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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Afghanistan - Ethiopia

18 Oct 2021

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The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has started providing cash assistance to people in Kabul, Afghanistan, at heightened risk to boost their resilience. © UNHCR Afghanistan

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 18 October 2021

Afghanistan

The World Health Organization and UNICEF today announced the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccinations across Afghanistan for the first time in more than three years.

The campaign, which will resume on 8 November, targets more than 3.3 million children who have previously remained inaccessible to vaccination campaigns. A second nationwide polio vaccination campaign will be synchronized with Pakistan’s polio campaign in December.

Meanwhile, ahead of winter, the humanitarian community is scaling up to help thousands of families with cash aid, warm clothes, blankets, cash for rent and shelter repair. Needs assessments are ongoing countrywide. 

Aid distributions continue. Last week, more than 56,000 people in the east received urgent humanitarian assistance. This included 54,000 food insecure people who received food rations from the World Food Programme, and 2,100 internally displaced persons and 259 returnees.

Almost 39,000 people are in need of food aid in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces.

The Flash Appeal for Afghanistan seeking just over US$606 million to help 11 million people through the end of 2021 is 45 per cent funded.
 

Ethiopia

The UN has received alarming reports of aerial attacks this morning in residential areas of Tigray’s capital Mekelle. The UN is still verifying the details of the air strikes, but is deeply concerned about the potential impact on civilians who reside or work in the affected areas.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about civilians in northern Ethiopia following an intensification of conflict in multiple locations in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions over the past ten days.

The Secretary-General reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. This includes hundreds of humanitarian workers on the ground working tirelessly to provide life-saving assistance to millions of civilians caught up in the fighting. 

All parties to armed conflict must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the obligations of distinction, proportionality and precautions in and against the effects of attack.

The lack of essential supplies, especially cash and fuel, is severely disrupting humanitarian operations in Tigray, where at least 400,000 people are facing famine-like conditions. This is forcing the UN to reduce life-saving operations when people need them most, including food distributions, water distribution and health services.

In Amhara and Afar, the ability to reach people in dire need of assistance – including many who have been displaced multiple times – has been hampered by the escalation in fighting.

The UN urgently calls on all parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of relief supplies and aid personnel to all areas with humanitarian needs, including those affected by the recent fighting, including fuel and cash (without which humanitarians cannot do their work) and medicines, so that people who desperately need assistance can be reached.