The Secretary-General and top UN officials held a virtual briefing for Member States to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as his call for global ceasefires saw positive gains in Colombia, Syria and Yemen and UNICEF continued to procure and ship protective equipment and other vital supplies to affected countries.
The Secretary-General addressed the Group of 20 virtual summit on the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that transmission of the virus must be suppressed as quickly as possible through a coordinated response mechanism guided by the World Health Organization (WHO).
High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said today that broad sectoral sanctions should urgently be re-evaluated in countries facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures could have a potentially debilitating impact on the health sector and human rights, she added.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees airlifted emergency relief items to Chad on 19 March, responding to the humanitarian needs of some 10,000 Sudanese refugees. Clashes in Sudan’s West Darfur region since late 2019 have forced more than 16,000 people, mostly women and children, to cross the border into Chad.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande, has condemned continued attacks against health facilities in Taizz, which are threatening services for hundreds of thousands of people. Preliminary reports indicate that two buildings at the Al-Thawra General Hospital were hit by missiles on 13 March.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that the voluntary repatriation of registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan has been suspended and it has closed several repatriation centres until further notice due to the Government’s precautionary steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The Head of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic, Mankeur Ndiaye, condemned as unacceptable an attack on blue helmets in the city of Grimari, which killed a member of the Burundian contingent, as peacekeepers were trying to stop an assault by armed members of an anti-Balaka group.
An estimated 14,000 people in Burkina Faso have fled their homes in the past 17 days due to recent violence, bringing the number of internally displaced to 780,000, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports. It is increasing emergency supplies and protection for affected populations.
The desert locust situation in the Horn of Africa remains extremely alarming, as new swarms form, causing an unprecedented threat to food security, humanitarian colleagues report. The Food and Agriculture Organization has increased its appeal to $138 million to support regional aerial and ground control operations.
Humanitarian conditions in Mali continue to deteriorate due to violence, particularly in the north, east and central regions, the Humanitarian Affairs Office reports. As of 11 March, some 86,000 people have been displaced in the Mopti region since 2018, bringing the number of displaced to 218,500 across Mali.
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