HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 11 JANUARY 2019
 

YEMEN
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, today announced that $32 million will be allocated from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help scale up life-saving operations in Yemen.
The funds will allow WFP to ramp up humanitarian logistical operations, including increases in humanitarian air cargo, transport more humanitarian workers, provide more accommodation spaces, including in Hodeidah, and expand emergency telecommunications.
The funds will also support the work of UN agencies, as well as NGOs engaged in the humanitarian relief operations.
Mr. Beasley said that the World Food Programme is going to help 12 million people a month, up from 8 million currently.
Mr. Lowcock said that, to avert the worst in Yemen, all parties to the conflict must facilitate rapid unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need.
They both welcomed the recent decisions taken in Sana’a to provide more visas for humanitarian workers, to investigate allegations of theft of food aid and to punish those responsible, as well as to ban the sale of food aid intended for Yemenis with no income, and to put in place more effective targeting and monitoring systems.
 
SYRIA
The Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, had good meetings with the International Syria Support Group task forces yesterday, focusing on humanitarian issues in Rukban, Idlib and the Northeast. He remains committed to the protection of civilians and expressed deep concern about the attacks on humanitarians. He said he was pleased to hear from Russia and Turkey on their sustained commitment to maintaining stability in Idlib.
As directed by the Secretary-General, the Special Envoy continues his consultations with concerned parties within and outside of Syria towards a peaceful solution and the implementation of Security Council resolution 2254.
Today, the UN Refugee Agency said it is deeply concerned by reports of mounting civilian casualties – including many women and children – and large-scale civilian displacement amid renewed fighting in the Hajin enclave in Deir Ezzour governorate in the eastern part of the country. Over the past six months, clashes and airstrikes in the southeast part of the governorate forced about 25,000 people to flee. As well as the women and children, many elderly people are at risk.
An estimated that 2,000 people remain in the conflict-affected area of Hajin. Those fleeing report increasingly desperate conditions with diminishing services and extremely high prices for basic foods. We are all worried for civilians who continue to be trapped in the Da’esh-held areas.
 
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
This morning, the head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Leila Zerrougui, briefed Security Council members following yesterday’s announcement of the provisional election results. Focusing on the ongoing electoral process, which she said was in the final stretch, she commended the Congolese people for exercising their democratic right to vote and for their commitment to the political process.
The Secretary-General’s Representative said the coming days would be critical to the conclusion of the historic electoral process, adding she will continue to engage with all Congolese stakeholders to reinforce the need for calm and recourse to established judicial procedures.  
 
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) says that it is conducting an operation to restore order in Bambari, in Ouaka Prefecture, in coordination with the Central African Republic’s own security forces.
The operation was launched yesterday in response to ongoing attacks by the armed group, Union pour la paix en Centrafrique, against the local population and peacekeepers.
UN troops seized weapons and lethal equipment and removed barricades.
The Mission strongly condemns violence against civilians and calls on all parties to engage in dialogue, especially within the context of the upcoming African Union peace talks in Khartoum on 24 January.
 
LIBYA
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria Ribeiro, today expressed deep concern over the escalation of hostilities in the eastern city of Derna and the consequent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in parts of the city.
Intense fighting recently has reportedly resulted in substantial civilian casualties in Derna and the deterioration of infrastructure and services, as well as the civilian population lacking access to basic needs including food, water and urgent lifesaving medical care for the wounded.
Ms. Ribeiro called for unconditional, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to the affected civilians in the old city and urged all parties to the conflict to respect and take all measures to protect civilians and civilian facilities, and to strictly follow to their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.
 
UKRAINE
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, says she is concerned about three water workers being injured after their car came under fire in the country’s east.
Ms. Lubrani said it was unacceptable that water workers face lethal risks in carrying out their normal duties in ensuring that water continues to flow to millions of people.
This latest incident brings to 11 the total number of water workers injured in the past nine months.
Ms. Lubrani stressed that any targeting of civilian workers or infrastructure, or intentional disruption of access to water supply and heating systems, is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law.