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Fleeing Nature: Bangladesh's Climate ...
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
31 Mar 2015

Sept-Oct, 2014

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a country of rivers and waterways on which large swaths of its population live. River bank erosion and flooding are common and continuous process due to global warming and rising sea levels. This continuous natural hazard is destroying homes and livelihoods and turning millions of Bangladeshis into homeless climate refugees.

The factors controlling river and stream formation are complex and interrelated. These factors include the amount and rate of water supply from rain and upstream activity, sediment deposited into the stream systems, catchment geology, and the type and extent of vegetation in the catchment. As these factors change over time, river systems respond by altering their shape and course. Unpredictable weather patterns also make flooding a common problem as the course of the rivers shift.

As a result of riverbank erosion and flooding, millions of people are losing their homes and fertile land every year. Most people who lose their homes or land become climate refugees, often pouring into the country’s overpopulated cities penniless and looking for new opportunities.  However, due to overpopulation, migrating climate refugees often arrive in the cities only to find themselves scrounging for food, work and accommodation. Thus, Bangladesh’s most vulnerable citizens are losing their battle against nature and are only made poorer and more desperate.  

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Life after Ebola in Liberia: A Diffic...
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

Surviving Ebola is one thing, but returning to everyday life after the deadly virus brings its own new set of problems. Survivors living on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia share their experiences of illness, loss, and coping with a new reality as the disease is slowly but surely eradicated from their area.

"People were talking a lot about the disease. You shouldn't shake any hands to prevent getting the disease," Mammie Bindah, 38, said.

Still her husband who was working at a treatment clinic got the disease. Mammie took care for him for about two weeks before he died. In the process, Mammie contracted Ebola. She was throwing up blood when she got to the ETU. This is where she fought the disease for 20 days.

"After 12 days I started feeling a bit better,” she said. “When I recovered, I found out that my children ran away out of fear. It took a while before they returned back home."

After one week of throwing up, Bindu, 23, went to a hospital in her district. She couldn't eat anything for a over 10 days. All her family members around her also caught the virus. She is the only one survivor and in her community people are afraid to speak to her in fear of getting the disease.

Helena Henry (30) and her brother were the first of her household to get Ebola from a younger cousin who was staying over. He died at the age of four-years-old, and soon after, more people in her family became ill.

"After calling for an ambulance for over 12 days, they finally showed up,” she said. “But in the meantime, my younger brother already died here in house."

She went to the ETU for treatment, but some people were afraid to go there, so they remained at home. After three weeks fighting for her life, she survived Ebola. Returning home, she found out that her husband, her sister and another brother, her aunt & uncle and their daughter and sister-in-law also caught the virus.

"None of them survived,” she said. “Now I live in a empty house, taking care of my two children, four children of my mother and one of my brother." She relies on food aid from World Food Program to get by. "When this aid stops, I don't know how I can feed 7 children."

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

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Ebola Survivors 01
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

"People were talking a lot about the disease. You shouldn't shake any hands to prevent getting the disease," Mammie Bindah, 38, said.

Still her husband who was working at a treatment clinic got the disease. Mammie took care for him for about two weeks before he died. In the process, Mammie contracted Ebola. She was throwing up blood when she got to the ETU. This is where she fought the disease for 20 days.

"After 12 days I started feeling a bit better,” she said. “When I recovered, I found out that my children ran away out of fear. It took a while before they returned back home."

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Maternal issues through Ebola 05
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

Health workers were afraid to accept Comfort at the local hospital when she needed to give birth. They thought she might be caught with Ebola, so they turned her away. Comfort is aiming at the spot right on the streets where she gave birth. To twins. In the rain.

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Ebola Survivors 08
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

Rosanna's organization helps Ebola survivors to cope with the loss around Ebola.

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Ebola Survivors 09
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

Beds of Ebola victims lie disused in a field near a closed Ebola treatment unit.

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Ebola Survivors 10
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

Beds of Ebola victims lie disused in a field near a closed Ebola treatment unit.

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Ebola Survivors 11
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

An Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) lies all but condemned on the outskirts of Monrovia.

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Ebola Survivors 12
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

All of this woman's family members died; only grand children remain. Now, her house is empty.

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Ebola Survivors 13
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

An Ebola survivor does the dishes outside her home in Monrovia. Surviving Ebola is one thing, but returning to life after the deadly virus brings its own new set of problems.

