News in Brief 20 June 2016 (PM)

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Newly arrived families from Fallujah receive emergency assistance in Al Khalidiya. Humanitarian actors are working around the clock to provide emergency assistance to the newly displaced, including shelter, water, food, basic household items and health care. Photo: OCHA/Themba Linden

UN releases US$15 million to provide aid to Fallujah displaced

US$15million has been disbursed by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide life-saving aid to people affected by fighting in Fallujah in Iraq.

More than 85,000 people have been uprooted from their homes as government forces try to re-take the city from the ISIL terrorist group.

Those remaining there face dire shortages of food, medicine, electricity and safe drinking water.

Meanwhile, an estimated 18,000 internally displaced women and girls will receive aid from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in the coming days.

So far, UNFPA has been able to distribute more than 1,500 dignity kits to women and girls in three nearby cities, raising the total of kits distributed to around 5,200 since the beginning of military operations.

Dignity kits help meet women and girls' immediate hygiene that contain soap, shampoo, sanitary pads and underclothes.

Aid convoy reaches 25,000 in besieged Syrian towns

An inter-agency humanitarian convoy has delivered food, nutrition and health aid for 25,000 people in besieged locations and hard-to-reach communities in Syria.

The communities are in the Kafr Batna Sub-district of Syria; the last convoys to the area were in mid-April.

According to UN estimates, nearly 600,000 Syrians are living in besieged areas.

Farhan Haq is the UN Spokesperson:

"Since the beginning of 2016, nearly 850,000 people in hard-to-reach areas, including more than 330,000 people in besieged locations have received multi-sectorial assistance through UN inter-agency operations. Since the beginning of January 2016, a total of 86 inter-agency convoys to besieged and hard-to-reach locations have been undertaken, against a total of 50 in 2014 and 34 in 2015."

The UN continues to call for unconditional, unimpeded and sustained access to the millions of people in besieged and hard-to-reach locations across Syria.

New cutting-edge technology to detect HIV in infants early

New innovative technologies will allow many more infants to be diagnosed quickly for HIV and placed on life-saving treatment, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.

These tests have been prequalified/given the go ahead by the agency and can diagnose infants in as little as an hour.

In 2015, out of more than 1.2 million infants born to HIV positive mothers globally, just over half had access to an infant diagnostic test.

Until now, those tests required lengthy procedures conducted in a special laboratory setting needing substantial infrastructure and training.

These new technologies have simplified these procedures allowing for more infants to be tested, with faster results.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General has established a Global Health Crises Task Force to help strengthen the UN response to health emergencies.

WHO's capacity to respond to health emergencies needs to be consolidated and strengthened, he said, noting that the agency has taken steps to change how it works in health crises.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’21″

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