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News in Brief 28 February 2023

News in Brief 28 February 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Refugee agency appeals for $137 million to help displaced in Horn of Africa

A humanitarian alert from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which issued a $137 million appeal on Tuesday to help millions of people in the Horn of Africa, as the region enters its sixth consecutive rainy season with no rain.

More than 3.3 million refugees and internally displaced people have been uprooted in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya because of the emergency.

They are struggling to survive amid scarce water sources, hunger, insecurity and conflict and they need safety and assistance, and so do the host communities, said UNHCR’s Olga Sarrado:

“While famine has so far been averted in Somalia, mostly due to a stepped-up humanitarian response, people continue to battle life-threatening food and water shortages resulting from massive losses of harvests, livestock, and income. Local commodity prices also remain at an all-time high, out of reach for many. The dangerous confluence of climate and conflict in the region is worsening an already dire humanitarian situation.”

In Somalia alone, since the start of the year, over 287,000 people have been internally displaced because of conflict and drought.

And in Kenya’s Dadaab camps, UNHCR also reported the testimony of a 60-year-old woman from Somalia who said that she had endured three decades of conflict in the south, but it was extreme hunger that forced her to flee for her life.

Mozambique targets 720,000 people in cholera vaccination drive: WHO

A massive cholera vaccination drive is underway in Mozambique where the UN health agency, WHO, is helping the authorities to stem a deadly outbreak of the preventable disease.

Around 720,000 people in eight districts are in line for a vaccine, as control measures are stepped up against cholera, which has killed 37 people since September 2022.

From the World Health Organization, Dr Severin von Xylander said that the vaccination campaign was a crucial element in stemming the spread of cholera, which so far has been reported in five of the country’s 11 provinces.

Health workers have also been deployed in the three worst-affected provinces of northern Niassa, Sofala and Tete, to help the health authorities to “detect, prevent and halt” the outbreak, the WHO official said.

Patent filings hit record high in 2022: WIPO

International demand for patents hit a record high last year, as innovators in China, the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Germany, sought to protect their inventions.

According to the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Chinese telecoms giant Huawei remained by far the most prolific patent filer in 2022, with well over 7,600 to its name.

South Korea’s Samsung came in second, followed by Qualcomm of the US, Mitsubishi of Japan and Ericsson of Sweden.

Globally, patent applications rose – slightly - to more than 278,000 in 2022 – the highest number ever recorded in a single year.

In India, patent registrations shot up by 25.4 per cent, but the overall picture was of more modest growth, said Carsten Fink, WIPO Chief Economist:

“On the one hand, this represents the 13th year of uninterrupted growth …which I think is quite noteworthy, on the other hand, of course 0.3 per cent is relatively modest growth rate which we attribute to the challenging global economic conditions that prevailed in 2022.”

By region, Asia saw the fastest growth in patent filings, while also increasing its overall share by half a per cent, to 54.7 per cent in 2022.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
UNSOM/Fardosa Hussein