This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
Damage to the planet poses growing risk to human health
Human activity is damaging the planet so badly that it will increasingly put our health at risk, warns a major UN report released on Wednesday.
UN Environment describes the Global Environment Outlook, which was produced by 250 scientists and experts from more than 70 countries, as the most comprehensive and rigorous assessment completed by the United Nations in the last five years.
Unless we drastically scale up environmental protections, the report says, we could see millions of premature deaths by the middle of this century, with pollutants in freshwater systems becoming a major cause of death by 2050.
It goes on to say that we have the science, technology and science at our disposal to ensure that this disastrous future is avoided, but we need to discard outdated models of production and development.
260,000 children in DRC facing acute malnutrition
Over a quarter of a million children in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and need lifesaving treatment, says the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
Between 2016 and 2018, large numbers of people were displaced from their homes due to violence and insecurity in Kasai, which saw child rights abuses and high levels of malnutrition among children.
The situation has been complicated by the return of some 300,000 Congolese people who had fled to Angola to escape the violence, which is putting extra pressure on health centres, schools and other basic services in Kasai.
UNICEF’s assistance to the population has included the treatment of severely malnourished children, rebuilding classrooms and providing educational material.
Speaking to UN News by phone from the DRC, UNICEF spokesperson Yves Willemot, said that a continued focus on funding for aid programs across the Kasai region is needed:
The situation in the Kasai region has clearly improved in the last couple of months, and we have been able at UNICEF, with our partners, to increase access to health care, and increase access to education for children, but unfortunately the humanitarian needs remain particularly important, so it’s important to continue to invest attention and resources to the children of the Kasai region.
Syria still living on ‘razor edge’
8 years on from the beginning of the Syrian war, millions in the country are still living a “razor-edge existence”, Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said on Wednesday.
Speaking on the eve of a UN-backed conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region, Mr. Grandi said that some 70 per cent of Syrians still live below the poverty line, with around 12 million people – equivalent to half of the pre-war population – either living as refugees or displaced from their homes.
The UN is appealing for $8.8 billion dollars to provide aid, both for vulnerable people in Syria, and for refugees and host communities in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon.
The conflict continues to cause scores of casualties amongst the civilian population, as well as persecution, discrimination and arbitrary arrests in areas retaken by Government forces.
Conor Lennon, UN News.