Fresh Yemen hospital attack raises risk of new cholera epidemic
An attack on one of the last functioning hospitals in Yemen in the key port city of Hudaydah has put hundreds of thousands of people at risk and damaged efforts to prevent a third cholera epidemic in the war-torn country, top UN officials warned on Friday.
Reports suggest multiple deaths and injuries after Yemen’s largest hospital, Al Thawra, was hit on Thursday.
Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the hospital, which houses a large cholera treatment centre.
In a bid to prevent the disease spreading once again, combatants have been asked to stop fighting so that a mass oral vaccine campaign (OCV) can take place.
Here’s World Health Organization (WHO)’s head of emergency response, Dr. Peter Salama:
“We have requested, as the UN, three days of tranquillity, associated with the first oral cholera vaccine campaign across August 4, 5 and 6 in the north of the country. You will recall that we were able to start OCV campaigns in the south of the country previously, but we’ve never before been able to do it in the north.”
More than 500,000 people are expected to receive the vaccine in a three-day operation beginning on Saturday.
Conflict in new Ebola outbreak zone of DR Congo exacerbates complexity of response: WHO
Protecting people in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from the latest Ebola Virus outbreak is going to be “very complex”, given the huge logistical challenges and ongoing conflict there, WHO has said.
So far, around 20 people have died in north Kivu and the overall case count is expected to rise in coming days.
The alert was raised on 25 July after a woman and many members of her immediate family died after exhibiting symptoms consistent with Ebola.
The development comes just over a week after the UN agency declared the last Ebola episode over, some 2,500 miles away to the west in DRC’s Equateur province.
That outbreak led to 33 deaths but was contained after a massive international and national response.
According to the UN health agency there is “no evidence” to suggest a link between the two outbreaks, although it appears likely that they share the same deadly Zaire strain.
In theory, this means that a vaccine can be used to treat anyone infected with the virus, but the situation is complicated by longstanding conflict in Eastern DRC, involving more than 100 armed groups.
Brazil urged to refocus economic policies to avoid ‘harsh consequences’ on most vulnerable
Brazil’s most vulnerable communities are at risk from tough austerity measures which threaten food security, housing and basic services, UN rights experts have said.
Warning that women and children living in poverty are among those who’ve been hit hardest by years of cutbacks, the seven rights experts have called on the authorities to raise taxes for higher wage-earners instead, among other measures.
The appeal comes amid a rise in child mortality in Brazil for the first time in 26 years, which the experts highlight, along with constitutional reform known as “EC do Teto” that is expected to cap public spending for the next 20 years.
UN refugee agency beefs up assistance to nearly 1 million displaced in Ethiopia
Life-saving assistance is being provided for nearly 1 million internally displaced people in the Gedeo and West Guji areas in Ethiopia, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.
The development follows intercommunal clashes along the border region of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region and the Oromia Region.
Many victims of the violence were forced to flee their homes with nothing, UNHCR’s Andrej Mahecic said:
“The recent violence came on the heels of more than a year-long crippling drought and tensions over resources. Those who fled described witnessing extreme violence during village raids, including indiscriminate killing, rape, livestock slaughter and house being burnt to the ground.”
A majority of the internally displaced are living in dire conditions.
Many sleep in overcrowded public facilities and risk serious health problems. They are also in urgent need of trauma counselling.
A total appeal of nearly $118 million has been launched to help scale up the humanitarian response and support reconciliation efforts, Mr. Mahecic said.