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News in Brief 12 July 2022

News in Brief 12 July 2022

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Security Council approves new Syria cross-border aid resolution

The UN Security Council has agreed to extend a crucial cross-border aid lifeline to Syria.

The development on Tuesday came two days after an earlier Security Council resolution expired, which prevented UN convoys and partners from continuing to deliver international assistance into northwest Syria from Türkiye.

Member States had been split on whether to allow the aid corridor at Bab al-Hawa to continue, with permanent Council Members Britain, France and the United States pushing for a one-year extension, rather than the six-month prolongation - proposed by Russia - which was finally agreed upon.

Some four million people live in northwest Syria’s Idlib region, which is the last opposition stronghold in the war-torn country.

United Nations humanitarians and partners who operate there have warned that the situation is more desperate now, than at any time in country’s 11-year-old conflict, with spiralling food prices affecting people who’ve often been displaced many times.

That dire assessment was echoed in recent days by top UN-appointed rights investigators from the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, who noted that 14.6 million Syrians “are now dependent on humanitarian assistance”.

Across Syria, 12 million people face acute food insecurity and 90 per cent live in poverty, the right experts said.

Gang violence in Port-au-Prince threatens more than a million food-insecure Haitians

Surging gang violence in the Haitian capital has contributed to dire food insecurity for at least a million people there, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.

“The situation is spiralling out of control already,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP Haiti Country Director, who said that “large parts of Port-au-Prince” are controlled by between 150 to 200 gangs.

Speaking via Zoom from Port-au-Prince, Mr. Bauer said that things were getting “worse by the day” for Haitians:

“Since Friday there’s been fighting downtown in the port area, in Cité Soleil, and yesterday in La Saline, places that are very close to the port and also close to where hundreds of thousands of very poor people live.”

The WFP official explained how one heavily pregnant woman had to shelter on the floor of her home for an entire day, to avoid being caught in the crossfire during a prolonged gunfight.

The next day, just as she was about to leave her house, someone set fire to it. She later gave birth and now lives in a centre for displaced people.

To avoid the violence, and to ensure that vulnerable Haitians receive assistance outside the capital, WFP has had to resort to using sea routes to deliver humanitarian aid, rather than trucks, which represent an easy target.

Big pharma needs to boost efforts to beat drug-resistant bugs, says WHO

More vaccines need to be produced urgently by big pharma to fight drug-resistant bacterial bugs, the UN health agency, WHO, said on Tuesday.

Infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are a growing threat, according to the World Health Organization, which has just published its first report into preventative vaccines that are either available, or in the pipeline.

WHO’s study highlights 61 vaccine candidates, including several that are in the late stages of development to neutralize what it calls “priority pathogens”.

These include multidrug-resistant bacteria which pose a particular threat in hospitals, nursing homes and among patients who rely on ventilators and blood catheters, leaving them at risk of severe and often deadly infections that affect the bloodstream, and also pneumonia.

“Preventing infections using vaccination reduces the use of antibiotics, which is one of the main drivers of antimicrobial resistance,” said WHO’s Dr. Hanan Balkhy.

Although WHO says that several late-stage vaccines could very likely be produced, “most will not be available anytime soon”.

And out of the top six bacterial pathogens which are responsible for people dying from antimicrobial-resistance today, a vaccine exists for only one of them: Pneumococcal disease - also known as Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Data from the WHO indicates that bacterial infections which resist vaccines are the direct cause of nearly 1.3 million deaths a year. 

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • Haiti gang violence threatens over a million food insecure: WFP
  • Security Council approves new cross-border aid deal for 6 months
  • Big pharma needs to boost efforts to beat drug-resistant bugs: WHO
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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Photo Credit
OCHA/David Swanson