With India preparing to make residents 18 and older eligible for a coronavirus vaccine starting Saturday, Dr. Aqsa Shaikh emailed the country’s largest drug manufacturer this week asking for doses for the vaccination center she runs in New Delhi.
The response was not encouraging: The company, the Serum Institute of India, said it was so overwhelmed by demand that it could take five or six months for Dr. Shaikh to get the 3,000 doses per month she requested.
“When I read that email, images of mass burials appeared in front of my eyes,” she said. “We may have to shut down the center now if the government doesn’t chip in.”
Mass vaccinations could be the only way for India to curb its outbreak. The health ministry on Thursday reported more than 375,000 cases and more than 3,600 deaths, and hospitals warned of critical shortages of ventilator beds, medical oxygen, medicines and other lifesaving supplies.
could be a significant undercount — its vaccination program was supposed to be a bright spot. Before the pandemic, India ran the world’s largest immunization program, delivering routine vaccinations to 55 million people a year. The Serum Institute aimed to become the vaccine manufacturer for the world, pumping out tens of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at its factories in the western city of Pune.
But after an initial fast rollout, averaging some three million injections a day, India’s vaccination drive is slowing. The health ministry said on Thursday that it had administered fewer than 2.2 million doses in the last 24 hours.
About 26 million people have been fully vaccinated, or 2 percent of the population, making it unlikely that India will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of vaccinating 300 million people by the summer.
Despite cash infusions from Mr. Modi’s government, India’s major vaccine companies are struggling to increase production. The Serum Institute is producing about 60 million doses a month, and another Indian company, Bharat Biotech, is making about 10 million doses a month of its Covaxin shot. A third company has signed an agreement to produce Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine later this year.
what India needs to inoculate every adult, some 940 million people. Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya, an epidemiologist, tweeted: “It is like inviting 100 people at your home for lunch. You have resources to cook for 20.”
Already, hospitals say they are running out of vaccines. Many Indians who have received one shot say they are having trouble getting a second.
“You feel like you are being cheated,” said Aditya Kapoor, a New Delhi businessman who said he was turned away from two clinics when he went to get his second dose.
An online portal the government launched on Wednesday to register for shots crashed because of the demand; more than 13 million Indians eventually got appointments.
“We don’t know what to do from Saturday; the shortage is everywhere,” said Balbir Singh Sidhu, the health minister in Punjab State, which is struggling to obtain the three million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that it ordered.
The Indian health ministry denied there was a supply shortage and said that it had tried to speed up the rollout by allowing private facilities to purchase directly from manufacturers. But critics say the policy could lead to companies raising prices for private buyers.
In New Delhi, at the vaccination center at Jamia Hamdard, a medical college, Dr. Sheikh said that she would soon be unable to offer even the 150 doses she administers in an average day.
“Just thinking about not being able to help at our vaccination center makes me cry,” she added.
LONDON — Tens of thousands of soldiers from Africa and Asia who died during World War I in the service of what was then the British Empire were not properly commemorated, partly because of prejudice and racism, according to the findings of an inquiry issued on Thursday.
The report, written by an independent committee, found that the graves of 45,000 to 54,000 people who died serving the British war effort — largely East Africans, West Africans, Egyptians and Indians — did not receive appropriate memorials. At least 116,000 other casualties were not named on any memorials, the report said, adding that the number could be as high as 350,000.
First reported by The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, the inquiry found that, though some colonial subjects had volunteered their service, “an equally high proportion may have been coerced or forcibly conscripted by the military and colonial authorities,” especially in African colonies and in Egypt.
Those who died, in some cases, were commemorated collectively on memorials rather than with their own individual headstones or grave markers, like their European counterparts were. In other cases, soldiers who were missing had their names recorded in registers rather than in stone.
erupted across the country last summer. Critics have said that a government-commissioned report on racial discrimination, released last month in response to those protests, whitewashed racial injustice in Britain after it said that disparities were more because of reasons of socio-economic status than of race.
Statues of slave traders have been torn down in some cities in Britain, and museums in the country have been working to highlight links to slavery and colonialism in their exhibits. The royal family has also come under fire after Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said in an interview last month that a member of the family had asked questions about the skin color of their son, who was then not yet born.
“Unremembered — Britain’s Forgotten War Heroes,” which followed the British Labour lawmaker David Lammy as he investigated why African soldiers who served and died during World War I had not received their own graves.
said on Twitter in response to the inquiry. But recognition that the commission had failed to treat Black African and other ethnic minority soldiers the same as others was a “watershed moment,” he said, adding that it offered an opportunity to work through “this ugly part of our history.”
The report said the failure of the commemoration efforts was underpinned by “entrenched prejudices, preconceptions and pervasive racism of contemporary imperial attitudes.”
Responding to the findings, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission apologized for “historic failings” and said that it was fully committed to delivering on a series of recommendations made in the report. Those included providing more resources to search for those not commemorated and collaborating with local communities to highlight difficult parts of the British Empire’s history.
“The events of a century ago were wrong then and are wrong now,” Claire Horton, the commission’s director general, said in a statement. “We are sorry for what happened and will act to right the wrongs of the past.”
The British defense secretary, Ben Wallace, apologized on behalf of the government on Thursday. “There can be no doubt that prejudice played a part in some of the commissioners’ decisions,” he said in Parliament. He said that the government would support the implementation of the report’s recommendations. “Whilst we can’t change the past, we can make amends and take action,” he said.
But Kehinde Andrews, professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, said “It’s really farcical that in the 21st century, now, they want to apologize.”
The commission was created in 1917 to commemorate the deaths of service members in cemeteries and memorials across the world. Among the group’s main principles is “equality of treatment for the war dead irrespective of rank or religion.” At least 1.7 million British Empire and Commonwealth citizens died during the two World Wars.
In World War I, the contributions of soldiers from “white-settled” countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand dominated the narrative over other parts of the British Empire, the report said.
Many Britons were unaware that nonwhite colonial subjects were involved in the empire’s wars, and that was because of gaps in the history that is taught in schools, Professor Andrews said. “If government institutions were serious, you have to fundamentally rebuild the school curriculum from scratch,” he added.
The forced conscription of colonial subjects, he said, should open a conversation about restitution and reparations for the families of those affected.
“This was 100 years ago,” he said, adding that the current accounting of past wrongs was “too little, too late.”
ROME — To most eyes, the scruffy, sun-faded ship that left Venice for Sicily last week might have looked like a junkyard-ready wreck.
Instead, as the ship embarked upon what may be its final voyage, via barge and tugboat, and arrived in Sicily on Tuesday, others were hoping it would become a monument to the devastating toll exacted by the trafficking of people across the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe by unscrupulous operators.
The ship, the relic of the deadliest wreck in the Mediterranean in living memory, is a symbol of contemporary migration in Europe that has become part of its cultural heritage, said Maria Chiara Di Trapani, an independent curator working on future projects for the vessel.
On April 18, 2015, the unnamed ship — originally built as a fishing vessel for a crew of around 15 — capsized off the coast of Libya, becoming the watery grave for the more than 1,000 people, many from Mali, Mauritius and the Horn of Africa, crammed onboard. Only 28 passengers survived.
Missing Migrants Project run by the International Organization for Migration has recorded a minimum of 12,521 deaths or disappearances during migration across the Central Mediterranean route.
The ship sank after colliding with a Portuguese freighter that had come to its assistance. An analysis of the shipwreck has been treated by migration activists as a case study on the perils of inexpert assistance at sea. The ship was later used as evidence in a case against the Tunisian captain who piloted the ship and in 2018 was convicted of human trafficking.
“The story of the boat is very complex, involving many people,” said Enzo Parisi, the spokesman for the Comitato 18 Aprile, a citizens’ group in Augusta, Sicily, that wants the boat to become a monument, “a testimony to tragedies at sea.”
In June 2016, the Italian government decided to raise the wreck 1,200 feet from the bottom of the sea to identify the victims. The ship was taken to a naval base in Augusta, and the victims were extracted.
laboratory at the University of Milan for the laborious task of cataloging and possible identification.
The ship’s destiny, at that point, was to head to the scrap yard, like hundreds of ships that have been seized by Italian authorities.
But the wreck’s symbolic power had become apparent. In 2019, supported by the Comitato 18 Aprile, Augusta’s municipal council was granted custody of the ship. The region lobbied to have it declared a monument of cultural interest and the committee came up with proposals for a memorial that would have the ship as the centerpiece.
“As a seaport, Augusta has always been welcoming,” said Giuseppe Di Mare, the mayor of the Sicilian city, which is a first landing spot for many migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, before they are processed and shunted off to other Italian cities. Because of the coronavirus, the sea rescues now include an interim stop on quarantine ships, and currently there are two such ships in Augusta’s harbor.
“Barca Nostra,” or “Our Ship” in Italian, the vessel was presented at the art exhibit as a “monument to contemporary migration” and restrictions on personal freedoms.
2019 documentary about the disaster and the attempts to identify the victims, Ms. Mirto counted headstones in a cemetery that read: “Unknown Immigrant Deceased in the Strait of Sicily on 18.4.2015.”
