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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-08-25

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

During August, the Spokesperson's noon briefings will take place on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's.

Developments within the UN system will be posted on the website daily during this time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

U.N. AGENCIES RESPOND TO COMPLEX EMERGENCY IN NORTHERN YEMEN

The escalation of fighting between Al Houthi rebels and the government forces in northern Yemen over the past few days is worsening what is already a dire and complex humanitarian emergency, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today.

UNHCR is especially worried about the situation in Sa'ada city, the provincial capital of Sa'ada governorate. A UNHCR team in Sa'ada city reports there is no water and no electricity in the city since 10 August. There is also a shortage of fuel and it is becoming increasingly dangerous and hard for the people to reach the market to get food.

In the neighboring Hajjah governorate, southwest of Sa'ada, UNHCR is continuing to register internally displaced people (IDPs) and distribute aid items including tents, plastic sheeting, blankets and jerry cans. On Monday, some 865 families, totaling almost 6,000 people, received UNHCR assistance and more relief items are expected to arrive to this area later this week.

The Refugee Agency is also assisting the Yemeni Red Crescent and the provincial authorities in Hajjah governorate to set up a new camp near Hajja, about 130 kilometres southwest of Sa'ada city. A UNHCR site planner has been deployed to Hajjah and is working with local authorities and other partners on the design and construction of the camp. The new camp is to accommodate the first 200 families by Friday, 28 August. Its planned capacity is 500 families, or some 3,500 people.

Meanwhile, UNHCR is preparing shipments of new aid for Yemen. The Agency is currently loading, at the central emergency stockpile in Dubai, nine 40-foot containers with 25,000 blankets, 6,000 plastic sheets, 6,000 kitchen sets and 300 canvas tents for Sa'ada. The ship carrying these relief items is scheduled to arrive in the port of Aden in the first week of September. In the meantime, UNHCR is using the emergency stockpile in Yemen.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that insecurity has made it difficult for the humanitarian community to have access to the affected population and obtain accurate information on numbers, locations and needs.

The Sa'ada airport has been closed, except for military operations. No humanitarian charter aircraft are allowed to land. Travel by land between Sanaa and Sa'ada has been hampered by insecurity and road blocks.

UN agencies had to evacuate their non-resident personnel from Saada on 20 August. A large part of Amran Governorate is inaccessible to UN agencies and their partners. There is no access to Al Jawf Governorate for many humanitarian organizations.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has airlifted 40 metric tons of high energy biscuits to Yemen and has distributed ten metric tons of high-energy biscuits and dates to 7,000 newly displaced persons in Hajjah Governorate. The distribution of a full one-month ration of cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, salt and sugar began on 23 August for 10,000 people, including previously displaced people. WFP currently has 960 metric tons of food commodities in Saada town available for distribution.

Also, UNICEF has begun to distribute essential supplies for 13,000 IDPs in Haradh.

HALF OF SOMALIAS POPULATION REQUIRE URGENT AID

Somalia is facing its worse humanitarian crisis in 18 years, with an escalating civil war that could cause further more problems, especially deteriorations in the food security and nutrition status of the people. This is according to a new

report by the UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia, (FSNAU).

The report by this unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO - says that since January this year, more than half of the population of Somalia (or an estimated 3.76 million people) has become dependent on humanitarian assistance, because of the widespread and severe crisis in the country. The majority of those needing urgent assistance are concentrated in southern and central Somalia.

The Chief Technical Advisor of the FSNAU, Cindy Holleman, warns that escalating fighting and conflict in the affected areas continue to make it difficult for humanitarian relief to reach vulnerable populations.

The report adds that emergency nutrition levels have deteriorated in several parts of Somalia since January this year, with 1 in 5 children acutely malnourished.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has used the occasion of the start of the Muslim holy month of fasting, Ramadan, to call on all Somalis to work for peace and stability in their country. Dialogue is better than Somalis killing Somalis, urged Ould-Abdallah.

KENYA: WFP SEEKS URGENT DONOR SUPPORT TO ASSIST MILLIONS FACING FOOD CRISIS

The World Food Programme, (WFP), is

appealing for more than US$230 million to provide emergency food assistance to 3.8 million Kenyans, who have been affected by deepening drought and continued

high food prices. The assistance would be required for the next six months.

