This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Ebola-hit DR Congo faces ‘perfect storm’ as uptick in violence halts WHO operation
A "perfect storm" of active conflict and traumatized communities in Ebola-affected areas of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could enable the deadly disease to spread, but there are “no plans” to pull UN workers out of the country, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Speaking in Geneva, the organization’s Dr. Peter Salama expressed concern about a recent spate of attacks, including one that killed at least 21 civilians on Saturday in the city of Beni, where WHO’s Ebola-response teams are based.
“We are now extremely concerned, that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks to months to create a potential perfect storm. A perfect storm of active conflict, limiting our ability to access civilians, distress by segments of the community, already traumatized by decades of conflict and of murder.”
Apart from the worrying targeting of civilians, Dr. Salama expressed concern that in the aftermath of the latest attack, outraged communities had declared Beni a “ville morte” so that mourners can grieve, effectively suspending UN operations.
In the nearly two months since the outbreak was declared, there have been 150 confirmed and probable cases of the disease, and 100 people have died, as of 23 September. Ebola’s symptoms include high fever and vomiting, which make it difficult to treat, because it resembles many other illnesses in its early stages.
Asked whether the increasing violence may force WHO to leave the area, Dr. Salama said that there were “no plans” to do so and that only a “very significant presence” of the UN and its partners could stop the disease.
UN urges Syria to allow aid to reach civilians displaced near Jordanian border
Conditions have continued to worsen at a camp for displaced Syrians in the desert close to the Jordanian border, prompting the UN to renew its appeal to Damascus on Tuesday to allow aid deliveries
The last food assistance some 50,000 people in Rukban received was in January - a one-month ration from Jordan.
After fleeing Syria’s more than seven-year war, the camp’s occupants have been unable to cross into neighbouring Jordan after it closed the border following an attack by extremists, in June 2016.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that immediate human suffering in the camp could be alleviated if the joint UN-Syrian-Arab-Red Crescent aid convoy was allowed to travel there.
Here’s OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke:
“What we’re trying to do is first and foremost to get that one convoy from Damascus into the Rukban camp to alleviate the immediate human suffering that is happening there. Where, when and how people move out of there should be based on a plan that ensures their safe informed voluntary and assisted return to areas of their choosing.”
IOM ambulances provide boost to life-saving care in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp
And finally, to Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh, where the UN Migration Agency IOM has deployed 10 new ambulances to help boost specialized emergency care.
The vehicles are equipped to respond to complex and critical situations, including head injuries, heart problems, complicated pregnancies and intensive care cases, IOM said on Tuesday.
They began operating from Kutapalong community clinic, spokesperson Joel Millman said:
“IOM is the lead agency for medical referrals in the area and runs a 24-hour hotline to ensure patients from across the district can receive urgent transfer by ambulance to most appropriate health facilities. The dramatic increase in population has resulted in a spike in demand for medical services.”
Around 1 million refugees live in Cox’s Bazar; around 700,000 fled a military clearance operation in neighbouring Myanmar in August last year, likened to ethnic cleansing by former UN rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.