News in Brief 19 July 2017 (AM)

Shock and sadness over "at least 20 deaths" reported in Yemen: UNHCR

The deaths of "at least 20" internally displaced Yemenis following an air strike on Tuesday, highlights the urgent need for a peaceful political solution to the on-going conflict there, said the UN Refuge Agency (UNHCR) on Wednesday.

UNHCR's William Spindler said the agency was "shocked and saddened" by the incident which, according to news reports, involved an aerial attack on the embattled Mawza district in Yemen's Taizz governorate.

Mr Spindler, stressed that UNHCR could not verify who was responsible for the attack.

"We appeal to all parties in the conflict to do their utmost to avoid civilian death and to refrain from attacking civilian installations and infrastructure."

A Saudi-led coalition has been backing government forces against Houthi rebels for more than two years.

Most of those killed are believed to be from the same family, said UNHCR, and a number of injured were also taken to local hospitals.

Somali migrants return home from Yemen following five-month ordeal

A group of 316 Somali migrants have made it home following a five-month ordeal journeying through war-torn Yemen, according to the UN Migration Agency (IOM).

The migrants left Somalia hoping to reach Europe via the Red Sea in February, but their boat was shelled off the Yemeni coast, killing 40 and severely-injuring 13.

IOM moved the survivors to the Yemeni capital and earlier this month they were driven to the port city of Aden.

The 90-strong group arrived home, in the Port of Berbera, on 14 July.

Another group of Somali migrants being repatriated under the protection of IOM have also now returned home safely, the agency said on Wednesday; making up a total of 316 men, women and children.

"Critical" $45 million lifeline provided by US to build resilience in Niger

A "critical lifeline" designed to build up resilience for more than 500,000 vulnerable people in Niger has been provided to the World Food Programme (WFP) by the United States, it was announced on Wednesday.

The US$45 million contribution will help provide food assistance and enhance resilience-building across the country, including areas being affected by the Boko Haram extremist group's insurgency.

WFP Country Director BenoA�t Thiry said that the donation "gives much-needed hope to people struggling to provide food for their families through the June-to-September lean season."

The lean season before harvest is when stocks are low and market prices at their highest.

The poorest households are often forced to migrate in search of work, abandoning their farms and herds, said WFP.

Source: United Nations Radio