Ebola emergency meeting to go ahead as UNICEF warns of higher risk to very youngest children
Ahead of a key expert meeting at the UN to decide whether to declare the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo an international health emergency, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF warned that the epidemic “is infecting more children” than earlier outbreaks.
To date, there have been more than 2,500 cases of infection and nearly 1,670 people have died in the DRC provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, making it the worst outbreak the country has ever faced and the second largest epidemic on record.
Here’s UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado:
“This outbreak is affecting more children than previous outbreaks of Ebola. As of 7 July, there have been 750 infections among children. This represents 31 per cent of total cases, compared with about 20 per cent in previous outbreaks.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization confirmed that an emergency meeting on the outbreak will take place on Wednesday afternoon in Geneva.
The aim of the encounter is for DRC representatives, UN health experts and partners to decide whether the situation warrants declaring an international emergency.
This is the fourth time the emergency panel will have met during the current outbreak, and it follows confirmation that the disease has been identified in Goma, a city of two million people on the border with Rwanda.
Small island communities face combat between hunger and obesity
Obesity among populations of small island developing States is a health emergency made worse by climate change, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday.
According to the agency, one in two adults is obese in many small island communities in Polynesia and Micronesia, while on average, obesity levels in people from small island States are 60 per cent higher than elsewhere.
Citing climate change as a key factor in degraded land and ocean resources, FAO believes that this has led to dependence on imported foods that are “ultra-high” in salt, sugar and fat – and “extremely high levels of overweight and obesity".
Speaking at the 2019 High-Level Political Forum in New York, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva also noted that – paradoxically – levels of hunger or undernourishment are also higher in these small island states than globally.
To address both hunger and obesity in small island nations, Mr. Graziano da Silva said that one way they could do this, was by making better use of their marine resources, by tackling illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Yemen’s warring sides agree to reinforce ceasefire on key Red Sea port
And finally to Yemen, where the UN has announced that a deal has been reached with both parties at war over the key Red Sea port of Hudaydah.
In a statement, the UN said that it had brought together delegations from the Government of President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi and Houthi opponents, on board a vessel “on the high seas off Hudaydah”.
This was their first face-to-face meeting since February, the UN statement continued, adding that the belligerents “took stock” of their earlier agreements on the redeployment of forces from Hudaydah.
They also agreed on “new measures” to reinforce a ceasefire and de-escalation, which is to be put in place as soon as possible by the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement.
After more than four years of war, Yemen is in the grip of a humanitarian disaster, with millions facing famine.
In a related development, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has continued to push for an end to the conflict, after flying to the opposition-held Yemen capital, Sana’a.
Earlier, he met President Hadi in Saudi Arabia, along with senior officials from the Saudi Kingdom, in a bid to find a political solution to the conflict.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.