UNICEF staffer released after being abducted in southern Somalia

A staff member of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was released today after being abducted by armed men in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia on Wednesday.UNICEF said that Robert McCarthy, aged 47, had been released unharmed into the custody of UN security staff and members of the Somali Transitional Federal Government.“We are very relieved that Mr. McCarthy has been released unharmed and thank the Transitional Federal Government for demonstrating leadership in this critical time,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, who was in Kenya and greeted Mr. McCarthy’s wife and two of their children.Armed men abducted Mr. McCarthy on 1 March on the outskirts of Afmadow, which is 110 kilometres northwest of Kismayo in the Lower Juba region of this strife-torn Horn of Africa country.UNICEF has around 200 staff working for its Somalia operation and of these, about 75 are based at the agency’s Somalia Support Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya and the rest inside Somalia. About 30 international staff work for UNICEF Somalia.UNICEF has been operating in Somalia since 1972 and, following the collapse of the Government in 1991, it has continued to render services to children and women, working with local administrations where they exist, Somali communities, local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other UN agencies to help deliver services. read more

FROM THE FIELD Plastic pollution choking worlds oceans

In November 2017, Saeed Rashid from the United Kingdom was taking photos during a dive on a reef in the Egyptian Red Sea when he came across a female hawksbill turtle that had swallowed a plastic bag and was, as a result, unable to eat.The turtle probably mistook the floating plastic bag for a jellyfish which hawksbills typically eat.It is just one example of how discarded plastic items are choking the marine ecosystem.On World Oceans Day, marked annually on 8 June, the UN and its partners are raising awareness about the destructive force of plastic pollution across the globe.To read more about Saeed Rashid’s turtle rescue exploits and his awakening, as well the global fight against plastic pollution go to: https://unworldoceansday.org/spotlight-article/plastic-planet.