Pacific 

India: Migrant workers’ plight prompts UN call for ‘domestic solidarity’ in coronavirus battle

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that she was distressed by the plight of the informal migrant workers affected, many of whom were, in effect, forced to leave the cities where they worked at just a few hours’ notice, unable to pay for rent or food. “The lockdown in India represents a massive logistical and implementation challenge given the population size and its density and we all hope the spread of the virus can be checked,” said UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet. And while welcoming steps to…

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Pacific 

‘Defining moment’ in Afghanistan requires leaders to work together, top UN official tells Security Council

Ingrid Hayden, also Officer-in-Charge at the UN mission in the country, UNAMA, reported that despite international engagement, President Ashraf Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah remain at loggerheads over the outcome of the presidential election held in September. “Afghanistan appears to be reaching a defining moment. Almost two decades after the start of the coalition intervention, the question for the Islamic Republic now is: can its leaders rally together to engage in meaningful talks with the Taliban to achieve a sustainable peace?”, she asked. “The choice is made stark by the…

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Pacific 

First Person: Humankind’s ‘modern mentality to tame’ the environment: A volcanologist’s view

Ken Rubin is a professor of volcanology and geochemistry specializing in volcanoes and sea level change. Based in the Department of Earth Sciences at te University of Hawaii, he travels the world to observe active and dormant volcanoes, both on the land and beneath the sea. “In my work, I look at specifically at how volcanic eruptions impact populations. It doesn’t have to be human populations; it could be marine communities that live in and around the submarine volcanoes.  When I’m studying volcanoes on land, I focus mostly on understanding…

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Pacific 

UN helps Pacific prepare for COVID-19 pandemic, warns that children are ‘hidden victims’

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been busy providing vital supplies to Pacific Island governments, including more than 170,000 essential medical and laboratory items.  “UNICEF will continue working with governments and our partners throughout the Pacific to stop transmission of the virus, and to keep children and their families safe”, said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. Assistance has been delivered according to their current needs, along with communication materials to inform the public about the symptoms of COVID-19, how to treat someone feeling unwell…

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Pacific 

First Person: Hawaii’s ‘silver tsunami’: the challenge of caring for kupuna elders

Diane Paloma is the CEO of Lunalilo Home and the King William Charles Lunalilo Trust which cares for elderly people in Honolulu, the capital of the US state of Hawaii. Some 80 residents and day-care clients are looked after at Lunalilo, which was established in 1883 following a bequest by King William Charles Lunalilo, the first of a long line of Hawaiian kings to be formally elected by the island’s people. “I’m like the Jackie of all trades and master of none! I oversee the Trust’s investment portfolio and coordinate…

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Pacific 

First Person: Heartbreak and hope – one doctor’s story from China’s coronavirus ground zero

Since the original outbreak of the coronavirus in Hubei, China, at the end of January, 346 medical teams, from 29 Provinces in China, have been sent to Hubei to save lives, aiding local medical teams. The hospital that Xiang oversees, the Yifu Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, got notification to go on the mission, on 24 January, just before Chinese New Year, the most important time for people to return home and reunite with family. This is an edited and translated version of the interview conducted by our colleagues…

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Pacific 

Migrants in Hawaii care for the elderly, the aloha way

It’s three o’clock in the afternoon at the Lunalilo Home, a residential and day care centre for elderly people nestling at the foot of a dormant volcano on the outskirts of Honolulu, the capital of the US state of Hawaii. Novena Sanchez, originally from the Philippines, busies herself looking after the kupuna, the Hawaiian term for older people, who have gathered in the home’s communal room for an afternoon of activities.  Ms. Sanchez came to the United States some 22 years ago after training as a nurse in the Philippines.…

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Pacific 

First Person: two months of COVID-19 confinement in Wuhan

When the shutdown happened it felt a little sudden, because it began on January 23, the same day I came to my parents’ home for a visit. In fact, there was no time to respond. I felt the epidemic was very serious at that time, but I didn’t anticipate how long it would last. At that time, I thought that the lockdown would probably last for a few weeks.  As time went on, the lockdown become more and more strict. In the first week or two, residents could go out…

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Pacific 

Gunmen kills 25 at Afghan temple, UN chief calls for accountability 

As Sikh worshipers gathered for morning prayers, news reports said that Islamic State militants stormed the temple, where attackers killed a guard and caused people to flee for shelter before a lengthy siege that turned dozens into hostages and left 25 dead, including a child. “Attacks against civilians are unacceptable and those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable”, the Secretary-General reiterated in a statement. He expressed his “deepest sympathies” to the victims’ families and wished the injured “a speedy recovery”.   “The United Nations stands in solidarity…

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Pacific 

Reaching ‘beyond the possible’ in Hawaii to meet sustainability goals

UN News travelled to the island archipelago, as part of an International Labour Organization (ILO) project, called Dignity at Work, and spoke to the Governor of Hawaii, David Ige Why are the Sustainable Development Goals important to Hawaii? Hawaii is the most isolated island community on the planet, 2,500 miles from the nearest landmass, and we see the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise in a real way. These impacts are happening virtually every day. In the last five years, we’ve had at least five “500-year events”; events that…

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