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News in Brief 16 April 2021

News in Brief 16 April 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Northeast Nigeria violence forces 65,000 to flee, humanitarians targeted

A spate of clashes involving Government security forces and insurgent groups in northeast Nigeria has caused mass displacement and threatened humanitarian assistance.

Armed groups have also gone from “house-to-house” in the search for aid workers, UN agencies said on Friday.

In total, 65,000 Nigerians are on the move following attacks by armed groups on Damasak town, in northeast Nigeria’s Borno State, which left eight people dead, according to UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.

Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that there had been several reported incidents in the town since Sunday 11 April, where aid assistance is a “lifeline”:

“OCHA also continues to receive very worrying reports of clashes between insurgent groups and the Nigerian Armed Forces in Damasak in Borno State, and that non-State armed groups are targeting humanitarian assets and facilities. And recently, also conducting house to house searches, reportedly looking for civilians identified as aid workers.”

According to OCHA, the attacks will affect support to nearly 9,000 internally displaced people and 76,000 in the host community who are receiving humanitarian assistance and protection.

If the attacks continue, “it will be impossible… to deliver aid to people who desperately need it”, Mr Laerke said.

Papua New Guinea at ‘critical’ moment in fight against COVID-19

To Papua New Guinea now and an alert from the World Health Organization,  WHO, that the country is at a critical moment in the fight against COVID-19.

The warning comes as several other countries in the Western Pacific region are also experiencing surges in infections.

Speaking from Papua New Guinea, WHO’s Acting Representative Anna Maalsen said that there was enormous pressure on hospitals, healthcare workers and communities.

Growing infections among frontline workers were making it difficult for hospitals to cope, she explained at a press conference on Friday, before urging the need to rollout low-cost coronavirus testing kits in rural areas, to contain the virus.

To date, Papua New Guinea has had more than 9,000 reported cases of COVID infection, along with 82 deaths.

Japan: Rights experts ‘deeply disappointed’ by Fukushima water discharge plan

Senior UN-appointed  human rights experts have said that they’re deeply disappointed by Japan’s decision to discharge radioactive seawater used to cool the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant reactors, into the Pacific Ocean.

Warning that the move could impact millions of people across the region, the experts maintained that there were “considerable risks” to the full enjoyment of human rights of populations “in and beyond the borders of Japan”.

“The decision is particularly disappointing as experts believe alternative solutions to the problem are available”, said Special Rapporteurs Marcos Orellana, Michael Fakhri and David Boyd, all appointed by the Human Rights Council

The development follows a declaration by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, that Japan’s decision to dump seawater used to cool Fukushima’s reactors following the devastating tsunami in 2011 was both “technically feasible and in line with international practice”.

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • Northeast Nigeria violence forces 65,000 to flee, humanitarians targeted
  • Papua New Guinea at “critical” moment in fight against COVID-19: WHO
  • Japan: Rights experts ‘deeply disappointed’ by Fukushima water discharge plan
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
UNICEF/KC Nwakalor