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Gaza, Syria, Ukraine & other topics - Daily Press…

Gaza, Syria, Ukraine & other topics - Daily Press Briefing

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Noon briefing by Florencia Soto Nino, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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GAZA  The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that heavy Israeli bombardments continue, as does fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, as well as Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.   Over the past few days, further attacks hit residential structures and infrastructure in Gaza, with high numbers of casualties reported. An estimated 1.9 million Palestinians – roughly 85 per cent of the population – remain displaced.  In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 2023 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since the UN started recording casualties there in 2005 – with 507 Palestinians recorded killed. During the same time period, the UN recorded 36 Israeli fatalities in attacks by Palestinians from the West Bank, which was also the highest figure since 2005.         Over the past year, OCHA has also recorded 1,225 incidents that involved Israeli settlers in the West Bank and resulted in Palestinian casualties, property damage or both. This is the highest number since OCHA started recording this trend in 2006. The increase has caused displacement and deepened humanitarian needs in many areas of the West Bank. The number of incidents resulting in casualties or property damage among Israeli settlers in 2023 is 140, compared with 329 in 2022.  On Friday, we issued a statement in which the Secretary-General expressed his concerns about the further spillover of this conflict, which could have devastating consequences for the entire region.     SYRIA   In Syria, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is concerned about the impact on civilians of escalating hostilities in the northwest of the country – as well as the potential for the violence to jeopardize cross-border missions by UN staff.   The United Nations carried out more than 300 such missions last year to meet with impacted people, monitor assistance programmes and conduct needs assessments.   Over the weekend, shelling in residential neighborhoods in Idleb and western Aleppo left at least seven people dead. Nine of the nearly 30 people reportedly injured were children, including a two-month-old baby. At least two schools northwest of Aleppo were also damaged.   Since October 5th, more than 100 people have been killed – almost 40 per cent of them children – due to shelling and other violence in northwest Syria. More than 400 others have been injured.   The UN and its partners continue to monitor the situation and respond to humanitarian needs, including by providing support to health facilities, which are under additional strain due to an increase in respiratory diseases and other winter-related challenges. 

UKRAINE  The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that attacks continued today with vast aerial assaults in several regions in Ukraine causing death – including several children - and destruction of homes and other civilian infrastructure. The capital Kyiv and the city of Kharkiv, in the east, have been most impacted in today's attack and damages have been reported in nine of the capital's ten districts.   In a statement, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, Denise Brown, condemned the attacks, noting that civilians in Kyiv and in Donetsk Region were left without electricity or water, while temperatures are forecasted to reach -20 degree Celsius this week.   Today's strikes follow the pattern of the latest wave of attacks on populated areas in the country since 29th December. The UN and its partners, are on site and have been providing emergency assistance, supporting civilians whose homes were damaged or destroyed in many parts of Ukraine. In Kyiv today, aid organizations are providing construction materials for rapid repairs of homes, first aid and psychological support, complementing efforts from authorities. In Kharkiv, humanitarians provided medical and psychological aid, hot meals and drinks, blankets and materials for emergency repairs.   On the response front, on the last day of 2023, the 105th humanitarian inter-agency humanitarian convoy successfully delivered aid to nearly 1,500 civilians in a front-line town in Kharkiv Region. The convoy brought essential supplies, including food baskets, hygiene supplies, kits for people with special needs, older people and essential female kits, as well as emergency shelter kits. In total, humanitarians reached nearly 11 million people in Ukraine in 2023, with almost 1 million in the Kharkivska Oblast alone.  

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