Since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was officially declared on 22 March in Guinea, it has claimed 5,420 lives in the region. The outbreak is the largest ever, and is currently affecting four countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali. One person in Spain and three people in the USA have recovered; one person in the USA has died. Outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal have been declared over. A separate outbreak in DRC has also ended.
Dear Palais journalists
Following requests from several journalists, please find below my notes on the WHO preparedness missions to support countries get prepared to respond to any Ebola outbreak.
Given the evolving Ebola Virus situation, there is a risk of cases appearing in currently unaffected countries. With adequate levels of preparation however, such introductions can be contained before they develop into large outbreaks.
On 24 August, WHO was notified by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Jeera County, Equateur Province. This outbreak, which is unrelated to that affecting West Africa, caused a total of 66 cases of EVD including 8 among health care workers.
(Pweto, northern Katanga, 20 November 2014): Three years after a cycle of violence started displacing and affecting the livelihoods of over half a million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga Province, there is an urgent need for greater attention on its humanitarian crisis, the United Nations’ top humanitarian official said today.
Province Orientale: Raids and ambushes by suspected FRPI militia in South Irumu continue. In addition to extortion and looting house-hold goods, more than 100 rapes and 25 killings have been reported during the last 2 months. About 80,000 people are still in pendular displacement in the area. Government announcements of the surrender of a FPRI leader and his militia has led to hopes for an end to the violence and a demobilization in November. UNICEF is preparing to receive a large number of children as a part of this demobilization process.
In collaboration with the Congolese mining cadastre (CAMI), mining service SAESSCAM and representatives from local civil society organisations, IPIS organised a series of field visits to monitor artisanal mining activities and the involvement of armed groups and criminal networks in mineral exploitation and trade. This resulted in the publication of an interactive web map providing information on e.g. the on-site presence of armed groups and criminal elements within the Congolese army (FARDC) and their activities, as well as indicators of the relative importance of the mining site.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Overall favourable vegetation conditions for the 2014 crops despite below-average rainfall in some areas
Inflation increased in 2014 but still very low compared to recent years
Civil conflict and recent floods in eastern and southern parts affect food security
Good prospects for 2014 crops despite below-average rainfall in some areas
Child protection is about keeping children safe from violence, exploitation and abuse. It is an issue in all countries, including here in Canada. Here we have strict laws, social services and specialist charities that are all in place to prevent and respond to child protection violations. Widespread child protection crises are thankfully relatively rare here.
Over the past couple of months mVAM project has grown, and fast. The catalyst has been the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak.
The training room at the MONUSCO headquarters was used as the venue for the awareness-raising session organised on 14 November 2014 by the UN Mission’s Police component (UNPOL)/Kalemie for some twenty female officers of the Congolese National Police (PNC).
Facilitated by the UNPOL Sexual Violence and Child Protection focal Points, this meeting aimed to inform the participants about the procedures and rules in force for the fight against sexual violence and child protection in armed conflict.
To that purpose, several presentations were provided, including on:
The Béni area of northern North Kivu province has endured several years of violence in connection with the conflict between Ugandan armed group the Allied Democratic Forces and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The impact on local inhabitants has been huge, with abductions, murders, attacks and displacement being frequent occurrences. Arnaud Meffre, head of the ICRC office in Béni describes the recent resurgence of violence and stresses the need to respect and protect human life.
The security situation in the Central African Republic remains highly volatile, with persisting violence including looting, mob violence and banditry. This consequently increases the vulnerability and needs of the people affected. Over 105 humanitarian organisations operating in CAR continue to provide immediate life-saving, multi-sectoral assistance to the estimated 2.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance including over 428,172 displaced people.
On 13 November, the Director-General of WHO accepted the recommendation of an International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee of Experts on polio that the international spread of polio continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the IHR, and extended the existing Temporary Recommendations to prevent the international spread of polio for countries affected by the disease for another 3 months.
20 November 2014 – Twenty-five years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Child Soldiers International and the Jesuit Refugee Service remain concerned by widespread abuses committed against children by armed forces and armed groups. Although significant progress has been made to protect children from armed conflict in the DRC, there is still a long way to go to prevent the recruitment of children, improve assistance to former child soldiers, and end impunity.
A total of 15 145 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in six affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States of America) and two previously affected countries (Nigeria and Senegal) up to the end of 16 November. There have been 5420 reported deaths. Cases and deaths continue to be under-reported in this outbreak.
MICHEL KAFANDO CHOSEN AS INTERIM PRESIDENT
On 18 November, Michel Kafando, was sworn in as Burkina Faso’s interim President. In compliance to the Charter of the Transition signed on 16 November, Mr. Kafando, a former Foreign Minister and diplomat has been chosen to oversee a one-year transition back to civilian rule in Burkina Faso.
A short period of increased rains helped to relieve many anomalously dry areas in the Greater Horn.
Strengthening moisture deficits continue throughout parts of northern Angola and eastern Zambia.
1) Low and poorly distributed seasonal “Deyr” rains have led to strengthening moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions throughout several local areas in southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, and coastal Tanzania. The persistence of drier than average rainfall in November is likely to negatively affect crop and pastoral areas in the region.
Marking Universal Children's Day, 20 November, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor Victim Assistance Team releases a fact sheet on ‘The Impact of Mines/ERW on Children’.
The factsheet, The Impact of Mines/ERW on Children, produced annually since 2009, provides an update on casualty data and assistance to child survivors in 2013.