News in Brief 15 July 2016 (PM)

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IDP women in one of the camps in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, collect their share of stock cubes to prepare the day’s meal. The women are paid a salary to cook the meals. Photo: OCHA/Jaspreet Kindra

Some 700,000 people in northern Nigeria to get aid

Efforts are being made to scale up life-saving assistance to some 724,000 people in desperate need in north-eastern Nigeria, UN agencies say.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) are working together with the local authorities on the matter.

WFP has more than doubled the number of people it has been able to reach in the last six months.

The agency says it remains "very concerned" about the rising number of people facing hunger.

Unless life-saving assistance is provided fast, WFP adds, hunger will only deepen during the current lean and rainy season.

Population of South Sudan refugees expected to pass 1 million mark

The population of South Sudanese refugees in the region could pass the 1 million mark if people continue to flee the war and cross borders.

The warning was issued by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, on Friday in the wake of the recent fighting in the capital Juba.

Children constitute 70 per cent of the refugee population.

There have been fresh outflows of refugees since clashes erupted in Juba between rival forces stemming from a rift between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar.

A four-day ceasefire seems to be holding and the situation remains "calm but tense" in the capital prompting some displaced to return home.

The UN estimates however that some 8,000 people in the city remained displaced.

Lack of funds curb Yemen's capability to import staple foods 

The lack of foreign currency reserves in Yemen's Central Bank is curbing the country's ability to import staple foods, a UN official has said.

Jamie McGoldrick, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, made the remarks on Friday, ahead of a resumption of peace talks in Kuwait.

Here's Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesperson.

"Without such reserves, Yemen’s commercial sector is unable to receive lines of credit, curbing Yemen’s capability to import key staples such as rice and wheat. Yemeni families are already paying as much as 30 per cent over pre-crisis wheat prices in some areas of the country. Seven million people are severely food insecure."

Southern Africa experiencing "worst" drought in 35 years 

Southern Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 35 years, after two failed rainy seasons, the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, has said.

The agency says the drought is caused by the El Niño phenomenon which disrupts normal weather patterns.

The event has led to a sharp decrease in the production of maize leaving populations in countries like Malawi and Madagascar to struggle to feed their families.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-wha Kang, is traveling to the two countries on Saturday to assess the impact of El Niño in the region.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’44”

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