brad brace contemporary culture scrapbook

February 3, 2017

Largest DP Camps in the World


The legacies of today’s conflicts can be seen in the enormous populations of the world’s largest displaced persons’ camps. For most these camps are far from a temporary home. With scarce local resources, the majority of the camps depend on external aid for survival.

10. Tamil Nadu State, India
An estimated 66,700 Sri Lankans currently reside in this refugee camp. Another 34,000 live outside of the camp.

9. Nyarugusu, Tanzania
This camp is home to an estimated 68,197 refugees. Nearly two-thirds are children between the ages 10-24. Almost all of them were born in the camp or became a refugee at a very young age. The majority of the refugees are Burundians and Congolese.

8. Nakivale, Uganda
As one of Africa’s oldest and largest refugee camps, Nakivale currently houses 68,996 people. Many of the residents fled the violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is unlikely the refugees will be able to return home in the near future.

7. Yida, South Sudan
This refugee camp is home to 70,736 registered individuals. After a sharp increase in registrations in February, the number of new registrations is slowly decreasing.

6. Mbera, Mauritania
UNHCR is predicting there to be 75,261 residents in this camp by December 2014. The majority of the refugees are from Mali, but many come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cote d’Ivoire, as well. It is expected the influx of Malian refugees will slowly stabilize. The situation in Mali still remains delicate and will not allow for large-scale returns.

5. Al Zaatari, Jordan
UNHCR reports there are 101,402 refugees currently in the camp and that number has been decreasing since February 2014. The majority of the refugees are Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. The camp has faced several violent protests since it opened two years ago, mainly due to poor living conditions.

4. Jabalia, Gaza Strip
The largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps, Jabalia is home to 110,000 registered refugees who fled from southern Palestine. The camp faces extreme unemployment, as well as a contaminated water supply and electricity cuts.

3. Kakuma, Kenya
This refugee camp has been home to South Sudan refugees since 1992. The ongoing violence in South Sudan has prompted 20,000 people to flee to Kenya as of February 2014. Today, 124,814 refugees from 15 nationalities live in Kakuma. The camp is significantly over capacity and suffers from lack of resources.

2. Dollo Ado, Ethiopia
This camp holds 201,123 registered Somali refugees. The population of this refugee camp has been steadily increasing since March 2013 due to drought and famine in Somalia.

1. Dadaab, Kenya
UNHCR estimates that in December 2014 there will be 496,130 refugees in the camp from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and various other places. They also estimate there to be 83, 660 people seeking asylum from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and South Sudan

June 27, 2014

World Cup

In Sao Paulo’s poor north zone, in the neighborhood of Tucuruvi, teams of city workers knock on doors, warning people to take pets and small children out of the area.

Quickly after, men in hazmat suits with metal cylinders strapped to their backs start spraying the street, and some of the interiors of the homes, with powerful pesticides. This is the front line of the war on dengue fever in Brazil’s largest city.

“This year, dengue transmission has been much more significant in Sao Paulo than in other years,” says Nancy Marcal Bastos de Souza, a biologist who works with the city authorities. “We spray neighborhoods where we have a confirmed case of someone contracting dengue so we know there are dengue-carrying mosquitoes there,” she says.

Only two weeks shy of the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, which begins June 12, there’s concern that international visitors could get infected and then bring the disease back to their home nations.

Already, it seems like everything that can go wrong is going wrong. There have been protests and strikes, and now government officials, like those in Paraguay, are warning their citizens about the dengue epidemic sweeping Brazil.

Dengue fever has long been a problem in Brazil. The country has more recorded cases than any other in the world‚ some 1 million on average each year.

The infection is carried by female mosquitoes, who bite during the day and who pass on the dengue virus to their female offspring. Symptoms include fever, aching joints and headaches. There is no treatment or vaccine, and a rarer form of the disease ‚ dengue hemorrhagic fever ‚ can be fatal. The disease is caused by four different types of the dengue virus, all of which are active in Brazil. But the one that has everyone most worried is called Type 4, which has only recently arrived in the region. So why does Brazil have such a big problem with dengue?

Biologists say one of the reasons is poor water infrastructure.

“People have to put water in a space close to their homes, and there, the mosquitoes come and breed,” says Celso Granato, head of infectious diseases at the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

Mosquito eggs can survive up to a year as well, so he says the key to combating dengue is persistence. That means using a combination of controls, such as spraying even when there aren’t that many cases, as the infection comes in waves.

