World News in Brief: Noncommunicable diseases in emergencies, aid plan for Haiti, peace efforts in CAR

World News in Brief: Noncommunicable diseases in emergencies, aid plan for Haiti, peace efforts in CAR

People caught up in humanitarian emergencies are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), UN agencies and partners warned on Tuesday. 

NCDs are responsible for 75 per cent of deaths worldwide, and it is estimated that strokes and heart attacks are up to three times more likely following a disaster, they said. 

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To save more lives, they are meeting in Denmark this week to ensure that care and treatment for NCDs are included as a standard part of humanitarian emergency preparedness and response. 

Conditions worsen during crisis 

“People living with NCDs in humanitarian crises are more likely to see their condition worsen due to trauma, stress, or the inability to access medicines or services,” said the head of the World Health Organization (WHO). Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 

WHO has convened the three-day meeting alongside Denmark, Jordan, Kenya, and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which opened in Copenhagen on Tuesday. 

The number of crises impacting people’s health has been increasing, they reported. 

Last year, WHO responded to 65 graded health emergencies worldwide, up from 40 a decade earlier.  UNHCR also issued 43 emergency declarations to scale up support in 29 countries - the highest number in decades.

The UN estimates that 300 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2024, with over half in need of emergency health assistance.

Families gather at a site for displaced persons in Tabarre, Haiti.
© UNICEF/Ndiaga Seck
Families gather at a site for displaced persons in Tabarre, Haiti.

$674 million humanitarian plan for Haiti 

Moving to Haiti, where the UN, Government and partners have launched a $674 million plan to meet humanitarian needs this year.

The plan seeks to provide food, shelter, health, education and protection services for 3.6 million people, said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, speaking in New York on Tuesday. 

He said it comes against the backdrop of a serious protection crisis for millions in Haiti.

In 2023, the country saw the highest number of murders, kidnappings, lynchings and sexual assaults in the last five years.  Additionally, nearly one in two Haitians are food insecure, and basic services are on the verge of collapse.

Rights expert commends peace efforts in Central African Republic 

An expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council has urged the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) to continue efforts towards peace and stability.

Yao Agbetse, Independent Expert on human rights in the CAR, concluded a 10-day visit to the country on Tuesday.

He welcomed efforts by the Government to extend security to significant parts of the territory, while highlighting remaining challenges beyond urban areas.

“Despite progress, daily insecurity persists due to armed groups entrenched in remote regions, particularly forests and mining sites,” he said in a statement. 

The rights expert addressed recent incidents, such as an attack on the village of Nzakoundou, located in Lim-Pendé prefecture, where the 3Rs armed group allegedly targeted army checkpoints, resulting in casualties and civilian deaths. 

Call for accountability

Condemning the violence, he stressed the importance of holding perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity to account. 

“The use of explosive devices in various prefectures has further aggravated the situation, causing civilian casualties, with children being particularly affected, and disrupting essential activities such as schooling and agricultural activities,” he added.  

He also called for support for demining efforts, urging technical and financial partners to provide assistance to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and to integrate demining specialists into the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSCA

Independent experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva.

They receive their mandates from the Council, are not UN staff and receive no payment for their work. 



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