Ban alarmed by ‘dangerous escalation’ in Ukraine crisis; Security Council holds emergency talks

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, many being women with children. Photo: UNFPA Ukraine/Olena Kulyk

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, many being women with children. Photo: UNFPA Ukraine/Olena Kulyk

New York, 28 August 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is alarmed by what seems to be a “dangerous escalation” in the crisis in Ukraine with reports of intensified fighting in the country south-east near the border with Russia, as the Security Council held emergency talks on the latest developments.

“The international community cannot allow the situation to escalate further nor can a continuation be allowed of the violence and destruction that the conflict has wrought in eastern Ukraine,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. Continue reading

UN reports improved humanitarian access to Syria for first time in six months

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefs the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefs the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

New York, 28 August 2014 – For the first time in six months, there has been some improvement recently on humanitarian access to Syria, but much more needs to be done by the parties to the conflict to ensure rapid and unhindered access to people in need, a senior United Nations relief official told the Security Council today.

“The progress in access during the past month has shown that where there is political will, there is a way to improve the situation for millions of civilians in Syria. We must all redouble our efforts until we reach everyone in need with humanitarian assistance,” said Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang. Continue reading

Ebola caseload could exceed 20,000 in course of emergency, UN response roadmap shows

A health worker checks a blood sample for Ebola at Kenema government hospital, Sierra Leone. Photo: IRIN/Tommy Trenchard

A health worker checks a blood sample for Ebola at Kenema government hospital, Sierra Leone. Photo: IRIN/Tommy Trenchard

Geneva, 28 August 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a roadmap that aims to stop Ebola transmissions within six to nine months, but acknowledges the actual number of cases may be much higher than that currently reported and the total caseload could exceed 20,000 over the course of the emergency.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General for Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration, told a news conference in Geneva: “What we are seeing today in contrast to previous Ebola outbreaks [are] multiple hotspots within these countries, not a single remote forested area, the kind of environments in which it has been tackled in the past. And then not just multiple hotspots within one country, but international disease, and it is now, as you know, really a multinational effort, three countries, heavily affected.” Continue reading

In Bali, UN chief stresses role of young people in building peaceful, sustainable future

 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the closing ceremony of the Youth Event organized by the Government of Indonesia and the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Bali. UN Photo/Evan Schneider


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the closing ceremony of the Youth Event organized by the Government of Indonesia and the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Bali. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Bali, 28 August 2014 – Addressing a youth forum in Bali, Indonesia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the role of young people in building a peaceful, sustainable future and encouraged them to be solid global citizens and leaders of today.

“The United Nations is doing everything possible to encourage a global mobilization of youth,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the closing ceremony of the Youth Event organized by the Government of Indonesia and the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

“We know that we cannot succeed in our ambitious goal to build a peaceful, sustainable future without young leaders.” Continue reading

Ebola: UN-organized workshop aims to boost Africa’s defences against deadly disease

Two midwives in Ebola protective gear supplied by UNFPA hand over a newborn to her mother at the Star of the Sea Clinic in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: UNFPA Liberia

Two midwives in Ebola protective gear supplied by UNFPA hand over a newborn to her mother at the Star of the Sea Clinic in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: UNFPA Liberia

Africa, 27 August 2014 – A three-day workshop organized by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) aimed at strengthening Africa’s defences against the Ebola outbreak is underway with health experts from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The first in a series of preparedness and response workshops began on Tuesday in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, with Dr. Deo Nshimirimana from the WHO Regional Office for Africa saying that “despite efforts being made to control the Ebola virus disease (EVD), the outbreak was continuing and the number of cases and deaths increasing, thus constituting a threat for all African countries and the world.” Continue reading

Syria’s brutal war threatens international peace and security, says UN rights panel

Syrian refugees gather around for the once-a-day water delivery in Za'atari camp in northern Jordan. Photo: IRIN/Heba Aly

Syrian refugees gather around for the once-a-day water delivery in Za’atari camp in northern Jordan. Photo: IRIN/Heba Aly

Syria, 27 August 2014 – Mass atrocities by Government forces and non-State armed groups continue to take place in Syria, causing immeasurable suffering to civilians and contributing to a spillover of violence affecting international peace and stability, a United Nations-appointed panel said today.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria emphasized that with the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the success of extremist groups, “risks of the conflict spreading further are palpable.” Continue reading

Using Egyptian crossing for first time in seven years, UN convoy brings food aid to Gaza

WFP distributing bread for displaced people in Gaza during a ceasefire in early August 2014. Photo: WFP/Ayman Shublaq

WFP distributing bread for displaced people in Gaza during a ceasefire in early August 2014. Photo: WFP/Ayman Shublaq

Egypt, 27 August 2014 – For the first time in seven years, a humanitarian convoy of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days.

WFP’s trucks arrived at the Rafah crossing after a seven-hour drive from Alexandria, where the food was procured, across the Sinai Peninsula, the agency said in a news release. This is the first time that WFP has used the Rafah crossing point since the Israeli blockade was imposed in 2007. Continue reading

Recent Libya fighting ‘unprecedented in gravity,’ warns outgoing UN envoy

Tarek Mitri delivers his final address as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Tarek Mitri delivers his final address as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Libya, 27 August 2014 – In recent days, armed battles, inflamed by airstrikes and fuelled by deep divisions among Libyan political factions have been “unprecedented in their gravity and very alarming,” the outgoing United Nations envoy to that country told the Security Council today.

In his final address as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Tarek Mitri said that the Libyan people bear the brunt of the conflict. The number of people displaced is estimated to be over 100,000, with at least another 150,000 seeking refuge abroad.

“There is a general deterioration of living conditions [in Libya]. Food, fuel, water and electricity are in short supply. The departure of foreign medical staff and shortages in medical supplies has rendered the plight of civilians more critical,” said Mr. Mitri. Continue reading

UN operation to feed displaced Iraqis reaches over 700,000 people

People waiting in line at Baharka transit camp in Erbil to receive their food assistance from WFP. Photo: WFP/Mohammed Albahbahani

People waiting in line at Baharka transit camp in Erbil to receive their food assistance from WFP. Photo: WFP/Mohammed Albahbahani

Geneva, 27 August 2014 – Food aid convoys from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have reached displaced Iraqis in Karbala, southwest of Baghdad, bringing the number of people receiving food assistance to over 700,000 people since the start of violence in mid-June.

According to a press statement, this week alone 2,000 displaced families in Karbala received food assistance after WFP sent convoys from Erbil in the northern Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) area – using a corridor along the Iranian border. More convoys will depart daily from Erbil to Karbala until all 15,000 families registered there have received assistance. Continue reading

Civil society gathers at UN to help shape new vision for global development, prosperity

Mr. Maher Nasser, the Acting Head of UN DPI with the planning team of the conference at the last conference planning meeting. Photo: UN DPI/NGO

Mr. Maher Nasser, the Acting Head of UN DPI with the planning team of the conference at the last conference planning meeting. Photo: UN DPI/NGO

New York, 27 August 2014 – Civil society converged on United Nations Headquarters in New York today to make their voices heard regarding the future global development agenda that will point the way forward on a range of issues such as eradicating poverty, eliminating hunger and combating disease.

The 65th Annual UN Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations, on the theme “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,” brings together an unprecedented number of civil society members to discuss the way forward after the deadline for achieving the set of anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Continue reading