News in Brief 02 August 2016 (PM)

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UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor meets displaced children at the Debaga IDP camp in northern Iraq. Photo: UNICEF/Siegfried Modola

Attacks on civilian targets deeply disturbing says UN chief

Attacks on civilian targets across Syria have continued with damage reported to the de-facto besieged city of Aleppo's vital electricity and water supplies.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply disturbed by the ongoing destruction," particularly of medical facilities.

Here’s UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"Over recent days, the UN has received reports of five hospitals hit by airstrikes, including three in Aleppo governorate and one each in Dara'a and Idleb. Dozens of casualties and injuries resulting from these strikes have been reported, including to pregnant women and children."

He added that the attacks on Aleppo's power supply had caused a blackout throughout the city and left residents with no access to water through the public network.

Assistance being scaled-up to reach 1.5 million in Lake Chad Basin

Emergency assistance for more than 1.5 million people is being scaled-up across the Lake Chad Basin, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.

Environmental degradation, climate change and extreme poverty have been compounded by a "brutal insurgency" across the region led by the terrorist group Boko Haram, said WFP.

Stéphane Dujarric added that more than nine million people need humanitarian assistance across the basin, and where Boko Haram is active, far beyond its base in north-east Nigeria, five million face hunger.

"WFP had earlier been assisting one million people in the area, but it is increasing its work, both because the needs are larger as more people are pushed into displacement and because it can do more as further areas become accessible inside Nigeria…Unless life-saving assistance is provided fast, hunger will only deepen during the current lean and rainy season, which lasts until September."

Children in Iraq exposed to "unimaginable horrors": Ewan McGregor

Children in Iraq forced to flee their homes, have been exposed to "unimaginable horrors", according to the Hollywood star Ewan McGregor.

The UN Children's Fund Ambassador was speaking after meeting many youngsters from Syria and Iraq who have been uprooted by conflict, often finding themselves alone.

He travelled to northern Iraq at the end of July, and met families in Debaga camp that had escaped brutal violence in the areas surrounding Mosul, which is still occupied by the terrorist group Daesh.

Around 3.6 million children in Iraq, or one in five, are at "serious risk of death, injury sexual violence or recruitment into armed groups," according to UNICEF.

"No child should be alone," said Mr McGregor, adding that tens of thousands had risked their lives on dangerous journeys after being "ripped from their homes".

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'19"

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