In Nepal, UN rushes to replace quake-damaged healthcare facilities ahead of monsoon

Following the second earthquake on 12 May 2015, many patients in hospitals and clinics in Nepal had to leave the building where they were treated. Some said they felt safer outside. Photo: WHO/A. Bhatiasevi

Following the second earthquake on 12 May 2015, many patients in hospitals and clinics in Nepal had to leave the building where they were treated. Some said they felt safer outside. Photo: WHO/A. Bhatiasevi

Nepal, 1 June 2015 – The United Nations health agency is racing critical medical supplies to fourteen of Nepal’s most earthquake-affected districts in an effort to restore health services before the onset of monsoon season.

In a press release issued earlier this morning, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed it will be distributing 50 medical camp kits, also known as MCKs, in collaboration with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population and the World Food Programme (WFP) as part of the UN’s continuing on-the-ground relief efforts aimed at patching up the country’s beleaguered healthcare networks. Continue reading

UN relief wing boosts emergency support to refugees fleeing Burundi crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and the DRC. Photo: UNHCR/F. Scoppa

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and the DRC. Photo: UNHCR/F. Scoppa

Burundi, 1 June 2015 – The new head of the United Nations relief arm today released a fresh tranche of crisis funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in order to support life-saving relief work for thousands of Burundian refugees dispersed between Rwanda and Tanzania, the Organization has announced.

Since early April, nearly 100,000 Burundians have fled across the borders, seeking safety in neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A cholera epidemic striking refugees gathered along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania has only added to the miseries of the unfolding humanitarian crisis. Continue reading

Ban condemns South Sudan’s decision to expel UN humanitarian coordinator

Deputy Special Representative in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Toby Lanzer. Photo: UNMISS/JC McIlwaine

Deputy Special Representative in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Toby Lanzer. Photo: UNMISS/JC McIlwaine

South Sudan, 1 June 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned the Government of South Sudan’s decision to expel his Deputy Special Representative and the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Toby Lanzer.

“The Secretary-General calls on the Government of South Sudan to reverse its decision immediately. He further urges the Government to cooperate fully with all United Nations entities present in South Sudan,” said a statement attributable to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson released today. Continue reading

In Burundi, UN Special Adviser urges all parties to engage in talks to calm tensions

Special Adviser Adama Dieng (left) with Burundian Minister of External relations and International Cooperation, Aime Alain Nyamitwe. Photo: UN

Special Adviser Adama Dieng (left) with Burundian Minister of External relations and International Cooperation, Aime Alain Nyamitwe. Photo: UN

Burundi, 31 May 2015 – At the conclusion of his two-day visit to Burundi, Adama Dieng, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, warned of increased tensions and the risk of further violence, unless all parties engage in open dialogue to resolve the crisis and calm tensions.

“He urged the Government to guarantee respect for human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression, noting that the absence of independent voices through non-State media was contributing to tensions,” said a statement released from Burundi’s capital of Bujumbura. Continue reading

On World No Tobacco Day, UN launches fight against illicit tobacco trade to save lives

Credit: WHO

Credit: WHO

Geneva, 31 May 2015 – The elimination of the world’s illicit tobacco trade will not only save millions of lives but also generate billions of dollars in windfall for governments, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced today as it marked the 2015 edition of World No Tobacco Day.

“On this World No Tobacco Day, I call for boosting the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to eradicate the illicit trade in cheaper tobacco products which tend to lure younger and poorer groups into addiction while depleting the ability of States to charge taxes that could support health services,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks today. Continue reading

In Burundi, UN Special Adviser urges all parties to engage in talks to calm tensions

WFP is working to assist tens of thousands of refugees from Burundi who have fled into neighbouring DRC, Rwanda and Tanzania to escape the ongoing political crisis. Photo: WFP

WFP is working to assist tens of thousands of refugees from Burundi who have fled into neighbouring DRC, Rwanda and Tanzania to escape the ongoing political crisis. Photo: WFP

Burundi, 31 May 2015 – At the conclusion of his two-day visit to Burundi, Adama Dieng, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, warned of increased tensions and the risk of further violence, unless all parties engage in open dialogue to resolve the crisis and calm tensions.

