This is the news in brief, from the United Nations.
Mortar attack on WFP silo in Yemen ‘could affect vital aid deliveries to millions’
Fighting in the Yemen port city of Hudaydah that has damaged a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse threatens UN efforts to help millions of people in the war-torn country.
The deteriorating security situation has also affected silos that are responsible for milling a quarter of WFP’s crucial monthly wheat requirements, the UN agency said on Friday.
Here’s spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel:
“Ongoing clashes taking place near the Red Sea Mill Silos, a critical facility for WFP operations, could impact our ability to feed up to 3.5 million very hungry people in northern and central Yemen for one month.”
Mr. Verhoosel said that despite “high levels” of conflict in southern Hudaydah, WFP has provided emergency food assistance to around 700,000 people, out of 900,000 people in the governorate, considered to be at highest risk.
The continuing violence is part of an offensive launched on Hudaydah in June by coalition forces supporting the internationally recognized Government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
It marks the latest escalation in more than three years of conflict between Government forces and the Houthi opposition, which controls the Red Sea port and the capital, Sana’a.
DR Congo: new cases of deadly Ebola virus, as UN steps up response
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN has stepped up community-based efforts to tackle Ebola, following confirmation that the virus has reached the city of Butembo, where it has claimed three lives.
As of Friday, WHO, the World Health Organization, said that there were 137 confirmed and probable cases, and 92 deaths in the latest outbreak in the east of the country.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced on Friday that “everything is being done” to ensure that the disease is controlled in Butembo.
The UN agency has dispatched a team of 11 specialists in community communication, education and psychosocial assistance, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene.
More than 250 community leaders have also been alerted about the outbreak in Butembo, along with religious leaders and journalists.
Spokesperson Christophe Boulierac stressed the need to reassure communities about what was being asked of them:
“I remember when I was going in West Africa a few years ago during the Ebola [outbreak], how dangerous it was to go to some villages. We know, based on our experience and our work, that it should never be underestimated, this community resistance. And it’s an incentive to work at a more deeper level. It’s an incentive to understand more accurately what people feel, why, what are the cultural beliefs, and to respond to that using agents of change, using people who have some influence in the community. If we don’t do that, this resistance can really increase and can really cause a serious obstacle to the fight against the disease.”
The current Ebola outbreak in the Kivus region is DRC’s tenth since 1976. It was officially declared on 1 August.
UN tackles contaminated wells, boreholes in Zimbabwe, as cholera strikes, killing 25
And finally to Zimbabwe, where a cholera outbreak has claimed 25 lives and infected more than 4,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In an appeal for urgent action, the agency said that it could get out of control if it’s not stopped quickly.
Contaminated wells and boreholes are believed to be responsible.
WHO says that between 400 and 700 infections are being recorded every day in the capital, Harare, and the epicentre of the outbreak is Glenview, a heavily populated suburb.
The infection has also been confirmed in 6 out of 10 of the country’s provinces.
Working with the authorities, WHO has helped to tackle the disease by improving access to drinking water and closing down contaminated reservoirs.
The UN agency has also provided cholera treatment kits containing oral rehydration solution, intravenous kits and antibiotics.
A previous outbreak in Zimbabwe that lasted from August 2008 to May 2009 killed 4,000 people.
At a WHO regional summit in Senegal last month, 47 African States committed to end cholera by 2030. Mass vaccination programmes are expected to play a major role.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.