Category: UNICEF

Ethiopian Government: ‘7 UN officials to leave country within 72 hours’.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres voiced his shock on Thursday after the Ethiopian Government declared seven UN staff persona non grata, ordering them to leave the country within 72 hours.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that five members of the UN humanitarian affairs officeOCHA, including senior leaders, were being ordered out of the country.

And as well the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative, and a team leader from the UN human rights officeOHCHR.

As a reminder that all UN humanitarian operations are guided by “the core principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence”, the UN chief’s statement reacting to the expulsion order.

Antonio Guterres added that in Ethiopia, “the United Nations is delivering lifesaving aid, including food, medicine, water, and sanitation supplies, to people in desperate need”.

Some 5.2 million people currently need help in the country’s northern regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar, after heavy fighting erupted last November between central Government troops and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The tweet from the foreign ministry, said that it was ejecting the UN officials for allegedly “meddling in the internal affairs of the country”, according UN News.

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United Nations: Beirut’s youth rebuild the Lebanese capital.

Young people in Beirut, which was devastated by an explosion in a warehouse at the city’s port on 4 August 2020, have been pitching in to get the Lebanese capital back on its feet with support from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

With no employment prospects in sight, Rafah found it hard to stay positive, amid the destruction of her city.

A UNICEF project has since given her, and hundreds of others, fresh purpose, providing them with an income, and setting them a daunting task: the clean-up, and rehabilitation, of Beirut.

In the aftermath of the explosion, UNICEF staff, alongside partners on the ground, conducted house-to-house surveys of families, and a series of technical assessments of larger buildings.

They estimated that 300,000 people, including 100,000 children, were directly affected by the disaster.

Rafah is part of a 1,900 strong youth network, mobilized by the UN agency, focusing on cleaning, minor rehabilitation of houses and, critically, helping to reconnect homes to municipal and private water supplies.

The programme, Cash 4 Work, provides knowledge and training from fully-qualified professionals and, in a country whose economy is in a critical state, financial assistance.

‘There are no job opportunities in Lebanon’

The participants, primarily the most vulnerable and poorer members of society, who cannot find employment in the local job market, are paid to work.

The programme is also playing a part in bind this fractured society together, as the young men and women bond through teamwork, and a shared goal of successfully completing their projects and improving their surroundings.

“There are no job opportunities in Lebanon, so this programme helped me”, says Rafah.

“Now, when I look forward, I feel I did something for myself, and this is a nice achievement.

My personality has changed a lot”.

Her colleague, 24-year-old Mohammad, is equally upbeat about his time spent on the programme:

“We are training youth as painters and, in parallel, we are working with others on renovating houses damaged in the explosions, that haven’t been repaired in almost a year.

I am happy that I gained a skill, and I am still learning. To work on my future and achieve my goals, especially in these difficult times, is something special”, according UN News.

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UNICEF warns: Public water system on the verge of collapse in Lebanon.

The public water system in Lebanon is “on life support” and could collapse at any moment, putting 71 per cent of the population, or more than four million people, at immediate risk of losing access to safe supply, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, warned on Friday. 

Most water pumping will gradually cease in the next four to six weeks, the United Nations agency estimated, due to the escalating economic crisis and shortages in funding and supplies, such as chlorine and spare parts. 

A collapse could lead to water prices rising by 200 per cent a month as families rush to secure alternative or private suppliers. 

“The water sector is being squeezed to destruction by the current economic crisis in Lebanon, unable to function due to the dollarized maintenance costs, water loss caused by non-revenue water, the parallel collapse of the power grid and the threat of rising fuel costs,” said Yukie MokuoUNICEF Representative in the country. 

“A loss of access to the public water supply could force households to make extremely difficult decisions regarding their basic water, sanitation and hygiene needs,” she added. 

A UNICEF assessment based on data from Lebanon’s four main public utility companies revealed that more than 70 per cent of people are now living with “highly critical” and “critical” levels of vulnerability. 

Nearly 1.7 million people have access to just 35 litres a day, compared with the national average of 165 litres prior to 2020, or a nearly 80 per cent decrease. 

“At the height of the summer months, with COVID-19 cases beginning to rise again due to the Delta variant, Lebanon’s precious public water system is on life support and could collapse at any moment,” Ms Mokuo said according UN News.

UNICEF requires $40 million a year to secure the minimum levels of fuel, chlorine, spare parts and maintenance necessary to keep critical systems operational.  

Ms. Mokuo underscored the need for urgent action as facilities such as schools and hospitals will not be able to function, and millions will be forced to resort to unsafe and expensive water sources. 

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UN chief Antonio Guterres welcomes Security Council extension of vital cross-border aid operation in Syria.

The United Nations chief has welcomed a decision on Friday by the Security Council to extend the UN cross-border aid operation in northwest Syria for another 12 months, providing a lifeline for more than 3.4 million people in need, including some one million children.

Secretary-General António Guterres said via his Spokesperson, that the authorization to continue using the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, due to expire on Saturday, was essential, as it “remains a lifeline for millions of people in the area, and beyond.”

UNICEF

Antonio Guterres according UN News:

“However, needs continue to outstrip the response”, the statement continued. “As the Secretary-General has highlighted to the Council, with additional crossings and expanded funding, the United Nations could do more to help the rising number of people in need.”

The compromise resolution after weeks of delay, emerged from discussions on Friday morning, and was unanimously adopted. It calls for a “substantive” UN report to be provided on aid access across the Syria-Turkish border at Bab al-Hawa, after six months, with a focus on “transparency in operations, and progress on cross-line access in meeting humanitarian needs”.

However, the operation will not depend on reauthorization in January, and can extend through to July next year.

Haiti: funding gap threatens the lives of nearly 86,000 children

In Haiti, the number of severely malnourished under-fives could more than double this year, UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Monday. 

Some could die if they do not receive timely treatment.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s lives in Haiti have been increasingly affected by rising violence, a lack of access to nutrition services and clean water

Haiti is experiencing extreme weather conditions including hurricanes as well.

The latest food insecurity data indicates that one in four Haitians is acutely hungry.

A lot of children in Haiti are malnourished

About 4.4 million people are estimated to be food insecure on the island today, including 1.9 million children, UNICEF said.

UNICEF added: the upcoming hurricane season is likely to worsen the access to nutritious food in the coming months.

“Severe acute malnutrition can and should be treated right now to save children’s lives in Haiti,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 2020, UNICEF, together with Haitian government and partners, treated 33,372 acutely malnourished children across Haiti, by providing nutrition supplies and medicines.

For 2021, UNICEF needs $48.9 million to meet the humanitarian needs of 1.5 million people in Haiti, including more than 700,000 children.

To date, the appeal has remained almost completely underfunded. 

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