Monday’s Daily Brief: Suicide death every 40 seconds, rights chief on climate change link, Venezuela, Dorian updates, desertification summit latest

9 September 2019

A recap of Monday’s top stories: Someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds says new report; UN rights chief highlights climate change threat, and “devastating toll” on Venezuela; deputy chief Amina Mohammed says halting desertification is a key part of climate action; health agency pledges millions to Hurricane Dorian response.

Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide: WHO

A portrait of a patient at a mental health hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

Despite progress in national prevention strategies, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General lamented on Monday, highlighting key findings of the agency’s latest report on global suicide estimates.

Speaking in Geneva ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “every death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues,” yet many more suicides can be prevented. Suicide is now the leading cause of death among youth aged 15-29. An estimated 20 per cent of global suicides are a result of pesticide poisoning.

Get our full story here.

UN’s Bachelet: ‘We are burning our future’

A fire burns in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

The Human Rights Council opened in Geneva on Monday with a warning from the UN’s top rights official that, with forest fires raging in the Amazon, “we are burning up our future, literally”.

In an appeal to the forum’s 47 Member States to unite to tackle climate change, Michelle Bachelet insisted that every region of the world stands to be affected.

“Storms are rising and tides could submerge entire island nations and coastal cities. Fires rage through our forests, and the ice is melting. We are burning up our future – literally,” she stressed.

Her comments come 14 days before UN Secretary-General António Guterres opens a Climate Action Summit in New York. Get our full coverage  here.

Venezuela situation having a ‘devastating toll’

A student at El Carmen school in Barrio Union, on the outskirts of Caracas, is located in one of the largest and most vulnerable neighborhoods in Latin America, where the current crisis in Venezuela threatens to roll back decades of progress. (June 2019)

Ms. Bachelet also said on Monday that the situation in Venezuela continues to take a devastating toll on the people of the country.

She warned Member States that developments were having what she called “destabilizing impacts” across Latin America, citing pending cases of prisoners in detention centers, a “rapidly” deteriorating economy, and increasingly scarce food and medicine.

The rights chief explained that this was the reason for her commitment to continue cooperating with the authorities there, in order to achieve “substantial changes”.

‘No time left to lose’ on climate action, says UN deputy chief

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed takes the stage with Indian Prime Minister, Modi, during a high-level segment on Climate Change at the gathering at the Conference of Parties (COP14) to UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Speaking to the Convention of Parties committed to combating desertification, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said land health “is central to combating climate change” and central to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 “In the next 40 years, demand for resources could double,” she told parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at its 14th summit session in India’s New Delhi. The current rate of land depletion could “bring about inequality and instability on a level we have never seen,” she added.

She called on the international community to build on existing efforts to restore nature; a movement able to unlock health benefits as much as economic potential. Previewing the upcoming Climate Summit set for 23 September, the UN deputy chief said she counted on leaders “to support the Summit with your plan to help keep global temperatures under 1. 5 degrees Celsius. We have no time left to lose.” Full remarks by the DSG here.

Dorian health response urgently needs $3.5 million: WHO

Fifteen-year-old Benson Etienne and his family escaped before their house collapsed in the hurricane-hit Marsh Harbour, in Abaco Island, Bahamas.

As efforts continue to help the people of the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian, the World Health Organization has issued a $3.5 million appeal to cover initial health care and other needs.

Latest data indicates that 73,000 people have been affected in the north-western islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, with 43 fatalities officially reported, linked to the Category 5 storm.

Immediate priorities include restoring access to essential health services, ensuring water quality in affected communities, and restoring decent hygiene and sanitation.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 9 September, on Soundcloud:



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