UN chief appeals for end to hostilities in north-west Syria
The UN Secretary-General has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in north-west Syria where a recent military escalation has resulted in scores of civilian casualties and displaced at least 80,000 people.
António Guterres is alarmed by the scale of the operation, and reported attacks on evacuation routes as people try to flee to safety, according to a statement issued on Monday evening by his spokesperson.
“The Secretary-General reminds all parties of their obligations to protect civilians and ensure freedom of movement,” it said.
The UN chief also underscored the need to guarantee humanitarians sustained, unimpeded and safe access to those in need, including through cross-border aid deliveries from Turkey.
The UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said this latest escalation has worsened the already dire situation in north-west Syria, where some four million people have been subjected to months of clashes, shelling and air strikes.
Nigeria urged to take action to prevent violence targeting civilians, aid workers
Authorities in Nigeria have been urged to protect civilians and aid workers following reports that many people were executed and others abducted earlier this week in Borno state, located in the northeast.
Although information is still coming in, humanitarians in the region have condemned the incidents, according to the top UN aid official in the country.
Antonio José Canhandula, acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, said reports indicate the attacks took place on Sunday along the Maiduguri Road in northern Borno state, and on another key road link with Yobe state.
“It is urgent for the Nigerian authorities to do their utmost to prevent further violence and brutality and to protect the civilian population, including aid workers, from such grave violations of international laws, especially women and children who are among the most vulnerable and are caught up in the violence,” he said in a statement issued on Monday.
The insurgent group Boko Haram has terrorized northeastern Nigeria for the past decade.
Mr. Canhandula said more than 36,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict, roughly half of them civilians, while nine aid workers were killed this year.
He added that the upsurge in violence, particularly along main roads over the past six months, has led to a deterioration in the humanitarian situation. This year alone, more than 160,000 people fled their homes for shelter in camps that are already congested.
Humanitarians report that overall, seven million people in the region need lifesaving assistance.
World Food Programme and Myanmar boost commitment to fighting hunger
The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Myanmar have renewed their partnership to end hunger in the south-east Asian nation.
WFP and the authorities have signed a Letter of Understanding to increase collaboration on implementing a five-year plan to provide food and nutrition assistance to one million conflict-affected people in several states and regions of the country.
Stephen Anderson, WFP Country Director, said the agreement reflects the strong commitment of the Government towards working hand-in-hand with the UN agency to tackle hunger and malnutrition.
WFP currently delivers emergency food distributions to more than 300,000 people in four states in Myanmar. Additionally, 300,000 children in 11 of the country’s 14 states and regions receive high-energy biscuits or hot school meals through the agency’s support.
WFP also reaches vulnerable communities in south-eastern Myanmar; in the Dry Zone, located in the central part of the country, and in remote areas including two self-administered regions.