Daily Archives: October 13, 2018

Battles Over Safe Ebola Burials Complicate Work in DRC

A runaway hearse carrying an Ebola victim has become the latest example of sometimes violent community resistance complicating efforts to contain a Congo outbreak — and causing a worrying new rise in cases.
The deadly virus’ appearance for the first time in the far northeast has sparked fear. Suspected contacts of infected people have tried to slip away. Residents have assaulted health teams. The rate of new Ebola cases has more than doubled since the start of this month, experts say.
Safe burials are particularly sensitive as some outraged family members reject the intervention of health workers in the deeply personal moment, even as they put their own lives at risk.
On Wednesday, a wary peace was negotiated over the body of an Ebola victim, one of 95 deaths among 172 confirmed cases so far, Congo’s health ministry said. Her family demanded that an acquaintance drive the hearse, while they agreed to wear protective gear to carry the casket. A police vehicle would follow.
On the way to the cemetery, however, the hearse peeled away “at full speed,” the ministry said. A violent confrontation followed with local youth once the hearse was found at the family’s own burial plot elsewhere. The procession eventually reached the cemetery by day’s end.
The next day, with a better understanding of what was at stake, several family members appeared voluntarily at a hospital for Ebola vaccinations, the ministry said.
“They swore no one had manipulated the corpse,” it added. Ebola spreads via bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead.
The Beni community where the confrontation occurred is at the center of Ebola containment efforts. To the alarm of the World Health Organization and others, it is also where community resistance has been the most persistent — and where many of the new cases are found.
Chronic mistrust after years of rebel attacks is part of the “toxic mix” in Beni, WHO’s emergencies chief Peter Salama said in a Twitter post.
So far, the Ebola work in Beni has been suspended twice since the outbreak was declared on Aug. 1. A “dead city” of mourning in response to a rebel attack caused the first. Wednesday’s violence caused the second. With each pause, crucial efforts to track thousands of possible Ebola contacts can slide, risking further infections.
Defending themselves, Beni residents have pointed out the shock of having one of the world’s most notorious diseases appear along with strangers in biohazard suits who tell them how to say goodbye to loved ones killed by the virus.
“Until now we didn’t know enough about Ebola and we felt marginalized when Red Cross agents came in and took the corpse and buried it without family members playing a role,” Beni resident Patrick Kyana, who said a friend lost his father to the virus, told The Associated Press. “It’s very difficult. Imagine that your son dies and someone refuses to let you assist in his burial. In Africa we respect death greatly.”
Until recently many people in Beni didn’t believe that Ebola existed, thinking it was a government plot to further delay presidential elections, Kizito Hangi, president of Beni’s civil society, told the AP.
Now the population has started to catch on and cooperate, Hangi said. “The problem was that the health workers all came from outside, but local specialists have been included to persuade and inform people in local languages.”
Jamie LeSueur, the head of emergency Ebola operations with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, acknowledged the problem. In early October, two Red Cross volunteers were severely injured in an attack during safe burials in the community of Butemo. Another volunteer was injured in September by people throwing stones.
“It raised a lot of questions for all of us. Where is the violence coming from?” he said. They have stepped up efforts to collaborate with communities and be clearer about messaging while working within cultural norms as best as possible.
“Of course there are limitations,” LeSueur said. “Some people like to view the corpse as it is buried, but with Ebola it is difficult to open up the body bag.” In the emotionally charged environment where families have lost loved ones, a misstep could quickly raise tensions.
While Congo’s government is acting to give more protection to its own safe burial teams in Beni, LeSueur noted that the “militarization” of similar efforts in the far deadlier Ebola outbreak in West Africa a few years ago led some residents to hide or not report deaths from the virus.
“I don’t think that will be the case in this event,” but everyone remembers that lesson, he said.
With its position of neutrality, the Red Cross doesn’t use armed guards in any case, LeSueur added. “Community acceptance — that’s our security.”

Source: Voice of America

UNICEF: Armed Militia in NE Nigeria Releases 833 Child Soldiers

The U.N. Children’s Fund reports a local militia fighting Boko Haram Islamists in northeast Nigeria has released 833 child soldiers. UNICEF says it hopes the move will be followed by further releases.
The local militia that released the children is one of several vigilante groups that formed an alliance in 2013 to fight Boko Haram militants. UNICEF says last year, the alliance known as the Civilian Joint Task Force CJTF), signed an agreement to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children.
UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac says the 833 child soldiers, some as young as 11, were freed in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria. He says it marks the first formal release of children since the Action plan by the CJTF was signed in September 2017.
“So, this is a significant milestone in ending the recruitment and use of children, but, many more children remain in the ranks of other armed groups in either combat or support roles. We call on all parties to stop recruiting children and let children be children,” he said.
Boulierac noted the children who have been freed are among nearly 1,500 boys and girls recruited by the vigilante militias. But, he said UNICEF believes more than 2,000 more children who have not yet been identified are enlisted by other armed groups to support their fight against Boko Haram.
The Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009 to topple the Nigerian government and establish an Islamist state. Over the years, the militant Islamists have killed and kidnapped thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes and become internally displaced or refugees.
Since 2017, UNICEF reports it has helped reintegrate into their communities more than 8,700 children released from armed groups. It says it provides the children with psychosocial support, education and vocational training so they can earn a living and become members of society.

Source: Voice of America

Huawei Campus Switches Upgrade to IDN-Ready for Building Intent-Driven Campus Networks

SHANGHAI, Oct. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — At HUAWEI CONNECT 2018, Huawei launched its innovative S6720-HI series fixed switches, which are full-featured 10GE routing switches that come with 100G uplink and routing capabilities, and also unveiled high-performance cards for its feature-rich modular switches. These newest offerings help simplify the egress networks of midsize and large enterprise customers. Huawei also announced that it has upgraded the software capabilities of all series of switches to make them Intent-Driven Network (IDN)-Ready. These upgrades achieve intelligent Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and collaborative security protection of networks and help enterprises build intelligent campus networks that connect the digital world and physical networks, which in turn enable digital transformation across industries and maximize business value.

“With the pervasive use of mobile offices and cloud services, enterprises of all sizes need a network that can sense user and application experience and defend against threats,” said Zhao Zhipeng, General Manager of Huawei’s Campus Network Domain. “Huawei IDN-Ready switches are the cornerstone of building intent-driven campus networks that feature automation, intelligence, and defense against unknown threats.”

Zhao Zhipeng continued: “Huawei has comprehensively upgraded the software and hardware capabilities of its switches to simplify network management, sense and assure the experience and security of users and applications, and make network autonomy and self-healing possible.”

Huawei S6720-HI provides 100G uplink and routing capabilities and is ideal for deployments at campus egresses, greatly reducing the complexity of campus networks. As an IDN-Ready switch, S6720-HI uses real-time telemetry and extended Media Delivery Index (eMDI) technologies to intuitively manage and optimize experience with audio and video services. Further, S6720-HI comes with built-in security probes to implement Encrypted Communication Analytics (ECA) and proactive threat deception, enhancing campus networks’ defense against unknown threats. All the other HI series switches can have the same IDN-Ready capabilities as S6720-HI through software upgrades.

Huawei also unveiled a series of high-performance cards for its modular switches. These offerings improve total-user access and AP management capacity by 60 percent and accommodate future access of mass IoT and mobile terminals to the campus network.

Huawei is committed to working with enterprise customers in the long term and takes a future-oriented approach to drive enterprise digital transformation through the power of the platform. So far, 211 of the Fortune Global 500 companies (including 48 Fortune Global 100 companies) have selected Huawei as their digital transformation partner.

For more information about S6720HI and IDN-Ready Switch: https://e.huawei.com/en/products/enterprise-networking/switches/campus-switches

HUAWEI CONNECT 2018 –”Activate Intelligence”– is held at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center and Expo Center from October 10 to 12.

This year’s HUAWEI CONNECT conference is designed to help all businesses and organizations step over the threshold and stake their claim in the intelligent world. Participants are joined by the best minds in the industry – including global ICT leaders, industry experts, and ecosystem partners – to chart the way forward and explore new opportunities.

For more information, please visit: