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Senior humanitarian directors of United Nations agencies and partners wrapped up a visit yesterday to Somalia where the threat of famine looms, with more than seven million people already acutely food insecure. Assistance has reached over four million drought-affected people, but aid workers face severe funding shortfalls.

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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres interrupted his annual leave to travel to Istanbul on the evening of Thursday, 21 July, to participate in the signing ceremony of the Black Sea Initiative which he had first proposed to the Russian Federation and Ukraine when he had visited both countries in April 2022.

In Haiti, United Nations humanitarian colleagues have started delivering humanitarian assistance to help people in the commune of Cité Soleil, as well as in other Port-au-Prince neighbourhoods. Enough food to feed 7,000 people for a week has been distributed, along with drinking water and kits of basic relief items.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) today strongly condemned the widespread sexual violence, as well as killings of civilians, and attacks on aid workers in Leer County.  UNMISS has carried out 10 verification missions and says that 72 civilians were killed, and 64 cases of sexual violence have been recorded.

The Houthis movement — also known as Ansar Allah — have signed an action plan with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, the killing and maiming of boys and girls, attacks on schools and hospitals and other grave violations.  Virginia Gamba, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, signed the action plan as a witness in New York.

World Braille Day, on 4 January, aims to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.  COVID-19 has revealed how critically important it is to produce essential information in accessible formats.

United Nations personnel in Lebanon are responding to a fuel tank explosion in the northern district of Akkar, which killed 28 people and injured over 80 others on 15 August.  The incident comes as the country grapples with a deepening crisis and electricity shortages have forced hospitals to operate at reduced capacity.