News in Brief 11 August 2021

News in Brief 11 August 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Urgent life-saving assistance needed for nearly one in two Somalis

A spike in humanitarian needs is expected in Somalia, with three million people facing starvation and disease, amid the largest funding shortfall in six years, UN humanitarians said on Wednesday.

Although monthly aid supplies reach 1.8 million people out of the four million targeted, a lack of funds is jeopardizing the efforts of humanitarian partners to scale up their response, said UN aid coordination office, OCHA.

Echoing those concerns, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned that Somalia is on the cusp of a humanitarian catastrophe.

It needs 8.7 million Swiss francs to deliver assistance to more than 500,000 people in Somaliland and Puntland, over 18 months.

“Available assistance remains a drop in the ocean, given the scale of suffering”, it said; noting that more than 800,000 children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition unless they receive treatment and food assistance immediately.

Somalia’s humanitarian situation continues to worsen amid multiple threats, including outbreaks of measles, malaria and COVID-19.

The country is also grappling with the impact of desert locusts and extreme climatic conditions.

Race is on to stop deadly Marburg virus in its tracks: WHO

In Guinea, health authorities are racing to stop Marburg virus from spreading, after the West African country confirmed its first case of the disease, which is often deadly.

The highly infectious disease was detected in a patient in the south of the country last week, who has since died.

It comes less than two months after Guinea declared an end to an Ebola outbreak that began earlier this year in the same region, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti.

Those sick with Marburg disease display similar symptoms to those with Ebola, such as fever, vomiting blood and bleeding.

Health authorities have launched a campaign to raise awareness about the infection to help curb widespread infection. They are also tracing people who may have been in contact with the deceased patient.

Marburg virus disease is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads between humans through the transmission of bodily fluids.  No treatment yet exists, but doctors recommend staying hydrated and treating the symptoms.

Rights experts urge Armenia to drop ‘intimidating’ charges against activist

Top UN-appointed independent rights experts called on Armenia on Wednesday to end its alleged intimidation of a Yezidi youth activist.

Sashik Sultanyan, who founded the Yezidi Center for Human Rights, faces criminal charges of criminal incitement of hatred and violence, after speaking out in support of the ethnic minority.

If convicted, he faces between three and six years in prison, after reportedly saying that Yazidis face discrimination in Armenia and lived “in fear”.

In response to the charges against Mr. Sultanyan, the rights experts maintained that “it is not incitement to hatred or violence to raise human rights concerns about the treatment of minorities, and that such concerns were protected under the right to freedom of expression.

They added that Yezidis – an ethnic group whose ancestors settled in Armenia in after fleeing religious persecution in the Ottoman Empire – were not a threat to national security.

The charges appear designed simply to intimidate Mr. Sultanyan and others who stand up for minority rights, said the rights experts, who are in contact with the Armenian authorities about the matter.

Katy Dartford, UN News.

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  • Somali hunger crisis leaves 800,000 children on the brink
  • Human rights protection call for Yezidi activist in Armenia
  • Race is on to stop deadly Marburg virus in its tracks: WHO
Audio Credit
Katy Dartford, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
3'29"
Photo Credit
UN Photo/Tobin Jones