Ebb and flow in flood relief – Asia Times

LARKANA – It is 40 degrees celsius in the mid-afternoon. Buffalo submerge themselves in floodwaters covering farmland to cool off. Only their heads are above water as they snort and shake to dismiss the morass of flies buzzing around. For many among the estimated 6 million people now homeless by the floods in Pakistan, such comfort remains elusive. Many are still without basic shelter and rest under trees, under their carts, and beneath makeshift canopies fashioned from beds, blankets and whatever bits of timber or trees they can find

Narcotics and drought rob babies of food – The Washington Times

DIRE DAWA, Ethiopia — When drought and food shortages hit, it is the very young who suffer first, and most. Weighing only 10 pounds, Ayaan is among nearly 100,000 Ethiopian children whose lives are at risk. Just four days before her first birthday, she is lighter than an average 3-month-old baby. A clinic at Kersi, about 15 miles outside Ethiopia’s second city Dire Dawa, has seen an increasing number of such cases in recent weeks, as have locations across the south and west of the country. Much of the land is used to grow the cash-crop narcotic known as khat. In more than a dozen villages outside the city, this reporter witnessed groups of mainly young men, but also some women, getting high in the shade on the chewed leaves. Khat is an appetite suppressant, and local culture means that children often eat only after adults. As the doctor at the Kersi clinic told The Washington Times, “if parents are on khat, the whole family goes hungry.”