Mel Schilling: Married at First Sight star reveals cancer diagnosis

Mel Schilling
Image caption,Mel Schilling is one of three dating experts who match people together on Married at First Sight

Married at First Sight dating coach Mel Schilling has revealed she has been diagnosed with cancer.

Posting on Instagram on Tuesday, Schilling said doctors told her she had colon cancer last week.

She added that she would be spending Christmas in hospital as she has an operation to remove a tumour.

The psychologist has been a part of the MAFS cast since 2016, first in her home country Australia and later on the UK version of the show, which airs on E4.

She is one of three relationship experts on the UK show alongside Paul Brunson and Charlene Douglas.

The 51-year-old announced the news with a photo on Instagram with her husband Gareth and daughter Madison.

‘Rough road ahead’

She explained that she developed severe stomach cramps a few months ago and was initially told she had constipation before having a scan and discovering the cancer.

“This week I had planned to travel to Northern Ireland with my family to spend Christmas with loved ones,” she wrote on Instagram.

“Instead tomorrow morning I’m checking in to hospital to have an operation to remove a 5cm tumour in my colon, a tumour that had it gone undetected for much longer would have killed me.”

The dating and relationship coach said she was “blessed” that the cancer was easy to eradicate and she was “expected to make a full recovery though it’s a rough road ahead”.

She added that although it will be “so tough to spend Xmas Day in hospital instead of being surrounded by family”, getting rid of her tumour will be “the best present of all”.

The cast of MAFS UK 2023 - a mix of the 16 contestants made up of eight grooms wearing suits and eight brides in white dresses. The cast are pictured on a purple background with confetti and a floral wedding arch
Image caption,The 2023 series of MAFS ran from September to November

She urged people not to ignore anything that did not feel right and “if you don’t think the answers you have got are right, keep going until you do, it might just save your life”.

Colon cancer is a form of bowel cancer and, according to Cancer Research UK, there are around 42,000 new cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in the UK each year.

Gansu earthquake: Authorities nearing end of rescues as more than 130 killed

People walk past a collapsed building after an earthquake in Dahejia, Jishishan
Image caption,People walk past a collapsed building in Dahejia town in the worst-hit Jishisan county

Rescue efforts for survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 131 in China’s north-west are coming to an end.

Authorities on Wednesday said they were wrapping up operations and would now focus on treating the injured and helping those who lost their homes.

The 6.2 magnitude quake hit Gansu province Monday night, injuring nearly 1,000 in the mountainous region.

Thousands of workers have been operating in sub-zero temperatures.

Temperatures hit -13C (8.7F) on Tuesday, Chinese media reported. Large parts of northern China are caught in a cold snap, with many cities reporting record low temperatures.

Sixteen people remain missing in neighbouring Qinghai province, to the south of Gansu.

Local officials in Jishishan county, the worst-hit in Gansu province, said more than 5,000 buildings in the area had been damaged.

Watch moment diners sprint out of restaurant as earthquake hits

Many other buildings in the province were hit by mudslides triggered by the quake, while roads were damaged by landslides.

Pictures from the region showed entire villages split by the quake, as well as collapsed buildings and houses.

Residents who fled their homes were also shown huddling over makeshift fires at hastily erected evacuation camps.

Survivors said the tremors had felt like “being tossed by surging waves” and recalled rushing out of their apartments.

“I woke my family up and we rushed down all 16 floors in one breath,” said one man named Mr Qin by Chinese outlets.

Monday’s quake was reported as China’s deadliest earthquake since 2014, when more than 600 people were killed by a quake in south-western Yunnan province. caption,

Watch: Streets littered with debris after China quake

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered thousands of firemen, soldiers and policemen, as well as medical personnel, to the region, which is among the poorest and most diverse in China.

Gansu lies between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus and borders Mongolia. The remote region is one of China’s poorest and most ethnically diverse.

The epicentre of the quake was in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, home to many Chinese Muslim groups, including the Hui, Bonan, Dongxiang and Salar people.

