Syria conflict: UNICEF reports 17 children killed at school in Idlib
One million children live amid escalating violence and attacks in Idlib in Syria, while over 300 education facilities across the country have been attacked since the beginning of conflict there, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.
Seventeen children were killed at a school in Idlib on Thursday after heavy violence forced students to flee to an underground shelter in a nearby building, which then came under attack.
In eastern Ghouta, the UN agency reached some 7,000 people for the first time, about half of them children, in areas that have been under siege for the past five years.
Marixie Mercado, UNICEF spokesperson, said that the “scale of the suffering and the trauma they have endured” is becoming clearer, as is their need for lifesaving support.
Staff described children and families in desperate condition, stunned from years of violence and deprivation.
Meanwhile, around 100,000 people still remain in Afrin district, and 170,000 have been displaced to neighbouring towns where they live in collective shelters, mainly schools, mosques, and stables.
“The displaced describe running in the face of shelling, sleeping in the open, being separated from their families — and now, fear over what the future holds. A man from the local community said they were bringing food and bread and clothing to the displaced families, but that this could not continue for long as the people in the village were not rich themselves.”
The displaced persons have minimal access to health services, including vaccinations for children, and there is no first aid, surgery or specialized care available, UNICEF said.
Artificial intelligence could be “more dangerous than the nuclear threat”: Geneva Director-General
The development of artificial intelligence could result in risk potentially “more dangerous than the nuclear threat”.
That’s according to Michael Møller, Director-General of the UN in Geneva.
He also serves as Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, and said that the issue needs to be urgently addressed, not just in terms of peace and security, but also as an enabler for sustainable development.
The Conference on Disarmament is the only multilateral negotiating forum for disarmament agreements, but has been in deadlock for over 20 years as its 65 members have failed to agree on a work programme.
Møller stressed that recent postures on nuclear disarmament have really shown that “we need to get serious” about the issue, not only in the traditional areas, but more importantly regarding technology.
“There’s an arms race, and there is a looming one also in the new technologies and this is why it is so urgent for us to sit down and agree, not just among Member States and Governments, but also with the industry, with the scientists, with everybody who has anything to do with the really rapid — to put it mildly — evolution of these technologies and these new ways.”
Disarmament and arms control are also top priorities for the UN Secretary-General, António Gutteres, and he has called for a focus on “disarmament that saves lives”.
WHO looking for leaders to stamp out TB by 2030
The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking for people from all levels of society to lead the fight to end one of the planet’s leading killers: tuberculosis.
The UN agency said despite significant global progress in recent decades, TB still claims more than 4,500 lives a day, making it the top infectious killer worldwide.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that most often affect the lungs. It is spread from person to person through the air when someone with the disease coughs, sneezes or spits.
While TB is curable and preventable, WHO added that the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB poses a major health security threat which could put gains at risk.
Ending tuberculosis is among the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have a deadline of 2030.
WHO has chosen “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free World” as its theme for World Tuberculosis Day, observed on 24 March.
The theme emphasizes how commitment to stamp out TB cannot only take place at the political level.
Rather, everyone from mayors, governors and parliamentarians, to community leaders, civil society advocates, doctors and nurses, as well as people affected with the illness, must be involved.