News in Brief 18 August 2017 (PM)

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Yemen is facing the world's worst cholera outbreak. Photo: UNICEF

UN relief chief laments lack of progress in Yemen

There has been no significant improvement in the "deplorable, avoidable and completely man-made catastrophe" in Yemen over the past two years, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator told the Security Council on Friday.

Yemen forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have been battling Houthi rebels for control of the country.

Stephen O'Brien said despite the best efforts of humanitarians, suffering there has intensified as millions are facing what he described as "a triple tragedy": looming famine, a cholera outbreak and conflict.

The Deputy UN Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, has more details.

"Mr. O'Brien called for the opening of all ports—land, sea and air—to civilian traffic to allow in aid, as well as for parties to the conflict to respect international human and human rights law. He also stressed the need for civil servants to be paid to prevent the collapse of institutions and for accountability to be strengthened.  For his part, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the Security Council via videolink that Yemen today continues to traverse a critical and agonizing period as civilians pay a terrible price of an unending power struggle, adding that those who survive the fighting face death by famine or disease as the economic situation continues to deteriorate and the humanitarian conditions worsen."

 

UN Envoy preparing for next round of Syrian talks

The UN Special Envoy for Syria is preparing for the next round of official talks to solve the country's ongoing crisis.

Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva that the talks are set to take place in the Swiss city just before the start of the UN General Assembly in September.

He said there has already been a reduction in violence in Syria even as agreements regarding de-escalation of fighting remain to be concluded.

He also noted recent progress on the humanitarian front, with a convoy of 50 UN trucks reaching the city of Douma, providing aid to some 35,000 people.

 

WFP working to prevent stunting in tribal children in Pakistan

A programme to prevent stunting in children in a district in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan has been launched by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with local health authorities.

Stunting occurs when a child's growth and development are impaired due to poor nutrition.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas are a remote semi-autonomous region in northwest Pakistan, that includes seven districts known as agencies.

WFP said one of them, Kurram Agency, has a stunting rate of more than 57 per cent, which is above the global average.

Through the programme, children there between six and 24 months, as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers, will receive specialized nutritious foods.

Children up to 59 months will receive micronutrient supplements.

Overall, 75,000 children and women will benefit, the UN agency said.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration:2’55″

 

 

 

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