World faces worst humanitarian crisis since WWII: UN

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People walk inside the Muna Internally displace people camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria on December 1, 2016. (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo)
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In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 and released by the World Food Program (WFP), a WFP helicopter arrives with supplies of food and vegetable oil to be distributed to people in need of assistance in Thonyor, Leer County, one of the areas in which famine has been declared, in South Sudan. (George Fominyen/WFP, via AP)
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A Somali woman walks through a camp of people displaced from their homes elsewhere in the country by the drought, shortly after dawn in Qardho, Somalia on March 9, 2017. Somalia's government has declared the drought a national disaster, and the United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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In this photo provided by the , Stephen O'Brien, the UN's Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, addresses the Security Council at UN headquarters on March 10, 2017. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)
Updated 11 March 2017

World faces worst humanitarian crisis since WWII: UN

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations is warning that the world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, with more than 20 million people facing starvation and famine in four countries.
The world body’s humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien called Friday for an urgent mobilization of funds — $4.4 billion by July — for northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen to “avert a catastrophe.”
“Otherwise, many people will predictably die from hunger, livelihoods will be lost and political gains that have been hardwon over the last few years will be reversed,” O’Brien said in his stark warning to the UN Security Council.
“Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease. Children stunted and out of school. Livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost.”

Food assistance
During recent meetings, O’Brien said senior leaders in both parties agreed to provide continuous humanitarian access and respect international humanitarian law.
He noted that 4.9 million people received food assistance last month alone.
A total of $2.1 billion are needed to reach 12 million people with life-saving assistance and protection in Yemen this year, according to O’Brien, who noted that just six percent of those funds have been received so far.
He announced that a ministerial-level pledging event for Yemen will take place in Geneva on April 25, to be chaired by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

South Sudan's man-made famine
During his visit last week to South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, O’Brien said he found a situation that is “worse than it has ever been.”
“The famine in South Sudan is man-made,” he added.
“Parties to the conflict are parties to the famine — as are those not intervening to make the violence stop.”
He said more than 7.5 million people need assistance, an increase of 1.4 million fro last year. And some 3.4 million people are displaced, including nearly 200,000 who have fled South Sudan since January alone.
More than half the population of Somalia — 6.2 million people — need humanitarian assistance and protection, including 2.9 million at risk of famine.
Nearly one million children under the age of five will be “acutely malnourished” this year, according to the humanitarian chief, who also visited the country.
“What I saw and heard during my visit to Somalia was distressing — women and children walk for weeks in search of food and water,” O’Brien said.
“They have lost their livestock, water sources have dried up and they have nothing left to survive on. With everything lost, women, boys, girls and men now move to urban centers.”
In northeastern Nigeria, O’Brien said 10.7 million people need humanitarian aid, including 7.1 million people who are “severely food insecure.”
The humanitarian emergency afflicting the area was triggered by the Boko Haram insurgency, which erupted in Nigeria in 2009. Poor governance and climate change have also been powerful contributors to the crisis.
The conflict, which has left around 20,000 people dead and forced more than 2.6 million others to flee their homes, has aggravated an already difficult humanitarian situation in one of the poorest regions of the world.


6 dead after man opens fire in Czech hospital waiting room

Updated 10 December 2019

6 dead after man opens fire in Czech hospital waiting room

  • The attacker opened fire at people’s heads from close range
  • Police published a photo of the suspect, having withdrawn an earlier photo of a different man

PRAGUE: Six people were killed in a shooting in a hospital in the eastern Czech Republic Tuesday, the prime minister said. Police said the suspect is at large and described him as armed and dangerous.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Czech public television the shooting took place around 7 a.m. in a waiting room. The attacker opened fire at people’s heads from close range, Babis said.

He said he was heading for the site, at the University hospital in the eastern city of Ostrava, 350 kilometers (220 miles) east of Prague.

Police said the man left in a silver-grey Renault Laguna car and called on the public not to try to stop him.

Police published a photo of the suspect, having withdrawn an earlier photo of a different man. They said that man was now considered to be a witness.

Video footage and pictures published by public radio showed police arresting a person at the site but that person did not appear to be the shooting suspect.

Officials say people have been evacuated from the clinic. Police are boosting security across the country.