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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ukraine, Ethiopia, Kenya, Yemen

12 May 2022

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Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, meets with students at the school in Lomopus, Turkana.  OCHA/Jane Kiiru

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights –  12 May 2022

Ukraine

Briefing the Security Council this morning, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Humanitarian Affairs, Joyce Msuya, condemned recent attacks and clashes that have caused immense human suffering, mainly in the eastern and southern regions of the country. She reiterated the UN’s commitment to explore all options from local pauses to wider ceasefires, to reach more people in need, and save lives.

ASG Msuya urged the parties to the conflict to remove any barriers to the movement of humanitarian staff to ensure the continued delivery of life-saving assistance across Ukraine. She reiterated that civilians in Ukraine are paying a far too high price for the war and that parties to the conflict have the obligation, under international humanitarian law, to protect all civilians, civilian homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure. They must take constant care to spare them.

The situation is particularly worrying in Luhanska Oblast, where an estimated 40,000 people are cut off from electricity, water and gas supplies, and mobile networks, across Government-controlled areas of this region, according to local authorities. This is due to infrastructure destruction. In addition, the crucial Lysychansk-Bakhmut road, which connects Luhanska Oblast to the rest of Ukraine is under constant shelling, leaving people cut off from assistance and possibilities of immediate evacuation.

Humanitarian colleagues are reporting heavy shelling  in the neighbouring Donetska Oblast, over the last days. Several airstrikes in Odesa, southern Ukraine, over the last few days have reportedly caused heavy damages to homes, the airport and other key civilian infrastructure. Several civilian casualties have been reported, although we have not been able to verify the figures yet.

Ethiopia

Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that in northern Ethiopia, deliveries of aid by road into the Tigray region remains far below what is required to meet people’s needs and the humanitarian situation is compounded by the continued suspension of basic essential services, including banking, electricity, and communications.

Since the start of April, some 350 trucks carrying aid have arrived along the Semera-Abala-Mekelle Corridor through neighbouring Afar region. Most recently a convoy of 99 trucks - the largest to have arrived in Tigray for many months - arrived in Tigray’s capital Mekelle on Tuesday, carrying more than 3600 metric tons of food aid and some 40 metric tons of household items and another 40 metric tons of education items.

About 1.5 million people have received food assistance over the past 7 months (since mid-October). However, this is only around a quarter of the number who needs assistance, and that needs to be delivered every six weeks. UN and partners are working to distribute the supplies and in the week ending 4 May, for example, about 84,000 people received food assistance in Adigrat, Mekelle, Sheraro and Tahtay Adiyabo.

In the neighboring Amhara, over 10 million people have been assisted under the current round of food distribution which began in late December. However, some locations near the boundary with Tigray – in parts of Wag Hamra, North Wello and North Gondar - remain hard for the UN and partners to reach due to security concerns. In Afar, over 800,000 people have received food assistance since February. Twenty-three water trucks have reached about 90,000 people in displacement sites and other areas of need last week.

Needs also remain high in southern regions of Ethiopia where more than 8 million people are affected by the ongoing drought. The drought crisis has left more than 15 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya facing high levels of acute food insecurity.

Kenya

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths was in Turkana, Kenya today where he saw first-hand the devastating impact of a fourth consecutive failed rainy season that is affecting the entire Horn of Africa. He met with local authorities and people affected by the drought. In Lomopus village, local community members told Mr. Griffiths that this is the worst drought in living memory. Many families have lost their livestock and are struggling to survive and meet their families’ needs. Those who manage to buy food are sharing their meager supplies with their neighbours, while many are having to eat only palm fruits.

Speaking in Lomopus, Mr. Griffiths emphasized that the world must not look away from the rapidly escalating drought crisis in the Horn of Africa and called for urgent action and increased resources to help communities survive the drought. Mr. Griffiths' visit to Kenya continues tomorrow.

Yemen

Donors yesterday pledged US$33 million in new funding for the UN-coordinated plan to address the threat of a major oil spill from the FSO Safer, which is moored off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea.     This brings total available funding for this work to $40 million, including previously committed funds.

The plan requires $144 million for full implementation, including $80 million for an emergency phase to transfer the oil into a safe temporary vessel, pending arrival of a replacement FSO capacity. Humanitarian Coordinator David Gressly said that the pledges are a good start, and we look forward to working with donors in the coming weeks to secure the necessary funds to begin work as soon as possible. We need to move as fast as possible, given that weather conditions later in the year will make the work more dangerous and increase the risk of the vessel breaking apart.

A press release on the pledging event co-hosted by the Government of the Netherlands and the United Nations is online.