News in Brief 4 July 2017 (AM) – Geneva

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The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling for funds to help provide clean water and sanitation to vulnerable communities. Photo: UNICEF/HTIA2011-00113/Dormino

Cholera, diarrhoea present deadly risk to tens of thousands of children: UNICEF

Yemen is in the grip of the world's worst outbreak of cholera, but diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition are also endangering the lives of tens of thousands of children in South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan.

That warning from the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, comes amid ongoing violence and insecurity in all four countries, which have left communities close to famine and obstructed aid access.

UNICEF's Christophe Boulierac said that the combination of cholera and malnutruition was deadly:

"Because children whose immune systems are compromised by malnutrition are particularly vulnerable to these diarrhoeal diseases… You can cure a child of cholera but children will keep getting sick if they keep drinking dirty water, hence the need to do the most in the field of water sanitation."

In Somalia, 53,000 cases of cholera have been recorded.

That's 10 times more than in 2015.

Sudan has over 20,000 suspected cases of acute watery diarrhoea which has claimed more than 400 lives so far this year.

South Sudan, meanwhile, has identified nearly 6,900 suspected cholera sufferers, the highest figure since 2014.

UN human rights chief meets Chinese authorities over dissident Liu Xiaobo

The UN's human rights chief has met the Chinese authorities to discuss the situation of dissident activist Liu Xiaobo, his office said on Tuesday.

Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein's office indicated that he had sent a request last week after it was announced that Mr Xiaobo was terminally ill.

Liz Throssell is a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

"Last week, after the very sad news emerged that he is gravely ill with liver cancer, the High Commissioner sent a letter to the Government of China requesting a meeting to discuss the situation of Liu Xiaobo, and of his wife Liu Xia, and her access to him. That meeting took place on Friday, 30 June, and we are hoping to continue this dialogue over the coming days and weeks."

The development follows a statement from the Chinese government that Mr Xiaobo has been moved from prison to hospital after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

Mediterranean sea arrivals to Italy exceed 2016 figures for fifth month in a row – IOM

More than 100,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year and more than eight in 10 of them landed in Italy, the UN said on Tuesday.

The data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shows that except for January, more people have arrived in Italy every month this year than in 2016.

In one of the most recent tragedies involving migrants and refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, IOM reported that 80 survivors had been brought to the Italian port of Brindisi last Friday after their dinghy capsized with 140 people on board.

So far this year, some 2,250 have died trying to get to Europe by boat, the agency says.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2’50″

 

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