The humanitarian pause was announced by the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia and the United States Secretary of State on behalf of the coalition, said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA) Valerie Amos, expressing hope that that reports of agreement to the halt in fighting by the Houthis are accurate.“Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation on the ground in Yemen with hundreds of thousands of vulnerable civilians trapped in the middle of fighting and unable to access lifesaving aid it is essential that this pause materialise,” Ms. Amos added. If the pause in fighting, scheduled to commence on 12 May, is implemented by all parties to the conflict it will enable the UN and partners to scale up operations.“We could deliver more emergency food rations, provide medical care for the sick and injured and ensure clean water supplies for homes and hospitals. We need security guarantees and logistical support to enable us to do this,” she added. Ms. Amos called on all those engaged in the conflict to stop the fighting and bombing and give the people of Yemen respite. “It is vital that all parties respect their obligations to protect civilians under International Humanitarian law. A pause to allow aid in and people to flee to safety would be a lifeline,” she said. In a separate statement from the WFP, its country director in Yemen, Purnima Kashyap, called the delivery of fuel and supplies a “breakthrough” that will allow us to reach hundreds of thousands of people in need of urgent food assistance. “More fuel and food shipments are expected in the next few days,” she added. WFP has reached more than 1 million people in Yemen in the past three weeks amid growing conflict that has increased hunger. Before the upsurge in fighting in Yemen began in March, WFP was regularly assisting nearly four million vulnerable people in the country. The agency says it needs one million litres of fuel per month in Yemen and around $43 million each month to reach its target of feeding some 2.5 million people over the next three months.In 2014, a WFP food security survey found that 10.6 million people – 41 percent of the population – were food insecure with more than five million people severely food insecure – in need of food assistance. The current conflict will exacerbate the precarious food security situation because the country imports more than 90 percent of its food needs.
Engro Powergen Thar Ltd (EPTL) says it has successfully tested and energised its first 330 MW unit of the combined 660 MW coal-fired power plant in the Thar Coalfield of Sindh, Pakistan, hooking the plant up to the national grid.Engro Powergen Thar was formed in 2014 to set up a 660 MW power project in the Thar Block II. The company is a joint venture between Engro Powergen Ltd (with 50.1% ownership), China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC – the EPC contractor for the project), Habib Bank Ltd and Liberty Mills Ltd. The project is one of the early projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.The 660 MW power plant will use circulating fluidised bed technology to burn coal. Once commercial, the plant will send 660 MW of electricity through a 282-km long 500 kV Double Circuit Quad-Bundle transmission line from the EPTL plant to Matiari in Sindh province. The power plant – although the first in Pakistan running on Thar coal – complies with all local environmental laws and has voluntarily adopted various international compliance standards, according to EPTL.The company said: “The synchronisation of the first unit of the power plant is a considerable achievement given that the project has been constructed in a record time of under three years – as per schedule and projected costs, a feat in itself given the complexity of the project.”The EPTL power plant will use 3.8 Mt/y of coal supplied by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co’s open-pit mine, with both projects set to achieve commercial operation in June, it added.Together both the mining and power projects, managed by Engro Energy, will be able to bring average foreign exchange savings of up to $1.6 billion/y, according to EPTL.The President of Engro Corp, Ghias Khan, said: “The first sync of the power plant on Thar coal is truly a momentous occasion for entire Pakistan. Engro’s commitment to the Thar coal project goes back almost a decade when we entered into a public private partnership in 2009.“The synchronisation of the first unit of the 660 MW power plant is both testament to Engro’s capacity to engineer excellence and deliver on this project of national importance which will ensure the energy security of the county.”