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Ebola Survivors 14
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
27 Feb 2015

Surviving Ebola is one thing, but returning to life after the deadly virus brings its own new set of problems.

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Ebola Survivors 02
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
26 Feb 2015

After one week of throwing up, Bindu (23) went to a hospital in her district. She couldn't eat anything for a over 10 days. All her family members around her also caught the virus. She is the only one survivor and in her community people are afraid to speak to her in fear of getting the disease.

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Ebola Survivors 04
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
26 Feb 2015

Helena Henry (30) and her brother the were first of her household to get Ebola from a younger cousin who was staying over. He died at the age of four-years-old, and soon after, more people in her family became ill.

"After calling for an ambulance for over 12 days, they finally showed up,” she said. “But in the meantime, my younger brother already died here in house."

She went to the ETU for treatment, but some people were afraid to go there, so they remained at home. After three weeks fighting for her life, she survived Ebola. Returning home, she found out that her husband, her sister and another brother, her aunt & uncle and their daughter and sister-in-law also caught the virus.

"None of them survived,” she said. “Now I live in a empty house, taking care of my two children, four children of my mother and one of my brother." She relies on food aid from World Food Program to get by. "When this aid stops, I don't know how I can feed 7 children."

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Ebola Survivors 06
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
26 Feb 2015

Surviving Ebola is one thing, but returning to life after the deadly virus brings its own new set of problems.

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Ebola Survivors 07
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
26 Feb 2015

Surviving Ebola is one thing, but returning to life after the deadly virus brings its own new set of problems.

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Ebola Survivors 03
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
25 Feb 2015

The father of Vivian Kekula (26) was working in a local clinic as a nurse. That's where he contracted Ebola. When he got sick in June, her family didn't think about Ebola at first. The ambulance brought him to an ETU, but in the process he spreaded the disease to Vivian's mother, sister and a cousin. And then to Vivian. People were suffering from internal bleedings. "This was hard to watch. I was crying because I was scared. But people that were treating me where encouraging me, that gave me strength". When she got out she heard that all family members somehow survived the disease. "That's when we celebrated". Now she has a six month contract working for Save the Children to talk to survivors and hear their stories to see what aftercare is needed.

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Ebola Survivors 03
Monrovia, Liberia
By Reinier van Oorsouw
24 Feb 2015

Health workers were afraid to accept Comfort at the local hospital when she needed to give birth. They thought she might be caught with Ebola, so they turned her away. Comfort faces at the spot where she gave birth, in the middle of the the street, to twins. In the rain.

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Death Trap 24
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
19 Jan 2015

A sunken passenger vessel sits grounded on Kamarjani island, near Gaibandha, Bangladesh on 20 January 2015.

Local people say that there are many new islands emerging in the Brahmaputra river as a result of changing water levels. As a result, passenger vessels which sank a couple of years ago and were not recovered sometimes surface as water levels change.

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Aftermath of Airstrikes Against an Is...
Zuwarah, Libya
By hamzaturkia
15 Dec 2014

The aftermath of airstrikes in the Libyan town of Zuwarah.

Large food supplies were destroyed and infrastructure severely damaged when missiles landed on a warehouse for food storage and a chemical factory.

At least eight people were killed and 24 others wounded, including 10 African workers.

These airstrikes were carried out on December 2 by the forces of retired General Khalifa Haftar, who are trying to recapture areas in east Libya from Islamist rebels. Another wave of airstrikes, 10
days later, targeted areas in Zuwarah’s outskirts near the border with Tunisia.

Residents also expressed their anger that General Haftar’s attacks are harming civilians.

Rebel leaders accused Egypt of providing Haftar’s forces with warplanes used in the attacks.

The recent series of airstrikes also targeted a rebel-held international airport in in the outskirts of Tripoli. The spokesman of the rebel security force that controls the airport said that the bombings
were carried out during two consecutive days. According to the spokesman, the attacks targeted the airport’s runway, causing minor injuries and damaging civilian homes near the airport.

A bloody conflict has pitted two Libyan governments against each other since August. The country is torn between militias that were once united to oust dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Despite recent United Nations mediation to broker a peace accord, fighting between the warring factions continues to weaken this fragile country. The prosperity to which Libyans have long aspired seem to many like a far-fetched hope.

