This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Sudan at ‘tipping point’ amid sanctions as pandemic approaches
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has expressed serious concerns about the crisis facing Sudan in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said in a statement on Tuesday that terrible suffering awaits the country’s people unless donors act fast.
Her comments come barely a year after the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir, who was replaced by a transitional government that was tasked with bringing economic and social development, democracy, justice and peace.
All of this “is now being threatened by acute resource constraints”, the High Commissioner said, while also highlighting that Sudan will not be able to break out of its cycle of poverty and desperation unless it is freed from sanctions that were imposed at the time of the previous government.
Once sanctions are lifted, the country would be able to attract investment and access funds available from international financial institutions, Ms Bachelet explained.
The UN human rights office has said that COVID-19 could be a “tipping point” for the country, citing sources who have warned there is a serious shortage of equipment and protective gear to tackle the pandemic.
As of Monday, 275 people had tested positive for COVID-19 and 22 have died.
Of Sudan’s population of 43 million people, nearly two million remain internally displaced as a result of conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile state.
Most face dire conditions, living in camps or settlements, unable to meet their basic needs. Sudan also hosts more than 1.1 million refugees and migrants from other countries.
WFP plea to keep borders open as Horn of Africa faces doubling in food insecurity
Concerns are growing about a potentially massive spike in global food insecurity in East Africa, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an alert on Tuesday, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that the new coronavirus is steadily spreading in the region creating huge needs in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti and Eritrea.
Here’s spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs:
“WFP estimates that 20 million people are now food insecure in many countries in the region…We have done projections about the situation there, about the number of food insecure people, and this number is likely to increase to 34 million up to 41 million during the next three months, due to the social-economic impact of COVID-19.”
At the border with Uganda and Kenya, WFP has reported long queues of trucks carrying food forced to wait as the authorities take the drivers’ temperature to check for coronavirus.
UN’s new COVID-19-busting taskforce gears up to boost frontline supplies
A major UN-led initiative is under way to secure supplies of key medical equipment for 135 low to-medium income countries facing down the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
The COVID-19 supply chain taskforce follows a request to WHO from UN Secretary-General António Guterres to coordinate the Organization’s response to the new coronavirus.
It comes amid unprecedented global shortages of critical supplies, skyrocketing prices and export bans, said Paul Molinaro, head of emergency logistics at WHO.
“The demand has obviously increased in those markets 100 or 200 times normal demand. I mean, on the supply side we saw a lot of shutdowns in manufacturing, we saw a lot of export controls, we saw the international air transport system on which we’re quite dependent for the movement of cargo, gradually shut down, so we’re at the point where we need to look for solutions to this.”
As part of the collective effort by the UN and public and private partners, a dedicated “COVID-19 Supply Portal” is set to launch within days.
Daniel Johnson, UN New