This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Mozambique insurgency fuels fears of humanitarian crisis
Escalating conflict linked to an insurgency in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has forced hundreds of thousands to flee, likely prolonging crisis levels of food insecurity there.
In an alert, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday that well over 300,000 people have been displaced inside the gas-rich province.
Many thousands more have fled into neighbouring provinces and Tanzania, amid ongoing clashes between Government forces and the armed groups.
Here’s WFP spokesperson Tomson Phiri speaking in Geneva:
“The number of displaced people has tripled over the last few months amid growing insecurity. Also, many of those that we have been assisting, either in Cabo Delgado, in Nampula, in Niassa, they have nothing but WFP food assistance.”
The situation is linked to an armed insurgency that began in 2017, WFP said, amid reports that Islamic extremists continue to hold key locations, after attacking a number of towns in recent months.
These have claimed lives and damaged infrastructure that was already severely affected by Cyclone Kenneth in 2019, the UN agency noted.
More than one in two children in Cabo Delgado under five is chronically malnourished, well above the national average of 43 per cent.
Today, WFP provides food assistance to nearly 200,000 people in the province.
It is stepping up aid to reach more than 300,000 people, but it has warned that without continued funding, assistance may have to be cut.
UN health agency insists that any vaccine it backs will be ‘absolutely safe’
The UN health agency has said that it will not endorse any vaccine against COVID-19 until it has been proven to be absolutely safe and effective.
The message from the World Health Organization (WHO) comes amid concerns that so-called anti-vaccine groups may attempt to thwart efforts to ensure maximum coverage of any coronavirus inoculation – although no vaccine has yet passed the final testing stage.
The development comes amid efforts led by the WHO and partners to deliver two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine using a global partnership called COVAX.
More than 170 countries have signed up to the scheme, which is examining and evaluating many vaccine candidates.
WMO warns over lowest sea ice extent since record low in 2012
Finally, Arctic sea ice is at its lowest extent since the record low seen in 2012, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday.
Citing US and German weather authorities, the UN agency said that sea ice extent is likely between 3.7 and 3.8 million square kilometres today.
This is significant because it is below the four-million-kilometre threshold, just as the 2012 record was, at 3.39 million square kilometres.
The 2020 figure could still drop if there is a late-season surge of summer warmth, WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis warned.
She cited a number of reasons for massive loss of ice this summer; including thin sea ice around Russia’s seas, that soon melted when spring came.
Arctic sea ice has also suffered from extremely high air and water temperatures, WMO said in a statement, citing climate researchers who described the widespread melting as “breathtaking”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.