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It is located in a ramshackle neighbourhood in the Congolese city of Bukavu, where a million people or more eke out a living on its downtrodden streets. But Dr Mukwege’s Panzi Hospital feels somewhat removed.

There is an air of generosity about this place which is personified on the faces of those who staff it and there is sense of quiet conviction in the manner of the man who founded it – an individual who has spent 20 years treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We can’t stand idly by while people just destroy our humanity,” says this year’s co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Indifference creates consequences for you and for me. It is a kind of complicity. We have to stand up to it.”

As the son of a Pentecostal Church minister, Dr Mukwege soon realised there were limits to the power of prayer.

He says: “I started to follow my father, who was a pastor and I think something happened when he was taking care of a child who was sick, he just prayed but he didn’t give him medicines… I discovered there are things that my father couldn’t do and I said to him I will be a medical doctor.”

Dr Mukwege trained as a pediatrician but the casework took him by surprise.

“I found women who came to me to seek treatment, had been raped with extreme violence and I could not be indifferent,” he says.

“I just took the responsibility to start to treat them. I didn’t really go to school to learn how to do it.”

I asked: “There was no course, no medical degree to teach you?”

He replied: “I think what I saw, for the first time, even (though) I was a medical doctor, was so traumatising because it is not really something that you can learn.

“Can you imagine when people shoot in the genitals of woman? No one can teach you how to (treat) these types of things.”



Nadia Murad hugs her brother Saeed as she visits her village for the first time after being captured and sold as a slave by Islamic State








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Video:
Nobel Peace Prize winners honoured for combating sexual violence

We watched this self-taught surgeon sweep round the hospital, talking to patients and advising his staff. A typical day can involve five to six rape-related operations a day.

Dr Mukwege told me he can tell where a women or child comes from in this troubled country by the way she has been brutalised.

“What we discovered was that you would just know where they come from because of the (men) doing the torture. Some shoot in the genitals, (some) use bayonets or burn them or use sand and things like that. It was easy for us to know.”

In the post-operation ward, the beds are occupied by women who lie quietly on their backs. The smell of urine is pervasive.










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Video:
Nobel Peace Prize winner raises awareness of sexual violence

The nature of his work is unrelenting and Dr Mukege has added political activism to his brief in a bid to change it.

“I treat a mother, after that I treat her (daughter) and the grandchildren. Should I stay in the operating room and wait for women to be treated?

“I just feel that to treat the consequences is not the solution. We should treat the root causes and the root causes are war, the root causes are the minerals of Congo, the root causes are people who want to do business in Congo and don’t pay tax.”

Dr Mukwege is using his standing in DR Congo to criticise rebel commanders, army soldiers and the country’s corrupt and impassive government.

Denis Mukwege has dedicated his life to defending victims of sexual violence in Congo. Pic: Nobel Prize
Image:
Dr Mukwege has dedicated his life to helping victims of sexual violence. Pic: Nobel Prize

But this activism can be dangerous. Dr Mukwege barely survived an assassination attempt in 2012 after he gave a fiery speech at the UN. Now, he requires 24-hour personal protection from a detachment of UN troops.

He said: “The pressure is there, of course, and you can see in the media, the fake news that they are doing each week, against me.

“But I think that this can’t stop us (talking) about what is going on in this country and you hope that one day the Congolese population can take more responsibility (for) their destiny.”

He for one, has taken responsibility by running a hospital that will not turn anyone away.

We met one of his patients as we were preparing to leave – a 12-year-old girl called Tina, who slipped her arm around the doctor and offered him a smile.

Tina is deaf – and she is also a new mother after she was raped last year. Dr Mukwege cared for her through the pregnancy.

Speaking with sadness, he said: “To be a mother at this age, it is terrible.

“How can you imagine that people can do things as they are doing. She didn’t get her childhood and now already she is herself a mother. Even though she doesn’t understand what happened to her.”

The Panzi Hospital is a place of healing amid unimaginable suffering and it is run by the rarest of individuals. A selfless man who has inspired the world.



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US ‘pipe bombs’: Cesar Sayoc pleads guilty to using weapons of mass destruction | US News

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Cesar Sayoc has pleaded guilty to posting “pipe bombs” to Democrats and critics of US President Donald Trump

The 57-year-old entered his plea in Manhattan, speaking in a shaky voice that at times fell into a whisper.