But the local governments in Brazil don’t do that, says Granato. “What does the public administrator here think?” he asks. “This year we didn’t have dengue so don’t worry about next year.” Politicians, he adds, are usually short-sighted.

A new project in the Brazilian state of Bahia with genetically modified mosquitoes has shown early promise but is still in the test phase.

So there’s been little to stop the sudden spike in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city with a population of 20 million. With more than 6,000 cases so far in the city alone ‚ and almost 60,000 in the surrounding state ‚ hospitals are overrun.

Granato says once dengue arrives somewhere, it’s there to stay.

Antonio Rios Sobrinho, a lawyer in his 70s, says he began to feel sick on a Friday. He went home early from work and quickly got worse. He was rushed to the hospital where, after a lengthy period, he was diagnosed with dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Sobrinho says he’s been living in his neighborhood for 60 years and there had never been a single case of dengue. In fact, dengue was generally rare in Sao Paulo. But this year, just on his street, 15 people came down with the infection.

He says he was lucky to survive. This year was bad, but he fears next year will be worse.

Housing Crisis Worsens Urban Inequality in Pacific Islands

Filed under: climate change,housing,vanuatu — admin @ 3:01 pm

PORT VILA, Jun 10 2014 (GIP) – Rapid migration to cities and towns, driven by scarce public services and jobs in rural areas, is producing a profound social shift in Pacific Island countries, where agrarian life has dominated for generations. But the urban dream remains elusive as a severe lack of housing forces many into sprawling, poorly-serviced informal settlements.

In the southwest Pacific Island state of Vanuatu, which has a population of 247,262, the urban growth rate is four percent, the second highest in the region after the Solomon Islands.

On the outskirts of the capital, Port Vila, with a population of 44,000, is Freswota, comprising six areas known as Freswota 1-6, which are home to an estimated 8,000 people.

Chief Maki Massing, originally from west Ambrym Island in the nation’s northern provinces, is a widower with six children who has lived in Freswota 4 for 30 years.

“If you don’t find work, you must go back to your island, because Port Vila is a very expensive town.” — Chief Maki Massing, community leader in Freswota As the late afternoon sun fades, light bulbs strung across the front yard of his compound illuminate the house Massing built of cement and corrugated iron. Colourful lengths of fabric curtain the doorways. Early evening bustle fills the nearby street as he tells me why he left his rural village of Lalinda.

“My children came to Port Vila for school,” he explained. “As my income in the village from growing copra was not very good, I came here to find work so I can pay the school fees.”

Massing is fortunate to have landed a job in the formal sector. After working in a bank for 15 years, he joined the state ministry of health, where he has been employed since 1992.

The circumstances of most people in Freswota vary from permanent employment to informal labour (with people taking jobs as market vendors selling fresh produce) to unemployment, but they share one commonality: low incomes and poor living conditions.

Frank William at the Port Vila Municipality Council told GIP that land in the capital has not yet been zoned for specific development uses, such as residential or commercial, which has hindered urban planning progress. “Some public housing is available for people who come to Port Vila to work,” he said, “but people on low incomes are still unable to afford them.”

The average cost of a basic decent house lies somewhere in the range of 31,600-52,700 dollars, which is out of reach for many local residents living on the minimum monthly wage of roughly 316 dollars. The National Housing Corporation, which is under-resourced, sells land without housing development to residents in Freswota 3-6.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports that 16.8 percent of government workers and 17.1 percent of private sector employees in Port Vila live below the poverty line.

“For me, it’s too expensive because I must also pay for water, electricity, transport and school fees,” Massing said. Even with a government job, he has to earn extra money by renting out two small rooms in his house.

Throughout the Pacific Islands the scale of rural to urban migration dramatically outpaces job growth, availability of land and state capacity to expand housing and public services.

Thirty-five percent of all Pacific Islanders, in a region with a population of 10 million, now live in towns and cities. In Vanuatu, 25 percent of the national population are urban residents and this is predicted to rise to 38 percent by 2030. Lack of decent housing is worsening urban poverty, with 24 percent of all metropolitan residents in the Pacific Islands inhabiting slums. In Port Vila, one-third of children are impacted by poverty, which is 20 percent higher than the national average, reports the Pacific Islands Forum.

Leias Cullwick, executive director of the Vanuatu National Council of Women, claims that a low minimum wage and high cost of living in Port Vila are tipping families into severe hardship.

“Eighty percent of people in urban areas cannot even afford one decent meal per day. In the hospitals, 70 percent of the women giving birth cannot afford enough healthy food, so [their] babies are going to be malnourished,” she said.

