Middle East


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released a report today on how attacks on Red Sea shipping are reshaping global trade routes. Higher fuel consumption from rerouted trade could result in a 70 per cent rise in greenhouse-gas emissions for these trips, and shipping costs have skyrocketed.

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A full-scale Israeli military operation in the densely populated Rafah area — where 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering near the only point of entry for goods — would be devastating, the head of United Nations peace efforts in the Middle East told the Security Council today, as he appealed for additional access points to northern Gaza to increase the flow of aid and reduce congestion in the south.

The UN team in Costa Rica is presenting a “Preparedness and Response Plan for People in Transit” to partners this week, which aims to boost assistance to vulnerable refugees and migrants. Over 500,000 people entered Costa Rica from Panama in 2023 — more than double the number of those who did so in 2022.

Following a surge of hostilities in Ukraine over the weekend, humanitarian organizations have provided materials for emergency repairs to houses. Meanwhile, the UN and its partners are addressing the impact of oil spillage on water sources in Kharkiv after a strike on an oil storage facility in that area on 9 February.

In war-torn Sudan, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 3.5 million children are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. The Agency and its partners have secured ready-to-use therapeutic foods through July and are scaling up their response to prevent a massive loss of lives.

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A spate of recent attacks on United States facilities and personnel in three Middle Eastern countries and Washington, D.C.’s retaliatory air strikes, alongside the ongoing Red Sea crisis, threaten to further exacerbate an already volatile regional situation, a senior United Nations official today warned the Security Council.

The massive humanitarian needs of over 2 million people in Gaza risk deepening, and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will likely be forced to close operations by the end of the month if donor funding remains suspended, UNRWA Head Philippe Lazzarini warned today.