Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 13 July 2017 - Ethiopia, Syria, Gaza
Regarding the situation in Ethiopia, the World Food Programme (WFP) said today that their funding — and food stocks — are quickly running out. Ethiopia is struggling with the effects of devastating back-to-back droughts. Some 7.8 million people need food assistance right now, and that number is expected to rise again in the coming months after another failed rainy season. The most immediate concern is the 1.7 million people in the Somali region who depend solely on WFP for food. With current resources, 700,000 people will be left without resources. The Government, WFP and other humanitarian agencies have been pulling out all the stops to keep people from going hungry, and for more than a year have managed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. But, today, the World Food Programme immediately needs $96 million to ensure assistance up until December.
Unexploded war ordnances continue to put people at risk of injury or death in Syria. Three students were reportedly killed by a land mine explosion in Al‑Salhiya village in southern rural Quamishli in Al-Hasakeh Governorate today. A day earlier, a landmine explosion in Kafr Bsien village in northern rural Aleppo reportedly killed two children. The UN calls on all parties to the conflict to allow clearance of explosive remnants of war and to safely conduct risk education activities and ensure the respect and safety for humanitarian staff conducting clearance activities. Fleeing civilians are further at risk, as areas they are moving toward are often known to be contaminated.
Meanwhile, today, in eastern Ghouta, airstrikes and shelling on the towns of Ain Tarma — just east of Damascus — and Hazzeh — also east of Damascus — allegedly killed and injured several people, according to reports received by our humanitarian colleagues.
Turning to Gaza, our humanitarian colleagues there report that the Gaza Power Plant had to shut down operations again yesterday after it ran out of fuel. Power in some areas of Gaza is now available for only two hours per day. The energy crisis, resulting primarily from a Palestinian dispute since April, adds to the vulnerability of the 2 million people who live in the Gaza strip. On 3 July, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs launched an appeal for $25 million to address the urgent needs to prevent the collapse of vital life‑saving, health, water, sanitation and municipal services. The UN humanitarian fund released another $360,000 on 6 July to contend with emergency power needs.
The UN warns that lack of power could have catastrophic consequences on the provision of basic services to Gaza’s residents. The UN calls upon all the parties to put the welfare of Gaza’s people first and foremost and to take the necessary measures to avoid further suffering. Also from the region, I was just given a press statement issued by the Quartet Envoys who met in Jerusalem, and I will read it to you: On 13 July, the Envoys expressed serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and discussed current efforts to resolve the crisis. The Envoys from the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations agreed to meet again and to continue their regular engagement with Israelis and Palestinians, and key regional stakeholders. That statement will be distributed to you.