This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
School meals a ‘critical safety net’ amid global food crisis
School meals are a “critical safety net” for vulnerable children and households amid the global food crisis, at a time when over 150 million children and young people are going hungry, the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a report on Tuesday.
With many schools forced to shut their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, free lunch programmes were upended worldwide, with dramatic results.
With more, here’s Carmen Burbano, WFP’s head of school-based programmes:
“Because of COVID school closures in 2020, 2021 and even 2022, about 370 million children lost access to meals in schools during the pandemic. In many cases, this is the only meal that they received a day.”
According to WFP, countries mobilized “in an unprecedented way” to restore access to classroom meals. Nearly 420 million children worldwide receive them - that’s 30 million more than in 2020.
Pakistan: 10 million deprived of safe drinking water in flood-affected areas
Six months after catastrophic floods struck Pakistan, more than 10 million people, including children, still lack access to safe drinking water, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.
The crisis has left families in the flood-affected areas with no choice but to use potentially contaminated water. This has contributed to outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dengue and malaria.
Unsafe water and poor sanitation are, in turn, key causes of malnutrition. In Pakistan’s flood-affected areas, more than 1.5 million boys and girls are already severely malnourished.
Ahead of Wednesday’s World Water Day, UNICEF has called for resources to urgently restore access to safe drinking water and toilets in the flood-affected areas.
Investment is also needed in climate-resilient water supply facilities, such as those powered by solar energy. UNICEF’s $170 million appeal for this crisis remains less than 50 per cent funded.
Yemen: Fresh negotiations conclude with release of 887 prisoners
The UN Special Envoy for Yemen has announced the planned release of 887 conflict-related detainees from all sides after 10 days of negotiations.
“For hundreds of Yemeni families, today is a good day,” Special Envoy Hans Grundberg told reporters in Geneva. “Hundreds of Yemeni families can look forward to reuniting with their loved ones.”
The parties to the long-running conflict in Yemen had committed to release detainees under the Stockholm Agreement in 2018.
The negotiations have been taking place under the auspices of the Special Envoy’s office and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The warring parties also agreed to reconvene in mid-May to discuss more releases.
More than 17 million Yemenis are counting on aid agencies for assistance and protection in 2023.
Mr. Grundberg stressed that “a comprehensive and sustainable end to the conflict” was essential.
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.
- School meals a ‘critical safety net’ amid global food crisis
- Pakistan: 10 million deprived of safe drinking water in flood-affected areas
- Yemen: Fresh negotiations conclude with release of 887 prisoners