Shot list:

2 M/S of a destroyed warehouse

C/S of food bags

M/S and C/S of a burnt truck

Various shots from the hospital

Various shots from Zuwarah Square

Various shots of streets of Tripoli

Various shots of destroyed houses near Mitiga International Airport

Various shots from inside the Mitiga International Airport

SOUNDBITE

(Arabic, man) Unnamed employee

(00:30) We were working normally at the offices when were caught by surprise by missiles falling on the warehouses, killing 8 persons and wounding 14 others. These warehouses provided food supplies from Sabrata to Ras Jdair (00:54).

(Arabic, man) Issa al-Mansuri, a resident of Zuwarah

(01:39) We condemn these bombings by Haftar’s air force. They are targeting civilians and innocent foreigners who have nothing to do with [this conflict]. These airstrikes are destroying infrastructure and will not solve the problem. We want a ceasefire by any possible means, we do not want airstrikes in addition to the fighting. We have enough weapons to hold war on different front lines and they are bringing in weapons and pilots from abroad. How will they solve the problem this way? (02:05).

(Arabic, man) Mubarak al-Nayli, resident of Tripoli

(02:48) Life in Tripoli is relatively stable but certain armed groups are breaching security by bombing indiscriminately (03:01).

(03:07) This has [scared] school children and caused a fuel shortage, and we faced a shortage in electricity, too, but it is fixed now (03:18).

(Arabic, man) Unnamed resident of Tripoli

(03:46) Instead of bombing military bases, [Haftar] is targeting the homes of civilians who have nothing to do with military action (04:04).

(Arabic, man) Al-Sader al-Turki, Spokesperson of rebel security unit at Mitiga Airport

(04:48) The airstrikes carried out by the so-called Haftar’s group did not affect our morale. These warplanes do not belong to the Libyan air force; they were brought from another country (05:13).

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Mortars Fired at Shiite Pilgrims
Karbala
By mushtaq mohammed
12 Dec 2014

December 12, 2014
Karbala, Iraq

Approximately 20 mortars were dropped on the night of Thursday, December 11, 2014, in inhabited areas in the west neighborhoods of Karbala.
According to eye witnesses, the mortars were fired from the border of al-Hizam al-Akhdar area, using a mobile platform placed in the back of a pickup truck, and landed two kilometers from the holy shrines in the center of Karbala.
The same local source claimed that the shelling caused at least one death and 20 injuries, including children, and damaged some homes.

The attack comes as millions of Shiites from all over the world head to holy shrines in Karbala to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. This is a religious tradition Shiite Muslims have been observing for over 1300 years.

Trancription:

Um Nour (Woman, Arabic):

"His brother is in the hospital, and their younger son is in the hospital. He is the only one who died. Nobody else died."

Interviewer: What happened yesterday?

"A mortar hit, it was dropped in their backyard, go check it out. It was big to the extent that our stuff fell on the ground."

Um Hussein (Woman, Arabic):

"Yesterday at 11:30pm, a missile was dropped on their house. They have five children and they are all young. The youngest is one year and a half old. They were great people, we have been their neighbors for 20 years."

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Laughing at Death: Europe's Happiest ...
Sapanta
By danubestory
04 Dec 2014

While the lives of Sapanta residents is marked by the rhythm of horse-drawn ploughs, of looms spinning wool into rough blankets and cloth for clothes, and the distilling of 'tuica' (TSUI-ka), a potent local fruit liquor; their deaths are marked with color and humor.

In this northern Romanian village, the “Merry Cemetery” brings smiles or cheeky grins to the faces of visitors and locals there to pay their respects to the dead. Colorfully painted, handed-crafted oak tombstones tell the stories of the lives and deaths of the deceased in a humorous, brutally honest tone. The “Merry Cemetery” in Sapanta is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and draws thousands of tourists every year.

The tradition started when a local woodworker named Stan Ioan Patras carved and painted the first tombstone in 1935, gracing it with a lighthearted epitaph that he came up with to commemorate the death of a neighbor. After his death in 1977, woodworker, painter, poet and farmer Dumitru Pop took residence in his workshop and kept the tradition alive. When a member of the community dies, he goes to work coming up with an (often hilarious) epitaph that best represents the deceased, carving a playful scene and painting the tombstone in bright blues, reds, greens and earthtones. Mr. Pop’s background in classical and contemporary Romanian literature gives his epitaphs a resonance that goes deep into the village’s collective memory.

Some ethnologists studying the cemetery believe that the lighthearted and humorous attitude towards death in this region may be a remnant of Dacian culture. Early inhabitants of Romania, the Dacians greeted death with open arms because it meant meeting the greatest of their gods, Zalmoxis. As in many cultures, certain attitudes and practices were easily integrated into monotheistic worldviews that came later, in this case Orthodox Christianity. According to a local Orthodox priest, people in the region do not necessarily see death as if it were a tragedy, but rather as a passage to another life.

The practice even survived Romania’s communist era despite Soviet communism’s largely atheistic and secular worldview. A grave marker commemorating Ioan Holdis, a local Communist official reads:

“As long as I lived, I loved the Party And all my life I tried to help the people.”

However, the best loved epitaphs are the funniest, the ones that make mourning and remembering the dead a hilarious affair:

“Under this heavy cross Lies my poor mother in-law Three more days she would have lived
I would lie, and she would read (this cross).
You, who here are passing by
Not to wake her up please try
Cause' if she comes back home
She'll criticize me more.
But I will surely behave
So she'll not return from grave.
Stay here, my dear mother in-law!”

Shot list and Subtitles

(00:05 – 00:11) W/S In a small village in Romania, a cemetery makes people smile. (00:12 -00:17) D/M Cheerful, colourful tombstones tell the stories of people who lived in the village of Sapanta in country’s north. (00:18 – 00:23) D/S The unconventional way of commemorating the deceased cheerfully and honestly shows death as an inevitability. (00:24 – 00:29) D/S Gravestones here tell of the persons virtues but tell the truth about their vices. (00:30 – 00:35) W/S The “Merry Cemetery” was declared as a UNESCO site, (00:36 – 00:41) W/S one of the reasons Sapanta is among the most visited Romanian villages. (00:42 – 00:47) W/S A church in the middle of the cemetery solemnly venerates the saints (00:48 – 00:53) D/S But common mortals may be humorous. (00:54 – 00:59) M/M Thanks to vibrant illustrations, visitors understand the stories of people from the village even if they don’t read Romanian. (01:00 – 01:05) M/S “Here lies the good tractor operator.” (01:06 – 01:11) D/S “Here the hardworking farmer rests in peace.” (01:12 – 01:17) M/M This person died in a car accident. (01:18 – 01:23) D/S “Father and son.” (01:24 – 01:29) D/S “A man drowned in the river.” (01:30 – 01:35) M/S The first painted wooden cross was made here in 1935. (01:36 – 01:41) M/M This humorous way of commemorating the dead was the idea of local woodworker Stan Ioan Patras. (01:42 – 01:47) W/M He lived and worked on his carvings in this house near the cemetery. (01:48 – 01:53) M/S He even carved naive portraits of Romanian communist dictator Ceausescu and his government (01:54 – 01:59) M/S and of notable townsmen. (02:00 – 02:05) W/M The workshop has bustled with activity and honest humor ever since. After Patras’ death in 1977, Dumitru Pop took over the workshop. (02:06 – 02:11) W/S Locals believe that humorous verses are the best way to remember their loved ones. (02:18 – 02:23) But they are not allowed to tell Dumitru what shall he write. (02:24 – 02:29) D/S Each wooden is crafted precisely by hand.. (02:30 – 02:35) D/S They are all made from local oak (02:36 – 02:41) M/S and painted with vivid colours. The main color is blue, the color of heaven, where the living strive to end up. (02:42 – 02:47) M/S Dumitru says that the epitaphs are all true stories. (02:48 – 02:53) D/S Perhaps death is easier, knowing that his learned hands will make a cheerful tombstone in ones commemoration. (02:54 – 02:59) D/S “Busy housewives but also mischiefs are waiting for them.” (03:00 – 03:05) D/S On the tombstone of a distiller the epitaph reads: “Everybody in Sapanta loved me, as I produced elixir of life.

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Fleeing Nature 1
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
19 Nov 2014

A homeless climate refugee sleeps in a park at Dhaka. The Bangladeshi capital is one of the most densely populated cities on earth. One of the major contributing factors to this swell in population is the mass migration of people from the impoverished countryside into the city. Many of those leaving the countryside fled after losing homes, crops, and livelihoods to natural catastrophes.

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Fleeing Nature 6
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Mohammad Rashid Miah cut down all of the trees around his house on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. Having already lost his house to the river, Mr. Miah is salvaging his trees in order to sell them and save enough money to move to Dhaka.

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Fleeing Nature 8
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Rubel stands in front of his uprooted coconut trees on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. After loosing his cow to river bank erosion, these coconut trees were his last source of livelihood. However, these trees have now also fallen victim to the river.

