The Sahel, North Korea, Ethiopia.
Today's three stories you should know.
A mammoth 18 million people could face severe hunger in Africa’s Sahel region over the next three months, the UN has warned. As mentioned in several previous newsletters, the western Sahel has for years been the center of a conflict between the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and armed groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS. The fighting had already caused a humanitarian crisis but the UN says it has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine’s impact on global food prices.
More from UN News here.
US President Joe Biden says North Korea, struggling with a surging outbreak of Covid, has not responded to a US offer of vaccines. At least 2.5 million people have contracted the virus, according to state media, and the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has publicly accused officials of an incompetent response. The offer from the US puts Kim in a bit of a bind. Though North Korea is believed to have next to no vaccines or tests, Kim often trumpets to the public that the nation is fully self-sufficient.
More from BBC here.
Ethiopia’s TPLF rebels announced today that they were releasing 4,000 prisoners of war as a “confidence-building” measure. The group has been locked in a brutal war with the Ethiopian government for more than 18 months; a conflict that has been marked by extra-judicial killings and widespread sexual violence. The move is likely also aimed at persuading the authorities to allow more food aid into the Tigray region, which is held by the rebels and under a government-imposed blockade.
More from Al Jazeera here.