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HomeWorld newsWorld News in Brief: UN official condemns attacks in Ukraine, DR Congo...

World News in Brief: UN official condemns attacks in Ukraine, DR Congo faces fresh fighting and devastating floods

The morning assault reportedly involved Russian-fired missiles and drones which hit six Ukrainian regions leaving at least five dead. 

The attacks also disrupted essential services, including electricity, water and gas supplies, especially in Mykolaiv city and Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, when they are much needed this cold winter.

“Millions of people rely on these services for heating, cooking and transportation. They are critically important to ensure health and education facilities are functional,” Denise Brown, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, said in a statement.

She noted that humanitarian workers have mobilized emergency responses in Kyiv and Mykolaiv, delivering repair materials and psychosocial assistance to those affected.

They also provided support to people after recent attacks in the Kharkiv region, including in Velykyi Burluk town, which had suffered repeated aerial attacks yesterday, damaging a hospital.

Ms. Brown stated that repeated attacks damaging civilian infrastructure and causing injuries and deaths to civilians indicate a concerning pattern of harm and international humanitarian law violations.

“Ukrainians should live without fear of attacks disrupting their lives … civilians must be spared from violence,” she said.

Fighting fuels fresh displacement in DR Congo

Over to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where UN humanitarian officials voiced deep concern over the escalating humanitarian crisis, particularly in the Masisi territory in North Kivu.

Fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group displaced at least 130,000 people in different areas of the Masisi territory in the past two weeks, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists at the Noon Briefing in New York.

“This is adding to an already dire situation in North Kivu,” he said, noting that people have limited access to food, clean water, healthcare and shelter.

The clashes have also impacted the road between Sake and Bweremana, a major route connecting the provinces of North and South Kivu. 

“This risks isolating Goma, a city of 2 million people, which also hosts more than 500,000 displaced people. It could jeopardize food security and economic activities in Goma and the area,” Mr. Dujarric said.

He added that growing insecurity in Masisi is preventing some 630,000 people who were previously displaced from accessing crucial medical care, including medical assistance for those injured in the conflict.

“The risk of further violence, including in Goma, remains high,” he warned, calling for unimpeded humanitarian access to address people’s urgent needs.

“We also urge all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and take concrete action to protect civilians,” the UN Spokesperson said.

DR Congo: Devastating floods raise spectre of cholera

And staying with the DRC, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and aid partners are responding to devastating floods that have affected 18 of the country’s 26 provinces.

Flood waters have destroyed or damaged 100,000 houses, 1,325 schools, 267 health facilities and large swathes of agricultural land, leaving an estimated two million people, nearly 60 per cent of them children, in need of assistance.

The disaster struck at a time the country was grappling one of the worst the worst cholera outbreak in years.

“Children in the DRC are facing the worst floods in decades,” Grant Leaity, the UNICEF Representative in the country, said. “The rising waters damage their homes and amplify the threat of waterborne diseases, putting them at heightened risk.”

He underlined the need for immediate action to provide safe water, sanitation and healthcare to contain the spread of cholera to prevent the number of cases from reaching unprecedented levels.

In response, the UN agency is providing drinking water, water treatment kits and health supplies to affected areas and is working with local authorities to ensure the continuation of child protection services, such as reuniting separated children with their families and providing mental health support.

UNICEF-supported cholera management teams are also on the ground, stepping up prevention measures and providing a first response when cholera cases are suspected.

This includes distributing cholera prevention kits, decontaminating homes and communal latrines and setting up hand disinfection stations.

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