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News in Brief 10 March 2023

News in Brief 10 March 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Horn of Africa hunger emergency: ‘129,000 looking death in the eyes’

Life-threatening hunger caused by climate shocks, violent insecurity and disease in the Horn of Africa have left hundreds of thousands facing death and nearly 50 million facing crisis levels of food insecurity, the UN World Health Organization (WHOsaid on Friday.

In an appeal for $178 million to support medical aid relief across seven countries in the Greater Horn region, veteran WHO worker Liesbeth Aelbrecht warned that the situation was worse than anything she’d seen in more than two decades in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

“These 48 million people do include as many as 129,000 who are facing catastrophe; and catastrophe, that means they are facing starvation and literally looking death in the eyes.”

In addition to the dramatic hunger crisis, the Greater Horn of Africa region has never seen such a high number of reported disease outbreaks this century.

All seven countries in need of assistance are battling measles and four are fighting cholera, according to the WHO. Malaria is also endemic in the region and on the rise, while dengue was declared for the first time in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, in February.

Cyclone Freddy: Mozambique, Malawi brace for more rain and high winds

To Mozambique where coastal communities braced for Tropical cyclone Freddy, which was forecast to make landfall late on Friday night into Saturday morning.

This will be the second time that the cyclone has hit Mozambique and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that Freddy is likely to move slowly near the coastline where it will gain in strength.

This could elevate Freddy’s intensity before it reaches the coast of Mozambique, said WMO spokesperson, Clare Nullis:

“Come what may, what we do know now is that there will be very destructive winds, there will be very dangerous storm surge and landfall and their will be extreme rainfall, over large areas, not just in Mozambique, but also in northeastern Zimbabwe, southeast Zambia and Malawi.”

Cumulative rainfall of more than 150 to 200 millimetres in just 24 hours is expected at the weekend, raising the flood risk for communities in the south of Mozambique which have already received 500 millimetres in the past seven days alone.

The WMO noted that the death toll from Freddy has been limited because early warnings and accurate forecasting helped to coordinate disaster risk reduction efforts before the cyclone last hit Mozambique on 24 February.

300,000 flee ongoing violence in DR Congo in February alone: UNHCR

To the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, where humanitarians have warned that heavy fighting continues to uproot hundreds of thousands of people in the east.

Violent clashes between non-state armed groups and government forces have caused the latest emergency, with 300,000 people forced to flee their homes in North Kivu Province in February alone.

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, a further 20,000 fled earlier this month.

With more, here’s UNHCR spokesperson, Matthew Saltmarsh.

“Civilians continue to pay the heavy and bloody price of conflict, including women and children who barely escaped the violence and are now sleeping out in the open.”

Conditions are dire for those arriving at spontaneous or organized sites, which the UN refugee agency said were now buckling under the strain.

The resurgence of violence in eastern DR Congo has displaced more than 800,000 people since March last year, including towards the provinces of South Kivu and Ituri.

More than 130 armed groups operate at the border between DR Congo and Rwanda, including the M23 militia, which has in the past targeted Government forces and the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO.

Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.

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  • Cyclone Freddy: Mozambique, Malawi brace for more rain
  • Horn of Africa hunger emergency: ‘129,000 looking death in the eyes’
  • 300,000 flee ongoing violence in DR Congo in February alone
Audio Credit
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
3'51"
Photo Credit
© UNHCR/Hélène Caux