Tuesday June 25, 2019

As Refugees Flee DR Congo, UN Steps Up to Reduce The Risk of Ebola

The UNHCR says refugees are at the same risk of contracting and transmitting the Ebola virus disease as local farmers, merchants, business people and others moving through the area.

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A Congolese health worker checks the temperature of a man before the launch of vaccination campaign against the deadly Ebola virus near Mangina village, near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

The U.N. refugee agency reports it is stepping up efforts to reduce the risk of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus as refugees flee DR Congo. Latest estimates put the number of confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in eastern DRC at 49, including 38 deaths.

The U.N. refugee agency is working closely with DRC authorities and other agencies on actions to contain Ebola on the national and regional level. But, its main focus is to monitor possible Ebola infections among refugees fleeing across the border, mainly to Uganda, from conflict ridden North Kivu and Ituri.

UNHCR spokesman, William Spindler says the number of newly arriving refugees into Uganda from these two Ebola affected provinces increased during July from 170 a day to 250 a day. He says the majority currently is crossing at the Kisoro border point.

A family sits outside in a neighborhood where three people died of Ebola last month, in Mbandaka, Congo, June 1, 2018. For the first time since the Ebola virus was identified more than 40 years ago, a vaccine has been dispatched to front line health workers.
A family sits outside in a neighborhood where three people died of Ebola last month, in Mbandaka, Congo,
VOA

“So UNHCR is working with WHO, UNICEF and other partners and with the Ministry of Health of Uganda to intensify screening for Ebola at all border entry points. And, additional health workers have been deployed in the border districts to improve response capacity,” he said.

Spindler notes the World Health Organization is not recommending any restriction on the movement of people. Therefore, he says UNHCR is urging countries neighboring DRC to allow refugees in need of protection to enter their territory and to include them into preparedness and response plans and activities.

Also Read: United Nations Security Council to Closse 13-year-old Haiti Peacekeeping Mission in October

The UNHCR says refugees are at the same risk of contracting and transmitting the Ebola virus disease as local farmers, merchants, business people and others moving through the area. Therefore, it urges governments and local communities not to adopt measures that single out refugees. Those measures may not be scientifically sound and will only serve to stigmatize and restrict refugees’ freedom of movement. (VOA)

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World of Work Must Adapt to Unprecedented Changes to Ensure a Sustainable Future

The challenges facing the agency over the next 100 years are likely to be even more daunting

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FILE - U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. VOA

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is warning the world has to adapt to unprecedented changes in the world of work to ensure a sustainable future and create a more just society.  Guterres spoke at the International Labor Conference.

In congratulating the International Labor Organization on its centenary anniversary, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cites the ILO’s many achievements in establishing labor standards that have improved the safety and quality of work for millions of people.

He says the challenges facing the agency over the next 100 years are likely to be even more daunting.

“As we look ahead, we know new technologies — especially artificial intelligence — will inevitably lead to a massive destruction of jobs and a massive creation of new jobs,” said Guterres. “It is difficult to now foresee all these impacts, but it is clear that the future will require a range of new and different skills.”

World, Sustainable, UN
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is warning the world has to adapt to unprecedented changes. Pixabay

To keep abreast of new demands, he says governments will have to make large investments in education that are flexible and based on the learning needs of a lifetime.

Guterres says the well-being of people must be at the center of economic and social policies.  That involves the creation of decent work that is sustainable for the long run.  He notes a sustainable future for the world of work is not possible without addressing the urgent demands of climate change.

“Addressing the climate emergency is indeed the defining issue of our time.  Climate action could create millions of sustainable jobs,” said Guterres. “Green business has proven to be good business.  But climate change is moving faster than we are and we are risking a future with increased instability, inequality and poverty.”

The U.N. chief says new momentum must be injected into the climate change debate.  He says the new momentum is needed to transform political and economic systems to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Accord to reduce emissions that are harming the survivability of the planet.

Also Read- Lack of Internet Access Hobbling West Virginians

He says he hopes to move in that direction by convening a climate action summit in September at U.N. headquarters in New York. (VOA)