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News in Brief 7 January 2020

News in Brief 7 January 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Worsening humanitarian situation in Syria’s Idlib

The UN’s alarmed at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria’s Idlib region, where over 700,000 people have been displaced as a result of airstrikes and shelling in the last eight months.

Mark Cutts, UN Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, issued a statement on Tuesday expressing concern over the latest wave of displacement around the last rebel-held pockets of the country.

“Every day we receive more disturbing reports of families caught up in the violence, seeking refuge and access to essential services in overcrowded camps and urban areas,” he said.

He also warned of critical shortages of food, shelter, health and winterization assistance for the three million mainly women and children trapped in Idlib, as well as other basic services they need for survival.

UN chief monitoring Venezuela political crisis ‘with concern’

The latest twist in Venezuela’s ongoing political crisis “make urgently needed dialogue even more difficult to achieve”, the UN Secretary-General has said.

In addition to rival Presidents, the oil-rich South American country now has two men claiming to be Speaker of the National Assembly.

The latest development occurred on Sunday when opposition leader Juan Guaidó was blocked from entering the National Assembly building in the capital, Caracas, during voting for a new Speaker.

UN chief António Guterres has been following the developments “with concern”, according to a statement issued on Monday evening.

The events “make urgently needed dialogue even more difficult to achieve,” it said.

The political situation coupled with economic meltdown has forced more than 4.6 million Venezuelans to leave the country.

Sudan: Darfur clashes displace 40,000

Violence between communities in and around El Geneina, the state capital of West Darfur in Sudan, has reportedly killed at least 54 people, injured 60, and displaced 40,000 since late December, the UN said on Tuesday.

Around 32,000 of the newly-displaced had already been forced from their homes, and thousands of civilians have also crossed the border into Chad, seeking refuge in villages near the border with Sudan.

The UN and partners are supporting the Government's response and the initial relief provided by the Sudanese Red Crescent, local youth groups and other national partners.

El Geneina hospital is open and health partners are establishing clinics in seven IDP gathering points, said Jens Laerke, of the UN humanitarian affairs coordination office, OCHA.

Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, added that UNHCR teams had identified at least 3,700 people, including more than 2,000 women and 500 children under-five, who had crossed the border between West Darfur and Chad.

Matt Wells, UN News.

  • Humanitarian situation worsening in Syria's Idlib
  • UN chief concerned over latest Venezuela standoff
  • West Darfur clashes in Sudan displace 40,000
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Matt Wells/UN News
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© UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani