Donweh Bar props up her skeletal frame, wizened beyond her 48 years, with spindly arms wrapped around a twisted cane. Nearby a toddler with protruding belly and ribs eats a few grains of corn meal from her mother's hand. \nDespite a peace deal signed Monday formally ending Liberia's brutal civil war, hundreds of thousand of people -- many nearly starving -- are awaiting food aid before they celebrate. While 60 tonnes of food have been delivered by UN groups since West African peacekeepers and US Marines secured the capital's port last week, aid officials concede it is still far too little. \nBar sleeps on a grass mat elbow to elbow with several thousand other refugees jammed in classrooms of an abandoned campus building of the University of Liberia at Fendell, some 14km east of the capital Monrovia. \nShe cannot remember when she last ate wild leaves and tubers, among the only food. "Two days," she said weakly. "No, maybe two weeks." \nAnother woman, Esther Lorla, fed her wide-eyed, skinny-legged baby girl a few grains of corn meal from her hand, given by a stranger after both went three days without eating. \nThe hunger peaked during weeks of sieges by rebels on the capital of Monrovia last month and early this month. Hundreds of civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands left on the verge of starvation. \nWest African troops that began deploying two weeks ago have held a two-week-old ceasefire, allowing a few ship- and planeloads of food aid to flow into the city again. \nBut in the countryside where undisciplined fighters still hold sway, hundreds of thousands of civilians languish without nourishment -- many of them weak from fleeing fighting numerous times in recent months. \nMany Liberians have pinned their hopes on the Nigerian-led peacekeeping force and on a lasting US military presence. US President George W. Bush, however, announced Monday that US forces would leave the country by October. Fewer than 200 US Marines are now on the ground. \nNegotiators signed an accord Monday in Accra, Ghana, that keeps warring parties out of the interim government's top posts, but allows them to choose the politicians and civic members who will fill them. \nThe accord follows President Charles Taylor's resignation and departure into exile last week. \nElections are to follow in two years for the country, which was Africa's first republic, founded in the 19th century by freed American slaves. \nFew of the displaced residents of Fendell camp expressed interest in news of the peace document. \n"We are hungry. We want food," said Saylee Jarbateh, a 52-year-old mother of five who fled her Monrovia home with her children in June during the first of the sieges in the city. "Without food, how can we have peace? How can we go home?" \nAid efforts by "heroic" relief workers traveling in convoys into the interior have so far been hampered by government and rebel fighters who hold sway in the countryside, targeting the aid groups' food and medicines to sell for profit or weapons, said Jacques Klein, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Liberia special representative. \nYuktar Farah, an official with the UN agency coordinating the international relief effort, described Liberia's food crisis as among the world's most severe in the past decade -- worse than other humanitarian disasters he had witnessed in 1990s Rwanda, Angola and Eritrea. \n"Over half a million people have no access to [clean] water, no access to food," Farah said. "We're not going to wait" to help. \nAid workers of the international charity Action Contre la Faim, or Action Against Hunger, have filled three feeding centers with 450 toddlers under five and their care-givers -- many with distended bellies and skin swollen and wrinkled from vitamin and protein deficiencies. \n"I have never seen this many seriously malnourished children before," said Annie Wright, an aid worker who has spent nine years with the organization.
A German baker has drummed up some much-needed demand during the COVID-19 pandemic by making cakes in the shape of toilet rolls. Faced with a slump in sales as customers stayed away, baker Tim Kortuem got the idea when people complained about a shortage of goods in supermarkets after people started stockpiling. Sales of toilet rolls rose 700 percent this month and last month, grocers say. “We thought: We should just create toilet rolls for eating. And that’s how the idea emerged,” Kortuem told reporters. The marble cake with white fondant icing has been a big hit. Kortuem’s shop, Das Schuerener Backparadies, in the
MORE RESOURCES: The prime minister announced an extra A$1.1bn in health-related spending, of which A$150m would be spent on domestic violence support services Australia yesterday announced a nearly US$100 million boost in funding to tackle domestic violence after support services reported a spike in coronavirus-related family abuse. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a 75 percent surge in Google searches for help during the ongoing nationwide shutdown of non-essential services to curb the spread of COVID-19. Women’s Safety, a domestic violence charity in Australia’s most populous New South Wales state, has reported that more than 40 percent of workers had seen an increase in client numbers, with more than one-third of cases directly linked to the virus outbreak. In neighboring Victoria, women’s support
RICKSHAW EPIC: Two men on a cycle rickshaw said that they were taking over pedaling when the other became exhausted on their journey, which they said was one-way With India locked down over COVID-19 and no way to earn money, Dilipji Thakor faces a grim choice: either walk home or die hungry. Thakor is among millions of migrant workers left jobless and penniless by the full shutdown of the country on Wednesday that has sparked an exodus from major cities. Thousands are walking long distances back to their home villages after all transport was stopped except for essential services as authorities struggle to contain the outbreak, which has infected more than 700 people in India. Huge numbers had crammed onto trains and buses before the country of 1.3 billion people
A former child bride who spent 19 years in prison for a murder she did not commit is to sue the Pakistani authorities in an effort to persuade the country to help other victims of miscarriages of justice. Rani Bibi was just 14 when she was convicted, alongside her father, brother and cousin, of the murder of her husband and spent the next two decades sweeping the floors of an overcrowded Pakistan prison. Last year a Lahore High Court judge acquitted her of all charges, saying that she “was left to languish in the jail solely due to [the] lackluster attitude of