News in brief 27 May 2016 (PM)

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Some of the food distributed to the drought-affected communities of Las Hastas and Los Achiotes in the town of Orocuina, Choluteca, Honduras. Photo: WFP/Hetze Tosta

Central America: 3.5 million affected by worst drought in decades

Four Central American countries are experiencing their worst drought in decades, affecting millions of people, UN agencies and their partners report.

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua are facing problems brought on by the weather phenomenon known as El Niño.

As a result, more than 3.5 million people are having difficulties accessing food and are in need of health care and livelihood support.

The aid partners warn that without sufficient emergency assistance, food shortfalls are expected to continue at least until September.

Meanwhile, they say above-average rains in parts of South America have continued to cause flooding.

This has increased diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya and the Zika virus.

Guinea-Bissau: UN chief appeals for end to political crisis

Political leaders in Guinea-Bissau and their supporters are being urged by the UN Secretary-General to refrain from violence and settle their concerns through dialogue.

Protests erupted in the capital on Thursday, following the President's decision to appoint a new Prime Minister two weeks after dismissing the entire cabinet.

In a statement on Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern over the situation in the West African country.

Mr Ban also called for an end to the ongoing political impasse which he said is "gravely affecting" the functioning of state institutions and undermining development prospects.

Climate change threatening world heritage sites

World heritage sites such as the Easter Island statues and the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador are increasingly at risk from climate change, according to a new report.

The study underscores the importance of limiting global temperature rises to below two degrees Celsius, as stated in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The report has been published by the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO, together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

It contains case studies from 31 natural and cultural sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The report warns that climate change will add to other stresses affecting these locations, such as pollution, urbanization, conflict over resources and the impacts of unplanned or poorly managed tourism.

Recommendations include integrating climate change preparedness into tourism planning, policies and strategies.

South Sudan: Arrival of new team of explosive detection dogs

Thirty-seven new bomb-sniffing dogs have arrived in South Sudan to boost UN protection efforts in the country, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) office there has announced.

Officially known as explosive detection dogs (EDD), they will support UN police as they conduct searches of civilian sites, cargo and entry points.

UNMAS described the canine counterparts as "valuable team members who work hard to protect vulnerable populations in South Sudan."

The dogs will first be transported to temporary kennels in the capital, Juba, where they will be acclimatized and paired with their future handlers.

Once fully settled in, they and their handlers will undergo additional training that has been specifically tailored to South Sudan.

The newcomers join six EDD teams which last year participated in thousands of searches of bags, vehicles and buildings.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’34″

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