“The U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, says northern Uganda’s 20-year war, a lethal mix of religion and brutality, is the world’s most neglected humanitarian crisis…. Last month, President Bush blamed the region’s violence on a “barbaric rebel cult.” Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., says Washington should demand “a rapid and organized international response to the humanitarian disaster” in northern Uganda.” [Read more]
“U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland asked for the fund after the tsunami, and the General Assembly approved it last December. The idea is to give the world body the ability to quickly send emergency supplies to areas hit by natural disasters and other humanitarian crises, without having to wait for international donors to send checks.
“The toughest time after last year’s devastating tsunami may be yet to come, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a video message broadcast in Banda Aceh on Monday.
“A year on, there has been tremendous progress in many areas. Children are back in school. Epidemics have been prevented. Tens of thousands of survivors are employed in cash-for-work activities,” the secretary-general said. “And yet in some ways, the most challenging days lie ahead.”
“A year of disasters around the world sparked an unprecedented outpouring of aid, but richer nations still are not giving enough money to tackle lingering humanitarian crises, the United Nations’ humanitarian chief says.
Jan Egeland said, for example, that as many people died in Congo every eight months as in last year’s Indian Ocean tsunami.
He also criticised political leaders for failing to take action to end the wars that created humanitarian crises or invest in disaster prevention to ease the impact of earthquakes, hurricanes and floods.
The work of UN and other relief workers in conflict-wracked eastern Congo, in the Darfur region of western Sudan, and in northern Uganda had become “an alibi for lack of political and security action”, Egeland said.” [Emphasis added]
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.