Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 23 February 2018 - Yemen, Cameroon, Honduras
Also, I think I’d been asked for a humanitarian update on Yemen. We’re being told that food and basic commodity prices are continuing to rise in the country, putting these essential items increasingly out of reach of the Yemeni people. In January, average food prices rose to 55 per cent higher than prior to the escalation of conflict in 2015. Before the coalition blockade in November and December of last year, food prices had already been about 30 per cent higher than prior to the escalation of the crisis. Fuel prices are now more than double the pre‑crisis average, which has knock‑on effects in the prices of drinking water and other basic commodities.
And as clashes continue along the west coast of Yemen and in Taizz, more civilians are fleeing their homes. Over the last several days, emergency assistance has been delivered to 8,800 IDPs [internally displaced persons] across the Governorates of Lahj and Aden, including 1,500 particularly vulnerable people in Aden. The response is also continuing along the west coast where fighting remains active. About 100,000 people have been newly displaced in Yemen since [December] 2017, mainly due to fighting along the west coast and in Taizz.
Turning to Cameroon, the Assistant Secretary‑General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ursula Mueller, today travelled to Maroua in the far north region of Cameroon, to see first‑hand the impact of the deterioration of the security situation on the civilian population. Ms. Mueller, who is on a four‑day mission to Cameroon, travelled to the Zamai site for internally displaced people and to Minawao refugee camp. Since January, the Zamai site has seen its population increase to more than 1,000.
During her visit to Minawao camp, which hosts some 62,000 refugees from Nigeria who fled the violence from Boko Haram, she said that every day, 50 more people are coming to the refugee camp, in desperate need of health services, food and protection. She said that there are increased needs for humanitarian aid and life‑saving assistance and that the humanitarian community can step up if the financial resources are provided by the international donor community.
Large‑scale displacement fuelled by the Boko Haram crisis in the north and the neighbouring [crisis] in the Central African Republic are compounding high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in Cameroon. This year the humanitarian community has requested $305 million to assist 1.3 million people in that country.
Miroslav Jenča, the Assistant Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, [yesterday] delivered to the Permanent Representative of Honduras the report of the exploratory mission that was deployed to Honduras by the UN Department of Political Affairs from 6 to 10 February 2018, at the request of the Government of Honduras. Mr. Jenča conveyed the gratitude of the Secretariat to the Government, following its request for technical support from the UN for the implementation of a process to facilitate a future national dialogue. He also thanked political parties and civil society organizations for their trust in the United Nations. The mission, among other things, assessed conditions for a possible dialogue. The mission’s report was presented with the aim of suggesting measures that would contribute to the promotion of the necessary political reforms within the framework of the Honduran Constitution, with respect for human rights and the rule of law. The report also recommends a series of confidence‑building measures that could help establish the basis for a future dialogue. The mission believes such measures can help reduce tensions and generate credibility in such a process.