News in Brief 19 July 2016 (PM)

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Starting in 2011, drought-hit northern and eastern Kenya suffered especially from an already poor food security situation, exacerbated by high food and fuel prices. Credit: Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN

Lives of millions "turned upside down" by El Niño says UN chief

The "lives and livelihoods" of millions around the world have been "turned upside down" by the extreme weather events linked to the current El Niño phemomenon.

That's the view of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in remarks at an event focusing on El Niño and Climate at UN Headquarters on Tuesday.

He told ministers and others involved in the political forum that "human-induced" climate change could interact with destabilizing events like El Niño, in totally unforeseen ways

"There have been many warnings that human-induced climate change may interact with El Niño in ways we have never before experienced. We should expect future events to be less predictable, more frequent and more severe, starting with La Niña, which is likely to begin towards the end of 2016…The challenges to our response go far beyond humanitarian action."

Aid delivered to cut off Syrian town as hospital attacks continue

Life-saving aid was delivered to yet another hard-to-reach town in Syria on Tuesday, as the UN condemned a string of new attacks against medical facilities.

An inter-agency convoy reached 15,000 people stranded in Serghaya, in Rural Damascus, providing food, sanitation supplies and water, together with education materials.

It was last reached in February.

So far this year, more than 400,000 besieged civilians have received aid in locations throughout Syria, according to the UN.

Over the past week, hospitals in the Aleppo and Idleb governorates have been attacked with several killed and many wounded, causing some facilities to close.

Here's UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq.

"The World Health Organization condemns attacks in recent days on hospitals in the Aleppo and Idleb governorates and offers its condolences to the families and colleagues of the health staff and patients killed in these attacks. WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers and health facilities".

More aid urgently needed for stricken population in the Sahel region

The international donor community is being asked to provide more financial aid to help people affected by violence in the stricken Sahel region of Africa.

The call comes from Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, at the end of a visit to the Lake Chad Basin.

He said that chronic food insecurity, malnutrition, climate change and violent extremists such as the Boko Haram group, were combining to create desperate conditions for many civilians.

Deputy-Spokesperson Farhan Haq outlined the numbers involved.

"In the Lake Chad Basin, where 20 million people live, 9.2 million are in need of humanitarian aid, 5.2 million are severely food insecure and in need of emergency food assistance and 2.7 million have been forced from their homes. Those hosting the displaced are sharing their already very limited resources."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’36″

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