Chinese authorities said the quake measured 6.2 on the Richter scale, while the US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded a magnitude of 5.9 and depth of 10km (6 miles). Dozens of smaller aftershocks followed the initial quake. Officials also warned of possible tremors with a magnitude of more than 5.0 in the coming days.

Officials had told the BBC on Monday they had limited time to rescue people in the sub-zero conditions.

“It is too cold to bear… it’s -15C [here],” Wang Yi, chief commander of the Blue Sky Rescue Team, told the BBC. Blue Sky is China’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organisation, with more than 30,000 volunteers across the country.

Chinese rescuers carry an injured woman
Image caption,Rescuers carry an injured woman in Dahejia town

Mr Wang said he expected the number of casualties to climb. “We now need to dig deeper [into the rubble]. But there are no big buildings in the area. So it will rise, but it won’t be much,” he said.

President Xi has said “all efforts should be made to carry out search and rescue, treat the injured in a timely manner, and minimise casualties”.

China sits in a region where a number of tectonic plates – notably the Eurasian, Indian and Pacific plates – meet. It is particularly prone to earthquakes.

An earthquake in Yushu in Qinghai province, which is next to Gansu, claimed almost 2,700 lives in 2010.

China’s most devastating earthquake in recent decades was in the south-western province of Sichuan in 2008 when 87,000 people were killed.

Additional reporting by Laura Bicker in Beijing

Map showing the epicentre of the earthquake in Jishishan county, Gansu province, north-west China.

Polish state TVP Info channel off air as Tusk reforms kick in

MPs from the former ruling party entered TVP headquarters after the new government sacked state TV chiefs
Image caption,MPs from the former ruling party entered TVP headquarters after the new government sacked state TV chiefs

Polish state TV channel TVP Info has been taken off air after Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s new government moved to depoliticise public media.

Parliament in Warsaw backed a resolution on Tuesday night calling for independence, objectivity and pluralism in public TV and radio.

The new culture minister has dismissed the heads of TVP and Polish Radio.

MPs from the Law and Justice (PiS) party who lost power in October reacted by staging a sit-in at state TV HQ.

The ex-PiS prime minister condemned the Tusk government’s “illegal actions”.

State media is an important tool in Poland. About a third of people rely solely on it for their news, having no access to private broadcasters.

In recent years, TVP’s main evening news broadcasts, and TVP Info, became a propaganda machine for the PiS government, and the new coalition, led by pro-EU Prime Minister Donald Tusk, had promised voters to turn state media into a platform for “reliable information”.

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski joined the protest at TVP headquarters in Warsaw all night, leaving the building after 06:00 local time (05:00 GMT).

He returned, along with dozens of other PiS MPs on Wednesday after TVP’s 24-hour news channel was taken off air. TVP Info continued to broadcast on YouTube, showing video of a TV screen airing the output, until it also stopped.

On Tuesday night, TVP Info, the 24-hour news service, symbolically changed its headline strap from red to black.

Then on Wednesday the new minister of culture, Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz, dismissed the heads of state TV and radio as well as state news agency PAP.

New management boards were also appointed. and then the news channel went off air altogether. Former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused the new government of violating its “supposed care for the rule of law… at every step”.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk
Image caption,Prime Minister Donald Tusk has moved quickly to dismiss appointees of the previous government from state bodies

The Tusk-led coalition was eventually sworn in a week ago, after winning October elections on a promise to overturn years of PiS reforms.

The former president of the European Council has moved quickly to dismiss PiS appointees from government bodies. On Tuesday he appointed new heads of state security, intelligence and anti-corruption offices. He described the new chiefs, including two women, as “very good, loyal and disciplined”.

By law, state media should not serve the political interests of any one party. In practice, it is normally partial to whichever government is in power.

After taking office in 2015, PiS went much further than any previous government in controlling TVP’s narrative.

It changed Poland’s media law and set up a rival media regulator to allow it to sack management boards and pack the public media with journalists sympathetic to its policies.

While it was doing this, it enacted legislation to increase its political control over the judiciary and the civil service. It put its own people in charge of the security services and state-controlled companies.

