News in Brief 19 October 2017 (PM)

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The United Nations flag flies at UN Headquarters in New York. (file) UN Photo/Mark Garten

Drop in UN civilian casualty numbers

Casualties among UN civilian staff have fallen to their lowest levels in five years.

That information can be found in a report by the UN Secretary-General which analyses global security and security incidents involving personnel and premises in 2016 and the first half of this year.

It was presented to the General Assembly on Thursday.

Stéphane Dujarric is the UN Spokesperson:

"Despite the increasingly complex security environment and a rise in direct attacks on the United Nations, the number of casualties among UN civilian personnel has fallen to the lowest levels in the last five years.    Direct attacks against UN premises rose to 56 in 2016 compared to 35 in 2015, making 2016 the worst year on record for these attacks.  A total of 28 United Nations personnel lost their lives in 2016 and the first half of 2017 in acts of violence and safety-related incidents."

Plague cases double in Madagascar

The number of cases of plague in Madagascar has doubled over the past five days, UN humanitarian agencies reported on Thursday.

Overall, there are 1,032 cases, the majority of which—67 per cent—are of pneumonic plague.

So far, there have been 89 deaths, 13 of which occurred on Tuesday.

Once again, UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric

"The Country Team has stepped up its efforts to overcome some of the challenges of this escalation by strengthening the system of identifying contacts, monitoring the number of patients at hospitals, transportation of samples and addressing the transmission risks of traditional burial practices. The medical experts project that the situation will continue to deteriorate, with 1,000 cases per month expected if the response is not rapidly funded. The joint Operational Response Plan, is asking for US$9.5 million, and that is only 26 per cent funded."

Urban transition could drive African industrial development: UN report

Rapid urbanization in Africa can help spur industrial development, according to a UN report launched in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, on Thursday.

By 2035, half of the continent's population will be living in cities which will pose challenges to infrastructure and service delivery, but the authors believe this shift can also drive industrialization.

Giovanie Biha is the Deputy Executive Secretary at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), which has published the report.

"Urban demand could be a big driver for industrial development. Why? Because as people and cities are growing, there is a middle class that is also growing and with that middle class, the pattern of consumption are also changing.  So there are opportunities in terms agro-industry, in terms of housing, in terms of infrastructure, and those are opportunities for industrialization."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’02″

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