UNICEF delivers medical supplies to Gaza in wake of deadly protests
Two truckloads of urgently needed medical supplies have been delivered to Gaza, where scores of Palestinians were injured during demonstrations earlier this week.
The drugs and medical equipment delivered by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners include antibiotics, saline solution and syringes to treat an estimated 70,000 people.
Over the past six weeks, Palestinians have been demonstrating against the decade-long blockade on Gaza, but Monday’s protests were the deadliest with nearly 60 killed and more than 1,300 injured.
UNICEF reported that medical facilities there are “buckling under the strain” of dealing with the additional casualties as the health system was already weakened due to shortages of fuel, medicine and equipment.
The agency added that the intensifying violence in Gaza has also worsened the plight of children “whose lives have already been unbearably difficult for many years”.
UNICEF said more than 1,000 children have been injured in violence since the start of the protests, and “many of these injuries are severe and potentially life-altering, including amputations”.
‘Peace’ is the word I heard most in South Sudan: UN relief chief
Ending violence is the “first and single most important thing needed” to alleviate human suffering in South Sudan.
That’s the message from the UN’s humanitarian affairs chief, Mark Lowcock, who on Wednesday concluded a two-day visit to the country.
He called for warring parties to cease hostilities, amidst fresh fighting that has displaced tens of thousands in several locations.
The UN estimates that 7 million people — more than half the population — will require humanitarian assistance this year, in a nation described as one of the deadliest for aid workers.
South Sudan is the world’s youngest country, gaining independence in 2011.
But conflict which began five years ago means “ordinary people are suffering on an unimaginable scale”, Mr. Lowcock said.
He added that: “The peace process has so far produced nothing. The cessation of hostilities is a fiction. The economy has collapsed.”
The UN relief chief met with government and opposition officials, as well as aid agencies and their partners.
He also visited some of those affected by the conflict.
He said: “When I asked them what they needed most, the word I heard most frequently from them was ‘peace’.”
Urban planning crucial to meet rise in city dwellers: UN report
Roughly two thirds of the planet will be living in cities by 2050, according to a UN report launched on Wednesday.
It says demographic shifts and population growth will bring an additional 2.5 billion people to urban areas in the coming decades.
Most will be found in just a handful of countries, with India, China and Nigeria accounting for 35 per cent of the world’s city dwellers.
Furthermore, the planet could have 43 so-called “megacities” by 2030 — that is, cities whose populations top 10 million.
The list currently includes Tokyo, with 37 million inhabitants; New Delhi, with 29 million, and Shanghai, with 26 million, followed by Mexico City and São Paulo, with around 22 million each.
The report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) highlights the need for more sustainable urban planning as the growing populations will place extra demands on both resources and public services.