News in Brief 12 January 2017(AM)

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WHO/P Ajello

Vaccination drive to protect 4 million Nigerian children gets underway

A measles vaccination campaign to protect more than four million children living in conflict-affected areas of Nigeria is due to begin on Friday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The two-week campaign will target all children aged between 6 months, and 10-years-old in accessible areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

A humanitarian and economic crisis is on-going across north-east Nigeria due to years of conflict between the Boko Haram extremist group, which is based in the region, and government forces.

Measles is a highly-contagious and sometimes deadly disease said WHO, and "massive disruption" in health services in conflict-affected areas has delayed vaccination programmes.

Many children are also suffering severe malnutrition, making them more vulnerable to disease.

WHO is working with the government healthcare agencies in each of the three states, along with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other partner agencies.

WFP welcomes €1million contribution to support non-refugee Palestinians

The World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a €1 million contribution from Belgium to support 180,000 of the most vulnerable non-refugee Palestinians living in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank.

WFP said the donation would provide "critical food and nutrition" through mostly monthly food distributions, via an electronic voucher scheme, as well as nutrition awareness training for pregnant and nursing women.

Aid recipients include 30,000 people from Bedouin and herding communities living under Israeli control in the West Bank.

"Belgium is a trusted, reliable and flexible WFP partner in Palestine," said WFP Country Director , Daniela Owen.

"This strong partnership has made a substantial difference in people's lives, as well as increasing their resilience in the face of socio-economic hardship," she added.

Global food prices fall for fifth consecutive year

Major food commodity prices have fallen for a fifth consecutive year overall, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Price Index.

The figures for 2016 show that prices dipped around 1.5 per cent compared with 2015.

The index tracks international market prices for five key groups: cereals, vegetable oils, dairy products, meat and sugar.

Cereal prices fell steadily in 2016 by nearly 10 per cent, while sugar prices rose sharply, and vegetable oil rose nearly 12 per cent.

FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian said that "economic uncertainties, including movements in exchange rates, are likely to influence food markets even more so this year."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'24"

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