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News in Brief 27 January 2021

News in Brief 27 January 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Tigray children’s emergency ‘deeply troubling’ after 12 weeks of conflict

Three months since fighting began in Ethiopia’s northern state of Tigray, there’s grave concern for the plight of youngsters there, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF has warned.

In an alert on Wednesday, the agency’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said that the “very little” that was known about the impact of the conflict was “deeply troubling”, because of difficulties gaining humanitarian access.

The warning comes almost two weeks since UNICEF and partners dispatched 29 trucks filled with emergency nutrition, health, and protection supplies into Tigray, where central Government soldiers have confronted Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces.

That convoy was “a step in the right direction, but nowhere near the level of access and scale of support that is actually needed”, Ms. Fore said.

UNICEF cited reports of 300 unaccompanied or separated children among the more than 57,000 people who have fled to neighbouring Sudan.

There are potentially many more among the approximately 280,000 internally displaced in Tigray and neighbouring regions, the UN agency said.

Tens of thousands in northwest Syria lose shelter after floods inundate camps

Heavy rain and flooding in northwest Syria have destroyed thousands of tents, affecting at least 67,000 people displaced by years of fighting, UN humanitarians have said.

Nearly 200 temporary camps in Idlib and Aleppo have been damaged and many roads leading to them have been cut off, humanitarian coordination office, OCHA, said in a statement.

It added that more than 3,760 tents have been wrecked and more than 7,700 damaged.

Thousands of people have been temporarily relocated but many require shelter, food, fuel and winter clothes immediately, OCHA said.

Across Syria, an estimated 13 million people – over 70 per cent of the population – are expected to require aid in 2021. The UN estimates that 10.5 million people will be targeted with humanitarian assistance through the year at a cost of $4.2 billion, which is a 10 per cent increase compared to 2020.

Ongoing fighting in the northwest has continued to impact on civilians, especially near the M4 and M5 highways, two key arteries linking capital Damascus with Aleppo city and much of north Syria.

OCHA said that children were among a number of civilian casualties injured by artillery shelling, improvised explosive devices or unexploded ordinance, some incidents occurring in residential areas or at markets.

Climate change a ‘global emergency’, people say in global poll

An overwhelming number of people worldwide believe that climate change is a global emergency and that greater action is needed to address the crisis.

Those are some of the key findings of a UN Development Programme survey published on Wednesday – the biggest ever conducted on climate change UNDP says - taking in the views of more than 50 countries.

Almost two in three of the more than 1.2 million people who took part in UNDP’s “Climate Vote” supported more comprehensive climate policies to respond to today’s challenges.

Actions that people wanted to see included climate-friendly farming, protecting biodiversity and investing in a green recovery from COVID-19, said UNDP chief Achim Steiner, who said that there was broad support for such measures across nationalities, age and gender.

In eight of the 10 countries surveyed with the highest emissions from the energy sector, most people supported renewable power investment.

And nine out of 10 nations with the biggest urbanized populations called for greater use of clean electric cars, buses and bicycles.  

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • UNICEF chief’s appeal for access to children caught up in Ethiopia’s Tigray

  • Tens of thousands in northwest Syria lose shelters after floods

  • ‘Biggest’ climate change poll reveals most people believe it is a ‘global emergency'

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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Photo Credit
© UNICEF/Zerihun Sewunet