News in Brief 20 February 2016 (AM)

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Severe food shortages in Africa are hitting refugees hard. Photo: WFP

Severe food shortages hit Africa's refugees hard, UN agencies warn

Severe food shortages are affecting some two million refugees in 10 countries across Africa, two UN agency heads have warned.

Ertharin Cousin, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, issued a joint statement on Monday.

The number of refugees in Africa nearly doubled from 2.6 million in 2011 to close to five million in 2016.

Donor funding for refugee assistance has not been keeping pace with the rapidly rising needs, forcing cuts in food assistance for some groups of refugees.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and WFP warn that the shortages could worsen in coming months without new resources to meet food needs.

Somalia terrorist attack strongly condemned by the UN

A terrorist attack on a marketplace in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday has been strongly condemned by the UN special envoy to the country, Michael Keating.

Pedestrians and shopkeepers were killed when a car bomb exploded at the Abagedo market in the Dharkenley district of Mogadishu.

At least 25 people were killed and dozens injured in the incident.

According to the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), no group has yet claimed responsibility.

Mr Keating called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice swiftly.

British author Neil Gaiman appointed Goodwill Ambassador

An internationally acclaimed British author, Neil Gaiman, has been named a global Goodwill Ambassador by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Mr Gaiman, one of the top writers in comics, has been working closely with the agency since 2013.

A strong advocate of UNHCR and the refugee cause, he has also helped generate much-needed funds.

Neil Gaiman has also travelled with UNHCR to Jordan to meet with Syrian refugees.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’45″

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