People are already going hungry, malnutrition is preying on more and more young children, cattle are dying, observes Burkard Oberle of the WFPs Country Director for

Kenya.

Due to the near total failure of the annual long rains, WFP and the Kenyan government will require strong support from donors to provide food to affected communities.

Acute malnutrition rates among children under the age of five are well above the emergency threshold of 15 per cent and pastoralist communities have been particularly affected.

POLICE OFFICERS FROM JORDAN JOIN PEACEKEEPING OPERATION IN DARFUR

The main group of the first Jordanian Formed Police Unit (FPU) consisting of 100 officers arrived in El Fasher today to begin work with the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). A second group consisting of 180 Jordanian officers will arrive tomorrow. The Jordanian FPUs will be deployed in El Fasher city and Kabkabiya town in North Darfur.

These officers were preceded, on 19 August, by an advance party of twenty Jordanian Police Advisors tasked with assisting in the preparations of the facilities earmarked for the Unit at UNAMID and the coordination of the logistics of the contingents owned equipment (COE).

Whereas Police Advisors are unarmed civilian police officers who are tasked to conduct patrols, investigate incidents, monitor reports, conduct community policing in Darfur Internally Displaced Persons Camps as well as training, UNAMID FPUs are specialized, self-sufficient and fully mobile rapid reaction police units, entirely composed of police officers from a single contingent, with expertise in crowd-management and other police tactical operations.

The FPUs may be called upon to engage in high risk assignments and the protection of people in imminent danger, preventing attacks and threats against civilians, and in monitoring and providing security and protection in camps housing displaced persons, threatened villages, and migration routes.

Besides providing security, they will also assist national authorities and UN agencies in delivering humanitarian assistance in times of need and conducting escort duties in order to build the confidence of the local population in the rule of law.

The Jordanian Formed Police Unit is the fifth such unit to be deployed, after the Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Nepalese and Nigerian, out of the 19 such units mandated by the Security Council resolution 1769(2007) establishing UNAMID.

Meanwhile, the mission says incidents of carjacking were reported in North and South Darfur and banditry activities in North Darfur.

A UNAMID vehicle was carjacked on 24 August 2009 by two armed men in El Fasher. The incident was reported to UN security officials and Government of Sudan police. On the same day, a vehicle belonging to a UN agency was carjacked near Al Salaam internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Nyala town, South Darfur by three armed men in civilian clothing.

A house occupied by UNAMID police in El Fasher was broken into on 24 August 2009 by unknown persons. Two personal computers, a digital cameral and a music system were among the items taken from the house. The incident was reported to UN security officials and Government of Sudan police for investigation.

JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE PAYS FAREWELL VISITS TO SOUTH AND WEST DARFUR

UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Mr. Rodolphe Adada visited Nyala town in South Darfur on Monday 24 August 2009. On arrival, Mr. Adada held a meeting with UNAMID staff and also met with the UN Country team in the area. He also paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Wali (Governor) of South Darfur, Dr. Farah Mustapha.

On Tuesday, 25 August 2009, JSR Adada held similar visits to El Geneina and Zalingei in West Darfur today.

This visit of South and West Darfur comes at the end of Mr. Adadas tour of duty on 31 August 2009 as the AU-UN Joint Special Representative in Darfur.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF WELCOMES U.S. DECISION TO LOOK INTO POSSIBLE VIOLATIONS DURING INTERROGATIONS

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today

welcomed the United States Attorney-Generals decision to appoint a special prosecutor to look into whether Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers and contractors violated US laws during the interrogation of detainees at places outside the United States, including Guantanamo Bay.

Pillay stressed that there should not be impunity for torture or any other unlawful treatment of detainees, whether it is in the United States or anywhere else in the world.

She added that the use of secret places of detention must be curbed, and called for the release of the names of detainees currently held in such detention centers.

Pillay reiterated her support for the US Presidents commitment to close the Guantanamo camp by 2010 and asked him to urgently review the status of detainees at the Bagram facility in Afghanistan. The High Commissioner also urged all States to rigorously review their interrogation techniques to ensure that they do not contravene international laws, including the absolute prohibition on the use of torture in all places at all times.

She also welcomed the recent release from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp of an Afghan who was reportedly 12 years old when first taken into custody.

