Posted by: APO | 14 November 2007


13 November 2007




The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General


Good afternoon.


**Press Conferences



Following that, at around 1 p.m., there will be a press conference by Joaquim Chissano, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army.  He’s briefing the Security Council now, and he will join you here afterwards.


**Security Council




And this morning, as I just mentioned, the Security Council heard a briefing from Mr. Chissano, who discussed the recent talks between LRA and the Government of Uganda.


Also in this morning’s consultations, the Security Council members discussed the recent report of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.



** Democratic Republic of the Congo


Turning to the Democratic Republic of the 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 their 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 some 570,000 people.  The agency says that nearly 600 cases of cholera were reported in the camps in the past month. 




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.


And there’s more on that upstairs.





The UN 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 agencies warn, however, that continued support is needed to maintain the progress made so far.


And there’s more information in a press release upstairs.


**Food and Agriculture Organization/Sudan


And on Sudan, 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.


And there’s more information on that.


**UN University Event


There is a UN University event today, entitled “The African Food System and Its Interactions with Health and Nutrition”, taking place today at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library penthouse.  There is more information on this symposium available upstairs, that’s UNU and Cornell Symposium.



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