This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Lifesaving aid arrives in devastated Beirut to support over-run hospitals
The World Health Organization (WHO) has flown in 20 tonnes of emergency medical supplies to Beirut city, to help treat people injured in Tuesday’s massive blast; the latest support to arrive from the United Nations.
The supplies include 1,000 trauma kits and the same number of surgical interventions to treat burns and other trauma.
The shipment was airlifted on Wednesday from a logistics hub in Dubai, on a plane donated by the United Arab Emirates.
As a result of the blast, three hospitals in Beirut are out of action and two more are partially damaged, leaving a critical shortage of beds.
In a statement, WHO said that patients have been transferred to hospitals across the country, but many facilities remain overwhelmed.
The development comes amid concerns about insufficient cereal stocks in Lebanon, after grain silos were destroyed in the blast.
The country imports around 85 per cent of its needs, the World Food Programme (WFP) said, warning that the severe damage to the Port of Beirut would likely push food prices beyond the reach of many.
Nuclear States have special onus to ban weapons of mass destruction
It’s been 75 years since an atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima caused massive death and destruction, whose effects linger to this day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday.
In a tribute to the victims of the 1945 bombing, who are known as the “hibakusha”, Mr Guterres renewed his appeal for the need to eliminate nuclear weapons.
States that possessed them needed to get rid of them, he said, as the risk of weapons of mass destruction being used was “too high”.
In a call for States to invest in “peaceful, sustainable development”, rather than destruction, the UN chief also appealed for an end to nuclear testing.
Its legacy has been horrific, both for people and the environment, he explained.
“Today, a world without nuclear weapons seems to be slipping further from our grasp. The web of arms control, transparency and confidence-building instruments established during the Cold War and its aftermath, is fraying. Division, distrust and a lack of dialogue threaten to return the world to unrestrained strategic nuclear competition. States possessing nuclear weapons are modernizing their arsenals and developing new and dangerous weapons and delivery systems. The risk of nuclear weapons being used, intentionally, by accident or through miscalculation, is too high for such trends to continue.”
Three days after the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, a second nuclear device was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
Most of the roughly 13,000 nuclear weapons now in global arsenals are vastly more destructive than the bombs dropped on Japan, Mr. Guterres said, adding that detonating just one of them would cause a humanitarian disaster of unimaginable proportions.
Indigenous peoples ‘under greater threat than ever during COVID’: Guterres
Indigenous people have shown “extraordinary resilience” during the COVID-19 pandemic but they are at particular risk as the crisis goes on, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday.
In an appeal to Governments to protect them and consult them to boost their resilience, António Guterres said that 476 million indigenous peoples around the world have had their lives devastated by the health threat.
Most recently, lapsed enforcement of environmental protections has encouraged illegal mining and logging to encroach on indigenous peoples’ land, he said.
This has led to many indigenous people being killed and others facing threats and violence.
In a message marking the international day of the world’s indigenous peoples on 9 August, the UN Secretary-General explained that before the new coronavirus hit, minorities already faced “entrenched inequalities, stigmatization and discrimination”.
Concretely, poor access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation increased the dangers they faced, the UN chief said.
Mr Guterres noted that indigenous women who are often the main providers for their families have also been hard hit by market closures, as they have been unable to sell their goods, and often lack welfare protection.
Children from indigenous families are also more vulnerable than ever, the UN Secretary General continued, as many do not have access to virtual learning opportunities while schools remain closed.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.