Diphtheria kills 48, infects more than 500 in Yemen – WHO

admin   •   January 10, 2018   •   3748

At least 514 people in Yemen are believed to have been infected with diphtheria, with the disease killing 48 of them since the outbreak began in mid-august, as reported by the World Health 0rganization (WHO) on Tuesday.

“We need to highlight that the age group that has been hit most is the young adults particularly the age group between five and 15 years of age and children under five years of age,” said Dr. Nevio Zagaria.

Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, is embroiled in a proxy war between the Houthi armed movement, allied with Iran, and a U.S.-backed military coalition headed by Saudi Arabia.

The United Nations calls Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 8 million people on the brink of famine and a failing health system.

WHO Representative Dr. Nevio Zagaria warned that the spread of diphtheria was significantly more dangerous than the already widespread cholera because of its higher fatality rate.

“Cholera is also a very serious disease. We expect a maximum of case fatality rate of below one percent of the [cholera] cases. But just to give a comparison of how much serious is the disease and more difficult to treat the disease. The expected case fatality rate of diphtheria is between five and 10 percent of the cases,” said Zagaria.

Almost 100 districts in Yemen have reported at least one diphtheria case with a heavy concentration in the province of Ibb, which reported approximately 50 percent of the total infections across the country. — Reuters

Relief supplies arrive in Nassau as recovery efforts begin

UNTV News   •   September 5, 2019

Survivors of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas on Wednesday (September 4) thronged rescue helicopters as the United Nations said 70,000 people needed immediate humanitarian relief after one of the most powerful Caribbean storms on record devastated the island group.

The most damaging storm to strike the island nation, Dorian killed at least 20 people, the Miami Herald reported, citing Bahamas Health Minister Duane Sands. But the toll was certain to rise as the scope of the destruction and the humanitarian crisis was still coming into focus with aerial video of the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas showing wide devastation.

A massive relief effort was underway with volunteers ferrying supplies to the islands in a flotilla of small boats.

As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

Food may be required for 14,500 people in the Abaco Islands and for 45,700 people in Grand Bahama, the U.N. World Food Programme said.

U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection personnel have airlifted 61 people from the northern Bahamas to the capital Nassau over two days, the U.S. Embassy said. (REUTERS)

Saudi-led airstrike on Yemeni prison kills at least 100

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2019

At least 100 prisoners of war were killed and about 50 others were injured when a Saudi-led coalition launched an airstrike overnight on a prison in Yemen’s central province of Dhamar, the Houthi-controlled health ministry said in a statement early Sunday morning.

According to the Houthis, the targeted prison housed about 170 people who had been captured while fighting alongside government forces. The prisoners were about to be released in a few days in a prisoner swap.

Rescue teams are still searching for possible survivors.

“At midnight, the roaring coalition warplanes awoke the residents in Dhamar. The warplanes flew past and dropped bombs directly at the college building, where 170 prisoners were in custody,” said Abbas Al-Amadi, undersecretary of Dhamar.

The college building was transformed into a prison by the Houthis after it was attacked by coalition airstrikes about half a year ago. The college was then transferred to the safety area.

Local authorities and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) are attending to the scene.

“The rescue work is still ongoing. What you are seeing now is the real disaster scene. It is a crime against humanity and this was just a shameless act,” added Al-Amadi.

Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military coalition against Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen for more than four years, in support of the internationally-recognized government of Hadi.

In Stockholm last December, Yemeni rival parties agreed to a United Nations (UN)-brokered deal of major prisoner swap and mutual troops withdrawal from the key lifeline Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, just days after the government forces advanced into the southern outskirts of the rebel-held port city. However, both sides have failed to implement the deal.

“The ICRC knows this place. They know that it is where the prisoners were held. People who carried out the airstrikes surely knew the situation here,” said Ahmed Abu Hamra, a member of the National Committee for Prisoners Affairs.

The Houthi-run al-Masirah television reported on its website that the targeted prison is located inside a complex of the Community College in the center of Dhamar and that the ICRC has visited it several times.

However, the Saudi-led coalition said its airstrikes overnight on Dhamar targeted a Houthi location for hostile air defense missiles and drone storages, Saudi-owned AL Arabiya television reported on Twitter.

Dhamar is about 100 kilometers south of the capital Sanaa. Both Dhamar and Sanaa, as well as several other northern provinces have been under Houthi’s control since late 2014 after they forced Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government into exile. (Reuters)

China opposes ‘unwelcome remarks’ from non-regional countries on SCS ruling

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 2, 2019

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang (File)

China has opposed the ‘unwelcome remarks’ of non-regional countries who are calling on the Asian powerhouse to respect the South China Sea ruling.

During a press conference on August 30, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that China’s position on the South China Sea remains clear and unchanged.

READ: Xi refuses to recognize Hague arbitral ruling

Geng also raised concerns that there are some non-regional countries who made unwelcome remarks and deliberately highlighted tensions in disregard of the efforts by regional countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

“China opposes that,” he said. “We urge those countries to look at the South China Sea issue objectively, stop making negative comments, and create an enabling environment for regional countries to properly handle maritime disputes and advance cooperation.”

The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson has assured that “the situation in the South China Sea remains stable and is improving.”

He said that China and the countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have made progress in the code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

“We, the regional countries, have the will, wisdom and capability to properly resolve the South China Sea issue and achieve long-term stability, development and prosperity in this region,” he said. — AAC

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