Nations should unite to deal with “common enemies”

Monday, 2021-08-16 09:15:26
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A healthcare worker tends to a patient at a temporary ward set up during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, January 19, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – While the COVID-19 pandemic is still complicated, claiming the lives of millions of people around the world, a series of disasters and other non-traditional security risks are still threatening many countries. This fact requires the international community to further unite to join forces to deal with “common enemies”.

In the context of the whole world struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic, a great disaster has struck Haiti. A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck on August 14 in the poorest country in America and engulfed the nation in a political and economic crisis that has left more than 300 people dead, hundreds missing, and infrastructure and traffic severely damaged. However, natural disasters and epidemics are also occurring at the same time in many other countries around the world.

In Turkey, one of the worst floods in decades has left at least 44 people dead, and the number is set to rise even higher as many are still missing. Flooding has raged in the northern provinces of Turkey in recent days after people in the south of the country struggled to control wildfires that caused massive damage in early August.

Meanwhile, forest fires and the risk of drought are threatening Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the scale of natural disasters to hit the country in 2021 is completely unprecedented. In the Far East, forest fires in dry conditions are spreading rapidly.

Besides natural disasters, a more worrying issue is while the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging, another dangerous disease, Ebola, has returned. The Ivory Coast Health Ministry announced on August 15 that it had detected the first case of Ebola virus infection in 25 years. The patient is an 18-year-old girl who travelled from neighbouring Guinea. Guinea was the country most severely affected by the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016. Earlier this year, the country also experienced a four-month Ebola outbreak. In the context of the COVID-19 epidemic, if the deadly disease caused by Ebola infection breaks out, it will double the burden on many African countries.

The above facts show that humanity is currently surrounded by the challenges presented by natural disasters and epidemics. This requires the international community and governments of countries to unite in addressing these non-traditional security challenges, epidemics in the short term, and climate change in the long term - the basic cause of most of today’s natural disasters.