News in Brief 24 May 2017 – (PM)

Health of Palestinian prisoners in Israel deteriorating from hunger strike

As a mass hunger strike by Palestinians in Israeli prisons enters its 38th day, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is raising the alarm over the "significant deterioration" of the health of participants.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was alarmed over reports that Israeli authorities are punishing strikers by restricting access to lawyers and denying them family visits.

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike on 17 April this year, demanding an end to administrative detention and solitary confinement.

They were also asking for improved access to health care as well as an increase in the number and length of family visits.

Israel is reportedly holding some 500 Palestinian prisoners without charge or trial in administrative detention.

Zeid said that such detainees should either be charged with an offence and tried according to international standards, or released immediately.

Cholera spreads at "unprecedented rate" throughout Yemen: UN

Cholera is spreading at an "unprecedented rate" throughout Yemen, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the country has warned.

On Wednesday, Jamie McGoldrick called on Members States to provide financial and political support to help avert another "devastating blow" to Yemen.

So far, health authorities reported over 35,500 suspected cholera cases, a third of which are children, and 361 deaths in almost all of Yemen's governorates.

Hundreds of thousands of people are at a greater risk of dying as they face the 'triple threat' of conflict, starvation and cholera.

The speed at which cholera is spreading among the population exceeds the capacity of the health system to respond, given its weakened state after more than two years of conflict.

Humanitarians are seeking over US$55 million to prevent and treat cholera at the national, governorate and community level over the next six months.

Floating bridge connects west and east Mosul in Iraq

A floating bridge re-connecting west and east Mosul in Iraq has been installed after military operations to retake the city from extremists severed bridges there, the UN Spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The new bridge was placed in the north of Mosul's Old City area by the Iraqi Security Forces, Stephane Dujarric said.

In addition to its military use, the bridge will be used to facilitate the transportation of displaced civilians.

Here's Mr Dujarric.

"The number of civilians displaced is expected to surge once military operations begin in the densely populated Old City, where some 200,000 people are reportedly still living under Da'esh control. Protecting these civilians is a key concern for aid agencies."

A large number of civilians continue to flee Mosul, with nearly 8,000 people recorded on Tuesday as newly displaced from western Mosul.

Humanitarian partners continue to provide assistance in this extremely fast-moving emergency.

Source: United Nations Radio