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DOING ALL THAT WE CAN DO
8 November 2013
I signed up for a SwapBot swap called "Magpie Journal." The description for this swap reads
So the idea is I'm to make a book containing 30 entries of things I've collected. It sounded simple when I signed up, but I'm finding it more difficult than I expected. However, on one of the pages, I pasted a couple of sayings from a calendar I found while cleaning my desk this morning. It reads:
That seemed awfully self-assured to me but it wasn't until I was out driving around, listening to NPR's "Fresh Air" that it hit me that I really don't know that I'm "doing all I can do."
The guest of the interview was a doctor from Doctors Without Borders who had just returned from Syria and wanted to spread the world about the situation there.
Civil war in Syria has been going on for two years now. It started during the celebrated Arab Spring and is a war between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and the rebels, who are trying to overthrow the government. In September of this year, the death toll had reached 120,000. According to this doctor, one of the tactics used now is starvation.
Thousands of people have been forced into refugee camps.
These areas are sealed off from any access to food and Syria, a country which has not seen starvation before now, is seeing a massive toll of death from starvation.
There are several problems over and above just the problem of starvation. Because Syria has never had to deal with it on such a large scale, they don't know how to treat it. I'll bet if you saw a starving child, you'd think the thing to do would be to feed it. But you would risk killing the child. A child suffering from starvation is at risk for "refeeding syndrome," which causes metabolic disturbances which can lead to neurologic, pulmonary, cardiac, neuromuscular, and hematologic complications. Children can die of heart failure. To treat a starving child, you start with giving him/her vitamins, and a special thin milk formula and slowly build up his/her system so that you can then begin giving food.
Doctors without Borders has been teaching medical personnel in Syria how to deal with starvation in children.
Another problem is that Syria has become the only country in the world experiencing new outbreaks of polio because there has been no access to vaccines.
On top of that, soldiers have targeted medical personnel and ambulances, killing the people and blowing up the ambulances because they fear that if there is medical help available, the doctors will help injured rebels.
From the Doctors wthout Borders website: "On October 21, a barrel of TNT was dropped from a helicopter onto a field hospital in the town of Blat, rendering the hospital unusable. On September 10, a field hospital in Al Bab was bombed. That attack left 11 people dead and five wounded."
NPR's guest did not talk about how he himself managed to get into the country because it was very dangerous to admit that he was there. Doctors are not welcome. Of the last five doctors who went to Syria, three were killed.
I thought about the conditions in Syria, about which I had been totally unaware, all afternoon at work and then I got home, there was a report that a massive typhoon with sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts up to 235 mph, called one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, blasted through the Philippines. I checked path of the storm and it was due to pass right over Cebu City, which is where little Fred, my favorite Compassion child, and his family live. I later read that some 19,000 people had been evacuated from the area. I hope Fred's is among them and know it will be awhile before those of us with sponsored children in the area (there are so many of us!) will know for sure if our families survived. The only reports I have been able to find at this early stage have said "it's going to be bad..."
So when I read It's wonderful to wake up in the morning knowing you're doing all that you can do, I realize that it's not true. None of us is doing "all that we can do" when so many are suffering and when we aren't even aware of it.
One thing I was happy about was that I was there, at Logos, which
donates so much to Doctors without Borders.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
The strongest typhoon ever recorded to hit land, exceeding category 5 strength
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