Daily Brief: Syria, South Sudan and occupied Palestinian territory

19 January, 2016
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SYRIA: Yesterday's inter-agency convoy

  • On 18 January, the United Nations, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered food and medical supplies to Zabadani and fuel to Madaya and Foah/Kafraya.
  • The convoy to Zabadani carried WFP food parcels, wheat flour, high energy biscuits and ICRC-provided health supplies, as well as 10,000L of fuel for Madaya and Foah/Kafraya.
  • The joint UN/ICRC/SARC team had to postpone the mission to Foah/Kafraya upon receipt of reports from armed groups that more time was needed to finalize security arrangements in areas under their control. As a result, the joint team returned to Damascus after reaching the Qalaat Al-Maadiq checkpoint. In parallel, medical and nutrition teams were not able to enter Madaya despite lengthy negotiations. Such incidents highlight the continuous access challenges in Syria.
  • UN and partners will continue efforts to reach besieged and hard-to-reach areas throughout Syria in order to assess conditions and facilitate the safe delivery of neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian assistance, including surgical supplies.
  • We continue to call for sustained and impeded access and the lifting of all sieges so that we can provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people in need.

SOUTH SUDAN: Humanitarian appeal for US $1.3 billion for South Sudan crisis

  • Aid agencies in South Sudan today launched the humanitarian appeal for 2016 calling for US $1.3 billion to provide vital assistance to 5.1 million people in the country.
  • "We are in a race against time to ensure that the most desperate and vulnerable across South Sudan are reached with life-saving protection and assistance before it is too late,” said Eugene Owusu, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan. “We must act now and we need the international community’s support to do so.”
  • More than 2.3 million people in South Sudan – one in every five - have been forced to flee their homes since conflict began. This includes nearly 1.7 million internally displaced people and about 640,000 refugees in neighbouring countries.
  • Hunger and malnutrition is widespread. Some 3.9 million people in South Sudan - one in every three people - were severely food insecure, as of September 2015. In addition, an estimated 230,000 children under five are severely malnourished out of more than 680,000 acutely malnourished children, according to official statistics.
  • In 2015, more than 4.4 million people across South Sudan, including in some of the most remote locations, were reached with humanitarian assistance.
  • The full press release can be viewed at bit.ly/1T1toBW

OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY: HC and UNRWA on concerns for Palestinian Bedouin community

  • Today, the Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Robert Piper, and the Director of UNRWA Operations West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, called for an immediate end to Israeli plans to transfer Palestinian Bedouin currently living within the occupied Palestinian territory in the Jerusalem area.
  • They visited the Palestinian Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar, the site of recent demolitions and aid confiscations by the Israeli authorities, and among 46 communities located in the central West Bank slated for transfer to three designated sites away from their current location.
  • Twenty-six Palestine refugees, among them 18 children, including four with disabilities, were displaced on 6 January 2016 following the destruction of their homes, and other basic structures. On 10 and 14 January 2016, Israeli authorities confiscated eight donor-funded residential tents that had been provided to the families as post-demolition humanitarian response.
  • “The destruction of property in this manner and the denial of donor-funded assistance to vulnerable Palestinian communities is unacceptable,” said Mr. Piper. “Under international law, Israel is responsible for meeting the needs of Palestinians living under its occupation and for facilitating humanitarian assistance, not for obstructing aid and pressuring residents to leave so that Israeli settlements can expand.”