News in Brief 27 March 2017 (PM)

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Commemoration Ceremony and Parade on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Health situation in East Ghouta "deteriorating" warns UN health agency

The deteriorating health situation in Syria's eastern Ghouta region in Rural Damascus, where more than 300 000 people are besieged, is a serious cause for concern.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning on Monday as well as a call for "uninterrupted humanitarian access" to deliver life-saving assistance in the region.

All three public hospitals and 17 public healthcare centres in East Ghouta are non-functioning and inaccessible to the population.

Thirty per cent of all patients with war-related injuries are children under 15 years of age.

Patients with chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular conditions and diabetes, are also of major concern due to treatment shortages.

"Time is running out for the people of East Ghouta. As health needs increase, available resources are being depleted day by day" said Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO Representative in Syria.

A measles outbreak has been reported in the area, and tuberculosis is spreading due to lack of medicines.

WHO also reminded parties to the conflict of their legal obligation to protect health workers and health facilities.

Close to 300,000 displaced by Iraqi offensive in Mosul: UN

An estimated 279,000 people are currently displaced as a result of the military operations in Mosul, Iraq, to dislodge ISIL extremists, also known as Daesh.

More than 198,000 of these are estimated to have been displaced from western Mosul since military operations in the western neighbourhoods began in late February.

ISIL occupied Iraq’s second city in mid-2014, and Iraqi forces together with allies, have liberated the east of the city, and many parts of the west.

Assistance continues for the displaced and those in newly retaken areas, wherever access allows.

Here's the UN deputy spokesperson, Farhan Haq.

"Trauma care capacity for patients from western Mosul has been further strengthened with the establishment of two new field hospitals at Adhba and Hamam al Alil, south of Mosul. Five trauma stabilisation points and four field hospitals to the south and east of Mosul are now receiving patients from Mosul."

Anti-Balaka attacks on the rise in the Central African Republic (CAR)

Tensions persist in Bria, the capital of Haute-Kotto prefecture, in the Central African Republic (CAR), following an intervention on Friday by peacekeepers to stop an attack by a rebel faction, the UN stabilization mission in the country (MINUSCA) reports.

Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013.

The UN soldiers were trying to protect civilians against anti-Balaka attacks in the Gobolo neighbourhood.

One anti-Balaka combatant was killed, two were wounded and nine others were captured along with weapons.

On Sunday, anti-Balaka elements reportedly started shooting near the Bria airport in an effort to release the captured combatants from being transferred to the capital city, Bangui.

A forceful response from peacekeepers thwarted the attack.

Meanwhile, in Ouaka Prefecture, clashes were reported between the FPRC and the UPC in south of Ippy over the weekend.

The two majority Muslim groups are vying for control of the area including Haute-Kotto.

Jocelyne Sambira

Duration: 3’47”

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