News in Brief 31 October 2016 (AM)

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Cash assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Al NAbek, Rural Damascus. Photo OCHA. Credit UNHCR

Refugee agency plans to double cash aid by 2020

An ambitious plan to double the amount of cash assistance to refugees has been announced by the UN.

On Monday the UN Refugee Agency said the measure is needed,because an increasing number of forcibly displaced people now live in urban areas, where cash is needed to access health care and other services.

The aim is to double the current US$ 350 million budget for cash assistance by 2020.

In Jordan, some 35,000 families now receive this kind of help, along with a similar number in Lebanon and around 60 other countries.

In 2017, the programme is to be expanded to cover 15 additional countries including Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan.

 Election of new Lebanese president welcomed by the UN

The election of a new president in Lebanon has been welcomed by the UN and others as a "long-awaited step" to overcome the country's "political and institutional crisis."

Michel Aoun was elected after a political stalemate which left the presidential post vacant for more than two years.

The members of the International Support Group for Lebanon, which includes the UN Special Coordinator for the country, congratulated Mr Aoun and expressed the hope that his election will give the Lebanese people renewed confidence and will pave the way for broader political progress.

17,000 people flee Mosul, Iraq

More than 17, 500 people have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul, since the beginning of a military offensive to retake the city from extremists, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has confirmed.

Iraqi government troops backed by Kurdish fighters and allied forces, including US air power launched, the offensive on October 17 to dislodge ISIL militants, who have held the city for the past two years.

Some 3.3 million people have fled their homes across the Middle Eastern country since January 2014, according to UNHCR reports.

Priyanka Shankar, United Nations

Duration: 2’17″


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