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Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 15:00
Give us 5 minutes, and we'll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

October 4, 2022

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 14:54
A look at the best news photos from around the world.

Refugees in Malawi Protest Over Food Ration Delays

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 14:03
In Malawi, hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers held protests Tuesday over delays for promised cash assistance to buy food. Protesters told VOA they have waited almost four months for promised handouts and are struggling to feed their families.   During their protests, the refugees marched to the U.N. offices inside the Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district, north of the capital Lilongwe, where they burned tires to draw attention to their concerns and anger. Muhamad Bashiri, who was among the protesters, said “we were complaining about the delay in receiving cash handouts we use to buy food. We received our last handouts four months ago.” He said the lack of assistance has sometimes made his family of three children go days without food. The U.N. World Food Program is responsible for providing cash for food assistance to over 50,000 refugees at the Dzaleka camp. But recently the organization said it lacked the funds to meet the needs of all the refugees. In February, the WFP halted food rations to nearly 700 “self-sustaining” refugee families, citing funding limitations. Kenyi Emmanuel Lukajo, the associate external relations and reporting officer for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR in Malawi, told VOA Tuesday that the UNHCR is aware of the food shortage problems in Dzaleka, and that efforts have been made to update refugees on the situation. “UNHCR works closely with WFP and camp management and also the refugee leaders. We always conduct meetings to inform the refugees about the challenges, and update them on when they are able to get their cash assistance.” Paul Turnbull, country director for the WFP in Malawi, said the organization last made a cash handout in August and that the delay is because of financial constraints the organization has faced in recent years. “Since May 2019 we have been doing a reduced food assistance ration between about 25% and 50% lower than the ideal ration,” he said. “Now we face risks of pipeline breaks for food assistance on several occasions and so this year we have encountered that.”  Turnbull said the refugees will resume getting cash handouts on October 10. “We have now secured sufficient funding for the remaining months of the year,” he said. “So, for the remainder of 2022, we will be able to do the monthly distributions to the refugees.” However, Turnbull said more financial assistance is still needed to ensure the refugees get regular cash for food payments next year.

VOA Newscasts

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 14:00
Give us 5 minutes, and we'll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

UN: Civil, Political Rights Repressed in Russian-Occupied Areas of Ukraine

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 13:48
U.N. human rights monitors say freedom of expression, assembly and other civil and political rights are constrained in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, including Crimea. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has submitted its latest report on the situation in Ukraine to the U.N. Human Rights Council.  Since its last update in July, U.N. monitors report a dramatic escalation in the war in Ukraine. They document continued widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure, and report civilian casualties caused by Russian attacks in populated areas using explosive weapons. Russia has denied targeting civilians.  U.N. monitors say reports of torture and ill-treatment, and of enforced disappearance of both civilians and prisoners of war continue. They add that some human rights violations could amount to war crimes.  The report finds civilians continue to bear the brunt of hostilities. It documents 6,114 civilians killed, and more than 9,000 injured. However, it notes the real figures are likely to be considerably higher.  Christian Salazar Volkmann, director of Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division, says U.N. monitors report the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, and peaceful assembly have been restricted in territory occupied by the Russian Federation or controlled by Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups.  "Ukrainian television channels and radio stations have been disconnected and replaced with channels from the Russian Federation or self-proclaimed republics," he said. "In Crimea, the Russian Federation has applied legislation penalizing a wide spectrum of expression deemed critical and teachers have been pressured to endorse the armed attack."  Volkmann says he is concerned that this highly restrictive environment is deterring people from reporting the human rights violations they have witnessed.  "While the purported annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, further to the so-called referenda, the Russian Federation has taken steps which deepen, rather than resolve, the conflict and exacerbate the human rights violations associated with it, moving further away from peace towards escalation," Volkmann said.  He notes any annexation of a state's territory by another state is a violation of the principles of the U.N. Charter and international law.  Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Yevheniia Filipenko says the Kremlin's plan to conquer Ukraine continues to fail, prompting Russia to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. That, she says, is leaving people around the world in a state of fear and insecurity.  Despite all the threats, she says Ukraine will not stop fighting until all territories are liberated and Russia is held accountable for its crimes.  First Secretary of Russia's Permanent Mission to the U.N. in Geneva Guzal Khusanova calls the report one-sided and unbalanced. She accuses the Office of the High Commissioner of lacking the courage to report on war crimes allegedly committed by the Ukrainians.   

