News in Brief 8 May 2017 (AM)

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Syrian refugees are rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by crew of the Italian ship, Grecale, March 2014. © UNHCR/Alfredo D'Amato

Rescue at sea more crucial than ever, urges UN Refugee Agency

An estimated 43,000 refugees and migrants from North Africa have arrived in Europe by sea this year, the UN Refugee Agency, UNCHR, has found.

On Friday alone, the agency saw over 6,000 people crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy.

The Central Mediterranean route, by far the most frequently used by asylum seekers and migrants, has proven to be particularly deadly with more than 1,150 recorded deaths or disappearances, UNHCR said.

Since the beginning of 2017, one person out of 35 has died on the sea journey from Libya to Italy.

And over the past four days alone, 75 people have lost their lives, highlighting the importance of carrying out rescue operations along the dangerous route.

According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, rescuing people along the Mediterranean is "a matter of life or death which appeals to our most basic sense of humanity and should not be called into question."

He praised the "tireless and remarkable efforts" of the Italian Coast Guard in coordination with Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, and of Non-Governmental Organizations or NGOs.

UN relief official appeals for "unimpeded access" to Yemen

War-torn Yemen urgently needs humanitarian funds as well as unrestricted access to people in need across the country.

The appeal, issued by a senior United Nations relief official on Sunday, was aimed at "all the parties in conflict."

In the statement, Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, said that "unimpeded access to those in need would be a strong demonstration by the warring parties of their concern for the Yemeni people."

Administrative delays at ports, checkpoints, and interference with aid delivery have hampered efforts to transport medicine and medical supplies to people in need in a timely manner, Mr McGoldrick said.

Access to those in need is all the more important now given the current threat of famine and outbreaks of cholera in locations throughout the country.

Some 17 million Yemenis are battling food insecurity, making it the largest "hunger crisis" in the world.

Mr McGoldrick also stressed the need for additional resources and called on the international community to fund the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan.

Heart disease patients to get better medical care using nuclear technology

Patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases worldwide are expected to get better medical care through a partnership by the UN nuclear agency watchdog, the IAEA, and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC).

The two parties signed an agreement on Monday, promising to step up training of health professionals in low- and middle- income countries in using nuclear techniques to diagnose and assess the extent of heart disease in patients.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases kill more than 17.5 million people annually, accounting for 31 per cent of global deaths.

Low- and middle-income countries face the highest burden, with more than 75 per cent of these deaths.

The epidemic proportions go hand-in-hand with an upsurge in risk factors, including obesity, low physical activity and poor diet.

For over three decades, the IAEA has worked to support countries in developing capacity in the field of nuclear cardiology.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’19″

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UN Radio Daily News Programme
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