News in Brief 09 August 2017 (PM)

Up to 25,000 civilians still trapped in Raqqa with no access to aid

Up to 25,000 people remain trapped inside the Syrian city of Raqqa, as a US-led coalition battles ISIL, or Daesh, terrorist fighters for control of what was once their self-declared capital.

The UN said on Wednesday that agencies were “deeply concerned” about the safety and protection of civilians, many women and children, who have been caught in the crossfire and used as human shields.

News reports suggest that around half of the city has been recaptured.

More details from UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

“The humanitarian community is assisting displaced people � and host communities � in at least 46 sites, camps or areas of high concentration of internally displaced people in the area, and they are reaching over 263,000 people with some form of assistance in July. Humanitarian assistance includes various types of food assistance, including daily rations of bread, medicines and medical supplies, as well as nutrition assistance.”

He reminded all military actors of their obligations to protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access, in line with international humanitarian law.

Migrants forced overboard by people-smuggler off Yemeni coast

An illegal trafficker forced more than 120 refugees and migrants to jump overboard into rough seas on Wednesday, leaving at least 29 dead, according to the UN migration agency, IOM.

Survivors of what IOM is calling a tragic incident said that the smuggler made the decision to force his human cargo overboard when he spotted what he called “authority figures” on the shore, just off the Yemeni coast.

The migrants had been hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen.

During a routine patrol, IOM staff found the shallow graves of the 29 dead on the beach, where they had been hastily laid to rest by some of the survivors.

IOM medical staff provided urgent care to the 27 survivors, both men and women; providing food, water and initial health checks.

The average age of passengers on the boat was 16, and 22 migrants are reportedly still missing.

Survivors said that the smuggler had headed back to Somalia to pick up more passengers.

IOM estimates that around 55,000 have tried to reach Yemen from the Horn of Africa, most in search of safe passage to Gulf countries.

Afghan mission chief meets key officials over security concerns in Faryab

The head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, has met government officials and community leaders in the North-Western province of Faryab.

Tadamichi Yamamoto said he wanted to hear their concerns over key issues, as violence and suicide attacks continue in parts of the country, including in nearby Herat last week, where 31 civilians were killed by a night-time attack on a Shia mosque.

He met the Provincial Governor, council representatives, as well as women’s rights activists, youth leaders and political party leaders.

Here’s Stephane Dujarric again.

In his meetings, he discussed pressing concerns such as peace, security, and support to conflict-displaced Afghans and reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to do everything in its power to assist the government and people of Afghanistan in ensuring security, stability and prosperity.”

Source: United Nations Radio

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