Florida Ice Cream Shop Withstands Hurricane Ian’s Fury

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 13:38
Hurricane Ian has claimed the lives of dozens of people, with many of those deaths taking place in Lee County, Florida, home to the city of Fort Myers. The city was devastated by wind and water, but a few homes and businesses still managed to survive. For VOA News, reporter Iacopo Luzi has the story of one such business.

Uganda President's Son Promoted to General After Tweets About Invading Kenya

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 13:21
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has been promoted to general, the Uganda Defense forces spokesperson announced Tuesday. The move comes a day after Kainerugaba posted a series of tweets where he joked about invading Italy and neighboring Kenya. He said on Twitter that his country's land forces could capture Nairobi in two weeks, a comment that has angered Ugandan opposition leaders and many Kenyans. In a statement, Uganda's ministry of foreign affairs distanced itself from the remarks. Kainerugaba is widely seen as a possible successor to the president, who is 78 years old and has ruled Uganda for more than 35 years. Kainerugaba, who was previously a lieutenant, was dropped from his role as commander of Ugandan land forces following his promotion, but will continue with his duties as senior presidential adviser for special operations. The 48-year-old Kainerugaba has never declared his intention to replace his father as head of the east African nation. However, while celebrating his birthday in April, he spoke of winning power and said he will announce his political program soon. Opposition politicians and groups in Uganda have accused Museveni of grooming his son to take the reins from him after he leaves office. Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986.

VOA Newscasts

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 13:00
Give us 5 minutes, and we'll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

FLASHPOINT UKRAINE: Ukraine’s leader says his troops are keeping Russians on the run

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 12:51
Ukraine forces reclaim more territory; Russia’s illegal annexation awaits Putin’s final signature. How President Biden is likely to respond if Russia uses nuclear weapons.

Turkish Journalist Groups Slam Bill to Fight Disinformation

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 12:35
Turkish journalists groups on Tuesday protested a draft law the government says is aimed at combating fake news and disinformation but which critics denounce as yet another attempt to stifle freedom of expression. Parliament was set to debate a 40-article piece of legislation that amends multiple laws governing press, advertising and social media. The most controversial change is an amendment to the press law that would criminalize the spreading of "fake news" with a sentence of up to three years in prison. Critics, including opposition lawmakers and nongovernmental organizations, say the law is too vague and could potentially be abused by the government to further crack down on independent journalism, especially media that has developed on the internet. The government already controls most major news outlets and has been named among the world's biggest jailers of journalists. Representatives of various Turkish journalist associations wearing black face masks gathered outside parliament in Ankara, urging legislators not to pass the law, which was submitted to parliament in May. "As journalists, in line with our responsibility to society, we once again warn both legislators and the public: If this law is implemented in this form, there will be no freedom of press, expression and communication in our country," said Kemal Aktas, head of the Parliamentary Correspondents Association. Meanwhile, main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu claimed in a speech on Tuesday that Erdogan's government, which faces elections in June, introduced the changes to prevent the dissemination of allegations of corruption against the government. International media freedom organizations have also called for the dismissal of the bill, saying it puts millions of internet users at risk of criminal action for online posts the government disagrees with, could become a tool "for harassing journalists and activists" and could lead to self-censorship. Disinformation is an important issue and needs to be combated but not at the price of restricting journalists' rights and the public's rights of freedom of expression," the groups, including PEN and the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in June. Article 29 of the bill is an amendment to the Turkish penal code mandating one to three years in prison for spreading information that is "contrary to the truth" about Turkey's domestic and international security, public order and health for the alleged purpose of causing "public worry, fear and panic." The sentence can be increased by a half if that crime is committed by an anonymous user or as part of an organization. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has argued for a law to combat disinformation, saying fake news and rising "digital fascism" is a national and global security issue. The proposal, put forth by his ruling Justice and Development Party and its nationalist ally, says fake news and its dissemination or disinformation pose a "serious threat" by preventing people to access the truth, while also undermining freedom of expression and information by "abusing certain freedoms." The proposal also says the internet allows ill-intentioned users to hide their identities for illegal acts and posts like attacks, slander, hate speech and discrimination, therefore requiring regulation. It says the state has the obligation to protect rights and freedoms, especially for people whose rights were violated online.

