An outbreak of the Chikungunya virus has plagued southern Africa, killing hundreds and leaving thousands of people unable to afford food, water or heat, many of them orphans and other children left orphaned by their parents.
Hundreds of people have fallen ill and, some experts, fear the tally could rise as the virus spreads from Africa to the tropics and beyond. Nearly half of the victims have lost a family member, many from death by mosquitoes, but health officials also note the deaths caused by the virus on family members from violence after the case of death was announced. In some cases, the government has shut down a residence or a village without naming its citizens — in much the same way as the Sept. 28 closure of all campuses in D.C. schools.
The H&R Block brand on Capitol Hill will this week mark World AIDS Day by returning a record $7 million to the charity for AIDS research, which has already raised $30 million. (The brand plans to raise $100 million this year.) During the act’s five-decade history, each and every charity has had to make a tough decision about how to allocate funds to ensure the maximum benefit to those in greatest need. At a time when those in greatest need live farther away from the richer countries where most HIV/AIDS funds are raised and where many of those in the middle of the epidemic live, the timing of the charity’s annual giving effort this year has been awkward.