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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ethiopia - Syria - Yemen

22 Mar 2021

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A registration assistant from UNHCR talks to an Ethiopian refugee from Tigray at Um Rakuba camp in Al Qadarif, Sudan. © UNHCR/Will Swanson

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 22 March 2021

Ethiopia

The ongoing conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, continues to drive massive displacement across the region. Tens of thousands or people have arrived into Shire, Axum and Adwa in the past couple of weeks, most of them fleeing fighting in western Tigray. There are also reports of people uprooted by violence and north-western and central zones.

People arriving in towns from the rural zones of Tigray are visible malnourished and in desperate need of life-saving support, after enduring four and half months of conflict with little access to vital supplies.

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

Despite challenges, aid workers are scaling up the response and have assisted more than 1 million people with complete food baskets. Nearly 140,000 newly displaced people have received emergency shelter and vital relief items, and more than 630,000 people have received clean water.

The new notification process established by the Government for movement of cargo and workers has enabled humanitarian partners to increase their presence and operations in Tigray.

However, the humanitarian situation is extremely dire and continues to deteriorate. The UN and its partners are in a race against time to respond to the rapidly rising needs. More funding is urgently to make sure we can urgently assist people impacted by the conflict.
 

Syria

The UN is deeply concerned about ongoing hostilities over the past days and their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

In a flare-up of hostilities in north-west Syria over the weekend, at least 30 communities were affected by artillery shelling and air strikes.

Yesterday, several civilians were killed and injured as a result of artillery shelling in Al Atareb town and Aleppo city.

In Al Atareb, in Aleppo Governorate, at least six civilian deaths have been reported among patients and visitors, including a 10-year-old boy, when artillery shells hit the Al Atareb Surgical Hospital (a.k.a. Al Maghara Hospital). More than a dozen civilians were injured, including five medical staff.

The hospital’s orthopedic and emergency clinics, as well as electricity generators, sustained major damage, and the hospital was fully evacuated following the shelling.

The hospital was being supported in some of its services by the UN via an NGO partner.

In Aleppo city, artillery shelling caused 17 civilian causalities, including 2 children.

Attacks on hospitals have seriously impeded access to health care, as many impacted medical facilities have been forced to go out of service, depriving the vulnerable civilian population of life-saving care.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded at least 259 attacks affecting health care since March 2011, resulting in at least 170 deaths of patients and health care workers.

International humanitarian law prohibits directing attacks against civilians or civilian objects, including health facilities. All parties must take all feasible precautions to avoid or at least minimize civilian harm.

 

Yemen

The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly, visited Marib over the weekend to see first-hand the growing humanitarian impact of renewed hostilities in the governorate.

During his visit, Mr. Gressly met with local authorities, including the Governor of Marib, and with humanitarian partners working on the ground. He also visited two displacement sites, where he met with internally displaced people and community members.

Up to 15,000 people have been displaced in Marib since fighting escalated in early February, many of whom live in extremely precarious conditions.

The UN, along with its humanitarian partners, is doing everything it can to help, but it needs adequate funding as needs continue to rise. So far, the Humanitarian Response Plan has received 10 per cent ($374 million) of the required funding.

Ultimately, what Yemenis need – both in Marib and across the country – is a nationwide ceasefire and an end to the fighting.