Many Poles old enough to remember the crude propaganda of the communist-era authorities in the 1970s and ’80s said TVP’s methods were even worse.

PiS set out to “repolonise” Polish media and used the country’s state-controlled energy company Orlen to buy Poland’s largest regional media outlet, the German-owned Polska Press, taking political control of its newspapers and websites.

It also passed legislation to limit foreign ownership of the media, leading Washington to protest the bill was aimed at the US-owned TVN. The protest caused President Andrzej Duda to veto the bill.

In response to PiS’s actions, privately owned newspapers and broadcasters, such as TVN 24 news, became markedly more critical of the PiS-led government.

Under the previous government, Poland dropped from 18th to 57th place in the World Press Freedom Index.

So how can its former leader, Mr Kaczynski, say the protest is defending democracy and media pluralism?

In his definition, media pluralism will be reduced by PiS losing control over TVP. For him, TVP acts as a conservative bulwark against the private broadcasters supporting the new coalition government.

Mr Tusk has learned from PiS’s eight years in power. When he was first elected prime minister in 2007, he left a PiS appointee, Mariusz Kaminski, in his post as head of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau until 2009.

Mr Kaminski served as interior minister under the recently departed PiS-led government.

However, the Tusk government may face resistance to its planned changes from the President Duda, a PiS ally, who has the power to veto legislation.

Mr Duda wrote to the parliamentary speaker on Tuesday evening saying any changes to the state media must be carried out in accordance with the law.

Presidential adviser Marcin Mastalerek said Wednesday that the parliamentary resolution had no legal impact on state media.

Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported on Wednesday that the coalition government did not plan a wide-ranging purge of TVP personnel, saying up to 60 employees who violated journalistic standards would lose their jobs. The newspaper said the government planned to make the changes by Christmas.

South Korea: Students sue after teacher ends exam 90 seconds early

South Korean students wait to take the annual College Scholastic Ability Test at a school in Seoul, South Korea, 16 November 2023
Image caption,More than half a million students took the gruelling Suneung exam this year

A group of South Korean students are suing the government because their college admission examination ended 90 seconds earlier than scheduled.

They are asking for 20 million won ($15,400; £12,000) each – the cost of a year’s studying to retake the exam.

The error affected the rest of the students’ exams, their lawyer says.

The country’s infamous college admission test, known as Suneung, is an eight-hour marathon with back-to-back papers in multiple subjects.

The Suneung is one of the hardest exams in the world and stakes are very high.

It not only determines university placements and jobs but even future relationships. A number of measures to help students concentrate are taken during the annual event such as closing the country’s airspace and delaying the opening of the stock market.

The results of this year’s exam were released on 8 December.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by at least 39 students, claims that the bell rang earlier at a test site in the capital Seoul during Korean – the first subject of the exam.

Some students protested immediately, but say the supervisors still took their papers away. The teachers recognised the mistake before the start of the next session, and gave the one and half minutes back during the lunch break but they could only mark blank columns left on their papers and were not allowed to change any existing answers.

The students said they were so upset that they could not focus on the rest of the exam, Yonhap news agency reports. Some reportedly gave up and returned home.

Their lawyer Kim Woo-suk told local media that education authorities had not apologised.

Public broadcaster KBS quoted officials who said the supervisor in charge of the specific test centre had misread the time.

This is not the first time students have sued over a bell rung too early. In April, a court in Seoul awarded 7 million won ($5,250; £4,200) to students who claimed they were disadvantaged at the 2021 Suneung exam because their bell rang about two minutes earlier.

And the price can be even higher in other countries. In 2012, a man in China was given a one-year suspended sentence for ringing the bell four minutes and 48 seconds early during the national college entrance exam at a school in Hunan province.

China tries activist Li Qiaochu for ‘inciting subversion of state power’

Chinese activist Li Qiaochu
Image caption,Li Qiaochu has been detained since March 2021

Chinese activist Li Qiaochu has been tried for “inciting subversion of state power” in a case seen as part of China’s sprawling crackdown on dissent.

Ms Li’s lawyer Li Guobei said she was denied entry to the closed-door trial held in Linyi, Shandong on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old faces a possible jail term of five years or more.

