The U.N. says over 460,000 suspected cholera cases have been recorded in war-battered Yemen so far this year — a sharp rise from the 380,000 cases for all of 2018. U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq says 705 suspected cholera deaths have been recorded since January — a dramatic increase from the 75 deaths in the same period last year.
Haq says the spread of cholera has been accelerated by recent flash flooding, poor maintenance of waste management systems and lack of access to clean water.
The U.N. and its partners are operating nearly 1,200 cholera treatment facilities across Yemen, but Haq says “funding remains an urgent issue.” The U.N.’s $4.2 billion humanitarian appeal to help over 20 million Yemenis this year is only 32 percent funded. (VOA)
Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore has warned that air pollution toxicity can affect children’s brain development and called for urgent action to deal with the crisis gripping India and South Asia.
“I saw first-hand how children continue to suffer from the dire consequences of air pollution,” Fore, who recently visited India, said on Wednesday.
“The air quality was at a crisis level. You could smell the toxic fog even from behind an air filtration mask,” she added.
Air pollution affects children most severely and its effects continue all their lives because they have smaller lungs, breathe twice as fast as adults and lack immunities, Fore said.
She added that it “damages brain tissue and undermines cognitive development in babies and young children, leading to lifelong consequences that can affect their learning outcomes and future potential. There is evidence to suggest that adolescents exposed to higher levels of air pollution are more likely to experience mental health problems”.
“Unicef is calling for urgent action to address this air quality crisis,” affecting 620 million children in South Asia.