A U.N. report found "reasonable grounds to believe" that both rebels and the government committed crimes against humanity
The U.N. on Thursday accused both the government and the rebels in South Sudan of human-rights abuses and suggested they committed crimes against humanity.
In a 62-page report based largely on more than 900 interviews with eyewitnesses and victims, the U.N. found both sides committed rape, mass killings and torture, often targeting civilians along ethnic lines.
“In light of the widespread and systematic nature of many of the attacks, and information suggesting coordination and planning, there are also reasonable grounds to believe that the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other acts of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, and imprisonment have occurred,” the report found.
Fighting broke out in December in the world’s newest nation between government troops under President Salva Kiir and rebel fighters backing Kiir’s former deputy, Riek Machar. The conflict has exasperated underlying ethnic tensions between Kiir’s Dinka tribe and Machar’s Nuer, and the U.N. said in the report that thousands of civilians have likely been killed.
Kiir and Machar are expected to meet Friday in Ethiopia to try to negotiate an end to nearly five months of fighting.
On Tuesday, the Obama Administration imposed economic sanctions targeting a top official from each side in an effort to pressure both sides to the negotiating table.
1 million could be displaced by June
The United Nations and aid agencies in South Sudan jointly appealed on Monday for $1.27 billion in aid to get them through June as the seven-week crisis threatens to worsen.
A response plan made public on Monday detailed the quickly declining humanitarian situation around the country, which won independence in July 2011. At least 1,000 people have been killed since violence broke out on Dec. 15 and another 865,000 have been uprooted. The report says that figure could hit one million by June.
“The Crisis Response Plan for #SouthSudan aims to: save lives, alleviate suffering, and pre-position relief before heavy rains hinder access,” tweeted Toby Lanzer, the U.N. assistant secretary-general who is currently in Juba, the capital, as a development and humanitarian coordinator.
Aid workers have reached 300,000 people affected by the fighting, but up to seven million are now estimated to be at some risk of food insecurity. Some of the humanitarian groups participating in the call for donations include the U.N. refugee agency, International Organization for Migration and World Food Programme, among others.
Representatives for President Salva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar agreed to a ceasefire in Ethiopia on Jan. 23 but both sides have accused the other of breaking it.
Any sanctions, if approved, aren't likely to intentionally harm its economy
U.S. officials may impose targeted sanctions against South Sudan in response to its leadership’s failure to end a political crisis that has left thousands dead and ramped up fears of an all-out ethnic war.
Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reports that the sanctions would likely focus on individuals or groups seen as having committed atrocities or impeding international efforts to broker peace, rather than targeting the country’s economy. “It’s a tool that has been discussed,” two sources confirmed to the news agency, but said that no decision had yet been made.
Fighting broke out in the world’s youngest country on Dec. 15 after President Salva Kiir said there had been an attempted coup by his ex-deputy Riek Machar. On Thursday, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the assistant secretary of state for Africa, told a Senate committee “we’ve not seen any evidence that this was a coup attempt, but it certainly was the result of a huge political rift.” As pre-condition for a ceasefire, Machar has mandated the 11 senior politicians being held as suspected plotters must be released. Kiir says they must be tried for conspiracy to overthrow the government.
Aid groups have warned that the estimated death toll of the worsening crisis may be severely understated. At least 1,000 were confirmed dead after the initial battles in December, but the International Crisis Group claimed this week that up to 10,000 may have been killed. More than 200,000 people have been displaced by the conflict and health experts fear of epidemics if the security situation doesn’t improve.
Nearly a month after fighting erupted in the capital, Juba, pushing nearly 200,000 people from their homes, the political power struggle between loyalists of President Salva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar rests on a knife’s edge, threatening to spiral into a deadly ethnic conflict. The world welcomed South Sudan’s birth in July 2011, but if thousands of peacekeepers and pressure from superpowers can’t influence a truce at the negotiating table in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it may end up lamenting its tragic collapse.
- Andrew Katz