She has been in custody since March 2021, after tweeting about the harsh detention conditions of her partner and fellow activist Xu Zhiyong.

Her trial concluded at 15:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Tuesday without a verdict, according to a Facebook page, FreeLiqiaochu, which tracks updates on the case.

The lawyer told the BBC that she last met Ms Li at a pre-trial conference on 19 June, where she had maintained a “firm” stance on not pleading guilty.

Ms Li has struggled with hallucinations while under detention, she added.

Ms Li was first summoned by the police in December 2019 and held for a day while she was questioned about Mr Xu’s whereabouts.

She was taken into custody again in February 2020, after criticising how the police had treated her. She was then released on bail before being arrested again in March 2021.

A podium protesting the imprisonment of five Chinese activists, including Li Qiaochu (centre)
Image caption,A podium protesting the imprisonment of five Chinese activists, including Li Qiaochu (centre), placed at the Chinese embassy in The Hague

Ahead of the trial on Tuesday, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China called for her “unconditional release”, noting that Ms Li “reportedly needs urgent medical treatment”.

The commission, which has a legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, also dismissed the “absurd” charges levelled at her for “exposing the torture [Xu] and Ding Jiaxi faced in detention”.

Xu and Ding were jailed – for 14 years and 12 years, respectively – in April for subversion.

Both men co-founded the New Citizens’ Movement, which campaigns for civil rights and government transparency. They are among the most high-profile dissidents to fall foul of the Chinese authorities.

Ms Li was charged with “inciting subversion” because she “is Xu Zhiyong’s partner and deeply influenced by his subversive thoughts”, according to a statement on Amnesty International which cited the wording of her indictment. She was also deemed to have “spread subversive thoughts” by helping Mr Xu publish his “subversive articles” online.

“Li’s trial highlights the deeply repressive environment for anyone who tries to advocate for human rights in China,” the rights group said.

Ding’s wife Luo Shengchun also called for the state to “stop persecuting Li Qiaochu”. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, she added that numerous applications by Ms Li’s family members for a meeting with her have been rejected by the authorities.

Ms Li was previously employed in Beijing’s Tsinghua University, where she researched issues related to women’s and workers’ rights.

In 2017, she worked with other academics and civil society groups to help evicted migrant workers secure new jobs and accommodation. She also played an active role in China’s #MeToo movement by compiling and publishing data on sexual harassment allegations.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun: Narendra Modi breaks silence on US murder plot allegation

NEW DELHI, INDIA DECEMBER 4: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi, Jitendra Singh, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V. Muraleedharan address the media on the first day of the Winter session of Parliament, on December 4, 2023 in New Delhi, India. The government has 21 Bills on its agenda for the Winter Session, including the bills to replace the IPC, the Indian Evidence Act and the CrPC. Of those 21 bills, two bills were passed on Monday one each in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Image caption,Mr Modi said the allegations won’t affect India’s ties with the US

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India will “definitely look into” any evidence provided on its alleged links to an assassination plot in the US.

In November, the US charged an Indian man of conspiring to murder a Sikh separatist leader in New York.

Mr Modi told the Financial Times that the allegations will not affect ties between India and the US.

This is the first time he has spoken publicly about the issue.

“If a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad, we are ready to look into it. Our commitment is to the rule of law,” the prime minister told the newspaper.

The target of the attempted assassination, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, is a dual US-Canadian citizen who is a vocal supporter of the Khalistan movement which advocates for a separate Sikh state.

US prosecutors claimed that a man named Nikhil Gupta had paid $100,000 (£79,000) in cash to a hitman to assassinate Mr Pannun and that he was allegedly directed by an Indian government official.

India has designated Mr Pannun a terrorist, but he denies the allegation and says he’s an activist.

The allegations came about two months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of having links to the murder of another Sikh separatist leader named Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on 18 June in Canada.

India has strongly denied the allegations and accused Canada of providing shelter to “Khalistani terrorists and extremists” who threaten India’s security.

