News in Brief 15 February 2016 (AM)

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Displaced families and the elderly in Ukraine line up for WFP food vouchers, which enable them to obtain food including milk, fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat. Photo: WFP/Abeer Etefa

WFP to continue assisting thousands in eastern Ukraine

The World Food Programme (WFP) will continue to support some 220,000 people in eastern Ukraine this year, the UN agency announced on Wednesday.

Nearly three years of fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists has affected more than three million people.

WFP reports that the situation is worsening, with families finding it hard to buy food because prices are rising rapidly compared to incomes.

The agency is seeking more than US$30 million to provide food assistance through December.

WFP will continue food distributions to 70,000 of the most vulnerable citizens such as the elderly, families headed by single mothers, people with chronic illnesses or disabilities, and those who are not receiving any other form of humanitarian aid.

Another 150,000 people who are struggling to find or buy food will also be engaged in food-for-training programmes.

Japan funding assists Mosul displaced and Syrian refugees in Iraq

Nearly US$17 million in extra funding from Japan announced on Wednesday will allow the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to expand its assistance to Iraqis displaced by the conflict in Mosul as well as Syrian refugees in the country.

The majority of the money will be used to provide displaced Iraqi families with emergency relief items such as jerry cans, kitchen sets, blankets, mattresses and household items.

The agency will allocate roughly US$2.6 million towards its work for Syrian refugees in Iraq, mainly in the Kurdistan region in the north.

UNHCR will also establish projects that promote peaceful coexistence between displaced Iraqi families and their host communities.

The projects will cover rehabilitation of infrastructure, development of safe spaces for women, recreational activities for children and vocational training.

So far, Japan has donated around US$100 million to help UNHCR address the displacement crisis in Iraq.

"Challenging" yellow fever outbreak ends in Angola and DRC

UN health agency WHO is celebrating the end of what has been described as one of the most challenging yellow fever outbreaks in recent years.

This follows the announcement this week by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of the end of an outbreak in the country.

It comes just months after Angola made a similar declaration.

The yellow fever outbreak was first detected there in December 2015, which resulted in nearly 400 deaths across the two countries and more than 965 confirmed cases, with thousands more suspected.

An emergency vaccination campaign was conducted that reached 30 million people, exhausting the global stock of yellow fever vaccine.

Angola recorded its last case of the disease in June 2016 with the DRC following suit that July.

There have been no new confirmed cases reported in both countries for the past six months.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, has commended what he described as the unprecedented and immense response to the outbreak.

He said: "We are able to declare the end of one of the largest and most challenging yellow fever outbreaks in recent years through the strong and coordinated response by national authorities, local health workers and partners."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’31″

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