Global perspective Human stories

News in Brief 22 May 2023

News in Brief 22 May 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.


Extreme weather caused two million deaths, over $4 trillion in losses over last 50 years

Over two million deaths and $4.3 trillion in economic losses; that’s the impact of a half-century of extreme weather events turbo-charged by man-made global warming, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday.

According to the UN agency, weather, climate and water-related hazards caused close to 12,000 disasters between 1970 and 2021. Developing countries were hit hardest, seeing nine in 10 deaths and 60 per cent of economic losses from climate shocks and extreme weather.

WMO said that Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States suffered a “disproportionately” high cost in relation to the size of their economies.

The UN agency stressed however that improved early warnings and coordinated disaster management save lives.

Together with partners, WMO is working to ensure that every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems by the end of 2027. A first set of 30 countries have been identified for the roll-out of the UN’s “Early Warnings for All” initiative this year.

‘Bleeding needs to stop’ in DRC’s dire humanitarian crisis

This month’s deadly floods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were the latest aggravating factor in the “neglected” humanitarian crisis affecting the country, the UN said on Monday.

The floods killed over 400 people in DRC’s South Kivu province and as many as 6,000 are still missing.

Bruno Lemarquis, the top UN aid official in the country, said that the humanitarian situation in the DRC had worsened since March 2022 with the resurgent rebel M23 movement forcing an additional one million people from their homes, driving total displacement up to more than 6.3 million.

Most of the newly displaced now live in informal settlements in North Kivu province, where they need shelter, food, water and sanitation – basically “everything”, Mr. Lemarquis said.

Over 26 million people in the DRC are food insecure; humanitarian access is difficult and lifesaving relief work is poorly funded.

Here’s Mr. Lemarquis with a call for support to the international community:

In 2023, we are looking at raising $2.25 billion for the year, and so far, we are almost in June, we have only raised 20 per cent of that amount. It’s very important to increase the advocacy for the DRC and to increase financing for that crisis. This situation is not business as usual. The bleeding needs to stop.”

‘Extremely vulnerable’ Ukraine nuclear plant loses power

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) lost all external power and was forced to run on emergency diesel generators once again, the UN’s nuclear watchdog IAEA said on Monday.

This is the seventh time that the ZNPP, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has lost its external power supply since Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country.

In a tweet, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi called the nuclear safety situation at the plant “extremely vulnerable” and said that “we must agree to protect (the) plant now; this situation cannot continue”.

IAEA experts are deployed at the Russian-occupied ZNPP, which is still being run by Ukrainian civilians and has repeatedly been shelled during the war. In the latest incident, a location close to the nearby town of Enerhodar, home to most of the ZNPP’s staff, came under artillery fire on Friday.

Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News



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Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News - Geneva
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