News in Brief 08 January 2018

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Mothers and their children in a queue waiting to receive measles vaccinations as part of a UNICEF-supported immunization campaign at the Beerta Muuri camp for internally displaced persons in Baidoa, Somalia. UN Photo (file)

Millions of children vaccinated against measles in Somalia

Millions of Somali children have been vaccinated against the deadly disease measles during the past five days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The agencies partnered with Somalia's Ministry of Health, to deliver the vaccines to a million children in the Puntland region, and a further 4.2 million across the country.

Dr. Ghulam Popal, WHO Representative to Somalia, said the agency would maintain its close partnership with the Government to control outbreaks of diseases such as measles.

"It's unfortunate that measles cases are still being reported while there is effective vaccine available," he said.

Around 23,000 suspected measles cases were reported last year, of which 83 per cent were in children under 10.

UNICEF acting Representative, Jesper Moller, said the crisis was "far from over" with the threat of famine looming large, adding that mass-vaccination campaigns were the only way to protect children.

More vulnerable migrants detained in Libya return home: IOM

Around 180 Nigerian nationals detained in Libya, were flown home on Monday – the second such flight of the year organized by the UN migration agency (IOM).

The so-called Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme, already organized a January 1 flight, which helped 142 returnees leave Libya for Gambia.

During last year, nearly 20,000 stranded Third Country Nationals were given assistance to leave the area around the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix, has identified more than 432,000 migrants in Libya, and the overall figure is estimated to be between 700,000 and 1 million.

Shocking reports about rampant migrant abuse and squalid conditions in multiple detention centres last year, led to a major reassessment of the measures being taken to tackle people smuggling along the central Mediterranean migration route, through Libya.

Security Council congratulates Liberia for peaceful election process

The Security Council congratulated the Liberian people on Monday, for the peaceful conduct of last month's presidential run-off election.

In a press statement, council members also expressed their appreciation for the work of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which helped ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

George Weah, a former international footballer, emerged victorious in the 29 December vote, beating former Vice-President, Joseph Boakai, who conceded defeat.

The Council noted the importance of the upcoming political transition, and also commended the work of Liberia's National Elections Commission, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the Government overall.

It marks the first peaceful transfer of power between democratically elected leaders in Liberia, in 70 years.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'25"

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