GENEVA (Reuters) – Wars in Syria and Iraq, and instability in other hotspots are driving ever more people to seek asylum in wealthy nations, with requests on track to hit a 20-year high in 2014, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.
Some 330,700 people sought refugee status in 44 industrialized countries in the first half of the year, an almost 24 per cent rise on the same period in 2013, it said.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States and its allies must comply with the rules of war in carrying out air strikes on Islamist targets in Iraq and Syria, a senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday.
The humanitarian agency is the guardian of the Geneva Conventions that lay down the rules of war, primarily aimed at protecting civilians caught up in armed conflicts.
GENEVA (Reuters) – Liberia, the West African state hardest-hit by the worst Ebola outbreak in history, remains gravely short of foreign health care workers despite repeated pleas for help, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.
Efforts to tackle the Ebola outbreak, now six months old, have been too slow to stop the disease infecting more people than ever before and spreading from its origins in Guinea to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, killing over 2,800.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday it was making contingency plans in case all 400,000 inhabitants of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani fled into Turkey to escape advancing Islamic State militants.
Some 138,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees have entered southern Turkey in an exodus that began last week, and two border crossing points remain open, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
GENEVA, Sept 23 (Reuters) – The Ebola outbreak in West
Africa could infect 20,000 people as soon as early November
unless rigorous infection control measures are implemented, and
might “rumble on” for years in a holding pattern, researchers
said on Tuesday.
In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine,
experts from the World Health Organization and Imperial College
said that infections will continue climbing exponentially unless
patients are isolated, contacts traced and communities enlisted.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The killing in Guinea of eight people trying to educate locals about Ebola showed how much rural populations in West Africa mistrust authorities after years of instability and conflict, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Eight bodies were found after an attack on a team visiting remote southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday, showing the dangers faced by health workers fighting the deadly virus that is surrounded by suspicion and stigma.
GENEVA (Reuters) – A muscle relaxant appears to have been mixed mistakenly with measles vaccine, killing 15 children in Syria this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, calling it the biggest such tragedy in memory.
The WHO said it could not completely rule out sabotage, so the measles inoculation campaign remained suspended until the investigation was finished.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations will have to slash food rations to four million Syrians by 40 percent in October due to a shortage of funds, despite better access to areas in need, a senior U.N. aid official said on Wednesday.
John Ging, director of operations at the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in an interview that the “break in the pipeline” means greater hunger as a fourth winter of the Syrian civil war sets in.
GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations war crimes investigators for Syria cautioned world powers preparing military action against Islamic State fighters that the ‘laws of war’ would apply to them and they must do everything possible to protect civilian populations.
They said ISIS, which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria, had committed massacres of religious and ethnic groups and abused women. The government of President Bashar al-Assad, however, remained responsible for the majority of civilian casualties.
GENEVA (Reuters) – More than 700 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East may have drowned in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean over the last week, bringing the death toll this year to almost 3,000, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Monday.
In the worst incident, as many as 500 migrants are believed to have died after traffickers rammed their ship off Malta’s coast last week, an event that only came to light this weekend in testimony from two of nine survivors.