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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Afghanistan - Syria - Yemen

25 Aug 2020


A child walks past flood water at a site for internally displaced people in Aden, Yemen, March 2020. Credit: UNHCR/Essam Adduais

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 25 August 2020

Afghanistan: Displacement in Kunduz Province

Fighting in Kunduz Province has led to the displacement of approximately 7,500 families [52,500 people] since 16 August, when a non-State armed group staged multiple attacks on Afghan National Security Forces outposts, which in turn responded with ground offensives and air strikes.

As of today, fighting has reduced in intensity but remains in concentrated areas; however, the security situation remains tense across Kunduz.

The majority of displaced have sought refuge in Kunduz city and are staying with relatives or in schools or temporary sheds in open spaces across town. The most urgent needs for the displaced are shelter, food and safe drinking water. Concerns arise about the risk of spreading COVID-19 due to the population movement.

The authorities in Kunduz provided emergency food and drinking water to affected families, while mobile teams will provide emergency health services and potable drinking water.

The UN and its partners deployed joint assessment teams in Kunduz. Additional surge of staff from other parts of the country is ongoing to boost assessment and response capacity.

The UN and its partners will start providing humanitarian assistance including shelter, food and health based on assessed needs.

To date, more than 122,000 people are displaced by conflict across Afghanistan in 2020. Some 4 million people have been displaced since 2012, many still living in overcrowded and under-serviced informal settlements.


Syria: COVID-19 update and response

In Syria, the UN remains concerned about the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country, where capacity to test and to respond remains limited.

To date, the Syrian Ministry of Health has confirmed 2,293 cases, including 92 deaths.

In north-west Syria, one new case was confirmed, bringing the total cases confirmed to 61 as of yesterday, with one death reported. In north-east Syria, 362 cases have been reported, including 25 deaths.

The level of testing remains extremely limited, with the Ministry of Health having conducted 21,000 tests as of 16 August. Furthermore, more than 80 per cent of the cases identified by the Ministry of Health have not been sourced, indicating that community transmission is now widespread.

As part of its COVID-19 support, the UN Syria Humanitarian Fund has commenced the disbursement of $23 million for 32 approved projects in the health, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection, food and logistics sectors.

The World Food Programme has also expanded its activities to include food distribution at quarantine centres, and UNICEF has included soap into its general food assistance packages.

The World Health Organization is leading UN preparedness and mitigation measures across Syria, including in the north-west and in the north-east.


Yemen: Impact of floods and response

Heavy rains and flooding since March continue to impact Yemen, with some 300,000 people believed to have lost their homes and livelihoods.

The rains are also impacting people who have had to flee conflict. Nearly 150 people have died from the flooding, which has also damaged homes, roads, electrical towers and telecommunication services, among other infrastructures.

The UN and partners are assessing the situation and mobilizing emergency assistance, including food and other items. However, UN partners are running low on emergency shelter and other non-food items in several districts.

Aid agencies are struggling with severe funding gaps for many core programmes, which is contributing to these challenges.

To date, the Yemen response plan is only 24 per cent funded. Donors are urged to pay all outstanding pledges immediately and to consider increasing their support.