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The United Nations is backing a mass vaccination campaign under way in northern Cameroon, where a new outbreak of yellow fever has killed at least seven people.
The vaccination campaign, which began late last month in eight districts, aims to eventually protect more than 1.2 million people considered at high risk of contracting yellow fever, which has no cure and is spread by mosquitoes.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported today that the vaccinations are aimed at areas not covered in a previous campaign in 2009 because they have no history of yellow fever outbreaks or circulation of the yellow fever virus.
Since October last year at least 23 cases have been recAn estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever are recorded worldwide each year, with as many as 30,000 deaths reported.orded in Cameroon, with tests confirming the illness was yellow fever rather than dengue fever or West Nile virus.
WHO said it is working with Government health officials in Cameroon to assess the extent of the outbreak and confirm the cases.
The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Provision (YF-ICG) – which includes WHO and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – and the public-private partnership known as the GAVI Alliance are funding the vaccination campaign..
Meanwhile, in Ghana, two people have died since October and another case has been confirmed in an outbreak of yellow fever in the country’s upper eastern and mid-western regions.
YF-ICG, working with the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), is planning a vaccination campaign for more than 235,000 people starting on Monday. Pregnant women and children aged below one year are the key targets of that campaign.
An estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever are recorded worldwide each year, with as many as 30,000 deaths reported. Patients experience jaundice, as well as other symptoms such as fever and vomiting.
The vaccine against yellow fever is considered to provide effective immunity within a week for about 95 per cent of people.
The United Nations human rights office today voiced concern over a cattle raid in a northern state of South Sudan earlier this week, which led to 78 deaths and numerous injuries among civilians, most of whom were women and children.
“We call on all relevant authorities to ensure that urgent measures are taken to help secure the economic and social rights of those affected by the attack, which was reportedly carried out by men from the neighbouring Unity State,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at a press briefing in Geneva.
More than 70,000 cattle were looted during the attack, according to OHCHR.
“This Reports so far have stated that 78 people died, nine are missing and 72 were wounded in the attack.is extremely worrying because an exclusively pastoralist economy means that around 40,000 people have now been left without a livelihood,” Mr. Colville said, stressing that those displaced by the attack, mostly members of the Luac Jang tribe, are now facing shortages of water, food, shelter and medicine.
Mr. Colville noted that details on the incident are still unclear as the attack occurred in a remote area of Warrap state, and said that OHCHR and the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) will continue investigations on the matter.
Reports so far have stated that 78 people died, nine are missing and 72 were wounded in the attack. Most of the killing appears to have been inflicted with machetes, and it is believed to have involved people crossing over from neighbouring Unity state.
The attack appears to be unrelated to recent incidents in Jonglei state, where tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced in the past two months due to deadly clashes between the Lou Nuer and Murle ethnic communities.
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, who visited Jonglei this week to assess the humanitarian situation, voiced her concern over the impact that the violence has had in the state.
In an interview with UN Radio, Ms. Amos stressed that the humanitarian and development challenges are still significant, and expressed her concern about providing aid before the start of the rainy season to ensure access to the population.
In addition, she emphasized that the main objective is not to provide aid, but to help the South Sudanese become self-sufficient.
“Ultimately people don’t want to be dependent on international food aid from international agencies. They should only be a stop gap. But this is difficult given the conditions in Jonglei.”
During her visit to Jonglei, Ms. Amos met with some of the 140,000 people affected by the recent communal violence. “I met a lot of people who continue to be fearful about returning to their homes, saw many villages that have been burned to the ground. It’s extraordinarily difficult to know when people will feel secure enough to return,” she said.
Ms. Amos noted that UNMISS will continue to work with authorities at a national and state level to encourage reconciliation discussions between the warring parties so the violence can end.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun distributing rations in Mozambique, where an estimated 70,000 people are in urgent need of assistance after the country was pounded by two tropical storms.
Distributions began yesterday in flood-hit Zambezia province, with almost 6,000 people in the province’s Maganja district receiving enough rations of flour and other basic supplies to last a month.
The agency reported that it eventually hopes to provide emergency food rations to 65,000 people across Zambezia and another 6,500 in Maputo province, which surrounds the country’s capitalAt least 32 people are reported to have been killed since tropical storms Dando and Funso struck Mozambique last month, and about 100,000 hectares of farmland are no longer in use..
Working with other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), WFP has been helping the Mozambican Government to assess the scale of the crisis and the needs of those affected by the storms and subsequent floods.
At least 32 people are reported to have been killed since tropical storms Dando and Funso struck Mozambique last month, and about 100,000 hectares of farmland are no longer in use.
WFP said there are fears that people living in storm-affected areas will have no crops to harvest, jeopardizing their food security in the coming months.