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World News in Brief: 500 million heading into extreme poverty, Afghanistan quake latest, Darfur deaths mount

Marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Mr. Guterres pointed out that nearly 700 million people are living on less than $2.15 per day and over a billion don’t have access to basic needs like food, water, health care and education.

Billions more lack sanitation and access to energy, jobs, housing and social safety nets, he added. 

Distress is being deepened by conflicts, the climate crisis, discrimination and exclusion – particularly against women and girls, the UN chief said. 

According to Mr. Guterres, an outdated and unfair global financial system will lead to almost 500 million people living in extreme poverty in 2030, which he stressed was simply unacceptable.

”Ending poverty is the challenge of our time. But it is a challenge we can win,” he said.

‘Situation dire’ in Afghanistan’s West after earthquake terror

The UN humanitarian aid coordination office OCHA, has launched a multi-sectoral Earthquake Response Plan in response to the series of powerful earthquakes that have rocked Afghanistan’s Herat Province since 7 October.

In an update, OCHA reported that at least 1,480 people have been killed and 1,950 wounded.

Satellite imagery indicates that 289 villages have been severely impacted with many destroyed. The most recent earthquake on Sunday affected an estimated 30 new villages, forcing families to live in makeshift shelters or informal settlements. with more, here’s Katherine Carey, deputy head for OCHA in Kabul.

“In reality, people clearly reside in tents for several weeks before they do require some more sustainable form of shelter or transitional shelter to give them better protection so really right now obviously the priority is to ensure people aren’t living out in the open and they have some form of protection and even if it is minimal.”

To date, nearly 66,000 people across six districts have been directly affected by the quakes. 

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Health services

World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said that the immediate focus now is to save the lives of the injured and to ensure survivors have access to humanitarian relief, including essential health services.

“Women, children and vulnerable populations are gravely affected by the disaster,” he said, adding that female health workers in the country continue to attend to patients, with no discrimination. 

Mr. Jasarevic confirmed that the UN health agency has provided enough supplies to treat 650 injured patients at Herat Regional Hospital.

An additional 25 metric tonnes of medicines and medical supplies have also been sent to Herat, while 54 mobile health teams, including three by WHO, have been deployed in the affected areas.

He warned that displacement caused by the disaster poses a significant health risk, including increasing the transmission of infectious diseases, such as measles, acute respiratory infections and acute watery diarrhoea.

Nearly 4,000 killed and civilian property destroyed during raging Darfur conflict

Conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region has had a devastating toll on civilians, UN humanitarians warned on Tuesday.

An alert from UN refugee agency UNHCR, reported that almost 4,000 lives have been lost and 8,400 individuals injured since fighting erupted six months ago.

Testimonies have also been gathered on severe human rights violations against innocent civilians, including refugees and internally displaced people since the conflict began in mid-April.

Speaking in Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Eujin Byun said they believed that many of the casualties were targeted primarily because of their ethnicity, particularly in West Darfur.

Displaced children have also found themselves caught in the crossfire, with schools damaged or destroyed by shelling, Ms. Byun added, before warning that those who have managed to reach safety are grappling with acute psychological distress.

Indiscriminate shootings

According to the UNHCR spokesperson, civilian property has also suffered greatly, with at least 29 cities, towns and villages in Darfur being looted, burned, or destroyed.

Indiscriminate shootings and heavy shelling in camps and gathering sites have also resulted in hundreds of casualties.

Children are also without access to education and safe spaces, increasing their vulnerability to various dangers, including sexual violence, psychological trauma, and family separation.

Ms. Byun called on all parties involved in the conflict to prioritize the protection of civilians, including refugees and internally displaced people, and to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian aid. 

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