This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Afghanistan: ‘Depth of destitution’ must be met with urgent aid scale-up
Lifesaving aid distributions to millions in Afghanistan have been scaled-up, but much more is needed before winter comes, UN humanitarians said on Wednesday.
Three weeks since a major international appeal for funds to help nearly 11 million of the most vulnerable by the end of the year, only around a third of what’s required has been received, said UN humanitarian coordinating office, OCHA.
Supporting the call for urgent assistance, the head of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Afghanistan, Mary-Ellen McGroarty, said that Afghanistan was on “borrowed time”.
“In my long career with WFP I’ve never before seen a crisis unfold at this pace and scale,” she said, adding that Afghans faced a “new depth of destitution” as drought and the economic crisis drives up food and fuel prices.
Well before the Taliban takeover on 15 August, Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation was already one of the worst in the world.
According to OCHA, nearly half of the population – some 18.4 million people – needed humanitarian assistance at the start of the year.
Conflict and insecurity have displaced nearly 700,000 people so far this year, with more than 3.5 million Afghans uprooted by conflict in total.
COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline
The number of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths has continued to decline globally with over three million new cases and just over 54,000 new deaths reported in the last week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Compared to the previous week, this is a nine per cent decrease in cases, while deaths remained similar, the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update.
All regions reported a decline in the number of new cases this week apart from Europe which remained similar to the week before.
The largest decrease in new weekly cases was reported in Africa (43 per cent), followed by the Eastern Mediterranean (21 per cent), Southeast Asia (19 per cent), the Americas (12 per cent) and the Western Pacific (12 per cent).
The number of confirmed cases reported globally is now over 234 million and deaths are just under 4.8 million.
UN envoy urges commitment to peace in Yemen on first visit
A full commitment to achieving peace in Yemen remains crucially important, the new UN Special Envoy to the country has said, on his first visit there.
Hans Grundberg met with Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed in the interim capital, Aden, on Tuesday.
They discussed political developments and the significance of the Riyadh Agreement for achieving stability, delivering basic services and securing the economy, the UN mission in Yemen said in a tweet.
The Riyadh Agreement, signed in November 2019, ended the fighting between forces loyal to the Yemeni Government and southern separatists.
Mr. Grundberg also met with Aydarous al-Zubaidi, head of the Southern Transitional Council, his office said.
The UN envoy’s visit comes amid an escalation in fighting around the northern city of Marib, which mainly Houthi opposition forces have been trying for months to capture from Government forces.
On Sunday, reported missile strikes in central Marib left two children dead and 24 people injured. A day earlier, in Aden, four non-combatants died, including one child.
Katy Dartford, UN News.