News in Brief 11 September (AM)

UN chief saddened by loss of life due to Mexico earthquake

The UN chief Antonio Guterres has offered his condolences to the government and people of Mexico following a deadly earthquake that struck the provinces of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco, during the night of 7 September.

Latest news reports and government figures suggest that more than 90 people were killed by the 8.1 magnitude earthquake, with 71 dead in Chiapas alone.

It was the most powerful quake to hit Mexico in a century.

The Secretary-General said in a statement that he was “saddened by the loss of life and destruction caused”.

He added that the UN “stands ready to provide support” if the Mexican government requests it.

DPRK nuclear test “extremely regrettable”: Atomic Agency chief

North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test since 2006, carried out on 3 September, “was extremely regrettable” and a cause for “grave concern”.

That’s according to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano, in his introductory statement to the Board of Governors on Monday.

Mr Amano said that the agency was continuing to closely follow developments in North Korea, or DPRK, and there were indications at the Yongbyon Experimental Nuclear Power Plant suggesting that the reactor was being operated, as well as activity at the Yongbyon Nuclear Fuel Rod Fabrication Plant.

He called on DPRK to “comply fully with its obligations under all relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council” and to “cooperate promptly” with the IAEA, to resolve all outstanding issues.

The agency has not had direct access to nuclear facilities in North Korea since inspectors were expelled from the country in 2009.

Mr Amano said a new team had been created in June to enhance IAEA’s ability to monitor the DPRK nuclear programme and prepare for a possible return to the country.

Nearly 1 in 5 children across Middle East and North Africa needs aid

Nearly one in five children across the Middle East and North Africa is in need of immediate humanitarian aid, and more than 90 per cent of them live in conflict areas.

That’s the grim assessment from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday.

Regional Director, Geert Cappelaere, said that conflict was continuing to “rob millions of girls and boys of their childhood.”

“Decades of progress are at risk” he added, and could easily be reversed if current trends continue.

UNICEF said that children had been hit hardest across North Africa and the Middle East by years of fighting, and lack of basic services.

Civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, water, sanitation facilities, and energy plants, had often come under attack.

Millions have been forced to flee their homes, some of them multiple times and under fire.

“The number of children affiliated with the fighting has more than doubled” added Mr Cappelaere, who said many families had no choice but to send their children to work or marry their daughters early.

Source: United Nations Radio