Africa








BeninVia BBC News:

The UN refugee agency is to start an emergency airlift of tents to the West African nation of Benin this week, amid the worst flooding there in decades.

Some 3,000 tents will be flown in from Denmark to provide shelter for some of the estimated 680,000 people affected.

Two-thirds of Benin has suffered from months of heavy rain, and about 800 cases of cholera have been reported.

It is the worst flooding to hit the country — one of the poorest in the world — since 1963.

Areas previously thought not to be vulnerable to flooding have been devastated and villages wiped out.

“There are huge areas that are covered in water so people are living on the tops of their houses, because people try to stay near their homes,” Helen Kawkins of the Care aid agency told the BBC.




Alan Mascarenhas writes on Newsweek:

It takes a lot to snap people out of apathy about Africa’s problems. But in the wake of Live Aid and Save Darfur, a new cause stands on the cusp of going mainstream. It’s the push to make major electronics companies (manufacturers of cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and cameras) disclose whether they use “conflict minerals” — the rare metals that finance civil wars and militia atrocities, most notably in Congo.

The issue of ethical sourcing has long galvanized human-rights groups. In Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone, the notorious trade in “blood diamonds” helped fund rebel insurgencies. In Guinea, bauxite sustains a repressive military junta. And fair-labor groups have spent decades documenting the foreign sweatshops that sometimes supply American clothing stores. Yet Congo raises especially disturbing issues for famous tech brand names that fancy themselves responsible corporate citizens.

A key mover behind the Congo campaign is the anti-genocide Enough Project: witness its clever spoof of the famous Apple commercial.


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