UN agency laments high rate of sexual abuse in DRC
By Gistflash News
Aug 14, 2021
Rival armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are carrying out horrific sexual attacks against women and girls, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned on Friday.
The alert was prompted by what UNHCR has called “widespread and systematic” abuse in Tanganyika province, where thousands of people have been internally displaced this year, often many times.
“Some women and girls have been abducted and used as sex slaves by armed group members,” spokesperson, Shabia Mantoo, told journalists in Geneva.
The UNHCR spokesperson explained that in just the past two weeks, humanitarian partners in the Kongolo and Mbulula health zones, had recorded 243 incidents of rape, 48 of which involved minors, in 12 different villages.
She noted that the actual figures were thought to be even higher, as reporting of gender-based violence remained taboo in most communities. That, she said, amounted to an average of 17 reported attacks per day.“Our staff have heard horrific testimonies of extreme violence.”
In addition to the huge physical and psychological trauma from being raped, survivors of sexual violence can face stigma and possible exclusion from their families.
Since May, more than 23,000 people have been displaced in northern Tanganyika’s Kongolo Territory alone, according to local authorities. And most have fled insecurity multiple times in the past three months.
As of last month, UN estimates revealed that insecurity and violence had uprooted nearly 310,000 people, and were currently displaced in Tanganyika Province.
According to the UNHCR spokesperson, rival armed groups responsible for the attacks were competing for control of mining areas – especially gold mines – and the abuse was linked to retaliation for Government-led military operations.
“Forcibly displaced persons have accused armed groups of carrying out mass rape as women attempt to flee their homes,” she said, adding that “ransoms have been demanded from families in exchange for their freedom.”
While the UN agency remains committed to helping the survivors, ongoing violence and the need to travel long distances for care at medical centres are hampering its work.
To protect civilians, especially women and girls, UNHCR is calling on the authorities to urgently scale up security in the so-called “triangle of death” – an area bordering several localities between Tanganyika, Maniema and South Kivu Provinces.
The move would also allow humanitarian access as well as for investigations to be launched and perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“Humanitarian and protection needs are growing and UNHCR is seeking further financial support,” Mantoo said.
He told the journalists that only 36 per cent of the 205 million dollars required for DRC operation had been received.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits Greek island of Crete
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
A magnitude 5.8 strong quake hit Greece’s Crete island on Monday, according to the Geodynamics Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.
The tremor’s epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km, some 25 km south of the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, while aftershocks up to 4.3 magnitude have followed, according to Greek scientists.
Material damage has been reported, with no injuries until now, local officials told Greek national news agency AMNA.
Earlier, the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the quake’s magnitude at 6.2, which was later revised to 6.0.
WHO investigators seeking COVID-19 origin going back to China
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19, months after an earlier probe ended without drawing firm conclusions, according to a report published.
WHO was putting together a team of some 20 scientists, who will be charged with finding new evidence in China and other locales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group will examine whether the virus emerged from a laboratory, a theory that has been angrily rejected by China.
In December 2020, WHO investigators began visits to Wuhan, China, where the first known outbreak of the virus took place.
But their March 2021 report said they had gotten insufficient information from Chinese scientists to answer key questions about COVID-19’s origin.
In August, U.S. intelligence agencies issued a separate report saying they also could not make firm conclusions about COVID-19’s origins.
Florida Gov. appoints Nigerian-American, Joseph Ladapo Surgeon-General
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, U.S. has appointed a Nigerian-American, Dr Joseph Ladapo, as Florida Surgeon-General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
DeSantis in a statement posted on the Florida Department of Health website, stated that he was pleased to announce Ladapo for the position.
“I am pleased to announce that Ladapo will lead the Florida department of health as our state’s next surgeon-general
“Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with a superb background.”
According to him, Ladapo has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research.
The governor said: ” Ladapo will bring great leadership to the department of health, ” thanking both Dr Scott Rivkees and Dr Shamarial Roberson for their hard work on behalf of all Floridians.
Lieutenant-Governor, Jeanette Nuñez described Ladapo’s as, “an excellent choice to serve as our next surgeon general.
“Ladapo has impeccable credentials and a strong vision to effectively serve the people of Florida at the helm of our public health agency.
“Through his service to our state, we will continue Florida’s work to advance our public health goals,” Nuñez said.
Ladapo said he is honored to have been chosen by DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next surgeon-general.
“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.
“From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by DeSantis’ leadership and determination,” he said.
The new surgeon-general said he was impressed by DeSantis’ leadership to ensure that Floridians were afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.
“It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida,” he said.
Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.
Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),caring for hospitalised patients.
He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, who also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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