Biden Vows to 'Impose Further Costs' on Iran for Assaulting Protesters

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 12:34
President Joe Biden said Tuesday the U.S. plans to “impose further costs” this week on Iran for assaulting protesters demonstrating against the government for the death of a young woman held in custody by the country’s morality police for failing to properly cover her hair with a hijab. Biden, in a Twitter post, did not elaborate on what action the United States would take against the Tehran government. He said, “The United States stands with Iranian women and Iranian citizens who are inspiring the world with their bravery. We'll continue to support the rights of Iranians to protest freely.” It was the second day in a row that the White House assailed Iran’s crackdown on protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22. On Monday, Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, "We're alarmed and appalled by reports of security authorities responding to university students' peaceful protests with violence and mass arrests."   Jean-Pierre said university students in Iran are "rightly enraged" by the death of Amini and said the arrests of the demonstrators are the type of events that prompt young people in Iran to leave the country "and seek dignity and opportunity elsewhere." Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the widespread protests following Amini’s death are not the actions of “ordinary Iranians” as he accused the United States and Israel of planning the demonstrations. The protests, now in their third week, have been met with a crackdown by police and security forces. A tally of government statements compiled by The Associated Press gave a death toll of at least 14 people with 1,500 arrests, while rights groups say at least 130 are dead with thousands arrested.    Khamenei said the death of Amini was a “sad incident” and that he was heartbroken.    Iran’s morality police arrested Amini in Tehran for allegedly not following the country’s strict dress code and she died in a hospital three days later after falling into a coma.    The government said she died of a heart attack. Her family rejected that account, saying Amini had no history of heart problems and that she was instead beaten. They called for accountability.    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week, “The only reason she’s not [alive] is because a brutal regime took her life and took her life because of decisions she should be making about what she would wear or not wear.”   Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

VOA Newscasts

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 12:00
Give us 5 minutes, and we'll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

Supreme Court Takes Up Key Voting Rights Case From Alabama

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 11:57
The Supreme Court is taking up an Alabama redistricting case that could have far-reaching effects on minority voting power across the United States.  The justices are hearing arguments Tuesday in the latest high-court showdown over the federal Voting Rights Act, lawsuits seeking to force Alabama to create a second Black majority congressional district. About 27% of Alabamians are Black, but they form a majority in just one of the state's seven congressional districts.  The court's conservatives, in a 5-4 vote in February, blocked a lower court ruling that would have required a second Black majority district in time for the 2022 midterm elections.  A similar ruling to create an additional Black majority district in Louisiana also was put on hold.  Conservative high-court majorities have made it harder for racial minorities to use the Voting Rights Act in ideologically divided rulings in 2013 and 2021. A ruling for the state in the new case could weaken another powerful tool civil rights groups and minority voters have used to challenge racial discrimination in redistricting.  The case also has an overlay of partisan politics. Republicans who dominate elective office in Alabama have been resistant to creating a second district with a Democratic-leaning Black majority that could send another Democrat to Congress.  Two appointees of President Donald Trump were on the three-judge panel that unanimously held that Alabama likely violated the landmark 1965 law by diluting Black voting strength.  The judges found that Alabama has concentrated Black voters in one district, while spreading them out among the others to make it impossible for them to elect a candidate of their choice.  Alabama's Black population is large enough and geographically compact enough to create a second district, the judges found.  The state argues that the lower court ruling would force it to sort voters by race, insisting that it is taking a "race neutral" approach to redistricting.  That argument could resonate with conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts. He has opposed most consideration of race in voting both as a justice and in his time as a lawyer in Republican presidential administrations.  Tuesday's arguments are the first Supreme Court case involving race for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black female justice.  A challenge to affirmative action in college admissions is set for arguments on October 31.  

Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner's Daughter and US country Music Queen, Dies 

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 11:36
Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner's daughter whose frank songs about life and love as a woman in Appalachia pulled her out of poverty and made her a pillar of country music, has died. She was 90. In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Lynn's family said she died Tuesday at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Lynn already had four children before launching her career in the early 1960s, and her songs reflected her pride in her rural Kentucky background. As a songwriter, she crafted a persona of a defiantly tough woman, a contrast to the stereotypical image of most female country singers. The Country Music Hall of Famer wrote fearlessly about sex and love, cheating husbands, divorce and birth control and sometimes got in trouble with radio programmers for material from which even rock performers once shied away. Her biggest hits came in the 1960s and '70s, including "Coal Miner's Daughter," "You Ain't Woman Enough," "The Pill," "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," "Rated X" and "You're Looking at Country." She was known for appearing in floor-length, wide gowns with elaborate embroidery or rhinestones, many created by her longtime personal assistant and designer Tim Cobb. Her honesty and unique place in country music was rewarded. She was the first woman ever named entertainer of the year at the genre's two major awards shows, first by the Country Music Association in 1972 and then by the Academy of Country Music three years later. "It was what I wanted to hear and what I knew other women wanted to hear, too," Lynn told the AP in 2016. "I didn't write for the men; I wrote for us women. And the men loved it, too." In 1969, she released her autobiographical "Coal Miner's Daughter," which helped her reach her widest audience yet. "We were poor but we had love/That's the one thing Daddy made sure of/He shoveled coal to make a poor man's dollar," she sang. "Coal Miner's Daughter," also the title of her 1976 book, was made into a 1980 movie of the same name. Sissy Spacek's portrayal of Lynn won her an Academy Award and the film was also nominated for best picture. Long after her commercial peak, Lynn won two Grammys in 2005 for her album "Van Lear Rose," which featured 13 songs she wrote, including "Portland, Oregon" about a drunken one-night stand. "Van Lear Rose" was a collaboration with rocker Jack White, who produced the album and played the guitar parts. Born Loretta Webb, the second of eight children, she claimed her birthplace was Butcher Holler, near the coal mining company town of Van Lear in the mountains of east Kentucky. There really wasn't a Butcher Holler, however. She later told a reporter that she made up the name for the purposes of the song based on the names of the families that lived there. Her daddy played the banjo, her mama played the guitar and she grew up on the songs of the Carter Family. "I was singing when I was born, I think," she told the AP in 2016. "Daddy used to come out on the porch where I would be singing and rocking the babies to sleep. He'd say, 'Loretta, shut that big mouth. People all over this holler can hear you.' And I said, 'Daddy, what difference does it make? They are all my cousins.'" She wrote in her autobiography that she was 13 when she got married to Oliver "Mooney" Lynn, but the AP later discovered state records that showed she was 15. Tommy Lee Jones played Mooney Lynn in the biopic. Her husband, whom she called "Doo" or "Doolittle," urged her to sing professionally and helped promote her early career. With his help, she earned a recording contract with Decca Records, later MCA, and performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Lynn wrote her first hit single, "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," released in 1960. She also teamed up with singer Conway Twitty to form one of the most popular duos in country music with hits such as "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" and "After the Fire is Gone," which earned them a Grammy Award. Their duets, and her single records, were always mainstream country and not crossover or pop-tinged. The Academy of Country Music chose her as the artist of the decade for the 1970s, and she was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In "Fist City," Lynn threatens a hair-pulling fistfight if another woman won't stay away from her man: "I'm here to tell you, gal, to lay off of my man/If you don't want to go to Fist City." That strong-willed but traditional country woman reappears in other Lynn songs. In "The Pill," a song about sex and birth control, Lynn writes about how she's sick of being trapped at home to take care of babies: "The feelin' good comes easy now/Since I've got the pill," she sang. She moved to Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, outside of Nashville, in the 1990s, where she set up a ranch complete with a replica of her childhood home and a museum that is a popular roadside tourist stop. The dresses she was known for wearing are there, too. Lynn knew that her songs were trailblazing, especially for country music, but she was just writing the truth that so many rural women like her experienced. "I could see that other women was goin' through the same thing, 'cause I worked the clubs. I wasn't the only one that was livin' that life and I'm not the only one that's gonna be livin' today what I'm writin'," she told The AP in 1995. Even into her later years, Lynn never seemed to stop writing, scoring a multi-album deal in 2014 with Legacy Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. In 2017, she suffered a stroke that forced her to postpone her shows. She and her husband were married nearly 50 years before he died in 1996. They had six children: Betty, Jack, Ernest and Clara, and then twins Patsy and Peggy. She had 17 grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

