After Irma, Slow Restoration of Services as Leaders Pledge More Help
Emergency workers and National Guard troops are working to find those left stranded in the Florida Keys by Hurricane Irma, while France and Britain pledge to boost their response to those hit by the storms in their territories in the Caribbean.
French President Emmanuel Macron is visiting Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy on Wednesday, a day after arriving in Guadeloupe where he acknowledged the angry response some people have to what they see as inadequate help from France. Macron promised more supplies and security forces for the islands.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is touring Wednesday in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, two places that took hard hits from Irma last week when it was a powerful Category 5 storm. He also said more security forces and "huge quantities of supplies" were coming, and that he expects Prime Minister Theresa May to announce further aid on Wednesday.
The United Nations is airlifting food and other vital relief to the islands of Antigua, St. Martin, and the Turks and Caicos.
The hurricane killed at least 37 people in the Caribbean and devastated the islands, including Barbuda, which has evacuated all of its citizens to Antigua.
A further 12 deaths have been linked to Irma in the U.S. state of Florida, and a total of six others in Georgia and South Carolina.
The Florida Keys were the hardest-hit area on the U.S. mainland. In addition to rescue operations there, National Guard troops are also working to clear roads and runways in order to allow deliveries of life-saving supplies to the island chain.
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said that according to preliminary estimates, 25 percent of homes were destroyed and 65 percent sustained major damage.
"Basically, every house in the Keys was impacted in some way or another," Long said.
World's Nations Make Progress on Some, But Not All, Health Goals
More than 60 percent of the world's nations are expected to meet some of their health targets in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. They include reducing child and maternal deaths and deaths from malaria. However, fewer than five percent are projected to meet their targets on reducing the number of overweight children, tuberculosis infections and traffic deaths.
The news comes in a report published Wednesday by the British journal The Lancet that analyzed health-related Sustainable Development Goals in 188 countries. The 17 wide-ranging goals spearheaded by the U.N. focus on improving health and education, ending poverty, combating climate change, making cities more sustainable and protecting oceans and forests.
Singapore, Iceland and Sweden were the highest performing countries in the health-related goals. Somalia, Central African Republic and Afghanistan ranked lowest. Nordic and other European countries plus Australia, Canada, Antigua and Barbuda rank in the top 20. The U.S. ranks 24th.
The report, which was funded by the U.S. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the findings should help shape policies in order to address long-standing and emerging health challenges.
Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics Evaluation and a professor of global health at the University of Washington, was the lead author.
Murray said in The Lancet: "China, Cambodia and many other middle and low-income nations deserve recognition for improving their citizens’ lives, as evidenced by impressive improvements in under-five mortality, neonatal mortality, vaccine coverage, maternal mortality, and malaria.”
The report was prepared ahead of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, beginning in New York later this month.