A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information
No.53 / 30 July 2014
WFP food aid reached 3.7 million people in July
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it had made “significant progress” over the previous few weeks, reaching 3.7 million people in July, many of them in besieged and difficult-to-reach areas — due to improved access through cross-line and cross-border food deliveries. During a press briefing in Geneva on 5 August, a WFP Spokesperson said that more than 300,000 people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas have received WFP food through cross-line convoys in July, which is twice the number of people reached using cross-line convoys in June. However, security challenges continue to hinder WFP’s ability to deliver food, and the agency remains over half a million short of its goal of reaching 4.25 million people.
Free Syrian Army commits to work with the UN to end the recruitment of child soldiers
On 5 August, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) committed to end and prevent the recruitment of children under 18.In a communiqué annexed to a letter sent to the UN Security Council, the Coalition and the Supreme Military Council pledged to issue command orders to FSA units banning the recruitment and use of children and to enforce disciplinary measures against child recruiters. Welcoming the commitment, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict noted that it was an encouraging first step and it was of the utmost importance that this commitment is followed by concrete actions to ensure the protection of children in Syria. “The real work begins now”, she added.
UNRWA halts distribution in Yarmouk Palestine refugee camp as fighting breaks out
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) said in astatement that it had “distributed hygiene kits to 283 civilian families in Yarmouk on 6 August. This was the second consecutive day of distribution, following a break of eight days between 28 July and 4 August. Today’s distribution was halted when gunfire struck the staging area and clashes broke out in the vicinity of the distribution area, forcing the UNRWA team to evacuate in the late afternoon”.”UNRWA is deeply concerned that the recourse to armed violence has, for the second consecutive day, interrupted humanitarian operations in Yarmouk. The humanitarian situation in Yarmouk remains desperate and UNRWA appeals to all parties to do everything in their power to end the suffering of the over 18,000 civilians trapped there.
Security Council hears briefing on destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons
On 5 August, Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, briefed the Security Council by video teleconference on the Mission’s continuing work, in closed consultations.
Ms. Kaag reported to the Council on the work that has been taking place to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, which have now been completely taken out of the country.
Select UN stories
UNFPA provides reproductive health services to more than 19,000 women in Syria
In its latest regional situation report for the Syria crisis, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said that through the month of July, it provided 19,400 Syrian womenwith reproductive health and gender-based violence services including emergency obstetric care, safe delivery and psychosocial supportthrough 71 UNFPA-assisted health facilities. UNFPA also provided reproductive health services including family planning services to 14,000 women and reached 3,200 with reproductivehealth messages. The report noted that UNFPA and partners were scaling up efforts to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health (including familyplanning), promoting reproductive rights, reducing maternal mortality and improving the lives of youths and women by advocating for human rights and gender equality.
UN condemns fighting in northeastern Lebanon near the border with Syria
The top United Nations relief official in Lebanon, Ross Mountain, strongly condemned on 4 August attacks on the Lebanese Armed Forces and the fighting in and around the city of Arsal, in northeasternpart of the country, near the Syrian border.
The city is believed to also house 100,000 Syrian refugees. About 12,000 new Syrian refugees are entering Lebanon each week and the number is expected to reach 1.5 million by the end of the year, accounting for one-third of the country’s population, according to UN figures.The local government estimates that some 3,000 families from Arsal have so far been displaced.
Mr. Mountain, who is also the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, has voiced concerns about potential Syrian-Lebanese hostilities as a result of competition for dwindling resources. He also said that he is worried about the possibility of Lebanese inter-sectarian problems.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:
OPCW-UN Joint Mission
UN Humanitarian agencies
UN on social media: