Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ukraine, Syria, Ethiopia, Kenya
TitleDaily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ukraine, Syria, Ethiopia, Kenya
A residential apartment destroyed by shelling in the village of Hoholiv, near Brovary, Ukraine (Photo taken on 24 March, 2022). Credit: Amnon Gutman.
Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 13 June 2022
From Ukraine, we and our humanitarian partners are extremely alarmed over reports of intense fighting in Sivierodonetsk and surrounding villages, which is severely impacting the men, women and children who remain in the areas. The shelling and clashes have led to civilian casualties, with damage to dozens of homes and critical infrastructure – including water and power systems.
Unfortunately, we cannot verify exact figures due to the insecurity. However, we do know that thousands of people are still in Sivierodonetsk, including hundreds sheltering in the bunkers of the Azot plant, as we were informed by our partners on the ground. People there have no access to piped water or electricity, and many told our humanitarian colleagues that they have nowhere else to go.
In addition, some 30,000 people are believed to be in neighbouring Lysychansk and surrounding villages, which are also enduring constant shelling, bombardments and clashes. The situation is also of great concern in non-Government-controlled areas of Donetsk oblast, where daily shelling and bombardments have led to civilian casualties. Areas very close to UN facilities have been affected by the fighting.
This morning, for example, a market and an apartment building were hit in Donetsk when a shell landed in a populated area in the centre of the city, 50 metres from the UN compound. Insecurity and bureaucratic obstacles have prevented us from providing life-saving assistance in the regions.
The last time we sent a convoy with supplies to Sivierodonetsk was on 5 April, carrying supplies for more than 17,000 people. In Donetsk, we and our partners have engaged on several occasions with the parties to facilitate our access and make sure we could send much-needed relief items, but we have not succeeded.
We again stress that all parties to the conflict must respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians. It is imperative that all violations against civilians cease immediately, and that people caught up in areas of heavy fighting are allowed to leave safely and in the direction of their choosing.
Parties to the conflict must also allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief so we can make sure people impacted by nearly three months of war can received the support they desperately need.
Turning to Syria, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, yesterday, a UN inter-agency cross-line convoy crossed from Aleppo to Sarmada, in the country’s north-west. Fourteen trucks carried food, medicines and other supplies for 43,000 people.
This is the fifth cross-line convoy in line with the UN inter-agency operational plan and also with Security Council Resolution 2585, which calls for both cross-line and cross-border humanitarian assistance.
Humanitarian conditions are deteriorating in the north-west due to continued fighting and a deepening economic crisis. More than 4 million people in the area rely on aid to meet their most basic needs, 80 per cent of them women and children.
While the cross-line operations are critical, they cannot replace the massive UN cross-border operations, which reach 2.4 million Syrians every month with vital aid, including food and vaccines.
From northern Ethiopia, we and our partners are continuing to provide humanitarian aid across Tigray, Afar, and Amhara.
Food distribution is ongoing, with more than 900,000 people having been reached since 1 June. Between April, when aid delivery by road convoys resumed, and last week, more than 65,000 tonnes of food aid were delivered to Tigray. But more assistance is needed to meet the very high level of needs.
Currently, just over one third of people targeted have received food aid in the current round of distributions which began in October. Fuel supplies also continue to be limited and are having a large impact on getting food to people who need it.
While food is the largest share of aid going into Tigray, other supplies – such as water and sanitation, shelter and nutrition – have also been getting into Tigray, both through convoys and by air.
Humanitarian needs also remain extremely high in the Afar and Amhara regions. In Amhara, more than 10 million people have received food assistance since late December, and more than 992,000 people since late February in Afar.
Some areas near the border between Amhara and Tigray remain hard to reach for aid workers. Earlier this month, partners were able to carry out an assessment of needs in this area for the first time since December.
We continue to call for unfettered access for aid workers to reach all men, women and children in need across northern Ethiopia.
Turning to Kenya, our humanitarian colleagues say the devastating drought affecting the Horn of Africa has caused severe food insecurity and malnutrition to rise precipitously in many parts of the country.
There are now 4.1 million people in Kenya facing Crisis- or Emergency-level food insecurity, up from 3.5 million just a few months ago. There are now more severely food insecure people in Kenya than there were during both the droughts of 2010 to 2011 and 2016 to 2017.
Malnutrition is also increasing at an alarming rate. At least 942,000 children under the age of 5 and some 134,000 pregnant or lactating women urgently need treatment.
This brings the total number of people severely food insecure across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya – the three Horn of Africa countries hardest-hit by the drought – to at least 18.4 million. This includes more than 7.1 million children who are acutely malnourished.
The latest forecasts point to a concrete risk of a fifth failed rainy season later this year, and our humanitarian colleagues continue to call for an urgent and immediate increase in funding. Without additional resources we and our partners will be forced to make impossible choices. Last week, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula said, "We face a real and imminent threat of large-scale loss of life.”
In Kenya, we are calling for just $180.7 million to respond to the highest priority needs, and we urge donors to contribute as quickly as possible.