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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: South Sudan - Sudan - Yemen

16 Jul 2020


A food distribution by the World Food Programme to internally displaced people near the Murta settlement, Kadugli, Sudan (file photo). Credit: OCHA/Sari Omer

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 16 July 2020

South Sudan: Humanitarian Coordinator condemns killing of two aid workers in Jonglei

In a press release issued today, South Sudan Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya has strongly condemned the recent killing of two aid workers and four community members in Duk County, Jonglei, and called for swift action by authorities to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel in the country.

The attack by an unknown armed group took place on 13 July, when NGO staff were providing healthcare and nutrition services to community members, mostly women and children, in Pajut town centre, Duk County. Two South Sudanese aid workers and four community members were killed.

“I strongly condemn the killing of civilians and aid workers and ask for those responsible to be brought to justice,” said Dr. Ag Ayoya.

“I call upon the Government and all parties to step up efforts to protect humanitarians who are taking significant risks to provide much-needed assistance to people who are living in a State where armed violence is on the rise and the threat of COVID-19 is ever present.

“Civilians also need to be able to access the much-needed assistance. These terrible acts cannot continue,” added Ag Ayoya.

The incident in Jonglei brings the number of aid workers killed in South Sudan in 2020 to seven. Since 2013, 122 humanitarians, most of them South Sudanese nationals, have been killed in South Sudan.


Sudan: Food crisis

Sudan is experiencing one of the worst food crises in recent years, due to conflict-related displacements and high inflation rates on top of the effects of COVID-19 prevention measures.

Almost a quarter of the population, some 9.6 million Sudanese, are now severely food insecure (in the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, IPC, levels 3 and 4).

These numbers are the highest ever recorded in the history of IPC analysis in Sudan. They represent a 65 per cent increase compared with the same period (June to September) last year.

Food insecurity is especially concerning in some states such as North Kordofan, where the number of people facing severe food insecurity has increased by 335 per cent. The number has gone up by more than 200 per cent in Gazera. 

UN and humanitarian partners provided food assistance to approximately 2.3 million people in the first quarter of 2020. But more has to be done and more funding is urgently needed.

Sudan’s 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan has just received 40 per cent of the US$1.4 million required.


Yemen: Humanitarian Coordinator statement on civilian deaths in Al Jawf

The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, has in a statement issued today expressed profound sympathies to people grieving yesterday’s killing of civilians in Al Jawf, northern Yemen, and wished the injured a swift recovery.

This is the second attack in three days resulting in multiple civilian casualties.

Initial field reports indicate that strikes on 15 July killed at least 11 civilians, including several children and women, and injured at least 5 other children and a woman in the Al Musaafah Al Maraziq area east of Al Hazm in Al Jawf. Actual numbers are likely to be higher but are yet to be verified.

On 12 July, an air strike killed nine civilians and injured another four in Hajjah Governorate in north-west Yemen.

“The only way civilians will be safe in Yemen is when the parties finally decide to stop fighting” said Ms. Grande. “Humanitarians have been calling for a comprehensive cease-fire for a long-time. The only chance for Yemen is if the parties take that step.”

Nearly 1,000 conflict-related casualties have been reported in the first six months of 2020 in Yemen.

Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with about 80 per cent of the population – more than 24 million people – requiring some form of humanitarian aid and protection.

At the High-Level Pledging Event in Riyadh held on 2 June, donors pledged only US$1.35 billion of the $2.41 billion needed to cover essential humanitarian activities until the end of the year, leaving a gap of more than $1 billion. Since mid-April, 31 of 41 of critical UN programmes have been reducing or closing down for lack of funding.