This is the News In Brief from the United Nations.
Yemen’s Hudaydah port unloads first UN containerized aid in months
The first UN World Food Programme (WFP) container ship in nine months to reach Yemen’s key port city of Hudaydah has unloaded vitally needed supplies, the UN said on Friday.
No container vessels have been allowed into the Red Sea port since May 2018, which has led to severe congestion at smaller docks elsewhere in the war-torn country, such as Aden.
According to WFP, the vessel brought more than 8,000 tonnes of vegetable oil to Hudaydah, originating from Salalah in Oman.
The development is significant since 90 per cent of Yemen’s food needs are imported and 70 per cent transits through Hudaydah.
Millions of Yemenis are on the brink of famine and thousands have been killed, four years since fighting escalated between Government forces and the Houthi opposition.
Welcoming the arrival of food aid, WFP said in a statement that bringing in humanitarian assistance by sea is the fastest and most cost-effective way to provide assistance.
Tropical Cyclone Idai: aid response gears up amid challenges as 1.5 million are hit
A major aid operation is under way in Mozambique and Malawi to help victims of tropical cyclone Idai, which has reached the densely-populated Mozambican port city of Beira, after registering maximum wind speeds of nearly 200 kilometres per hour.
Exceptional rainfall before the cyclone hit has already affected a total of 1.5 million people in both Southern African countries and claimed more than 120 lives.
In addition, tens of thousands of people have been displaced and homes, roads, bridges and crops have been washed away, World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel told journalists in Geneva:
“Tropical Cyclone Idai has made landfall near the heavily populated Mozambican port city of Beria, which has compounded destructive flooding that has already occurred as far inland as southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe…We know already that some people sadly died in the past week and probably during the night. We don’t have any numbers to communicate for the moment as that number is changing constantly.”
The UN agency has already begun to assess the extent of the flood damage and prioritise needs among the most vulnerable, he added.
Satellite imagery shows that Malawi’s Chikwawa district has been particularly badly affected by flooding, while Mozambique’s Zambezia and Tete provinces have also seen tens of thousands of people displaced and more than 168,000 hectares of crops reportedly affected.
In addition to helicopters already sent by the South African Government, WFP is sending at least one transport helicopter to conduct emergency air operations in Mozambique.
Half of DR Congo’s health zones hit by Ebola, indicate no new cases
And finally, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where gains continue to be made against an outbreak of Ebola virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, despite attacks on clinics in recent days.
Latest data from the DRC authorities indicates that no new cases have been detected in 10 of the 20 health zones that have been affected during the current outbreak in the north-east of the country.
There have also been fewer new cases in the past five weeks compared to January 2019, WHO says.
Nonetheless, concerns remain over hotspots in Katwa and Butembo, which continue to contribute about three-quarters of recent cases - although infection clusters in other areas of North Kivu and Ituri province have been linked to chains of transmission in Katwa and Butembo.
Since the beginning of the outbreak last August, there have been 927 reported cases of Ebola and 584 deaths. 308 patients have been discharged from Ebola treatment centres.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.