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News in Brief 13 December 2022 |


This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Ukraine: HIV patients in war-hit Donbass need antivirals now: WHO

As the war grinds on in Ukraine, the UN health agency issued a fresh warning on Tuesday about the physical and mental toll on those living with the conflict.

The World Health Organization, (WHO), also confirmed that health services in Ukraine have continued to come under fire, with at least 715 confirmed attacks on medical facilities and workers, since the Russian invasion on 24 February.

In Geneva, WHO spokesperson Dr Margaret Harris also appealed for access to people with HIV in dangerous or inaccessible areas in the east of Ukraine:

“We’re very concerned about the large numbers of people with HIV; people in the Donetesk region particularly, who’ve not been able to receive their medication. We really need humanitarian corridors, we really need the opportunity, the chance to help the many, many people in need.”

The WHO’s Dr Harris explained that repeated attacks on Ukrainian power infrastructure have led to daily power cuts for many, and left people little choice but to burn what they can find to stay warm, often in cramped and unventilated spaces.

These fires are particularly harmful to the lungs of children and old people, said Dr Margaret Harris, who added that there has also been a “large rise” in respiratory illnessnes such as bronchiolitis and bronchitis.

A “big flu surge” is also underway, and there are concerns about diptheria and measles breaking out in large unvaccinated populations, the WHO spokesperson said.

Somalia: Famine narrowly averted – for now, warn UN humanitarians

In Somalia, a full-blown famine has been narrowly averted for now, but the hunger emergency has not gone away, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.

In an update on food insecurity in Somalia, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that famine had been avoided because host communities and relief teams had helped those in most need.

Despite their efforts, food insecurity remains “catastrophic”, OCHA said.

Worse still, needs between now and next June are expected to rise more than threefold, from 214,000 people, to 727,000, as drought, violence and displacement continue to threaten people’s lives and livelihoods.

From the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, spokesperson James Elder said that youngsters and the most vulnerable were already dying from hunger-related illness:

“Fatality numbers are difficult. I have anecdotally, sat with women who have showed me mounds next to their tents in a displacement camp where they have buried their two and three-year-olds. I have sat with women who made a decision who they left behind, which one of their children they did. So there is no doubt that large numbers of children have died.”

Global trade growth turns negative after record year: UNCTAD

Global trade is set to reach almost $32 trillion this year, but inflation has reversed some of the gains made in recent months.

That’s according to UN trade and development agency, UNCTAD, whose analysts said that global growth “turned negative” during the second half of 2022.

The UN agency said that trade in goods and services is expected to reach $25 trillion and $7 trillion respectively, by the end of the year.

The downturn began in the third quarter of the year, with goods trading about one per cent lower than from March to May.

UNCTAD said that although services actually increased by 1.3 per cent in the third quarter, both goods and services are expected to fall in value in the run-up to the end of the year.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.


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