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Forced Migration Review. 2004 Sep; (21):34-36.Afghanistan has developed a national IDP plan but, without resources, is failing to assist those who comprise three-quarters of the country's remaining IDP population - the Kuchi nomads. In early 2004 it seemed that ethnic-based persecution and drought - the two main drivers of internal displacement in Afghanistan - had abated. Due to significant levels of return (and a stricter redefinition of what makes somebody an IDP rather than an economic migrant) an internally displaced population that had peaked at over one million in 2001 had been reduced to under 200,000. However, finding solutions for the remaining displaced population is fraught with complex obstacles. As the attention of the international community moves away from humanitarian assistance to development, the needs of IDPs are no longer a priority. (excerpt)
NEDERLANDS TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR GENEESKUNDE.. 1998 Aug 1; 142(31):1781-5.South Sudan has 5 million inhabitants and has been fighting a war of independence with North Sudan since 1959. The hostilities have totally disrupted the society and its government. In this region, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are cooperating in relief activities in Operation Life Line, providing assistance to semi-nomadic pastoral tribes such as the Nuers and the Dinkas. The NGO Doctors Without Borders assisted in fighting a major epidemic of kala azar in the late 1980s; it cost some 200,000 lives, half of the Nuers' total population. The report of these doctors flying to different spots in the South of the country recounted how medical consultations were carried out under trees where possible. Kala azar was treated with ampules of Pentostam, and brucellosis patients were picked from the waiting group. Tuberculosis, whose indications are heavy coughing and expectoration, was also rampant. The abscess of a woman caused by a human bite was treated under local anesthesia with ketamine. The team had examined 70 patients by midday. In Duar, a site where Doctors Without Borders has treated 20,000 kala azar patients, basic health care and vaccinations were performed. In a marshy region, the Dinkas allow their livestock to graze, and there is a small but acceptable clinic in this location to which 3 patients with cerebral malaria were admitted by noon. There were also many TB patients. The doctors prescribed routine medications before conducting further examinations.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION. 1984 Summer; 11(2):167-9.People living in the area just south of the Sahara Desert in Africa face their 3rd major drought since 1900. This drought brings about famine. Drought and famine are only manifestations of more profound problems: soil erosion and degradation. They diminish land productivity which aggravates the population's poverty. Yet soil erosion and degradation occur due to an expanding population. Continued pressures on the land and soil degradation results in desertification. The UN Environment Programme's Assessment of the Status and Trend of Desertification shows that between 1978-84 desertification spread. Expanding deserts now endanger 35% of the world's land and 20% of the population. In the thorn bush savanna zone, most people are subsistence farmers or herdsmen and rely on the soils, forests, and rangelands. Even though the mean population density in the Sahel is low, it is overpopulated since people concentrate in areas where water is available. These areas tend to be cities where near or total deforestation has already occurred. Between 1959-84, the population in the Sahel doubled so farmers have extended cultivation into marginal areas which are vulnerable to desertification. The livestock populations have also grown tremendously resulting in overgrazing and deforestation. People must cook their food which involves cutting down trees for fuelwood. Mismanagement of the land is the key cause for desertification, but the growing poor populations have no choice but to eke out an existence on increasingly marginal lands. Long fallow periods would allow the land to regain its fertility, but with the ever-increasing population this is almost impossible. Humans caused desertification. We can improve land use and farming methods to stop it.