This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN food agency appeals for access to key storage facility amid fight for Hudaydah
The World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed for access to a key storage facility in the Yemen Red Sea port of Hudaydah, which is now controlled by a Saudi-led military coalition that supports the internationally recognized Government.
The development comes amid fierce fighting between Government forces and Houthi opposition militia in and around Hudaydah, which processes around 70 per cent of the country’s aid and commercial supplies.
WFP spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said that staff have not had access to the warehouses for two months because of a spike in violence “from both parties”.
“Despite having been targeted by more than 50 shells in the recent days, the silos of the Red Sea facilities are more or less intact. As of just a few days ago the facilities have come under the control of the coalition. WFP needs access the facilities again as soon as it will be safe in order to resume activities.”
On Monday, the port entrance was reportedly targeted by airstrikes, part of a renewed bid to launched at the beginning of the month to wrest Hudaydah city from the Houthis, who also control Sana’a, the country’s capital.
Sea tragedy claims lives of Afghans trying to reach Greek islands
A rescue operation is under way in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea after a boat carrying 15 people from Afghanistan capsized off the Turkish coast on Monday.
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, said that four women and their children were among the passengers, who were trying to reach the Greek island of Lesvos.
Two Afghan men raised the alarm after swimming to shore.
In the western Mediterranean, IOM also reported that three people including a minor died at the weekend after sailing from north Africa to Spain – where sea arrivals this year have reached almost 50,000 people.
El Niño likely to cause worsening food situation for 3.9 million in Zimbabwe
An El Niño-related drought looks set to compound problems for millions of people in Zimbabwe during the upcoming lean season, UN relief agencies said on Tuesday.
According to OCHA, the UN humanitarian coordination office, an estimated 3.9 million people face having to cope with just one meal a day between now and April.
The situation is similar to the last time an El Niño event happened in 2016-2017.
The climatic phenomenon is linked to warmer ocean temperatures that cause weather extremes, and there’s a high chance it will happen this year, according to Niels Balzer from WFP, the World Food Programme:
“The latest information we have is that we have a likelihood or a probability of an 80 to 85 per cent probability of an El Niño coming in this season, that means essentially that it is very likely that we see a late onset of the season and that we see in addition dry spells that have a direct impact on all of these smallholder farmers that don’t have access to irrigation, et cetera, et cetera. In other words, there’s a potential for a diminished harvest again, particularly in those areas that are always hardest-hit, and that means lower harvests which in turn result most likely in a next lean season where unfortunately there is further support needed.”
Together with the Government, the UN is helping to provide development aid to help communities resist drought, as well as tackling long-term infrastructure projects, such as rural water points, only half of which are fully functional.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.