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The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the throes of its worst-ever Ebola outbreak, with more than 420 cases in the country’s volatile east, and a mortality rate of just under 60 percent. But this outbreak — the nation’s tenth known Ebola epidemic — is unusual because more than 60 percent of patients are women.
Among them is Baby Benedicte. Her short life has already been unimaginably difficult.
At one month old, she is underweight, at 2.9 kilograms. And she is alone. Her mother had Ebola, and died giving birth to her. She’s spent the last three weeks of her life in a plastic isolation cube, cut off from most human contact. She developed a fever at eight days old and was transferred to this hospital in Beni, a town of some half-million people in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
More than 400 people have been diagnosed with Ebola here since the beginning of August, and more than half of them have died in a nation the size of Western Europe that struggles with insecurity and a lack of the most basic infrastructure and services. That makes this the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history, after the hemorrhagic fever killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.
This is 10th outbreak to strike the vast country since 1976, when Ebola was first identified in Congo. And this particular outbreak is further complicated by a simmering civil conflict that has plagued this region for more than two decades.
Guido Cornale, UNICEF’s coordinator in the region, says the scope of this outbreak is clear.
“It has become the worst outbreak in Congo, this is not a mystery,” he said.
What is mysterious, however, is the demographics of this outbreak. This time, more than 60 percent of cases are women, says the government’s regional health coordinator, Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe.
“All the analyses show that this epidemic is feminized. Figures like this are alarming. It’s true that the female cases are more numerous than the male cases,” he said.
Bathe declined to predict when the outbreak might end, though international officials have said it may last another six months. Epidemiologists are still studying why this epidemic is so skewed toward women and children, Cornale said.
“So now we can only guess. And one of the guesses is that woman are the caretakers of sick people at home. So if a family member got sick, who is taking care of him or her? Normally, a woman,” he said.
Or a nurse. Many of those affected are health workers, who are on the front line of battling this epidemic. Nurse Guilaine Mulindwa Masika, spent 16 days in care after a patient transmitted the virus to her. She says it was the fight of her life.
“The pain was enormous, the pain was constant,” she said. “The headache, the diarrhea, the vomiting, and the weakness — it was very, very bad.”
For the afflicted, the road to recovery is long and lonely. Masika and her cured colleagues face weeks of leave from work to ensure the risk of infection is gone. In the main hospital in the city of Beni, families who have recovered live together in a large white tent, kept four meters from human contact by a bright orange plastic cordon. They yell hello at their caretakers, who must don protective gear if they want to get any closer.
And for Baby Benedicte, who is tended to constantly by a nurse covered head to toe in protective gear, the future is uncertain. Medical workers aren’t entirely sure where her father is, or if he is going to come for her.
Also Read: Congo Start Trials For Drugs Against Ebola
She sleeps most of the day, the nurse says, untroubled by the goings-on around her. Meanwhile, the death toll rises. (VOA)
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. Many strays lose this battle trying to find food and warmth under a scrap of clothing or caged up in the corner of streets. The Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF), a Delhi-based animal welfare organisation, recently held a Mega Stray Feeding Drive in Lajpat Nagar with the goal of feeding all of the area's stray animals. These wonderful Samaritans come from all around Delhi-NCR with one goal in mind: to rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need.
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. | Af.Mil
PWF has previously staged feeding drives in Netaji Subhash Place, Connaught Place, North Campus, Delhi University, and other locations throughout the city. A group of 70 volunteers fed over 100 stray dogs in the vicinity and provided water in earthen bowls. To raise awareness about the issue of stray animals, volunteers talked with businesses, local authorities, customers, and hawkers. The actions of this group of young animal advocates were recognised and supported.
"Donations come in from all around the world." To save strays and pay for their treatment, we rely completely on donations. "Every day, our organisation feeds roughly 1000 stray dogs," says Arpit Mathur, the organisation's founder. "Throughout the day, we receive SOS calls. We can only accomplish so much with our limited staff and resources. We hope that more young people, like us, would join us in this cause." In Rohini, the NGO also maintains a recovery centre. Currently, the recovery centre accommodates roughly 40 animals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, and a few unusual birds.
To rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need is the goal of these people. | Photo by Camilo Fierro on Unsplash
PWF seeks to discover and feed all stray animals in need, as well as provide them with food, care, affection, and medical treatment, and organise Mega Stray Feeding Drives to raise awareness and adoption. "We discover stray animals, pet them, and feed them - no one deserves to be hungry," Mathur adds. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: adopt, feed, rescue, goal, Delhi-NCR, Perroayuda Welfare Foundation, Winter, stray animals, Help, Initiative, volunteer)
Indonesian lawmakers passed a law on the relocation of the nation's capital to the island of Kalimantan, which shares borders with Malaysia and Brunei, from the most populated island of Java. The move is a step forward in one of the most ambitious projects initiated by the country's President Joko Widodo, Xinhua news agency reported. Some former presidents had floated ideas of relocating the capital city in the past. The president, widely known as Jokowi, three years ago vowed to relocate the capital city to the province of East Kalimantan due to a number of issues like high population density and land subsidence in Jakarta which is home to more than 10 million people.
Indonesian lawmakers passed a law on the relocation of the nation's capital. Aditya Joshi / Unsplash
Nusantara, which the new capital is called, will be built in two districts in East Kalimantan -- Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara. It is set to occupy about 256,000 hectares of land. The name of Nusantara, which can be translated as an archipelago in English, was chosen by President Jokowi, Minister for National Development Planning Suharso Monoarfa has said. Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is home to some 270 million people, consisting of about 17,000 islands. "The national capital has a central function and serves as a symbol of a country to show the identity of the nation and state," Minister Monoarfa explained during a meeting with lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Also Read : Hinduism in Indonesia
The ground-breaking of the construction project that is slated to cost $32 billion was initially expected to be conducted in August 2020, but the Covid pandemic has forced the government to put it on hold. Some of the projects on the construction of the new capital will be carried out by public-private partnerships, and the early stage of the relocation will begin this year and is expected to end in 2024. At this stage, the government will build a presidential palace, parliament buildings, and a housing complex in the primary zone. The move of civil servants at the early stage must be completed before August 16, 2024.
The construction project is slated to cost $32 billion.Sulthan Auliya / Unsplash
Nusantara will serve as the centre of government, while Jakarta would remain the business and economic centre of Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy. A day before the lawmakers passed the bill, President Jokowi stressed that that new capital is not only about physically relocating the offices of government institutions, but also "building a new smart city." It has been reported that Nusantara will be headed by an authority chief appointed by the president and its level of position is equal to a minister. Several former government officials which will likely become the chief include Jakarta's former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and former minister for research and technology Bambang Brodjonegoro. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Indonesia, Parliament, law, relocate, capital, Nusantara, Jakarta, government, Kalimantan, President, country, people, meeting, construction, palace, buildings, housing, officials.)
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By Olivia Sarkar
Everyone has a special affinity with their pets. Furry friends are there for you in good times and bad, and they know how to cheer you up. After a hard day's work there's nothing like coming home to your own bundle of joy. Here's a round up of some celebrities who can't do without their pets:
Shraddha Kapoor's pet, Shyloh, is her best buddy. Kapoor is frequently spotted spending peaceful time with her all-time bestie.
Shraddha is frequently spotted spending peaceful time with her all-time bestie. | IANS
Pulkit Samrat's devotion to his dog Drogo has resulted in an Instagram account especially for the adorable canine. We can't get enough of how adorable these two are.
Pulkit Samrat's devotion to his dog Drogo has resulted in an Instagram account especially for the adorable canine. | IANS.
Disha Patani is an animal lover and she has not one, not two but four pets. Besides her dance routines, Patani frequently posts images of Bella, Jasmine, Goku, and Keety on social media. The actress also has an Instagram account dedicated to pictures of her pets.
Disha Patani is an animal lover and she has not one, not two but four pets. | IANS
Dude is very close to Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma's heart. The actress has uploaded numerous photos of herself spending quality time with him.
Dude is very close to Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma's heart | IANS.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Priyanka Chopra has a series on social media titled 'Diaries of Diana'. After she tied the knot, she and Nick have adopted Gino and Panda, to complete the family.
After she tied the knot, she and Nick have adopted Gino and Panda, to complete the family. | IANS
Alia Bhatt adores cats. The actress continues to express her affection for her cats by posting photographs of them on Instagram. She has a cat named Edward, who is her all time favourite companion.
She has a cat named Edward, who is her all time favourite companion. | IANS
Actress Kriti Sanon has Disco and Phoebe. The actress keeps sharing videos and images of her furry friends often cuddling or playing with her.
The actress keeps sharing videos and images of her furry friends often cuddling or playing with her. | IANS
Genelia Deshmukh and Riteish Deshmukh
Genelia and Riteish Deshmukh are a power couple, but its only a party when their pooch is in their Instagram-worthy frame.
Genelia and Riteish Deshmukh are a power couple, but its only a party when their pooch is in their Instagram-worthy frame. | IANS
(Keywords: Genelia Deshmukh, Riteish Deshmukh, Kriti Sanon, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Anushka Sharma, Disha Patani, Pulkit Samrat)