‘Deadliest year yet’: UN warns over migration deaths in Americas
At least 634 migrants have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019 – marking what may be the deadliest year for people on the move there since records began six years ago.
According to the International Organization for Migration, IOM, the biggest increase in fatalities in 2019 has been in the Caribbean, where 157 people have died at sea trying to reach the islands – six times more than last year.
The continuing economic and political crisis in Venezuela is responsible, IOM spokesperson Joel Millman said:
“The one word answer that starts with a ‘V’ is Venezuela, when you have over four million people circulating, most in the past two years, there’s just a volume of people on the move that creates conditions that just are going to result in more fatalities.”
IOM’s Missing Migrants project shows that 345 people have also died trying to cross the US-Mexico border.
In Central America, 97 migrants have died in 2019, and in South America, 34.
DRC Ebola infection rate drop is ‘encouraging’ news: WHO
To the Democratic Republic of the Congo now, where there have been just six cases of Ebola disease infection in the last week – “encouraging” news, UN health experts say.
At the peak of the epidemic in April, 120 cases were reported in seven days. To date, the virus has killed nearly 2,200 people, since it began last August in the east of the country.
In its latest update on the outbreak, the World Health Organization said that all the new infections were people who had come into contact with already-confirmed cases.
This is a welcome development, since it indicates that there are no new transmission chains, and it follows a steady decrease in confirmed cases of Ebola in the last three months.
WHO also said that Kalungata and Katwa health zones had gone 21 and 42 days with zero cases of infection respectively, suggesting that they may be free of the disease.
In a statement, the agency welcomed the lower case rate, but insisted that progress remains highly contingent upon the level of access and security within affected communities.
Central African Republic: 20,500 displaced by unseasonal, heavy rains in Bangui
In Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, unusually heavy rain continues to cause major problems for thousands of people forced to leave their homes because of flooding.
In an alert issued on Friday, the UN migration agency, IOM, reported partially or completely destroyed houses in four affected districts.
Outside the city, data is being gathered to assess where needs are greatest, following three weeks of rain.
The country’s people have already faced multiple displacement after more than six years of conflict.
Now, they must start again, faced with flooded fields which have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and disease.
IOM has already provided 1,000 emergency shelters.
It says that the delivery of basic health, water, hygiene, emergency shelter and household items is a priority, and several other UN entities including the UN refugee agency and children’s fund have already mobilized to help.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.