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Feb 27, 2015

Decision on Ebola mass vaccination in August at earliest: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – An independent advisory body will decide in August at the earliest on whether to recommend widespread introduction of an Ebola vaccine, depending on results of clinical trials and the epidemic’s course, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

All three worst-hit countries in West Africa – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – aim to conduct phase III final-stage clinical trials of experimental vaccines.

Feb 24, 2015

Cholera feared in Syria due to dirty water, WHO warns

GENEVA (Reuters) – A cholera outbreak is feared in coming months in Syria, where other water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid are on the rise due to poor sanitation, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday.

Safe drinking water is available at about one-third of the level it was before the conflict erupted nearly five years ago, and supplies are cut-off to punish civilians at times, it said.

Feb 14, 2015

Mexico must probe thousands of ‘disappearances’: UN

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations watchdog called on Mexico on Friday to probe and prosecute alleged complicity of state forces in thousands of “disappearances”, including a notorious case of 43 students believed murdered last year.

Mexico’s delegation told the U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances at a review last week that 11,300 people were unaccounted for. Amnesty International said in a statement that more than 22,600 had gone missing in the past eight years amid “a huge problem of impunity”.

Feb 12, 2015

U.N. urges Europe to start major migrant rescue mission in Mediterranean

GENEVA (Reuters) – The European Union must establish a full search-and-rescue operation in the Mediterranean following the death this week of hundreds of migrants who were trying to reach Italy, the U.N. refugee chief said on Thursday.

More than 300 people are feared to have died off the Libyan coast after they set sail in inflatable dinghies in rough, wintry conditions.

Feb 10, 2015

Aid agencies see many more migrant deaths in Mediterranean

GENEVA/ROME, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Inadequate naval patrols
means ever more migrants from Africa and the Middle East will
die trying to cross the Mediterranean, aid agencies warned on
Tuesday, as Italy appealed for a “more vigorous” European
response to tackle the crisis.

In the latest tragedy involving migrants, 29 people died of
hypothermia on Monday on the exposed deck of a small Italian
naval vessel after it rescued them in rough seas from a dinghy
adrift near Libya. ID:nL5N0VJ3QV]

Feb 10, 2015

Europe must save lives of people fleeing war – aid agencies

GENEVA, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Inadequate European naval patrols
in the Mediterranean will lead to ever more deaths from an
increasing tide of desperate people fleeing wars in Africa and
the Middle East, aid agencies say.

Twenty-nine migrants died of hypothermia on Monday on the
exposed decks of a small Italian naval vessel, which had rescued
them in rough seas from a boat adrift near Libya. ID:nL5N0VJ3QV]

Feb 6, 2015

High rates of child deaths from Ebola, special care needed: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – Authorities fighting Ebola must do more to tackle a high death rate among young children whose isolation from parents also causes great distress and deprives them of the extra care they need, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Reporting on a meeting of clinicians from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, it said there was a consensus that the strict “no touch” policy for Ebola patients could be lifted if good measures are in place to protect health workers from infection.

Feb 5, 2015

Secret burials thwarting efforts to stamp out Ebola – U.N.

GENEVA, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Efforts to stamp out West Africa’s
Ebola epidemic are being thwarted by villagers touching and
washing the infectious bodies of dead victims at secret burials
and difficulty in tracing those exposed to the virus, U.N.
officials said on Thursday.

The number of new cases rose for the first time this year in
the past week, coinciding with a looming funding shortfall and
the approach of the rainy season that will hamper aid efforts
from April, they warned. [ID: nL6N0VE530]

Feb 4, 2015

Ebola cases on rise for first time this year, WHO says

GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of new cases of Ebola rose in all three of West Africa’s worst-hit countries last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, ending several weeks of encouraging declines across the region.

Suspicion of aid workers, especially in Guinea, and unsafe local practices were continuing to hamper efforts to halt the deadly virus, the United Nations agency said.

Feb 4, 2015

Islamic State selling, crucifying, burying children alive in Iraq – UN

GENEVA (Reuters) – Islamic State militants are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive, a United Nations watchdog said on Wednesday.

Iraqi boys aged under 18 are increasingly being used by the militant group as suicide bombers, bomb makers, informants or human shields to protect facilities against U.S.-led air strikes, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said.