People’s lives are also affected by lack of basic services. Massing claims that water, electricity and roads are urgently needed in Freswota 4.

“For the first five years here, I had to go down to the river every afternoon to wash and collect water to bring back to the house,” he said.

Traditional community leaders, such as Massing, are taking initiatives to address social and development issues in urban settlements.

“I talked to the government on behalf of my people and they then provided some water and electricity in this area,” he continued.

And while he understands the desires that drive people to Port Vila from rural areas, Massing believes that the city is not the best option for everyone.

“I bring everybody together here and talk to them and say you must work to stay here. If you don’t find work, you must go back to your island, because Port Vila is a very expensive town,” he said, emphasising the need to prevent destitution and crime.

According to the Pacific Islands Forum, state institutions need to take measures to improve urban planning and reform the housing market in the interests of those in most need.

Many Port Vila residents, including Massing and Cullwick, are also concerned about the misuse of public funds allocated to improving infrastructure and services. The Vanuatu Corruption Commission, established last year, has a mandate to address political and administrative mismanagement.

Proposing a bottom-up approach, Cullwick said traditional housing in villages could be better utilised for those marginalised in towns. She believes adapting traditional dwelling designs and using readily available natural building materials, such as thatch and bamboo, could reduce the cost of constructing a safe and healthy house.

In the meantime, Vanuatu has joined the UN-Habitat’s Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), which aims to improve urban living conditions and progress toward Millennium Development Goal 7 – bettering the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by 2020. Urban profiles, part of Phase 1, are currently being drafted ahead of the next phases of planning and implementation.

727 Home

Filed under: airlines,housing,usa — admin @ 2:59 pm

HILLSBORO, Ore., June 7 (Reuters) – Deep in the Oregon woods and rolling hills outside the Portland suburbs, where orchards dot the landscape, a Boeing 727 appears to have landed at the top of a steep dirt driveway encircled by towering pines. For Bruce Campbell, it is home. Complete with wings, and landing gear resting on pillars, it is where Campbell spends six months of the year. In 1999, the former electrical engineer had a vision: To save retired jetliners from becoming scrap metal by reusing them. Slightly built and with a charming smile, the 64-year-old Campbell sees the task as part of his goal in life. “Mine is to change humanity’s behavior in this little niche,” he said as he stood beside the plane, lamenting the need to power wash its exterior and trim the dense foliage. Campbell is one of a small number of people worldwide – from Texas to the Netherlands – who have transformed retired aircraft into a living space or other creative project, although a spokesman for the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association was unable to say precisely how many planes are re-used this way. AFRA, an organization made up of industry leaders including Boeing that focus on sustainable end-of-service practices for airframes and engines, estimates that 1,200 to 1,800 aircraft will be dismantled globally over the next three years, and 500 to 600 will be retired annually over the next two decades. “AFRA is happy to see aircraft fuselages re-purposed in a range of creative ways,” said AFRA spokesman Martin Todd. “We would want them to be recovered and be re-used in an environmentally sustainable fashion.” Campbell was in his early 20s when he paid around $23,000 for the 10 acres on which his plane rests. His original plan was to make a home from freight vans, but then he decided a plane would be better. A van still sits nearby, covered in growth. ORIGINAL FEATURES He purchased the 727 after hearing about a Mississippi hairdresser who had done it. Now, about $220,000, many years of work and several hard-learned lessons later, Campbell is ready to do it all over again, this time with a Boeing 747 he hopes to buy and move to Japan, where he also spends half of the year. Campbell is working to restore some of the plane’s original features, from the cockpit to flight stairs, a working lavatory, LED lighting and some of the seats. “For him to be running electricity and flashing beacons is kind of amazing,” said Katie Braun, a pilot and flight instructor who came to see the airplane home after learning about it in 2012. “It makes perfect sense that they use those airplanes for something,” she said. “It’s a fascinating concept. I think it could take traction if people were more environmental.” The transition wasn’t easy. While restoring the plane, Campbell spent years living in a mobile home. When that became infested with mice, he moved into the aircraft, despite lacking a building permit. On board, Campbell leads a modest life. He sleeps on a futon, bathes in a makeshift shower and cooks with a microwave or toaster, eating mostly canned food and cereal. A shoe rack with numerous pairs of slippers greets visitors, and he asks that everyone wear slippers or socks to avoid tracking in dirt. While Campbell has created a website with details on rebuilding planes, he’s not the only one with such a vision. Aircraft have been made into homes in Texas, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. And Florida has an airplane boat. “I think most people are nerds in their hearts in some measure,” Campbell said. “The point is to have fun.”

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