HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNOUNCES CREATION OF U.N. MISSION AGAINST EBOLA
- The Secretary-General this afternoon is outlining the international action plan against the virus Ebola to the Security Council, including the creation of a UN Mission to respond to the epidemic and its consequences.
- On the ground, the situation remains extremely serious. According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, the total number of cases in West Africa is 5,335, with 2,622 deaths.
- In Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, increases in demand for Ebola Treatment Centre beds are continuing to outstrip capacity. In Monrovia alone, 1,210 beds are required and the current capacity stands at only 240 beds. In Sierra Leone, there are currently 165 beds for patients with Ebola, meeting just 25% of the actual national demand.
- Also today, on a related note, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it will receive 21.7 million dollars from the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to support the increasing need for food assistance in the three countries most affected by the epidemic.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has just deployed a Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team to Liberia for an initial period of four weeks, to provide support to national authorities and to the humanitarian system working in the country.
U.N. CHIEF IN AFGHANISTAN CALLS FOR UNITY GOVERNMENT LED BY CERTIFIED PRESIDENT
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, briefed the Security Council via VTC from Kabul this morning.
- Mr. Kubiš said that the current political deadlock is deepening a crisis which has already taken a heavy political, security and economic toll in the country. He added that the better way forward would be to form a government of national unity led by an elected President, as certified by the Independent Election Commission.
- Mr. Kubiš stressed that, in a government of national unity, there will be no losers, only partners.
- Mr. Kubiš told the Council that this will be his last briefing as Special Representative in Afghanistan, where he has served since January 2012.
SYRIA: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME RUNNING OUT OF FUNDS
- The World Food Programme (WFP) is warning that it is running out of funds to provide food for almost 6 million Syrians receiving its life-saving assistance. In Syria, the size of next month’s food ration will be reduced, and in neighbouring countries, the number of refugees receiving food or vouchers will be cut.
- WFP requires $352 million for its worldwide operations until the end of the year, including $95 million for its work inside Syria and $257 million to support refugees in neighbouring countries.
- Starting in October, the World Food Programme will continue to provide food to more than 4 million people in Syria, but the food parcel will be smaller, providing less than 60 percent of the nutritional value recommended in emergencies in October. The agency will have to cut parcels even more in November if it doesn’t have the funds. And for December, WFP has no funding available for programmes in Syria.
IN YEMEN’S AL JAWF, 1,500 FAMILIES DISPLACED BY CONTINUED FIGHTING
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that continued fighting in Al Jawf has displaced about 1,500 families since late July, and humanitarian assistance is covering the needs of about 1,200 families.
- Very limited new displacement has been reported in Al Jawf this week despite continued fighting, because nearly all civilians have already left the areas of conflict, which are sparsely populated.
- In Marib, where clashes continued yesterday and today, humanitarian partners estimate that about 300 families have been displaced by recent fighting, and no humanitarian assistance has reached these families to date. International organizations are wary of working in Marib due to serious security risks.
TWO NEW ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATORS APPOINTED IN U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
- The Secretary-General has appointed Magdy Martinez-Soliman of Spain as Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support in the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Mr. Martinez-Soliman is currently Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director, Bureau for Development Policy in UNDP.
- The Secretary-General also appointed Izumi Nakamitsu of Japan as Assistant Administrator and Director of the Crisis Response Unit in UNDP. Ms. Nakamitsu most recently served as Director, Asia and the Middle East Division of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
SRI LANKA: NO REQUEST FOR U.N. SUPPORT TO RECONCILIATION BUREAU
- The Department of Political Affairs has not received any request from Sri Lanka to provide assistance to their reconciliation bureau, the Spokesman said in reply to an earlier question.
- United Nations assistance to Member States is determined on the basis of consultation within the system. The Department provides technical expertise to Member States upon their request.