Ebola toll rises to 27 in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Twenty-seven people have now died from Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN health agency said on Tuesday, before confirming that efforts are ongoing to extend the vaccination campaign to all affected areas.
World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told journalists in Geneva that there have been 51 cases of Ebola in Equateur province in the latest outbreak.
Of those, 28 are confirmed cases, 21 are probable and two are suspect in Mbandaka and Bikoro, the two main areas of infection, he said.
“Thirty-three people received vaccines yesterday, they were health workers, but also a few people in two areas in a community in Mbandaka. We will continue to do vaccinations today. In Bikoro, our colleagues from MSF will be involved in vaccination. Hopefully, this will start later in a week or next week, once the preparations are done.”
WHO has shipped 7,540 vaccinations to DRC; a total of 300,000 are available from pharmaceuticals manufacturer Merck.
Sharp rise in forced displacement to Central America’s northern States
The number of people fleeing violence and persecution from Central America States, including Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, has risen by nearly 60 per cent in the space of a year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned.
According to UNHCR, many vulnerable women and children are among the more than 290,000 people seeking refuge in the continent’s north at the end of 2017.
In 2011, the number of asylum seekers and refugees there was 16 times lower.
Here’s UNHCR spokesperson Aikaterini Kitidi:
“We hear repeatedly from people requesting refugee protection, including from a growing number of children, that they are fleeing forced recruitment into armed criminal gangs and death threats. As people journey across borders and onwards they face numerous dangers, including violence at the hands of criminal groups, often leaving women in particular vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation.”
Despite the risks of travelling north to Belize, Mexico and the US, Ms. Kitidi said that people felt they had no choice.
If they stayed in their home countries they faced “high levels of homicide” and violence, particularly against women and marginalized communities, she added.
UNHCR helps asylum seekers and refugees by working with Governments and civil society to provide access to shelter, jobs and welfare.
Of the $36 million needed to fund the scheme, only around $4 million has been received.
Alarm at ‘mass expulsion’ of migrants in Algeria
The collective expulsion of migrants from Algeria has been described as “deeply alarming” and in possible breach of international human rights law.
That’s according to the UN human rights office, OHCHR, which on Tuesday said that thousands of people — mainly from sub-Saharan states — are likely to have been affected.
Here’s OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani:
“This is not entirely new, there have been deportations in previous years as well. But since the second half of 2017, we have seen a marked escalation in the number of deportations and mass expulsions of migrants from Algeria.”
Ms. Shamdasani said that migrants reported being expelled from Algeria in “mass round-ups of sub-Saharan African migrants”, after raids on construction sites and in migrant neighbourhoods.
Some also reported having been stopped in the street and detained, the UN human rights office spokesperson said, before urging Algeria to prohibit collective expulsions as requested by the UN Committee on Migrant Workers.