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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ukraine, Horn of Africa

08 Mar 2022

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On 5 March 2022, a girl looks out from a window as she waits inside an evacuation train enroute from Lviv, western Ukraine to Przemysl in Poland. Credit::UNICEF

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights –  8 March 2022

Ukraine

The situation in eastern and north-eastern Ukraine remains volatile with reports from UN teams and open sources of heavy fighting, including in and around Mariupol, Chuhuiv, Kharkiv, Izyum, Chernihiv, Sumy and Sievierodonetsk. In northern Ukraine, open sources and UN teams also report increasingly violent clashes on the outskirts of Kyiv, including Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, and that civilians who are trapped in some of those areas lack access to supplies and basic services. 

We welcome public communications by the two sides regarding their intentions of facilitating safe passage for civilians out of conflict areas including Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy. 

It is critical that civilians, whether they choose to stay or to leave are protected - and if they leave, it is in the direction of their choosing. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that more than 2 million Ukrainians have now crossed international borders out of Ukraine.

According to the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), between 24 February and 7 March at the end of the day, 1,335 civilian casualties were recorded, which includes 474 people killed. As said earlier, the Office notes that it is difficult to verify the actual number of deaths and injuries. Humanitarian organizations are scaling up response to affected people in the east and the west of the country, where security allows.

In the east, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has provided more than 200,000 medical items to mobile clinics in Luhansk, Novoluhanske, Oleksandropil, Verkhnotoretske (Donetska oblast). This allows health staff to scale up emergency medical care for those most in need. ICRC has also delivered dressing materials, disinfectants and antibiotics, and basic hygiene items [soap, diapers] to the only functional hospital in Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk oblast.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has delivered about 120 m3 of medical supplies to Ukraine, including surgery kits, trauma kits, chronic disease medicines and mass casualty supplies.In the west, focus is primarily on support to internally displaced people. UNHCR is providing thermal blankets and mattresses for 6,000 people, complementing an earlier delivery of 18,500 high thermal blankets by the International Organization for Migration to support displaced people in Lviv.

A Common Humanitarian Operations Coordination Centre has been established in Rzeszow in Poland, which will serve as a common space for all humanitarian organizations responding to the unfolding crisis in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

Horn of Africa

In Ethiopia, an estimated 175,000 people have now been displaced from their homes due to the drought, and over 1.5 million livestock are estimated to have died due to lack of food and water. The UN and partners are scaling up assistance to those affected, complementing Government response, reaching over 2.7 million with food assistance.

In February, over 120 metric tonnes of medicine and medical supplies have been dispatched to the drought-affected areas and therapeutic food to treat child malnutrition is being distributed.  Despite donor international donor support, and support from federal and regional governments, additional funding is urgently needed as needs are expected to further increase. The drought is also severely affecting Somalia, where 4.5 million people are affected and 670,000 people displaced by the conditions.

In some of the worst affected areas, water prices have spiked by up to 72 per cent since November 2021. More than 1.4 million children, nearly half of Somalia’s under 5 population, are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition due to the ongoing drought.  The Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia, which seeks nearly US$1.5 billion to assist 5.5 million of the most vulnerable Somalis, is only 3.3 per cent funded ($48.8 million).

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths will be briefing Member States tomorrow on the impact of drought in the Horn of Africa.