Press Release: Use of chemical weapons in Aleppo city marks ‘new normal’ for Syria (11.08.2016)

Aleppo Syria

Washington, DCYesterday, the Aleppo Health Directorate confirmed a chemical attack on the Zabadiya neighborhood in eastern Aleppo City. Two children and their mother were killed in the attack. Initial reports recorded roughly 50 cases of victims exhibiting symptoms that have led physicians to believe a choking agent, such as chlorine, was used. The chemical agent was reportedly delivered by helicopter in a barrel bomb. This attack follows at least 58 other chlorine attacks after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2209 in March 2015, which condemned the use of chlorine gas as a weapon in Syria.

Sama, Mohammad, and their mother were the three victims killed in the attack. The three died of suffocation from chemical agents. A video online from shows the death of Mohammad after failed resuscitation.

SAMS previously documented 161 chemical attacks in Syria from the beginning of the conflict through the end of 2015, which lead to the deaths of at least 1,491 people. 77% of these attacks occurred after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2118, which created a framework for the destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles. 2015 had the most chemical weapons attacks of any year to date in Syria, with 69 attacks, showing an escalation in the use of chemical weapons as a tactic of war in Syria.

The use of chemical weapons in Syria with impunity for perpetrators continues to erode the international norm against the use of chemical weapons, spurring the ongoing use of chemical weapons and creating a “new normal.” Medical personnel and facilities no longer wonder if, but when, a chemical attack will occur. This attack and all others are violations of humanitarian and human rights law. The international community must take a more active role in civilian protection and take substantive action to enforce its own resolutions, most notably Resolutions 2118, 2209, and 2235.

For media requests, please contact SAMS’s Communications & Program Information Coordinator, Caroline Philhower at caroline.philhower@sams-usa.net.

Katakwi district lacks vaccinations for deadly Hepatitis B (Youtube-Clip)

“Katakwi district is one of the slow growing in Uganda and poor service delivery is one of the reasons. Now, this background has led to the fast spread of Hepatitis B in this Eastern district which according to locals and their leaders steals more than 5 lives every month” (NTV Uganda, 2016)

Footage: Two days ago, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa teams entered besieged ‪‎Daraya‬, Syria for the first time in four years.

WHO Press release: Ebola in West Africa: 12 months on (15.1.2015)

Note for the media
15 January 2015

One year after the first Ebola cases started to surface in Guinea, WHO is publishing this series of 14 papers that take an in-depth look at West Africa’s first epidemic of Ebola virus disease.

The papers explore reasons why the disease evaded detection for several months and the factors, many specific to West Africa, that fuelled its subsequent spread.

The most extensive papers trace events in each of the 3 most severely affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These countries shared many common challenges, shaped by geography, culture, and poverty, but each also faced, addressed and sometimes solved some unique problems.

Key events are set out chronologically, starting with the child who is believed to be the index case of this epidemic through to the Director-General’s commitment to steadfastly support affected countries until they reach zero cases.

The report also looks back at WHO’s response over the past 12 months, including the 9 August declaration of an international health emergency. It documents the many challenges faced by countries and the international community in dealing with the largest, longest, most severe, and most complex Ebola outbreak in history.

Throughout the report, the contributions of national governments and their many partners weave in, as does the great human misery caused by a terrible and terrifying disease.

Other papers provide insight into:

  • how the fast-track development of Ebola vaccines, treatments and rapid diagnostic tests is progressing, with no compromise of safety and efficacy standards;
  • how Senegal, Nigeria and likely Mali managed to contain imported cases and bring their own outbreaks under control;
  • the state of worldwide vigilance and preparedness, especially in countries targeted by WHO as being at greatest risk of an imported case.

The report also looks ahead. Based on what was learned during the previous year, what critical strategies and interventions will give countries and their partners the best chance of bringing the outbreaks under control?

WHO media contacts:

Gregory Hartl
Communications Officer
Telephone: +41 22 791 4458
Mobile: +41 79 203 6715
Email: hartlg@who.int

Tarik Jasarevic
Communications Officer
Telephone: +41 22 791 50 99
Mobile: +41 79 367 62 14
E-mail: jasarevict@who.int