He admitted to sending 16 devices “designed to look like pipe bombs” consisting of a plastic pipe filled with powder from fireworks and fertiliser, a digital clock and wires.

Cesar Sayoc in an artist's sketch during his appearance in a Miamia federal court
Image:
Cesar Sayoc in an artist’s sketch during an earlier court appearance

At one point, Sayoc began to cry. He said: “I know that these actions were wrong and I am extremely sorry.”

He said it was not his intention for the devices to explode, kill or injure people – but acknowledged he knew there was a risk they could explode.

Sayoc, who had been working as a part-time pizza deliveryman, grocery worker and is a former stripper, faced charges of using weapons of mass destruction, mailing explosives with an intent to kill or injure people or property, and conveying threats through interstate commerce.

He was charged after his fingerprint was found on one of the devices.

Sayoc shared a picture of himself wearing a 'MAGA' hat. Pic: Cesar Sayoc
Image:
Sayoc shared a picture of himself wearing a ‘MAGA’ hat. Pic: Cesar Sayoc

Thirteen explosive devices were sent to several high-profile figures, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Robert De Niro.

All of the devices were intercepted before reaching their intended targets and none exploded.

Sayoc faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on 12 September.

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Cyclone Idai: Aid workers struggle as 12,000 homes and schools destroyed | World News

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I last heard from my small team in Beira at 4.30pm today.

Their homes have been damaged and they are still very anxious but they and their families are all safe.

For the past few days, staff had to travel nine miles (15km) to call us for updates as there was no phone signal.

It was raining heavily the whole time and the waters were rising.

Twelve thousand houses and schools have been destroyed. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
Twelve thousand houses and schools have been destroyed. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

Since this morning they have been able to call from inside the city but the quality is very bad so it is still hard to
communicate and to get all of the details we need.

The latest information is that the rain seems so be slowing down, which is good news, but we are not sure if it will last.



Cyclone Idai







Cyclone Idai is a ‘humanitarian emergency’

The water was at around eight metres (26ft) in many places but now has fallen to around five (16ft) – some internal roads can be used by many of the major routes out of Beira and connecting to rural areas are still impassable.

The airport and the port are starting to function again.

A huge number of people have lost their homes, the agency said. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
A huge number of people have lost their homes, the agency said. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

One priority is access to areas that still haven’t been reached. Humanity and Inclusion’s (HI) logistic expert will arrive in Beira on Saturday to assess the problems and try to co-ordinate a response – clearing roads, co-ordinating transport, organising stocks of aid etc.

A huge number of people have lost their homes, all of their belongings and their crops, so their needs are very far reaching.

Power lines are down after the cyclone. Pic: Humanty and Inclusion
Image:
Power lines are down after the cyclone. Pic: Humanty and Inclusion

In the next few days, protection against diseases will also be essential, including mass vaccination programmes.

We believe more than 600,000 people are affected by the disaster, including 141,000 displaced people. Twelve thousand houses and schools have been destroyed alongside 85,000 hectares of crops.

A satellite image shows the extent of flooding, highlighted in red, around Beira in Mozambique. Pic: European Space Agency
Image:
A satellite image shows the extent of flooding, highlighted in red, around Beira in Mozambique. Pic: European Space Agency

If heavy rains return, the situation will deteriorate.

I can confirm that there are a large number of people in need, including and perhaps especially, people with disabilities.

Agency staff have had to travel 15km to make phone calls. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
Agency staff have had to travel 15km to make phone calls. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

Before the cyclone, HI was working with 137 people with disabilities in Beira, including 28 children. We have not yet been able to confirm where they are, if they are safe and if they have access to humanitarian aid.



Aid workers widen search for Mozambique cyclone survivors as the death toll mounts.







Rescue workers widen search for Mozambique cyclone survivors as the number of dead mounts.

Our focus in the coming days will be the needs of the most vulnerable.

All humanitarian organisations are working in extremely complex conditions.The main challenge over the past days has been the communication network and access to the areas affected.

Pictures showing the scale of the destruction 'speak for themselves'. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
Pictures showing the scale of the destruction ‘speak for themselves’. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

Due to these problems, we still don’t have all of the information we need to be able to fully co-ordinate the response. But we are all working together, ensuring that everyone plays to their strengths.

HI will be focusing on providing logistics support to get the area up and running again and making sure that the most vulnerable survivors have access to appropriate support.

'Access to the areas affected is one of the main challenges'. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
‘Access to the areas affected is one of the main challenges’. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

In any case humanitarian response plan is in place, and the firsts activities will start in a few days.

Due to the communication problems, I haven’t been able to confirm these reports with our team, but the photos showing the scale of the destruction speak for themselves.

People have now been battling impossible conditions for almost a week. We need to reach everybody and provide some relief.

IH is raising funds to support vulnerable people impacted by the cyclone in Mozambique.

To donate to the DEC emergency appeal, visit their website, call the 24-hour hotline 0370 60 60 610, donate at any bank or Post Office or give £5 by texting SKY to 70000.

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Thousands starve as Cyclone Idai’s impact continues in Mozambique | World News

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A large crowd turned as one as we arrived at the Mango Mascarenha primary school. Then, they began to cheer. I think they thought we were bringing them aid and assistance.

But the celebratory shouts soon turned to despair when they realised we were actually journalists.

It was understandable. Who wants to talk about a cyclone and days of torrential rain if you are starving and forced to drink from dirty puddles?

More than 200 people have died in Mozambique
Image:
More than 200 people have died in Mozambique

Two thousand people have been waiting in the school yard for a meal – or cup of porridge they can take home to their families – and they’ve been waiting in this suburb of Beira for days.

One man could not contain himself, saying: “They took our phone numbers and our names three days ago and they said they were bringing supplies but they haven’t done anything.”

The amount of food available is reportedly not enough for the number of mouths which need feeding
Image:
The amount of food available is reportedly not enough for the number of mouths which need feeding
A woman spoke to me softly in English: 'It's bad, everything is very bad.'
Image:
A woman said: ‘It’s bad, everything is very bad.’

A woman spoke to me softly in English. “It’s bad, everything is very bad.”

Cyclone Idai has levelled homes and businesses and disrupted the power supply. It also seems also to have knocked out the government.

My hand was taken by a local government leader who was clearly struggling to deal with this primary school rebellion.

Pensar Ardo Hotela Pamala told me he is responsible for a hundred or so people sheltering in the school after their homes were destroyed in the storm, but he says he cannot look after everyone in the community.

He said: “The government brought supplies according to the number [being sheltered] at the school so when we divide it all up, it is not enough for everyone, that is why we have all this confusion.”

Many in the crowd have not eaten for days
Image:
Many in the crowd have not eaten for days
A satellite image shows the extent of flooding, highlighted in red, around Beira in Mozambique. Pic: European Space Agency
Image:
A satellite image shows the extent of flooding around Beira. Pic: European Space Agency

To make sure his meagre looking grain store is kept safe, Mr Pamala has deployed a soldier with a machine gun at the entrance of classroom three.

But the municipal government leader sounded frustrated.

“Until now we have had nothing from government. Ok, they give us 500kg of [porridge] for 2,000 people. It is not enough, not enough,” he said.

Cyclone Idai left destruction in its wake
Image:
Cyclone Idai left destruction in its wake

A few hundred metres away we witnessed similar scenes of desperation. Three men in a truck carrying a tank of clean water were trying to make a delivery at another primary school.

However, word soon spread that water had arrived and dozens of people ran to the site with their empty containers

What followed next was little short of a brawl as neighbours fought neighbours for a few litres of water. Unable to cope, the crew departed without giving it all away. I saw them swatting young boys away as they made their retreat.

A map showing the path of Cyclone Idai
Image:
A map showing the path of Cyclone Idai








DEC appeals for Cyclone Idai funds

The authorities in Mozambique and the international aid agencies have had a week to assess the scale of this disaster but they are clearly struggling to get aid to those who need it.

Their operations base, at the local airport in Beira, is a hive of activity but the suburb of Mango Mascarenha lies only two or three kilometres away.

To donate to the DEC emergency appeal, visit their website, call the 24-hour hotline 0370 60 60 610, donate at any bank or Post Office or give £5 by texting SKY to 70000.

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