Niger, Mali, Sudan & other topics - Daily Press Briefing

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27-Jul-2023 00:25:56
Noon Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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I think you all heard the Secretary-General this morning on Niger.
He renewed his call on those detaining President Bazoum to release him immediately and unconditionally. He also urged them to stop obstructing Niger's democratic governance and respect the rule of law.
Successive unconstitutional changes of government are having a terrible impact on the development and lives of civilian populations in Niger, he added.
Just to give you some humanitarian context, our colleagues at OCHA are telling us that humanitarian operations are currently on hold given the situation. As you know, Niger is already facing a complex humanitarian situation. Violence by armed groups – both in the country and its neighbours – has increased our concerns over civilian protection. It has also aggravated food insecurity.
There are currently 4.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Niger. By comparison, that number was 1.9 million in 2017.
More than 370,000 men, women and children are displaced within Niger, which also hosts more than 250,000 refugees – mainly from Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Despite a relatively successful agricultural season last year, and the tremendous efforts by the Government and its partners to respond to the food insecurity crisis, 2.5 million people are acutely food insecure.
We are currently in the middle of the lean season in Niger – it runs from June to August – and our colleagues from OCHA iNdicated that they expect the number of food insecure people could reach 3 million by the end of next month.
The funding situation is also worrisome. Our $584 million humanitarian appeal is currently only 32 per cent funded.
Also a quick update on our personnel – all of our staff there are accounted for and safe. As you can imagine, we have encouraged our colleagues who can to work from home. We have a number of colleagues who were out in the field who were not able to move due to air traffic restrictions. We have close to 1,600 staff in the country most of them national, about 1,244 national and 352 international staff.Staying in the Sahel in Mali, the UN Mission there tells us that one peacekeeper was injured earlier today when a vehicle from the Mission's withdrawal convoy hit an improvised explosive device in Acharane village, located in the Timbuktu. The peacekeeper has been evacuated for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Mission, El-Ghassim Wane, is leading consultations on the Mission's safe, orderly and coordinated departure from the country, as per the Security Council's resolution.
Earlier in the week, Mr. Wane met with the International Mediation and members of the Security Council with a diplomatic presence in Mali to discuss the withdrawal process.
As part of this process, the Mission's troops and police from contributing countries have begun the process of embarking on the crucial task of repatriating their peacekeepers and their equipment.Turning to Sudan and not surprisingly due to the ongoing fighting the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warns that disease outbreaks that had been under control before the conflict erupted are now increasing. This is due to the disruption of public health services. Diseases include malaria, measles, dengue and acute watery diarrhoea.
Our humanitarian colleagues warn that, as the rainy season begins, these outbreaks are likely to claim more lives unless urgent action is taken to control their spread. This is increasingly difficult due to the shortages of medicine and medical supplies reported in some states, despite our health partners' ongoing efforts to provide critical items to those who need it.
And sadly, health facilities and workers in Sudan continue to be targeted. As you know, the World Health Organization has registered a high number of attacks on public health facilities. As of yesterday, 53 attacks on health care were reported in Sudan since April.

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