News in Brief 20 December 2016 (PM)

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Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Rocio Franco/UN Radio

UN condemns terror attack at market in Berlin

The terrorist attack on a market in the German capital Berlin, which left 12 people dead, and 49 others injured, some seriously, has been condemned by the UN.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, who were killed when a heavy goods lorry ploughed into crowds in the city centre on Monday.

Here’s UN Spokeperson, Stéphane Dujarric

“He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. The Secretary-General hopes anyone involved in the commission of this appalling crime will be swiftly brought to justice.”

The UN Security Council also issued a statement “condemning in the strongest terms the barbaric and cowardly attack”.

Members “reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.”

One suspect who had been held by German police was reportedly released without charge on Tuesday due to lack of evidence.

Horn of Africa braced for further food shortages

The arrival of the rainy season across the Horn of Africa is unlikely to improve conditions for millions affected by “multiple droughts”, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Hunger levels are likely to rise and agricultural support for farmers is critical to protect livestock and equip families to plant crops in the coming months, said FAO.

Close to 12 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are already in need of food assistance, as families struggle to make a living, in the face of rising debt and low seed stocks.

Livestock farmers have been particularly hard hit as food prices have increased while animal prices have fallen.

“Farmers in the region need urgent support” following consecutive harvest failures, said FAO.

US$38m needed to help children in the Middle East survive winter

At least US$38 million more is needed to help children in the Middle East survive unseasonably cold winter weather, according to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

The funding gap for winter supplies and cash assistance “could leave more than one million children in the cold” said the agency.

The extra funds would go towards warm clothing, blankets and other items needed to survive freezing temperatures, storms and heavy snowfall, across conflict-ridden parts of Syria and Iraq.

Years of insecurity and upheaval mean that millions have no resources left to buy warm clothes or heating fuel.

“Many have been displaced by violence and live in camps or makeshift shelters with little protection against the piercing cold,” said UNICEF.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’16″

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