Monkeypox, Ukraine and famine, displaced… Thursday’s news


Confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK are of the less severe variant

The confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK are of the less severe West African variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, expecting more cases to appear in more countries.

There are two variants of the monkeypox virus: West African and Congo Basin (Central Africa). It has been documented that the fatality rate of the West African variant is around 1%, while that of the Congo Basin can reach 10%.

Based on the information currently available, the infection appears to have been acquired locally in the UK. The extent of local transmission is unclear at this time and there is potential to identify more cases.

WHO recommends no restrictions on travel to the UK nor to trade with this country, and continues to closely monitor the rapidly evolving situation.

The Organization hopes that more cases will appear in more countries. At the moment, Spain, Portugal and the United States have confirmed cases and they are being investigated in Canada, Italy and Sweden.

The disease is spread by exposure to fluids such as saliva and by contact with infected skin lesions or contaminated materials.

Historically, the smallpox vaccine has been shown to protect against monkeypox, but very few people in the world under the age of 40 or 50 have received it because smallpox has been virtually eradicated. Although a vaccine and a specific treatment for monkeypox were approved, in 2019 and 2022 respectively, they are not yet widely available.

“Not opening the ports of Ukraine is a declaration of war on food security”

The Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports can cause famines, destabilize nations and provoke mass migration, the director of the World Food Program told the Security Council.

Before the Ukraine crisis, the world was already facing a “perfect storm” from conflict, weather and COVID, David Beasley said in a session on food security and conflict.

Beasley argued that reopening Ukraine’s ports and emptying grain depots is imperative to alleviate the current crisis. Before the war, most of the food produced by Ukraine – enough 400 million people – it was exported through the country’s seven Black Sea ports.

“Truly, not opening the ports of the Odessa region would be a declaration of war on food security and would result in famines, destabilization and mass migrations all over the world”he pointed.

The Secretary General recalled that, throughout the world, 49 million people in 43 countries are at emergency levels of hunger, one step away from famine.

“There is enough food for everyone in the world. The problem is distribution, and it is deeply linked to the war in Ukraine,” Guterres said.

Climate change and conflict cause record population displacement

A record 59.1 million people were forcibly displaced within their own country in 2021, according to a report by the International Organization for Migration. This represents four million more displaced people compared to the end of 2020.

Over the last 15 years, disasters have triggered the majority of internal displacement. The year 2021 was no exception: 23.7 million people, mainly in Asia-Pacific, fled their homes due to weather events such as floods, storms and cyclones. With the predicted effects of climate change and without ambitious climate action, the numbers are likely to rise in the years to come.

Conflict and violence caused 14.4 million displacements interns in 2021, which represents an increase of almost 50% compared to the previous year. The majority of internal displacement occurred in Africa, notably in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

More than 117 million dollars to fight against climate change in the Galapagos Islands

A joint program of the Government of Ecuador, the FAO and other organizations will allocate more than 117 million dollars to fight against climate change in the Galapagos Islands.

The program will create more than 250 green jobs in the energy, agriculture, fishing and tourism sectors, generating direct employment for more than 4,872 people and benefiting more than 1,704 people with water systems.

From the environmental point of view, the project will reduce approximately 600,000 tons of CO2 from the energy sector over the next 25 years; it will also promote sustainable land management and resilient management of 20,000 hectares of agricultural use; the restoration of 138,000 km2 of marine ecosystems and 1,500 hectares of terrestrial ecosystems.

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