News in brief 10 June 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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UN Humanitarian Coordinating Agency (OCHA) spokesperson Jens Laerke said the overnight convoy had been a success. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

First food convoy completes aid delivery to Daraya

The first food aid delivery to the Syrian town of Daraya has been completed successfully, the UN said Friday.

Enough food for more than 2,000 people for a month was driven in on trucks in the overnight operation, according to OCHA, the UN humanitarian coordinating agency.

An earlier aid convoy went in at the start of the month containing mainly non-food items such as vaccines, after getting authorisation from the government.

Here's OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke:

"We're very happy that we have finally been able to get a joint convoy – UN, Syria Arab Red Crescent into Daraya which hasn't seen food since 2012. This is a success, and the messages that I do get from our field and operational colleagues is that they are quite proud of our colleagues who went in, and they consider this is a big success, of course because the people have been suffering for so long."

OCHA said that it's vital to get sustained access not only to Daraya but to all besieged and hard to reach locations in Syria, where 4.6 million people are in desperate need of help after more than five years of war.

Israeli response to terror attacks "hurts tens of thousands of Palestinians"

In Israel, where a gun attack left four people dead this week, the government's response may amount to "collective punishment" of Palestinians, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said Friday.

The UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, condemned the terror attacks.

But it criticised Israel's decision to cancel more than 80,000 travel permits for West Bank and Gaza residents, effectively punishing tens and maybe hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians.

Here's OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani:

"This is the largest loss of Israeli life in a single attack since the current surge of violence. We are also deeply concerned at the response of the Israeli authorities, which includes measures that may amount to prohibited collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time."

$ 341 million needed to help refugees stuck in Greece and Balkans

In Europe, more than US$ 340 million is still needed to help refugees and migrants stuck in Greece and the Balkans, the UN has said.

The funding appeal is part of the Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP), set up after one million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe last year.

Nearly US$ 670 million dollars is needed this year, including for 57,000 people spread across the Greek mainland and islands, and others in countries further north.

Here's the UN Refugee Agency's William Spindler:

"The affected population includes many people with specific needs, such as unaccompanied or separated children, single women, pregnant or lactating women, the elderly, people with disabilities, as well as the sick and injured. The number of children in these movements has been on the rise, reaching 38 per cent of the total arrivals from Turkey to Greece in 2016."

UNHCR says that although border closures and the EU-Turkey agreement have cut the flow of refugees and migrants dramatically, those who have arrived in Europe still need help.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’07″

 

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