This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
Aid stepped up to Syria camp; new arrivals say terrorists blocked their escape
Harrowing details continue to emerge of thousands of families who have risked their lives fleeing fighting in Syria’s last ISIL terrorist-held enclave, as UN humanitarians warned on Friday that children are still dying on their way to an overcrowded camp for the displaced, amid access problems and perishing cold.
In just the past week, more than 10,000 people have fled conflict in Hajin in eastern Deir-ez-Zor governorate, UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told journalists in Geneva.
Since fighting escalated in Hajin in early December, more than 23,000 have fled to Al Hol camp, effectively tripling its population,” he said. “Many more are expected.”
Civilians on the run describe fierce fighting and said they were blocked from leaving by ISIL, or Da’esh extremists.
“Families fleeing the Hajin enclave and surrounding areas have also told us of a harrowing journey to safety. They travel at night with barely any belongings, often having to wade through the minefields and open fighting.”
Six months into DR Congo’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, top UN official praises ‘brave’ response effort
“Brave” UN teams and partners leading the fight against deadly Ebola disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) along with Government authorities and peacekeepers there, have been key in helping protect communities, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Friday.
It’s now six months since DRC’s deadliest ever outbreak began.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said that challenges persist in overcoming virus hotspots in the north-east of the country.
“We have some 500 staff on the ground at the moment, the great majority from the DRC, and also from WHO offices across the African region. Some of these people have been fighting Ebola since the first 2018 outbreak began in the west of the DRC in May. These brave people and colleagues really do make us all proud.”
To date, Ebola has claimed 461 lives in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, and 258 people have recovered from the illness.
Biggest ever refugee waste treatment facility goes online in Bangladesh
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has put the biggest human waste treatment facility ever built in a refugee settlement into service, in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas who’ve fled Myanmar.
The new UNHCR-funded facility can process the waste of 150,000 people a day, which is roughly the equivalent of the populations of the cities of Savannah in the United States or Dijon in France.
Nearly one million Rohingya refugees live in settlements in Cox’s Bazar, including Kutupalong, the world’s largest refugee settlement which alone is home to more than 630,000 people.
Being able to treat large volumes of waste on site, rather than having to transport it elsewhere, is critical to the safe and sustainable disposal of waste in emergency situations, the UN says.
Matt Wells, UN News.