The famine in the Horn of Africa is getting worse, and unless there is “a massive increase in the response, the famine will spread to five or six more regions” in Somalia, Valerie Amos, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told reporters on Monday, Reuters reports. Amos said the U.N. needs an additional $1.4 billion to help those in need and that the African Union would soon hold a funding conference, the news agency notes (Charbonneau, 8/1).
U.N. agencies “are shying away from the politically volatile topic [of abortion], despite mounting evidence that restricted abortion access contributes to maternal deaths and constitutes a violation of a woman’s human rights,” Women’s eNews reports.
The WHO “is pleased to join the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and many other partners in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from 1 to 7 August 2011,” according to a statement from WHO Assistant Director-General Flavia Bustreo. “This year’s theme emphasizes the importance of communication and the fact that…
The “crisis in southern Somalia is expected to continue to worsen through 2011, with all areas of the south slipping into famine,” according to a U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report for countries sending aid to the region, Reuters reports.
“A UNICEF official says a cholera outbreak in Congo has killed 279 people and infected more than 4,000 others in the last four months,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (7/27). According to the VOA’s “Breaking News” blog, “[a] cholera outbreak has been declared in four provinces with northeastern Orientale province showing the most cases.” The WHO last week expressed concern that the disease could spread along the Congo River, according to the blog (7/27).
One year after the U.N. General Assembly “adopted a resolution declaring that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right,” top U.N. officials on Wednesday “stressed the need to realize the human right to water and sanitation, stating that it is critical not only to a life of dignity but also to achieving progress in the areas such as poverty reduction, boosting child health and combating diseases,” the U.N. News Centre reports (7/27). Nearly 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water, and more than one million children die each year because of diseases such as cholera that are transmitted by contaminated water, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C notes (Krafczyk, 7/27).
The WHO on Thursday marked the first-ever World Hepatitis Day, recognizing a disease that affects nearly one of every three people in the world, the U.N. News Centre reports (7/27). According to a WHO press release, 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A occur each year, two billion people are infected with a hepatitis virus, and at least 130 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C (7/28).
For the first time since the food crisis in the Horn of Africa began, a U.N. plane carrying 10 tons of food aid for children landed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Wednesday, “as aid groups warned of a growing influx of hungry families from the famine-hit south of the country,” Reuters reports (Sheikh, 7/27).
While the world focuses on the famine in East Africa, warnings about high child malnutrition rates in Niger appear “to have gone unnoticed by the international media,” AlertNet reports.
The U.N. on Tuesday said approximately 3.5 million Kenyans will need food aid by September due to drought, “while European officials warned such crises would flare up again unless more money was directed at prevention efforts,” Reuters reports (Obulutsa/Migiro, 7/26). VOA News examined how “food security experts are looking for lessons from severe droughts of the past, when worst case scenarios were avoided” (Colombant, 7/26).