This is the News In Brief from the United Nations.
DRC: UN food agency triples aid in strife-hit Ituri province
Food aid is being tripled to troubled Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to respond to what the World Food Programme (WFP) has described as the world’s second largest hunger crisis after Yemen.
Announcing the aid scale-up operation on Tuesday, to some 300,000 people, World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel warned that “people are dying of hunger, or, malnutrition is such that they are dying”.
He added that although there is no accurate data on the number of victims starving in Ituri, 13 million people are food insecure nationally, including five million acutely malnourished children.
The situation has worsened because of an increase in clashes between Hema herders and Lendu farmers that have driven people from their homes, along with rising food prices, a lack of income and access to a varied diet, crop damage by insects and disease epidemics.
In addition to worsening hunger and mass displacement at harvest time, communities in north-east DRC face a deadly Ebola outbreak and deadly inter-ethnic clashes that claimed at least 117 lives between 10 and 13 June, according to the UN human rights office.
To help 5.2 million people across DRC for the next six months, the UN agency needs $155 million.
Zika transmission low, but travellers should be vigilant, says WHO
Pregnant women and couples intending to have a baby after travelling to places where Zika virus has been found should “consider the risks and possible consequences” of infection, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.
In a generally positive update on the spread of the mosquito-borne virus, which was linked to an unprecedented rise in the number of children born with unusually small heads in Brazil, the UN health agency said that Zika “persists”, but global transmission has been low since 2018.
Here’s spokesperson Christian Lindmeier: “The good news is that transmission is low. The challenge therefore is that because it is low, it’s more difficult to know with certainty where there is and is not transmission. Let me remind you, Zika infections typically have no or very mild symptoms and therefore may be difficult to detect.”
A total of 87 countries have or have had evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus.
Another 61 countries and territories have evidence of Aedes aegypti –the mosquito that spreads Zika - but they have not yet documented Zika transmission.
In addition to its advice to pregnant women or those wanting to become pregnant after travelling to destinations where Zika has been identified, WHO says that male travellers should take precautions up to three months after they have travelled to potential areas of transmission.
Eritrea rights violations persist, Human Rights Council hears
And finally to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, which has heard that “persistent” violations continue in Eritrea.
In an update to Member States, UN-appointed Special Rapporteur Daniela Kravetz welcomed the progress made by Eritrea and Ethiopia towards a sustainable peace, after signing a peace declaration in July 2018.
But the Eritrean authorities “have not yet engaged in a process of domestic reforms and the human rights situation remains unchanged”, Ms. Kravetz maintained.
Main areas of concern include ending indefinite and arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance, the Special Rapporteur said, reforming national military service, strengthening respect for freedom of religion and belief and improving people’s freedom of movement.
In response, the Eritrean delegation rejected eight years of resolutions against its country, which it said sought to “vilify, isolate and destabilize” it and further complicate regional security and development.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.