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Fleeing Nature 12
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Rabeya Khatun mourns her lost husband and son on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. Her husband and son lost their lives when their house was swallowed by the river as they slept. Rabeya was at her mother's house when the incident occurred and thus survived.

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Fleeing Nature 13
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Mohammad Ikram stands in front of the Meghna river, near Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. He has seen his neighbors migrating and even dying because of water related disasters. Despite strong signals that it is best to leave the area, he does not know what to do because his land is all he has.

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As Number of Deaths in Syria Rises, H...
Damascus
By mchreyteh
08 Oct 2014

October 2014
Old Damascus, Syria

Text by Youssef Zbib

In the tombstone masonries of Bab al-Jabiya souk in Old Damascus, smooth white marble blocks are stacked against the walls, waiting to go under skilled craftsmen’s hammers and chisels to become headstones engraved with scripture from the Quran.
Headstone carvers in this old souk say that demand for their products has increased since the start of the war in Syria.
“Before the events, we had an average amount of work. Clients asked for headstones for people who died of natural causes,” said Ziad, a headstone craftsman in Bab al-Jabiya. “Now, due to the events, our work has increased because there are martyrs. There have been more deaths here in Damascus, so we have had more work.” The number of deaths has indeed been very high. As the conflict nears its fourth year, the United Nations has estimated that at least 191,000 civilians and fighters have been killed in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2014.
Between 100 and 200 people, both civilians and military, are killed every day, according to reports by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other local monitoring groups. In a single attack, more than 1,300 people were killed in August 2013 when government forces used chemical weapons against rebel-controlled areas in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus. Deadly battles are still raging in this area, as government forces advance on rebel-held towns.
The battles following the blitz attack by ISIS in Syria’s east and northeast in June 2014 have also been very bloody. At least 400 people were killed in the battle over the city of Kobani from mid-September to early October 2014.
But the increasing demand for headstones does not necessarily mean that headstone carvers are making more profit. Due to the economic crisis, customers are asking for cheaper headstones.
“In the old days, people used long headstones. They considered them to be more beautiful and presentable. Today, people have different requirements,” said Samer, another headstone carver in the Bab al-Jabiya souk. According to Samer, people ask for shorter headstones because of their poor financial situation, and also ask for less engraving in order to pay less.
“Of course, prices differ,” said Samer. “High-relief carving costs more [than low-relief carving] because it takes more time to be done. The design at the top of the headstone – we call it “The Crown” – also affects the price. Some designs take two days to finish, others two hours, so the prices necessarily differ.” Moataz, who owns a tombstone masonry in the same souk, also says that although the demand for headstones has increased, it is not as high as he would expect it to be, given the high number of killings as a result of the fighting. Moataz believes that families of the deceased are not offering their beloved departed what they deserve.
“Some people postpone buying a headstone because, at the time of the burial, they are unable to afford it,” said Moataz. “Smaller headstones now replace large ones. Sometimes a single headstone is used to cover four or five graves.” In the areas most affected by the war, such as Deir Ezzor and eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, the dead are even “less fortunate” than those in Damascus. People use any available space to hastily bury the victims of daily bombing and gun battles, due to the high number of killings and fears that large gatherings of mourners might be killed in airstrikes themselves. Public parks and private gardens have become sites for unmarked graves.
A war economy
The emergent war economy has also fostered some professions that did not exist or were not developed before the war, like illegal money changing. The fluctuation of the Syrian pound’s exchange rate offered the opportunity for a currency black market in Damascus and Aleppo.
The government lost control over most the oil fields in Deir Ezzor and Hassaka provinces in the east and northeast, which allowed oil smugglers affiliated with armed groups to extract crude oil that is refined in makeshift distilleries and then sold in opposition-controlled areas or smuggled across the border to Turkey.
But many industries have been weakened by the conflict. Shops near the headstone workshops in Old Damascus have lost a many of their clients as the war has divided Syria’s territories and economy.

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Fleeing Nature 2
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
03 Oct 2014

Sadarghat Launch Terminal, situated on the bank of the river Buriganga in Dhaka, is one of the busiest places in Bangladesh. Most people migrating from the countryside pass through this port to migrate to Dhaka. Many of those migrating are climate refugees.

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Trapped on Mount Sinjar (Photo)
Sinjar
By Abdulkhaliq Al Jawari
01 Oct 2014

A few hundred Yazidis have taken up arms and formed an organized protection unit of fighters to protect them from ISIS attacks. The Yazidi fighters have been engaged in clashes with ISIS militants for the past two weeks. The Islamic militants have been besieging Mount Sinjar in an attempt to wipe out the Yazidis taking refuge there. Despite western intervention, there are still thousands of Yazidis stuck on Mount Sinjar. Many of the families had to stay because some of their members were too old, young, or sick to travel. Their situation is desperate as ISIS fighters surround the mountain, blocking off access to food and water. The Yazidis must walk for five hours to the nearest well to collect clean water. They have a few livestock to provide them with food. The children collect animal waste to fuel fires. Most of the Yazidis on the mountain are either elderly or children and are vulnerable in the cold weather. Twenty-nine-year-old Safin managed to sneak into the Sinjar mountain in late September in hopes of finding his childhood friend Ali. The two friends have not had any contact since they both fled from ISIS at the beginning of August 2014. Thousands of Yazidi families where displaced when ISIS attacked their hometowns in Sinjar. Safin has not been able to locate his friend Ali, but he has been reunited with many of his people. He visited some of the Yazidi camps on the mountain and met with the fighters who received their weapons from Syrian Kurds and are protecting the trapped families. He also found corpses of Yazidis who perished due to starvation and thirst.

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Fleeing Nature 4
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Shahjahan transports tin sheets and other materials from his house. Some families actually migrate before disaster strikes so they do not lose all of their belongings in an impending disaster. Mohammad deconstructed his entire house and moved it elsewhere before it was destroyed by the water.

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Fleeing Nature 5
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Mamun stands over his submerged house in the Padma River in Dohar, Dhaka. Mr. Mamun's house was swallowed by the Padma after river bank erosion resulted in a land implosion.

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Fleeing Nature 7
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Romjal Ali takes a selfie with his destroyed house. Mr. Ali's house was destroyed by the eroding river bank. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Fleeing Nature 9
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Rabeya Begum stands over the roof of her house which she salvaged after it was destroyed by river bank erosion. She is going to use the salvaged materials to build her new home. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Fleeing Nature 10
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Khadija Akhter was only able to save this cabinet and some bricks from her house after river bank erosion resulted in her house being destroyed and submerged. Dohar, Dhaka.

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Fleeing Nature 11
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Hashmot Ali's house sits tilted and half submerged in the Padma river after the bank on which his house was built gave way. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Orphaned Brothers Struggle to Survive...
Damascus
By Rame ALsayaed
13 Aug 2014

al-Hajar al-Aswad, Damascus
November, 2014

Youssef, 8 years old
Ahmed 12 years old
Um Farah, Aunt

Youssef and Ahmed are two young orphans who are struggling to survive with their two sisters. After losing their father and mother a couple of years ago, the children now struggle to survive in the besieged Damascus neighborhood of al-Hajar al-Aswad.

The children's father was killed during clashes with the Syrian army in their native Deir Ez Zour. Shortly after their father's death, the situation in Deir Ez Zour became too violent and Um Youssef escaped with the children to al-Hajar al-Aswad, a neighborhood in southern Damascus.

In the beginning of 2012, when the mother was standing in line to get some bread for her children, the Syrian government bombed the bakery and Um Youssef was severely injured. Due to the siege imposed on the area by the government, she was not able to get proper treatment for her wounds and she died shortly after. Youssef, Ahmed, and their two sisters became orphans.

After losing their mother, the children's aunt, Um Farah started looking after them. However, their lives did not get easier as Um Farah's ability to care for the children was limited as she was already poor herself and had her own children to look after. Regardless of the challenges, Um Farah did not give up on Youssef and his siblings, and tried to provide for them. However, the siege and resulting poverty forced Youssef and Ahmed to begin providing for themselves.

Now, Youssef and Ahmed scour the streets of al-Hajar al-Aswad for food and anything that they can use to survive.

A typical day for Ahmed and Youssef begins early when they go searching for drinkable water. After their search for water, they head to school in a makeshift classroom that was established by volunteers in al-Hajar al-Aswad. For the boys, school is considered they only good thing in their lives during the war. However, Youssef usually leaves in the middle class to go reserve a place in the line for the public kitchen. Once he reserves his spot he heads back to school.

