DR Congo boycotts UN aid conference
The Democratic Republic of Congo has chosen to boycott an aid conference hosted by the UN that focuses on raising money towards the humanitarian crisis in DR Congo, claiming they do not need the aid. While the UN has moved the crisis to a level three — the highest possible emergency, on-par with the crises in Syria and Yemen — the government of DR Congo has denied the designation.
“We have our own figures which should be compared with UN figures,” said DR Congo’s Ambassador to the UN, Zenon Mukongo Nga, in a statement to the BBC. This past year, over 40,000 Congolese refugees have fled to western Uganda and settled in Kyangwali, a refugee camp where the conditions are extremely poor, with little access to water and sanitization, leading to sickness and disease outbreaks. The country has an estimated 40 million people facing severe food insecurity, with 12 percent of child starvation cases worldwide coming from DR Congo.
Yellow fever outbreak in Brazil the worst in modern history
Since 2016, the nation of Brazil has struggled to contain the largest outbreak of yellow fever in this century. There have been over 19,000 confirmed cases, with 590 deaths being recorded. The disease, which is spread by mosquito bites, has spread in rural areas outside of major cities, where cases of yellow fever had remained relatively rare. In the past, Brazil proved successful in containing the disease, being one of the largest suppliers of the yellow fever vaccine.
Now, however, the country does not have enough of the vaccine to immunize all its residents, having sent over vast quantities of doses to Angola when an outbreak occurred there in 2016. Officials in large cities have opted to administer fractional doses, where a normal dose is broken up into fractions so as to reach more people. The effectiveness of the vaccine when diluted like this is currently unknown. But officials hope that it will be effective, at least temporarily, in preventing the further spread of yellow fever.
Labor strikes spread across Germany, France
Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, has been forced to cancel half of their 1,600 scheduled flights last Tuesday, affecting 90,000 passengers. The cancellations are due to Verdi, a trade union, staging walkouts to put pressure on employers in the public sector. This comes not from strikes from the airline, but rather public sector workers on the ground in airports.
This is similar to previous demonstrations in France, where air travel was affected when Air France cancelled 30 percent of its flights. Air France employees are demanding a six-percent pay raise after seven years of pay freezes. In addition, France’s national railway company SNCF has organized a two-day strike in response to labor reforms enforced by President Emmanuel Macron. During the strike, only one out of every five trains were in motion.