"Water was the biggest thing," says journalist Tim McDonnell of the scene at the refugee settlement of Palorinya in northern Uganda. Since December, 146,000 South Sudanese have crossed the border, fleeing the violence of the civil war. And without enough water to drink, they would quite literally die.
With his skill as a psychiatrist, Dr. Hussam Jefee-Bahloul is reaching out to the troubled people of his Syrian homeland, offering guidance for health workers who work with mental health issues in a population traumatized by war.
And with his love of words, he tries to capture his longing for his homeland in poetry.
In truth, there is no way to come with a 100 percent accurate count of all the health workers who have died since the conflict in Syria that began six years ago this month.
That's because it takes a lot of checking to verify a death — Physicians for Human Rights, for example, wants to know the victim's name, job, the location and date of death and the cause of death. And they want three sources who can back up the account.
On Wednesday morning, a Red Cross staffer in Afghanistan pushed his vehicle's panic button.
Three Red Cross vehicles were heading to meet up with a convoy of trucks carrying "winter feed" — food for livestock — in the remote northern province of Jowzjan in Afghanistan. The plan was for the Red Cross staff to help distribute the 1,000 tons of feed, which is critical for farmers. In the winter, there's nowhere for their animals to graze.
When Kennedy Odede was a kid, he lived on the streets of a slum in Kenya.
He'd grown up in tough circumstances. His stepfather was violent. There wasn't enough food to go around. He wasn't sent to school. A friend convinced him he'd do better out on his own. He'd have his freedom, he'd be able to find his own food.
So when he was around 10, Kennedy left home. His new world was a world of violence. He was caught up in gang fights. He remembers being stabbed in the arm: "I still have the scar," he says.
Ian Brennan wanted to make a record with music performed by prisoners. He's a Grammy-winning record producer who likes to bring attention to the voices of people who aren't usually heard.
So when he heard that a prison in Malawi had a band, off he went to the maximum security facility. "We just took the leap of faith and went down there," says Brennan, a California native who has worked with artists like Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bill Frisell and who now lives in Italy.
The star of a new HBO documentary called Open Your Eyes is wizened and gray, although she's most likely only in her 60s – exact ages can be hard to figure out in Nepal, where she lives. She lives with her husband and son and young granddaughter. Playing with the child in an early scene in the film, she says, "When I feel her toes, it feels like mine."
On Sunday, aid worker Jeremiah Young couldn't tell if he was hearing thunderclaps or bombs.
That's the scene in Juba, capital of South Sudan. Rainy season has begun. And intense fighting broke out on Thursday — a new round of fighting between supporters of the vice president and troops backing the president. Heavy gunfire was exchanged, along with mortar and grenade explosions.
Did you know the United Kingdom is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to aid for global health and development?
The amount given in 2015 was the equivalent of $18.7 billion in U.S. dollars. That's second only to the $31.08 billion from the United States. It's an impressive total given the comparative size of the two countries and their economies.
For five days and five nights in February, NPR reporters Jason Beaubien and Kelly McEvers were "embedded" with Doctors Without Borders in the middle of nowhere. They were inside a massive United Nation's compound framed by earthen walls topped with razor wire. It's known as the POC — Protection of Civilians site. Heavily-armed U.N. peacekeepers patrol the perimeter of the compound; more than 120,000 civilians live there, seeking a safe haven in a war-torn country.
What's the best way to help out someone in need? Just give money? Or try to make sure they'll spend the money effectively?
That's a dilemma that's faced anyone confronted by someone begging on the street. And it's an international problem as well. When rich countries give aid to poor countries, how do they know the money will go to good use?
The Millennium Challenge Corporation has come up with one strategy. MCC, as it's called, is a U.S. government foreign aid agency created by Congress in 2004 to fight global poverty.