News in Brief 11 May 2016 (AM)

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Vulnerable communities in Behara, in drought-hit southern Madagascar, participate in a food for assets programme funded by the European Union. Photo: WFP/Volana Rarivoson

Madagascar hunger report paints "alarming picture"

A new UN report on the cost of hunger in Madagascar paints an "alarming picture", the Secretary-General said during an official visit to the country.

Ban Ki-moon is the second Secretary-General to visit the island nation.

Nearly half of all children in Madagascar suffers from stunting.

Malnutrition costs more than a billion and a half dollars each year to the country, which is almost 15 per cent of GDP.

Last year, leading food agencies at the UN warned that 46 per cent of the population from eight regions in Madagascar is food insecure.

The UN Chief thanked a network of female parliamentarians who he said continue to "champion" the cause of nutrition.

Drought affected Somalia needs urgent aid

Over one million people in Somalia are at risk of slipping in to acute food insecurity if they do not receive aid, a UN official has warned.

Persistent drought in Puntland and Somaliland has already had devastating effects on communities there where 385,000 are food insecure.

In some areas, 60 to 80 per cent of herds have been lost.

According to the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, 37 per cent of the population in those areas needs some form of humanitarian assistance.

Peter de Clercq, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia has suggested vaccinating livestock and providing cash input to agro-pastoralists to mitigate the impact of the drought.

In March, he launched a call for aid requesting $105 million to boost the drought response.

Syria probe team condemns unlawful attacks on civilians

The trend of unlawfully attacking medical sites and personnel, places of refuge and infrastructure necessary to civilian life, has strongly been condemned by the Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI).

Paulo Pinheiro noted that failure to respect the laws of war should have consequences for the perpetrators.

Since the attacks against Al-Quds hospital in Aleppo governorate on 27 April, there have been over half a dozen more attacks against medical facilities in the area.

Civilians and medical personnel have been wounded or killed in these attacks.

In recent weeks, markets, bakeries, and a water station have also been aerially bombarded.

And on 5 May an attack on a camp for the internally-displaced in Sarmada, Idlib, reportedly killed and injured dozens of civilians.

International humanitarian law requires all parties to a conflict to distinguish between lawful and unlawful targets.

The recent unlawful attacks are violations of that law and some are war crimes, the Commission warned.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’36″

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