Thérèse Gastaut, a former Spokeswoman for the United Nations in Geneva, passed away last night. She ably served the Organization for 37 years and held positions in the Department of Public Information in New York, Geneva and Brussels. Thérèse had the United Nations in her blood and in her heart.
Polio immunization campaigns have resumed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, months after COVID-19 left 50 million children without their polio vaccines, UNICEF said today. There is concern that up to 1 million children in Afghanistan could miss out as door-to-door vaccinations are not possible in some areas.
A flight carrying ventilators, protective masks and other essential medical supplies landed in Papua New Guinea today, marking the start of the World Food Programme’s humanitarian air service for the Pacific, which aims to help the region’s countries and territories bolster the Covid-19 pandemic response.
In Sudan’s Khartoum state — where food security has deteriorated due to inflation and economic decline — the World Food Programme (WFP) launched its first programme providing nutritional support to 175,000 pregnant and nursing women and children under five. Precautions are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In Zimbabwe, where 60 per cent of the population is projected to be food insecure by the end of 2020, the World Food Programme appealed for $250 million to prevent a human catastrophe. A nationwide COVID-19 lockdown has led to joblessness in urban areas, growing hunger in rural areas and hyperinflation that has made basic goods unaffordable.
A UNICEF research brief published today warns that at least 40 million children around the world have missed out on early childhood education in their critical pre-school year as COVID-19 shuttered childcare and early education facilities. Lockdowns also left parents struggling to balance childcare and paid employment.
Officials at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) say locust swarms linked to climate change remain a serious threat to food security in parts of East Africa, India and Pakistan. United Nations agencies are helping affected areas by providing data on weather, climate and the desert locust life cycle.
Severe flooding in Bangladesh is currently affecting some 1.4 million people, with United Nations agencies providing $5.2 million in early funding. In China, heavy rains have impacted more than 38 million people, while floods and landslides in Nepal have led to more than 100 deaths.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2020 Multidimensional Poverty Index reveals progress in tackling poverty before the onset of COVID-19, with 65 out of 75 countries showing significant reductions. However, experts warn the pandemic now threatens to set back development gains by up to 10 years.