News in Brief 30 August 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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More than two million people have been displaced by Boko Haram militants acting inside Nigeria and on its borders. Photo: OCHA//Ivo Brandau

"Nigeria displaced are close to starvation"

In Nigeria, displaced people including children are on the verge of starvation and need help urgently after the liberation of areas previously held by terror group Boko Haram.

The appeal comes from Chaloka Beyani, who's the United Nations expert on internally displaced persons (IDPs).

He's just returned from north-east Nigeria, where government forces have pushed back the militants.

"The people who came out of those areas are severely malnourished, close to the point of starvation for most of them, including children, and I think that the scale of the crisis was not realised, there was no access in those areas, and I think now both the international community and the Nigerian government are having to scale up their efforts."

According to Mr Beyani, well over two million people have been displaced by the violence.

He noted with concern that while most live with host communities, a smaller number have sought shelter in camps, where women and girls are subject to sexual exploitation.

More than 7,000 people rescued from Mediterranean Sea in 48 hours

Seven thousand and twenty seven – that's the number of people who were rescued off the coast of Libya in just 48 hours, on Sunday and Monday.

According to UN partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM), many of those plucked to safety were sailing together in a flotilla of vessels unsuitable for the high seas.

It included 44 rubber dinghies, eight small wooden vessels and two bigger fishing boats.

IOM's Joel Millman has more:

"We are aware of reports of two fatalities in the rescue yesterday; we saw photos, many people had lifejackets on, which was good, but numbers that high, it could be that two is not a number that could hold, but that's our report of fatalities."

IOM estimates the total number of migrants rescued this year off the coast of Libya at more than 111,000.

The agency has also noted that migrant and refugee arrivals in Greece – on the so-called eastern Mediterranean Sea route – were at their highest number since April, at around 2,800.

Back in January, nearly 70,000 people made the same journey by boat.

1.3 million children face no school meals in west and central Africa

And finally…school dinners are vital to child development, but 1.3 million students in west and central Africa may go without because of a funding shortfall, the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

Coinciding with the start of the academic year, the UN food agency says it needs USD$ 48 million to continue its school meals programme.

WFP spokesperson Bettina Luescher explains what happens when children don't get the school meal they've come to rely on:

"What it means is they cannot concentrate, what it means is their bodies will not develop…they will never be as productive in the long run as other children will be. School meals help the children get – especially girls – get an education, they will have jobs, they will have fewer babies….it's a huge benefit for families, for villages, for the whole society."

Unless the funding comes through next month, WFP will be unable to help youngsters in Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

And by the end of this year, the agency says that assistance will run out for hundreds of thousands of children in another 11 countries.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’27″

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