Delhi has also repeatedly claimed that Ottawa has not yet shared concrete evidence to back the allegation.

The diplomatic row has damaged India-Canada ties.

The Indian government has often reacted sharply to demands by Sikh separatists in Western countries for Khalistan.

The Khalistan movement peaked in India in the 1980s with a violent insurgency centred in Sikh-majority Punjab state. It was quelled by force and has little resonance in India now, but is still popular among some in the Sikh diaspora in countries such as Canada, Australia and the UK.

Experts say that the recent accusations of extra-judicial killings of Sikh separatists threaten to dent India’s ties with the US, which have been steadily growing.

However, Mr Modi told the Financial Times that he feels confident about the upward trajectory of the relationship.

“There is strong bipartisan support for the strengthening of this relationship, which is a clear indicator of a mature and stable partnership,” he said.”I don’t think it is appropriate to link a few incidents with diplomatic relations between the two countries,” he added.

He also said that India was concerned about the “activities of certain extremist groups based overseas”.

Italian court jails parents for life over ‘honour killing’ of Pakistani teen

File photo of a protest against gender violence in Pakistan
Image caption,File photo of women protesting against so-called honour killings in Pakistan

An Italian court has given a Pakistani couple life sentences for killing their 18-year-old daughter because she refused an arranged marriage.

Saman Abbas’s body was found at a farmhouse in northern Italy in November 2022, 18 months after she disappeared.

Her father, Shabbar Abbas, was arrested in Pakistan and extradited to be tried for her murder in August.

Her mother, Nazia Shaheen, was convicted in her absence. She is believed to be in hiding in Pakistan.

Shabbar Abbas had earlier made an impassioned plea to the court, asserting that “never in my life did I think of killing my daughter”.

The teenager’s uncle, Danish Hasnain, was given 14 years in jail for involvement in the murder, but two of her cousins were cleared.

Saman Abbas’s so-called honour killing by her family in late April 2021 shocked Italy. Following her disappearance, Italy’s union of Islamic communities issued a fatwa – a religious ruling – rejecting forced marriages.

The teenager had emigrated with her family from Pakistan to the farm town of Novellara in 2016, according to Italian reports.

She began dating a young man of Pakistani origin, and a photograph of them kissing on a street in the regional capital, Bologna, reportedly drew the fury of her parents.

Italian investigators said Saman Abbas’s parents had wanted her to travel to Pakistan for an arranged marriage in 2020, but she refused.

She then lived for several months under the protection of social services from October that year, but returned to the family home in Novellara in late April 2021 in response to a flurry of messages from her family, Italian reports said.

Prosecutors said she had been tricked into returning home and it was at this point she disappeared.

CCTV footage released by the police showed three of Saman Abbas’s family members walking with spades, a crowbar and a blue bag on 29 April 2021. The following day, separate footage showed the missing teenager leaving the house with her parents.

Her body was eventually recovered last November, close to a farm house not far from where the family lived, after her uncle had revealed where she had been buried.

A post mortem examination found she had suffered a broken neck bone, possibly as a result of being strangled.

Picture showing men with a spade
Image caption,Members of the family holding spades were captured on video in late April

Her parents had immediately left Italy for Pakistan after she disappeared, while her uncle Danish Hasnain and two of her cousins travelled to France and Spain.

The uncle was eventually detained in Paris in 2021, while her father was arrested in 2022 and finally extradited on 31 August this year. Her mother remains at large.

Although Nazia Shaheen was in absentia, the court in the northern city of Reggio Emilia convicted both parents and sentenced them to life in jail.

Shabbar Abbas had earlier told the court he was innocent, insisting he and his wife had only followed their daughter on the night she disappeared because they were unhappy it was so late and they wanted to see where she was going.

“This trial is not complete. I too want to know who killed my daughter,” he said, according to Italian media.

The idea that a murder can be “honourable” is believed to have come from some tribal customs, where an allegation against a woman is perceived to bring dishonour to her family.

According to these customs, male family members of a woman who has interactions with unrelated men – however innocuous – should first kill the woman, then go after the man.

