Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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07-May-2018 00:22:09
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is travelling today to Havana, Cuba, where he will address the opening of the 37th session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today, the Secretary-General will meet with the President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and other senior officials.

He will be back in New York in the evening of Tuesday, 8 May.

In a new report on the 2 April 2018 airstrikes in the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province, the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has presented its findings, including verification of 36 people killed and 71 wounded.

The report notes that UNAMA received additional credible information indicating higher figures.

A key finding of this report is that the Afghan Government, which indicated the airstrike targeted senior Taliban leaders present in the area, used rockets and heavy machinegun fire on and around a religious gathering, killing and injuring civilians, the majority of whom were children.

The report makes several recommendations to the Government, including conducting a review of military policies to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law to protect civilians at all times.

The Secretary-General strongly condemned the attack today on a mosque being used as a voter registration center in Khost Province, Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General extended his solidarity to Afghan citizens seeking to exercise their constitutional rights and take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Following military operations in Syria’s Yarmouk Camp, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that some 7,000 people - 70 per cent of them Palestinian refugees - were displaced to Yalda, Babilla and Beit Sahem towns in Rural Damascus.

Since 13 April, hostilities in southern Damascus have resulted in civilian deaths and injuries, as well as the displacement of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure.

The United Nations and partners stand ready to deliver inter-agency humanitarian assistance to people in need in Yalda, Babila and Beit Sahem, as well as to Yarmouk, as soon as the conditions allow and access is granted.

The United Nations calls on all parties, and those with influence over them, to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to allow safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law. The United Nations further reminds all parties that any evacuation of civilians must be safe, voluntary and in strict accordance with protection standards under international law.

And earlier today, Izumi Nakamitsu, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, briefed the Security Council in closed consultations concerning allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria.

The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) conducted an operation over the weekend against members of an armed group, the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC), were planning to advance on the town of Dekoa, in the centre of the country.

Efforts to prevent the group from pursuing its activities continue in and around the city.

Some 11,500 people have been displaced to Rokero town and nearby Jemeza village in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur, following fighting in April between various armed groups.

This figure is a preliminary estimate by an inter-agency assessment team that recently visited the area.

Several villages have reportedly been burnt during the fighting. Many of the newly-displaced people had been previously displaced.

The displaced are sheltering under trees, and immediate needs include food, shelter, and access to water and sanitation services. In Jemeza, there is only one functioning water pump for 15,000 people and no health facility.

Last week, 1,900 children and pregnant or lactating women also received emergency supplemental feeding.

Flooding in Ethiopia has affected some 165,000 people, including 98,000 displaced people, in the Shabelle zone, in Ethiopia’s Somali region. An additional 26,000 people have been displaced.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that floods have also impacted its operations and limited the ability of partners to conduct needs assessments, with 37 areas remaining inaccessible.

Urgent funding is required to ensure the availability of sufficient resources for the response.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that more than two million people across Africa are set to receive oral cholera vaccine by mid-June, the largest cholera vaccination drive in history.

A spate of recent cholera outbreaks across Africa has prompted the campaigns in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan and Nigeria. The campaigns are being implemented by the respective Ministries of Health supported by the World Health Organization and partners of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC).

The burden of cholera remains high in many African countries, with at least 12 areas or countries reporting active cholera transmission in sub-Saharan Africa as of today.

Recent developments in the use of oral cholera vaccines show that the strong mobilisation of countries and partners can effectively tackle the disease when tools for prevention and control are readily available.

In Geneva today, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is convening a global conference on hydrological services that will address the urgent need to improve forecasting, management and utilization of water resources in an era of growing water stress, pollution and hazards like floods.

The HydroConference, running through 9 May, brings together providers and users of hydrological services to strengthen knowledge-sharing and coordination among all water stakeholders.
Its aim is to establish a more coordinated platform to inform the international agenda on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change.

It is estimated that by 2050 at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.
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