posted on Mon 12 Mar 2012 6:01 PM
Humanitarian Briefing on Syria and the Sahel

Tomorrow morning (13 March) Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will brief Council members via video-teleconference on both Syria and the Sahel. She was in Syria from 7 to 9 March and in Niger from 16 to 18 February with UNDP head Helen Clark. (The original briefing from Amos on her Sahel trip had been scheduled for the end of February, but was postponed because Amos stayed on in the region to try and get into Damascus.)

Although previously denied access, Amos was granted permission to visit Syria between 7 and 9 March. While in Damascus she met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and other ministers. Amos was also allowed to visit, together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the city of Homs and parts of the suburb of Baba Amr, which had seen heavy shelling just before her visit.

Council members are likely to be interested in hearing Amos’ assessment of the impact of the recent fighting on the humanitarian situation in Syria. They are also likely to want more information on the joint preliminary assessment mission suggested by the Syrian authorities and scheduled for the end of this week. Amos may also update Council members on the needs assessment proposal she gave the Syrian government and on any progress made in getting unrestricted access for humanitarian organisations to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded.

After Syria, Amos went on to Turkey and she is likely to brief the Council on her discussions with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on regional contingency planning efforts.

In briefing on the Sahel, Amos is expected to highlight the security situation and food crisis in the region. Following their visit to Niger, Amos and Clark called for a greater humanitarian response to the crisis in the Sahel region and indicated that 10 million people may need help. It also seems that Amos may highlight the need for UN bodies to formulate a long-term comprehensive solution to the recurring nutrition issue in the Sahel region.

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