UNICEF CHIEF VISITS CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE, ANNOUNCES $500,000 FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION PROGRAMS

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman

announced $500,000 in additional support for health, nutrition and education programs in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville). The funds will help mitigate the effects of the global economic crisis on the most vulnerable in the country, according to UNICEF.

The head of UNICEF was yesterday in Congo-Brazzaville, a country where one in eight children die before age 5 and that also has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the region. She visited the Life Savers national initiative, which promotes simple, easy to practice household behaviors, such as exclusive breast feeding for 6 months, sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito bednet and hand washing with soap. Veneman also met with the countrys Prime Minister and several ministers.

U.N. TEAM COMPLETES MISSION IN NORTHWESTERN PAKISTAN

The United Nations has completed a high-level mission to Swat District, in northwestern Pakistan, to establish direct contact with the authorities there. The mission, led by UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan Martin Mogwanja, intended to identify potential gaps and strengthen the provision of humanitarian assistance.

We met district authorities and national and international non-governmental organizations, and established the need for early recovery activities to start as soon as possible, Mogwanja said. So far the humanitarian community has distributed food and health kits but we want to expand our assistance.

Due to the increased presence in the region, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is planning to open a satellite office in Swat, which will work closely with the district authorities and other humanitarian actors on the ground.

I.C.C. PROSECUTOR RECOMMENDS CONTINUED CUSTODY FOR JEAN-PIERRE BEMBA

Jean-Pierre Bemba should remain in custody to the end of his trial, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated in a filing presented to the Appeals Chamber. On Monday, the Prosecutor made known his arguments in support of Bembas continued detention.

Moreno-Ocampo also requested that there be no possibility of Bembas release while it is under consideration by the Appeals Chamber. Bemba stands accused of crimes allegedly committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mr. Bemba is still presumed innocent but must stay in the detention centre. We will do all we can to ensure he stands trial as soon as possible and that victims see justice done, said the Prosecutor.

U.N. AGENCIES HELP DROUGHT SURVIVORS IN ETHIOPIA

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is

reporting a critical water shortage in Ethiopias Somali Region. The scarcity is forcing communities to use abandoned ponds and wells for drinking water, which may increase the risk of water-borne diseases, OCHA says.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the prolonged droughts impact on livestock has been compounded by the migration of unusually large herds of cattle, camels, goats and sheep from drought-hit areas of neighboring Somalia and Kenya.

Meanwhile, UNICEF and its partners are continuing to help roll out a targeted feeding programme by providing technical assistance and supplies. In recent weeks, UNICEF has dispatched 47 metric tons of ready-to-use therapeutic feeding to health bureaus. That is enough to treat 4,447 children for one month.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

TECHNOLOGICAL TRANSFER AND SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION KEY TO FOOD SECURITY IN ASIA-PACIFIC: Food security was the key issue

discussed in Beijing Monday at an event marking three decades of cooperation between China and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). ESCAP says that for millions across the Asia-Pacific region the economic crisis has become a food crisis, and while the global economy may be showing signs of recovering the opportunity to set agriculture on a more sustainable path remain a significant challenge to the region. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said that if future economic development is to be sustainable and inclusive, significant investments are required by governments to promote the development of pro-poor sustainable agricultural systems. She said South-South cooperation holds the key to building upon the best of what the region has to offer.

DISARMAMENT CONFERENCE IN NIIGATA, JAPAN, TO CONSIDER WAYS TO TRANSLATE VISION OF NUCLEAR WEAPON-FREE WORLD INTO CONCRETE ACTIONS: The 21st United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues will be held in Niigata, Japan, from 26 to 28 August. Hannelore Hoppe, Director and Deputy to the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Akira Shinoda, Mayor of the host city, will open the Conference, which will address ways and means to translate visions of a nuclear-weapon-free world into concrete actions. Strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime with a focus on the forthcoming 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is also high on the agenda.

I.P.C.C. CHAIR TO BRIEF TOMORROW AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Chair of the IPCC, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri will give a briefing on "The Scientific Basis for Climate Policy" tomorrow, Wednesday, 26 August 2009, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. The briefing to Member States and interested stakeholders will be held in the ECOSOC Chamber.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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