This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
South Sudan: Famine warning after catastrophic flooding
Famine is only months away in South Sudan where catastrophic flooding has pushed millions of people into a humanitarian emergency, the head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday.
The Government declared a state of emergency in late October in Bahr El Ghazal, Greater Upper Nile a nd Greater Equatoria.
David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, said that close to a million people had been affected - with a huge amount of livestock and crops lost – although more than five times that number are likely to go hungry in early 2020.
“South Sudan is in trouble, serious trouble. Not just because of the conflict but because of the rains and the flooding that has hit in the last few months. It is much worse than we had anticipated. In fact, if we don’t get $100 million in the next few weeks and next few months, we are literally talking about famine in the next few months. We need support, we need help, and we need it now. It is not about WFP. It is about the little boys and little girls and families that we need to save."
The development follows years of political violence in the world’s youngest nation that have largely subsided, according to UN peacekeepers UNMISS, although deadly inter-communal clashes have continued.
Today, humanitarian assistance provides a lifeline in most areas of South Sudan, according to WFP.
It helps 4.6 million people but needs $270 million for the next six months, with $1.5 billion needed overall through next year.
More than 5,000 Somalis have opted to return home from wartorn Yemen
A boatload of Somali refugees set out for home from wartorn Yemen on Thursday, bringing to more than 5,000 the number of voluntary returns to Somalia by UN agencies since 2017.
The initiative, co-funded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, provides those who want to go home with documentation, transport and cash assistance.
Yemen hosts the world’s second largest Somali refugee population, around 250,000 refugees, according to the UN.
It is a long-standing refugee host nation and the only country in the Arabian Peninsula which is signatory to the Refugee Convention.
The regular returns from Yemen are an indication that after nearly five years of conflict in Yemen, the situation for civilians, refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants is unsustainable, IOM and UNHCR said in a statement.
Among those who departed from the Yemeni port of Aden was 20-year-old Naima; she’s hoping to go back to school in Somalia.
She had to stop her education 10 years ago when her father got sick. Naima was left helping her mother around the house and working in the family business.
“I hope to be able to go back to school, complete my education, study medicine, and one day become a doctor,” she said.
‘Alpinism’ added to list of cultural treasures needing urgent protection
Finally, if you like mountaineering, you might to know that it’s been recognized as something worth protecting, all around the world.
Following an initiative by France, Italy and Switzerland, UN agency UNESCO’s intergovernmental meeting in Bogota on Wednesday agreed to add alpinism to the list of intangible cultural treasures.
Alpinism is defined as the art of being able to climb a rock face unassisted, using specialized equipment.
According to the sponsor countries, mountain climbing began in the central Alpine area encompassing their famous peaks: the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa – the second highest Alpine peak.
Above all, it’s characterized by a shared love of the mountains and a sense of community among enthusiasts in Europe, Latin and North America, Japan and New Zealand.
The sport’s first star is widely regarded as the French explorer Jacques Balmat, who in August 1786, climbed Mont Blanc’s 4810-metre summit for the first time - without ropes, ice axes or crampons, and on a route so dangerous that it was abandoned in 1820.