This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Positive news for desperate Yemenis as UN accesses Hudaydah food stores
The first assessment of a major UN aid storage facility in war-torn Yemen has taken place since it was cut off by fighting last September.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), a team reached the Red Sea Mills near the key port of Hudaydah on Tuesday.
WFP is appealing for sustained access to the site, which contains enough wheat to feed 3.7 million people for a month.
Here’s spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel:
“Tuesday’s visit was a great first step. We need now sustain access every day as much as possible for WFP’s staff. But also later for the mill’s staff to access the facilities. That will be necessary before we can start again milling the wheat.”
Samples of the grain have been sent for testing to check whether it is still edible.
If so, the 51,000 tonnes of wheat can be processed at the facility, where equipment is largely untouched and the generators “appear to be in good condition”, WFP says.
The positive development is dependent on continued access being granted by the warring parties, who signed a UN-led partial ceasefire agreement in December.
It follows a UN-led appeal for more than $4 billion from international donors this year to save millions in Yemen from starvation.
At the pledging conference in Geneva on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned of an “overwhelming humanitarian calamity”, as a result of almost four years of fighting between supporters of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition groups.
Millions benefit from West Africa bid to eradicate statelessness: UNHCR
Millions of people have escaped statelessness in West Africa in recent years after States committed to ensuring that everyone has access to a nationality by 2024, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.
According to UNHCR, 37,250 persons who were at risk of statelessness, received birth certificates in Burkina Faso last year.
In Guinea-Bissau, meanwhile, 7,000 former refugees, many of whom fled their countries of origin without identification papers, are being granted citizenship.
And in Niger, several million people also benefitted from late birth registration and had their marriages registered as a result of special procedures free of charge, the UN agency said, highlighting a pledge to end statelessness four years ago by ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States.
In a statement, UNHCR said that civil and birth registration were “key” to providing protection – and ensuring that citizens can access education, healthcare and work – “rights that most of us take for granted”.
Lifesaving food airlifts in Central African Republic to help 18,000 people
And finally, a lifesaving UN airlift operation is underway in the Central African Republic, CAR, to deliver food supplies to 18,000 people in a remote and insecure location, 1,000 kilometres east of the capital, Bangui.
The arrival of 36 tonnes of assistance by air, comes amid increased violence in Zemio, according to the World Food Programme.
It says that thousands of people have been unable to go to markets or their farms because of the insecurity, and that food reserves there are exhausted.
CAR has faced fighting between the mostly Christian anti-Balaka and the mainly opposition Muslim Séléka militia, since 2012.
A peace agreement was reached in January 2013, but rebels seized the capital that March, forcing then President François Bozizé to flee.
In January this year, Government and armed groups agreed to hold peace talks.
Up to 2.1 million people in CAR are food insecure, WFP says, while severe acute malnutrition exceeds the two per cent emergency threshold, in 10 prefectures out of 16.
Daniel Johnson, UN News