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News in Brief 29 May 2024

News in Brief 29 May 2024

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Gaza medics struggling in face of ‘overwhelming disaster’ as vital supplies run low: WHO

Vital medical supplies are fast running out in Gaza’s remaining hospitals, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday, amid reports of continuing Israeli bombing and hostilities in the enclave. 

Dr Rik Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in Palestine, said that Sunday’s strike on a camp for Gazans uprooted by months of war had left medical teams powerless to help:

“You can only do so much in Gaza. And when it comes to really extensive burns, et cetera, there's no place currently in Gaza where that can be treated…Since the closing of the Rafah crossing, we only have had three WHO trucks into Rafah. They came through Kerem Shalom and that's the only supply. We fortunately still have some supplies, but they are quickly running out.”

The lack of lifesaving aid supplies could be reversed if lorries carrying humanitarian aid are allowed back into the enclave in significant numbers, the WHO official insisted.

He described the situation as “an overwhelming disaster” and added that there are 60 trucks carrying WHO supplies waiting to cross into Gaza via Al Arish in neighbouring Egypt.

The UN health agency has previously warned that more Gazans will die unless desperately needed medical evacuations for seriously sick or injured people are allowed outside the enclave. 

Some “10,000-plus” people are believed to require urgent transport outside Gaza for treatment, but since the closure of Rafah crossing on 6 May “there's no medical evacuation outside Gaza - and it was already a huge problem before”, Dr Peeperkorn said.

In Sahel, grave violations against children up 70 per cent 

To the Sahel region, where children face a distressing rise in grave violations including child recruitment by armed forces, killing and maiming.

In an alert on Wednesday, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said that the last three months of 2023 saw a more than 70 per cent spike in violations, compared with the previous three months. 

The countries affected were those in the central Sahel region of West Africa: Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, the UN agency said, as it appealed for governments to do more to protect civilians. 

“Communities caught up in fighting need protection, said UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Gilles Fagninou (Pronounced Gee-yul Fa-ninoo). 

He warned that “far too many children” are being affected by grave violations of their rights and that in the first three months of this year, nearly 1,400 people were reported killed in violent incidents.

The number “has been steadily rising over the last few years and is 66 per cent higher than in 2023 over the same three-month period, Mr. Fagninou said.

Global unemployment set to drop slightly this year: ILO

Global unemployment numbers are set to drop slightly in 2024, but women in low-income countries continue to miss out on fair pay and other equality measures in the workplace, the UN labour agency said on Wednesday.

New data published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) predicts that the 2024 global unemployment rate will be 4.9 per cent, just below the five per cent level last year.

In all, the number of people without a job but who want to work now stands at 402 million. 

This includes 183 million people who are counted as unemployed.

The ILO’s updated World Employment and Social Outlook report shows a striking jobs gap for women, especially in low-income countries, with more than one in five women unable to find work, compared with almost one in seven men. 

And although women in high-income countries earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men, this figure drops to just 44 cents in low-income countries.

To overcome such glaring inequalities and to help get the global economy back on track, the UN agency’s Director-General Gilbert Houngbo urged governments to “place inclusion and social justice at the core” of policy and institutions.

Shanaé Harte, UN News.

  • Gaza: vital medical supplies running out, warns UN health agency 
  • In Sahel, grave violations against children up 70 per cent: UNICEF 
  • Global unemployment set to drop slightly this year: ILO
Audio Credit
Shanaé Harte, UN News.
Photo Credit
UN News/Anton Uspensky