Today’s top news: Occupied Palestinian Territory, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Sudan, Haiti – OCHA

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Occupied Palestinian Territory

Ground incursions and heavy fighting continue to be reported in eastern Rafah, as well Gaza city and the Jabaliya Refugee Camp.

UNRWA reports that nearly 360,000 people have fled Rafah since the first evacuation order a week ago. Many of them have already been displaced multiple times already over the past seven months.

Meanwhile, evacuation orders issued on Saturday for northern Gaza, amid ongoing Israeli bombardment there, have resulted in the displacement of some 100,000 people so far.

This means that over the past week alone, one-fifth of Gaza’s population has once again been displaced.

We remain deeply concerned about the lack of protection for civilians – and the lack of safety for humanitarian operations. 

Civilians must be protected and have their basic needs met, whether they move or stay. Those who leave must have enough time to do so, as well as a safe route and a safe place to go.

The UN continues advocate for concrete assurance and actionable measures to facilitate the safe and secure movement of humanitarian cargo, via all routes, into and throughout the Gaza Strip.

OCHA reports that as of today, Rafah crossing remains closed – and there is a continued lack of safe and logistically viable access to the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reports that the incursion into Rafah has jeopardized the provision of health services, access to health care, and the delivery of life-saving supplies.  

WHO says fuel shortages are also threatening the continuity of humanitarian efforts – saying partners working on health care in Gaza require a minimum of 46,000 litres of fuel every day just for their operations. In the event of an expanded military operation in Rafah, WHO warns there would be a heightened demand for fuel.

Further on Gaza, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Joyce Msuya, warned yesterday that the military offensive in Rafah spells further catastrophe for more than a million people who had been displaced to the city to escape fighting, disease and hunger elsewhere. Msuya was speaking at an aid conference on Gaza hosted by Kuwait over the weekend.

Ukraine

Local authorities, with the support of the UN and aid organizations, have evacuated nearly 6,000 people from the Russian border area in Ukraine’s Kharkhiv region due to the rapidly deteriorating security situation.

The Kharkiv region has experienced several waves of attacks in recent days, which have led to more civilian deaths and injuries, including children. There has also been massive destruction of civilian infrastructure. That’s also according to local authorities. 

Humanitarian partners have provided support and transportation to people being evacuated, complementing the efforts of national rescue and municipal services. They distributed food, water and hygiene kits, essential family supplies, arranged accommodation, and provided health and psychological support. 

Meanwhile, people in Donetsk and Sumy regions, in the east and the north of country, also experienced attacks over the weekend and today. Local authorities and humanitarian partners on the ground said that homes and civilian infrastructure were damaged during the attacks. 

Across Ukraine, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission documented more than 700 civilian casualties and 47 attacks on energy infrastructure in April alone.

Afghanistan

More than 180 people, as of 12 May, have been killed and hundreds injured following heavy rainfall and flash floods in Afghanistan’s northeast over the weekend, according to local authorities.

Humanitarian partners tell us that search-and-rescue operations continue with the support of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority and casualty figures are expected to rise.

Baghlan, Badakhshan and Takhar provinces are most affected, with Baghlan accounting for 80 per cent of the recorded deaths.

Civilian infrastructure and agricultural land have also been damaged.

The UN and its partners are coordinating with de facto authorities on the response – 14 joint assessment teams have been deployed and humanitarian partners have identified available emergency stocks in the region.

On the health front, UNICEF, the UN Population Fund, the World Health Organization, IOM and our partners deployed  27 mobile teams in Baghlan, Badakhshan and in Takhar provinces to support the response.

WHO dispatched 7 tons of medicine and medical supplies, including trauma and primary healthcare kits. Health partners also provided dozens of kits for pneumonia, acute watery diarrhoea, malnutrition and trauma.

The World Food Programme dispatched more than 50,000 tons of food in Baghlan Province.

Sudan

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, warned that Sudan is at a tipping point, amid more alarming reports from El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.

In posts on social media, Griffiths said OCHA has told the parties how they should protect civilians from this carnage – and the UN now expects them to do what the world and international humanitarian law expect.

He warned that countless lives are at stake in El Fasher, which is home to some 800,000 civilians.

Health care in the city is already coming under threat. Medical supplies are running dangerously low in the Southern Hospital.

Meanwhile, Médecins Sans Frontières reported that two children were killed on Saturday when a strike hit near a pediatric hospital supported by MSF. 

Haiti

OCHA warns that people in some neighborhoods of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince are extremely vulnerable, with armed groups continuing to perpetrate coordinated attacks.

Last Friday, on 10 May, the commune of Gressier, south of Port-au-Prince, was attacked and several houses were set on fire. According to local authorities, an unknown number of residents were forced to flee. Our partners are conducting assessments both in Gressier and in nearby areas where people fled.

Since late February, coordinated attacks by armed groups have targeted hospitals, schools, homes, churches, banks and commercial establishments.

There are currently 362,000 internally displaced people – half of them children – in the country, with 160,000 of them in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince. According to the International Organization for Migration, between 8 March and 9 April, some 95,000 people fled the capital, 60 percent of to the southern departments.

Despite the volatile situation, humanitarian organizations continue to provide emergency assistance to thousands of people in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other areas of the country.

Since 1 March, the World Food Programme has helped more than 800,000 people across the country through its school feeding, emergency and resilience programmes. It has distributed more than 825,000 meals to over 95,000 displaced people in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan zone.

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