The project to identify victims continues, sponsored by Italy’s special commissioner for missing persons. Dr. Cattaneo, the forensic pathologist who is responsible for the university laboratory in Milan, said that funding shortages had hampered the work, and that, so far, only six victims had been identified using their methodology, which involves comparing the DNA extracted from the victims to the DNA of family members, as well as anthropological and dental traits.
She is hopeful that progress will be made this year, as the university is now working with other academic institutions, as well as Italian law enforcement authorities, but she cautioned that the condition in which researchers had found the bodies after a year under water made everything “extremely complex.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross and other national affiliates have also been involved in identifying the victims of the tragedy. They have adopted a different, complementary, approach, attempting to draft a list of the passengers onboard by cross-referencing the accounts of survivors, witnesses, relatives, friends, as well as from the objects that were recovered from the ship. Currently, they are calling some of the nearly 1,500 phone numbers — which have been tracked to 56 countries — that were found in the wreckage in hopes of gleaning new clues.
have died in the first months of 2021.
The ship will now undergo urgent maintenance, after two years exposed to a north Italian climate.
The city of Augusta has envisioned placing the ship in what the authorities describe as a “Garden of Memory,” that “will have to be in the open, because that boat gives a sense of the sea, the air, the skies. To enclose it in a building would clash with its’ story,” said Mr. Di Mare, the mayor.
“Certainly, the ship has attained an international dimension and we want this garden to become a place of reflection for the world, so that all people can ponder,” he said.
PUERTO CACHICAMO, Colombia — At 13, she left home to join the guerrillas. Now, at 15, Yeimi Sofía Vega lay in a coffin, killed during a military operation ordered by her government.
Some of the youngest children in her town, Puerto Cachicamo, led her funeral procession, waving small white flags as they wound past the school, with its mildewed books and broken benches, past the shuttered health clinic and their small wooden houses.
“We don’t want bombs,” the children chanted, marching down a dusty road to the cemetery. “We want opportunities.”
Nearly five years after Colombia signed a historic peace accord with its largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country’s internal war is far from over.
Mass killings and forced displacement are again regular occurrences.
And young people — trapped between an often absent state, the aggressive recruitment of armed groups and the firepower of the military — are once again the conflict’s most vulnerable targets.
still grappling with atrocities committed by all sides during a conflict that left at least 220,000 dead: Did authorities know there were minors at the camp? Was the attack launched anyway?
Before the peace deal, the FARC had a grip on this region, punishing petty criminals, issuing taxes and organizing work crews, all under the threat of violence. They also commonly recruited young people.
In 2016, when the FARC signed the peace deal and demobilized, its fighters left in a fleet of boats on the Guayabero River.
Three months later, the FARC dissidents arrived, said Jhon Albert Montilla, 36, the father of another girl killed in the military bombing, Danna Liseth Montilla, 16.
Voces del Guayabero, a group of citizen documentarians.
Just as the pandemic began, the government had stepped up coca eradication in the area, prompting protests from locals who saw their livelihoods in danger. Cameramen from Voces rushed to the scenes.
As the military clashed with protesters — shooting several civilians during different encounters — Danna sat in a small shop, one of the few places in Puerto Cachicamo with reliable electricity, editing the videos and uploading them to the internet over a feeble connection.
“But her desire was to be with us in the field,” said Fernando Montes Osorio, a cameraman with Voces who was shot in one clash, leaving his hand permanently mangled.
forced to resign months later, after an opposition senator revealed that he had hidden the victims’ ages from the public.
The scandal was a major test for newly installed President Iván Duque, a conservative whose party vociferously opposed the peace deal.
His critics say his post-accord strategy focuses too much on taking out big-name criminal leaders, and not enough on implementing social programs that were supposed to address the root causes of the war.
His supporters have urged patience. “We cannot undo 56 years of war in just two years,” said Mr. Duque’s high commissioner for peace, Miguel Ceballos, in an interview last year.
identified so far by the national medical examiner’s office are between the ages of 19 and 23.
he told the newspaper El Espectador. “Children must be protected when appropriate, but force must also be used.”
In Puerto Cachicamo, Custodio Chaves, 34, has not seen his daughter Karen since she disappeared two years ago, at 13.
Mr. Chaves said she was recruited by the FARC dissidents. Since the March attack, he has been consumed by worry.
“Is my daughter hurt?” he asked. “Did she suffer or not? Was she destroyed by a bomb? Is she in pieces?”
He doubts the government will ever tell him.
After “thousands and thousands of lies,” he said, “it’s impossible to believe them.”