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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-08-11

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MARTIN NESIRKY

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

U.N. LAUNCHES EMERGENCY APPEAL TO MEET HUMANITARIAN NEEDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN

The United Nations and Pakistan just launched an

emergency response plan for $459.7 million over the coming weeks, to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of millions of people affected by the floods there.

John Holmes, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that the death toll has so far been relatively low compared to other major natural disasters, but the numbers affected are extraordinarily high. He warned, If we dont act fast enough, many more people could die of diseases and food shortages.

The Government of Pakistan estimates that more than 14 million people have now been affected, to different degrees of severity, by the floods, which have devastated large parts of the country from north to south. The emergency is still evolving, with continued rainfall, more areas at high risk of flooding, and hundreds of thousands of people on the move. Urgent needs include shelter, food and medicine.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, UN agencies continue to work to assist the people affected by the floods and called for additional international assistance. The World Food Programme (WFP) says it is mobilizing all possible resources to ensure that those affected receive food assistance as swiftly as possible and is planning to have reached 2 million people with food by 20 August. Rapid food assessments have been concluded across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and indicate that some 2.6 million people need food.

Despite the adverse weather, by Tuesday evening, WFP had reached nearly 370,000 people with one-month food supplies in the worst affected areas of KPK. WFP is also scaling up food assistance to flood-affected communities in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.

UNICEF also says that 6 million children have been affected by the floods in Pakistan, with some 2.7 million children in need of urgent, life-saving assistance.

UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) trucks that had been trapped for a week by landslides finally reached Quetta today, carrying all-weather family tents for thousands of people in Balochistan Province made homeless by the floods. A further five trucks are expected to arrive in Quetta over the next hours, bringing help to a further 20,000 people.

UNHCR has provided emergency shelter and relief assistance to over 160,000 people, but the Refugee Agency is appealing for more funds in order to help meet the urgent needs of a further 560,000 people.

FLOTILLA PANEL IS CONTINUING DISCUSSIONS IN NEW YORK

In response to questions, the Spokesperson confirmed that the panel looking into the 31 May flotilla incident held their first meeting on Tuesday afternoon, following a meeting between the four panel members and the Secretary-General earlier that day. Their discussions continued this morning.

Asked about the panels meetings, Nesirky added that the panel would hold more meetings in the coming days. He noted that the panel is to send an interim report on its work to the Secretary-General in mid-September.

SPECIAL TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON PURSUING ALL POSSIBLE LEADS

In a press release, the Office of the Prosecutor of the

Special Tribunal for Lebanon responded to comments made recently by the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, in which he offered information to assist the investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The Office of the Prosecutor said that it must pursue all possible leads. In line with its mandate, the Office of the Prosecutor has requested the Lebanese authorities to provide all the information in possession of Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. The Office of the Prosecutor also invites him to use his authority to facilitate its investigation.

SITUATION IN KALMA CAMP REMAINS TENSE AND INSECURE

The situation in Kalma remains tense and insecure, according to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). There were reports of gunfire overnight.

The

Joint UN/AU Special Representative for Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, and the UN Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator, Georg Charpentier, today traveled with Government interlocutors to the Kalma camp for meetings with senior authorities in Nyala. They discussed the need to find amicable and practical solutions to resolve the situation and ensure protection for all internally displaced persons (IDPs) and civilians.

U.N.-MARKED ITEMS SHOULD ONLY BE USED BY PERSONNEL IN U.N. OPERATIONS

Asked about reports concerning the use of UN-marked blue helmets by Indian Rapid Action Force personnel in Srinagar, the Spokesperson said that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) immediately brought the issue to the attention of the Indian Army authorities. We understand that directions have since been issued by the Indian authorities to prevent its recurrence.

Nesirky added that UN-marked items can only be used by personnel serving in United Nations operations during their service under the blue flag and can not be used for other purposes, including by national armies in the conduct of their operations.

W.F.P. EMERGENCY OPERATION ENTERS NEW PHASE IN DROUGHT-STRICKEN NIGER

The World Food Programme (WFP) has

begun a major round of feeding in Niger for 670,000 young children and their families as part of an emergency operation to reach as many as 8 million food-insecure people in the drought-stricken West African country.

WFP says that the food distributions come at the peak of the critical lean season period, when family food stocks are exhausted ahead of the October harvest. Families with children under two are to receive specialist nutrition products for the children and a general ration of staple foods for themselves.

Food assistance and nutrition support is being provided to other severely affected regions, including Tahoua, Dosso, Maradi, Tillabery and Diffa. Working with 24 local and international non-governmental organizations and other partners,

WFP has steadily increased operations this year as the scale of the crisis has grown.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON CENTRAL AFRICA: The

Security Council held consultations on Central Africa this morning. Council members heard a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayť-Brook Zerihoun on the situation in that region.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSED QUARTETS ROLE WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Asked about the discussions that the Secretary-General had recently with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Middle East Quartet, the Spokesperson said that they had spoken last week by telephone and had discussed US envoy George Mitchells work, the efforts being made to move to direct negotiations and the Quartets role in that process. The Secretary-General is actively engaged in efforts to foster the right atmosphere so that the Israelis and Palestinians can move to meaningful direct talks.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, SA-1B15

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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