This is the news in brief from the United Nations
‘Warehouses emptying’ amid growing humanitarian needs in south-west Syria
More than 180,000 people are in urgent need of assistance in south-west Syria after weeks of escalating hostilities that have cut aid access, the UN said on Friday.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that there were particular concerns for the well-being of some 55,000 civilians.
Their movements have been restricted by ISIL-affiliate Jaysh Khaled Bin Walid (JKBW) in a 200-square kilometer area near the Jordanian border.
The development follows five weeks of territorial gains by Syrian Government forces against opposition armed groups in the south-western governorates of Dara’a, Quneitra and Sweida.
According to OCHA, one other area remains in opposition hands in south-west Syria, near the Golan Heights.
There, civilians face ongoing violence and cross-border humanitarian actors report that they only have limited supplies left.
The last cross-border convoy from neighbouring Jordan was dispatched on 25 June, in line with UN Security Council resolutions.
Here’s OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke: “Warehouses are now empty or emptying, which means that we are very concerned about the continued delivery of lifesaving assistance to those many thousands of affected people.”
Mediterranean migrant deaths passes 1,500 mark for fifth year in a row
To the Mediterranean region now, where more than 1500 people have died trying to cross the sea from North Africa to Europe, for the fifth year in a row.
The significant milestone comes despite a huge drop in the number of migrants and refugees attempting the journey - down as much as 80 per cent to Italy, compared with last year.
According to the UN Migration Agency IOM, the total number of crossings at this time in 2016 was over a quarter of a million.
But so far this year only around a fifth of that number have risked their lives, often in unsuitable vessels.
This makes 2018 one of the deadliest years for migrants, IOM’s Joel Millman said:
“We know of two corpses found in Libya and 10 lost off Morocco earlier this week, so sometime before yesterday we passed number 1,500. It’s not unusual, this is the fifth year in a row. It’s important to note that despite incredibly low numbers arriving to Italy, the per capita death, or the rate of death per thousand people may be at its highest point since the emergency began.”
Millman added that one in every 17 people dies attempting to cross to Italy, whereas the number of deaths on the Spanish route is approximately one in 70.
IOM lends support to victims of Lao dam disaster
Staying with IOM, the agency has begun efforts to help thousands of people affected by a dam breach in the Lao People’s Republic, or Laos, earlier this week.
Thirteen villages in south-eastern Sanamxay district were among the worst hit and more than 3,000 people remain in emergency shelters.
It’s estimated that 26 people died and 131 are still missing, with heavy rain hampering rescue efforts.
Here’s IOM spokesperson Joel Millman again:
“IOM is now putting our global expertise in emergency-response at the disposal of the government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, our newest member state, to help it cope with the aftermath of this major disaster. But we are also committed to helping these people in the longer term to restart their lives, and we're now reaching out to international donors.”
The agency’s relief effort involves sending emergency experts to assess the most urgent needs, which include food, drinking water, mobile toilets, clothing and tents.
Boats are also required, after the flashfloods washed away roads and at least 14 bridges.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.