This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN rushes to help Cox’s Bazar refugees following massive blaze
The UN and partners are rushing to help 45,000 people have lost everything in a massive fire in Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp in Bangladesh, the majority women and children.
More than 9,000 shelters housing up to 10 people were damaged in the blaze, while UN migration agency IOM, said that its largest health clinic in the vast camp complex, had been destroyed in the blaze.
The cause of the fire is still unknown, as is the exact number of casualties at the camp, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people who fled persecution in Myanmar in 2017.
Here’s UN Children Fund spokesperson, James Elder:
“UN teams on the ground have been sort of reporting over the last 12 hours that they’ve not really ever seen anything of this scale and intensity that has ripped through homes where you’ve often got 10 people living in a small shanty as a family or as an extended family, so we’re reporting at least 15 people are dead, 400 are missing, tens of thousands who again were already living in a very difficult situation, tens of thousands have lost what they call their homes and whatever meagre possessions that they had.”
Rohingya volunteers and UN teams worked through the night to respond to the most immediate needs of victims.
Assistance includes shelter kits that will allow people to begin to rebuild their homes, as well as emergency items including blankets, solar lights, mosquito nets, and jerry cans.
With the start of the monsoon looming, rebuilding is critical, IOM said.
It needs at least $20 million to respond to most urgent needs, which includes helping people to reconstruct monsoon-proof shelters, emergency latrines and the destroyed health facility.
UN condemns deadly shelling of Syrian children and hospital workers
The UN has condemned deadly shelling in northwest Syria which killed and injured dozens of civilians, including children and hospital workers.
Artillery rounds hit the Al Atareb Surgical Hospital in Aleppo governorate on Monday, leaving at least six dead, including a 10-year-old boy.
The hospital also sustained major damage, including to emergency clinics, while shelling claimed two more lives on the same day in the neighbourhoods of Al Firdous and Al Saliheen in Aleppo City.
Monday also saw aerial attacks near Bab al Hawa on the Syria-Turkey border, where life-saving UN cross-border humanitarian deliveries take place.
Inventions boom in ‘assistive tech’ offers wider benefits for all
Rapid growth in innovations that are designed to help people overcome their disabilities could soon offer a fix to all manner of mobility, sight and other difficulties, UN patent experts WIPO said on Tuesday.
The development comes after double-digit growth in so-called “assistive tech” in recent years, the World Intellectual Property Organization said.
This promises to make previously expensive devices available to a much greater number of people, at a lower cost.
Emerging products that are expected to catch on, include next generation balancing and walking aids, 3D printed prosthetics and wearable “exoskeleton suits”, to help with lifting and improve mobility, said Irene Kitsara, Industrial Property Information Officer at WIPO:
“The assistive technology came from the military applications and now we see increasing applications in manufacturing and industry, so it helps people enhance their power, they can carry more weight, so that we already see.”
Other emerging products include robots that can help to feed people at home and wearable products for the visually impaired, according to the WIPO Technology Trends Report 2021: Assistive Technologies.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.