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Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 4 October 2021 - Ethiopia, South Sudan, Myanmar, COVAX

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(excerpt)

Ethiopia

On Ethiopia, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the humanitarian crisis in Tigray remains dire, with 5.2 million people needing food aid, including 400,000 people living in famine‑like conditions. The spread of conflict into the Amhara and Afar regions is pushing more people into desperate conditions.

As we have been telling you, the delivery of aid has been difficult. Since 12 July, the UN has brought in 606 trucks of humanitarian supplies – but we need 100 trucks to carry aid into Tigray every day. The UN has not been allowed to bring in fuel since the end of July, leading to some of our partners having had to severely reduce or suspend their activities. Cash to run operations is also running out. Medical supplies are depleted, with nearly 200,000 children having missed critical vaccinations. The UN is engaging with the Government of Ethiopia for sustained and regular access for aid convoys.

Meanwhile, in Amhara, fighting along the Tigray regional boundary has led to hundreds of thousands of people being displaced. People in some areas reportedly do not have access to aid or basic services including electricity, water and telecommunications.

In Afar, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are directly affected by the conflict, including several tens of thousands of people who have been displaced and are in need of urgent assistance. Our humanitarian partners continue to scale up their response in both Amhara and Afar.

The UN urges all parties to the conflict to ensure that aid can reach all civilians in need. Our colleagues say that, without a ceasefire, humanitarian needs will continue to grow and there will be no way to sustainably address the suffering in Tigray, Amhara and Afar.

South Sudan

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says that it is deeply concerned over clashes this weekend between armed groups in Kacuat, in Warrap State, in which some 35 people were killed, dozens more injured and hundreds were displaced from their homes. There have been clashes in the region in recent months, linked to cattle raids and revenge attacks. This is worsening an already dire humanitarian situation.

Despite logistical challenges due to heavy flooding, last month, the UN Mission set up a temporary base in Marial Lou, also in Warrap State, to help deter violence. The Mission is also supporting reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts, including holding conferences to resolve border and land disputes, tensions over pastures and water points, and the proliferation of small arms among civilians. The Mission is also helping to bolster legal institutions in the area, such as mobile courts, to hold those responsible for the violence accountable.

Myanmar

On Myanmar, our colleagues there continue to be alarmed by the dire humanitarian situation due to the intense clashes and volatile security situation in many parts of the country. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 240,000 people have been newly displaced and need humanitarian aid and protection services.

The UN, together with our partners, is responding to the growing displacement, food insecurity and overall increased vulnerability. For example, the World Food Programme and its partners reached some 360,000 vulnerable and displaced people in Kachin, northern Shan, Rakhine and Chin in September with food and cash assistance. We continue to deliver water, sanitation, health, protection and shelter support, among other services.

The UN team calls on all parties to facilitate safe and unhindered access for humanitarian responders to reach people in need. It also appeals to donors for strengthened commitment to the humanitarian cause. Just one third of the $385 million for the Humanitarian Response Plan and Interim Emergency Response Plan have been funded, and our colleagues appeal to donors for a strengthened commitment.

COVAX

I have a COVAX update for you: Nicaragua recently received nearly 140,000 vaccine doses through COVAX to boost its national vaccination campaign. This brings the total number of doses Nicaragua has received from COVAX to more than 1.4 million. The UN team calls for the continued use of masks, physical distancing and handwashing, among other measures, to prevent the spread of the virus.