News in Brief 2 June 2017 (AM) – Geneva

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A young man waits at an IOM transit centre in rural Agadez, Niger, where survivors from the latest tragedy raised the alarm. Photo: IOM 2016/Amanda Nero

At least 40 migrants "die of thirst" in Sahara desert

Forty-four migrants have died in the Sahara desert after their vehicle broke down as it was heading from Niger to Libya, the UN said on Friday.

According to IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the victims included babies and women.

They were found after survivors raised the alarm on Thursday at a remote village in central Niger, on the edge of the Sahara desert.

Leonard Doyle is a spokesperson for IOM:

"They're Ghanaian primarily and Nigerian who are attempting to get to Europe via Libya, six survivors of the group who died of thirst have returned, and they now are being supported by IOM."

The Niger to Libya route is the one most sub-Saharan African migrants take to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.

IOM says that each week, thousands are crammed into pick-up trucks for the days-long ride, often with only a few litres of water.

Disease fears and funding appeals follow Cyclone Mora devastation

Devastation caused by Cyclone Mora has raised fears about the spread of disease and prompted an appeal for funding to help tens of thousands of people who've lost their homes.

To help victims in Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that it needs US$ 3.7 million, for 80,000 undocumented Myanmar nationals living in makeshift shelters around the coastal area known as Cox's Bazar.

Shelter and non-food relief items are needed urgently there, IOM reported in Geneva, including plastic sheeting, mosquito nets and blankets.

In Myanmar, the UN refugee agency UNHCR, noted that rising waters following Cyclone Mora had affected displaced people in central Rakhine state.

In Sri Lanka, fears are growing about water-borne disease transmission following the deadly floods and landslides in the south-west of the country that affected at least 630,000 people.

More than 200 people were killed and close to 100 are missing in what were the worst floods to hit the country in 14 years, according to UN-partner the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

In an appeal for US $2.1 million, IFRC said that although floodwaters are receding, 70,000 people are "unable to return home", amid the contamination of drinking water sources and damage to toilet and sanitation systems.

Families fleeing embattled Mosul need help urgently: UNHCR

Funding is also needed urgently in the Iraqi city of Mosul to help vulnerable families fleeing clashes, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday.

More than three-quarters of a million Iraqis have left the northern city since military operations began last October to drive out ISIL extremists.

UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told journalists in Geneva that US $126 million is needed to meet critical needs until the end of the year:

"Heavy fighting is continuing, and UNHCR is expecting more large movements of people from the west of the city where the fighting is currently concentrated."

Up to three million Iraqis are displaced across the country. Another quarter of a million live as refugees in neighbouring states.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’16″

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