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UN, Oct 19 (Canadian-Media): Parties to the conflict in Yemen must do more to protect civilians, a senior UN humanitarian official there has said, as the number of civilian deaths has witnessed a sharp rise over the last few weeks in the war-ravaged country.
Tents and makeshift shelters at an IDP camp in Yemen. Years of conflict has left millions at crisis levels of hunger, with some facing starvation due to COVID. Image credit: UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi
“Innocent Yemenis continue to die and suffer because of this terrible war,” Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, said in a statement on Saturday.
Since the end of September, several civilians – including children – have been killed and many more injured in fighting in Hudaydah governorate and Taizz, according to the statement. Important civilian infrastructure, including schools and health centres have also been damaged.
“We share our condolences with the many grieving families and wish the injured a swift recovery, added Ms. Grande.
Famine looming In the statement, Ms. Grande also said that with famine looming and funding for humanitarian assistance running out, the parties “have to find the strength” to end fighting and start dialogue.
“We have to be clear, absolutely clear about this … Parties which have taken up arms are responsible, morally and legally, for doing everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they receive the assistance they are entitled to and need,” she stressed.
“There are political options on the table to end the fighting and move to political dialogue. With famine looming and funding running out, the parties have to find the strength and courage to do this,” added the UN official.
World’s worst humanitarian crisis Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the result of five years of a brutal conflict, disease, economic collapse and a breakdown of public institutions and services.
A staggering 80 per cent of Yemen’s population – over 24 million people – require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, including about 12.2 million children. A total of 230 out of Yemen's 333 districts (69 per cent) are at risk of famine.
Despite a difficult operating environment, humanitarians continue to work across Yemen, responding to the most acute needs. However, funding remains a challenge: as of mid-October, only $1.4 billion of the $3.2 billion needed in 2020 has been received.
Bad situations ‘only get worse’ without disaster risk governance, UN chief says on International Day
UN, Oct 13 (Canadian-Media): With nations facing multiple crises simultaneously and a dramatic rise in extreme weather events in recent decades, the UN Secretary-General has called for strengthening disaster risk governance, to build a safer, more resilient world.
In a message commemorating the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that without good disaster risk governance, “bad situations only get worse.”
Noting that disaster risk isn’t the “sole responsibility” of local and national authorities, Mr. Guterres highlighted the need for political commitment at the highest level to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
“Good disaster risk governance means acting on science and evidence,” he added.
COVID-19 and disaster risk reduction The Secretary-General also referred to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact, highlighting that lessons from the global crisis can be applied to strengthen disaster risk governance.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the importance of strengthening disaster risk reduction … COVID-19 has shown us that systemic risk requires international cooperation,” he said.
“To eradicate poverty and reduce the impacts of climate change, we must place the public good above all other considerations,” he added.
Multi-sectoral policies Meanwhile, Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, also highlighted the lessons from COVID-19.
In a separate message, she explained that COVID-19 has underscored the need for “clear vision, plans and competent, empowered institutions acting on scientific evidence.”
“We need to see strategies which address not just single hazards like floods and storms but those that respond to systemic risk generated by zoonotic diseases, climate shocks and environmental breakdown,” she urged.
“Good national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction must be multi-sectoral linking policies in areas such as land use, building codes, public health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, energy, water resources, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation,” added Ms. Mizutori, who is also the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
The International Day The theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is strengthening disaster risk governance – one of the Priorities for Action of the Sendai Framework – to build a safer and more resilient world.
Disaster risk governance refers to the way in which the public authorities, civil servants, media, private sector, and civil society coordinate at community, national and regional levels in order to manage and reduce disaster and climate related risks.
Held every 13 October, the International Day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face. The International Day was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2009.