Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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14-Sep-2018 00:13:21
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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At the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Majesty Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Secretary-General will travel to Jeddah on Sunday to attend the signing ceremony of the peace agreement between the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The Secretary-General will return to New York on Monday.

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon on South Sudan, the Secretary-General on South Sudan said the signing of the Revitalized Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan on 12 September 2018 was a positive and a significant development. The Secretary-General commends the parties on this step forward and applauds regional and international efforts that led to the signing of the Agreement.

The Secretary-General calls on the signatories of the Agreement to fully and inclusively implement the Agreement both in letter and spirit, so that the people of South Sudan can finally receive the peace dividend they deserve. It is imperative that all parties immediately cease hostilities across South Sudan.

The road ahead remains challenging and the international community must remain seized of the situation in South Sudan throughout the implementation of the RARCSS. The United Nations stands ready, in close coordination with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union, to assist the parties in implementing the Agreement.

Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, following heavy rains at the end of August, the North and South Hwanghae provinces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have experienced heavy flooding which has reportedly killed dozens of people and uprooted more than 10,000 people.

Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed, along with civilian infrastructure and agricultural land.

A joint UN-Government assessment mission found that there are needs in the areas of food security, nutrition, health, water and sanitation, shelter, and disaster risk reduction.

On 12 September, the DPRK Government requested international assistance. UN humanitarian agencies and their partners are responding to the immediate needs of the flood-affected people and are planning to expand their support.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that, on 12 September, Typhoon Mangkhut entered the territory of the Philippines and is expected to make landfall over northern Cagayan province on tomorrow morning to exit on Sunday morning.

It is estimated that more than 5 million people within a 125 km radius of the projected typhoon track could be severely affected. Damage to agricultural crops and houses, as well as landslides in mountainous areas, are anticipated.

Local authorities are pre-emptively evacuating people in the northern provinces and low-lying areas.

The United Nations and our partners are working closely with the Government to coordinate response preparations, with Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs supporting the Office of Civil Defense with preparedness efforts. The United Nations stands ready to support the Government’s relief efforts as needed.

Our colleagues at the World Health Organization (WHO) report that the Government of Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency following a cholera outbreak in the capital, Harare. As of this morning, there have been more than 4,000 suspected cases, including 58 confirmed cases and 25 cholera-related deaths. The city is seeing an increase of 400-700 suspected cases per day.

As part of the state of emergency, the Government has ramped up health education and shut down some schools and banned the sale of meat and fish by vendors in affected areas.

WHO is assisting the Government to track down cases, and is providing cholera kits to treatment centres in Harare. WHO experts are also providing technical support, including deploying expertise in case management and in the oral cholera vaccine.

In Colombia, the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing assistance to thousands of Venezuelans who continue to cross the border daily due to lack of food, medicine and other basic needs, and loss of livelihoods.

WFP said it has provided emergency food assistance to more than 60,000 Venezuelans in the border departments of Arauca, La Guajira, and Norte de Santander. It has also started operating in the department of Nariño, bordering Ecuador.

In addition, WFP has reached some 33,000 people have through its community kitchens in Arauca, La Guajira and Norte de Santander. These kitchens provide two daily hot meals to the most vulnerable people, especially women, children and the elderly, and people with disabilities.

A new report released today by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) says that over one fifth of irregular migrants arriving in Europe are doing so by land.

The most frequently-used route is from Turkey to Greece where authorities reported a total of 12,166 land arrivals since the beginning of this year.

In total, there were almost 18,000 people making the trip by land, which is a nearly six time increased compared to the same period last year. As in previous years, more than half of the migrants making this trip come from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) today released its Human Development Index, which shows that although there have been steady improvements in human development, there are still major concerns in terms of disparities of quality of life and education.

The Human Development Index reveals that on average, people are living longer, are more educated and are earning more money. However, there are massive differences among and within countries.

This year Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany top the rankings of the report, while Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi have the lowest scores.

Saturday will be the International Day of Democracy. This year’s theme is ‘Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World’ and seeks to highlight ways to invigorate democracies by making them more inclusive.

Sunday is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The theme this year is ‘Keep Cool and Carry On: The Montreal Protocol’, and it urges us to continue protecting the ozone layer and the climate under the Montreal Protocol.

Today, Trinidad and Tobago has paid its regular budget dues in full. The Honour Roll now totals 133.
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