Escalating violence in Ukraine threatens access to safe water for millions of people including 500,000 youngsters, UN children’s fund, UNICEF has warned.
In an update on the situation in the east of Ukraine, where separatists have clashed with Government forces since February 2014, the UN agency reported that the last week of June saw five separate, incidents affecting water and sanitation facilities on the contact line dividing Government and non-government-controlled areas.
Of particular concern is damage to pipelines near Horlivka, along the Siverski Donets-Donbass channel, which provides drinking water more than 3.2 million people on both sides of the contact line. So far this year, supplies have been disrupted or entirely cut for 29 days.
In addition, nine workers have been killed and 26 have been injured since the conflict began - including three this year, UNICEF said, before appealing for an immediate end to the indiscriminate shelling of vital civilian infrastructure and the protection of water workers.
During the first five months of 2019, UNICEF and partners have helped nearly 930,000 people access clean water on both sides of the contact line through water delivery, providing water treatment chemicals and by completing critical repairs.
To Gaza now, where the World Food Programme (WFP) has expanded operations to reach an additional 12,000 people in Gaza facing “deep poverty and severe food insecurity”.
Highlighting what it calls a worsening nutritional situation in the enclave, the UN agency noted with alarm on Thursday that seven in 10 non-refugees are food insecure, some 466,000 people.
The scale-up assistance means that until October, WFP can provide food voucher support to some 220,000 people in Gaza, and 51,000 people in the West Bank.
The additional support will benefit the poorest families, the UN agency said in a statement, with
beneficiaries set to receive an electronic monthly food voucher worth $10 to buy the food of their choice in 200 accredited retail shops.
And finally, top earners around the world have seen their share of national income rise in the last decade and a half, while everyone else has seen their pay packets shrink by comparison, UN economists said on Thursday.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), data gathered from 189 countries shows that roughly 300 million workers earn around $7,500 per month.
In contrast, almost half of the world’s workers – 1.6 billion people – make $200 a month, while the bottom 10 per cent earn just $22 – and they will need to work for 28 years to earn the same as the top 10 per cent does in a single month, ILO economist Roger Gomis told journalists in Geneva:
“A key driver of this inequality is the fact that low-income countries have much higher pay inequality than higher income countries. For example, in high-income countries, the top 10 per cent of earners get around 30 per cent of GDP, on average. In the poorest countries, the top 10 per cent of earners get around 70 per cent of national income.”
According to ILO, countries where top earners saw their share of national pay rise by at least one percentage point between 2004 and 2017 included Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.