This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
New DRC Ebola virus transmission chain risks reversing major gains: WHO
Amid multiple deadly attacks on civilians by armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), an Ebola death “unlinked to any chain of transmission”, risks reversing major gains against the epidemic, a top UN medic said on Friday.
Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director for the WHO Health Emergencies programme, said that while “98 per cent” of infection in the last three weeks could be traced back to two chains of transmission, a third one had now been identified in Oicha health zone, North Kivu.
“This individual who turned out to be a community death had visited three separate health care centres in the Oicha area before being detected, was a moto driver himself and when his colleagues in the moto driver group learned of this death, they came to sympathise and the body was manipulated by a large number of colleagues and friends from the moto driving community.”
According to the WHO, the death can be linked to health zones in Kalunguta, Mandima, Mabalako and Beni, in addition to Oicha.
The agency says it knows of more than 200 contacts associated with that case, 62 are of “extreme high risk”, but it has only had access to 19 so far.
There have been 3,298 infections in total and 2,197 deaths since the latest Ebola outbreak was declared last August.
Venezuela: WFP makes urgent appeal for US$196 million to help millions of refugees, migrants
To Venezuela now, where the World Food Programme, or WFP, says it needs nearly $200 million to help a growing number of people leaving the country as the longstanding economic crisis continues.
In Geneva, spokesperson for the UN agency, Hervé Verhoosel, said that funds were needed to prevent an increasing number of desperate women resorting to so-called “survival” sex work.
“Some of the families who don’t have money, especially if women are the head of the family…will basically do whatever is possible to have either food or money to buy food.”
According to WFP, 4.6 million Venezuelans have now left the country.
Nearly 1.5 million of them live in Colombia, 385,000 in Ecuador.
The WFP appeal is part of a larger Refugee and Migrant Response Plan initiative; its $1.35 billion budget involves 137 organizations in 17 countries and aims to support four million migrants next year.
Libya: 600 migrants discovered on at least nine boats in Mediterranean Sea
And finally to war-torn Libya, where there’s been a spike in the number of migrant boats leaving the country’s coastline this week, UN migration agency, IOM, said on Friday.
More than 600 people were discovered in the waters off Libya between Tuesday and Thursday, IOM spokesperson Safa Msheli told journalists in Geneva:
“We’re talking about nine boats that were discovered in the central Mediterranean route. Five of them were picked up by NGO ships, so rescued by Ocean Viking and Open Arms, and four of those boats were returned to Libya. The tenth boat is one boat that arrived in Lampedusa on its own.”
The development comes amid some of the heaviest shelling so far in the capital Tripoli, where the Libyan coastguard is reported to have returned nearly 300 migrants to shore, including 14 children and 33 women.
The UN Migration agency said it is unable to verify reports that another vessel sank on Wednesday evening with significant loss of life.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 8,600 migrants have been returned to detention centres in Libya where the UN has frequently condemned serious rights violations.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.