This is the news in brief from the United Nations
Ebola outbreak in DRC declared over
The Ebola virus outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been declared over, after a concerted national and international effort to contain the threat, the UN’s top health official said on Tuesday.
Speaking from the country, Dr Tedros from the World Health Organization (WHO) hailed the “tireless efforts” of local teams in combating the deadly disease, which claimed 29 lives.
Dr Tedros also thanked health partners, donors and the DRC’s Ministry of Health for working effectively to see off the disease.
Unlike eight previous Ebola outbreaks in DRC, this latest episode was complicated by the fact that it involved a major urban centre with river connections to the capital and to neighbouring countries, as well as remote rainforest villages.
There were concerns that the disease could spread from Equateur province to other parts of DRC and neighbouring countries, Dr Tedros said, but the threat was minimized thanks to the release of emergency WHO funding within hours of the outbreak being declared on 8 May.
Appeal for peaceful Zimbabwe elections amid threats of violence
Zimbabwe’s upcoming presidential elections must be peaceful and credible, the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, said on Tuesday.
The appeal comes amid increasing reports of voter intimidation and coercion in rural areas, linked to the ruling ZANU-PF party, which OHCHR says it is not able to verify.
In Geneva, OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell nonetheless welcomed the so-called peace pledge signed by ZANU-PF and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), ahead of the July 30 poll.
“The run-up to elections previously in Zimbabwe were very different, very much marred by violence. From what we have been seeing, what we have been monitoring, there has not been that scale of violence. In fact, civil society, people that our colleague have spoken to, have expressed this cautious optimism. It’s far from perfect, but there are encouraging signs.”
The frontrunners in the election are President Emmerson Mnangagwa, representing ZANU-PF, and his opponent, Nelson Chamisa, head of MDC.
Robert Mugabe, the country’s former leader, resigned under pressure last November after 37 years in power.
Cause of deadly fires in Greece still unknown, say UN weather experts
And finally to Greece, where UN weather experts say the cause of the fires that reportedly killed dozens of people overnight remains unclear.
Ruling out a link to the heatwave in Northern Europe, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said that Greece has not witnessed below-average rainfall so far this summer.
WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis added that temperatures near Athens before the tragedy reached about 38 degrees Celsius, and there were strong west winds.
“Now this temperature for Greece in summer is not extreme, it’s not unusual, and Greece - as other parts of Southern Europe - has not experienced the drought that we are seeing in Northern Europe, so you can’t compare the meteorological conditions in Greece with those that we’re seeing in Scandinavia.”
As a response to the extreme heat being experienced across Northern Europe, the World Health Organisation has issued a guide on how to cope.
The advice includes drinking water, avoiding alcohol and too much caffeine and sugar, and hanging damp towels in rooms to cool the air temperature.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.