News in Brief 9 March 2017 (PM)

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Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq.   UN File Photo/Loey Felipe

Deadly attack on wedding party "ugly crime": UN Iraq mission chief

A terrorist attack in Iraq which targeted a wedding party has been condemned by the senior UN official in the country as "an ugly crime against the innocent."

Dozens of people were killed or injured when two suicide bombers used explosive belts to blow themselves up.

The incident occurred on Wednesday in a village north of the city of Tikrit.

UN Special Representative in Iraq Ján Kubiš has issued a statement condemning the attack.

He said it showed that terrorists "will kill and maim irrespective of sacred traditions respected by all religions to respect weddings, funerals and holy places."

Mr. Kubiš, head of the UN mission in Iraq, UNAMI, urged the country's people to show unity and solidarity in the face of such attacks.

"The terrorists will not succeed and Iraq will eventually triumph," he stated


FAO calls for action to address water scarcity in North Africa and Middle East

Looming water scarcity in North Africa and the Middle East requires an "urgent and massive response," the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday.

Jose Graziano da Silva noted that accessible fresh water in the region has fallen by two-thirds in the past four decades.

He was speaking in Cairo at a high-level meeting covering FAO's collaboration with Egypt to reclaim up to two million hectares of desert land for agricultural and other uses.

The agency's work in the region has led to developments including water harvesting in Jordan and bolstering drought preparedness in Lebanon and Tunisia, among other measures.


WFP distributes school meals in Aleppo 

Distribution of school meals in the previously inaccessible city of Aleppo, Syria, began for the first time this month, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported on Thursday.

Children in public schools there have been receiving a carton of fortified milk and a date bar, which WFP says provides them with the nutrition they need to concentrate and learn.

Through its local aid partners, the UN agency has reached roughly 15,000 children in 30 schools since the start of the programme on 5 March.

WFP says school meals are "a critical component" to help bring children back to the classroom in Syria, where conflict has been raging for six years.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 children in two schools in Aleppo are also receiving fresh meals daily, consisting of a sandwich and a piece of fruit or vegetable.

This programme employs 20 Syrian women who prepare the meals, which are distributed by a WFP partner.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’49″

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