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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Malawi - Nigeria - Syria

06 Jul 2020

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Esther Levison teaches her grandson how to wash his hands using a handmade tap, in Loyitele village, Lilongwe, Malawi. Credit: UNICEF

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 6 July 2020

Malawi: COVID-19 response

Almost all districts are affected in Malawi are affected by COVID-19, with more than 1,400 cases reported.

The UN and its partners, in collaboration with national authorities, are scaling up the response to fight the pandemic and protect the country’s 18 million people.

Since March, a risk communication and community engagement campaign has reached more than 15 million people with support from the UN and partners.

Malawi now has 41 COVID-19 testing centres, which have conducted more than 14,500 tests, and 6 isolation and emergency treatment centres, with support from the UN and partners.

More than 4.8 million units of essential supplies for fighting the pandemic have been mobilized, including testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and other front-line service providers.

The UN and partners have also provided training for more than 122,000 health workers and community facilitators. Moreover, since June, the UN humanitarian corridor is operating in Malawi, bringing into the country critical relief and humanitarian personnel.

At least 26,000 people who have entered Malawi during the COVID-19 period, including returnees, have been screened for the virus and been assisted with shelter, food, protective items and onward transportation to their final destinations.

Following the closure of schools in March, an emergency education radio programme for 6 million primary school students and digital learning for more than 15,000 secondary school students has been supported. Currently, the UN is supporting the development of necessary guidelines for children’s safe return to schools in the coming weeks.

“Despite these enormous efforts, more needs to be done to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 and help those hardest hit by the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic in Malawi,” says Maria Jose Torres, the UN Resident Coordinator.

 

Nigeria: Humanitarian Coordinator condemns attack against civilians and UN Humanitarian Air Service

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, has condemned the attack on Thursday by non-State armed groups in Damasak, Borno State, in which at least two civilians, including a 5-year-old child, were killed.

Several others were injured, and a UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) helicopter was hit, sustaining serious damage.

Mr. Kallon welcomed the Government commitment to investigate the attack and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.

He stressed that the attack and damage to the helicopter severely affects the ability of aid actors to provide urgently needed assistance to vulnerable people in remote areas across Borno State.

UNHAS is essential to evacuate wounded civilians and remains the backbone to facilitating humanitarian access, thereby enabling UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to safely and securely reach the most vulnerable populations.

The UN and other humanitarian organizations are working to bring life-saving assistance to 7.8 million people in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, many of them in remote areas.

In 2019, UNHAS transported 66,271 passengers and 147 megatons of humanitarian cargo, as well as conducted 30 medical and 70 security evacuations.

Mr. Kallon called on the Nigerian authorities to reinforce the safety and security of all humanitarian workers and on all armed parties to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarian property and personnel.

 

Syria: Cross-border update

The United Nations continues to reach millions of women, children and men in urgent need of humanitarian assistance throughout Syria. On average each month in April and May, some 3.2 million people were supported from within Syria and 1.3 million people were supported through cross-border operations from Turkey.

With 2.8 million people in need and 2.7 million internally displaced people, needs for those in north-west Syria remain incredibly high. The UN has significantly increased the aid delivered via cross-border operations into the area, but more is needed.

Since the beginning of this year, 8,486 trucks have crossed into Syria from Turkey, including 1,579 trucks in June. 

As highlighted in the UN Secretary-General’s recent review of cross-line and cross-border operations, a sustained, large-scale cross-border response is necessary to meet the enormous humanitarian needs of people in north-west Syria.

The Secretary-General stressed that in order to enable this response, a renewal of the cross-border authorization in Security Council resolution 2504 (2020) for the use of Bab al Salaam and Bab al Hawa border crossings with Turkey for an additional 12 months is required.