As media crews begin to arrive in West Africa, we are urging for there to be no repeat of the Michael Burke film. It was vital and needed at its time, but today, 30 years later, a very different part of the continent may need our help, but the bravery of its first responders also deserves our respect.
In few places in the world can one week include both artillery fire and riding a speedboat down the Nile. South Sudan is one of those contrasts. The view is amazing - an enormous river, lined with greenery, very few buildings and exotic birds fly alongside the boat. There are no hotels, resorts or many people at all.
AL-Hasakeh/Damascus, 23 October 2014 - While many of Syria's war-torn cities and governorates are grabbing the headlines, the humanitarian situation in the north-eastern governorate of Al-Hasakeh governorate is largely in the shadows. With a population of 1.5 million people - almost half of them children - much of the governorate has been cut off from humanitarian aid for almost two years...
The US and UK have recently made the largest efforts in terms of military deployments and money but many other states are still neglecting their responsibilities. Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, and David Cameron have noted that EU members such as Italy and Spain need to step forward with resources and act now.
Just over seven months ago, activist, human rights champion and former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg was arrested, arrested on the basis that during a trip to Syria he had facilitated terrorism (or so they said). Now two seasons later and just as his trial was set to begin he's been released with all charges levelled against him dropped.
While the eyes of the world rightly look towards global crises in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and West Africa, there is a serious and worsening humanitarian disaster almost going unnoticed in South Sudan. It is deeply saddening to see a country that was once so full of hope for the future, now embroiled in such a painful and destructive war with itself. When I first visited South Sudan less than two years ago I was struck by the optimism and hope that filled the air but today it is an entirely different story.
Across the world, there are 108 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, with more people displaced by violence than ever before. These people have had their lives torn apart by war and natural disaster, and many are starving and in dire need of shelters and medical assistance. Most of them are women and children.
A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in and around Northern Iraq and the international community has been too slow to respond to it. We cannot turn the clock back on that but it is vital that international efforts are ramped up. I therefore support UK participation in those efforts, and through our role in the United Nations and other organisations, we should urgently identify what more can be done.
When that space is claimed and tainted by perceived security interests and the engagement with certain actors has more to do with the fear of legal retribution back home than any tangible threat from individuals or groups, the sector has surrendered to the political and interests of our governments, not of universal humanitarian principles.
It is not our role to discuss how best to bring peace, but it is up to us to address the impact of the conflict on civilians and their humanitarian needs. The need to scale up assistance is great and urgent. Access will become increasingly difficult in some areas - already aid agencies have to negotiate to reach people in need on a daily basis. More supplies are desperately needed in order to support ever-growing numbers of displaced people. Iraqi Red Crescent and ICRC volunteers and staff must be able to deliver assistance safely. Let there be no doubt that the crisis in Iraq has developed into a humanitarian one - and that addressing it is what the term humanitarian means.
When I was born, 18 years ago, my country did not exist. Sudan and South Sudan were all one big nation, the largest in Africa, but already there was always fighting between the south and the rest. My family left our home in Akobo state, one of the most violent areas and moved to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, which was much safer.
The aid and development sectors work hard to promote and maintain an air of importance and legitimacy, but there are some hard truths that we need to face if the industry is to grow and address the huge challenges we, as a global community, continue to come up against - climate change and the increased frequency of natural disasters, unhindered economic growth causing environmental and social deterioration and the rise of political fundamentalism, just to name a few.
When will the bloodshed of innocent civilians in Syria come to an end? Why should innocent Syrian civilians have to pay the price for violence that has been prevalent in the country since the uprising against President Bashar al Assad? The humanitarian crisis in Syria is at its worst as civilians are being left without basic human needs due to limited funds.