News in Brief 1 March 2017 (AM)

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Children in school in Mozambique, before cyclone Dineo hit the country. File Photo: UNDP Moz

Schools and clinics "severely devastated" by cyclone in Mozambique

An emergency appeal has been launched to help around 550,000 people affected by the aftermath of Cyclone Dineo, which has caused "severe devastation" to areas of Mozambique, the UN team there said on Wednesday.

The cyclone made landfall on 15 February, killing seven and injuring 101 across the southern African country, destroying more than 30,000 homes and partially destroying over 70,000.

Hundreds of health clinics and classrooms have been hit, affecting more than 160,000 students.

The government estimates that US$6.7 million is needed immediately, with an overall appeal target of at least US$16.5 million.

Here's the UN Resident Coordinator for Mozambique, Marcia De Castro.

"Social infrastructure, mainly schools and clinics have been severely devastated. The appeal is asking for tents and emergency supplies to restore access to the population, to send the kids to school, to get basic health services, which is urgently needed."

Ms Castro added that shelter for rural and hard-to-reach families is urgently needed, along with food supplies, as many plantation areas were devastated by the cyclone.

Violence inside Palestine refugee camp in Lebanon "strongly" condemned

An outbreak of violence inside a Palestine refugee camp in southern Lebanon has been strongly condemned by the UN Palestine refugee agency (UNRWA) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The agencies said reports that at least eight civilians, including a 13-year-old boy and an UNWRA staff member, have been injured over the past few days, were deplorable.

News reports indicate that the violence was due to tensions between rival armed Palestinian factions inside the Ein el-Hillweh camp.

The agencies said that as a result of the violence, "most of the education, health and other services had been suspended," and three UN schools had also been used by "armed actors" in breach of international law.

"We call on all armed actors operating in the camp to cease hostilities and take necessary measures to protect civilians," said the joint agency statement.

"Rapid loss" of biological diversity should be setting off "alarm bells"

The rapid loss of biological diversity across the planet should be "setting off alarm bells" and governments around the world should be doing more to stop it.

That's the view of UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, speaking ahead of World Wildlife Day, marked on Friday 3 March.

The independent expert said that with the "sixth global extinction of species" looming, states were "still failing to halt the main drivers of biodiversity loss".

These include the destruction of habitat, animal poaching, and climate change, said Mr Knox.

He stressed that the loss of species also undermines "the enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including rights to life, health, food and water."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’35″

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