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UN Updates: October 29, 2014
*Keywords: SG=Secretary-General, DSG=Deputy Secretary-General
Ebola: In Accra, Ghana, the Head of the UNMEER, Tony Banbury, held a joint press conference today with the US Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Samantha Power. Mr. Banbury said that there has been a â€śvery significantâ€ť mobilization of international personnel, resources and capabilities to work side-by-side with the governments, and that those efforts are starting to pay off. However, he stressed that the crisis remains â€śvery seriousâ€ť, with continuous needs to build more beds, get more foreign medical teams in place, build more community care centres, and have more safe burial teams and more community mobilization. Ambassador Power said that once she returns to the US, she will â€śobey the law and whatever requirements are set in placeâ€ť to contain the possible spread of the disease to the US, and that she regularly had her temperature taken during her travels.
Meanwhile, the spread of Ebola in Liberia may be slowing, as demonstrated in the decline in burials and sickbed occupancy rates, as well as a plateau in lab-reported new cases in the West African country hardest hit by the virus, the WHO reported today, while cautioning against drawing premature conclusions.
SG: The SG visited Mogadishu in Somalia today along with the Presidents of the World Bank and of the Islamic Development Bank as well as representatives of the African Development Bank, the AU and the EU. He met with the President of Somalia, the Prime Minister as well as the Speaker of Parliament. Speaking to reporters, the Secretary-General said that many indicators are â€śfinally pointing in the right directionâ€ť and urged Somaliaâ€™s leaders to remain united, adding that Somalia needs continuity and stability at this critical time. The SG then also made a visit to Dadaab, Kenya, to the Ifo 2 refugee camp, which hosts a large number of Somali refugees. Now, the SG is in Djibouti, where he met with President Omar Guelleh.
Darfur: Today, the SG stated that a review conducted into recent allegations that the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) intentionally sought to cover up crimes against civilians and peacekeepers did not find any evidence to support these allegations. However, it did find a tendency that UNAMID under-reported unless it was absolutely certain of the facts. The Review Team also found that the Mission took an â€śunduly conservative approachâ€ť to the media, maintaining silence when it could have developed a press line, even in the absence of all the facts. The SG said he is â€śdeeply troubledâ€ť by these findings and that he will take â€śall necessary stepsâ€ť to ensure full and accurate reporting by UNAMID.
Ukraine: In a statement, the SG said that he â€śdeploresâ€ť the planned holding by armed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine of their own â€śelectionsâ€ť on November 2nd, in breach of the constitution and national law. He added that these "elections" will undermine the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, which need to be urgently implemented in full. The SG further reiterated the fundamental importance of restoring stability and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Cholera: In Niger, more than 1,400 cholera cases and 53 deaths have been registered since the beginning of this year, according to Government figures. Almost half of the cases were declared in September. The Ministry of Public Health, supported by humanitarian partners, is providing assistance in affected areas as well as to communities at risk. OCHA says that the situation in the south-eastern region of Diffa is particularly concerning, mostly due to limited access to water, inappropriate hygiene practices and increase in refugees arriving from Nigeria, where there has been a cholera outbreak. The Nigerien authorities estimate that since May 2013, 105,000 people from northern Nigeria have fled into Niger.
South Sudan: UNMISS reported today continued heavy fighting in Unity State between Sudan Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition combatants in the vicinity of its compound in Bentiu and nearby Rubkona. UNMISS expressed its grave concern that hostilities continue in violation of the January 23 Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities and the May 9 Agreement between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, and further demanded that all parties respect the inviolability of all UN assets and premises, including its protection of civilians sites.
CAR: FAO and the WFP warned today of significant declines in agricultural production in the Central African Republic. According to a new assessment, agriculture, the backbone of the economy, has contracted by 46 percent, compared to pre-crisis levels, due to widespread looting and insecurity. Livestock numbers are estimated to be down by as much as 77 percent, due to frequent raids and cattle-rustling, while the fish supply declined by about 40 percent.
China: The USG for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, is beginning a three-day visit to China today. She will meet senior Government officials, representatives of civil society and UN staff to discuss how to strengthen partnership with China on global humanitarian issues. Her visit will also provide key opportunities to learn from Chinaâ€™s experiences and expertise in disaster management in the region, as well as to engage with university students and philanthropists on humanitarian action.