After school is over, Youssef returns to the kitchen to pick up the food. They then take the food home to have a meal with the rest of the family.
After taking a short rest, they go out searching for firewood, which is the only material available under siege that can be used for cooking and heating. After an exhausting day they go to sleep.

Youssef and Ahmed can no longer remember cartoon shows; they have not watched any since the electricity was cut off two years ago. The only thing they care about is helping their aunt provide food and other needs for the family.

Youssef and Ahmed are examples of many Syrian orphans who struggle to survive.

The Syrian government imposed a siege on al-Hajar al-Aswad at the end of 2012 and the siege has thus far resulted in the death nearly 70 people from starvation and dehydration. The situation is getting worse after the regime increased the siege by cutting off the water in al-Hajar al-Aswad.
TRANSCRIPT:

Interviewer:
Ho do you spend your day Youssef?

Youssef:
We wake my aunt up to tell her that we are going to get water, so she would not worry about us. After we are done, we go to school, and when it is time to go to the kitchen, we take permission from the teacher and leave to go put the buckets and claim our place in line. Then we go back to school and after we are done we go to the kitchen, get the food, and come back home.

Interviewer:
Youssef what do you wish for?

Youssef:
To have my mother and father alive. When I see children with their parents, I feel sad, I see them with their parents, playing and joking, but I cannot do that because my parents are dead and I have nobody but my aunt.

Interviewer:
Youssef what do you want to be when you grow older?

Youssef:
I want to become an FSA fighter

Interviewer:
Why do you want to become and FSA fighter?

Youssef:
I want vengeance from the people who killed my mother and father.

Interviewer:
Ahmed, what do you wish to become when you grow older?

Ahmed:
I want to become a doctor because when my mother was injured, there were no doctors to treat her. That is why I want to become a doctor, so I can treat the ill and the injured.

Interviewer:
Ahmed, what do you wish for?

Ahmed:
I wish the old days would return and I can go back and play with the children I used to play with, and to go back to school and forget about everything and not wake up early to go look for firewood, water and food. That is how we spend our days, very tiring.

Um Farah, their aunt:
Their mother died while she was at the bakery getting bread. A bomb was dropped and her kidney was injured. And their father, he died before their mother did. He was going with some people and carrying a gun and some people betrayed them and 100 men were killed. Their father was one of them. They have nobody, I brought them to look after them and I will not give up on them. For their bad luck, things got worse and life got more difficult. We have been under siege for a year, without food or medical care or anything. We go to the garden and get some edible plants while the children go to the public kitchen and get some food, that is how we are managing.

Interviewer:
How many children are they?

Um Farah, their aunt:
They are four, two older girls and two boys.
That is how we are living, the children go everyday to get water from a place far away, it has been two months since they cut off the water.

Interviewer:
How do the children treat you?

Um Farah, their aunt:
They are great, they call me mom and I do not make them feel that I am only their aunt. I love them very much, and I treat them as if they were my own children.

The teacher:
Youssef’s case is similar to many cases we have here at the school. This child lost his family and he no longer has people to care for him. In the beginning, we felt that he is lonely and isolated, until we knew what his problem was, and as much as possible we tried to push him to communicate with the other children. In addition to that, similar to many other children, they bring buckets and container and take permission to leave class in order to go to the public kitchen and get food so they can survive.

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Death Trap 9
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
03 Aug 2014

A women who lost her son in the Pinak-6 sinking points to the river Padma as she voices her fury at the Bangladeshi government. The woman feels that if the government had taken the initiative to build a bridge across the river, then her son would not have been missing. The Pinak-6 was a passenger vessel used to ferry people from one side of the Padma river to the other. The boat sank as it made a crossing.

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Death Trap 14
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
03 Aug 2014

A women crawls on the ground at the Mawa Ferry Ghat on August 4, 2014 after her husband went missing when the Pinak-6 passenger vessel sank on the Padma river.

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Death Trap 15
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
03 Aug 2014

A survivor of the Pinak-6 sinking cries on the shore of the Padma river. He was able to save himself, but not his mother, who drowned in the disaster. While many people who take the boats know how to swim, when the boats capsize many passengers panic and cannot save themselves. The saris and baggy clothes popular amongst Bangladeshis also make it hard to swim and lead many to drown.

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Death Trap 1
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
03 Aug 2014

People gather at the Mawa Ferry Ghat near Dhaka after a passenger vessel named Pinak-6 sank. On that sunken passenger vessel, 51 people died and more than 200 went missing.

August 4, 2014