This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
UN calls for calm on eve of Gaza’s ‘Great March’ anniversary
Hours from potentially massive demonstrations and concerns over an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip on the Israeli border, the UN’s top humanitarian official in Palestine, Jamie McGoldrick, on Friday called for calm from all sides to prevent further bloodshed.
In almost a year since weekly rallies began – known as the “Great March of Return and the Breaking of the Siege” – 195 Palestinians, including some 40 children, have been killed by Israeli security forces, while one Israeli soldier had also died, Mr. McGoldrick said in a written appeal.
Briefing journalists in Geneva on behalf of Mr. McGoldrick, Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA), described the death toll as “staggering” and said “the priority now is to save lives”:
“Demonstrations today have extraordinarily been cancelled with the expectation and the call for demonstrations tomorrow, to a large scale, that’s what we expect. Indeed, the reason why the humanitarian coordinator is issuing this today, is exactly, precisely because of his and our- the entire humanitarian community’s concern that we would see another tragic day tomorrow and everything and everybody must do everything possible to avoid that.”
The development follows this week’s rocket and airstrike exchanges between Gaza and Israel, whose military must use “non-violent means” against protesters “to the greatest extent possible”, Mr. McGoldrick said.
At the same time, he also urged the de-facto Hamas authorities in Gaza to prevent violence that compromise the peaceful nature of the demonstrations.
Cyclone Idai latest: cholera preparations a top priority, says UN health agency
To southern Africa now, where the UN is continuing to help those affected by Cyclone Idai, which struck Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe two weeks ago.
The World Health Organization (WHO), spokesperson, Tarik Jasarevic, said that preparing for waterborne diseases like cholera is a top priority:
“The next few weeks are crucial, and speed is of the essence if we are to save lives and limit suffering. Health must be a number one priority and we must do everything we can to prevent a second wave of catastrophe from a disease outbreak and a lack of access to essential services. The health sector needs at least $38 million in the next three months for this humanitarian crisis.”
So far, seven treatment centres have opened in Mozambique where patients are being treated for cholera-like acute watery diarrhoea.
In addition, 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine are expected to arrive on Monday, along with 1,000 cholera testing kits.
The latest official death toll from the storm and flooding in Mozambique, which was worst hit, is 493.
This figure may rise, since many communities are still inaccessible.
More than 140,000 people are receiving assistance in 161 sites, part of an inter-agency UN appeal for $282 million.
As Ebola cases rise in DRC outbreak, WHO cites progress in building community trust
And finally, to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a rise in new cases of deadly Ebola virus disease has been announced in the east of the country.
On a more positive note, authorities insist that progress is being made in accessing communities that have been wary of outside help, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Latest data indicates a total of 1,029 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola; 642 people have died, and more than 320 patients have recovered.
The 125 new cases of infection came from 51 health areas in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the past week.
Most patients were from the virus hotspots of Katwa and Butembo, along with three emerging clusters in Mandima, Masereka and Vuhovi.
All new cases have been linked to known chains of transmission, indicating that contact tracing, vaccination and isolation of carriers for treatment is working.
While there have been no attacks on Ebola Treatment Centres in the last 10 days, WHO believes the overall situation is still “fragile”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.