This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
At least 58 lives lost in boat tragedy off Mauritanian coast
At least 58 men, women and children have died after a vessel carrying around 150 migrants sank off the coast of Mauritania, UN migration agency IOM said on Thursday.
Eighty-three survivors - including at least 10 youngsters - swam to shore after Wednesday’s tragedy off the North African coast, and have been transferred to hospital, the International Organization for Migration reported.
It says that the vessel left The Gambia eight days ago bound for the Canary Islands, before running low on fuel.
At the scene of the accident in the north of the country, IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission Laura Lungarotti said that the survivors were recovering from shock and that the injured were in hospital.
The UN agency has offered support by providing first aid kits, blankets and other supplies, and it has also sent a doctor to support the response.
Measles epidemic continues to grip island of Samoa
In Samoa, the UN is leading efforts to counter a massive outbreak of measles which continues to spread, mainly among babies and children.
Since a state of emergency was declared on 15 November, there have been more than 4,200 cases on the tiny Pacific Ocean island nation, including 165 on Thursday alone.
According to the UN Resident Coordinator in Samoa, 62 people have died so far, the vast majority babies and young children.
In line with a Government directive, residents have been ordered to stay in their homes as more than 100 vaccination teams travel the country to immunize people, regardless of age.
A number of UN agencies have provided support including vaccine units and emergency medical teams to complement the country’s own health services, which are overwhelmed.
2.3 million people in Zambia facing food insecurity
Finally, Zambia has been added to the list of countries where the lack of food has reached crisis levels, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization said on Thursday.
Citing reduced harvests and high food prices in southern and western areas, the FAO reported that an estimated 2.3 million people are food insecure, more than 10 per cent of the population.
Zambia’s addition to the UN list means that more than 40 countries are today in need of external food assistance, 32 of them are in Africa.
In December 2010, FAO listed 29 countries requiring help, 20 of them African.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.