16 October 2009United Nations humanitarian officials today voiced concerns for the health and living conditions of tens of thousands of Angolan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as the two countries engage in retaliatory expulsions of each other’s citizens. Between 20,000 and 40,000 Angolans have massed in DRC’s Bas-Congo province near the Lufu and Kuzi border posts, and the concentration of people in such a small area poses health and sanitation concerns, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).Earlier this week OCHA deployed an inter-agency mission to Bas-Congo province to assess the conditions for the people expelled, with the concern greatest for Angolans expelled from the Cataractes district of Bas-Congo.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) complained to the Congolese Government about the expulsion of the Angolans and was assured that the forced moves would stop. The Angolan Government has also announced it has temporarily suspended expulsions of Congolese living in its territory.But OCHA said that humanitarian officials in the region are continuing to follow developments closely so they can respond quickly if the expulsions resume.Angola expelled about 2,000 people to the DRC in the first half of the year but the process has accelerated since then, with about 17,000 further expulsions in the past three months, and authorities in the DRC responding with their own expulsions.
IRISH RESEARCHER DR Colm J Ryan has been announced as the recipient of the Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellowship fund worth €300,000.It offers funding opportunities for young researchers who are in the final year of their PhD studies or have no more than one year of postdoctoral research experience.Dr Ryan’s research at UCD will focus on the progression of cancer treatments through the identification of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer cells.A major challenge in cancer therapeutics is to kill tumour cells without harming other cells in the body.This cancer research will focus on understanding how genetic differences between tumour cells and healthy cells can be exploited to address this challenge.Dr Ryan said: I am delighted to be awarded this fellowship as it offers me the freedom and financial support to research why a particular type of personalised cancer treatment, known as synthetic lethality, might work in some individuals but not in others.“During the fellowship I will collaborate with some of the leading experts in the field, in labs in multiple countries, to address this important question.”Chief Executive at the Health Research Board Dr Graham Love said, “Personalised medicine is a hot, promising field.Hats off to Colm for coming through a gruelling selection process. His success highlights the level of research talent here in Ireland.Read: Using your mobile 15 hours a month may triple your risk of brain cancer>Read: Cancer patients forced from their own countries can’t access treatment>