World News in Brief: Drought in Ethiopia, peacekeepers wounded in DR Congo, deadly strike on Ukraine aid workers

World News in Brief: Drought in Ethiopia, peacekeepers wounded in DR Congo, deadly strike on Ukraine aid workers

Drought is ravaging communities in Afar, Amhara, Tigray and Oromia, as well as the Southern and South West Ethiopia Peoples’ Region.

Severe water shortages, dried pastures and reduced harvests are impacting millions of people and livestock, with reports of food insecurity and rising malnutrition. 

Among those who are particularly vulnerable are people affected by the two-year conflict in Tigray, which ended in 2022, the UN and the authorities said in a joint statement on Thursday.

Numbers will rise 

More than six million people are already receiving food and cash across affected areas, but huge gaps remain, OCHA warned.

The number of critically food insecure people will continue to grow over the next few months, reaching a peak of 10.8 million during the lean season from July through September, according to a recent joint assessment by the government and humanitarian partners.

Malnutrition rates in parts of Afar, Amhara and Tigray and other regions have already surpassed globally recognized crisis thresholds, but currently do not reflect famine-like conditions. 

“While the situation in several of these areas is already alarming, there is an opportunity to avert a serious humanitarian catastrophe through additional funding to urgently scale up and sustain response efforts,” OCHA said.

Peacekeepers injured in attack on UN helicopter in DR Congo 

Two South African peacekeepers were injured, one seriously, in an attack on a UN helicopter in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Friday.

The helicopter from the UN Mission in the country, MONUSCO, was carrying out a medical evacuation when it came under fire from presumed members of the M23 armed group in the Karuba region, located in Masisi territory, North Kivu province. 

The helicopter was able to land safely in the provincial capital, Goma, and the peacekeepers received medical treatment. 

MONUSCO chief Bintou Keita, strongly condemned the attack, which comes almost a year after a similar incident caused the death of a South African peacekeeper. 

The UN Mission will spare no effort, in cooperation with the Congolese authorities, to bring the perpetrators to justice, she said.

The head of UN Peacekeeping deplored the attack in a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

He said that UN “blue helmets” should not be targeted.

Ukraine: Top UN aid official condemns deadly attack on aid workers  

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine has condemned a deadly attack on aid workers in the south of the country.

Two French citizens volunteering with a Swiss non-governmental organization were killed and three other foreigners injured in a Russian drone strike in the Kherson region on Thursday, according to media reports.  

“I am shocked to hear that their vehicles were attacked in a manner similar to a tragic incident in Chasiv Yar town in the east of Ukraine just a week ago, when a humanitarian vehicle was hit and an aid worker injured,” Denise Brown said in a statement on Friday.

Last year, 50 aid workers were killed or injured in Ukraine, including 11 who died in the line of duty.  

Ms. Brown said that “this repeated pattern of attacks appears to have intensified” since the beginning of the year, as five aid workers were injured in January alone.

“This comes at a time when people in frontline areas are facing an extremely dire humanitarian situation with Russia’s invasion impacting every aspect of their daily lives,” she added.

Despite the challenges and insecurity, humanitarians continue to deliver aid in Ukraine. 

The UN reported that on Friday, an inter-agency convoy delivered three trucks of humanitarian supplies to the residents of frontline communities in the Kharkiv area.

The items included hygiene kits, thermal blankets, sleeping bags, kitchen sets, evacuation kits and construction materials to repair damaged homes. 

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