World News Digest: April 24, 2013

New York, N.Y. Thousands of Kenyans Need Aid Urgently Following Flood

Doctors Without Borders reports that thousands of Kenyans urgently need food, shelter, clean water and medical services following weeks of flooding in the Tana River Delta region.  The global medical humanitarian organization says flooding has destroyed latrines, contaminated water sources and left nearly 7,000 people without access to health care.

 © World Food Program

“We are concerned about the threat of waterborne and vector-borne disease outbreaks, which are common in situations of flooding,” said Martha Kihara, the organization’s deputy medical coordinator in Kenya. “We are monitoring the situation so that we can detect and mitigate any disease outbreaks in a timely manner.”


Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto told Agence France-Presse that flood waters have claimed many lives over the past month.


“As at now, 63 people have been killed,” AFP quoted Ruto in its April 18 report. “The government has directed the military to urgently evacuate people marooned by floods.”


Doctors Without Borders is one of the relief agencies on the ground providing assistance. In a span of two weeks, the organization has treated about 700 displaced people in Bura for diseases including upper respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and parasitic diseases.




UN official calls for end to abuses and disorder in Central African Republic


The United Nation’s top political affairs officer called attention to humanitarian and security problems in the Central African Republic (CAR) on April 22 during a recent visit. He urged the international community to pressure the new regime to return to constitutional rule.


“Foremost at this time is the urgent need to establish law and order throughout the country and to protect civilians from abuse,” said Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N. under-secretary-general for political affairs.


He continued: “There must be a stop to the killing, the looting, the attacks on civilian population, the violations of human rights and the violent confrontations targeting segments of the population.”


This comes less than two weeks after the United Nations reported a deteriorating humanitarian situation in one of Africa’s poorest nations. Massive unrest and displacement followed a military conflict in which armed insurgents seized power.


The United Nations estimates that the conflict has affected more than 4 million people, about half of them children. This has caused more than 37,000 people to flee the country since the beginning of the year.


According to news reports, the country’s acting parliament elected Michael Djotodia, the rebel leader, president on Saturday. African heads of state and Western powers have refused to recognize Djotodia as the legitimate leader since he overthrew President Francois Bozize in March.


“Those who have seized power must shoulder their responsibilities and control those elements under their command,” Feltman urged.




  © UN


U.N. Population and Development Agency begins Weeklong Conference on Migration


A five-day conference on migration began on April 22 at U.N. headquarters in New York. The United Nations Commission on Population and Development began the session with a call for the international community to seize the opportunities for social and economic growth from global migration.


According to the International Organization for Migration, millions migrate without proper authorization each year. Consequently, criminal smuggling networks often exploit them. Migrants also encounter difficult conditions and intolerance in their country of destination.


“Migration is often a hot-button issue,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged. “But it is a fact of life in our globalizing world.”


Ban stated that the question the conference must address is not how to halt migration but how to plan effectively for the movement of people across borders.


The global total of international migrants has increased to 214 million in 2010 from 155 million in 1990. According to the most recent U.N. report, internal migration outpaces cross border movement.




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Nigel Roberts
Nigel Roberts is the Communications Committee Chair of the J. Luce Foundation. He's also a communications consultant and freelance writer. His clients have included (now retired) U.S. Congressman Ed Towns.

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