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Today’s top news: Occupied Palestinian Territory, Haiti, Ukraine, Zimbabwe

Occupied Palestinian Territory

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, said the past six months of war have brought death, devastation and the immediate prospect of a shameful, man-made famine to the people of Gaza. Those affected by the lasting horror of the October 7th attacks have endured six months of grief and torment.

Griffiths said the end of this war is long overdue – and that the prospect of further escalation in Gaza is unconscionable. No one is safe, and there is nowhere safe to go.

Meanwhile, the Al Shifa hospital – which was the largest in the Gaza Strip – had been destroyed and deserted. One staff member described Shifa after the Israeli siege as a “graveyard.” The World Health Organization said shallow graves had been dug just outside the emergency department and other buildings. OCHA and the World Health Organization reached the hospital after repeated access denials by Israeli forces.

A new OCHA report on access constraints in Gaza said restrictions and denials of planned aid movements by Israeli authorities continue to hamper the delivery of life-saving assistance. During the month of March, more than half of UN-coordinated food missions to high-risk areas requiring coordination with Israeli authorities were either denied or impeded. There was just one primary route designated for access by humanitarian actors between southern and northern Gaza – with only limited use of the Fence Road on Gaza’s eastern border thus far.

We and our partners continue to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza wherever and whenever we can. Last week, 17 health partners provided primary and secondary health services to almost a quarter of a million people. Work is also underway to expand medical service points in the western coastal areas of Rafah and Deir al Balah. Several partners working on water, sanitation and hygiene provided assistance to more than 130,000 people last week. They distributed more than 10,000 cubic metres of clean water via trucking and safely collected and disposed of more than 52 tons of solid waste.

Haiti

The emergency response in Haiti’s capital continues despite the ongoing insecurity.

Since early March, the World Food Programme has reached over 500,000 beneficiaries, including with school feeding, social protection and emergency activities across the country. It has also distributed some 500,000 hot meals to over 76,000 IDPs in 57 sites in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan zone.

Partners have also delivered nearly 4 million litres of drinking water to 29 displacement sites benefiting more than 60,000 people.

UNICEF’s gender-based violence response reached over 4,500 beneficiaries, including with psychosocial support and the dissemination of information on risks and services to combat gender-based violence in communities. UNFPA and its local and national partners continue to provide remote case management services through two hotlines for psychological support, referral and case documentation.

The US$674 million Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti is currently just under 7 per cent funded.

Ukraine

Humanitarian Coordinator, Denise Brown, in a statement condemned attacks on 5th and 6th of April in the east and south of Ukraine, which impacted civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Local authorities reported dozens of civilian casualties in the cities of Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv and their respective regions. Once again, first responders who rushed to the scene were also affected by a series of strikes.

Humanitarian organizations are mobilized and providing hot meals, emergency repair materials and psychological support, complementing the efforts of national rescue and municipal services.

Meanwhile, in the Donetsk Region, attacks on 5th of April destroyed Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’s facility in Pokrovsk. At least four civilians who were close to the office, including a child, were injured.

Local authorities also reported several dozen casualties, including children, and damage of civilian infrastructure, caused by the series of attacks in the Donetsk Region this weekend.

Zimbabwe

Concern is rife over the impact of the ongoing drought brought on by El Nino, which last week prompted the third country in the region, Zimbabwe, to declare a state of emergency following Zambia and Malawi.

Authorities there say more than 2.7 million people in Zimbabwe are facing food insecurity as a result – despite the Government’s and humanitarian partners’ investment in programmes meant to head off the worst impacts of the drought.

As Zimbabwe continues to respond to a cholera outbreak through vaccinations and other preventive measures, the humanitarian community in the country is also concerned that the scarcity and depletion of safe water sources could lead to an uptick in communicable diseases. 

We and our partners stand ready to scale up life-saving assistance in Zimbabwe but need adequate funding to do so. A flash appeal for the humanitarian response to the drought in the country is being finalized and will be launched soon.

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