This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
We can tackle air pollution killer together, says WHO’s Tedros
The UN’s top health official has appealed to the international community to take urgent action to stop millions of deaths from air pollution.
In a speech at the World Health Organization’s first Global Conference on the issue, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “the most tragic thing” about the seven million lives lost annually to air pollution was that they were “so preventable”.
But he insisted that governments had everything they needed to do something about it:
“The fact that they are preventable should give us reason for optimism. There is something we can do.
It will require strong political will, swift action and endurance, but I am optimistic that we can, and must, do better… We need all countries and cities to commit to meeting WHO standards for air quality in the next 12 years.”
WHO is prepared to do its utmost for cleaner air, by building alliances with partners working in energy, climate and the environment, Tedros said.
Internationally-agreed commitments will help, he added, naming the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Accord and the Urban Agenda 2030 as motors for change.
80,000 youngsters at risk in DRC after forcible expulsion from Angola: UNICEF
At least 80,000 youngsters who have been forcibly returned from Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) urgently need help, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Tuesday.
The agency’s warning covers more than 300,000-strong wave of people who have mostly arrived in DRC’s troubled Kasais region since the start of the month.
Some youngsters described having to leave Angola in a rush, after efforts to reform the country’s diamond mining industry, which reportedly also involved ethnic violence.
The influx of so many people to Kasais is particularly concerning because the once relatively peaceful region was gripped by deadly conflict between local and government forces in 2016 and 2017 that destroyed vital public services.
Here’s spokesperson Christophe Boulierac:
“There was a very, very serious crisis of malnutrition in Kasai and these children are coming in a very bad situation - very bad condition - from Angola. Some of them are suffering from hypoglycaemia and there might be an increase of malnutrition, acute malnutrition, which makes a child more vulnerable to all kinds of disease.”
The UN agency is ramping up its humanitarian aid effort – including the installation of safe drinking water points and emergency shelters in 27 settlement sites.
To help returnee children and their families, UNICEF has appealed for $3 million to fund its immediate response.
An additional $6 million will be needed to support the resettlement of returned populations to their home or host areas.
Record migrant arrivals in Spain still 20 times below 2015 peak in Greece: IOM
Sea migrant and refugee arrivals in Spain have reached more than 10,000 this month, UN Migration Agency IOM said on Tuesday, noting that the figure is just a small fraction of the number of people who reached Greece and Italy in 2015 and 2016.
According to IOM’s Joel Millman, this is the first time in the last five years that the threshold has been passed in Spain:
“I took the liberty of printing arrival numbers for April 2015 through March 2016, just for Greece, and there was no month in those 12 that didn’t pass 10,000. The smallest was 11,000, almost 12,000; the greatest was 211,000 - 7,000 day - so before we make a lot of it, the Spain arrivals, we should keep in mind that as recently as three years ago we were routinely seeing almost that number every day crossing the Mediterranean if you combine Italy and Greece for those months.”
Nearly 100,000 people have arrived in Europe in 2018, compared with more than three times that number in 2015.
The Mediterranean Sea remains a lethal passage for migrants despite the sharp fall in the number of people crossing, according to IOM, which says that it has claimed 1,987 lives so far this year.
Daniel Johnson, UN News