News in Brief 22 April 2016 (PM)

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A nurse administers an immunization to a baby at a clinic in Ein Al Beidah, a village in northern West Bank. Photo: UNICEF/Rula Halawani

Conflict countries have highest percentage of unimmunized children

Almost two-thirds of children who have not been immunized with basic vaccines live in countries affected by conflict, according to the UN Children's Fund.

UNICEF issued the statement ahead of World Immunization Week which starts on 24 April.

South Sudan has the highest percentage of unimmunized children, with 61 per cent failing to receive the most basic childhood vaccines, followed by Somalia and Syria.

Children living in refugee camps are more vulnerable to disease outbreaks like measles, diarrhoea, respiratory infections and malnutrition because of overcrowding and the lack of food, water and shelter.

The destruction of medical facilities, supplies, equipment and killing of health workers in war zones also have a disastrous effect on children's health.

Meanwhile, Libya has just concluded a polio vaccination campaign with the help of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The five day campaign is estimated to have reached more than one million children.

Libya has been polio free since 1991.

Ecuador: Aid on the way to earthquake-affected communities

Tents, sleeping mats and other relief materials are expected to be delivered to thousands of people affected by the recent earthquake in Ecuador, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.

The items arrived in the capital, Quito, from a UNHCR hub in Denmark on Wednesday.

They were loaded onto 16 trucks for onward transportation to three locations in the centre of the country.

UNHCR is aiming to distribute the relief items to 40,000 people in communities most affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck Ecuador's coast last week.

At least 580 people were killed and more than 8,000 others were injured, the agency said.

UNHCR has already delivered tents and plastic sheeting to other communities in addition to starting work on the construction of a camp for displaced families.

Burundi refugee outflow may grow further, a year after start of conflict

The outflow of refugees from Burundi could grow further unless a political solution to the crisis is found, the UNHCR has warned.

260,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries and thousands more could join them over the rest of the year, the agency said.

Back in April last year, President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a controversial third term, triggering demonstrations from opposition groups and civil society.

Many asylum seekers or new arrivals report human rights abuses in Burundi, says UNHCR, including torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, forced recruitment by militia, killings and extortion.

UNHCR is seeking just over US$175.1 million for its Burundi crisis operations this year, but has received only US$47.8 million.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'21"

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