Call to DRC warring parties to halt fighting and prevent Ebola spreading
An appeal has been sent to warring parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the head of the UN health agency to lay down their weapons to help stop the deadly Ebola outbreak.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that he was “more worried” by this new outbreak than another recent episode, some 2,500 miles away to the west.
To date, 41 people have died in the North Kivu region from the viral disease, which causes high fever and bleeding.
The top UN official was speaking to journalists in Geneva, after returning from the epicentre of infection near the city of Beni:
“Since January there were 120 violent incidences; not only that, the night we stayed in Beni, there was a fight in actually within 15 kilometres and four civilians were killed, and a number of them kidnapped. So, that environment is really conducive for Ebola actually to transmit freely.”
Apart from the security risk and lack of access to potentially infected people, tackling Ebola has been made harder by the high population movement internally and across borders, Mr. Tedros said.
But he hoped that with sufficient resources, the outbreak could be contained by December, when the nation goes to the polls in presidential elections.
Libyan militias force thousands from displacement settlement
Libyan militias have forced nearly 2,000 people to flee their temporary shelters in Tripoli, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.
The families are originally from the city of Tawergha near Misrata; they’ve been reportedly targeted in the past for alleged links to the former Gaddafi Government.
The development comes amid ongoing conflict in oil-rich Libya, instability and a humanitarian and economic crisis, despite international efforts to reconcile the warring parties.
UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler said that the exodus from Triq Al Matar settlement happened last week:
“According to residents, a local militia forced the entire population of Triq Al Matar to flee their homes last week, following three nights of indiscriminate raiding and the arbitrary arrest of 94 residents, 12 of whom remain detained by the militia in dismal conditions.”
Some 40,000 people from Tawergha are still displaced in Libya, according to UNHCR; overall, more than 190,000 displaced people have been living in dire conditions for years, the agency says.
Asia’s food security ‘under threat’ as invasive pest spreads to Asia
Fall Armyworm, a highly invasive crop-eating pest from South America, is “highly likely” to spread to Asia, with South-East Asia and South China most at risk.
The warning, from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, follows the discovery of the caterpillar in Africa in early 2016 and its more recent arrival in India.
Here’s Allan Hruska, FAO’s Principal Technical Coordinator on the Fall Armyworm:
“So, unlike other places in the world, where a lot of the maize especially is used for animal feed, in Asia there’s still a fairly high proportion of the rice that’s directly consumed by humans. It can easily cause 10-20 per cent yield loss, so under the best scenarios 10 to 20 per cent, under the worst scenarios up to like 40 per cent.”
Besides rice and maize, Fall Armyworm eats 80 or so other crops. It can fly over 100 kilometres a night and the female moth lays up to a total of 1,000 eggs in her lifetime.
In a bid to control the threat, FAO is offering Member States recommendations on pesticide management, monitoring and early warning, and a practical guide for farmers.