World news brief: Aid reduces threat to Afghan deportees, saves Rohingya lives at sea, rise in respiratory disease in China, new rail transport treaty

Pakistan announced in October that it would begin deporting “undocumented” foreign nationals from November 1, affecting thousands of Afghans who have taken refuge in the country.

WFP said most families crossing the border arrive hungry, desperate and in need of immediate support.

The UN agency continues to provide them with fortified biscuits and cash to buy food or other basic necessities, helping 250,000 people so far this month.

Hsiao-Wei Lee, WFP Afghanistan Country Director said its program there is already critically underfunded.

He warned that without additional resources, “we will not be able to continue our support to these families who arrive at the border with nothing but a few basic things and some bread for their journey.”

WFP is urgently seeking USD 27.5 million to support one million returnees and help them get through the winter.

Rights expert: Emergency preparedness needed to rescue Rohingya refugees at sea

An independent UN expert has called for action to save the lives of Rohingya refugees making dangerous sea journeys to Indonesia, as conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh continue to deteriorate.

“The crisis will only worsen without addressing its root cause – the illegitimate military junta in Myanmar,” Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the country, said in a press release. a declaration issued Thursday.

Bangladesh hosts more than a million Rohingya refugees who have fled waves of violence in Myanmar.

More than 1,000 refugees arrived by boat in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh over the past week.

Mr. Andrews praised the Indonesian government for offering security, shelter and support to the arrivals, and called on other countries in the region to follow suit.

“This is an emergency and an emergency is required, including a coordinated search and rescue operation to save the lives of those who may be stranded on overcrowded, unseaworthy vessels,” he said.

Special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. They serve in their individual capacity, are not UN employees and do not receive salaries.

China: WHO requests data on spread of respiratory diseases

World Health Organization (WHO) has made an official request to China for detailed information on an increase in respiratory diseases in children.

Chinese authorities reported the increase 10 days ago, the WHO said, attributing it to “the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens” including SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus itself, influenza and a bacteria that causes pneumonia.

Other reports of “clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children in northern China” followed earlier this week.

WHO said that China had been asked for laboratory results from the pneumonia clusters as well as insight into the other respiratory diseases that are spreading and the impact on the health system.

The UN agency stressed that it was also engaging with clinicians and scientists through its existing technical partnerships and networks in China.

Meanwhile, the WHO advised people in China to follow measures to reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, such as recommended vaccination, testing and staying at home when sick, masks, ventilation and hand washing.

New rail transport treaty also has “green” benefits

A new UN convention that promises to increase the transport of goods by rail will also bring major environmental benefits.

That’s it message from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which said moving goods by rail between Europe and Asia will be easier, faster and cheaper following the adoption last week of the international treaty to streamline cross-border rail trade.

UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean said the treaty also means good news for climate action, given that rail freight emits 5.7 times less greenhouse gases than road transport per kilometre. ton-kilometer, which is a unit of measurement for freight transport.

Rail freight between China and Europe has already seen a large increase in recent years, as it is much faster than freight and cheaper than air transport.

The new treaty opens for signature in February.

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