Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-United Nations ministerial meeting, held today:
In South‑East Asia, severe, widespread flooding and landslides due to recent heavy rains have killed more than 100 people and displaced over 111,000, according to the United Nations, which is working with partners in Viet Nam to assess affected areas and support the Government’s aid response by providing food and other items.
In Asia, a strong monsoon season has caused floods and landslides over the past week, killing hundreds of people, displacing millions and destroying infrastructure. The United Nations and aid partners are supporting Government-led responses in several countries despite COVID-19-related logistical challenges.
Polio immunization campaigns have resumed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, months after COVID-19 left 50 million children without their polio vaccines, UNICEF said today. There is concern that up to 1 million children in Afghanistan could miss out as door-to-door vaccinations are not possible in some areas.
A flight carrying ventilators, protective masks and other essential medical supplies landed in Papua New Guinea today, marking the start of the World Food Programme’s humanitarian air service for the Pacific, which aims to help the region’s countries and territories bolster the Covid-19 pandemic response.
In Zimbabwe, where 60 per cent of the population is projected to be food insecure by the end of 2020, the World Food Programme appealed for $250 million to prevent a human catastrophe. A nationwide COVID-19 lockdown has led to joblessness in urban areas, growing hunger in rural areas and hyperinflation that has made basic goods unaffordable.
The World Food Programme (WFP) today said swift action is needed to avoid severe food insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean, the world’s most coronavirus‑affected region that also faces a relentless rise of hunger, deepening inequality and an active hurricane season.