HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 17 AUGUST 2017
U.N. OFFICIAL DEEPLY CONCERNED BY BLOCKAGE OF AID TO YEMENIS IN NEED
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, today expressed his deep concern his deep concern over the continuing obstruction to the timely provision of aid to people in need.
- He said that, for months, humanitarian partners have experienced delays by authorities in Sana’a to facilitate the entry of aid workers into Yemen; interference in the delivery of aid and the choice of implementing partners; and hijacking of aid vehicles.
- Mr. McGoldrick also noted that there have been increased incidents where aid was diverted from the intended beneficiaries in areas under the control of the Sana’a authorities.
- He also said that, as basic social services in Yemen are near collapse, there is mounting pressure on aid agencies to expand the humanitarian response.
- But he stressed that ensuring unhindered humanitarian access is essential to save the lives of those who depend on assistance, particularly as Yemen is facing an unprecedented cholera crisis and more than seven million people are at risk of famine.
- Mr. McGoldrick urged all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to facilitate the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance in areas under their control.
- The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said today that the cholera outbreak in Yemen is putting some 1.1 million malnourished pregnant women in the country at risk.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women are especially vulnerable to malnutrition, making them more prone to contracting cholera, which in turn gives them a higher risk of developing dangerous or even fatal complications.
- UNFPA’s efforts to respond to the outbreak has focused on the needs of women and girls, supporting midwives, mobile clinics, and community outreach sessions providing information about how to control the spread of cholera.
- Mobile reproductive health clinics are providing nutrition counselling, screening and referral of malnourished mothers and babies in remote and hard-to-reach area.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N.-BACKED APPEAL REVISED UPWARDS TO NEARLY $500 MILLION
- The humanitarian community and the Government of the Central African Republic have jointly launched the revised 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan today, seeking $497 million to respond to humanitarian needs across the country.
- The number of people needing humanitarian assistance now reaches 2,4 million, as a result of the upsurge of violence that has been affecting several parts of the country since January.
- The number of internally displaced people has increased to 600,000, a figure last reached in January 2013, at the height of the crisis.
- Hotspots have multiplied during this period and regions which used to be peaceful have sunk into violence.
- In cities such as Zémio and Kaga Bandoro, humanitarian assistance is delayed and activities have been limited to strictly lifesaving ones, due to limited access and insecurity.
- The humanitarian situation around Bangassou continues to deteriorate while in Bria, it remains very tense, with the Muslim community threatening to march toward the PK3 IDPs site to confront the Anti-balaka elements following the killing of one of their members.
- This has created a wave of panic in the population and movements between the city center and the PK3 site have been suspended.
IN SUDAN, SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO COUNTRY’S GENEROSITY IN HOSTING REFUGEES
- The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, paid his first official visit in his current role to Sudan this week, at a time when refugees continue to flee the brutal conflict in South Sudan.
- He called on the international community to recognize Sudan’s long-standing tradition of hosting refugees and asked for more support for the country.
- He stressed that South Sudanese refugees are able to benefit from the Government‘s extension of certain freedoms, including to work and move, and also receive generous support from host communities.
- Sudan has hosted over 416,000 South Sudanese refugees since 2013, including some 170,000 new arrivals in 2017, making it one of the largest refugee-receiving countries in the region.
- Sudan also continues to host refugees from Eritrea, Syria, Yemen, Chad and other countries.
AS NUMBER OF SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEES IN UGANDA REACHES 1 MILLION, U.N. REFUGEE CALLS FOR STEPPED UP SUPPORT
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is today reiterating its call to the international community for urgent additional support for the South Sudan refugee situation in Uganda in particular, where the number of refugees from South Sudan has now reached 1 million.
- Over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda every day, with more than 85 per cent being women and children.
- For Uganda, US$674 million is needed for South Sudanese refugees this year, but so far only a fifth of this amount has been received.
- The funding shortfall is now significantly impacting the abilities to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services. In June, the World Food Programme (WFP) was forced to cut food rations for refugees.
U.N. AGENCY, TANZANIA ISSUE JOINT CALL FOR PROTECTION OF REFUGEES, ASYLUM-SEEKERS
- In a joint statement following a High-level Dialogue last week, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Government of Tanzania called for the continued protection of refugees and asylum-seekers while supporting host communities.
- They also agreed on the importance of re-doubling efforts to seek solutions, such as finalizing the naturalization process for the remaining 1972 Burundi refugees, assisting refugees who wish to voluntarily return to their countries of origin and advocating for resettlement to third countries.
SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED FOR U.N. YOUNG CHAMPIONS OF THE EARTH PRIZE
- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced a shortlist of regional finalists for its Young Champions of the Earth prize – a global competition to identify, support and celebrate outstanding individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 with big ideas to protect the environment.
- 30 regional finalists were selected for having the most innovative, scalable and potentially impactful ideas and the public is encouraged to go to UNEP’s website to view and rate each of the finalists’ proposal and vote for their favourite. Informed by public opinion, a global jury will select six Young Champions in early September.
U.N. TO MARK WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY TOMORROW
- Tomorrow morning, the Secretary-General will speak at an event held at UN Headquarters in New York to mark World Humanitarian Day, which is on Saturday.
- To mark the Day, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) launched the #NotATarget online campaign to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are not a target and demand that world leaders do everything their power to protect civilians in conflict. The campaign follows on the Secretary-General’s report on protection of civilians, which was launched earlier this year.