Middle East; Ebola; South Sudan

Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict. Ambassador Power stated the US position of continued support for parties to engage in dialogue to resolve the entrenched differences as well as the US commitment to UN and humanitarian actors as they have already provided $50 million to address humanitarian needs.

Ebola: WHO updated statistics on the Ebola virus in West Africa reporting that the total number of cases has now reached 1,711 with 932 deaths. The Organization meets today in an Emergency Committee of international experts to review the outbreak.

South Sudan: The ASG for Peacekeeping Operations briefed the Security Council on South Sudan this morning remarking that the country is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. The ASG urged parties to promptly reach an agreement on how to end the conflict. UNMISS  reported that 110 peacekeepers arrived in Bunj today to protect UN and humanitarian personnel as 220 NGO and UN international staff were flown out of the region for their safety and security.

Ukraine: At yesterday’s Security Council meeting on Ukraine, John Ging of UNRWA spoke for UN Humanitarian Chief Amos relaying the deteriorating humanitarian situation as 3.9 million people live in areas directly affected by violence. Ging remarked that immediate action is required to prevent the crisis from worsening as 1,367 people have already been killed in Ukraine since April. Ambassador Power echoed the call for immediate action and noted that “Russia can stop all of this. The surest way to end violence is for Russia to stop the flow of fighters, weapons and money from Russia into eastern Ukraine.”

Iraq: The Security Council condemned the attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and called upon all Iraqi communities to respond to the threat against the country’s unity. UNHCR reported that 200,000 have fled Sinjar to escape the conflict.

Africa Summit: At the US-Africa Business Forum yesterday, Obama pledged $33 billion in US private and public assistance to Africa. The pledge demonstrates the US commitment to long-term investments in Africa’s future.

Hiroshima Anniversary: Marking the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the SG sent a message to the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Japan remarking that today’s commemoration “connects memories of a tragic past with the vision of a future free of nuclear weapons.” He called for immediate action so survivors of the bombing and the world can witness the destruction of the last nuclear weapon.