“He urged the Government to guarantee respect for human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression, noting that the absence of independent voices through non-State media was contributing to tensions,” said a statement released from Burundi’s capital of Bujumbura. Continue reading

UN rights chief urges inquiry into violations by international forces in Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has been suffering a devastating humanitarian crisis, with more than half of the population – 2.7 million people – needing aid. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Cortes

The Central African Republic has been suffering a devastating humanitarian crisis, with more than half of the population – 2.7 million people – needing aid. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Cortes

Central African Republic, 31 May 2015 – The United Nations human rights chief has urged several States to intensify their efforts to investigate long-standing allegations that soldiers in their forces sent to keep the peace in the Central African Republic (CAR) may have committed very serious violations, including killing of civilians and sexual exploitation of local women.

“These allegations were extremely disturbing,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said today in a statement released by his Office (OHCHR).
“People in CAR were desperate for protection.The role of international forces in halting the worst of the fighting and sectarian slaughter in CAR has been invaluable, and their presence has unquestionably saved many, many lives. Yet, in some cases the longed-for protectors turned into predators,” he added. Continue reading

UN envoy urges restraint among all Burundian parties; heads to region for weekend summit on crisis

Children at the Mahama camp in Rwanda, where 26,300 refugees from Burundi are now living. UNICEF is extremely concerned that children continue to be exposed to violence in Burundi. Photo: UNICEF/Mike Pflanz

Burundi, 29 May 2015 – The United Nations Special Envoy for Burundi today travelled to Tanzania where he hopes an East African community summit over the weekend will help reinforce dialogue among the Burundian parties amid concerns raised by UN agencies that the current political instability and violence puts children at risk and could lead to a humanitarian crisis.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that amid the ongoing crisis in Burundi, children are at risk, especially those who have been exposed to violent clashes and demonstrations along with the more than 60,000 refugees who had fled to neighbouring countries. Continue reading

Libya: UN envoy hopes new draft of political deal can be agreed within four weeks

: Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino León. Photo: UNSMIL

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino León. Photo: UNSMIL

Libya, 29 May 2015 – Libya is on the verge of economic collapse amid ongoing violence, political infighting and efforts by terrorists to “build strong bases” throughout the country, the envoy facilitating the United Nations efforts to restore peace there said as he briefed journalists on meetings held in Brussels discussing the situation in the North African country and efforts towards a political transition.

Speaking to the press yesterday, Bernardino León, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, said the UN is preparing a new draft political deal on the future of the country, which would be handed to parties in the first week of June. He expects the new draft to address the concerns of all parties, but made it clear that it was impossible to have a text that has 100 per cent of the wishes and ideas of everyone reflected. Continue reading

Ramping up northern Mali relief efforts, UN agency aims to assist thousands newly displaced by violence

A Malian woman with her children outside their makeshift shelter on the grounds of a former hotel in Mopti. Fighting forced them to flee their home in northern Mali. Photo: UNHCR/Helen Caux

A Malian woman with her children outside their makeshift shelter on the grounds of a former hotel in Mopti. Fighting forced them to flee their home in northern Mali. Photo: UNHCR/Helen Caux

Mali, 29 May 2015 – Across northern Mali, a flare-up in clashes between armed groups has spurred a renewed exodus of people fleeing the violence and their homes, the United Nations refugee agency said today, reporting difficulties in reaching the beleaguered populations with critical humanitarian aid.

“The volatile security situation is hindering access for humanitarian workers to all affected areas and the growing insecurity in the region is making the provision of protection and assistance to the newly-displaced very challenging,” William Spindler, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters today at a press briefing in Geneva. Continue reading