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World News in Brief: UN ‘committed’ to aid Ukraine, blue helmets exit northern Mali, Chad update

That’s according to Humanitarian Coordinator Denise Brown, who led a convoy at the weekend carrying aid for around 1,000 civilians to Chasiv Yar, just six kilometres from the frontline in the Donetsk region.

The UN aid coordination office OCHA warned on Monday that civilians are facing “daily attacks” along frontline areas in the east and south.

“In recent days, homes, schools, healthcare facilities, port infrastructure and aid distribution points have all been hit”, said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, briefing reporters in New York.

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No water for a year

Civilians told Ms. Brown they had been cut off from water, electricity and gas for more than a year. Most homes and civilian buildings and roads have been damaged. Around 90 per cent of the population has fled.

“This year, we have organized more than 90 inter-agency convoys to frontline communities in northern, eastern and southern Ukraine, with one-third delivering aid to the Donetsk region”, said Mr. Dujarric.

The UN and partners have reached more than 8.3 million people in Ukraine with humanitarian assistance so far this year alone. 

Peacekeepers in Mali begin withdrawing from restive Kidal region

UN peacekeepers from the Mali mission MINUSMA announced on Monday that they have begun withdrawing from the northern camps in the Kidal region, as security conditions worsen.

More than 300 ‘blue helmets’ have lost their lives during the decade-long civilian protection mission, which is due to fully drawdown by the end of this year, at the request of Mali’s military authorities.

Extremist violence and rampant insecurity have been constant, made worse by major political unrest which has seen several coups in the past three years. Violence has only increased in the past few weeks across the centre and north of the country.

Exit ‘as soon as possible’ 

The UN Spokesperson said that MINUSMA was “doing everything it can” to complete the withdrawal process “as soon as possible, in the midst of the rapidly deteriorating security situation and also increased risk to the lives of hundreds of peacekeepers.”

Mr. Dujarric acknowledged that “this is becoming increasingly difficult” and said personnel from the Mission were forced to seek shelter in bunkers due to an exchange of fire in Tessalit earlier on Monday.  

“All parties, including the Government and including the signatory armed movements, have an obligation to ensure the secure, safe, and unimpeded withdrawal of the Mission personnel and equipment.”

He reminded reporters of a statement at the weekend outlining the increasing likelihood that the MINUSMA will be forced to leave “without being able to repatriate equipment belonging to Troop-Contributing Countries and the UN.”  

The Mission is now intensifying engagement with the Malian authorities to convey its concerns and underscore their responsibilities as the host nation for the safety and security of peacekeepers. 

Top humanitarian official in Chad calls for urgent support

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Chad, Violette Kakyomya, warned on Monday that the country is facing multiples humanitarian crises, issuing an urgent call for support.  

The conflict in Sudan between rival militaries which has now raged for six months, has had a strong impact on Chad, with nearly 490,000 Sudanese refugees – mostly women and children – having crossed the border into the eastern part of the country to seek safety.

In total, there are one million refugees are living in Chad. 

The conflict in Sudan is also affecting Chad’s food supply chain, with prices of basic commodities more than doubling since the outbreak of the conflict, the UN Spokesperson told correspondents in New York. 

Chad is also vulnerable to climate change. Last year, the heaviest rains since the 1960s triggered a major crisis, impacting 1.4 million people and destroying 350,000 hectares of valuable farmland.

Ms. Kakyoma underlined the extreme generosity of the people in Chad who continue to welcome refugees and call for support to ensure seven million Chadians – out of a population of 18 million – receive humanitarian assistance this year. 

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