News in Brief 13 October 2017 (PM)

Yemen cholera cases top 820,000

The number of suspected cases of cholera in Yemen is now over 820,000, the United Nations said on Friday.

Yemen is in the midst of the world's worst-ever single-year outbreak of the water-borne disease, with more than 2,150 associated deaths since April.

Cholera is caused by ingesting contaminated water or food, resulting in watery diarrhoea.

The crisis is occurring as ongoing fighting continues in Yemen, where nearly 21 million people require emergency aid on protection.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has more information, and a humanitarian update.

"This is the largest single-year cholera outbreak ever on record. The outbreak has spread to 92 per cent of Yemen's districts. This week, the World Health Organization chartered two flights to Sana'a, carrying more than 43 tons of essential medicines and medical supplies. Humanitarians have reached more than 2.2 million people with essential medicines and kits, including providing some 600,000 people with medicines for non-communicable diseases. WHO and UNICEF are also supporting local health authorities in all governorates in a polio vaccination campaign aimed at reaching 5.3 million children under five years of age."

UN rights office concerned over LGBT arrests in three countries

The UN human rights office, OHCHR, has expressed concern over what it has called "a wave of arrests" in Azerbaijan, Egypt and Indonesia of people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

In recent weeks, more than 180 people in the three nations have been detained, many of whom reportedly have been mistreated by law enforcement.

"Arresting or detaining people based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is by definition arbitrary and violates international law," the UN human rights office said in a statement issued on Friday.

These rights include right to privacy, non-discrimination and equality before the law.

OHCHR also recommended that the three countries should take immediate action to release anyone who has been detained "on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity."

US industries launch chapter of UN-backed disaster risk initiative

Representatives from key American companies, including in the construction and insurance industries, will launch a US chapter of a UN-backed initiative aimed at increasing understanding of disaster risk in the business community.

This follows a meeting held on Thursday in Miami, Florida: an area of the country that has been hard hit by hurricanes.

The initiative, known as ARISE USA, has been welcomed by the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser.

He noted that "the resilience and fortitude" of the US private sector had been placed under "tremendous strain" by recent extreme weather events, such as four back-to-back hurricanes, drought and wildfires.

The global ARISE network was launched two years ago by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and has more than 140 member companies in over 150 countries.

National chapters have also been established in eight countries, including Canada, the Dominican Republic, Japan and the Philippines.

Source: United Nations Radio