Members of a minority sect known as Yazidi are currently stranded on a remote mountain in Iraq—facing extreme thirst and starvation—after being driven from their homes by “The Islamic State,” also known as ISIS. The radical Sunni Muslim group has recently overtaken villages across Iraq, brutally executing locals who do not conform to their strict ideology. According to The Washington Post, the Yazidi are considered “ to be devil worshippers and apostates” by the Islamic State.
Forced to flee to the isolated Mount Sinjar, thousands remain trapped and are faced with increasingly dire circumstances. The Iraq representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told The Post, “There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads. There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It’s a disaster, a total disaster.” The U.N. has offered to help provide airdrops of water and food to the stranded families, but the Iraqi government has not yet formally asked for assistance ... Discuss
American Christian missionary Nancy Writebol is back in the United States after contracting the Ebola virus while serving victims of the outbreak in Liberia. The virus has killed hundreds in and around the African country. Writebol was working on the same team as a doctor from the organization Samaritan's Purse—Kent Brantly of Texas—who also became infected in the with virus. Brantly is also now back in the United States receiving treatment. Hospital officials are using extra precautions while caring for the duo, taking every measure to ensure the virus does not spread. As the AP notes,
Patients are quarantined, sealed off from anyone who is not in protective gear. Lab tests are conducted inside the unit, ensuring that viruses don't leave the quarantined area. Family members can see and communicate with patients only through barriers.
Brantly’s wife Amber told reporters, "Our family is rejoicing over Kent's safe arrival, and we are confident that he is receiving the very best care" ... Discuss
A massive earthquake has killed at least 398 people in China’s Yunnan province. As many as 1,800 others were also injured. Witnesses told ABC News that half of the homes in the impoverished area were destroyed when the 6.5-magnitude earthquake and a series of powerful aftershocks struck late Sunday. The Red Cross Society of China is currently assisting with relief efforts, giving blankets and clothing to families who have been left homeless by the tragedy ... Discuss
A planned 72-hour ceasefire between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza fell apart this morning—just a few hours in. At least 40 Gaza residents and five Israeli soldiers have died after an exchange of fire this morning. Both sides are blaming the other for the breakdown of the ceasefire, with Israel saying Hamas militants violated the deal by capturing an Israeli officer and killing two other soldiers.
The ceasefire, set up by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was an attempt to pave the way to a more lasting truce, but it appears the fighting may escalate after this incident. In the three weeks since Israel began its latest ground invasion in Gaza, it’s estimated that more than 1,450 Palestinians and 64 Israelis have died in the conflict.
Officials in Liberia are asking for international help as the worst ebola outbreak in recorded history continues to grow. According to the World Health Organization, so far, at least 672 have been killed by the virus in Liberia and neighboring countries. The nation’s president issued a statement saying that officials are prepared to take dramatic steps to stem the spread of the deadly illness: They’ve closed schools, instituted a 30-day leave for many government employees, shut down markets and may soon even quarantine entire communities. Some humanitarian officials, like Mike Noyes of Action Aid UK, have criticized the approach of mass-quarantine calling “enforced isolation” a “medieval approach” in an interview with Reuters.
The country’s information minister told the news agency that their government is in dire need of additional international assistance: “We need the support of the international community now more than ever. We desperately need all the help we can get” ... Discuss