News in Brief 05 August 2016 (PM)

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participates in the Olympic Torch Relay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Olympics are an opportunity for "peace, reconciliation, harmony," says Ban

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games represent a chance for the world to unite in "peace, reconciliation and harmony," according to the UN Secretary-General.

He was speaking as he carried the Olympic torch, which will take pride of place on Friday night at the opening ceremony for the games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ban Ki-moon took part in the torch relay along with International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach.

Surrounded by the crowds, he described his hopes for what the 31st Olympics could bring.

"I sincerely hope that all the people around the world will be united around the Olympic flame which means peace, reconciliation, harmony and human rights, human dignity."

In a video message to mark the games, the UN chief said the world's biggest sporting event celebrated "the best of humanity."

Concern growing for 275,000 trapped in eastern Aleppo

Concern is growing by the day for the estimated 250,000-275,000 civilians trapped in the eastern part of the Syrian city of Aleppo, said the UN Humanitarian Affairs office, OCHA, on Friday.

Until the closure of the last aid route into Aleppo on 7 July, the UN had been providing aid, including regular food supplies, from across the border in Turkey, to around 144,000 people.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said that basic supplies had been pre-positioned inside the city before the de-facto besiegement, but time was running out.

"Our humanitarian colleagues consider any initiative that can provide relief to people in need as a positive step, including the recently announced proposal to establish corridors, provided that humanitarian and protection guarantees are met by all parties. Movement through the corridors must be two-way, meaning allowing humanitarian access in and civilian movement out and in."

He said any relief plan would have to be built around the UN proposal for having weekly 48-hour humanitarian pauses in the fighting.

Hurricane Earl leaves 110,000 children facing hardship in Belize

Hurricane Earl, which tore through the Central American country of Belize on Thursday, has left more than 110,000 children facing hardship and danger, according to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

The children, 27,000 of whom are under five years-old, are confronting a series of life-threatening conditions including poor sanitation, the risk of serious mudslides, lack of access to clean water and sightings of predatory alligators.

UNICEF said it had carried out a preliminary assessment of the damage caused by Earl in some of the most vulnerable communities on the south side of Belize City, which felt the full force of the hurricane.

Many families lost their homes and belongings due to flash-flooding and high winds.

UNICEF said it was working around the clock to help children cut off from basic services.

Belize Representative Ivan Yerovi said UNICEF's immediate priorities were to get homeless families into a "safe child-friendly environment where they can access clean water and get children back to learning."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'44"

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