This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
As death toll mounts in Middle East, UN urges greater aid access
More than 220 people have now died in Gaza and the West Bank, since violence erupted last week with Israel, where the toll has risen to 10 dead, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday, in a call for greater access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and an end to hostilities.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 6,000 had been injured in the West Bank and Gaza Strip following Israeli Defence Force strikes, while some 800 had also been injured in Israel by “Palestinian rocket attacks”.
Nearly 60,000 people have also had to leave or flee their homes in Gaza while 132 buildings have been destroyed in the enclave, the UN office said.
Healthcare professionals and medical facilities have not been spared either, said Dr Margaret Harris from the World Health Organization (WHO) speaking to journalists in Geneva:
“In the Gaza Strip, 19 health facilities have been damaged including destruction of the Hala Al-Shawa primary healthcare clinic. In the West Bank, 41 health workers have been injured and 21 health vehicles damaged. The severe damage to the roads and infrastructure makes access to many of the hospitals very, very difficult.”
Dr Harris highlighted the drastic lack of medicines and materials in the Gaza Strip, with less than one month’s supply of essential drugs and medical supplies remaining.
Asylum appeal for Mozambicans fleeing violence to Tanzania
An alert now for thousands fleeing violent extremists in northern Mozambique and a call from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, for neighbouring Tanzania to keep its borders open to those in need of protection.
The development comes as the UN agency cited fresh reports that people displaced from Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province have been forcibly returned from Tanzania.
Similar indications that people were being pushed back to Mozambique from Tanzania emerged last September and in April.
UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov, said that several thousand Mozambicans have been pushed back from Tanzania into northern Mozambique since last year – including more than 1,500 this month:
“During an inter-agency mission in April 2021 to the Negomano border point in Mozambique, UNHCR and partners learned that most of the Mozambicans sheltering there had hoped to find refuge in Tanzania after fleeing deadly attacks by non-state armed groups in Palma in March. People told UNHCR they trekked for days to the Rovuma River, crossing it by boat to reach Tanzania, from where they were returned by the authorities. Many were women and young children.”
The situation is desperate for single mothers who the agency said are staying in Negomano without family support.
Conditions “are dire and needs are acute” for food, water, sanitation, and health services, but only limited humanitarian assistance is reaching the remote area.
UN launches $943 million appeal for almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees
Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar four years ago are more vulnerable than at any point since 2017, the UN warned on Tuesday, in an appeal for international support to help them.
Launching the call for $940 million for nearly 900,000 refugees living in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar camp complex, UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi also urged India and Thailand to keep their borders open to those fleeing from violence linked to the coup in Myanmar.
The response plan appeal covers requests from more than 134 partners who include the UN agencies, international NGOs and a majority of Bangladeshi NGOs.
If funded, it will also benefit almost half a million Bangladeshi nationals who are living in the communities that are hosting the refugees.
The World Food Programme, which is also present in Cox's Bazaar, warned that the COVID-19 crisis has reduced opportunities for refugees.
The camp complex is also disaster-prone and faces a monsoon and two cyclone seasons every 12 months, which is why the UN agency continues to support disaster risk reduction activities.
These include rebuilding cyclone shelters, improving drainage systems, stabilizing slide-prone slopes in the camps, maintaining forests and planting new ones, and helping communities diversify their livelihood activities so they do not need to rely on agriculture for income.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.