Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
02-Jan-2019 00:13:02
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Yesterday, we issued a statement on the attacks against the United Nations compound in Mogadishu, which the Secretary-General strongly condemned.

He recalled that intentionally directing armed attacks against United Nations personnel may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law and urged the Somali authorities to investigate the attacks and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.

On Mali, the UN Mission there, MINUSMA, reports that yesterday unidentified armed elements attacked Kouloughon village in the Mopti region.

Over thirty people have been reportedly killed, and several more are wounded. Houses and granaries were also destroyed. The precise circumstances of the attack have yet to be determined.

The UN Mission in Mali condemns the attack and has launched an investigation.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 85 people have died and 20 are missing after Tropical Depression Usman made landfall near the capital of the Philippines’ Eastern Samar province on 29 December.

The storm brought heavy rain and triggered landslides and caused widespread flooding. Nearly 200,000 people have been affected.

Nearly 25,000 people are staying in 170 evacuation centres, while 54,600 others are staying with relatives or friends.

Local and provincial authorities are leading the response, with the Philippine Red Cross and civil society organizations providing relief goods and services. The United Nations is in close communication with national authorities to offer support.

Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, in Myanmar’s central Rakhine State, some 2,500 people were forced to flee fighting between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military that began last month.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) led a team to the area to look into what the uprooted people and host communities need.

Our team in Syria reports that heavy rains have taken a toll on internally displaced people (IDPs) in northern Syria this winter, with camps flooding and temporary shelters destroyed. Nearly 18,000 people have been affected in more than 60 informal settlements in the north-west, and some 3,000 tents have been damaged.

Many of the affected people were moved to schools, mosques, nearby houses and unaffected camps. Those impacted by flooding have been encouraged to relocate temporarily to reception centres and available spaces in planned camps where services are being provided.

Despite challenges to road access because of the flooding, humanitarian teams are providing relief, including family tents, to those impacted at several IDP sites in the region.

You will have seen that on Monday, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Robert Piper of Australia as Assistant Secretary-General of the newly transformed United Nations Development Coordination Office.

Mr. Piper brings to the position nearly 30 years of experience in international development, humanitarian response and peacebuilding at the United Nations. He is currently the Head of the United Nations Development System Transition Team which was established to provide strategic leadership and oversight to all aspects of the repositioning of the United Nations development system. Prior to this position, he was Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of External Relations at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

His full bio is available in our office.

It’s a new year and it’s a new Honour Roll. Two members have enrolled to date - Estonia and Malawi - and we extend gratitude to those two Member States for their full payments to the regular budget.

As for last year, 152 out of 193 states paid in full by 31 December 2018.
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