HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2016
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF ATTACKS AGAINST CIVILIANS IN SYRIA
- The Secretary-General is appalled by reports of attacks that killed students and teachers in a school complex in Haas village, Idlib governorate, Syria on 26 October. If deliberate, this attack may amount to a war crime.
- The Secretary-General calls for immediate and impartial investigation of this and other similar attacks against civilians in Syria. If such horrific acts persist despite global outrage, it is largely because their authors, whether in corridors of power or in insurgent redoubts, do not fear justice. They must be proved wrong.
SYRIA: ALEPPO HAS BECOME A KILL ZONE – U.N. RELIEF CHIEF
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) informs that yesterday an inter-agency humanitarian convoy delivered much needed humanitarian assistance to Al-Waer neighbourhood in the Syrian city of Homs. The teams delivered food, health, water and sanitation and other emergency supplies for 70,000 people in the besieged neighbourhood. This is the tenth convoy to Al Waer this year, which was last reached with inter-agency humanitarian delivery on 26 September.
- Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien made a plea yesterday for the Security Council members to act to save the people of Aleppo, at a time when no UN assistance has entered the eastern part of that Syrian city in nearly four months.
- Mr. O’Brien told the Council that Aleppo has essentially become a kill zone, with 400 people having been killed and nearly 2,000 wounded in eastern Aleppo just in the past few weeks. The Emergency Relief Coordinator noted that the United Nations was ready to launch operations for medical evacuations from eastern Aleppo this past Sunday. However, objections by two non-State armed opposition groups, namely Ahrar as Sham and Nureddin Zenki, scuppered these plans.
IRAQ: NUMBER OF PEOPLE DISPLACED BY MOSUL OPERATION RISES TO 15,800 – U.N. RELIEF WING
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 15,800 people are internally displaced in Iraq since 17 October as a result of the ongoing Mosul operations.
- The displacement figures are likely to continue to fluctuate as the front lines move. Some displaced families choose to return home quickly, once conditions in their home town or village allow.
- Humanitarian partners continue to provide assistance to families in their areas of displacement, as well as in the towns and villages around Mosul where access allows.
SECRETARY-GENERAL’S OFFICE RECEIVES LETTER FROM BURUNDI ON WITHDRAWAL FROM INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
- In response to questions, the Spokesman confirmed that today the Secretary-General’s office received an official letter from Burundi indicating the country’s wish to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.
- The letter will go to the Legal Counsel’s Office and be studied and then processed, if it appears to be in order.
51 CASES OF CHOLERA CONFIRMED IN YEMEN, 1,180 SUSPECTED – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported 51 confirmed cases of cholera from nine governorates in Yemen, with more than 1,180 suspected cases. Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health has reported six laboratory confirmed deaths related to cholera in Sana'a, Aden and Ibb.
- WHO is estimating that 7.6 million people are living in affected and at risk areas.
- There are delays in confirming the suspected cases of cholera since there are only two laboratories in the country, one in Sana'a and one in Aden.
- Humanitarian partners continue to provide people with water supplies in the affected areas and improve water infrastructure.
SOUTHERN MADAGASCAR AT RISK OF LONG-TERM DEPENDENCE ON FOOD ASSISTANCE – U.N. AGENCIES
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are once again warning about the lasting impact of consecutive years of drought on crop production in southern Madagascar.
- They say some 1.4 million people are estimated to be food insecure in 2016/17, with nearly 850,000 people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
- To date out of the $22 million needed for FAO’s relief interventions, only $3.8 million have been secured.
- This funding is urgently needed to ensure farmers do not miss the coming planting season. Local agriculture must be restored to avoid long-term dependence on food assistance.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME CONCERNED ABOUT FOOD SECURITY IN MYANMAR’S RAKHINE STATE
- The World Food Programme (WFP) says that it is concerned about the potential deterioration of food security for people affected by recent violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State.
- WPF yesterday resumed its regular cash assistance for some 20,000 people in vulnerable households in the town of Buthidaung.
- It is on standby to resume its regular distributions of food for 17,000 pregnant women, nursing mothers and malnourished young children in the area.
- WFP is also ready to once again distribute food to an additional 50,000 people in Mangdaw Township once it becomes accessible.
OVER 1 MILLION PEOPLE IN LOW AND MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRIES TREATED WITH CURE FOR HEPATITIS C – U.N. REPORT
- Over one million people in low- and middle-income countries have been treated with a revolutionary new cure for hepatitis C since its introduction two years ago, says a report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO), “Global Report on Access to Hepatitis C Treatment: Focus on Overcoming Barriers”.
- When Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) were first approved for hepatitis C treatment in 2013, there were widespread fears that their high price - some US$85,000 - would put them out of reach for the more than 80 million people with chronic hepatitis C infections worldwide.
- But thanks to a series of access strategies including competition from generic medicines through licensing agreements, local production and price negotiations, a range of low- and middle-income countries, are beginning to succeed in getting drugs to people who need them.
SECRETARY-GENERAL THANKS JEAN TODT AND MICHELLE YEOH FOR MOBILIZATION ON ROAD SAFETY
- The Secretary-General spoke last night at the Humanitarian Awards Dinner for the United Nations Association of New York.
- The Association honored Jean Todt, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, and Michelle Yeoh, a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.
- Noting that accidents on the roads kill more than one million people and affect tens of millions more each year, the Secretary-General said that the two honorees have mobilized sustained commitment towards road safety.
- He said that as a former racing champion, Mr. Todt is a competitor to his core and that now he is competing to save lives, while Ms. Yeoh is a powerful advocate for road safety through the Safe Steps and the Make Roads Safe campaigns.