News in Brief 6 March 2017 (PM)

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Stephen O’Brien (right), visits a water point in the Dayniile IDP camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, on March 6, 2017. UN Photo/Tobin Jones

UN relief chief in Somalia to assess drought impact

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator has called for stepped up efforts to enable aid workers to access drought-stricken areas of Somalia.

Stephen O'Brien arrived in the country on Monday to assess the impact of the severe drought that has left the country on the brink of famine.

More than six million Somalis, or about half of the population, are in need of assistance.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq has more information.

"Nearly three million people are unable to meet their daily food requirements and need urgent life-saving assistance. Almost 950,000 children under the age of five will be acutely malnourished this year, with 185,000 of those children at risk of death without immediate medical treatment."

Mr O'Brien met with humanitarian partners, including donors, to discuss ways to scale up the response to save lives and avert a possible famine.

Prior to travelling to Somalia, the UN relief chief spent two days in South Sudan where famine has been declared in some areas in the north.

UN mission in Mali condemns attacks on army checkpoints

The UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, has condemned attacks on two armed forces checkpoints.

The incidents took place north of Timbuktu on Sunday and were carried out by armed groups who oppose the installation of interim authorities.

The process, scheduled for Monday, represents a key step in the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

Once again, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq:

"The UN Mission condemns these actions, which constitute ceasefire violations and expose their perpetrators to sanctions. The Mission has immediately initiated dialogue to ease the tensions and asks the groups to withdraw immediately and unconditionally. The UN Mission has also deployed to protect the civilian population if needed."

Western Mosul displacement nears 46,000 

Nearly 50,000 people have been displaced as a result of the military operation to liberate the western part of the Iraqi city of Mosul from the extremist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, the United Nations has reported.

The offensive began two weeks ago and so far, displacement is nearing 46,000.

Humanitarians are providing families with emergency assistance, including ready-to-eat food, water and blankets.

They are also racing to establish space in camps and emergency sites to house those who have fled their homes.

On Sunday, aid workers distributed emergency assistance inside western Mosul for the first time, with some 200 families receiving food rations, water and hygiene supplies.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’40″

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