News in Brief 22 February 2017 (PM)

22 February 2017

The forced relocation of the Palestinian Bedouin community in the West Bank is “unacceptable and it must stop”, the UN Humanitarian Aid Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory has urged.

Robert Piper issued a statement on Wednesday together with Scott Anderson, the Director of the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) Operations in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Bedouins live in the Khan al Amar community in Area C on the outskirts of east Jerusalam.

Khan al Ahmar is one of 46 communities in the area.

In February, Israeli officials distributed dozens of military ‘stop work’ and demolition orders threatening nearly every structure in one of the community’s sites.

The enforcement of these orders also directly impacts the homes and livelihoods of over 140 Palestine refugees, more than half of them children.

A primary school made of tires and mud, serving 170 children from Bedouin communities in the area, is also at risk.

Thousands of families live in fear of demolitions at any moment and entire communities exist in chronic instability, Mr Piper said.

Urgent action needed to save lives in famine-hit areas of South Sudan

The heads of three UN agencies in South Sudan are calling for urgent action to allow aid to reach people facing starvation in famine-hit areas of the country.

The most recent food security analysis led to a declaration of famine in Leer and Mayendit counties in Greater Unity region.

Two other counties are at risk.

David Shearer, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) recently visited Unity State and the areas around Leer.

He described the situation there as “serious”.

“There is nothing about these food shortages which is about a drought or climatic problems. It is all about man-made problems, which is conflict, which has displaced people, it is meant that people are not able to partake in their ordinary livelihoods; they have been displaced and as a result they find themselves short of coping mechanisms and have to rely on food aid from outside. This is not a situation that we would like to see, we want to see people on their own, in their own homes, on their land and being able to cope for themselves.”

Despite a substantial humanitarian response in South Sudan by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) and their partners, food insecurity has deteriorated to unprecedented levels in these areas.

The agencies are urging the authorities to facilitate “immediate and safe” access for humanitarian actors and to respect the humanitarian space.

A wider famine can only be prevented, they argue, if assistance is urgently scaled up and reaches those most in need.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.



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