This morning, you saw the Secretary-General say that we have all seen the tragic images coming out today of the monumental humanitarian, economic and ecological catastrophe in the Kherson region in Ukraine. He said that the UN has no access to independent information on the circumstances that led to the destruction at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam.
But one thing is clear, the Secretary-General pointed out: this is another devastating consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, adding that we are seeing the effects in the city of Kherson, the town of Nova Kakhovka and 80 other towns and villages along the Dnipro river.
Our humanitarian colleagues are telling us that Ukrainian authorities are supporting the evacuation of some 16,000 people estimated to be directly impacted by the flood, arranging emergency buses and train evacuations.
Those evacuating are likely to go to neighbouring Mykolaiv and Odesa, in the south of the country. Other regions stand ready to receive people as well we are told.
Our humanitarian colleagues say that the scope and impact of the destruction of the Dam and the depletion of the Kakhovka Reservoir, which is formed by the Dam, is under assessment but are projected to have severe and longer-term consequences on the humanitarian situation in the area. They warn that flooding and fast-moving water can move mines and explosive ordnance to new areas which previously had been deemed safe, thus putting more people in danger.
Emergency humanitarian response is underway to provide urgent assistance to the over 16,000 people affected by flooding. That includes water supply, cash assistance, legal and psychosocial support. Humanitarians have also deployed multidisciplinary mobile teams to train and bus stations across the region that are receiving people evacuated from the areas. I do understand that there will be a Security Council meeting on this at 4 p.m. this afternoon. I do expect a briefer from the Secretariat. Who that person will be is not yet clear, but hopefully will be clear before 4 p.m.
Another situation which I wanted to flag and that is Haiti, where this morning, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit the area near the southern city of Jerémie, in the department of Grand’Anse.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of life, destruction of property and suffering of the Haitian people caused by the earthquake.
The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to all those injured.
The UN stands ready to work with the Haitian authorities and other partners to help ease the suffering of those in need as it relates to the earthquake.
And of course, the other natural disaster which is the flooding and the landslides we’ve seen in the past few days.
Our humanitarian colleagues are telling us that Grand’Anse was already impacted by torrential rains that I just mentioned.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is working with UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the International Organization for Migration to support communities around the capital Port-au-Prince that were hardest hit by the floods and landslides. WFP is ready to distribute some 350,000 hot meals and other food assistance to those who need it the most.
Our colleagues say that ongoing insecurity and damage to roads are obviously hampering any relief efforts.
As we mentioned yesterday, the floods and landslides affected seven of Haiti’s 10 departments, and authorities say at least 51 people have been killed, 140 others injured and 18 are still missing. In the affected areas, nearly 32,000 homes were flooded.
Turning to Sudan, more grim news. The World Food Programme says that access in the capital Khartoum is very challenging, and distributions in the Khartoum metropolitan area of food will continue as soon as the security situation allows.
So far nearly 20,000 people trapped in Omdurman received WFP assistance between 27-30 May. WFP aims to ramp up assistance in Khartoum to support 500,000 people, as soon as the security situation allows it. Another reminder for the need for the immediate cessation of hostilities.
Just to flag that today it will be four months since the devastating earthquakes struck near the Türkiye-Syria border, impacting the lives of millions of people. Led by Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Alvaro Rodrigues, our colleagues on the ground activated a Humanitarian System-Wide Scale-Up Activation for the Türkiye earthquake response for an initial three-month period, followed by inter-agency work on multipurpose cash assistance to address people’s immediate needs.
More than four million people have been reached with some form of humanitarian assistance, with partners providing in-kind goods and services through the government to reach more than 2.3 million people. Some 2.9 million people have been reached with items including tents, relief housing units, toolkits, and tarpaulins.
We continue to work with local and national authorities to support the ongoing recovery efforts.
I want to flag a report released today which shows that basic energy access is lagging even as renewable energy use is growing. The report, which was issued jointly by the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, the UN Statistics Division, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, says that 675 million people are still without electricity, 2.3 billion still rely on harmful cooking fuels, and we are not on track to meet SDG7 on clean, affordable energy for all by 2030.
VIENNA WORLD CONFERENCE
In a video message for an event marking the thirtieth anniversary of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, the Secretary-General said that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action crystalized the principle that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. But, he added, as we mark that successful moment, human rights are under threat around the world.
He said his call to Action for Human Rights spells out the central role of human rights in addressing our most pressing contemporary challenges, also aims to mobilize the full weight of the UN to ensure that all people, everywhere, enjoy their human rights.
That message is online. And, as you can imagine, Volker Türk, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also spoke at the event.
RUSSIAN LANGUAGE DAY
Just last, today is Russian Language Day. Here at the UN we seek to highlight the Language Days of the six official languages [Arabic, English, French, Chinese, Russian and Spanish] since languages are one of the main tools in the formation of cultural and social attitudes.