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News in Brief 22 January 2024

News in Brief 22 January 2024

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Gaza war: 25,000 civilians killed as humanitarian needs keep rising

“Intense” Israeli bombardment in Gaza has continued along with rocket fire into Israel by Palestinian armed groups as UN humanitarians reported on Monday that more than 25,000 have died in the enclave since war began on 7 October.

Citing Gaza’s health authorities, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that some 62,681 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli strikes - launched in retaliation for Hamas-led massacres in Israel that left some 1,200 dead and another 250 taken hostage.

The development came as European foreign ministers prepared to receive their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts separately in Brussels on Monday, after UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the G77+China group of nations in Kampala on Sunday that the ongoing Gaza bloodshed was “heartbreaking and utterly unacceptable”.

Highlighting the scale of needs among Gazans after more than three months of “intense” bombardment, OCHA said that only 15 bakeries were now operational there.

They are all in the south of Gaza and have received support from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in the form of flour, salt, yeast and sugar, so that some 250,000 people can buy bread at subsidized prices.

Tedros concern that countries will miss deadline for pandemic treaty

The head of the UN health agency raised concerns on Monday that the draft of a global agreement to head of a future pandemic, may not be finalized by May this year, as previously agreed.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was addressing the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board when he said that “several outstanding issues” still needed to be resolved by governments and that time was “very short” to find consensus.

“A failure to deliver the pandemic agreement and the International Health Regulations amendments will be a missed opportunity for which future generations may not forgive us,” Tedros said.

The WHO chief’s warning follows agreement by Member States of the UN health agency to start a process to draft and negotiate a “convention, agreement or other international instrument” to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, after the huge loss of life caused by COVID-19.

Such agreements made between countries have legal standing and are binding. 

WHO has emphasized that a proposed pandemic convention would be driven by the need to ensure equity of access to tools that can stop pandemics in their tracks - including vaccines, personal protective equipment, information and expertise - and access to healthcare for everyone.

UN migration agency issues first ever global annual appeal for $7.9 billion

UN migration agency IOM issued a nearly $8 billion funding call on Monday, to help almost 140 million people, including those internally displaced and the communities that host them.

Leading the appeal, IOM Director-General Amy Pope said it was urgent to help communities resist climate change, which last year was an even bigger driver of migration than conflict:

“Hundreds of millions of people live in communities that are extremely vulnerable to climate shocks. If we do not begin to build this capacity now, we collectively will face a displacement crisis that dwarfs anything we deal with.”  

Speaking in Geneva, Ms. Pope said that irregular and forced migration had reached “unprecedented levels”, with more than 71 million people already displaced within their own countries today.

But the IOM chief also insisted that there was “overwhelming evidence” that well-managed migration was “a major contributor to global prosperity and progress”. 

In line with the UN agency’s long-term objectives, it said that Monday’s appeal would help to save lives and protect people on the move, find solutions to displacement and facilitate safe pathways for regular migration.


  • Gaza war: 25,000 killed as humanitarian needs go on rising 
  • Tedros concern that countries will miss deadline for pandemic treaty 
  • UN migration agency issues first ever global annual appeal, calling for $7.9 billion 
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News
Photo Credit
© IOM/Anushma Shrestha