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News in Brief 3 January 2020

News in Brief 3 January 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Latin America & Caribbean world’s second most disaster-prone region 

Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other hazards affected some 152 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean between 2000-2019, making it the world’s second most disaster-prone region. 

That’s according to a report from the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, released at the start of the new year. 

Countries were hit by 1,205 disasters during the reporting period, including 548 floods, more than 300 storms, 75 earthquakes and a nearly equal number of droughts. 

Floods are the most common disaster in the region, the study revealed.  Since 2000, they have caused more than $1 billion in total damages on 12 occasions. 

Latin America and the Caribbean was also slammed by an average of 17 hurricanes a year, and 23 Category 5 storms: the highest on the classification scale. 

Meanwhile, a quarter of earthquakes magnitude 8.0 or higher occurred in South America, with the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti ranking among the top 10 deadliest earthquakes in human history. 

Intercommunal clashes displace thousands in West Darfur  

In more news from OCHA

The UN agency reports that humanitarians are closely monitoring the situation in Sudan’s West Darfur state, where recent intercommunal clashes in several villages have forced an estimated 30,000 people to flee their homes, according to Government information.  

OCHA said its partners are working to verify the numbers, while reports indicate camps for internally displaced people also were attacked and homes burned. 

People displaced by the fighting have sought refuge in and around the state capital, El Geneina, with shelter, food, water, and health services among the most urgent priorities. 

OCHA added that amid security concerns, the joint African Union-UN operation in Darfur, UNAMID, has helped to relocate 32 aid workers to Zalingei, capital of neighbouring Central Darfur state. 

Chef with UN climate project urges support for smallholder farmers  

A Senegalese-born chef working with a UN project to address climate change has called for greater support for farming communities. 

Pierre Thiam brings the flavours of West Africa to food lovers in New York City, where he began working as a busboy in a restaurant some 30 years ago. 

He is among 12 chefs from across the world who are part of the Recipes for Change initiative run by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 

Having visited IFAD projects in Chad and Senegal, he saw how supporting nutritious, resilient crops can mitigate the effects of climate change. 

Said Mr. Thiam: “As a chef, I believe that we have a responsibility and we should take concrete actions to tackle climate change. Farming communities are threatened and we need to support them by sourcing our food consciously.” 

He also called for increased assistance to smallholder farmers in West Africa, including through better training in agricultural practices and improving their access to markets.  

Dianne Penn, UN News. 

  • Latin America and Caribbean world's second most disaster-prone region
  • Humanitarians monitoring displacement following West Darfur clashes
  • Chef with UN climate project urges support for smallholder farmers
Audio Credit
Dianne Penn/UN News
Photo Credit
© UNICEF/Moreno Gonza