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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

SPOKESPERSON’S DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 28 DECEMBER 2011

The noon briefings will resume on 3 January 2011.

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS UNDERWAY IN THE PHILIPPINES

·        Emergency operations in shelter, water and sanitation food, and logistics, are underway on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines in the week after flash flooding caused by Tropical Storm Washi washed away entire villages.

·        The tropical storm, known locally as Sendong, sent torrents of water, mud and logs cascading through villages and two major cities on 17 December, destroying nearly 13,000 houses and displacing more some 400,000 people. The death toll stands at 1,249 and many remain missing.

·        Four-days after the disaster struck, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos announced the allocation of US$3 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to respond to the most urgent needs immediately.

·        The acting Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Dr. Soe Nyunt-U, said without the CERF, urgent UN interventions would not have started. “Even though this is one of the country’s worst natural disasters in two decades, it happened a few days before Christmas when many donors are on holidays and offices are closed.”

SITUATION AT CAMP NEW IRAQ (FORMERLY CAMP ASHRAF)

·        In response to questions received about reported rocket attacks on or near Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) in Iraq, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has indicated that it is not in a position to independently verify these various reports as the mission does not have a presence at the camp aside from its periodic visits.

·        With regard to reports that the relocation of some camp residents has already begun, these reports are not accurate. The transfer has not begun. The relocation site has to be prepared first by the Government of Iraq as stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding reached on 25 December. The UN is ready to undertake its activities as stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding as soon as the Government of Iraq preparations are finalized. 

UN ENVOY TO LIBYA VISITS YEFREN AND AL-ZINTAN

  • United Nations envoy to Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Mr. Ian Martin continued his series of visits to Libyan towns and areas. On Saturday, he visited Al-Zintan and Yefren in the Nafousa Mountain, where he met with members of the local and military councils and representatives of Libyan civil society, youth and women organizations. 
  • During those meetings, Mr. Martin exchanged views with his interlocutors on ways in which the Mission and UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes in Libya can assist Libyans face the challenges of its transition. Among challenges stressed were preparations for the elections, integrating rebel fighters into Ministries of Defence and Interior forces and other civilian jobs, restoring public security, human rights protection and transitional justice and enhancing participation of Libyan civil society in the national dialogue. He said, “Certainly the United Nations here in Libya will always be open to hear the views of civil society.” 
  • He highlighted that all issues and concerns raised by his interlocutors will be decided upon by the Libyans themselves: “Libyans have made this revolution and Libyans will now make the new Libya.” At the same time, he added, the United Nations brings its standards and principles to any work it does, and one of those principles is the importance of civil society and of the accountability and transparency of authorities to civil society. Other principles that we bring are the importance of inclusion, the empowerment of women and full respect for minorities and indigenous people within any society.
  • The delegation visited the headquarters of the local councils in Yefren and Al-Zintan, as well as the local hospitals and youth exhibitions. 

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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