Posted by: APO | 13 November 2007

UN – HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

                                                                                    

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

U.N. IS CONCERNED ABOUT RENEWED DISPLACEMENTS IN DR CONGO

  • The UN Refugee Agency is gravely concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of Congolese civilians who this morning fled in a panic caused by the resumption of gun battles between the Army and unidentified rebel forces. The previously uprooted masses were housed at five UN-run camps for the displaced in the region around Goma, the main town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province.
     
  • The camps were apparently not directly targeted but the crackling of gunfire sent most of its residents fleeing up the wooded hills nearby. The Refugee Agency estimates that 30,000 of the camps’ residents have abandoned the premises.
     
  • Today’s incidents come at a time when UN humanitarian agencies had stepped up their joint efforts to curb the spread of cholera in the camps. UNICEF, which has increased chlorination to provide safe water, is now concerned that without preventive action, the displacement could spread cholera to Goma, a city of 570,000 people. The agency says that nearly 600 cases of cholera were reported in the camps in the past month. 

 REFUGEE AGENCY BROKERS DEAL FOR RETURN OF MAURITANIAN REFUGEES

  • The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the governments of Mauritania and Senegal have signed a tripartite agreement in Nouakchott that clears the way for the repatriation to Mauritania of some 24,000 refugees who fled their country in the late 1980s.
     
  • Repatriation is expected to start in December, and UNHCR has appealed for $7 million to fund it. The appeal was made in August, but so far only $1.5 million has been donated.

SUBSTANTIAL GAINS MADE IN FIGHTING MALNUTRITION
 IN KENYAN REFUGEE CAMPS

  • The U.N. Refugee Agency, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme are praising international efforts that helped turn around a devastating malnutrition crisis in refugee camps in Northern Kenya. 
     
  • Surveys show a substantial decline in malnutrition rates among children under the age of five at camps in Dadaab and Kakuma.
     
  • The gains are the result of a more regular supply of culturally acceptable foods, the agencies say.  Also, the provision of firewood, energy-saving cooking stoves and soap has meant that refugees don’t have to sell their food to buy these basic items.
     
  • The agencies warn, however, that continued support is needed to maintain the progress made so far.

 SUDAN IS EXPERIENCING OUTBREAKS OF LOCUSTS AND RIFT VALLEY FEVER

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has sent an animal health expert to help advise the Government on prevention and security measures in the wake of an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever.  The disease, which is transmitted from mosquitoes to both humans and livestock, has so far killed more than 80 people in White Nile State.
     
  • Meanwhile, FAO is also warning about an outbreak of desert locusts that began last month in Northern Sudan.  FAO is concerned that breeding of the migratory grasshoppers could intensify on both sides of the Red Sea this winter.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HEAD OF U.N. DRUG AND CRIME AGENCY PRAISES NIGERIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS:  The head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, on a visit to Nigeria today, praised that country’s efforts in fighting corruption.  He called the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission the “most effective anti-corruption agency in Africa” and urged the Nigerian Government to provide it with the necessary resources and independence to carry out its work.  He also urged Nigerian authorities to do more to crack down on cyber-crime originating in the country, strengthen the accountability of public officials and prevent money-laundering. 


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