Human rights groups say the most common reasons for “honour killings” are when the victim refuses to enter into an arranged marriage or have been raped or sexually assaulted.

But killings can be carried out for more trivial reasons, like dressing in a way deemed inappropriate or displaying behaviour seen as disobedient.

In Pakistan, hundreds of women are killed in this way each year. A much smaller number of men are also murdered in such cases.

Last month, an 18-year-old woman in the remote Kohistan district was shot dead by her father and uncle on orders from tribal elders – because of a photo that showed her with a man.

The photo, which went viral, was later found to have been doctored. Her father has been arrested while her uncle is on the run.

Talks on new pause in Gaza war gain urgency as Hamas chief visits Cairo

People walk past posters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza and a sign saying "Bring them back", on a wall in Tel Aviv, Israel (20 December 2023)
Image caption,It is believed that more than 100 hostages remain alive in Gaza, 10 weeks after Hamas’s attacks on Israel

While a full ceasefire in the Gaza Strip still looks a long way off, there are fresh signs that a new pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas could be possible.

However, that would require a shift in Hamas’s public position. It has consistently said that it will only free more Israeli hostages in exchange for a permanent ceasefire.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who usually lives in Doha, has now travelled to Cairo along with a “high level” delegation for talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel.

That indicates a level of seriousness.

Both Egypt and Qatar play key roles in mediation efforts and helped secure a week-long truce late last month.

Israel maintains that the war in Gaza will only end when its goal of dismantling Hamas – which has governed there since 2007 – has been achieved.

According to mainstream Israeli media reports, Israel has presented a plan to mediators which could secure the release of some 30 to 40 hostages. This prioritises the remaining women, as well as men who are elderly or in need of urgent medical care.

It is thought that they could be exchanged for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons who have been convicted of more serious offences than the women and teenagers released in the previous deal, and that a truce could last for a week or two.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks to Iranian media in Doha, Qatar, following a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (20 December 2023)
Image caption,Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met Iran’s foreign minister and spoke to Iranian media in Doha before flying to Cairo

The Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, told foreign diplomats on Tuesday that his country was ready for “another humanitarian pause, and additional humanitarian aid in order to enable the release of hostages”.

Later, after meeting a select group of families with loved ones held in captivity in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “retrieving them is a top goal”.

He confirmed that the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency had been twice to Europe in recent days to promote a new release deal. On Monday, in Poland, he and his US counterpart met the Qatari prime minister.


Israeli leaders have continued to assert that only strong military pressure on Hamas will bring it to the negotiating table. However, the families of the remaining hostages have openly expressed scepticism about that.

Their anxiety has risen since Friday’s accidental killing by Israeli forces of three hostages.

In recent days, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a smaller armed faction, have put out two videos showing a total of five men still held captive, pleading to be brought home. All appear thin and the speakers say they fear becoming victims of Israel’s bombardment.

Next week, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, is also due to travel to Cairo with other senior officials from his group.

Friends of family of Alon Lulu Shamriz mourn him at his funeral in Shefayim, Israel, after he was mistakenly killed by Israeli forces in Gaza (17 December 2023)
Image caption,Alon Shamriz was one of the three Israeli hostages who were mistakenly killed by Israeli forces last week

It is believed that more than 100 hostages remain alive in Gaza, after 105 civilians were released from captivity in late November, most of them Israeli women and children.

Four hostages had been released prior to that and one had been rescued by Israeli troops.

A number of bodies have also been recovered and the Israeli prime minister’s office has confirmed the deaths of more than 20 people who had been held by Hamas.

At a global level, there are growing calls for a complete ceasefire, including at the UN General Assembly.

With the death toll now close to 20,000 in Gaza, according to local health officials in the Hamas-run territory, the UN estimates that 1.9 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have fled or lost their homes. There is growing concern about the limited scope for aid agencies to help them.

“Amid displacement at an unimaginable scale and active hostilities, the humanitarian response system is on the brink,” Tor Wennesland, the UN’s Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council on Tuesday.

While UN officials say much more needs to be done, a new pause in fighting could at least allow a boost in aid delivery and distribution.