Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres calls for restraint in Venezuela, Jazz Day, the importance of breastfeeding, and updates from Libya, Iran and Mozambique

This Tuesday, we cover: the cost of almost one month of fighting in Libya’s capital; humanitarian responses in Iran and Mozambique following devastating storms and rains; Guterres calls for calm in Venezuela; how breastfeeding can prevent obesity in children; and a very jazzy celebration…

Libya: UN mobilized to support thousands uprooted by Tripoli clashes, renews call for humanitarian truce

Since fighting broke out on the edge of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, earlier this month, over 42,000 people have been displaced and thousands are believed trapped in the city’s southern outskirts. As UN humanitarian teams work around the clock to provide life-saving assistance, human rights chief Michelle Bachelet stressed on Tuesday the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire, and humanitarian corridor for civilians.

“The escalation of attacks in residential areas, including the use of artillery, rockets and airstrikes is deeply worrying. Thousands of children, women and men’s lives are at risk,” Ms. Bachelet said, calling on all parties to fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law.

The full update here.

UN aid teams scramble to reach ‘most remote places’ cut off by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

With heavy rains expected to continue in the coming days across northern Mozambique, access to the most remote areas affected by Cyclone Kenneth “remains difficult” the UN warned on Tuesday.

Humanitarian affairs coordination office, OCHA, reported that heavy rains had paused in the morning around the coastal city of Pemba, with aid workers going flat out to prepare relief flights – including medical supplies – to the island of Matemo, one of the worst-hit by the cyclone.

Find the latest humanitarian updates here.

UN chief calls for ‘maximum restraint’ in Venezuela amid uncertainty over coup attempt reports

UN chief António Guterres is calling for both Government and opposition forces in Venezuela to exercise “maximum restraint” amid reports of a possible attempted coup, and renewed violence on the streets.

His Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York that that the focus needs to be on the well-being of the people of Venezuela. He called for everything to be done to avoid violence and restore calm, and the Secretary-General said he was monitoring events closely through Tuesday, and with great concern.

UN humanitarian agencies ramped up their presence in the country over the last few months, amid strife between President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim President.

Mr. Guterres has had dialogue with both sides. He met with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister last week, and on Monday with the Lima group of countries, which are supporting Mr. Guaido.

Floods in Iran: worst damage in over 50 years, as UN supports recovery effort

Heavy flooding across Iran has caused what is probably the worst damage inflicted in more than 50 years, with 25 of its 31 provinces being affected by heavy-rains since mid-March, said the World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday.

According to latest Government figures, at least 78 people have lost their lives with around 1,140 people injured. WFP said it would deliver 10,000 family emergency food packages to the Iranian Red Crescent Society to help meet the food and nutritional needs of at least 40,000 over the next month.

WFP’s spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel told reporters in Geneva that “additional funding is needed to support the population, as more food should be provided in the coming weeks. Two million people are in need of humanitarian support or some sort of assistance and about 10 million people have been affected by the floods.”

UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, Ugochi Daniels, announced an Iran Flood Response Plan on Monday, calling for US$ 25 million to cover the emergency and early recovery needs of around 115,000 highly vulnerable people.

Story of Jazz celebrated worldwide with International Jazz Day

With the aim of raising awareness of the virtues of jazz as “a force for peace, unity and dialogue”, International Jazz Day was celebrated worldwide on Tuesday, with the support of UN cultural agency, UNESCO.

Speaking to UN News before participating in the main commemorations, held this year in Australia, Mexican jazz composer and drumer Antonio Sánchez, defined jazz simply as “freedom”.

 

Breastfeeding protects children from obesity, new UN studies confirm

According to two new studies from UN health agency (WHO), babies who have never or only intermittently been breastfed, “have an increased risk of becoming obese as children”.

The results released at this year’s European Congress on Obesity, also show that despite prevention efforts, childhood obesity across the continent remains a problem.  WHO spelt out on Tuesday, that “the longer a child is breastfed, the greater their protection from obesity”.

According to the study, breastfeeding practices in the region fall short of WHO recommendations for a number of reasons, including: a lack of policies to encourage breastfeeding, a lack of training for health professionals to support breastfeeding, and the intensive marketing of breast milk substitutes.

WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months of life. Thereafter, infants should be given complementary foods, with continued breastfeeding up to the age of two, or even beyond.

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