LogOn: Building a Greener Bitcoin Can Help Transition to Clean Energy

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 11:35
Matt Dibble has the story of a US company that says cryptocurrency can help power the transition to cleaner energy. Camera: Tina Trinh

Saudi Prince has Immunity in Khashoggi Killing Lawsuit, Say Lawyers

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 11:14
Lawyers for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, facing a U.S. lawsuit over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, told a court on Monday the crown prince's appointment as prime minister last week ensured him immunity from prosecution.  Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in an operation which U.S. intelligence believed was ordered by Prince Mohammed, who has been the kingdom's de facto ruler for several years.  The prince denied ordering Khashoggi's killing, but acknowledged later it took place "under my watch."  Last week his elderly father King Salman named him prime minister in a royal decree which a Saudi official said was in line with responsibilities the crown prince was already exercising.  "The Royal Order leaves no doubt that the Crown Prince is entitled to status-based immunity," lawyers for the prince said in a petition requesting a federal district court in Washington dismiss the case, citing other cases where the United States has recognized immunity for a foreign head of state.  U.S. President Joe Biden, who fist-bumped the crown prince on a visit to Saudi Arabia in July to discuss energy and security issues, had told Prince Mohammed that he considered him responsible for Khashoggi's killing.  He said Prince Mohammed denied involvement and asserted those involved had been held to account.  Khashoggi, who had criticized the crown prince's policies in Washington Post columns, had traveled to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers he needed to marry Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.  The lawsuit was filed jointly by Cengiz and a human rights group founded by Khashoggi, and sought unspecified damages against the crown prince, known in the West as MbS. It also named more than 20 other Saudis as co-defendants.  It charged that MbS, his co-defendants and others carried out a plot to "permanently silence Mr. Khashoggi" after discovering he planned to use the group as "a platform to espouse democratic reform and promote human rights."  The court had asked the U.S. Department of Justice to express a view on whether Prince Mohammed had immunity, setting an October 3 deadline for a response.  After the prince's appointment as prime minister last week, the department said on Friday it was seeking a 45-day extension to prepare its response to the court "in light of these changed circumstances."  On Monday, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates granted the request for an extension but said absent compelling evidence, this would be the only extension he would allow.  The United States should file any statement of interest no later than November 17, Bates said in a court document. 

