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U.N. Officials Highlight Concern About Humanitarian Situation In East Africa

“U.N. officials sounded the alarm Tuesday about a deepening crisis in East Africa, saying they are struggling to cope with the number of people on the move in the region because of the severe drought and continued fighting in Somalia,” the Associated Press reports. “World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran said the drought has left millions hungry, farmers at risk of losing their livelihoods and the lives of hundreds of thousands of children at risk,” the AP writes (7/12).

Type-3 Poliovirus Case In Pakistan Raises Concerns Disease May Spread, WHO Says

Pakistan has reported the first case of the type-3 wild poliovirus in six months, raising concerns that the disease may spread to other parts of Asia and beyond, the WHO said on Thursday, Bloomberg/San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Confirmation of continuation of WPV3 transmission in tribal areas of Pakistan has significant implications for the global effort to eradicate WPV3, particularly as Asia is on the verge of eliminating circulation of this strain,” the WHO said on its website.

U.N. FAO, WFP, Oxfam Launch Joint Appeal For Horn Of Africa Drought Aid

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and Oxfam issued a joint appeal on Friday asking the international community to provide the “political, moral and financial means” necessary to fight the severe drought affecting more than 10 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, the Associated Press reports (7/8).

UNFPA Launches 7 Billion Actions Campaign

The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday, World Population Day, launched the 7 Billion Actions campaign to “promote dialogue on what it means to live in a world with so many people and encourage action on issues that affect us all. UNFPA offices and their partners throughout the world will…

More Action To Fight Tobacco Use Needed Worldwide, WHO Report Says

Laws that require graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging impact more than one billion people in 19 countries, but more needs to be done to cut smoking rates worldwide, the WHO said Thursday in its third report on the global tobacco epidemic, Reuters reports (Kelland, 7/7).

U.N. Set To Highlight Challenges Of Growing Global Population

With the global population expected to reach seven billion by October this year, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin told Inter Press Service that “seven billion represents a challenge, an opportunity and a call to action.”

U.N. Report Shows Significant Progress Toward Reaching MDGs, But Mixed Results In Some Areas

Significant progress is being made toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline, but the poorest countries are not progressing as quickly and more must be done to improve health and development outcomes in those nations, according to this year’s MDG report (.pdf), VOA News reports. “Despite the global economic downturn and the food and energy crises, we are on track to meet the MDG targets for poverty-reduction,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report on Thursday in Geneva (Schlein, 7/7).

UNHCR Says African Drought Threatens ‘Human Tragedy Of Unimaginable Proportions’

High rates of malnutrition in the Horn of Africa, combined with violence in Somali, “are threatening ‘a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions,’ the UNHCR warned” on Wednesday, the AFP/Daily Telegraph/Vancouver Sun reports. More than 12 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda have been hit by severe drought and rising food prices, forcing thousands to leave their homes and seek assistance in already-overflowing refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, the newspaper notes (Flood, 7/7).

EU To Provide $14.5M For Emergency Food Aid To North Korea

“Responding to the growing threat of a humanitarian crisis in North Korea, the European Union announced on Monday that it will provide about $14.5 million in emergency aid to feed more than some 650,000 North Koreans,” the New York Times reports (Castle/McDonald, 7/4).