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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ethiopia - Yemen

24 Nov 2020

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Ethiopian refugees fleeing clashes in the country's northern Tigray region cross the border into Hamdayet, Sudan. Credit: UNHCR/Hazim Elhag

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 24 November 2020

Ethiopia

The UN remains extremely concerned about the situation of thousands of people affected by the ongoing conflict in Tigray, as humanitarian organizations are yet to have access to the region.

The communication blackout and road blockages in Tigray are hindering humanitarians to reach people in need and to closely monitor the situation.

There is a great concern about the delivery of the most basic services, including food, water and essential medicines to the more than 96,000 Eritrean refugees in the four camps inside Tigray. Food supplies for the camps will run out in one week.

The UN and the whole humanitarian community in Ethiopia are alarmed by the possibility of fighting in Tigray’s capital, Mekelle. The UN continues to call on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure in compliance with their obligations under international humanitarian law and to enable the free and safe movement of affected people in search of safety and assistance.

To date, more than 40,000 people have reportedly fled to Sudan. Although humanitarian organizations are scaling up the response, they continue to face challenges, including logistical constraints, lack of fuel and shelter capacity to meet the growing needs. The majority of the refugees are in overcrowded transit centres at the borders waiting to be relocated to the designated settlement sites. As of yesterday, only about 8,000 had been relocated.

The UN and humanitarian partners in Ethiopia are urgently seeking US$76 million until January 2021 to help 2 million people in Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions. International financial support is needed to ensure effective and timely humanitarian assistance.

 

Yemen

The UN has received an official letter from the de-facto Houthi authorities on Saturday indicating their approval of the UN proposal for the planned expert mission to the FSO Safer.

This followed several weeks of constructive technical exchanges on the activities, which will be undertaken by the expert team and represents an important step forward in this critical work.

The objective of the UN-led expert mission is to conduct an assessment of the vessel and initial light maintenance, and to formulate recommendations on what further action is required to neutralize the risk of a spill.

Now that the UN proposal for the expert mission has been agreed, mission planning will immediately pivot towards deployment preparations.

This includes procurement of necessary equipment, entry permits for all mission staff, agreement of a work-order system onboard and logistical planning.

The de-facto authorities have assured they will provide all the necessary facilitation to ensure that the expert team can deploy as quickly as possible.

The UN expresses its appreciation for the support and cooperation received to date from all parties, including the de-facto authorities in Sana’a and the Government of Yemen. The UN looks forward to working with all stakeholders to make this critical mission a success and to start work as soon as possible.