News in Brief 26 September 2017 (AM)

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A boy leans against UNHCR tarpaulin, waiting to be distributed at Kutupalong refugee camp. © UNHCR/Paula Bronstein

"Control room" in Bangladesh will monitor Rohingya health needs: WHO

A new "control room" is being set up in the Bangladesh town of Cox's Bazar to monitor the health needs of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who've fled across the Myanmar border.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the move, which will provide early warning alerts in the event of disease outbreaks and allow better coordination between agencies on the ground.

WHO is providing critical medical supplies for most of the 38 mobile medical teams serving more than 430,000 mainly Muslim Rohingya, who are sheltering in makeshift camps.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is calling for a redoubling of the humanitarian response, and carried out its fourth humanitarian airlift of supplies on Tuesday.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has enrolled 460,000 people who will receive 25 kilogrammes of rice every two weeks for the next six months.

More than 200,000 have received high-energy biscuits, and WFP said it was especially concerned about the health of women and children still arriving, after fleeing violence at the hands of Myanmar government forces.

New violence "exacerbates" fragile humanitarian situation in western CAR

New outbreaks of violence have forced some 23,000 people to flee into the bush in the western part of the Central African Republic (CAR), worsening an already fragile humanitarian situation, said the UN country coordinator on Tuesday.

A spate of recent attacks against humanitarian workers has led to the temporary suspension of relief activities.

"Civilians continue to pay a very heavy price for clashes between armed groups," the Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR, Najat Rochdi stressed.

She said that while fleeing, the population is not only cut off from much-needed assistance, but is also more vulnerable to abuse and the destruction of property at the hands of militias.

To date, only one third of the required funding has been secured to adequately protect civilians in the CAR.

Ms Rochdi urged the international community not to abandon the country, where half the population is in need of life-saving assistance.

Broader vaccination needed to keep "lumpy skin disease" at bay, says FAO

A broader vaccination programme needs to get underway in order to prevent the spread of so-called "lumpy skin disease" in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

That's according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which warned on Tuesday that even countries that have not been affected so far should carry out risk-based vaccination programmes.

The disease is a cattle pox virus, transmitted by biting insects that can be deadly to animals, but not a risk to humans.

It used to be confined to Africa, but in 2013 it emerged in Turkey and quickly spread through nine nearby countries.

FAO said that around 200 outbreaks had been registered in Europe already, and it could have a "devastating" impact, especially on smallholdings.

The disease regularly leads to the death of around 15 per cent of affected herds, as well as a drop in milk production.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2′ 36″

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