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World News in Brief: Middle East crisis, Afghan quake, Karabakh refugee appeal

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed deep concerns for the civilian population, urging maximum restraint and that “all diplomatic efforts” are made “to avoid a wider conflagration”.

Dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries continued to be reported during the day, including from rocket fire by Palestinian militants in Israeli cities and Israel’s airstrike response in the Gaza Strip.

The UN Security Council decided to convene emergency consultations on Sunday at 3pm at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the crisis.

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Deadly quake pummels Afghanistan

A major earthquake struck Herat, Afghanistan early Saturday killing at least 100 people and triggering a spate of rescue and assessment missions by UN agencies, partners, and the de facto authorities.

Initial assessments indicate that the 6.3 magnitude quake caused deaths across eight villages, with a further 500 people injured, according to the latest update from the UN humanitarian agency (OCHA).

Partners and local authorities expect a spike in deaths as rescue missions are mounted to save those trapped in collapsed buildings.

Humanitarian partners have initiated relief efforts, deploying medical and trauma support to regional hospitals alongside emergency shelter, food, supplies, and assistance to people in affected areas.

Response plan for refugees in Armenia

The UN and its partners launched an emergency response plan to help 136,000 refugees, appealing for $97 million to respond to urgent needs of those who fled the Karabakh region and their hosts in Armenia.

“We call upon the international community to urgently support refugees and their hosts,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “International support is crucial to sustain this welcome and to enable us to respond to immediate needs and to also build upon the resilience of this population.”

Following the escalation of hostilities at the end of September, more than 100,000 refugees from the Karabakh region arrived in Armenia in less than a week.

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