Protests have erupted in India following the Indian Parliament’s passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The bill provides a pathway to citizenship for those from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities who fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. India’s Muslim community claims the law violates the constitutional guarantee of legal equality by excluding Muslim refugees.
Protests have spread across the country resulting in violence between protestors and police forces, specially across universities. Six people have been killed, more than 200 injured and thousands have been detained.
The government has banned public gatherings in several areas of the country and extended an internet shutdown, which covers large sections of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and New Delhi. The military was deployed to quell protests, and curfews have been implemented in several states. Transportation networks have been severely disrupted, especially in New Delhi, and schools and shops closed temporarily.
The number of polio cases in the Philippines continues to rise since the declaration of a national outbreak in September and a first case of transmission across the national border to Malaysia has been detected. As of 11 December, there are nine confirmed human polio cases of circulating vaccine derived polio type 2 (cVDPV2), all from Mindanao island (BARMM and Region XII).
In addition, the Philippines is now also affected by an outbreak of circulating vaccine derived polio type 1 (cVDPV1) detected in environmental samples in Manila. A child from Basilan, BARMM, has been infected with vaccine derived polio type 1 (VDPV1). This virus has spread to Malaysia where a child in Sabah State diagnosed with polio has been confirmed to have been infected by a virus (cVDPV1) genetically linked to the case in Basilan. Malaysia had been declared polio-free along with the Philippines and other countries in the Western Pacific region in 2000.
Horn of Africa
A locust outbreak in the Horn of Africa causes loss of crops and pastures and threatens the livelihoods of farmers and cattle owners.
In Somalia, at least 70,000 hectares of land have been infested so far, primarily in Gadung, Puntland, and Somaliland, where staple food crops and pastures are affected. More than 650,000 people are projected to be facing IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or higher levels of food insecurity across the three regions between October and December 2019.
In Ethiopia, locust presence has been reported in the regions of Afar, Amhara, Dire-Dawa, Oromia, Somali, and Tigray in the last two months. About 196,000 people in Tigray and more than 500,000 people in Amhara are projected to be on IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and Phase 4 (Emergency) between October and January 2020.
Crop losses have also been reported in Djibouti, in the regions of Arta, Ali-Sabieh, and Dikhil. Large swarms have migrated from Ethiopia to Eritrea, where they have been controlled. While control operations are ongoing, favourable for breeding environmental conditions are expected in early 2020. There is a risk of the pest spreading to Kenya, South Sudan, and Sudan.