UN launches aid delivery from Jordan to 650,000 Syrians

A displaced Syrian girl cries inside the Internallly Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Al-Hol in Al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on December 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2018
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UN launches aid delivery from Jordan to 650,000 Syrians

  • Known as Jaber on the Jordanian side and Nassib in Syria, the crossing is a key Middle East trade route
  • Reopening in October after a three-year closure was seen as a boon for the economies of both countries

AMMAN: The United Nations said Sunday it began delivering aid to hundreds of thousands of Syrians through the Jaber-Nassib border crossing with Jordan, which reopened two months ago.
In total, "369 trucks carrying 11,200 metric tons of... assistance for over 650,000 people" will be involved in the four-week operation, the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA said.
The "exceptional" delivery, which amounts to one-month's worth of aid, would be carried out by six UN agencies and one international NGO, it added.
"This is a major logistical operation in an effort to mitigate the suffering of the Syrian people," said Anders Pedersen, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jordan.
Among the immediate needs of Syrians were food, shelter, water and medical care, according to OCHA.
"We are working closely with our UN partners inside Syria to ensure this assistance reaches those who need it most," Pedersen added.
Syrian regime forces retook control of the border crossing from rebels in July.
Known as Jaber on the Jordanian side and Nassib in Syria, the crossing is a key Middle East trade route and its reopening in October after a three-year closure was seen as a boon for the economies of both countries.
Syria's civil war has killed more than 360,000 people since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.
More than half the country's 23 million people have fled, with 6.6 million of those internally displaced and more than 5.6 million going abroad, according to UN figures.


Boat with migrants rescued off Libya looks for port to dock

Updated 20 January 2019
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Boat with migrants rescued off Libya looks for port to dock

  • Sea-Watch 3 asked where it can bring the 47 migrants it had taken aboard

ROME: A private rescue boat with dozens of migrants aboard sought permission for a second day to enter a safe port Sunday, but said so far its queries to several nations haven’t succeeded. Another vessel crowded with migrants and taking on water, meanwhile, put out an urgent, separate appeal for help in the southern Mediterranean.
Sea-Watch 3, run by a German NGO, said Sunday it has contacted Italy, Malta, Libya as well as the Netherlands, since the boat is Dutch-flagged, asking where it can bring the 47 migrants it had taken aboard. Sea-Watch tweeted that Libyan officials had hung up when it asked for a port assignment.
An Italian state TV reporter aboard Sea-Watch 3 said the rescue took place Saturday about 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the coast west of Tripoli in Libya’s search-and-rescue area. Libya-based human traffickers launch flimsy or rickety boats, crowded with migrants hoping to reach Europe and its opportunities for better lives.
Separately, Sea-Watch tweeted Sunday afternoon that it had been urgently contacted by a boat with 100 migrants aboard that said it was taking on water, 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) from the current location at sea of Sea-Watch 3.
The distressed vessel reported navigational problems and had among the migrants a child “unconscious or deceased,” Sea-Watch said. Subsequent communication said the boat was “taking in water” and asked Sea-Watch to call for help, “regardless of what this would mean concerning a possible return to Libya,” Sea-Watch said.
The aid group later said Malta on the phone confirmed “that they will come back to us” regarding the distress call, but it wasn’t immediately clear what kind of assistance the Maltese might give.
Migrants dread the prospect of being returned to Libya, where they have reported torture including beatings and rapes in overcrowded detention centers.
The governments of Malta and Italy have been refusing to allow private rescue boats rescuing migrants to dock. Both contend that in recent years they have taken in many migrants rescued at sea and that fellow European Union nations must agree to take their share of these asylum-seekers.
Earlier this month, Malta transferred to land 49 migrants who had been aboard Sea-Watch 3 as long as 19 days but refused the boat port entry. They were allowed to set foot on the southern Mediterranean island only after an EU-brokered deal found several countries willing to take them as well as other migrants, who had been rescued at sea earlier in separate operations by Malta.