News in Brief 08 November 2016 (AM) – Geneva
8 Nov 2016
Haiti cholera mass vaccinations get under way
A mass cholera vaccination campaign has begun in Haiti targeting more than 800,000 people, one month after Hurricane Matthew flattened large areas of the Caribbean island.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the vaccines will be given in the 16 communes that have had suspected cholera cases – or deaths – from the disease.
Government data shows that at least 3,700 suspected cases of infection have been reported since the hurricane made landfall in south-western Haiti on 4 October.
More than 500 people died in the storm, which caused mass displacement and created significant humanitarian needs in hard-to-reach areas.
UN humanitarian coordinating agency OCHA says that 2.1 million people were affected by the hurricane; 894,000 of them are children.
Fate of hundreds more ISIL hostages unknown as Mosul offensive continues
ISIL fighters defending Mosul have reportedly taken at least 295 former Iraqi soldiers hostage, the UN said Tuesday.
The UN Human Rights Office says that the abductions of decommissioned Iraqi Security Force personnel – often referred to as ISF – happened in recent days around the northern Iraqi city.
Government forces and allies are intent on retaking Mosul from the extremists and are three weeks into their offensive.
Here’s OHCHR’s Ravina Shamdasani:
“Between the 1 and 4 November, 195 of these former ISF personnel, they were reportedly abducted in several villages in Tel alfar, and at around midnight on 3 November, another 100 former ISF officers were abducted from a village named Mawali, which is about 20 kilometres west of Mosul. So 195 and 100 for a total of 295, and the fate of all these civilians is unknown for the moment.”
Ms Shamdasani also said that the UN has not been able to confirm whether a mass grave found in recently liberated Hamam al-Alil south of Mosul contained the bodies of 50 Iraqi police officers reportedly killed by ISIL two weeks ago.
Alarm at new migrant fatality in Libyan detention centre
The death of a man held in appalling conditions in a Libyan detention centre is evidence of an emerging humanitarian crisis in the war-torn North African state, UN migration experts have said.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the man was evacuated in a seriously ill condition two days ago from a holding centre about 90 kilometres south of Tripoli, but later died in hospital.
Three other migrants are reported to have suffered the same fate since mid-October, with indications that skin lice and scabies have been identified in the Gharyan Al Hamra centre.
IOM’s Leonard Doyle said the agency is struggling to help the 2,000 mainly West African nationals who have been detained, as authorities continue to battle militant extremists.
“The conditions are particularly grim and have been for a long time, and there’s nothing especially new about that. What is new is that we have reports of death that we are bringing to you today. The Libyan authorities are working with us, but this is a country in some stress at the moment, as we all know, and we’re essentially bringing to your attention the very, very grim humanitarian situation of those migrants who are in detention in the country.”
Mr Doyle also expressed alarm that some 300 unaccompanied children had been found at the centre too.
Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva