News in Brief 23 June 2017 (PM)

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Children listen as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks during his visit to the Imvepi refugee settlement in Arua district, northern Uganda. UN Photo/Mark Garten

More than US$350 million pledged for Uganda refugee efforts

The Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees has concluded with more than US$350 million pledged to help the country deal with its fast-growing refugee emergency.

In just one year, the UN estimates that the country’s refugee population has more than doubled, from 500,000 to more than 1.25 million.

Most have fled violence and a worsening humanitarian crisis across the border in South Sudan.

The conference in the capital, Kampala, was hosted by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni,and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The UN chief said that the only solution to end the refugee crisis was to stop the brutal civil war fomented by rival political leaders in South Sudan.

He hailed the conference as a success.

“I think it is a very good start, but we cannot stop. We need to go on, and several of the countries today said they were not able to pledge now, but they will be announcing in the next few weeks, additional amounts. So I think we can congratulate Uganda and the President of Uganda, because this initiative is in my opinion, a success.”

5.6 million children “at increased risk” of waterborne disease around Lake Chad

More than 5.6 million children are “at increased risk” of waterborne diseases as the rainy season begins in Africa’s Lake Chad region, the UN Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) warned on Friday.

The risk is especially great in those countries affected by conflict and the on-going humanitarian crisis provoked by the Boko Haram terrorist group insurgency.

Regional insecurity is growing across Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and northeast Nigeria, while flooding and muddy roads are expected to severely limit humanitarian access to remote areas.

More details from UN Spokesperson, Eri Kaneko.

“Across the Lake Chad region, UNICEF and its partners are working in communities at higher risk of cholera outbreaks to teach families about the effects of the disease and practical steps to avoid infection. In Niger, Cameroon and Chad, essential drugs and bars of soap have been prepositioned in warehouses close to IDP camps in case of a cholera outbreak.
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene response in the Lake Chad Basin has received less than 20% of the US$80 million required to meet urgent needs in 2017. “

115 million widows around the world, estimated to live in poverty

There are an estimated 285 million widows around the world, with more than 115 million of them living in poverty.

That’s according to UN Women, marking International Widows’ Day, which falls on 23 June.

The day provides an opportunity for action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows.

Women who are widowed are often neglected by national and local authorities and overlooked by civil society organizations to the point where they are, in effect, invisible, said the UN.

They also often confront a denial of inheritance and land rights, “degrading and life-threatening mourning and burial rites” and other forms of abuse.

The children of widows also suffer, both economically and emotionally, and mothers left on their own are often forced to withdraw their children from school.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’47″

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