VOA Newscasts

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 11:00
Give us 5 minutes, and we'll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

VOA Newscasts

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 11:00
Give us 5 minutes, and we'll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

Angela Merkel Wins UNHCR Nansen Award for Protecting Syrian Refugees

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 10:20
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel has won the prestigious Nansen Award from the U.N. refugee agency, for providing a haven for more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution in Syria. Angela Merkel welcomed the desperate people at the height of the Syrian conflict in 2015 and 2016, when other countries were turning their backs on them. In announcing the award, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Merkel displayed great moral and political courage by helping more than a million refugees survive and rebuild their lives. UNHCR spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh says Merkel has helped to highlight the plight of refugees globally. He says she has shown what can be achieved when politicians work to find solutions to challenging situations rather than shifting responsibility to others. “As well as protecting people forced to flee war, persecution and human rights abuses, the former chancellor was the driving force behind Germany’s collective efforts to receive them and to help them integrate into their new homes through education and training programs, employment schemes, and labor market integration," said Saltmarsh. The award is named after Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen. It is given to an individual, group or organization that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect refugees. The award selection committee also has honored four regional winners. They are an all-volunteer refugee firefighting group in Mauritania in West Africa; a refugee support cacao cooperative in Costa Rica in the Americas; humanitarian organization Meikse Myanmar that assists internally displaced people among others in Asia and the Pacific; and an Iraqi gynecologist who provides medical and psychological care to Yazidi girls and women in the Middle East and North Africa. The Nansen award will be presented to Merkel and the four regional winners at a ceremony in Geneva October 10. For Merkel, the award carries a cash prize of $150,000. Each of the regional laureates will receive $50,000.

UN Raises Appeal for Flood-Hit Pakistan to Address Hunger, Health

Voice of America’s immigration news - October 4, 2022 - 10:06
The United Nations dramatically hiked its lifesaving appeal Tuesday to help Pakistan, where erratic rains and a combination of riverine, urban and flash floods have unleashed an unprecedented global climate-change-induced disaster since June. The international funding appeal, jointly launched with the Pakistani government from Geneva, is seeking $816 million — five times more than the $160 million flash appeal issued in August, in the wake of the immensity of the calamity and growing needs. Pakistani officials say the floods have inundated huge swaths of the country of about 220 million people. The calamity has claimed the lives of nearly 1,700 people, one-third of them children, and it has displaced almost 8 million people. Women and children make up 70% of the 33 million affected across 84 districts nationwide, with an estimated 3.4 million children in need of assistance. “The water has stopped rising but the danger has not,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s chief, told Tuesday’s televised launch event. He said an urgent and robust response is needed, along with sustainable funding, to control the spread of outbreaks of malaria, cholera, dengue, and an increase in skin infections in flood-ravaged areas. “We're on the verge of a public health disaster. Many more lives than were lost in the floods could be lost in the coming weeks if we don't mobilize greater support for Pakistan … We estimate that more than 2,000 women are giving birth every day, most of them in unsafe conditions,” Tedros said. Pakistani Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said while addressing the ceremony that 16 weeks later, 34 districts are still crisis-affected, with 11 districts still under water. Rehman said her government is still in what she described as “the longest rescue, relief and lifesaving phase” since the disaster struck and her country can’t afford recovery from the flooding on its own. “[The] 33 million people affected are 7 million more than the entire population of Australia. We have been working around the clock. But honestly, ladies and gentlemen, we literally need a new coalition of the willing. It can be done for wars so it can be done to save lives,” the minister stressed. Rehman said Pakistan was in urgent need of medicine for 8.2 million people and must import extra supplies of food. U.N. officials warned of growing hunger in Pakistan, saying the deluge inundated more than 3.6 million hectares of farmland and killed more than 1.1 million livestock. Pakistani officials estimate the flooding has inflicted more than $30 billion in damages on national infrastructure, washing away roads, bridges and about 800,000 houses. “The people of Pakistan are bearing the brunt of the world's inaction to face up to climate change or to prepare for its consequences. It’s a stain on our conscience internationally,” said U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, while speaking at the Geneva event. “The people of Pakistan have not caused this crisis for which they are undeserving victims and they're paying the unimaginable price of its impact.”