News in Brief 01 April 2016 (PM)

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Civilian deaths and injuries in Libya high: UN

A total of 32 people have been injured or killed in war-torn Libya during the month of March alone, the UN Mission (UNSMIL) in the country has found.

The victims include women and children.

Rival political groups and factions have been fighting for control of the North African country since 2011.

According to UNSMIL, the reported casualties do not include people participating directly in the hostilities.

Stéphane Dujarric, the UN Spokesperson has more.

"Victims included seven children who were killed and another four injured. The majority of civilian deaths and injuries were caused by gun shots, followed by shelling. Civilian casualties [were] also recorded in Tunisia as a result of the armed conflict in Libya."

The UN Mission also documented 18 executions by armed groups of alleged opponents.

A Government of National Accord backed by the UN recently moved from Tunis in Tunisia to Libya's capital Tripoli.

Yemen on brink of famine

The lack of access to people in need of food coupled with funding shortages could create the possibility of famine in Yemen, the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

Almost 14.4 million people in the Middle Eastern country are struggling with hunger.

WFP as well as other aid groups have not able to move regularly and safely to reach people in need before they fall deeper into crisis.

A year-long conflict has hit the country's poor population hard, adding more than 3 million people to the ranks of the hungry last year.

The agency plans to reach 1 million people by the end of 2016.

Early testing of Lassa fever key to stopping deaths

Early testing for Lassa fever, a virus spread by a tiny rat could stop people dying from the disease, the UN health agency (WHO) has urged.

People get Lassa from direct contact with the Mastomys rat or through food and other items contaminated with its faeces or urine.

Around 80 per cent of those infected have no symptoms.

Without an early diagnosis, 1 in 5 infections spread to organs like the spleen, liver and kidneys.

Resources are needed to accurately and safely test for the fever as in the case of malaria and HIV, the agency says.

In West Africa, the virus has killed 160 people, most of them in Nigeria, since November 2015. The first known case of infection outside of Africa has been reported in Germany.

Carmen Cuesta Roca, United Nations.

Duration: 2’20″

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