News in Brief 31 August 2015 (PM)

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Girls herding goats in Somalia where in certain areas drought has contributed to severe water shortages and livestock deaths. Photo: FAO/Simon Maina

Somalia food security situation "critical," says UN aid agency

More than 850,000 people in Somalia are facing food insecurity, a situation the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, has described as "critical."

OCHA reports that the number of Somalis in this category has risen 17 per cent over the past six months.

It says the situation among internally displaced people (IDPs) is "particularly worrying" as they comprise two-thirds of Somalis in crisis.

Furthermore, it adds, nearly 215,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. Some 40,000 of them are at high risk of disease and death.

The UN humanitarian office expects things to worsen by the end of the year due to below-average agricultural production, poor rainfall, and the interruption of trade in areas affected by conflict.

UN chief, colleagues, mourn death of Force Commander in Haiti

The Force Commander at the UN mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, is being remembered for his leadership and dedication to the cause of peace.

Lieutenant General Jose Luiz Jaborandy Jr died suddenly on Sunday while travelling from the United States to his native Brazil.

He was appointed to the mission in March 2014.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has offered his heartfelt condolences to the Lieutenant General's family and to the government of Brazil.

Colonel Pedro Gagliardi is chief of the Military Public Relations Office at the UN mission.

"Despite (the fact that) the military component is sad over this news, we remain strong. We are committed to our mission. And we will keep working in memory of General Jaborandy because we believe in our mission, and this is the best way we have to honour his memory."

FAO and Sweden to support small-scale farmer groups

Small-scale forest and farm producers' groups in eight developing countries are getting help with accessing land and markets.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and a Swedish-based development cooperation will work with these organizations so that they can address issues related to land access, among other challenges.

The aim is to strengthen the internal governance structures of these groups and to encourage them to be activists at the grassroots level.

FAO said family farmers play a central role in revitalizing rural economies and when well-organized, they can contribute to decision-making.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’21″

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