News in Brief 08 August 2017 – Geneva (AM)

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The UN’s Lise Grande said that the worst case scenario for displacement from Mosul was 700,000 people; in fact, 900,000 fled the city. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

Recovery in Iraq’s Mosul is a “tale of two cities” says top UN country coordinator

Whole neighbourhoods of Western Mosul have been destroyed and nearly a quarter of a million people have nowhere to return home  "anytime soon", a top UN humanitarian official said on Tuesday.

Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, made the announcement while providing an update on the situation in the Iraqi city, until recently an ISIL stronghold.

The contrast between the east and the west of the city could not be clearer, she told journalists:

"Everyone's gone home to Eastern Mosul except for 20,000 people. The situation is very different in Western Mosul. Mosul's really a tale of two cities. Eastern Mosul is a city that's recovering, people are home, schools are open, businesses are open, markets are open. Conditions aren't great but it's a city on the mend. It's completely different in Western Mosul…In the 15 completely destroyed neighbourhoods, there are 230,000 civilians who come from those districts who are not coming home anytime soon."

South Sudan cholera outbreak "only going to get worse", warns IOM

South Sudan's deadly cholera epidemic is expected to worsen as the rainy season continues, the UN said on Tuesday.

The warning from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) comes amid a humanitarian crisis caused by years of conflict and mass displacement that has affected millions of people.

More than 18,000 cholera cases have been recorded and nearly 330 people have died in the latest outbreak since mid-June.

Sixty per cent of the country is now inaccessible because of the rains, IOM spokesperson Olivia Headon told journalists in Geneva:

"Locations close to the Nile river are the worst hit and as we've seen that the cholera outbreak has continued during the dry season, we only know that it is going to get worse during the wet season."

IOM says that a rapid response is critical to stemming the outbreak which has affected the war-torn country for more than a year.

Appeal to Honduras to end violence against LGBTI defenders

Honduras should do more to stop attacks against activists seeking to defend sexual minorities in the country, senior UN human rights experts said on Tuesday.

Their call follows the attempted murder of Osmin David Valle Castillo – a prominent human rights defender of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

The attack – in which Mr Castillo received multiple stab wounds – came after he requested protection for his organization, which has faced intimidation and threats in the Central American state.

In a joint appeal, the UN experts said they were "deeply concerned" by the level of violence against LGBTI rights defenders.

They welcomed the investigation into the attack and added that a "prompt, thorough and impartial investigation" was key to curbing violence and fighting impunity.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2'46"


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