News in Brief 08 December 2017 (PM)

UN chief appeals for $1 billion for emergency relief fund

The UN Secretary-General has called for $1 billion in donor contributions for a UN fund that supports relief operations worldwide.

Antonio Guterres was speaking on Friday at the annual gathering in support of the Central Emergency Relief Fund.

He said protracted conflict and the impact of natural disasters, compounded by factors such as chronic vulnerability, mean that more people now than ever survive on the brink of disaster.

"CERF not only works quickly; it is designed to ensure that humanitarian aid gets to the most urgent cases first, including women and girls who are disproportionately affected by crisis. It supports strong coordination between humanitarian agencies and NGOs. And it acts as a catalyst to mobilize resources from elsewhere."

The UN chief also announced a CERF allocation of $100 million dollars to meet critical needs in nine underfunded emergencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali, the Philippines, Eritrea, Haiti and Pakistan.

WHO scaling up efforts to help Yemen children

With nearly half a million starving children in Yemen, efforts are being stepped up to fight severe acute malnutrition in the war-torn country, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.

The conflict which began two years ago means many people have lost their jobs and are thus finding it difficult to feed their children, resulting in an estimated 7 million people at risk of starvation.

This figure includes 1.8 million malnourished children, while some 400,000 youngsters are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

WHO has been establishing, equipping and rehabilitating therapeutic feeding centres to treat severe acute malnutrition, which is defined by very low weight for height, as well as muscle wasting.

The UN agency also has distributed 120 lifesaving nutritional kits to the centres which can treat up to 6,000 cases of the condition.

African countries urged to take action on birth registrations

If decisive action is not taken, the number of children across sub-Saharan Africa whose births have not been registered could rise to 115 million by 2030; up from 95 million today.

That's according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) which is calling on African countries to prioritize birth registration as a first and critical step in national vital statistics systems.

UNICEF's Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala, warned that with no proof of identity, age or nationality, unregistered children are vulnerable to violations such as child marriage, child labour and recruitment into armed forces.

Source: United Nations Radio