United Nations published this video item, entitled “Ethiopia, Tonga, Yemen & other topics – Daily Press Briefing (19 January 2022)” – below is their description.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
– Middle East
– Noon Briefing Guest Tomorrow
– Secretary-General/Press Conference
– Honour Roll
The Secretary-General has been in contact with a number of world leaders in recent days concerning Ethiopia. And today, he had a telephone conversation with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, who had recently visited Addis Ababa and Mekelle, the capital of the regional state of Tigray and who briefed the Secretary-General on the recent efforts to resolve the Ethiopia conflict.
The Secretary-General said that he was delighted that after over a year of armed conflict which has affected millions of people across Ethiopia and the rest of the region, there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace. He reiterated his call on all parties to move rapidly towards cessation of hostilities as a critical step in the right direction for peace-making.
He also called once more on all sides in the conflict to support and facilitate local and international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those in need.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that in Tonga, following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano, about 84,000 people – more than 80 per cent of the population – have been impacted by the disaster, with three confirmed fatalities to date. Injuries have also been reported.
The most pressing humanitarian needs are safe water, food and non-food items. The re-establishment of communication services including for international calls and the internet is also a priority.
All houses have been destroyed on the island of Mango and only two houses remain on Fonoifua island, with extensive damage reported on Nomuka. Evacuation of people from these islands is underway.
The clean-up of the international airport continues, and it is hoped that it will be operational on Thursday. As for the port, it is understood that ships will be able to dock.
Relief efforts are scaling up, but it is difficult to reach remote areas to assess people’s needs and provide assistance, and there are logistical challenges with shipping relief items internationally by air or by sea.
In addition, the country has strict COVID protocols that must be adhered to.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is shipping water and other supplies with Australia’s Royal Navy Ship, the HMAS Adelaide, which is expected to leave for Tonga on 21 January. The 23 UN staff members who have been on the ground and were living in Tonga are working with the government and local NGOs and are adapting to the changing needs in the country.
The Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, is still in Riyadh today, where he continues his discussions with senior Yemeni and Saudi officials on options for de-escalation.
Mr. Grundberg has been in close contact with all sides and urges them to exercise maximum restraint and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. He also called on the warring parties to engage constructively with his Office to facilitate the immediate de-escalation of violence.
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