51% Show #1297

May 20, 2014

Credit Michael Fleshman / https://www.flickr.com/photos/fleshmanpix/

What's happening in Africa? This week on 51%, A global outcry against the Nigerian kidnappings – going dry in Yemen and Somalia, the forgotten need in Mali.

The kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria has put the  world  on notice: it's time to pay attention to what's happening in Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

Credit Michael Fleshman / https://www.flickr.com/photos/fleshmanpix/

Boko Haram militants, who want an Islamist state, stormed a secondary school in a small Nigerian village in April and kidnapped 276 girls. Some escaped, but eight more were taken a couple of weeks later, held as their captors offered to exchange them for prisoners.

Those abductions could deter other parents from sending their daughters to school, a senior official for the UN's Children Fund told UN Radio. Dr. Nicholas Alipui said the group's threat to sell or forcibly marry the girls is a "credible" threat that should not be taken lightly. Jocelyne Sambira spoke with Dr. Alipui at the UN.

Terrorism and religious extremism are challenges in many countries. But nature poses challenges, too.

The ten most water-stressed countries in the world are all in the Middle East or North Africa. Yemen, perhaps best known in the U.S. as the target of covert drone strikes, is in an especially dire position. War News Radio’s Amy DiPierro asks whether water – as much as terror – is a security threat to the world.

Coming up, the crisis zone that the world has forgotten. 

The arid zone in West Africa is a desperate place, with help needed for even the most basic necessities. But financial aid to the region has dried up too. Jocelyne Sambira for UN Radio has more.

To the south, there's another drought emergency. The country of Somalia is already struggling with a lack of food. Combine that with no rain, inflation and conflict, and there's a crisis. Daniel Dickinson has more from UN radio.

Another issue is disease.  Polio has re-emerged in ten countries: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. Little wonder that those who can leave this troubled region, do. But that creates its own challenges.

When a refugee family comes to the US, it is often easier for the children to pick up the new language and adapt to the cultural changes. Once a refugee family has been here for a while, the children often become the ambassadors to the outside world for their parents, who may take longer to adapt. It's the kids who have to translate for their parents and deal with all the bureaucracy of life, from hospitals to schools to immigration offices. Reporter Jessica Partnow has more from Washington State.

Jessica Partnow is a co-founder of the Common Language Project. Support for this series on refugees in the Seattle area comes from the Program Venture Fund.

That’s our show for this week.  Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.