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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Afghanistan - Ethiopia - Mozambique - Syria

31 Mar 2021

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A young patient receives medical treatment at the trauma centre of a hospital in Jalalabad, Afghanistan (2019). © OCHA/Charlotte Cans

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 31 March 2021

Afghanistan

OCHA reports that three female polio campaign workers were killed yesterday in Nangarhar Province in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

The deadly attack has been condemned by UNICEF, WHO and the Deputy Special Representative/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock further condemned the brutal attack against aid and health workers, who are at the front line providing life-saving vaccination for children. Mr. Lowcock extended his condolences to the families of the victims. He said aid workers should never be a target and must be protected at all times.

The UN and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative remain committed to supporting the Government and people of Afghanistan in continuing their important work to eradicate polio.

Afghanistan continues to be one of the most difficult places in the world for humanitarian workers to operate. Last year, 23 aid workers were killed, 53 were wounded and 110 were abducted.

Almost half the population of Afghanistan needs humanitarian assistance this year due to conflict, natural disasters and COVID-19. The Humanitarian Response Plan aims to reach 15.7 million people and requires US$1.3 billion but is only 6 per cent funded.

 

Ethiopia

OCHA reports that the humanitarian situation in Tigray remains extremely dire.

Access in parts of southern and south-eastern Tigray has been curtailed for over a month and the road from Alamata to Mekelle remains closed, blocking humanitarian response in the area. An estimated 2.5 million people in rural areas have not had access to essential services over the past four months.

The UN continues to receive concerning reports of attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including looting and vandalization of health centres and schools, as well as several cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

The conflict continues to drive massive displacement across the region, with tens of thousands of people arriving in Shire, Axum and Adwa over the past weeks.

The UN, along with its humanitarian partners, is scaling up the response and has assisted more than 1 million people with food baskets. More than 146,000 displaced people have received emergency shelter and vital relief items, and distribution is ongoing for nearly 60,000 people. More than 630,000 people have received clean water.

To date, 67 per cent of the targeted woredas have been accessed through 50 mobile health teams, compared with 25 per cent last month.

The response is, however, still inadequate to reach all estimated 4.5 million people who need life-saving assistance. The UN urgently needs more funding to make sure it can urgently assist affected people.

 

Mozambique

The escalation of violence in Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique continues to drive massive displacement, following the recent attack by non-State armed groups and ongoing clashes reported in Palma since 24 March. The security situation is still volatile and concerning.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has already registered approximately 8,000 people at arrival points in Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez and Pemba districts. Thousands more have arrived today in Pemba and other areas of Cabo Delgado.

The UN has information that hundreds of people are still trying to leave Palma right now and thousands are making their way by foot, boat and road, and some are being rescued by the UN Humanitarian Air Services and other groups of civil society.

A full-scale humanitarian response will be needed to address the most immediate needs of people fleeing.

The UN agencies and partners continue to mobilize resources to assist affected people. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is pre-positioning birthing kits and essential drugs to support displaced pregnant women and new mothers.

Urgent funding is needed to scale up and sustain the response. The humanitarian appeal for the Cabo Delgado crisis is currently just 1 per cent funded.

 

Syria

Yesterday, the fifth Brussels conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” took place, hosted by the European Union (EU) and co-chaired by the United Nations.

The conference reiterated the political, humanitarian and financial commitment of the international community towards the Syrian people. It also renewed the unwavering support of the international community to Syria’s neighbours in addressing the immediate and long-term challenges.

Participants at the conference pledged US$4.4 billion for 2021, and another $2 billion for 2022. In addition, international financial institutions and donors announced around $7 billion in loans on concessional terms.

While the total number is lower compared with the $5.5 billion pledged in 2020, a number of donors stepped up their contributions this year. The UN also joined the EU in welcoming those countries that exceeded their pledges in 2020, and will continue to work with donors to seek funding throughout the year.

Needs remain staggering in Syria, with the UN and humanitarian partners seeking an estimated $10 billion for the response inside Syria and for support to countries hosting Syrian refugees in the region.

Last year, the UN, along with its humanitarian partners, increased by nearly 30 per cent the number of people it was assisting – up to 7.7 million people – each month inside Syria, even with funding that fell short of overall requirements in the appeals. The UN will continue to do its part to deliver to people in need.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said at the end of the event that if the UN is going to continue to help Syrians, access and funding are needed. On access, he reiterated that the cross-border operation is essential if the UN is going to reach all of those in need. The humanitarian assistance, he added, depends on donors’ generous and continuing funding.