Lauren Wolfe

Trapped in Syria

The number of refugees fleeing Syria has dropped dramatically -- but that's not good news. In fact, it's terrible.

Earlier this month, a doctor in northern Syria asked that a message be sent out to the world via Widney Brown, director of programs at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). "I don't know how much longer I can hang on," the doctor, a woman, said in the message, which Brown relayed to me in an interview. (Doctors have been the targets of violence in the country and are wary of being named.) Every day, children die in her hospital from a treatable form of anemia because the facility lacks the resources to perform basic procedures, such as blood transfusions or iron injections. "It's horrific," the doctor said. The international community, and the United Nations in particular, "have got to do a better job of getting supplies in or letting people out."

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The sloppy, pop-humanitarian coverage of the Boko Haram cease-fire-that-wasn't isn't just bad journalism -- it's a missed opportunity.

There was never any cease-fire. War in Nigeria will not end anytime soon and the hundreds of schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Chibok kidnapped back in April will not -- not now, maybe not ever -- be coming home. So announces the leader of Boko Haram, the militant group that has brought all this havoc to the country, in a video released Oct. 31.

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Why Are So Many Women Dying From Ebola?

Studies show that infectious disease often affects one gender more than another -- but that knowledge isn't being put into practice. 

When people started dying from Ebola in West Africa in March, Martha Anker, a former statistician in communicable disease surveillance and response at the World Health Organization (WHO), began watching the news to see whom primarily the terrible disease would strike. Sitting in her house in Massachusetts, Anker had a gut feeling: that Ebola, as it had in the past, would claim women as its primary victims.

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Turn On, Retweet, Tune Out

From Syria to Gaza to #BringBackOurGirls, what makes people care about stories one minute -- and forget about them the next?

Deborah Sanya, an 18-year-old Nigerian student who was kidnapped by Boko Haram in the mass raid on a school in Chibok back in mid-April, took a tremendous risk and bolted. Through the night, she and two friends ran and ran, eventually reaching safety in a village. When New Yorker reporter Alexis Okeowo spoke to Sanya at the end of April, she described how the young woman was fasting and eating, fasting and eating, all the while interspersing that with prayer.

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Losing the Lonely War

Suicide is becoming a crisis among people affected by Syria's protracted civil war -- and no one is talking about it.

Her hands showed every tendon, and her arms were like matchsticks. With a grayish tint to her face, Alma Abdulrahman, 27, spoke from a hospital bed in Amman, Jordan, one year ago about the torture and rape she'd endured at what she said were the hands of the Syrian government. Paralyzed from her diaphragm down, she spoke in an exhausted voice over Skype to me in New York last June.

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