News in Brief- Geneva (AM)

El Nino concerns growing for Peru and Ecuador

Peru and parts of Ecuador are in the grip of the El Nino weather phenomenon and there are growing indications that it could spread more widely.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) made the announcement on Tuesday, saying that an increasing number of weather models indicate it is a possibility later this year.

More than 100 people have died in Peru following exceptionally heavy rainfall, and thousands of people have been displaced.

Here's WMO's Clare Nullis, speaking in Geneva:

"It's a little bit difficult to issue predictions at this time of year, so we can't say with any certainty, but more and more models are saying that you know we are going to get a basin-wide El Nino later this year. At the moment we are not expecting it will be as powerful as the one we had in 2015-2016 but you know, strange things are happening with the climate system, so textbook examples are no longer the best way to go."

El Nino - which is associated with warmer-than-average Pacific Ocean temperatures - is linked to weather extremes such as flash-flooding and drought.

WMO said that El Nino is not responsible for the Colombia mudslide at the weekend which killed more than 250 people in Mocoa, but instead to unusually high rainfall and deforestation.

Chad to be first African country to sign global water treaty

Chad is on course to become the first African nation to sign a key international agreement on water usage and access, it's been announced.

UNECE, the UN Economic Commission for Europe which coordinates signatories to the Water Convention, said that Chad had made it clear it wants to join the accord "as soon as possible".

Lake Chad is the fourth largest water source in Africa but its tributaries spring from beyond the country's borders.

The government says that because of this, it's in the country's interest to sign the Convention, which provides an intergovernmental platform for transboundary water cooperation.

Yemen hospital receives desperately needed medical supplies

Three tonnes of life-saving medical supplies have been delivered to a struggling hospital in war-torn Yemen.

The facility, the Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital in the capital Sana'a, has been crippled by conflict between government and opposition forces which escalated two years ago.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) which organized the shipment said that medical staff have been overwhelmed by increasing numbers of people displaced by the war.

Salaries have not been paid since last September and the hospital is in dire need of improved water and sanitation facilities, the agency says.

According to the World Health Organization, less than half of Yemen's medical facilities are fully functional; more than 270 have been damaged or destroyed in ongoing fighting.

Latest data indicates that almost 4.5 million people in Yemen, including two million children, require treatment for malnutrition.

Source: United Nations Radio