Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA project officer, Matt Hilton, talks about the threat of asbestos in developing countries and APHEDA’s expansion of its asbestos disease prevention project into Lao PDR.
Australians know that asbestos kills. We are historically one of the highest per capita miners, manufacturers and consumers of asbestos in the world. Almost all public buildings and around one third of all private houses were built with asbestos. And the toll was heavy – by 2020, Australia will have had 13,000 cases of mesothelioma and over 40,000 cases of asbestos related cancer.
Broken bags of asbestos cement lie in open storage at a factory in Laos.
Globally, it is estimated that 107,000 workers each year succumb to asbestos or asbestos related cancers. And the centre of this new epidemic is Asia. The World Health Organisation estimates that 60% of the 125 million people exposed to asbestos in their homes or workplace are in Asia. And that figure is set to increase – already half of asbestos consumption occurs in Asia with 90% of the global increase in consumption between 2000 and 2004 occurring in Asia. Continue reading
Australian physio-therapist, Katrina Byrne, undertook a volunteer placement in the Gaza strip through Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA in April 2011. Katrina was placed at the El Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital. Soon after starting her placement, Katrina sent us this blog reflecting on her time in Gaza.
Waiting, watching and warm caffeinated beverages – that’s Palestine in a nutshell. Whether waiting at check-points, for buses to fill up and begin their journey, or for a procession of singing Chinese Christians to pass, patience is a much needed skill here in Palestine. Luckily, whenever you stand still for more than a minute, the hospitality of Palestinians demands a cup of tea or coffee. Continue reading
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA project managers, Lisa Arnold and Ken Davis, and agriculture adviser, Dr Sharan KC, are currently in the Gaza Strip, where the MA’AN Development Center is implementing a food security project with funding from AusAID.
We joined a trickle of people, UN officers, diplomats and NGO workers, who the Israeli officials allow across the vast Eretz checkpoint on the northern border of the Gaza Strip. Egypt has yet again closed the Rafah border in the south, so 1.6 million Palestinians are locked into an area a fraction the size of the ACT. Sometimes we slip into talking about Gaza as if it were a separate country, but economically and environmentally, the Strip can never be an independent country. It is often described as the world’s largest open air prison, and in reality it is a small cluster of cities under long-term siege, a vast camp of refugees unable to return to their homes now inside Israel. The dispossessed people, a million of whom are children, depend on energy, water, currency and goods from Israel, though tunnels under the Rafah border allow import of food and goods that Israel forbids. The majority of people depend on UN food distribution, and send their children to UN schools. Continue reading
As the illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip continues into its fourth year, view a video documentary on the realities of life in Gaza today.Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has been working with the El Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza City since 2000. This hospital is the only hospital service in the Gaza Strip which offers medical services and support for disabled Palestinians.
Through the Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA Gaza Appeal we have been able to send over A$654,000 to the El Wafa Hospital, allowing them to continue providing the important services and support necessary for the elderly and disabled patients and their families.In June 2010, the El Wafa Hospital produced a short 10-minute documentary video of their work in Gaza, highlighting the contribution of APHEDA’s donors and supporters.You can view the video on the APHEDA YouTube site.On behalf of our partner, the El Wafa Hospital, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA thanks you – our members, donors and supporters – for your generous contributions which have helped hundreds of Palestinian families in Gaza during this critical time.View information on Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA’s Gaza Appeal.View information on Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA’s Middle East programme.
Thai Burma Border Project Officer, Zoë Bedford, blogs from her monitoring visit to the Mae Tao Clinic.
The Mae Tao Clinic is changing before my very eyes, there are new buildings being built old ones being re-arranged. But one thing that has not changed is the thousands of patients.
Children, elderly people, men, women and families all milling about the clinic’s compound waiting to access the only health services they can. Today was baby vaccination day and so there were hundreds of people with their small babies waiting for the vaccination and general baby health check.
Worryingly the Mae Tao Clinic is facing a dire funding shortage this year. This funding shortage is affecting the baby care program. The Mae Tao Clinic used to provide supplementary feeding to malnourished children but is unable to do this if no donor will step in and fill the funding shortage. This could mean that babies and young children could die of treatable illness, which, in my opinion, is the worst kind of tragedy.