HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2017
 
U.N. AGENCIES STEPPING UP ASSISTANCE TO ROHINGYA REFUGEES IN BANGLADESH

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the movement of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh is the largest mass refugee movement in the region in decades. In total, more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees are now believed to be in Bangladesh.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that it is stepping up its delivery of life-saving aid to Rohingya refugees seeking shelter near two official camps in south-eastern Bangladesh.
  • The Agency is responding to a Government request to distribute plastic sheeting to as many people as possible to protect them from monsoon rains and winds.
  • UNHCR staff are working to organize a 2,000-acre camp for new arrivals, and it will be next to another camp, run by the Agency, which is home to Rohingya refugees who have arrived in previous decades.
  • UNHCR’s priority is to move as many of the newly-arrived refugees as possible into the new camp so that it can help the Government and other partners in protecting and helping them.
  • High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will be in Bangladesh tomorrow to see firsthand the scale of the crisis and to meet with refugees.
  • For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) has reached at least 385,000 people with food aid as of today. Together with its partners, WFP feeds more than 5,000 people daily.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the health situation on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, noting the difficulty of rolling out the emergency response due to the difficult terrain, heavy rains and the fact that refugees are dispersed. WHO says the main risk is related to water and sanitations, with poor conditions increasing the risk of vector- and water-borne diseases.
U.N. PROVIDES AID, SUPPORTS RECOVERY IN WAKE OF HURRICANES IRMA AND MARIA
  • Regarding hurricanes Irma and Maria, the United Nations continues to support both immediate needs and early recovery efforts.
  • We have now established a UN airbridge with Antigua, and today expect a shipment of tarpaulins and other essential items from our humanitarian warehouse in Panama City to the Island of Dominica.
  • WFP, UNICEF, IOM and FAO are sending teams to Dominica to both assess and kick start the response, with more agencies expected to follow.
  • In Barbuda, over 90 percent of buildings were destroyed by hurricane Irma, including all government premises, and Barbudans are temporarily living in neighbouring Antigua.
  • The Government kicked off debris removal efforts on Barbuda, with technical support from the UN Development Programme to build back better, as part of a UN-wide humanitarian-development strategy.
  • UNDP’s support includes dealing with hazardous medical waste, as well as environmental aspects, such as recycling and landfill management. Cash-for-work initiatives are to begin shortly to immediately inject needed cash in affected communities.
  • And in Cuba, as part of the national recovery plan with the Government, UNDP is supporting the recovery of over 215,000 houses severely damaged by hurricane Irma.
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN REMARKS TO GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA
  • The Secretary-General addressed the Group of 77 and China today, and noted his commitment to prevention in the UN’s work, adding, “it is necessary to always express clearly that the best means of prevention and of sustaining peace is inclusive and sustainable development.”
  • He reminded the Member States that in June, he put forward 38 concrete ideas and actions to reposition the UN development system. In the coming months, he will continue the dialogue and looks forward to working closely with the G77 and China as this process unfolds.
DARFUR: AFRICAN UNION-U.N. MISSION CALLS FOR RESTRAINT IN CLASHES BETWEEN DISPLACED PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT FORCES
  • The African Union – UN mission in Darfur, UNAMID, today expressed deep concern about clashes between government forces and internally displaced people residing at Kalma camp, in South Darfur, which have led to the death of at least three people and the wounding of 26 others.
  • The mission urges all parties to exercise utmost restraint. It is doing everything it can to deescalate the situation. A medical team from UNAMID is currently at Kalma camp to assist local authorities in treating the injured. The mission is engaging with the state government and leaders of the internally displaced people to peacefully resolve the issue.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY AND ARAB LEAGUE SIGN AGREEMENT TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES FACED BY REFUGEES
  • Today, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) signed an agreement with the League of Arab States to address the challenges faced by refugees in the Arab region.
  • The agreement was signed in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly and seeks to increase cooperation to respond to the needs of refugees in the Arab region by facilitating access to humanitarian support and emergency response services.
  • UNHCR estimates that more than half of the refugee population worldwide and some 40% of internally displaced persons are being hosted in the Arab region.
AMERICAS ELIMINATES MATERNAL AND NEONATAL TETANUS – AGENCIES
  • The Region of the Americas has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), a disease that used to be responsible for the deaths of more than 10,000 newborns every year in the region.
  • That’s according to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and UNICEF.
  • The elimination of the disease was declared this year in Haiti, which made it possible to reach the regional goal.
  • There are 16 countries worldwide that have yet to eliminate the disease.
URUGUAY PAYS FULL U.N. DUES
  • Uruguay has paid its regular budget dues in full, becoming the 132nd Member State to have done so.