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News in Brief 2 September 2022

News in Brief 2 September 2022

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Pakistan floods will likely lead to more child deaths, warns UNICEF

In Pakistan, more children will likely die unless more action is taken to respond to the devastating floods that have swept across southern provinces, UN humanitarians said on Friday.

Twelve hundred people have died so far in the disaster, including 400 children.

In Geneva, UN refugee agency spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh said that shelter, clean drinking water and food are needed urgently:

“Affected people told UNHCR staff about their traumatic and scarring experiences as rain and flood waters swept away their possessions in minutes. Those who could, rushed to safety on higher ground without being able to rescue belongings.”

Veteran aid workers have already warned that the scale of disaster is far greater than anything they have ever seen.

And UN Children’s Fund UNICEF explained that the situation was especially critical because many of the hardest-hit districts were home to Pakistan’s most vulnerable communities.

The UN agency’s representative in Pakistan, Abdullah Fadil, explained that 40 per cent of children were already suffering from stunting before the floods hit – and that many were now without a home, school, or even safe drinking water.

World food commodity prices dip for fifth month in a row in August

World food prices have fallen for the fifth month in a row, UN experts said on Friday, before warning that they are still nearly eight per cent higher than a year ago.

The Food Price Index update from the UN agency FAO, measures the monthly change in international prices of basic foodstuffs.

All five main subgroups - cereals, vegetable oil, dairy, meat and sugar – saw lower prices in August compared with July.

FAO attributed cheaper cereals to improved production prospects in North America and Russia, and the resumption of exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

The UN body also explained that vegetable oil prices dropped 3.3 per cent, thanks to the increased availability of palm oil from Indonesia and renewed shipments from Ukraine.

But it warned that this year’s global cereal harvest is likely to fall by nearly 39 million tonnes. That’s 1.4 per cent lower than in 2021 and is mainly because corn yields are expected to plummet 16 per cent in the European Union, after “exceptional hot and dry weather conditions”.

By contrast, the forecast for worldwide wheat production is expected to remain stable, FAO said, owing to expected record harvests in Russia and good growing weather in North America.

Myanmar arrest of former UK ambassador condemned by UN rights office

To Myanmar, where the news that the UK’s former Ambassador to the country and her husband have been sentenced to one year in prison, has been condemned by the UN rights office.

Vicky Bowman, and her husband, artist Htein Lin, were convicted of being in breach of immigration rules, said UN human rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, speaking in Geneva on Friday:

“We are deeply shocked that the de-facto authorities have sought to punish people who have been committed to the development of the country. This is among the 12,219 people who remain detained by the military authorities since the coup.”

The UN human rights office has raised concerns about miscarriages of justice for thousands of people in Myanmar, Ms. Shamdasani said, adding that many of those still held by the authorities had been detained arbitrarily.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • Myanmar: OHCHR denounces arrest of former UK ambassador
  • Food prices dip for fifth month in a row in August – FAO
  • Pakistan floods: UNICEF warns many more children may die
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
© UNOCHA/Levent Kulu