This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Half of Sudan’s most vulnerable children could die without humanitarian aid, warns UN
Half of Sudan’s most severely malnourished youngsters are expected to die without urgent humanitarian intervention, UN agencies said on Friday.
Spiralling recent problems in Sudan have their roots in a military coup in October 2021 that prompted a freeze in international funding for aid operations, and which has forced UN relief teams to cut rations in half, in some cases.
Here’s UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Sudan, Mandeep O’Brien:
“As we speak today, 650,000 kids are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. If not treated, half of them will die…We call upon the international community to stand in solidarity with the children of Sudan.”
Ongoing political uncertainty has also weakened State support structures for struggling families in Sudan, who have had to contend with dramatic food price hikes and intertribal violence, according to the UN World Food Programme.
It estimated that by the end of this month, up to 18 million people could go hungry every day, a rise of three million since the lean season started.
Canada braces for Hurricane Fiona after a week of lashing wind and rain in Caribbean
After lashing parts of Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands with 140 kilometre-an-hour winds, Hurricane Fiona is expected to make landfall in Canada late on Friday and Saturday.
The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that Fiona would hit as “a powerful hurricane-force cyclone”, (with) high winds, storm surges and heavy rainfall likely.
“Life-threatening surf and rip” currents in the next few days are also expected along much of the east coast of the United States, the Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada’s east coast.
At least five deaths have been attributed to the hurricane, which barrelled into Puerto Rico last Sunday. Aid agencies reported torrential rains and considerable damage including power outages, landslides, fallen trees and power lines that made roads impassable and caused a bridge to collapse.
From the UN weather agency WMO, here’s spokesperson Clare Nullis:
“(In) Puerto Rico, more than 40 per cent of the island was covered with 15 inches of rain, so that is 380 millimetres of rain…There was a maximum of 32 inches, which is 800 millimetres in 48 hours in some parts. I mean, these are just absolutely enormous quantities of rain.”
War crimes have been committed in Ukraine conflict: UN official inquiry
Almost seven months to the day since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UN-appointed independent human rights investigators said that war crimes have indeed been committed in the conflict.
The finding came in the first report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, which was set up in March this year, at the request of Human Rights Council Member States.
Much of the Commission’s work focused on investigations in the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy, where allegations of the most serious rights violations were made against Russian or Russian-backed forces, early in the war.
Commission chairperson Erik Møse said that investigators visited 27 towns and settlements and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses. They also inspected “sites of destruction, graves, places of detention and torture”, as well as remnants of weapons:
“Based on the evidence gathered so far during the Commission’s existence, we found out after having carried out the investigations in these four areas just mentioned, we found that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.”
That conclusion is in line with findings published earlier this year by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
It documented unlawful killings – including summary executions of civilians – in more than 30 settlements in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy, by Russian armed forces while they controlled these areas in late February and March.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.