This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Strong, coordinated measures needed to stem terrorism in Sahel
With increasing terrorist attacks against civilians, and terrorist threats spreading rapidly across the Sahel, the Group of Five, or G-5-Sahel Joint Force – comprised of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger – urgently needs international support.
UN Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the Security Council on Thursday that schools are closed, basic social services have been disrupted and the pervading climate of terror has scared off potential investors.
Pointing out the need for strong, quick and coordinated measures to stem the growing terrorist scourge, Mr. Lacroix called it “essential” that the Joint Force resumes operations as soon as possible – stressing the importance of a regional operation to counter terrorism and transnational organized crime across the Sahel.
He cited a nearly $30 million funding gap as having prevented the UN’s Mali peacekeeping operation, known as MINUSMA, from supporting the fortification of the Joint Force’s camp, which he saw as the biggest obstacle to its operationalization.
Noting other challenges, including equipment shortfalls, capability gaps, insufficient infrastructure and a lack of secured operational bases, the UN peacekeeping chief urged donors to provide financial support and deliver on their commitments.
“Any security initiative in the Sahel can only be successful if it is part of a bigger, more holistic strategy for the region, that addresses the underlying causes of instability while seeking political solutions to inclusive socio-economic development first.”
Yemen: The worst humanitarian crisis on earth
Concluding a three-day visit to Ye men, David Beasley, the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), made a heartfelt plea to end the fighting.
“What Yemen needs is peace,” he said in Rome on Thursday. “Only then will it be possible to re-start the economy, get the currency under control and start paying public salaries, so people can have the money they need to buy food and other basics.”
Facing fast-rising hunger, WFP is scaling up to provide food and cash-based assistance to as many as 12 million individuals whose lives have been torn apart by conflict. It is already delivering food assistance every month to between seven and eight million people.
Mr. Beasley said that after what he saw at the hospital in Hudaydah, his heart was breaking.
He painted a picture of small children, so malnourished that they are little more than skin and bones, with barely enough strength to breathe.
He pleaded: “In the name of humanity, I urge all warring parties to put an end to this horrific war. Let the children live and let the people start to rebuild their lives.”
Plunging temperatures in Ukraine underscore need for humanitarian support
Meanwhile, as temperatures drop to well below zero in eastern Ukraine, millions of people there are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Amidst an ongoing active conflict that seems to have fallen off international radar, civilians are being killed and injured on nearly a daily basis.
On Thursday Osnat Lubrani, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, briefed UN Member States in Geneva on the human cost and consequences of the severe humanitarian crisis.
She said that while aid workers have reached people with shelter, food, cash assistance and access to health care and education, the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan remains only 36 per cent funded.
Ms. Lubrani warned that the lack of funds means that the basic needs of millions of men, women and children will continue to be denied.
She stated: “I call on the Member States to stand in solidarity with the people of eastern Ukraine and help sustain them through the cold winter, which is compounded by overwhelming needs in the areas of mental health and psychological trauma, protection, mine action, shelter, health, livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene.”
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.